Politics (from Greek: πολιτικά, translit. Politiká, meaning "affairs of the cities") refers to a set of activities associated with the governance of a country, or an area. It involves 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 general political science, is sometimes referred to as politology (not to be confused with politicology, a synonym of political science).
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 Conservative 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.
The Fourth International has been a communist international organisation working in opposition to both capitalism and Stalinism. Consisting of supporters of Leon Trotsky, it has striven for an eventual victory of the working class to bring about socialism. In Paris in 1938, Trotsky and many of his supporters, having been expelled from the Soviet Union, considered the Comintern to have become lost to "Stalinism" and incapable of leading the international working class towards political power. Thus, they founded their own competing "Fourth International". Throughout the better part of its existence, the Fourth International was hounded by agents of the Soviet secret police, repressed by capitalist countries such as France and the United States, and rejected by followers of the Soviet Union and later Maoism as illegitimate - a position these communists still hold today. The FI suffered a split in 1940 and an even more significant split in 1953. Despite a partial reunification in 1963, more than one group claims to represent the political continuity of the Fourth International. The broad array of Trotskyist Internationals are split over whether the Fourth International still exists and if so, which organisation represents its political continuity.