What does it mean to be a Liberal or Conservative? What does it mean to be a Socialist or a Communist? These terms, or labels, refer to a belief in the way government should run within a society—also known as a political ideology. Political ideologies are belief systems that provide people with a perspective on the proper role of elected officials, which types of public policies should be prioritized, and how the various elements of society should be arranged. Whether or not they realize it, most people possess a definitive political ideology. In the United States, most citizens consider themselves liberal, moderate, or conservative. In other countries, you may find a majority of people who identify as Socialists, Marxists, or even Anarchists.

Most ideologies are identified by their position on a political spectrum—a way of comparing or visualizing different political ideologies. The political spectrum is usually described along a left-middle-right line.
It is important to recognize that many ideologies defy categorization, mainly because they encompass views on different parts of the spectrum. For example, conservatives can be “traditional” or “moderate” or “right-wing.” Political ideologies are complex, and some argue that the spectrum theory is an oversimplified view.
Liberalism (Left)
Liberalism is a political ideology that, at its core, denounces economic and social inequality. Equality of opportunity is viewed by liberals as essential, and to achieve that end, they believe that discriminatory practices must be eliminated and that the impact of great equalities of wealth needs to be lessened. Liberals usually advocate vigorous public policies to reduce or eliminate these inequalities. They see government as the means to make this possible, while also preserving civil liberties/rights, and progressive values. Liberals believe that public policy should be egalitarian and that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure ALL citizens have access to affordable health care, quality education, a clean environment, and social safety net programs. They also generally believe in affirmative action programs, workers’ health and safety protections, progressive taxation, and unions’ rights to organize and strike.
Conservative (Right)
Conservatives have a general preference for the existing order of society and an opposition to most efforts to bring about rapid or fundamental change. In contrast to liberals, conservatives want to enhance individual liberty by keeping government small, except in the area of national defense. Conservatives maintain that people need strong leadership institutions, firm laws, and strict moral codes. Conservative ideologies most often base their claims on the teachings of religion and traditional morality and tend to downplay rational social theories propounded by secular philosophers, economists, and other intellectuals. They also prefer eliminating abortion, affirmative action programs, and labor unions. More extreme conservative ideologies accept all (or nearly all) of society’s inequalities of wealth, status, and privilege, often supporting a return to an earlier, more inegalitarian, and hierarchical political-economic order.
Moderates (Middle)
Moderates usually represent a mix of both liberal and conservative ideologies. The majority of Americans classify themselves as more moderate than liberal or conservative.
Other Political Ideologies
An ideology based on the communal ownership of all property and a classless social structure, with economic production and distribution to be directed and regulated by means of an authoritative economic plan that supposedly embodies the interests of the community as a whole.
An ideology based on collective or governmental ownership and democratic management of the essential means of the production and distribution of goods. It can often be difficult to define, since different people have different ideas about what a socialist society would look like. There are a number of similarities between socialism and communism.
National Socialism (Nazism)
This ideology originated as a nationalist movement in European countries after World War I and refers to the movement of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party under Adolf Hitler. Nazism rejects liberalism, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, and stresses the subordination of the individual to the state and strict obedience to leaders. It emphasizes the right of the strong to rule the weak, the inequality of individuals and “races,” and the racial superiority of White Anglo-Saxons (Aryans).
Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide. Usually, fascism espouses open male supremacy, though sometimes it may also promote female solidarity and new opportunities for women of the privileged nation or race.
Anarchism considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Anarchists seek to diminish or even eliminate reliance upon authority in the conduct of human relations, but thus have widely disagreed on what additional criteria are essential or beneficial to anarchism and human society. Anarchism is usually identified as the most anti-authoritarian of all political ideologies.
Libertarianism is a relatively new political ideology which gained momentum in the mid 20th century. Libertarians believe that any legitimate government should be small and should play only the most minimal possible role in economic, social, and cultural life. Furthermore, libertarians believe that the individual should be as free as is practically feasible from government restraint and regulation in both the economic and non-economic aspects of life.
Karl Marx wrote the seminal works of this political ideology, which described the strengths and weaknesses of the capitalist economic system and argued that it would eventually be overthrown in order to bring about a more just and equal society. This would mean first implementing a socialist system and inevitably a communist society. According to Marx, all injustices and inequalities in the world can be traced to the class struggle, or the inequalities inherent to the capitalist system. Marxists may consider themselves socialists or communists as there exists much overlap between these ideologies.

Trotsky had received comparatively good press in the West, especially since World War II, when the wartime alliance with Stalin turned sour. Trotsky has been published by major corporations,[1] and is generally considered the grandfatherly figure of Bolshevism.[2] “Uncle Joe,” on the other hand, was quickly demonized as a tyrant, and the “gallant Soviet Army” that stopped the Germans at Stalingrad was turned into a threat to world freedom, when in the aftermath of World War II the USSR did not prove compliant in regard to US plans for a post-war world order.[3] However, even before the rift, basically from the beginning of the Moscow Trials, Western academics such as Professor John Dewey condemned the proceedings as a brutal travesty. The Moscow Trials are here reconsidered within the context of the historical circumstances and of the judicial system that Trotsky and other defendants had themselves played prominent roles in establishing.
A reconsideration of the Moscow Trials of the defendants Trotsky et al is important for more reasons than the purely academic. Since the scuttling of the USSR and of the Warsaw Pact by a combination of internal betrayal and of subversion undertaken by a myriad of US-based “civil societies” and NGOs backed by the likes of the George Soros network, Freedom House, National Endowment for Democracy, and dozens of other such entities,[4] Russia – after the Yeltsin interregnum of subservience to globalization – has sought to recreate herself as a power that offers a multipolar rather than a unipolar world. A reborn Russia and the reshaping of a new geopolitical bloc which responds to Russian leadership, is therefore of importance to all those throughout the world who are cynical about the prospect of a “new world order” dominated by “American ideals.” US foreign policy analysts, “statesmen” (sic), opinion molders, and lobbyists still have nightmares about Stalin and the possibility of a Stalin-type figure arising who will re-establish Russia’s position in the world. For example, Putin, a “strongman” type in Western-liberal eyes at least, has been ambivalent about the role of Stalin in history, such ambivalence, rather than unequivocal rejection, being sufficient to make oligarchs in the USA and Russia herself, nervous. Hence, The Sunday Times, commenting on the Putin phenomena being dangerously reminiscent of Stalinism, stated recently:
Joseph Stalin sent millions to their deaths during his reign of terror, and his name was taboo for decades, but the dictator is a step closer to rehabilitation after Vladimir Putin openly praised his achievements.
The Prime Minister and former KGB agent used an appearance on national television to give credit to Stalin for making the Soviet Union an industrial superpower, and for defeating Hitler in the Second World War.
In a verdict that will be obediently absorbed by a state bureaucracy long used to taking its cue from above, Mr Putin declared that it was “impossible to make a judgment in general” about the man who presided over the Gulag slave camps. His view contrasted sharply with that of President Medvedev, Russia’s nominal leader, who has said that there is no excuse for the terror unleashed by Stalin.
Mr Putin said that he had deliberately included the issue of Stalin’s legacy in a marathon annual question-and-answer program on live television, because it was being “actively discussed” by Russians.[5]
While The Times’ Halpin commented that Putin nonetheless gave the obligatory comments about the brutality of Stalin’s regime, following a forceful condemnation of Stalin by Medvedev on October 9, 2009, it is worrying nonetheless that Putin could state that positive aspects “undoubtedly existed.” Such comments are the same as if a leading German political figure had stated that some positive aspects of Hitler “undoubtedly existed.” The guilt complex of Stalinist tyranny, having its origins in Trotskyite Stalinophobia, which has been carried over into the present “Cold War II” era of a bastardous mixture of “neo-cons” (i.e., post-Trotskyites) and Soros type globalists, often working in tandem despite their supposed differences,[6] is supposed to keep Russia down in perpetuity. Should Russia rise again, however, the specter of Stalin is there to frighten the world into adherence to US policy in the same way that the “war on terrorism” is designed to dragoon the world behind the USA. Just as importantly, The Times article commented on Putin’s opposition to the Russian oligarchy, which has been presented by the Western news media as a “human rights issue”:
During the television program, Mr Putin demonstrated his populist instincts by lashing out at Russia’s billionaire class for their vulgar displays of wealth. His comments came after a scandal in Geneva, when an elderly man was critically injured in an accident after an alleged road race involving the children of wealthy Russians in a Lamborghini and three other sports cars. “The nouveaux riches all of a sudden got rich very quickly, but they cannot manage their wealth without showing it off all the time. Yes, this is our problem,” Mr Putin said.[7]
This all seems lamentably (for the plutocrats) like a replay of what happened after the Bolshevik Revolution when Stalin kicked out Trotsky et al. Under Trotsky, the Bolshevik regime would have eagerly sought foreign capital.[8] It is after all why plutocrats would have had such an interest in ensuring Trotsky’s safe passage back to Russia in time for the Bolshevik coup, after having had a pleasant stay with his family in the USA as a guest of Julius Hammer, and having been comfortably ensconced in an upmarket flat, with a chauffeur at the family’s disposal.[9] In 1923 the omnipresent globalist think tank the Council on Foreign Relations, was warning investors to hurry up and get into Soviet Russia before something went wrong,[10] which it did a few years later. Under Stalin, even Western technicians were not trusted.[11]
Of particular note, however, is that well-placed Russian politicians and academics are still very aware of the globalist apparatus that is working for what is frequently identified in Russia as a “new world order,” and the responsibility Russia has in reasserting herself to lead in reshaping a “multipolar” world contra American hegemony. This influences Russia’s foreign policy, perhaps the most significant manifestation being the BRIC alliance,[12] despite what this writer regards as the very dangerous liaison with China.[13]
What is dismissed as “fringe conspiracy theory” by the superficial and generally “kept” Western news media and academia, is reported and discussed, among the highest echelons of Russian media, politics, military, and intelligentsia, with an analytical methodology that is all but gone from Western journalism and research. For example, the Russian geopolitical theorist Alexander Dugin is a well-respected academic who lectures at Moscow State University under the auspices of the Center for Conservative Studies, which is part of the Department of Sociology (International Relations).[14] The subjects discussed by Professor Dugin and his colleagues and students feature the menace of world government and the challenges of globalism to Russian statehood. The movement he inspired, Eurasianism, has many prominent people in Russia and elsewhere.
Perhaps the best indication of Russia’s persistence in remaining resistant to globalist and hegemonic schemes for world re-organization is the information that is published by the Ministry of International Affairs. Despite the disclaimer, the articles and analyses are a far cry from the shallowness of the mainstream news media of the Western world. Articles posted by the Ministry as this paper is written include a cynical consideration of the North African revolutions and the role of “social media;”[16] and an article pointing to the immense socio-economic benefits wrought by the Qaddafi regime, which is now being targeted by revolts “backed by Western intelligence services.” Political analyst Sergei Shashkov theorizes that:
Recent events perfectly fit into the US-invented concept of “manageable chaos” (also known as “controlled instability” theory). Among its authors are: Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish American political scientist, Gene Sharp, who wrote From Dictatorship to Democracy, and Steven Mann, whose Chaos Theory and Strategic Thought was published in Washington in 1992, and who was involved in plotting “color revolutions” in some former Soviet republics.
The only place one is going to get that type of analyses in the West is in alternative media sources such as Foreign Policy Journal or Global Research. What Western government ministry would have the independence of mind to circulate analyses of this type? Russians have the opportunity to be the most well-informed people in the world in matters that are of real importance. Westerners, on the other hand, do have that essential freedom – to watch US sitcoms and keep abreast of the tittle-tattle of movie stars and pop singers. Clearly, Russia is not readily succumbing to the type of post-Cold War world as envisaged by plutocrats and US hegemonists, expressed by George H W Bush in his hopes for a “new world order” after the demise of the Soviet bloc.[19] Beginning with Putin, Russia has refused to co-operate in the establishment of the “new world order,” just as Stalin did not go along with similar schemes intended for the post-World War II era.

In many contemporary national political systems the forces of history and administrative necessity have joined to produce regional communities at an intermediate level between the local and the national community. In some cases—the Swiss canton, the English county, the German Land, and the American state—these regional communities possess their own political institutions and exercise governmental functions. In other cases, however, the territorial community is a product of ethnic, cultural, linguistic, physiographic, or economic factors and maintains its identity without the support of political structures.

In many contemporary national political systems the forces of history and administrative necessity have joined to produce regional communities at an intermediate level between the local and the national community. In some cases—the Swiss canton, the English county, the German Land, and the American state—these regional communities possess their own political institutions and exercise governmental functions. In other cases, however, the territorial community is a product of ethnic, cultural, linguistic, physiographic, or economic factors and maintains its identity without the support of political structures.
As subnational political systems, regional communities are sometimes based in tradition, even tracing their origin to a period prior to the founding of the country; in other cases, they are modern administrative units created by national governments for their own purposes. Examples of both types may be found in the history of regionalism in France and its complex pattern of internal territorial divisions. Before the French Revolution, France was divided into ancient provinces—Burgundy, Gascony, Brittany, Normandy, Provence, Anjou, Poitou, and others. After the Revolution, in what seems to have been an effort to discourage regional patriotism and threats of separatism, the Napoleonic government superimposed a new regional structure of départements on the old provincial map. More than a century and a half later, in the era of rapid communications and national economic planning, the French national government announced a regrouping of the Napoleonic départements into much larger Gaullist régions. Recognizing, perhaps, the continuing strength of the provincial attachments of Gascon, Breton, Norman, and Provençal and the survival of old regional folk cultures with their distinctive patterns of speech, the new régions were given boundaries similar in many cases to the traditional provincial boundaries of pre-republican France.
The history of the French regional communities is not a special case, for political, administrative, economic, and technical forces have led many other national governments to replace traditional territorial divisions with new regional units. In England, for example, the traditional structure of county governments was replaced in the late 19th century by a system of administrative counties, many of which in turn lost area to other units of local government in the 1970s and the 1990s. Attempts have also been made to use older regional communities as the infrastructure for new systems of regional government. Thus, the Italian constitution provides for a number of regions, five of which—Valle d’Aosta, Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino–Alto Adige, and Friuli–Venezia Giulia—enjoy a special autonomous status and which, in different ways, are historically distinct from the rest of Italy. In yet other cases the fear of competition from regional governments or of separatist movements has led national governments to make various efforts to resist the development of regional political structures. Again, Italy provides a convenient example, for Italian governments refused to establish all the regions provided for in the 1948 constitution until 1970. It should be noted that the Italian republic of 1870–1922 and its fascist successor state also made similar efforts to combat regional political development, the former by the creation of a large number of administrative provinces and the latter by establishing corporazione to represent occupations regardless of geographic location.
In several modern states the growth of vast conurbations and the rise of the megalopolis have prompted the development of other kinds of regional governmental structures. The Port of London Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are examples of regional systems designed to serve the needs of urban communities that have outgrown the boundaries of existing city governments. Other regional structures have also resulted from the increased responsibility of national governments for the administration of comprehensive social and economic programs. The Tennessee Valley Authority, for example, is both a national agency and a regional government whose decisions affect the lives of the inhabitants of all the states and cities in its sphere. Further examples of such regional administrative structures include zonal councils established in India for social and economic planning purposes, as well as governmental and economic units established in Britain to deal with the problems of industrially depressed areas.

Issues of classification
Types of classification schemes
The almost infinite range of political systems has been barely suggested in this brief review. Confronted by the vast array of political forms, political scientists have attempted to classify and categorize, to develop typologies and models, or in some other way to bring analytic order to the bewildering variety of data. Many different schemes have been developed. There is, for example, the classical distinction between governments in terms of the number of rulers—government by one man (monarchy or tyranny), government by the few (aristocracy or oligarchy), and government by the many (democracy). There are schemes classifying governments in terms of their key institutions (for example, parliamentarism, cabinet government, presidentialism). There are classifications that group systems according to basic principles of political authority or the forms of legitimacy (charismatic, traditional, rational-legal, and others). Other schemes distinguish between different kinds of economic organization in the system (the laissez-faire state, the corporate state, and socialist and communist forms of state economic organization) or between the rule of different economic classes (feudal, bourgeois, and capitalist). And there are modern efforts to compare the functions of political systems (capabilities, conversion functions, and system maintenance and adaptation functions) and to classify them in terms of structure, function, and political culture.
Although none is comprehensive, each of these principles of analysis has some validity, and the classifying schemes that are based on them, although in some cases no longer relevant to modern forms of political organization, have often been a major influence on the course of political development. The most influential of such classifying schemes is undoubtedly the attempt of Plato and Aristotle to define the basic forms of government in terms of the number of power holders and their use or abuse of power. Plato held that there was a natural succession of the forms of government: an aristocracy (the ideal form of government by the few) that abuses its power develops into a timocracy (in which the rule of the best men, who value wisdom as the highest political good, is succeeded by the rule of men who are primarily concerned with honour and martial virtue), which through greed develops into an oligarchy (the perverted form of government by the few), which in turn is succeeded by a democracy (rule by the many); through excess, the democracy becomes an anarchy (a lawless government), to which a tyrant is inevitably the successor. Abuse of power in the Platonic typology is defined by the rulers’ neglect or rejection of the prevailing law or custom (nomos); the ideal forms are thus nomos observing (ennomon), and the perverted forms are nomos neglecting (paranomon). Although disputing the character of this implacable succession of the forms of government, Aristotle also based his classification on the number of rulers and distinguished between good and bad forms of government. In his typology it was the rulers’ concern for the common good that distinguished the ideal from perverted forms of government. The ideal forms in the Aristotelian scheme are monarchy, aristocracy, and polity (a term conveying some of the meaning of the modern concept of “constitutional democracy”); when perverted by the selfish abuse of power, they are transformed respectively into tyranny, oligarchy, and ochlocracy (or the mob rule of lawless democracy). The concept of the polity, a “mixed” or blended constitutional order, fascinated political theorists for another millennium. To achieve its advantages, innumerable writers from Polybius to St. Thomas Aquinas experimented with the construction of models giving to each social class the control of appropriate institutions of government.
Another very influential classifying scheme was the distinction between monarchies and republics. In the writings of Machiavelli and others, the tripartism of classical typologies was replaced by the dichotomy of princely and republican rule. Sovereignty in the monarchy or the principality is in the hands of a single ruler; in republics, sovereignty is vested in a plurality or collectivity of power holders. Reducing aristocracy and democracy to the single category of republican rule, Machiavelli also laid the basis in his analysis of the exercise of princely power for a further distinction between despotic and nondespotic forms of government. In the work of Montesquieu, for example, despotism, or the lawless exercise of power by the single ruler, is contrasted with the constitutional forms of government of the monarchy and the republic. As a result of the decline of monarchies and the rise of new totalitarian states terming themselves republics, this traditional classification is now, of course, of little more than historical interest.

Modern classifying systems

The usefulness of all the traditional classifications has been undermined by the momentous changes in the political organization of the modern world. Typologies based on the number of power holders or the formal structures of the state are rendered almost meaningless by the standardization of “democratic” forms, the deceptive similarities in the constitutional claims and governmental institutions of regimes that actually differ markedly in their political practices, and the rise of new political orders in the non-Western world. A number of modern writers have attempted to overcome this difficulty by constructing classifying schemes that give primary importance to social, cultural, economic, or psychological factors. The most influential of such schemes is the Marxist typology, which classifies types of rule on the basis of economic class divisions and defines the ruling class as that which controls the means of production in the state. A monistic typology that also emphasized the importance of a ruling class was developed by an Italian theorist of the early 20th century, Gaetano Mosca. In Mosca’s writings all forms of government appear as mere facades for oligarchy or the rule of a political “elite” that centres power in its own hands. Another classification, which distinguishes between “legitimate” and “revolutionary” governments, was suggested by Mosca’s contemporary Guglielmo Ferrero. Using a sociopsychological approach to the relations between rulers and ruled, Ferrero held that a legitimate government is one whose citizens voluntarily accept its rule and freely give it their loyalty; in revolutionary systems, the government fears the people and is feared by them. Legitimacy and leadership are also the basis of a typology developed by the German sociologist Max Weber. In Weber’s scheme there are three basic types of rule: charismatic, in which the authority or legitimacy of the ruler rests upon some genuine sense of calling and in which the followers submit because of their faith or conviction in the ruler’s exemplary character; traditional, in which, as in hereditary monarchy, leadership authority is historically or traditionally accepted; and rational-legal, in which leadership authority is the outgrowth of a legal order that has been effectively rationalized and where there is a prevailing belief in the legality of normative rules or commands. The Weberian typology has been elaborated by a number of writers who have found it particularly useful for comparing and classifying the political orders of the non-Western world.
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