Portal:Politics

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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

Anti-Internal Revenue Service symbol

The FairTax is a proposed change to the tax laws of the United States that would replace the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and all federal income taxes (including corporate taxes and capital gains taxes), as well as payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a national retail sales tax. Its enacting legislation, the Fair Tax Act, is pending in the United States Congress. The tax would be levied once at the point of purchase on all new goods and services. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all households of citizens and legal resident aliens (based on family size) as an advance rebate of tax on purchases up to the poverty level. The sales tax rate, as defined in the legislation, is 23% of net prices which includes the tax (23¢ out of every $1 spent—calculated like income taxes), which is comparable to a 30% traditional sales tax (23¢ on top of every 77¢ spent). With the rebate taken into consideration, the effective tax rate would be progressive on consumption and could result in a federal tax burden of zero or less. However, opponents of the tax argue that while progressive on consumption, the tax would be regressive on income, and would accordingly decrease the tax burden on high income earners and increase the tax burden on the middle class.

Featured picture

Letter of Resignation of Richard M. Nixon, 1974.jpg
Credit: U.S. National Archives

The resignation letter of U. S. President Richard M. Nixon on August 9, 1974 during the Watergate scandal.

Selected quote

Edmund Burke
Last of all he exercised his interest and his patience for eight years together at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. There is a fort of enthusiasm in all projectors, absolutely necessary for their affairs, which makes them, proof against the moil: fatiguing delays, the moil mortifying disappointments, the moll mocking insults; and, what is severer than all, the presumptuous judgments of the ignorant upon their designs. Columbus had a sufficient share of this quality[disambiguation needed]. He had every day, during this long space, to combat with every objection that want of knowledge, or that a false knowledge, could propose. Some held that the known world, which they thought was all that could be known, floated like a vast scum upon the ocean; that the ocean itself was infinite. Others, who entertained more just notions, and believed that the whole of the earth and waters composed one vast globe, drew a consequence from it as absurd as the former opinion. For they argued, that if Columbus should fail beyond a certain point, the convexity of this globe would prevent his return. As is usual in such cafes, every one abounded with objections. His whole time was spent in fruitless endeavors to enlighten ignorance, to remove prejudice, and to vanquish that obstinate incredulity, which is of all others the greatest enemy to improvement, rejecting every thing as false and absurd, which is ever little out of the track of common experience ; and it is of the more dangerous consequence, as it carries a delusive air of coolness, of temper and wisdom. With all this, he had yet greater difficulties from the interests of mankind, than from their malignity and ignorance. The expence of the undertaking, inconsiderable as this expense was, was at the bottom the chief support of the other objections, and had more weight than all the rest together. However, with an assiduity and firmness of mind, never enough to be admired and applauded, he at length overcame all difficulties; and, to his inexpreflible joy, with a fleet of three {hips, and the title and command of an admiral, set fail on the third of August, 1492, on a voyage the most daring and grand in the design, and in the event of which the world was the most concerned, of any that ever yet was undertaken.
Edmund Burke, An account of the European Settlements in America, 1757

News and Current Events

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Selected biography

Ban Ki-moon at the  World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in 2008

Ban Ki-moon is a South Korean diplomat and the current Secretary-General of the United Nations. Before becoming Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he graduated college, accepting his first post in New Delhi. In the foreign ministry he established a reputation for modesty and competence. Ban was the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea from January 2004 to November 2006. In February 2006 he began to campaign for the office of Secretary-General. Ban was initially considered to be a long shot for the office. As foreign minister of Korea, however, he was able to travel to all of the countries that were members of the United Nations Security Council, a manoeuvre that turned him into the campaign's front runner. On October 13 2006, he was elected to be the eighth Secretary-General by the United Nations General Assembly. On January 1, 2007, he succeeded Kofi Annan, and passed several major reforms regarding peacekeeping and UN employment practices. Diplomatically, Ban has taken particularly strong views on global warming, pressing the issue repeatedly with U.S. President George W. Bush, and Darfur, where he helped persuade Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to allow peacekeeping troops to enter Sudan.

Did you know...

Did you know?
  • ...that the public activist group Citizen Action shut down in 1997 due to the effects of a labor union election campaign funds scandal?




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