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Far-left politics are political views located further on the left of the left-right spectrum than the standard political left. The term has been used to describe ideologies such as: communism, anarchism, neo-Marxism, anarcho-communism, left-communism, Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, and Maoism.
Luke March of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh defines the far-left in Europe as those who position themselves to the left of social democracy, which they see as insufficiently left-wing. The two main sub-types are called the radical left, who desire fundamental changes to neo-liberal globalist capitalism and progressive reform of democracy (such as direct democracy and the inclusion of marginalised communities), and the extreme left, who denounce liberal democracy as a "compromise with bourgeois political forces," and define capitalism more strictly.
March states that "compared with the international communist movement 30 years ago, the far left has undergone a process of profound de-radicalisation. The extreme left is marginal in most places." March specifies four major subgroups within contemporary European far-left politics: communists, which he states exist only as a "commitment to Marxism (of sorts)" and a "historical sense of the movement"; democratic socialists, who reject both totalitarianism and neo-liberalism, are "in many cases non-Marxist," and support environmental issues and "substantive democracy"; populist socialists who are similar but "overlaid with a stronger anti-elite, anti-establishment appeal"; and social populists, who evidence "a dominant personalist leadership, relatively weak organisation and essentially incoherent ideology," "fusing left-wing and right-wing themes behind an anti-establishment appeal" (true Populists).
To distinguish the far left from the moderate left, March and Mudde identify three "useful criteria": firstly, they reject the underlying socio-economic structure of contemporary capitalism; secondly, they advocate alternative economic and power structures involving redistribution of resources from political elites; and thirdly, they are internationalist, seeing causality between imperialism and globalism and regional socio-economic issues. Some sources classify the far-left under the category of populist socialist parties.
In France, the term extrême-gauche ("far-left") is a generally accepted term for political groups that position themselves to the left of the Socialist Party, such as Trotskyists, Maoists, anarcho-communists and New Leftists. Some, such as political scientist Serge Cosseron, limit the scope to the left of the French Communist Party, but there is no real consensus.
In later conceptualization, March started to refer to the politics as "radical left", which is constituted of radical left parties that reject the socio-economic structures of contemporary society that are based on the principles and values of capitalism. In Europe, the support for far-left politics comes from three overlapping groups: far-left subculture, disaffected Social Democrats, and protest voters - those who are opposed to their country's EU membership.
Many far-left militant organizations formed from existing political parties in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Red Brigades, Montoneros and the Red Army Faction. These groups generally aim to overthrow capitalism and the wealthy ruling classes.
The PL [Prima Linea] sought to overthrow the capitalist state in Italy and replace it with a dictatorship of the proletariat.
German detectives yesterday confirmed as authentic a declaration by the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist group that its struggle to overthrow the German state is over.