Comrade, derived from the French Camarade, is a style and manner of address meaning friend or ally that originated in Revolutionary France and has since become a popular style in both extreme left- and extreme right-wing political movements. The practical meaning of the term can vary depending on who it is being used by.
The term Comrade traces back to the days of the French Revolution, when the revolutionaries were seeking an appropriate title to refer to the people of France that was not inherently aristocratic. The modern word first appeared in Germany (Kamerad) in 1875, with the foundation of the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany, and was adopted by the English-speaking Socialist movement towards the end of the 19th century.
Socialism and Communism
In popular culture, the term Comrade has become almost synomynous with Socialism thanks to it's widespread used in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and later the People's Republic of China, both Communist States. Within the general Socialist movement the term is often used in order to create a sense of equality between members of the same group, movement, political party etc. and to emphasise the egalitarian nature of their shared ideology. Within Socialist Republics, it has also been common for all citizens to be described as Comrades, even if they have no association with the Socialist movement itself. The term appears to be more popular among Communists than Socialists, the latter of which have tended to shy away from the term over the past few decades to avoid percieved association with the global Communist movement. Often, the term Comrade is also used as a title, either on it's own (e.g., Comrade Smith) or as part of another (e.g., Comrade General). Today the title is used in many Communist Parties and similar movements, but also in other left-wing political movements.
It is common practice for members of a Trade Union to refer to one another as Comrades, all though this practice is by no means universal and more popular among Unions with a distinctly left-wing leaning. For those Trade Unions who prefer to avoid being associated with revolutionary socialism, especially given the proletarian nature of many unions, the terms Brother and Sister are typically used.
More unusually, Comrade has been used as a title by the far-right also, especially in some Facist and National Socialist movements. In the Italian language, two distinct conceptions of the word Comrade exist, one being generally reserved for members of the Fascist movement. In the Cold War and it's aftermath, the popularity of the term among the far-right appears to have declined considerably, most likely to avoid association with the movement's ideological enemy Communism.
In the Democratic People's Republic of Erusia, Comrade is a legal title awarded to all members of the Erusian National Communist Party and also to members of the National People's Assembly for the duration of their term. Among members of the Communist Party it is used as a respectful style, and it is considered to be a sign of disrespect to fail to address another Party member as Comrade - at official functions, all Party members must call one another by their surname preceded by the word Comrade, all though sometimes they may prefer to refer to them by their title preceded by the word Comrade. It is considered offensive for any one outside of the Socialist movement to refer to an Erusian as Comrade. A few notable titles including the word Comrade in Erusia are:
- Comrade Commissar - all though not an official term, it is commonly used to refer to members of the People's Revolutionary Guard who hold a political posting in the military
- Comrade Commissioner - used to refer to any government minister and also to the Supreme People's Commissioner of Erusia
- Comrade Secretary - used to refer to both the General Secretary of the ENCP and also to regional Party Secretaries
- Comrade Captain/Major/Lieutenant/Commander/General/Marshal - the six ranks of the PRG
In the Autonomous Socialist Republic of Pristinia, every person from any micronation or macronation, who isn't considered extremely right-wing (fascist, racist or likewise) is referred to as Comrade. The title 'Comrade' is to precede all other titles.