Political radicalism

From Metapedia
(Redirected from Radical right)
Jump to: navigation, search

Political radicalism (from Latin "radix" meaning root) is a term that has had several different meanings, but generally involving ideological desires to make very large political changes "at the root of the problem". The term has often been applied to left-wing movements, but also more recently to some right-wing movements, although left-wing sources may often prefer more perceived derogatory terms, such as "reactionary", "extreme right", "far right", and "populist right". Leftist Wikipedia claims that in the United States, "radical right" " is "a strictly conservative and anti-socialist tendency in US politics", while in Europe, "radical right" is "a nationalist and populist tendency in European politics".


Radicalisation or radicalization refers to becoming more politically radical, such as on the left–right political spectrum. However, the word may also refer to becoming more radical more generally, including regarding religion, such as in Islamization. Such radicalization can be both nonviolent and violent. However, many sources use the word in association with terrorism. There may be attempted guilt by association, attempting to associate explicitly non-violent views with terrorism in order to try discredit the views.

Early usage

According to Encyclopedia Britannica the first use of the word "radical" in a political sense is generally ascribed to the English whig parliamentarian Charles James Fox who in 1797 declared for a "radical reform" of the electoral system, drastically expanding the franchise to provide universal manhood suffrage. This led to a general use of the term to apply to all supporting the movement for parliamentary reform.

Over the 19th century the term has been combined with various notions and doctrines and various flavors of radicalism have been spoken about: working-class, middle-class, philosophical, democratic, bourgeois, Tory, plebeian. Furthermore, every influential radical leader gave rise to their own trend, such as Spencean radicalism or Carlilean radicalism. Still, there existed a certain degree of unity and identity among all these currents. Conservatives frequently used the term "radical" as a general-purpose pejorative.[1]

Modern usage

In modern usage, the terms "radical" and "radicalism" refer to the political views of the far left (radical left, leftist radicalism[2]) and far right (radical right[3]) of the conventional political spectrum.

See also

External links



  1. Mike Sanders (ed.) (2001) "Women and Radicalism in the Nineteenth Century", ISBN 0415205263, "General Introduction"
  2. Edward Walter (1992) "The Rise and Fall of Leftist Radicalism in America", ISBN 0275942767
  3. Gilbert Abcarian (1971) "American Political Radicalism: Contemporary Issues and Orientations"