Lacking universally accepted terminology to talk about classes, I'll make occasional use of Smalltalk and C++ terms. (I'd use Modula-3 terms, since its object-oriented semantics are closer to those of Python than C++, but I expect that few readers have heard of it...)
I also have to warn you that there's a terminological pitfall for object-oriented readers: the word ``object'' in Python does not necessarily mean a class instance. Like C++ and Modula-3, and unlike Smalltalk, not all types in Python are classes: the basic built-in types like integers and lists aren't, and even somewhat more exotic types like files aren't. However, all Python types share a little bit of common semantics that is best described by using the word object.
Objects have individuality, and multiple names (in multiple scopes) can be bound to the same object. This is known as aliasing in other languages. This is usually not appreciated on a first glance at Python, and can be safely ignored when dealing with immutable basic types (numbers, strings, tuples). However, aliasing has an (intended!) effect on the semantics of Python code involving mutable objects such as lists, dictionaries, and most types representing entities outside the program (files, windows, etc.). This is usually used to the benefit of the program, since aliases behave like pointers in some respects. For example, passing an object is cheap since only a pointer is passed by the implementation; and if a function modifies an object passed as an argument, the caller will see the change -- this obviates the need for two different argument passing mechanisms as in Pascal.