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“Entryism” is a political tactic of joining an organization with which you do not agree with the intention of changing it from the inside.

The infiltrators may either be open about their intentions or may act covertly.

Origin of “Entryism”

In his 1959 book Masters of Deceit, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described entryist tactics by Soviet agents to infiltrate school boards, trade unions, and major party precinct organizations.

The concept has its roots in the Trotskyist movement of the 1930s.

Leon Trotsky advocated this strategy as a way for his followers to infiltrate larger, more moderate socialist organizations, aiming to steer them toward a more radical stance.

Entryism can be executed in various ways, ranging from simply joining the target organization to actively seeking positions of influence or leadership within it.

Entryists may work individually or in coordinated groups, and their tactics may vary in aggressiveness and openness.

While it originated within left-wing politics, entryism has been observed across the political spectrum.

It is not limited to political parties but can also target trade unions, professional associations, and other influential organizations.

The primary goal of entryism is to shift the target organization’s policies, values, or direction in line with the infiltrating group’s objectives.

This may involve changes to specific policies, leadership structures, or the overall ideological orientation of the organization.

Entryism has been observed in various political contexts.

In the UK, allegations of entryism have arisen in relation to the Labour Party, particularly during periods of ideological struggle within the party.

Similar dynamics have been observed in other countries and political contexts.

Use of “Entryism” in a sentence

  • Accusations of entryism were leveled against the new members of the political party, as critics suspected they were joining en masse to shift the party’s stance on key policy issues.
  • The labor union’s leadership became concerned about entryism when they noticed an influx of members from a radical organization, all of whom seemed intent on pushing the union toward more extreme positions.
  • To combat potential entryism, the party introduced stricter membership requirements and screening processes, ensuring that new members genuinely aligned with the party’s core values and were not seeking to subvert its direction from within.