Political radicalism

The term political radicalism (in political science known as radicalism) denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary or other means and changing value systems in fundamental ways.

Derived from the Latin radix ("root"), the denotation of radical has changed since its eighteenth-century coinage to comprehend the entire political spectrum—yet it retains the "change at the root" connotation fundamental to revolutionary societal change. Historically, radicalism has referred exclusively to the radical left (under the single category of far-left politics) and rarely incorporating far-right politics—though these may have revolutionary elements. The prominent exception is in the United States, where some consider radicalism to include both political extremes of the radical left and the radical right. In traditional labels of the spectrum of political thought, the opposite of radical – on the "right" of the political spectrum – is termed "reactionary".

The nineteenth-century Cyclopaedia of Political Science (1881, 1889) reports that "radicalism is characterized less by its principles than by the manner of their application".[1] Conservatives often used the term "radical" pejoratively whereas contemporary left radicals used the term "conservative" derogatorily,[2] thus contemporary denotations of "radical", "radicalism" and "political radicalism" comprise far-left (hard left,[3] radical left)[4] and far-right (hard right, radical right).[5]

The Encyclopædia Britannica records the first political usage of "radical" as ascribed to the British Whig Party parliamentarian Charles James Fox, who in 1797 proposed a "radical reform" of the electoral system, franchise to provide universal manhood suffrage, thereby idiomatically establishing "radical" to denote supporters of the reformation of the British Parliament. Throughout the nineteenth century, the term was combined with political notions and doctrines, thus producing the concepts of working class radicalism, middle class-, philosophic-, democratic- bourgeois-, Tory- and plebeian radicalism. In the event, politically influential radical leaders give rise to their own trend of political radicalism (see Spencean radicalism and Carlilean radicalism). Philosophically, the French political scientist Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) is the principal theoretician proposing "political radicalism" as feasible in republican political philosophy, viz the French Revolution (1789–1799) and other modern revolutions—the antithesis to the liberalism of John Locke (1632–1704).[6]

See also


  1. ^ Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, 1893, p. 492, article "Radicalism", by Maurice Block.
  2. ^ Mike Sanders (ed.) (2001), Women and Radicalism in the Nineteenth Century, ISBN 0-415-20526-3, "General Introduction".
  3. ^ Luke March (12 March 2012). Radical Left Parties in Europe. Routledge. p. 1724. ISBN 978-1-136-57897-7.
  4. ^ Edward Walter (1992), The Rise and Fall of Leftist Radicalism in America, ISBN 0-275-94276-7.
  5. ^ Gilbert Abcarian (1971), American Political Radicalism: Contemporary Issues and Orientations.
  6. ^ "Radicals/Radicalism - Radical Liberalism". science.jrank.org. Retrieved 28 August 2017.

External links

1768 British general election

The 1768 British general election returned members to serve in the House of Commons of the 13th Parliament of Great Britain to be held, after the merger of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland in 1707.

The election saw the emergence of a new political leadership in parliament, with the dominant figures of the previous parliament; the Earl of Bute, the Earl of Chatham, and the Duke of Newcastle all retiring from political life for various reasons. The new administration centred on the First Lord of the Treasury; the Duke of Grafton, and his leader in the commons; Lord North.The election also took place during a lull in political conflict, with there being a lack of any real political debate over policy or principle between the main parties. The two opposition parties; the Rockingham Whigs and the Grenvillites, owed their origins to the time when their respective leaders had been in office.Potentially the most important part of the election was the election of the radical John Wilkes for Middlesex. Wilkes election triggered a major political crisis, and marked the beginning of political radicalism in Britain.

A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy is a novel by Laurence Sterne, written and first published in 1768, as Sterne was facing death. In 1765, Sterne travelled through France and Italy as far south as Naples, and after returning determined to describe his travels from a sentimental point of view. The novel can be seen as an epilogue to the possibly unfinished work The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and also as an answer to Tobias Smollett's decidedly unsentimental Travels Through France and Italy. Sterne had met Smollett during his travels in Europe, and strongly objected to his spleen, acerbity and quarrelsomeness. He modeled the character of Smelfungus on him.The novel was extremely popular and influential and helped establish travel writing as the dominant genre of the second half of the 18th century. Unlike prior travel accounts which stressed classical learning and objective non-personal points of view, A Sentimental Journey emphasized the subjective discussions of personal taste and sentiments, of manners and morals over classical learning. Throughout the 1770s female travel writers began publishing significant numbers of sentimental travel accounts. Sentiment also became a favorite style among those expressing non-mainstream views including political radicalism.

The narrator is the Reverend Mr. Yorick, who is slyly represented to guileless readers as Sterne's barely disguised alter ego. The book recounts his various adventures, usually of the amorous type, in a series of self-contained episodes. The book is less eccentric and more elegant in style than Tristram Shandy and was better received by contemporary critics. It was published on 27 February, and on 18 March Sterne died.

Akil N. Awan

Akil N Awan is a British academic and the current RCUK Fellow in the 'Contemporary History of Faith, Power and Terror' and Lecturer in both International Terrorism and Contemporary Islam in the Department of History and the Department of Politics and International Relations, at Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL). He is also a current Research Associate both with the Centre for Ethnic Minority Studies (CEMS), and with the New Political Communication Unit (NPCU) at Royal Holloway. Previously he has served as a Research Associate on the ESRC project Shifting Securities: News Cultures Before and Beyond the Iraq War.

Birmingham Book Club

The Birmingham Book Club, known to its opponents during the 1790s as the Jacobin Club due to its political radicalism, and at times also as the Twelve Apostles, was a book club and debating society based in Birmingham, England from the 18th to the 20th century. During the 18th century Midlands Enlightenment, the Radical and Unitarian allegiance of its members give it a national significance.Little is known of the club's origins, but surviving records suggest that it was in existence by 1745. The club met at Freeth's Coffee House at the Leicester Arms on the corner of Bell Street and Lease Lane in Birmingham from at least 1758. John Freeth announced club dinners to its members with rhyming invitations. 24 members were listed in 1775. Liberal and radical, as much concerned with politics as with books, the club formed a focus for local support for John Wilkes between 1768 and 1774, and for opposition to the Ministry of Lord North during the 1770s and 1780s.The society held an annual sale of its books, and its members provided the nucleus of subscribers to the Birmingham Library which was founded in 1779.The club was still in existence, with twelve members, in 1964.

Gagarin Way

Gagarin Way is a play by Scottish playwright Gregory Burke, named after a street in the West Fife village of Lumphinnans, on the edge of Cowdenbeath. The play documents the disappearance of socialism from an area where political radicalism was once a defining characteristic of the population. Gagarin Way debuted at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in July 2001, before transferring to the National Theatre and the West End in London. It was translated into 20 languages and toured the world.

Jews and political radicalism

This article is about the history of ethnic Jews and political radicalism. For the antisemitic canard, see Jewish Bolshevism.The historical contribution of Jews to the political Left has been well documented. Both as individual theorists and activists of the stature of Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Léon Blum and Emma Goldman, and as organised mass labour movements in, for example, revolutionary Russia and early-mid twentieth century Warsaw, Amsterdam, Paris, Toronto, New York and London, Jews have been conspicuous for their socialist and communist affiliations.Historical analysis of the dynamics of this Jewish/Left alliance, however, has been far less conclusive. Considerable dissonance exists, for example, concerning the factors which attracted Jews to the Left, the extent to which leading Jewish Left activists were originally motivated by or subsequently influenced by explicitly Jewish concerns, and the degree to which one can reasonably speak of a specific or unique Jewish contribution to the international Left. In addition, discussion of these factors has often been inhibited by concerns regarding the use of the alleged Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy by the Nazis and other anti-Semitic groups.

John Elias

John Elias was a Christian preacher in Wales in the first half of the 19th century, as part of the Welsh Methodist revival. His preaching was noted as being exceptionally powerful, "as if talking fire down from heaven". On one occasion it is said he preached to a crowd of 10,000 people. He was a strict High-Calvinist who believed in the literal truth of the Bible. At one stage he argued strongly for the doctrine of election. He came to be known as Y Pab Methodistaidd in Welsh (The Methodist Pope) because of his forthright views. Despite his wide interests, he was a religious conservative who opposed all forms of political Radicalism as well as the assertion, popular at the time amongst Nonconformists in Wales, that "the voice of the people was the voice of God".


Nerosubianco, styled as nEROSubianco and also released with the international title Attraction, is an Italian black comedy (part collage film) directed by Tinto Brass. The film deals with a variety of contemporary themes such as sexual freedom, racial tensions, and political radicalism from the perspective of a young upper-class Italian woman. The film has also been titled rather exploitatively like The Artful Penetration of Barbara and as Black on White, a literal translation of the Italian title.Nerosubianco shooting began in October 1967 and it was premiered at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival. The film saw theatrical release in February 1969.

Paisley, Renfrewshire

Paisley ( PAYZ-lee; Scots: Paisley, Scottish Gaelic: Pàislig [ˈpʰaːʃlɪkʲ]) is a town situated in the west central Lowlands of Scotland. Located on the northern edge of the Gleniffer Braes, the town borders the city of Glasgow to the east, and straddles the banks of the White Cart Water, a tributary of the River Clyde.

It serves as the administrative centre for the Renfrewshire council area, and is the largest town in the historic county of the same name. Paisley is often cited as "Scotland's largest town" and is the fifth largest settlement in the country, although it does not have city status.

The town became prominent in the 12th century, with the establishment of Paisley Abbey, an important religious hub which formerly had control over other local churches.

By the 19th century, Paisley was a centre of the weaving industry, giving its name to the Paisley shawl and the Paisley Pattern. The town's associations with political Radicalism were highlighted by its involvement in the Radical War of 1820, with striking weavers being instrumental in the protests. As of 1993, all of Paisley's mills had closed, although they are memorialised in the town's museums and civic history.

Premiership of John Edward Brownlee

John Edward Brownlee was Premier of Alberta, Canada, from 1925 to 1934 as leader of the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) caucus in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. After a number of early successes, his popularity and his government's suffered from the hardships of the Great Depression. In 1934, he was embroiled in a sex scandal when a family friend sued him for seduction. Though Brownlee denied the events she alleged, when the jury found in her favour he announced his resignation as premier.

Brownlee became premier on November 23, 1925, when, at the request of the UFA caucus, he took over from the indecisive Herbert Greenfield, in whose cabinet he had served as attorney-general. After winning the 1926 election for the UFA, Brownlee achieved a number of successes. In 1929 he signed an agreement with the federal government that transferred control of Alberta's natural resources to its provincial government, which had been a priority of his three immediate predecessors as premier. In 1928 he divested the government of the money-losing railways it had acquired after the syndicates that founded them went out of business, by selling them to Canadian Pacific and Canadian National. This was part of his program to balance the provincial budget, at which he was successful beginning in 1925. His government also introduced a controversial sexual sterilization program to prevent the mentally disabled from procreating.

His government's fortunes entered a decline following the 1930 election. Agricultural prices collapsed, throwing many of Alberta's farmers into abject poverty. Urban unemployment shot up, and the government had no choice but to return to deficit spending. Brownlee tried to broker deals between farmers and banks, but found neither side eager to compromise. Political radicalism increased, as communism, the new Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, and William Aberhart's social credit movement gained new adherents. The UFA itself elected as its president radical socialist Robert Gardiner. In 1933, Prime Minister R. B. Bennett named Brownlee to the Royal Commission on Banking and Currency as a representative of western interests and unorthodox viewpoints. In this capacity Brownlee travelled the country questioning witnesses, especially bankers and farmers. While he concurred with the commission's ultimate recommendation for the creation of a central bank, he also made a series of recommendations of his own, including that the central bank be controlled entirely by the government.

In 1934 Brownlee was sued for the seduction of Vivian MacMillan, a family friend and a secretary in his government's attorney-general's office. MacMillan claimed that she and Brownlee had carried on an affair for three years. Though Brownlee denied MacMillan's story completely, and though his lawyer exposed inconsistencies in cross-examination, the jury sided with MacMillan. In deference to public outrage over the charges, John Brownlee resigned as premier July 10, 1934, and was succeeded by Richard Gavin Reid.

Red Clydeside

Red Clydeside was the era of political radicalism in Glasgow, Scotland, and areas around the city, on the banks of the River Clyde, such as Clydebank, Greenock, Dumbarton and Paisley, from the 1910s until the early 1930s. Red Clydeside is a significant part of the history of the labour movement in Britain as a whole, and Scotland in particular.

Popular newspapers of the time used the term "Red Clydeside" to refer to the political militancy. An amalgamation of charismatic individuals, organised movements and socio-political forces led to Red Clydeside, which had its roots in working class opposition to Britain's participation in World War I, although the area had a long history of political radicalism going back to the Society of the Friends of the People and the "Radical War" of 1820.

Red Scare

A "Red Scare" is promotion of widespread fear by a society or state about a potential rise of communism, anarchism, or radical leftism. The term is most often used to refer to two periods in the history of the United States with this name. The First Red Scare, which occurred immediately after World War I, revolved around a perceived threat from the American labor movement, anarchist revolution and political radicalism. The Second Red Scare, which occurred immediately after World War II, was preoccupied with the perception of national or foreign communists infiltrating or subverting U.S. society or the federal government.

Red Skirts on Clydeside

Red Skirts on Clydeside, produced in 1984, is the fifth documentary film made by the Sheffield Film Cooperative. It follows the process of rediscovering women's histories, focusing on the Glasgow Rent Strikes of 1915 and four of the women involved: Helen Crawfurd, Agnes Dollan, Mary Barbour, Jean Fergusson.The title plays on the name Red Clydeside, given to the period of political radicalism in Glasgow and other urban areas along the River Clyde during the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s, but suggesting the involvement of women.

Social conservatism

Social conservatism is the belief that society is built upon a fragile network of relationships which need to be upheld through duty, traditional values and established institutions. This can include moral issues. Social conservatism is generally skeptical of social change, and believes in maintaining the status quo concerning social issues such as family life, sexual relations, and patriotism.Social conservatism encompasses a range of what may be thought of as reactionary positions on social issues. It developed as a reaction to what was perceived as dangerous tendencies within the liberal movements toward political radicalism and a wholesale rejection of "traditional values". In North America, since the mid to late 20th century, social conservatism arose as a response to federal action on social issues—such as LGBT rights and abortion—which members perceived as a threat to conservative values. Social conservatives also value the influence of religion in the public square, thus supporting state Churches or accommodationism, while opposing secularism and state atheism.

Stoke Newington

Stoke Newington is an area occupying the north-west part of the London Borough of Hackney in north-east London, England. It is 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Charing Cross. Stoke Newington Church Street was the site of the original hamlet of Stoke Newington, which in turn gave its name to Stoke Newington the ancient parish.

The historic core on Church Street retains the distinct London village character which led Nikolaus Pevsner to write in 1953 that he found it hard to see the district as being in London at all.Stoke Newington is nicknamed "Stokey" by many residents.

Sylvester Pennoyer

Sylvester Pennoyer (July 6, 1831 – May 30, 1902) was an American educator, attorney, and politician in Oregon. He was born in Groton, New York, attended Harvard Law School, and moved to Oregon at age 25. A Democrat, he served two terms as the eighth Governor of Oregon from 1886 to 1895. He joined the Populist cause in the early 1890s and became the second Populist Party state governor in history. He was noted for his political radicalism, his opposition to the conservative Bourbon Democracy of President Grover Cleveland, his support for labor unions, and his opposition to the Chinese in Oregon. He was also noted for his prickly attitude toward both U.S. Presidents whose terms overlapped his own -- Benjamin Harrison and Cleveland, whom he once famously told via telegram to mind his own business.

He later served as mayor of Portland from 1896 to 1898.

Will Herberg

William "Will" Herberg (June 30, 1901 – March 26, 1977) was an American writer, intellectual and scholar. A communist political activist during his early years, Herberg gained wider public recognition as a social philosopher and sociologist of religion, as well as a Jewish theologian. He was a leading conservative thinker during 1950s and an important contributor to the National Review magazine.

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