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Politics is a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to group of members.

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 for political science).

In modern nation-states, people often form political parties to represent their ideas. Members of a party 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. 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.

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1939–1941 semi-official emblem

The League of Nations was an international organization founded after the First World War at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The League's goals included disarmament; preventing war through collective security; settling disputes between countries through negotiation and diplomacy; and improving global welfare. The League was a government of governments, with the role of settling disputes between individual nations in an open and legalist forum. The League lacked an armed force of its own and so depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, which they were often very reluctant to do. The League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the fascist powers in 1930s. The onset of the Second World War made it clear that the League had failed in its primary purpose—to avoid any future world war. The United Nations effectively replaced it after World War II and inherited a number of agencies and organisations founded by the League.

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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.

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Chairman Mao
In other countries there is no need for each of the bourgeois parties to have an armed force under its direct command. But things are different in China, where, because of the feudal division of the country, those landlord or bourgeois groupings or parties which have guns have power, and those which have more guns have more power. Placed in such an environment, the party of the proletariat should see clearly to the heart of the matter.

Communists do not fight for personal military power (they must in no circumstances do that, and let no one ever again follow the example of Chang Kuo-tao), but they must fight for military power for the Party, for military power for the people. As a national war of resistance is going on, we must also fight for military power for the nation. Where there is naivety on the question of military power, nothing whatsoever can be achieved. It is very difficult for the labouring people, who have been deceived and intimidated by the reactionary ruling classes for thousands of years, to awaken to the importance of having guns in their own hands. Now that Japanese imperialist oppression and the nation-wide resistance to it have pushed our labouring people into the arena of war, Communists should prove themselves the most politically conscious leaders in this war. Every Communist must grasp the truth, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party. Yet, having guns, we can create Party organizations, as witness the powerful Party organizations which the Eighth Route Army has created in northern China. We can also create cadres, create schools, create culture, create mass movements. Everything in Yenan has been created by having guns. All things grow out of the barrel of a gun. According to the Marxist theory of the state, the army is the chief component of state power. Whoever wants to seize and retain state power must have a strong army. Some people ridicule us as advocates of the "omnipotence of war". Yes, we are advocates of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is good, not bad, it is Marxist. The guns of the Russian Communist Party created socialism. We shall create a democratic republic. Experience in the class struggle in the era of imperialism teaches us that it is only by the power of the gun that the working class and the labouring masses can defeat the armed bourgeoisie and landlords; in this sense we may say that only with guns can the whole world be transformed. We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.

Mao Zedong, Problems of war and strategy, 1938

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Józef Klemens Piłsudski

Józef Piłsudski (1867–1935) was Chief of State (1918–22), "First Marshal", and authoritarian leader of the Second Polish Republic. From mid-World War I he was a major influence in Poland's politics, and an important figure on the European political scene. He is considered largely responsible for Poland regaining independence in 1918, after 123 years of partitions. Early in his political career, Piłsudski became a leader of the Polish Socialist Party. Concluding, however, that Poland's independence would have to be won by force of arms, he created the Polish Legions. In 1914 he anticipated the outbreak of a European war, the Russian Empire's defeat by the Central Powers, and the Central Powers' defeat by the western powers. When World War I broke out, he and his Legions fought alongside the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires to ensure Russia's defeat. In 1917, with Russia faring badly in the war, he withdrew his support from the Central Powers. From November 1918, when Poland regained independence, until 1922, Piłsudski was Poland's Chief of State. In 1919–21 he commanded Poland's forces in the Polish–Soviet War. In 1923, with the Polish government dominated by his opponents, particularly the National Democrats, he withdrew from active politics. Three years later he returned to power with the May 1926 coup d'état, and became the de facto dictator of Poland. From then until his death in 1935, he concerned himself primarily with military and foreign policy.

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