Has the European left been more militant than the American left?

Nov 2014
248
ph
#1
Compared to the American left, has the European left been more willing to use political violence from the late 19th century onwards, I mean if you look at American liberals, they always seem much more sedate and tame than say, European leftists from the 30s, I mean even during the 60s, the American left did not form full scale armies and militias, unlike what happened in continental Europe in the 30s, and you did not see full scale street battles between heavily armed left and right wing militias and hundreds of KIAs on each side, like what happened in Germany, or full on civil war between the right and the left in the 60s in the US, unlike what happened in Spain and Finland, basically the US left always seemed mellower and much less scary, or maybe its core membership, for are made up of college students, has less access, discipline, and oppurtunity to use arms (in a way that can scare the NYPD and the New York National Guard) compared to European leftist militias in the 30s, who drew their rank and file from the urban blue collar working class, who are much harder men so to speak, and are capable of forming organized armed militia that can legitimately contest the armed forces of the Central government, compared to hippies, Woodstock people, and liberal arts students from the 60s?
 
Last edited:

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,485
Dispargum
#3
Marx's ideas of violent class struggle never caught on in America. This was probably because America adopted universal manhood sufferage before Europe did. There's no need to be violent if you can obtain your goals through the ballot box.

Probably the most violent outbreaks of leftist aggitation in America was seen during various labor strikes. I guess another example of leftist violence would various race riots over the years.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,730
Portugal
#4
Compared to the American left, has the European left been more willing to use political violence from the late 19th century onwards, I mean if you look at American liberals, they always seem much more sedate and tame than say, European leftists from the 30s, I mean even during the 60s, the American left did not form full scale armies and militias, unlike what happened in continental Europe in the 30s, and you did not see full scale street battles between heavily armed left and right wing militias and hundreds of KIAs on each side, like what happened in Germany, or full on civil war between the right and the left in the 60s in the US, unlike what happened in Spain and Finland, basically the US left always seemed mellower and much less scary, or maybe its core membership, for are made up of college students, has less access, discipline, and oppurtunity to use arms (in a way that can scare the NYPD and the New York National Guard) compared to European leftist militias in the 30s, who drew their rank and file from the urban blue collar working class, who are much harder men so to speak, and are capable of forming organized armed militia that can legitimately contest the armed forces of the Central government, compared to hippies, Woodstock people, and liberal arts students from the 60s?
It is curious when you consider the Liberals to be on the left side of the political spectrum. In some countries they are much more to the right side. I think it is all a question of perspective. In the USA the social-democrats, the socialists and the communists are almost non-existing, so the ones on the left are… the liberals.
 
Jan 2010
4,287
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#5
Marx's ideas of violent class struggle never caught on in America. This was probably because America adopted universal manhood sufferage before Europe did. There's no need to be violent if you can obtain your goals through the ballot box.

Probably the most violent outbreaks of leftist aggitation in America was seen during various labor strikes. I guess another example of leftist violence would various race riots over the years.
Most of the race riots in the US early in the 20th C were white aggression against blacks. Incidents like the Detroit and Watts riots were done more out of frustration with the police and had little ideological component.

We’d have to go back to the anarchist bombings and assassinations artound the turn of the 20th c.to find other leftist violence.
 
Oct 2013
13,243
Europix
#7
Compared to the American left, has the European left been more willing to use political violence from the late 19th century onwards, I mean if you look at American liberals, they always seem much more sedate and tame than say, European leftists from the 30s, I mean even during the 60s, the American left did not form full scale armies and militias, unlike what happened in continental Europe in the 30s, and you did not see full scale street battles between heavily armed left and right wing militias and hundreds of KIAs on each side, like what happened in Germany, or full on civil war between the right and the left in the 60s in the US, unlike what happened in Spain and Finland, basically the US left always seemed mellower and much less scary, or maybe its core membership, for are made up of college students, has less access, discipline, and oppurtunity to use arms (in a way that can scare the NYPD and the New York National Guard) compared to European leftist militias in the 30s, who drew their rank and file from the urban blue collar working class, who are much harder men so to speak, and are capable of forming organized armed militia that can legitimately contest the armed forces of the Central government, compared to hippies, Woodstock people, and liberal arts students from the 60s?
I don't think You can draw the parallels You draw.

Tulius already mentioned the position of liberals in the political spectrum: they are only left compared to the others US parties.

On the other hand, when You talk about militias and the rest in Europe, You have to keep in mind it's about extreme left in a lot of cases.

You have to keep in mind the context too: those confrontations were in extremely highly unstable environments, in most cases the state was almost inexistent, civil war, post-war crisis aso.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,485
Dispargum
#9
Incidents like the Detroit and Watts riots were done more out of frustration with the police and had little ideological component.
Honestly, I have very big doubts that the race riots have anything to do with "left".
Here's my take on it. Violence is the result of frustration from the inability to achieve one's goals through peaceful methods. So whether it's violence from the left as labor unrest, or agitation for the right to vote, or rioting over frustration with the police and other government agencies for failure to address social issues, it's all violence on the left. There are also examples of violence on the right whether it's the KKK in America, or Crystalnacht in 1930s Germany, or Latin American anti-Communist death squads, or Islamic fundamentalist violence by Al Quaida, the Taliban, or ISIS. I don't see how the Detroit or Watts race riots can be seen as violence from the right, but there was definitely a political component since the violence resulted from a previous failure of local government to address the underlying tensions.
 
Oct 2013
13,243
Europix
#10
Here's my take on it. Violence is the result of frustration from the inability to achieve one's goals through peaceful methods. So whether it's violence from the left as labor unrest, or agitation for the right to vote, or rioting over frustration with the police and other government agencies for failure to address social issues, it's all violence on the left. There are also examples of violence on the right whether it's the KKK in America, or Crystalnacht in 1930s Germany, or Latin American anti-Communist death squads, or Islamic fundamentalist violence by Al Quaida, the Taliban, or ISIS. I don't see how the Detroit or Watts race riots can be seen as violence from the right, but there was definitely a political component since the violence resulted from a previous failure of local government to address the underlying tensions.
Personally, I see it differently, a bit like David Vagamundo.

I don't see a real ideological background (left <-> right) in race riots. I very much doubt that blacks rioting had also in mind a reform of US. I suppose if asked, they would have answered they want to have the same chance as whites to become rich share holders, not members of socialist US.
 

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