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Portal:Politics

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Politics is a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to group of members.

It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state. The academic study focusing on just politics, which is therefore more targeted than general political science, is sometimes referred to as politology (not to be confused with politicology, a synonym for political science).

In modern nation-states, people often form political parties to represent their ideas. Members of a party agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders.

An election is usually a competition between different parties. Some examples of political parties worldwide are: the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the Democratic Party (D) in the United States, the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India. Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as "the art or science of government" and "political principles"), but does often colloquially carry a negative connotation. The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to "Confound their politics", and the phrase "play politics", for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: "We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us."

A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.

A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a given society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics and the works of Confucius.

Selected article

Facsimile of the Act of February 16

The Act of Independence of Lithuania was signed by the Council of Lithuania on 16 February 1918, proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania, governed by democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital. The act was signed by all twenty members of the council, chaired by Jonas Basanavičius. The act of 16 February was the end result of a series of resolutions on the issue, including one issued by the Vilnius Conference and the act of 8 January. The path to the act was long and complex because the German Empire exerted pressure on the council to form an alliance. The Council had to carefully manoeuvre between the Germans, whose troops were present in Lithuania, and the demands of the Lithuanian people. While the act's original document has been lost, its legacy continues. The laconic act is the legal basis for the existence of modern Lithuania, both during the interwar period and since 1990. The act formulated the basic constitutional principles that were and still are followed by all Constitutions of Lithuania. The act itself was a key element in the foundation of Lithuania's Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, adopted on 11 March 1990. Lithuania, breaking away from the Soviet Union, stressed that it was simply re-establishing the independent state that existed between the world wars and that the act never lost its legal power.

Featured picture

Dilma Rousseff - foto oficial 2011-01-09.jpg
Credit: Roberto Stuckert Filho/Presidência da República

Dilma Rousseff served as the 36th President of Brazil from 2011 until her impeachment in 2016. This is her official photograph on taking up the presidency.

Selected quote

Geert Wilders
The Koran is an inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror.
Geert Wilders, Dutch politician, February 2008

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Selected biography

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was a British politician and the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a position she held from 1979 to 1990. She was a member of the Conservative Party and the figurehead of a political ideology known as Thatcherism. Even before coming to power she was nicknamed The Iron Lady in Soviet propaganda, an appellation which stuck. The changes she set in motion between coming to power and 1985 were profound, and altered much of the economic, cultural and commercial landscape of Britain and, by example, the world as a whole. Along the way she also aimed to roll back the welfare state, or "nanny state", as she termed it. Her popularity finally declined when she replaced the unpopular local government rates tax with the even less popular Community Charge. At the same time the Conservative Party began to split over her sceptical approach to Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union. Her leadership was challenged from within and she was forced to resign in 1990, her loss at least partly due to inadequate advice and campaigning.

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