|Part of the Politics series|
Luke March, Senior Lecturer in Soviet and post-Soviet Politics at Politics and International Relations of the University of Edinburgh, defines the far-left as those who position themselves to the left of social democracy which they see as insufficiently left-wing. The two main sub-types are called the radical left which desires fundamental changes in neoliberal capitalism and progressive reform of democracy such as direct democracy and the inclusion of marginalised communities; and the extreme left which denounces liberal democracy as a "compromise with bourgeois political forces" and defines capitalism more strictly. In his later conceptualization, March started to refer to far-left politics as radical left politics which is constituted of radical left parties that reject the socio-economic structures of contemporary society that are based on the principles and values of capitalism.
In Europe, the support for far-left politics comes from three overlapping groups, namely far-left subcultures, disaffected social democrats and protest voters—those who are opposed to their country's European Union membership.
To distinguish the far-left from the moderate left, March and Mudde identify three useful criteria:
Others classify the far-left under the category of populist socialist parties. Some such as Professor Vít Hloušek and Professor Lubomír Kopeček of the Masaryk University at the International Institute of Political Science suggest secondary characteristics, including anti-Americanism, anti-globalization, opposition to NATO and in some cases a rejection of European integration.
Luke March states that "compared with the international communist movement 30 years ago, the far left has undergone a process of profound de-radicalisation. The extreme left is marginal in most places". March identifies four major subgroups within contemporary European far-left politics, namely communists, democratic socialists, populist socialists and social populists.
In France, extrême-gauche ("extreme left") is a generally accepted term for political groups that position themselves to the left of the Socialist Party such as anarcho-communists, Maoists, New Leftists and Trotskyists. Some such as political scientist Serge Cosseron limit the scope to the left of the French Communist Party.
Many far-left militant organizations were formed by members of existing political parties in the 1960s and 1970s such as the Montoneros, the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades. These groups generally aim to overthrow capitalism and the wealthy ruling classes.
German detectives yesterday confirmed as authentic a declaration by the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist group that its struggle to overthrow the German state is over.
The PL [Prima Linea] sought to overthrow the capitalist state in Italy and replace it with a dictatorship of the proletariat.