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Introduction

Politics (from Greek: πολιτικά, translit. Politiká, meaning "affairs of the cities") is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group.

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 all Political science, is sometimes referred to as Politology (not to be confused with Politicology).

In modern nation-states, people have formed political parties to represent their ideas. They 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 Conservatives 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 often does carry a connotation of dishonest malpractice. 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.

It is very often said that politics is about power. 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

Flag of the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang

The Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang is a revolutionary socialist political party that sought independence from French colonial rule in Vietnam during the early 20th century. Its origins lie in the mid-1920s, when a group of young Hanoi-based intellectuals began publishing revolutionary material. From 1928, the VNQDD attracted attention through its assassinations of French officials and Vietnamese collaborators. Under increasing French pressure, the VNQDD leadership switched tack, replacing a strategy of isolated clandestine attacks against individuals with a plan to expel the French in a single blow with a large-scale popular uprising. After stockpiling home-made weapons, the VNQDD launched an uprising on 10 February 1930 at Yen Bai with the aim of sparking a widespread revolt. The mutiny was quickly put down, with heavy French retribution. Nguyen Thai Hoc and other leading figures were captured and executed and the VNQDD never regained its political strength in the country. During the 1930s, the party was eclipsed by Ho Chi Minh's Indochinese Communist Party (ICP). Vietnam was occupied by Japan during World War II and, in the chaos that followed the Japanese surrender in 1945, the VNQDD and the ICP briefly joined forces in the fight for Vietnamese independence. However, after a falling out, Ho purged the VNQDD, leaving his communist-dominated Vietminh unchallenged as the foremost anti-colonial militant organisation.

Featured picture

Salman Khurshid portrait.jpg
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Salman Khurshid (born 1 January 1953) is an Indian politician belonging to the Indian National Congress, a lawyer, and a writer who has been elected from Farrukhabad Lok Sabha constituency in the General Election of 2009. He belongs to the Farrukhabad area. He is presently the Cabinet Minister of the Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Minority Affairs.

Selected quote

Samuel Gompers
Let the inspiring watchword go forth that-

We will stand by our friends and administer a stinging rebuke to men or parties who are either indifferent, negligent, or hostile, and, wherever opportunity affords, to secure the election of intelligent, honest, earnest trade unionists, with clear, unblemished, paid-up union cards in their possession.

Samuel Gompers, The American Federationist, May 1906

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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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