American culture is divided in this way. Political scientists and geographers agree that there are three primary American worldviews. The Moralists view government as a means to create a better society and believe that everyone must work together for the greater good. The Traditionalists view government as a way to maintain existing power structures and hold that there is already sufficient opportunity available for social mobility within those structures. The Individualists view government's only legitimate roles as punishing crime and protecting national sovereignty, and believe that individual freedom and effort are of paramount importance. While each of these three models have their valid points, the result when these collide is that each region of the country gets along with and understands well some of the other regions while disagreeing with and misunderstanding the rest. This leads to stereotypes and misconceptions, and Hilarity Ensues.
The fact that there are TWO nationally-viable political parties for the three American subcultures to choose from doesn't help. (The Libertarian party is almost pure Individualist thinking and the Greens are strongly Moralist, but neither has been able to gain national traction.) Inevitably, a party has to get most members of two of the groups to focus on their common interests to obtain a ruling coalition. The coalition failures in the Democratic party are usually between the Blue Dog (Individualist) and liberal (Moralist) wings. The main achievement of the "Reagan revolution" lay in convincing Individualists that they cared enough about fiscal conservatism to set aside their differences with Traditionalists on social issues. The seams in that coalition resurfaced in the Republican party following the 2008 electoral defeat, with a debate about whether to de-emphasize social conservatism to appeal more to women, minorities, and the youth vote. That rift got overshadowed in 2010 by Obamacare's combination of increased government spending and social engineering, but made a dramatic comeback in 2012-2013 with the Tea Party caucus becoming utterly obsessed with cutting spending to the point of alienating Establishment Republicans like Speaker of the House John Boehner.
In an aversion, the backlash against the controversial 2013 NDAA law (which allows habeas corpus to be suspended at any time for everyone EXCEPT US citizens and permanent residents) has united activists on both the left and right of the political spectrum.
The Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war. In one corner the Bolsheviks, who wanted to transform Russia into a Communist state. In the other, take your pick:
The White Armies, the main opposition force. Given that they were a grab bag of any and every anti-Communist element in Russia (monarchists, military officers, Mensheviks, nationalist groups) they couldn't agree what would replace the Bolshevik government. Would they restore the Romanovs or Kerensky's Provisional Government? Impose some form of military dictatorship (like Admiral Kolchak's regime in Siberia)? To say there was no united program is a massive understatement.
Even on a purely military level, there was little coordination between the White forces. The main concentrations of Whites were in Siberia, northwestern Russia (around Murmansk and Archangelsk), the Crimea and the Don River basin (traditional home of the Cossacks). These forces were separated by hundreds of miles and operated independently, despite occasional efforts to cooperate. Admirak Kolchak received the most foreign support, but other White leaders like Wrangel and Denikin refused to recognize his government. Some of Kolchak's own subordinates, namely Semenov and Ungern-Sternberg, fought essentially as freebooters without reference to the superior.
The foreign interventionists. Britain, France, the US, Japan, Poland and various other states entered in the war, at different times and for different reasons. The Western allies intervened, ostensibly, to seize war materials from the Germans (as the fighting began before Russia withdrew from World War I) or to rescue the Czech Legion. Later they became ostensibly devoted to overthrowing Lenin's regime, but without particular enthusiasm or drive.note With very few exceptions, the interventionists occupied port cities to provide supplies to the Whites, and supplied arms, military equipment and occasionally military advisers. Actual combat between the Reds and foreign armies rarely grew beyond minor skirmishes.Japan's goals were nakedly imperialist, hoping to annex Vladivostok and Russia's Pacific coast. And before World War I ended, Germany offered the Whites considerable support - even though they'd sent Lenin back to Russia in the first place!
The Czechoslovak Legion. The Russian Army organized it from Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war, but the Revolution broke out and stranded them in Russia. When Russia exited the war the Legion hoped to leave the country for the Western Front. Trotsky, heading the Red Army, attempted to disarm the Czechoslovaks, who responded by seizing a good portion of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Though they occupied a key strategic position, and provided a casus belli for foreign intervention, the Legion had little interest in actually overthrowing the Bolsheviks, merely wanting to return home unmolested. Eventually they were allowed to leave after betraying Admiral Kolchak to the Reds.
Add in different nationalist groups in Ukraine, Finland, the Baltic states, Central Asia, the Caucasus... then the Greens (basically peasant militias organized for defense against either side) and Blacks (loosely-organized anarchist forces)... let's just say it's little wonder the Bolsheviks won.
The Soviet Union actually institutionalized infighting with the military, the KGB, and the Communist Party in constant power struggles with each other. Any time one of them seemed to be getting too big for their britches, the other two would combine forces and take them down a few pegs, a more informal and bloodier system than the American constitutional system of checks and balances.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Russia was still an empire governed by the Tsars, there were numerous rebel groups who all agreed that the country's absolute monarchy had to change, but all had their own visions of what the new Russia should look like. These groups ranged from moderate supporters of a British-style constitutional monarchy to radicals who desired a Marxist revolution. Once the Tsar was overthrown, the rebel groups then fought for control of the country, with the Communist Bolsheviks eventually coming to power.
Cadets, Socialist Revolutionaries (splitting just after the February Revolution into left and right SRs and causing a big old headache with ballots), and Social Democrats (which themselves came out of a factional struggle) first split into the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, and then the Mensheviks had a split-off called Menshevik-Internationalists. There was even a Non-Factional Faction in the RSDLP headed by Trotsky, not to mention the sizeable Russian anarchist movement. Each was in turn suppressed by force as the workers and peasants realized the current government would not carry out land reform, let workers have control of the factories, or look the other way while they seized land and factories from the nobles and capitalists.
Similarly, in the Russian Civil War a few years after the Russian Revolution, the Red Army was composed of the Bolsheviks, and the White Army was composed of... pretty much everyone else. This included foreign powers like Britain, nationalist minorities demanding independence, Tsarists who wanted the Tsar back on the throne, and pretty much every Bolshevik-hater in Russia. The Whites outnumbered the Reds, controlled most of the transport links, and dominated the country's land area. Meanwhile there was the anarchist Black Army, which fought the Whites and the Reds (allying with them three times only to be betrayed each time) and the so-called Green Army, which was a collection of local militias trying to protect themselves against all sides' marauding soldiers. The Reds won. One of the major reasons for this was that everyone in the White Army had a different vision for Russia. Some openly despised each other. On the other hand, the Red Army was held unified by the combined might of Lenin and Trotsky, who worked together to keep morale up and keep everyone focused on defeating the Whites.
And once they'd secured power and no longer had to cooperate, the leadership and Trotsky had an immediate falling out (eventually leading to Trotsky's murder in Mexico years later), which resulted in assorted communist groups around the world identifying themselves as Trotskyites, Leninists, Marxists-Leninists, Marxists...
The British general election of 1979 was contested by the Labour Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party,note Who in fairness were and remain a Northern Irish party which associated with Labour and did not compete with them the Independent Labour Party, the Communist Party of Britain, the Scottish Labour Party,note Which was not the same thing as the Scottish branch of the Labour Party, but rather a group of Scottish Labour supporters angered at the failure of the Wilson government to start the process of devolution; it quickly became a target for far-left entryism the Workers' Revolutionary Party, the Independent Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Workers' Party, the Northern Ireland Labour Party, the Democratic Labour Party, the Socialist Unity Party (the ironing is delicious!), the Independent Socialist Party, the Workers Party (Leninist), the Social Democratic Party and the Socialist Party of Great Britain. Not that there weren't some important policy differences between different leftist groups, but Jesus. The winner, incidentally, of that particular election was none other than... the Conservative Party.
This factionalism eventually improved, but remained endemic during the 1980s which was one of the key reasons why the Conservative Party held onto power until 1997. Things weren't helped by tensions between the local Labour parties and councils, which tended to subscribe to more radical ideologies, and the more moderate national Labour party.
However, the Social Democrats later averted this trope by combining with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrat Party, while the Conservatives indulged in this trope with the emergence of the breakaway UK Independence Party, who took enough votes from them in the 2010 election to force them into coalition with the LibDems.
The extreme ends of British politics are like this: British far-right groups don't like each other any more than they like the rest of us. On the "soft" anti-immigrant and anti-EU far right there are UKIP and the English Defence League, as well as other smaller movements like English Shieldwall, the English Democrats, and the England First! Party. None of these groups get along; UKIP are the largest, but are seen as sellouts for trying for greater mass-appeal and moderating their positions. The EDL are seen as lower-class thugs, and the rest are seen as either kooks (the pro-Saxon Shieldwall) or irrelevant. This moderate position in turn loathes the "hard" far-right of white nationalists, supremacists, and neo-Nazis: there are the British National Party, National Front, Nationalist Alliance, National Socialist Movement, National Democrats, British People's Party, Combat 18 and many more - all fighting for at most 5% of the British electorate. As with many other fringe groups, it has been suggested that the divisions between the racist British parties are actively encouraged by the security services, in order to keep any one group from consolidating power. In fact, for a long time it was said that a majority of the members of Combat 18 were actually undercover members ofMI-5.
On the other side of the aisle, we find fewer racists, but just as much nuttery and division. You have the "impossibilist" Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB), who want a global communist revolution that bypasses socialism (despite the name). You have the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), who are hardline Stalinists and adopt a pro-USSR, pro-Stalin, pro-North Korea position. They are to be distinguished from the Communist Party of Britain, who claim to be the descendants of the long-running Communist Party of Great Britain, who managed to piss away all their leftwing support by backing the USSR in Hungary in '56. Then we have the New Communist Party of Great Britain, who are also pro-Stalin and pro-North Korea, but seemingly not enough to merge with the CPGB-ML. They are to be distinguished from the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), who are anti-USSR but who also think age of consent laws should be abolished(!), and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist–Leninist), who are anti-revisionist Hoxhaists. The CPGB-PCC tried to start a "Campaign for a Marxist Party", which was, typically, a fiasco. Once, there was the Socialist Worker's Party, the largest group, but it tore itself apart over feminism and a rape scandal, ending with a rump-SWP, a good chunk of their student movement setting up their own movement, and the other leavers forming an as-yet-unnamed amorphous blob of lost lefties. Notably, all the above groups utterly loathe each other.
A similar situation exists with various Palestinian militant organizations today: The three big ones were Fatah (vaguely leftist nationalist, and largely secular), Hamas (Islamist and connected to religious movements in the broader Arab world), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Marxist). The PFLP has shrunk to relative insignificance (thanks in large part to The Great Politics Mess-Up), leaving just Fatah and Hamas fighting for most of the Palestinian electorate based on their approaches to the big issue—Fatah backs the system laid out in the Oslo Accords, while Hamas rejects current negotiated solutions (at least for the moment: Hamas itself is divided on whether they should eventually enter a negotiated peace process, or stay out of it entirely). As a result of the 2006 elections, Hamas gained a majority in the Palestinian parliament, forcing the two groups to share power. This might not have been fatal had Israel and the West not cut off most of the Palestinian Authority's funding as a protest against Hamas. In 2007, this erupted into open war, with Hamas taking the Gaza Strip and expelling or killing members of Fatah, and Fatah solidifying its hold on the West Bank by expelling or killing members of Hamas. Fatah has since tried to clean up its act (the main reason Fatah lost the '06 elections was that it had earned a reputation for being completely corrupt during its ten years in power) and appointed an independent technocrat, Salam Fayyad, as Prime Minister to focus just on building up the Palestinian economy and bureaucracy so that the parties could focus on solving the political situation.
Palestine's opponent Israel also had secular vs. religious disagreement in its pre-state period. The leftist Jewish Agency and the Haganah (its militia) were dominant and the elite strike force (the Palmach) was known to be a hotbed of far-left, even Communist activity. However, there was a strong Revisionist (read: right-wing ultranationalist) faction led by the Irgun (also known as Etzel), which had its own militia and some other rudimentary institutions. Once the state was declared, the Agency and the Irgun kept a wary truce, with the Irgun units outside Jerusalem (which was officially under international administration, although the reality on the ground was more complicated) being integrated into the Israel Defense Forces for the first few weeks of the war. However, when the Irgun attempted to import arms in direct contravention of a United Nations embargo - which the Israeli Provisional Government was trying to uphold for PR reasons - the government, after some hemming and hawing, decided to shell the ship and fight the Irgunites who had come to pick up the weapons.note This led to one of the more amusing incidents of the war, in which Yitzhak Rabin, at the time commander of the Palmach, basically stumbled across a battle between his troops and the Irgun on his way to work; he took command more or less immediately, playing an important role in winning the fight. At this point, the government forced the Irgun to join the IDF as individuals rather than as units. People on the losing side of the dispute got (and have stayed) rather angry about this; as recently as 2011, a Ministry of Defense invitation for an event commemorating the incident used the term murdered to refer to to people who died on the ship (at the time the Israeli government was led by the Likud party, which traces its ideological and institutional ancestry to the Irgun).
A third resistance group, the Lehi, splintered from the Irgun because it was not extreme enough for their taste; it was a really small group, so much so that the British referred to it as the Stern Gang, but did a disproportionate amount of damage for its size. It was the first organization the Israeli government recognized as a terrorist organization, and was the original reason for their anti-terrorist legislation. Ironically, Lehi members who had joined the Likud party were instrumental in using the same laws written to destroy them to crack down on the Palestinian insurgencies of the 1980s. (On the bright side, the same ex-Lehi members, informed by their experience, were also instrumental in guaranteeing access to the civilian courts for review of those detained indefinitely without charge - even when the detainees were Palestinian.)
When Angola became independent, it was plagued by a long civil war between rebel factions who had all been fighting the Portuguese, and then began struggling for control of the country. The Marxist government of FRELIMO was backed by the USSR, while South Africa and the US supported the opposition UNITA. Both sides committed horrible atrocities.
Starting in the Dark Ages and continuing into the 19th century, Italy was split into many independent city-states, small principalities, and areas occupied by foreign powers. These small areas fought each other constantly, so no one polity could gain supremacy over the others for very long - leading to all of them getting progressively weaker, especially after the collapse of the Mediterranean trade monopoly impoverished former powerhouses like Venice and Genoa. This is still visible today in the cultural and political differences between northern and southern Italy. This was Lampshaded in the 16th century by Niccolò Machiavelli, who lamented the divisions among his fellow Italians and pleaded for unity to drive out its foreign occupiers. His dream would eventually be realized, but not until the 19th century when Giuseppe Garibaldi came along...
There must be something about the Italian peninsula. This same situation existed way back when, with the peninsula populated by Sabines, Samnites, Etruscans, Carthagenians, and Magna Graeca.... until they were all conquered by the end of the 3rd century BC, by an upstart little hick republic called "Rome".
Italian geography, with the peninsula naturally subdivided by rugged hills and many rivers, probably contributes. Europe as a whole is also highly geographically subdivided, with many separate states and ethic groups crammed into a pretty puny continent.
The Kingdom of Germany, or more properly the entire Holy Roman Empire, was cynically described as a persistent and ongoing meltdown rather than a proper nation from the 13th century (with the death of Frederick II) to the 16th. By the time of the Reformation, the Wars of Religion in Germany, and the loss of the Italian, Dutch, and Swiss lands in the HRE, the Emperor effectively had very little authority outside of whatever ancestral lands his family maintained at the time of his election and wherever his army could march. It is perhaps significant that during the Reformation, the 30 Years War was treated not as a civil war like the French Fronde, but instead a war between independent states. The whole mess limped along through the end of the 18th century only to go under completely in the upheaval of the Napoleonic Wars. The idea of a unified Germany was resurrected in the 19th century but under the relatively recent Prussian monarchy, not the Holy Roman Emperor.
The country of Somalia has been this trope ever since the dictatorship of Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991. Not entirely surprising, as the overthrow was carried out in large part by rebel groups armed by neighboring countries like Ethiopia and organized largely along clan lines—never a recipe for harmonious cooperation. The northernmost part of the country declared its independence shortly after, adding to the problems, as food production in the south had been disrupted by the fighting and longstanding local disputes over resources erupted into violence. With no national government to turn to, many Somalis turned to pre-colonial forms of authority, such as tribal leadership and the religious court system. Multiple international interventions failed to establish governmental authority outside of Mogadishu and in the late 1990s/early 2000s the international community largely gave up, until the War on Terror refocused attention on the Islamic radicals who controlled much of Somalia. Since the horrific famine of 2011, there's been some progress towards a central government simply out of desperation, but the war is definitely not over yet.
In Nepal, the "Communist Party of Nepal" is the official name of MANY Communist parties within Nepal. The most famous of the "Communist Parties" is the CPN (Maoist), but...now it has to fight a rebel breakaway faction that calls itself...the CPN (Maoist). Luckily, the main CPN (Maoist) fused with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre-Masal) and now calls itself the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
After the Sino-Soviet split, the communist world became divided between supporters of the Soviet Union and supporters of the People's Republic of China, even as both were opposed to the United States and the West. Albania sided with China, feeling that the Soviets weren't communist enough, but later decided that the Chinese weren't communist enough either. North Korea took advantage of the situation to pursue a Wild Card status. China's support was...limited...beyond independent Maoist rebel groups in places like Nepal. Even Vietnam publicly sided with the Soviets.
Revolutions and Separatism
The factions in the Mexican Revolution (not enumerated here because there were something like seven distinct "sides" involved) could agree on nothing except that the country needed democracy. Things dragged on for more than a decade because of the complexity of the disputes. The Other Wikihas more information.
And while we're on the topic of Mexico: From 1824 to the end of the French Intervention was a period of intermittent civil war between the "Liberales" ("Liberals", who wanted to establish a Federal Republic akin to the U.S.) and the "Conservadores" ("Conservatives", who wanted to preserve the old government structures from the Colonial period, with noblemen ruling over the country), causing a permanent state of revolving door presidencies and unstable government policies. This period of civil wars is also to blame for Mexico losing half of its territory in the Mexican-American war, since the armies of both sides were more concerned with fighting each other than pushing back the American invaders in the north.
Like most subsequent successful revolutions, the American Revolution bore fruit in part because the pro-independence faction - which may have been as small as 1/3 of the total population - was quick and effective at suppressing the loyalist opposition and either intimidating or winning partial support from theoretically neutral groups like the Quakers. Many loyalists preferred to pack up and flee to other parts of British North America (particularly Canada and the Caribbean) than to stay and face the repercussions, removing the impetus for further ideological purges after the war. The unification of the colonies behind one cause was greatly aided by George III's swift decision to declare the uprising a rebellion, sending the message that there would be no attempt at compromise. This pushed a lot of moderates, who had been hoping for a negotiated resolution giving colonists expanded rights to things like Parliamentary representation, towards the independence movement and armed resistance. The rapid unification within the colonies was particularly effective because, across the Atlantic, opinion was deeply split in Parliament and in the general British public, with a significant number of Britons (especially Whigs) willing to admit that the colonists had legitimate complaints - whether they agreed with the means of expression or not.note The great liberal-conservative thinker Edmund Burke in particular was noted for his support of the colonists before the Declaration, and afterwards professed to be deeply troubled at what side to support: "I do not know how to wish success to those whose Victory is to separate from us a large and noble part of our Empire. Still less do I wish success to injustice, oppression and absurdity". After the humiliation of the Treaty of Paris, that faction was able to implement significant reforms in how Britain's other colonies were run, but they were unable to gain that support in time to hold onto America.
The Quebec separatist movement in Canada has its own internal divisions, most notably in the 1960s between the militant Front de Liberation du Quebec, which sought to create a Marxist-Leninist state through violent means, and the Parti Quebecois/Bloc Quebecois, which sought independence through democratic means. Things came to a head c. 1970 with the collapse of the FLQ after both the Trudeau government's enacting of the War Measures Act (which had previously only been used in the World Wars) and the Quebec public's own outrage at the FLQ's kidnapping and murder tactics. The idea of violent secession was discredited and the sovereignty movement rallied around the PQ. In the late 20th century, many Quebec separatists were divided on whether to seek complete independence, or to seek to retain some sort of association with Canada along the lines of a shared currency or trading agreement, or to simply push for more provincial autonomy and remain Canadian for foreign affairs purposes. The Turn Of The Millenium saw the development of a broad consensus around the third option, "soft federalism", reflected in the crushing defeat the federalist NDP delivered to the BQ in the 2011 federal election: the Bloc was reduced from 47 seats to 4, all taken by New Democrats, and party head Gilles Duceppe lost his seat. (The PQ's subsequent success in the 2012 provincial election, winning a minority government, is generally attributed to fatigue with Jean Charest's Liberal government—in power by that point for nine years—and the Liberals' association with policies that failed to address economic and social issues in Quebec, rather than any sympathy for the PQ's sovereigntist position.)
A similar division occurred during the (failed) Canadian rebellions of 1837 (also known a the Patriots' War). They took place in both Lower Canada (today's Québec) and Upper Canada (now Ontario). Both provinces had a list of demands for the British government, but disagreed on what they were willing to do to get them fulfilled. Those in favor of armed uprising finally won out. However, the various groups of patriots were very disorganized, barely cooperated once they got their acts together, and, in at least one case, attacked each other specifically because they were from different colonies.
The Revolutions of 1848 in Austria-Hungary were badly marred by this. Taking on a nationalist character in most Hapsburg lands, the German rulers found themselves opposed by the Hungarians, Czechs, Croats, Slovenes, Poles, Slovaks, Ruthenians, Romanians, Serbs, Italians, and even pan-German nationalists. With such deep divisions, the Empire should by all rights have simply collapsed, yet the Czechs and Italians were quickly crushed, while the Hungarians proceeded to systematically alienate every other independence movement in the Empire by ending the special administrative status of Transylvania and Croatia-Slavonia and outright crushing the Slovak movement. Because Hungarian nationalists effectively drove half of the Empire into the Imperial camp out of self-preservation and created an unnecessary three-front war, all of the nationalist causes were lost. The Russian intervention near the end did not help.
The Irish Republican Army has split a lot...
Founded 1916 to achieve Irish independence. Referred to retrospectively as Old IRA. History sees them as White Hats.
1921: British govt. offers control of most of Ireland and Dominion status. Most of the IRA accept this and become the Irish National Army. Anti-treaty IRA fight them in civil war.
1922: Anti-treaty IRA accept defeat in civil war. Very weak movement struggles over the decades.
1969: Split into traditional armed republican Provisional IRA and a Marxist electoral Official IRA. Sinn Fein, the political wing, also splits in Provisional and Official factions too.
1974: Official IRA radicals decide to get back into the fight, becoming the Irish National Liberation Army(INLA), seizing most of the OIRA's arms, with their faction of Official Sinn Fein becoming the Irish Republican Socialist Party. The Official IRA and Official Sinn Fein became The Workers Party.
1986: Provisional IRA decide that Sinn Féin should take seats in the Irish parliament. Those who disagree form the Continuity IRA.
The Irish National Liberation Army in 1986 schismed into the Irish People's Liberation Organisation (IPLO).
1997: Provisional IRA members opposed to the peace process form the Real IRA. Responsible for the Omagh bombing in 1998, after the peace treaty was signed, in order to undermine it.
Loyalists, meanwhile, had the Ulster Volunteer Force, Ulster Defence Association, Real Ulster Freedom Fighters, Loyalist Volunteer Force, Orange Volunteers, Red Hand Commandos, Red Hand Defenders, Red Branch Knights, Ulster Young Militants, CLMC, ULCCC, Young Citizen Volunteers... Note: The UDA, despite its terrorism, was only criminalized in 1994, after publicly and blatantly Crossing the Line Twice by shooting up a Catholic Hallowe'en party. Before that it was still a militia on the official government side. Cross-membership of UVF and UDA members in the Ulster Defense Regiment (UDR) or (former) Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) did not help matters.
An old Irish joke has it that the first item on the agenda for any rebellious organization is "the split". As seen above, Truth in Television.
The 19th century Filipino rebels known as the Katipunan had infighting over leadership and got splintered to multiple groups. They tended to spend as much of their time fighting each other as they did fighting the Spanish. Then all of them got blindsided when the US Navy showed up in Manila Harbor, which, after the US decided to occupy the Philippines rather than let the Filipinos run the country themselves, led to a few years of Filipino infighting while they fought the Americans.
The opposition to the Syrian government in the Syrian Civil War is plagued by this. The Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish nationalist forces usually get along okay, but the situation with the Islamist rebels is so bad it's essentially devolved into an Assad-FSA/Kurds-Islamists Mêlée à Trois. The fact that Islamist extremists are fighting (nominally) on the same side as the rebels has also crippled rebel war effort by making outside powers reluctant to send them aid. Add all this up, and the Syrian government is wiping the floor with all three groups.
On a related note, those opposing the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS) out-number and out-gun the jihadist militant group, but many of them are also in opposition to one another with their own vested interests.
Lots of Anti-Globalization groups have gathered under the common motto "Another world is possible". Given how varied and divisive these tend to be, it is about the only thing they ever managed to agree on, if even that. People whose goal is opposition to uniformity can't agree, what a surprise.
A number of reputable experts also (if indirectly) cite this trope as a big reason why a One World Order is at best incredibly challenging to even set up in real life, given that it would exasperate all of the above on a global scale to the point that it would be ineffectual. This is coupled by the difficulty of finding a solid, truly global common ground that doesn't alienate certain parts of the world or devolve into Cultural Posturing.
The American civil rights movement: All civil rights groups agreed change was needed. Yet they vehemently disagreed on how to get that change. Basically it boiled down to the more moderate reformist groups, led by people like Martin Luther King Jr. who wanted integration and coexistence with white America, and more radical, militant Black Power activists who wanted black Americans to separate themselves from, or even overthrow, the existing, white-dominated power structure. (This is, of course, an oversimplification: some radical groups had reformist goals including, among other groups, poor white people (this side of the story is never told for some reason, only the "scary-angry-black-man" side) but were willing to use more extreme means to their ends than moderates.) The divisions were most obvious in the sheer number of the civil rights alphabet soup organizations - SCLC vs. NAACP vs. BPP vs. NOI vs. AIM vs. WUO etc. A lot of those divisions were set up deliberately by the Powers That Be, through infiltration, dirty tricks, and some even say murder, as part of the FBI's COINTELPRO effort.
Even within individual soup groups, there were schisms over the years along the lines of race, gender, age, class, region, and religion. It has in fact has been pointed out by many feminists (e.g. Donna Haraway) that, for some time, the worst thing to be from a civil rights standpoint was a black woman. These divisions are still contentious in the present-day left, such as during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.
And then before the Civil Rights Movement there was the whole W.E.B. Du Bois vs. Booker T. Washington fall out over how to respond to segregation and Jim Crow laws. Washington had an unwritten compromise with white leaders not to make demands beyond basic education, some economic opportunity, and access to the legal system. Du Bois couldn't live with simply accepting racism as part of the system and believed it was the duty of educated, successful blacks to work to end discrimination.
Colorism and Intra-Racism have caused factionalism within the black community and between minority racial and ethnic groups for decades. Particularly pronounced are the class divides within the black community which began in The Eighties or maybe The Harlem Renaissance, or maybe even during Reconstruction, depending on who you ask. This basically pits upper-middle class blacks against working class blacks against impoverished blacks.
The feminist movement has produced a great many offshoots, not all of them on good terms with each other. The Other Wiki at the moment lists: Black, Chicana, Global, Postcolonial, and Third world feminism; Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Spiritual (whatever this means in context) feminism; Anarchist, Liberal, Marxist and Socialist feminism, and Ecofeminism; Gender, Lesbian, Pro-life, Sex-positive feminism, and Transfeminism; Amazon, Cultural, Equity, Individualist, New, Postmodern, Radical, Separatist feminism, Fat feminism, and Womanism; and the big divider, Difference and Equality feminism. And there are probably many more not notable enough for Wikipedia. Some of them differ considerably even in their definitions of what makes someone a "woman".
The LGBT(QIA) community gets this going on a lot, mostly because it's really a whole passel of very small minorities that have only what we aren't in common. Even the name is a point of contention: the alphabet soup just keeps getting longer and longer as more groups complain about being left out.
Indeed, the only two "factions" that do get along decently well are the first two letters, bisexuals either don't exist or need to make up their minds (according to some of the others), transgender people face a fair amount of intra-queer prejudice too (especially those who are gay in their target gender), etc etc.
There's also a lot of dissent and bad feeling within the trans community - mostly over whether or not dysphoria is needed to be trans, whether or not made-up pronouns should be used, whether gender is biological or just a self-determined social construct, how many non-binary genders there are, etc.
And the alphabet soup doesn't yet account for the BDSM/kink/fetish or polyamorous sexual minorities, which sometimes ally with LGBT groups against obscenity laws and public outings and sometimes square off with them on family values and passing privilege.
Author and animal rights activist Vernon Coleman cites this as the reason the animal rights movement has not yet been able to stop vivisection.
No doubt the Occupy Wall Street movement, for all its popular support, is riddled with problems like this.
The specific divisions within Occupy break down more or less as follows: The largest group are general reform-minded liberals who are interested in bringing Big Finance to heel, and, to a lesser extent, implementing related socio-economic reforms. Next, we have various democratic socialist groups who feel that some reform of the actual capitalist system needs to be made and think the liberals don't go far enough. There's communists, who feel the liberals are essentially counter-revolutionary and the democratic socialists are mealy-mouthed Trotskyists who aren't really interested in revolution. We have the left-anarchists, who split roughly in two, half wanting to bring the entire movement together and leave ideology out of it and see where that gets us, the other half wanting to wage violent revolution more or less immediately. Finally, we have the libertarians, who are primarily interested in breaking the power of Big Finance and the government as a way to strengthen capitalism (these are the guys with the Ron Paul signs). The liberals and democratic socialists usually get along okay. The democratic socialists and the communists usually get along okay. The communists and the "diversity-of-tactics" (that is to say, immediately revolutionary) anarchists sometimes get along. The rest of the anarchists try to get along with everyone and usually fail. The libertarians mostly engage with the liberals and occasionally with the non-DoT anarchists. Every other interaction is almost guaranteed to break down into yelling. Confused yet?
That's not fully accurate, the anarchists generally don't divide like that, the anarchists who started it decided to go for pacifism, and are the backbone of the movement, the Ron Paul types are generally able to work with anyone who is for small/no government, and generally the liberals can swallow it and work with everyone else. The real problem is Democrats trying to recruit - most see them as shills for 1% trying to derail the movement. The violent police response also drove many towards radicalism.
Emo Phillips did a stand-up routine wherein he sees a man about to commit suicide:
I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well... are you religious or atheist?" He said, "Religious." I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?" He said, "Christian." I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?" He said, "Baptist!" I said, "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?" He said, "Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?" He said,"Reformed Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.
Which isn't too far from the truth, ultimately. All Christians have in common their belief in God and in Christ as some form of God's exemplar upon earth; the devil seems to be quite literally in the details. Scholars of religion refer to Christianity as a primarily orthodox religion (where one's degree of adherence is defined by "correctness of belief") as opposed to a primarily orthoprax religion like Shinto (where degree of adherence is defined by "correctness of ritual action"). This is a continuum, with essentially all religions requiring some combination of "right belief" and "right action" but differing in emphasis.
At times, the religion splits because of an argument about whether it should be one or the other. Since Jews argue about everything, it should come as no surprise that Judaism's primary split into denominations is over this issue, with the Reform tradition being more "orthodox" (what matters to be Jewish is to believe in God and the Prophets and in the story of the Jewish people; ritual matters less and therefore can be freely modernized or discarded to suit the the times) and the Orthodox actually being more "orthoprax" (what matters to be Jewish is to follow the ancient rituals and commandments more or less precisely as laid down in the Torah and The Talmud; that you believe without performing the rituals is still disobedience to God's command and therefore counts for nothing) and the Conservatives/Masortis trying desperately to preserve a balance.
This has held true through the history of the Church - hence the first 7 Ecumenical councils repeatedly redefining and narrowing orthodoxy, each one designating as heretics a substantial number of people who vocally identified as Christian. And it's clear that these declarations were not simply restating settled dogma: the Nag Hammadi Gnostic texts were probably removed from the library of a local monastery when the books were declared heretical, but they were respectfully sealed away like still-sacred objects instead of discarded like trash.
In the present day, the vast diversity of Christian denominations coupled with the massive push to evangelize in India has resulted in reports of a group of missionaries entering a village only to find out that the villagers have already been been visited and converted by a rival group. The second band of missionaries reconvert the villagers to their own "correct" denomination and then leave for the next village. Rinse and repeat.
Anarchist movements are susceptible to this, stemming from the "direct action" philosophy being misunderstood as "Write my own personal theories in a manifesto and then give it an Anarcho-Subgenre." Just take a look at all the types of Anarchism on its page at The Other Wiki or the Useful Notes/Political Ideologies page on this very wiki. Anarcho-Capitalism, Anarcho-Communism, Collectivist Anarchism, Individualist Anarchism, Anarcho-Syndicalism, Anarcho-Primitivism, Anarcha-Feminism, Mutualism, the list goes on... While in theory this is a good thing, as most Anarchists would tell you that each individual idea can contribute, in reality there are plenty of zealous Anarchists who want to convince you that their specific subset of Anarchism is the right one and that the other kinds are completely wrong. See also the page Anarchy Is Chaos.
On the other hand, the vast majority of those groups are willing to, at the very least, coexist, and even cooperate on a majority of issues. The real conflicts tend to be between anarcho-capitalists and everyone else, as well as various Individualist Anarchist schools of thought and some Social Anarchist movements. There's some animosity between Anarcho-Primitivists and most of the rest (who may see primitivism as an unnecessary obstacle and modern technology as a means of, among other things, reducing scarcity) but it's by no means widespread. Most of the Anarchist movements named above go under the overarching banner of "libertarian socialism", and conflict between them tends to be friendly. As a rule of thumb, the truly bitter conflict is between Anarcho-Capitalists and the aforementioned libertarian socialists, a considerable number of whom simply don't consider Anarcho-Capitalism to be anarchism, with some Anarcho-Capitalists feeling the same in return. It's largely a question of semantics, but in the end, Anarcho-Capitalism really is quite different, while the others tend to differ in ways that are less fundamental or, at any rate, that tend to inhibit cooperation and cohabitation a lot less.
Put simply, most "left-Anarchists" propose a society composed of many self-governing communes. As long as those communes are able to cooperate and resolve their differences peacefully, internal organization is pretty much up to them.
Not communes as such, just no inherent structure to society, as they believe any state (free market, fascist, etc) oppresses people. One of the main problems is that most 'left anarchists' believe in abolishing money, completely against Anarcho-Capitalists.
"Cooperate and co-exist"? The Anarchism articles on The Other Wiki are hotspots of perpetual edit-warring.
The above comment thread has just proven the point.
Generally the main difference between the two can split into Individualist anarchism and Social anarchism. They disagree on what is coercive control. Individualist anarchists think that one has a right to individual sovereignty and argue that entails a right to one's labor, which creates property/possession, while Social anarchists focus more on opposition to hierarchies than property rights. The main difference in the individualist camps is the exact of definition of property/posession. Anarcho-capitalists have developed a distinct view of property/possession from the original Individualist movement. Most of the time the camps can overcome their internal differences and get along. Hostility is almost always with the other camp which means there have often been bitter fights between Individualist and Social anarchists.
Everything concerning anarchists can be applied to libertarians, since the only thing they can agree on is reducing the size of the state. This runs the gambit between left-libertarians, the Libertarian Party, Minarchists, and all the anarchist groups. Even among these individual subsets, there will still be infighting on issues like taxation and aspects of modern capitalism.
For that matter, right-libertarians and Objectivists. Right-libertarians draw a great deal of their political philosophy from Ayn Rand's works, while Rand and her followers felt that trying to separate politics from the underpinnings of philosophy led to piss-poor arguments for capitalism. This led to a split within the Objectivist movement itself, between the Ayn Rand Institute (anti-libertarian, founded by Rand's legal heir), and The Atlas Society (pro-libertarian, and essentially an arm of the libertarian think tank The Cato Institute after a funding crisis).
A commonly-cited saying runs that organising Atheists is like herding cats; there are hundreds of different atheist groups and movements of widely varying sizes, often competing with each other for membershipnote In the U.K. alone, and only considering the largest groups, you have the National Secular Society, the British Humanist Association, and the UK branch of the Brights movement. Most Atheists seem to regard this as amusingly quirky or, at worst, mildly frustrating, rather than being Serious Business. This may also be since atheism is a small, though vocal (or new, in the US) social movement.
It also helps that many of these different forms of atheism are, when you get down to it, more or less uniformly defined by a lack of belief in something (namely, the existence of any kind of deity or higher power) rather than active belief in something. Since debates about religion and spirituality tend to take the form of what form or nature this higher power takes and how it operates, this leads to a lot of competing viewpoints, but once you'd decided that such a higher power doesn't exist to begin with it's a bit harder to get into furious screaming matches about whether said higher power doesn't exist in this particular way or whether it doesn't exist in that particular way, since either way it still doesn't exist. That said, it doesn't stop some of the more out-there atheists from trying anyway.
It doesn't help that a lot of atheists don't like association with the most vocal atheists, feeling they give a bad image and act intolerant themselves.
Surprisingly, (or not, depending on your view of political ideologies in general) Monarchist groups in both extant monarchies and current republics get riddled with this.
In monarchies like Britain, monarchists are divided by their reason for favoring this system of government: religious belief in divine kingship, general love of all things traditional, desire to maintain cultural difference from both the US and continental Europe, pragmatic desire for the tourism revenue generated by the Crown... Different rationales lead to different ideas about politics and could potentially let a small but vocal and unified group of British republicans sway an election.
On the other side of the channel, France is now on its Fifth Republic despite the large Monarchist faction that helped doom the first four Republics remaining active to the present day. Since the ousting of the House of Bourbon in 1830, Monarchists have been epically unable to agree on a legitimate claimant to the French throne, making the Third and Fifth Republics the longest lasting post-Revolution regimes. This gets downright silly with the Carlist movements (Carlist as in Charlemagne, although more often as in Carlos, a 19th-century Spanish prince) but we'd need a wiki all our own just to discuss the issues involved in that. In any case, consensus in France starting in the 1870s converged around the pronouncement of Adolphe Thiers, a prominent Orléanist (i.e. liberal constitutional monarchist): "The Republic is the government which divides France the least."note The catalyst for this statement, ironically, was a product of the first time the Orléanist and Legitimist monarchists had been able to (mostly) agree on Who Should Be King: the childless elderly bachelor Legitimist claimant should become king and name as his heir the young, married-with-children Orléanist claimant, who was next in line anyway, if you ignored the Carlists, which most monarchists did (again...complicated). This plan fell through when the Legitimist claimant decided he didn't want to reign under the Tricolour and failed to kick the bucket before everyone—Legitimist, Orléanist, Bonapartist, and Republican—got fed up with waiting for him to do so, leaving France a republic. This led noted Republican Georges Clemenceau to joke that the elderly claimant as "the French Washington"—the man without whom the Republic would not exist.
World War Two provides a B-29 bomber-load of examples.
The Axis Powers, despite often being used as the ur-example of Lawful Evil or portrayed as a to-the-death alliance, were mostly friends with each other because they'd each individually managed to piss off all their more useful potential allies (i.e., Germany violating the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and invading the USSR, opening up a massively costly second front at a time when its only remaining major engagement was the British army in North Africa). Italy switched sides (after the western Allies had landed in Sicily) and then fell into factional in-fighting mid-war and had to be occupied by German troops to slow the Allied advance up the peninsula. Germany's surrender to the Allies after the Battle for Berlin left Japan to fight China, the US, and the British Empire alone. And while it had its own racist justifications for invading Korea and China, Japan was at most indifferent to and at times actually undermined Germany's racial policies, not being unaware of what those policies had to say about people categorized, like Jews and Slavs, as Asian instead of European.
The cooperation between Germany and its smaller European allies didn't always go smoothly, either. For example, when the Soviets started to push the Germans back westwards, the Hungarian government started secretly negotiating with Britain and America. They were caught, however, and the Germans forced them to step down and set up a much more pliable regime led by a hard-line Nazi supporter. Bulgaria, fearing strong pro-Russian sentiment among its population, refused to declare war on the Soviet Union at all. Bulgaria, Romania, and Finland switched sides near the end of 1944 as it became obvious that the USSR was going to come out on top either way and it was time to get on the winning side ASAP. Croatia tried at about same time, but the conspiracy was unsuccessful.
In fact, in Croatia, Ante Pavelic supported the Vojkovic-Lorkovic conspiracy mentioned in above, but imprisoned them when Hitler caught wind of it. They were later released from prison but Partisans blew up train they were travelling on.
Finland only allied with Germany against the USSR to get back at the Soviets for the Winter War, uninterested in helping against the Western Allies. When the war start to turn, Finland dropped out before the Soviet troops reached its borders, saving it from becoming part of the USSR's sphere of influence after the war. Unlike the afore-mentioned defections of Nazi-allied Eastern European states, Hitler was in no position to retaliate for Finland's betrayal.
One diplomatic example: after France's fall there was much argument as to who should take control of French North African colonies. Mussolini felt Italy should be entitled to Tunisia and a slice of Algeria. When Hitler tried to entice Spain into joining the war, Franco made it clear that one condition would be the annexation of Morocco and Algeria's port cities. Hitler would not agree to either request, however, as he hoped to make Vichy France an active ally instead of a friendly neutral. That still didn't prevent Marshall Petain from becoming incensed by his supposed allies' eagerness to divy up French territory. While it is hard to measure this disagreement's precise impact, it undoubtedly degraded Axis harmony: Italy's relationship with Germany remained contentious, Vichy France remained only passively pro-Axis, and Spain remained officially neutral.
The various resistance groups in Nazi Germany could only really agree on the fact that Hitler had to go, not on what sort of state should come in his place - and especially who should run it. The lack of consensus helped doom the resistance, as the various groups were often working at cross-purposes (with Gestapo infiltrators encouraging the disunity). This despite the fact that the Reich itself was engaged in constant infighting (from the Night of the Long Knives through the duration of the war), often pitting political or ideological interests against military ones (for example, the expense of maintaining soldiers on guard at the concentration camps who could have otherwise been sent to the front). Many of the professional military officers were holdovers from the old Prussian aristocracy and resented being shunted out of power by the rise of the National Socialists. They were the ones who launched Operation Valkyrie, the failed plot to assassinate Hitler, blame it on the SS, and take control. Hitler himself actually sometimes encouraged infighting and confusion between regional governors and the like (occasionally going so far as to give two people overlapping areas of responsibility without telling either of them) in order to prevent them from consolidating power and challenging him.
The Allied powers weren't all exactly smiles and sunshine with each other, either, consisting of many very different states united - in some cases solely - by their opposition to Nazi Germany and/or Imperial Japan. The most prominent rift was the ideological gulf between capitalism and communism, but there were dozens of others, such as China allying with the Western powers that had been extorting trade agreements from it only a few years before, the democratic powers "overlooking" the totalitarianism of Stalin, some Asians and Africans under colonial domination electing to fight with their French and British overlords on the grounds that there was - temporarily - a worse option imminent, the US fighting to defend French and British possessions in Asia and the Pacific that it had previously argued they had no right to...you get the picture.
In 1939, the French generals never trusted the British, thinking that the British would not contribute much ground forces while the young French men would bleed to death in the trenches. In order to placate the French, British sent more troops to France than they could afford and placed them under French command, but, as the French suspected, the British put their soldiers on ships in Dunkirk and left the French to be surrounded and captured, or so the French claimed. (this is factually untrue, by the way, as the British did save many tens of thousands of French as well, but not enough to allay French suspicions of the "perfidious Albion." Of course, to show that the British admirals did not trust the French either, the British fleet attacked the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir on July 3, 1940 and killed over a thousand French sailors, while they were still technically allies, out of fear that the French warships might fall into the hands of Germans now that French had surrendered.
Charles de Gaulle, leader of most of the Free French Forces, drove the Americans and British crazy with his refusal to cooperate whenever he felt "French" needs (or his huge ego) were more important. In just one example, on D-Day de Gaulle's public statement - contrary to the strategic needs and the request of the Allies, and the statements of other Allied leaders - implied that D-Day was the invasion itself. His statement threatened to destroy the work and lives spent to fool Hitler that D-Day was just a feint with the real invasion to come at Pas de Calais later. Not for nothing did British Prime Minister Winston Churchill say "the greatest cross I have to bear is the Cross of Lorraine" (this being the de Gaulle family emblem).
Like the Allied Powers divided between capitalism and communism, most of occupied Europe had at least two local resistance movements, one "red" and one "white". For example, the Serbian monarchist Chetniks and communist Yugoslav Partisans in Yugoslavia, who fought each other as much as the occupiers. The Chetniks, who were more willing to cooperate with the occupiers against the Communists, lost, which may have been helped by the Allies backing Tito's Communists with arms and SOE assistance, despite the SOE's man on the ground telling London the Chetniks would be better post-war (right or wrong, we'll never know).
Probably wrong from the British point of view. Tito was a Magnificent Bastard who could make Yugoslavia a convenient barrier to the Russians postwar as well as forcing the Germans to divert resources from the fronts: Tito fought very aggressively and reasoned fascist reprisals would only make the populace flock to his banner. While rather immoral, this proved quite effective - in less than 4 years, his partisan bands actually grew into something approaching a regular army. Also, his movement was very inclusive - all were welcome, as long as they were loyal to him. Finally, he set up a very effective chain of command and discipline. The Chetniks were almost the polar opposite: they were pro-Serb (thus alienating much of the country's population), lacked a strong command structure (they operated more like a loose alliance of local warlords), and preferred passive resistance (which later grew into outright collaboration as they came to consider the Partisans their primary enemy). And while Tito wasn't very nice, as Churchill cynically pointed out the British did not have to live in Yugoslavia after the war.
Poland had at least three separate resistance movements: the non-Communist Home Army under the command of the Government-in-Exile, the Communists ultimately under the command of the COMINTERN, and various Jewish resistances (often aligned with the Communists, though occasionally with the Home Army as well). Arguably, the Communist resistance and the USSR sold out the Polish Home Army in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, leading to Poland being incorporated into the Eastern Bloc post-war. At least everyone did contribute token aid to the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943, and there was sometimes collaboration on the ground level even when the higher-ups were at odds.
China had, yet again, a problem of communist vs. nationalist resistances. The Communists pulled back and let the Nationalist Kuomintang (which was itself less a unified movement than an alliance of somewhat like-thinking warlords, including a left-wing faction that was even allowed to remain, though with no power, after Mao won) fight the Japanese invasion alone, which severely weakened the Kuomintang, as planned. Mao Zedong even refused to help other Communist generals, in one infamous example refusing to send aid to a general who was under fire very close to Mao's forces. This ensured that Mao Zedong's rivals, both within and outside the party, would be killed. Only late in the war did Mao do any serious fighting against the Japanese, when the Kuomintang had already suffered enormous losses. (After the war, however, Maoist propaganda had it that Mao was the one to suggest that Communists and Kuomintang fight the Japanese together, with the Kuomintang refusing.)
Later, Mao's Great Leap Forward wrecked China's economy, and Mao's power in the Party was weakened. He therefore launched the Cultural Revolution, where Red Guard members attacked Party bureaucrats and ordinary people across the country. The Red Guard tried to take on even the army, but failed. Ultimately their power was weakened by fighting each other, in Guard-vs-Guard street battles, where the issue was who really represented Mao's will.
The Spanish Civil War of the 1930s was in many ways an early glimpse of what World War II was going to look like once fascism really took hold, as well as a suggestion of what would happen post-war between communist and capitalist states. It ended in a decisive fascist victory, in large part because the Republicans were engaged in a civil war of their own over economic ideologies.
In other words: During the Spanish Civil War, infighting between the moderate liberals, the power-brokering Soviet Union-backed Spanish Communist Party, the radical Trotskyist communists of the POUM, and the anarchist CNT-FAI led to the Republican front being unable to form solid opposition to the fascist/conservative front. The fascists were clever enough to save their house-cleaning until after the war.
The CP was shooting the POUM and anarchists because they wanted revolution now, not later, while the COMINTERN and CP they controlled were scared it would push the Western powers into the arms of the Nazis. The anarchists were busy trying to make revolution a reality, with agricultural and industrial collectives, at the same time the CP were attacking them, along with POUM and the republican liberals... In Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell, who fought as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, describes the situation:
I knew that I was serving in something called the P.O.U.M. (I had only joined the P.O.U.M. militia rather than any other because I happened to arrive in Barcelona with I.L.P. papers), but I did not realize that there were serious differences between the political parties. At Monte Pocero, when they pointed to the position on our left and said: 'Those are the Socialists' (meaning the P.S.U.C.), I was puzzled and said: 'Aren't we all Socialists?' ... Everyone, however unwillingly, took sides sooner or later ... As a militiaman one was a soldier against Franco, but one was also a pawn in an enormous struggle that was being fought out between two political theories.
A lot of this has to do with the Western powers being distracted (by their own internal problems from the Great Depression and abroad with German, instead of Spanish, facists) and indifferent, and dropping the ball on supporting the moderate Republicans. The Communists were a fairly tiny faction in the Republican movement...until they were the only ones getting arms, and thus orders, from Josef Stalin.
A subversion comes from the war between Libya and Chad in the 1980s. The Chadian government was plagued by rebel militias and other dissident movements, often encouraged by Libya to destabilize it. When the two countries came to blows, however, the Libyan invasion actually served to reinforce Chadian unity, and many of the factions united to drive them out.
...roughly half of the way in. Until then, the Chadian GUNT pretty much sided with Libya and indeed provided the bulk of Gadaffi's infantrymen and logistical support in the region. It was after Tripoli ticked GUNT off that this trope was subverted.
On a fortunately rather less deadly front: fandom. All of fandom — from the boyfan/girlfan cultural split right down to the subtle but all-important distinction between a new-skool Tenth Doctor/Rose-shipper "Journey's End" apologist and a new-skool Ten/Rose shipper who feels robbed (for any one of about five different reasons).
An attempted collaboration between conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and Jeff Rense failed miserably, with both of them accusing the other of being a Quisling for The Government and Rense openly advocating that Jones be killed. Jones has also suggested that David Icke may be a government shill to discredit conspiracy theorists by association with his ideas, as he found them too loony even for him to believe.
On That Other Wiki, what is probably the most debated process is "Requests For Adminship", where users can be nominated to become an administrator and put up for a vote. Its discussion page has over 50,000 edits and enough word count to fill several novels, with years spent focused on reforming the process. As a meta-page points out, it is "clearly too stern, too lenient, too arbitrary, too much of a vote count, and/or not enough of a vote count ... While RFA is our most debated process and nearly everybody seems to think there's something wrong with it, literally years of discussion have yielded no consensus on what exactly is wrong with it, nor on what should be done about that." Lamp Shaded on this page comparing Wikipedia to Oceania where Requests for Adminship is compared to Hate Week.
The three-way separation of powers that exists in most western democracies between the legislative (the body that drafts and adopts laws), the executive (the body that implements and enforces those laws), and the judiciary (the body that decides the interpretation and validity of those laws) is in theory a more-or-less peaceful version of this trope; by keeping these branches largely independent of each other and giving them conflicting motivations, it ensures that each branch is limited by the actions of the other two and power does not become concentrated in a single branch. This, of course, can produce a great deal of tension between agents of different branches (i.e., executive complaints about "activist judges").