* Not in alphabetical order, but listed in an order deemed appropriate. Some of the links below are to Wikipedia – a good place to start your research, but take care when it comes to political topics; there are definitely instances of pro-capitalist, pro-American bias. Check sources. There are no shortcuts when it comes to getting a thorough political education.
Proletarians/Working Class – individuals who must rent themselves out to a master in order to survive; also known simply as workers or “proles.” These folks are about 80% of the U.S. population.
Bourgeoisie/Capitalists – masters who buy the labor power of proletarians like any other commodity so they can get rich(er) off of their blood, sweat and tears. These parasites constitute the Ruling Class (about 1% of the population); singular = bourgeois
Wage/Salary Slavery – the unequal, dominating and exploitative relationship between proles and capitalists mentioned above. If you were getting paid the full value of your labor then the capitalist wouldn’t make any profits.
Petite (Petty) Bourgeoisie/Middle Class – these are the managers, executives, technocrats and bureaucrats, intellectuals, small business owners and professionals who form a buffer between the ruling class capitalists and the proles. While not a part of the ruling class, they are like mini-capitalists. They are affluent and benefit from the system psychologically as well as financially. They are about 20% of the population.
Police/Soldiers/Security – these are the front line defenders of the capitalist system – too brainwashed or warped to realize they are defending the very system that exploits and abuses themselves and their families along with their fellow proles (at home and abroad), whom they oppress on behalf of the capitalists. When the proles demand and press for their rights by demonstrating, striking, expropriating the wealth that was stolen off their labor, or resisting imperial domination, these “heroes” are there to crack heads, lock up, and even kill the working class.
Class War – the conflict between the clear opposing interests and aspirations of the aforementioned classes. Sadly, the bourgeoisie are winning, because the proletariat is largely unorganized and lacking in class consciousness; for the most part, it doesn’t even realize it’s at war.
Private Property – the concept of individual or highly concentrated ownership of productive assets; in other words, land, money, buildings, equipment, businesses. This term does NOT refer to your home, your clothes, your dog or cat, hairbrush, etc., etc. – those things are “personal property.”
Capitalism – the fetish worship of private property; owning and running a business like a private tyranny or dictatorship; the capitalist owner makes money or “profit” by having other people do the hard, dirty, or less desirable (but crucial) work for him/her. He pays out just as little as he can possible get away with, while pocketing the rest. The workers have little (if they have a union) or no say in how the business is run and how the income is distributed and can be thrown out at a moment’s notice for no particular reason at all – just the whim of the capitalist master.
Imperialism – this is a natural outgrowth of capitalist development; to secure foreign markets, raw materials, and ever cheaper labor, the capitalist class must use its armies (or the threat thereof) to maintain “stability” for the smooth functioning of their global order. The U.S. is the chief, but not only, offender in this regard. The U.S. corporate state maintains its hegemony with over 1,000 military bases throughout the globe and with military spending that is greater than that of the rest of the world combined!
Leftism/Left-Wing – a broad political ideology that, in its true form, seeks to overthrow the existing unequal social order and replace it with an egalitarian system where private property, social classes and the violence and exploitation associated with them are abolished. Various factions of the Left (or pseudo-left) have gone by the name of social democracy, democratic socialism, socialism, anarchism and communism.
Rightism/Right-Wing – if you live in the U.S. especially, you already know what this is. It is the dominant, prevailing, hateful philosophy. Authoritarian rule by the rich capitalists and their front groups known as corporations (and the government that they own).
Right-Wing Populism – a strange brew of Christian fundamentalists, the ultra-right, economic libertarians, “truthers,” and other New World Order conspiracy theorists. This is a deluded, but dangerous middle class movement that promotes a “producerist” narrative of a supposedly beleaguered middle class oppressed and squeezed between elites from above and poor, lazy and sinful groups from below.
Fascism – in Nazi Germany was also known deceptively as “national socialism”; this is a far-right ideology and form of governance that takes hold when the ruling class fears a working class revolt is imminent and they feel the need to discard any pretense of democracy and institute a dictatorship that will ensure the “stability” of their profits. Despite their denials and delusions, something very similar to this is the type of society preferred by many conservatives. The fascist or far-right message could be summed up as: “Shut up, know your place, do your job, or we’ll smash your face in.”
Liberal Democracy/Bourgeois Democracy – this is the form of governance preferred by center-right, moderate conservatives, a.k.a. liberals/Democrats. They prefer at least the pretense of a free and open society. They are obsessed with civil rights, but not nearly as concerned with fundamental human rights. Despite their populist rhetoric, they are only concerned with the welfare of their own class which tends to be a bit more petty bourgeois and/or racially and ethnically diverse than the Republican base. The center-right, liberal message might be summed up as: “Hey working class, we’ll compromise with you a little bit and throw you a few crumbs, but then we expect you to get back to work making us richer or we’ll let our fascist counterparts teach you a lesson.”
Social Democracy / “Democratic” Socialism – A centrist ideology a bit to the left of liberals/Democrats that advocates an expanded welfare state and checks and reforms to the capitalist state, but does NOT in any way seek to overthrow capitalism. This is the ideology of Bernie Sanders.
Socialism – a workers’ state on the path to communism; exploitation and private property is entirely or largely eliminated; human rights such as employment, housing, healthcare, education and pensions are guaranteed.
Communism – a classless society; no bosses and workers, masters and slaves; no authoritarian rule by a privileged minority; true equality and democracy; from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. This is the long-term end goal of true Leftists.
Anarchism – abolition of all forms of authority, especially the state; an attempt to prefigure the future communist society in the present; a fixation on form over substance; a childish notion (see “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder by V.I. Lenin).
Marxism-Leninism – a vanguard party composed of the proletariat’s most class-conscious, politically educated and motivated members must seize control of the state and institute a dictatorship of the proletariat to defeat the last remnants of the bourgeoisie and begin to work toward building communism. This is true Marxism.