Hard left

Hard left is a term used, often pejoratively,[1] to refer to political movements and ideas outside the mainstream centre-left, including those also referred to as being far or extreme left.

The term has been used more formally in the United Kingdom, in the context of debates within both the Labour Party and the broader left in the 1980s, to describe Trotskyist groups such as the Militant tendency, Socialist Organiser and Socialist Action.[2] Within the party, the "hard left", represented by the Campaign Group, subscribed to more strongly socialist or even Marxist views, while the "soft left", associated for example with the Tribune Group, embraced more moderate social democratic ideas.[3][4] Politicians commonly described as being on the hard left of the Labour Party at the time included Derek Hatton, Ken Livingstone,[5] Dennis Skinner[6] and Eric Heffer.[7] The term has been used since then by Labour's political opponents, for example during the Conservative Party's election campaigns of the early 1990s, and by the media.[8][9] Momentum, a group founded to support Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party, has been described as hard left.[10][11]

See also


    • John Wilson (1996). Understanding Journalism: A Guide to Issues. Psychology Press. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-415-11599-5. Condemnation by label is a favourite tactic of political antagonism ... Descriptions like 'hard left', 'far left' ... all have extra connotations, political under-meanings to damage the people they describe
    • Grant, Moyra (1984). The British media (illustrated ed.). Comedia. p. 29. Retrieved 1 November 2015. Key words and phrases like 'hard left', 'extremist' and 'Soviet style' are explicitly derogatory and dismissive labels which mask a serious lack of information and analysis about the theory and practice of socialism and communism.
  1. Eric Shaw (1 January 1988). Discipline and Discord in the Labour Party: The Politics of Managerial Control in the Labour Party, 1951-87. Manchester University Press. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-7190-2483-2.
  2. Crines, Andrew Scott (2011). Michael Foot and the Labour leadership. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. p. 161. ISBN 9781443832397.
  3. "What's left of the Labour left?". Total Politics. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  4. Hill, Dave (2002). Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory. Lexington Books. p. 188. ISBN 0739103466.
  5. Andrew Roth (20 March 2001). "Dennis Skinner". The Guardian. Andrew Roth's parliament profiles.
  6. Thorpe, Andrew (2008). A History of the British Labour Party (3rd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. p. 228. ISBN 1137248157.
  7. James Curran (29 July 2005). Culture Wars: The Media and the British Left. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 196,209.
  8. Use by BBC: − − Use by the Guardian: −
    • Wintour, Patrick (24 October 2015). "Unite challenges expulsion of alleged Trotskyists from Labour party". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 24 October 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015. However, there is concern in the parliamentary party that several hard-left groups such as Left Unity, the Socialist Workers party (SWP), the Socialist party and the AWL are trying to attach themselves to Momentum to gain entry into the party. Party moderates are fearful that Labour’s largest affiliated union is too relaxed about opening the party's doors to the hard left.
    − Use by the Independent: – Use by the World Socialist Web Site: – Use by The Glasgow Herald:
  9. "Hard-left Momentum group split by online bullying claims". The Times.
  10. "Hard-left activists target Jewish MP in 'terrifying' campaign of abuse". thejc.com.

Further reading

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