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Politics is the set of activities that are associated with the governance of a country, state or area. It involves making decisions that apply to groups of members and achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community. The academic study of politics is referred to as political science.

In modern nation states, people often form political parties to represent their ideas. Members of a party often 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, which has the highest number of political parties in the world (2,546 political parties).[circular reference]

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. During the past decade two tendencies (1.Concern for theoretical explication and methodological rigor, and 2. The emphasis on field studies of the “emerging,” “new,” and “non-Western” nations) made it possible to overlook comparative politics.

A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, the works of Confucius and Arthashastra and Chanakya neeti by Chanakya in 3rd Century BCE.

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.

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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

Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship... the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
Hermann Göring, Nazi founder of the Gestapo, Head of the Luftwaffe

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Selected biography

Nikita Khrushchev in 1963

Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971) led the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the partial de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the world's early space program, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy. Khrushchev was born in the Russian village of Kalinovka in 1894. With the help of Lazar Kaganovich, he worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He supported Stalin's purges, and approved thousands of arrests. Stalin's political heirs fought for power after his death in 1953, a struggle in which Khrushchev, after several years, emerged triumphant. On February 25, 1956, at the Twentieth Party Congress, he delivered the "Secret Speech", vilifying Stalin and ushering in a less repressive era in the Soviet Union. Hoping eventually to rely on missiles for national defense, Khrushchev ordered major cuts in conventional forces. Despite the cuts, Khrushchev's rule saw the tensest years of the Cold War, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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