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

Mar 2016
937
Australia
#11
I agree with other posters when they say that the example of race riots as a leftist display of violence is not accurate. Race relations had very little to do with the standard 'left-right' system of political thought. Both the Democrats and Republicans were generally quite racist and at various times opposed to granting equal rights to blacks. The race riots were a manifestation of a general anger and opposition to their place in life, not pushing for a specific political ideology. Many black people were personally conservative because of the strength of the church in black communities.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
4,940
Netherlands
#12
We’d have to go back to the anarchist bombings and assassinations artound the turn of the 20th c.to find other leftist violence.
Scalise might disagree. But yes, the violence in US usually has more of a religious, big gov and/or racial background, when discarding the real crazies.
Though Antifa is starting to alter the picture.
 

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,663
#13
Some clarifications for the language I am using (will get to the topic below)
The problem with the discussion is that there's so much conflated into the definition of left. For example, while feminism may generally serve the purposes of the left by bringing parity of the genders (both on the basis of rights and opportunity), it is not inherently leftist: any movement that aims to establish some sort of supremacy of the woman is by definition, despite falling under the umbrella of feminism, is as right-wing as a movement meant to establish a women as submissive to men. Granted, I feel such movements are generally part of the lunatic fringe, despite how large certain people make them out to be.

But in short, the left-wing movement aims for equality and end hierarchy. On the opposite end is the right aims to establish hierarchy.
The right is often conflated with reactionary conservatism (which is a support/return to the status quo), and the left is often conflated with progressivism (which is a good intentioned scientific approach to the betterment of society through change, opposed to conservatism). While, at our current point in history: progressivism overlaps heavily with leftism, and reactionary conservatism overlaps heavily with rightism, they are 4 different things. For example, progressivism has in the past supported eugenics (and arguably still does today), but technically this is incompatible with the left which supports the equality of all - so the pro-life movement can more accurately be described as conservative and left-wing, while pro-choice is progressive and right-wing. The reason is that a fetus is genetically a human being: if allowed to go uninterrupted, will be born to a human being, and most likely grow up into old age - pro-choice makes a decision favouring the right of the mother over the right of the fetus - which is scientifically sound: but leftism is not about making differentiations even if scientifically backed.

Onto the topic proper!
The French revolution is undoubtedly a key event in the history of left-wing politics. It was the influential event in the pro-revolutionary stance that many 19th century and early 20th century Marxists had. But for the past 100 years, I would characterize the left as no longer supporting this opinion. There are exceptions: Christopher Hitchens, a self-described extreme leftist, who supported the military overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq was essentially disowned by the left, despite the fact that 19th century leftists might have embraced his reasoning: today's left called him everything from a useful idiot for the right, to a right-wing convert.

Today's left are generally more scientific in their approach. The idea that violent revolutions are the best way to eliminate the class system has been thoroughly disproved. In fact, the left generally supports peace, stability, and the democratic process. Of course, we have a bit of concern about such things as "emergency powers" that certain nations have - since the abuse of emergency powers is precisely what catalyzed the collapse of the Wiemar Republic alongside destabilization due to the economic collapse of the Great Depression and the oppressive sanctions. The turmoil in Germany led to a very right-wing government who not only codified a class system, but outlawed unions, defined class by genetics, and gave the top echelon virtual absolute authority over the bottom echelon - the bottom echelon were basically slaves who could be put down with fewer rights than a pet rat in today's world.

Example 2, the USSR. A very left wing revolution occurred. But the result was a right-wing Czarist-republic. While the branding was that of the left, the left-leaning elements: the black army was utterly crushed early on by the red army, the left opposition led by Trotsky were eliminated by the end of the 20s. The Russian Revolution, with a Marxist leftist aim, ended up with a right-wing totalitarian command economy.

Onto the leftist movements that worked fantastically: The New Deal, in the US - this was a leftist movement which became extraordinarily popular. It aimed to push up the working class, and it did just that. At the same time, it was one of the few movements in the US that allowed the nation to balance the budget. The result was a tremendous upgrade to the consumer class as well. Similar measures were taken in every country in the Western world, where leftist policy was successfully introduced via a stable democratic process, and this was more successful at creating equality than any violent revolution or turmoil has ever had.

This has been the general character of the left for about 100 years in Europe. The violence afterwards was largely in defensive opposition to the extreme right-wing powers.

So while it is accurate to characterize the European left as being more violent than the American left. This is only true between the French revolution and the Russian revolution. Afterward, the European left only used violence as a means to defend itself from the extreme right wing totalitarian regimes. The European left has since been fundamentally peaceful. The left in the Americas has been far more violent (particularly in latin regions, and like earlier times Europe, it has worked more in favour of the right-wing).
 
Aug 2018
307
Southern Indiana
#14
I think there are a few fundamental differences between demonstrating in the US and demonstrating in Europe. In the states, if you have a job, you most likely can not take time off to protest, if you lose that job, you may lose your health insurance and may even become homeless. European systems allow for more flexibility. Secondly, the police. Police is the states are more likely to engage protesters physically and arrest them, which again may have a lot of personal impact in a person's life.
 
Mar 2016
937
Australia
#15
I think there are a few fundamental differences between demonstrating in the US and demonstrating in Europe. In the states, if you have a job, you most likely can not take time off to protest, if you lose that job, you may lose your health insurance and may even become homeless. European systems allow for more flexibility. Secondly, the police. Police is the states are more likely to engage protesters physically and arrest them, which again may have a lot of personal impact in a person's life.
You know what else might have a lot of personal impact in a person's life? A "protester" breaking into your business, trashing it and stealing everything, like they're doing in Paris now, and like happens all the time in "race riots" in the US.
 

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