Page 1

Electronic Newsletter of the ECPR-SG on Extremism and Democracy

e-Extreme

March 2011 Volume 12 Number 1


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

Managing Editor (ad interim) Paul Staniland University of Chicago, United States Email: paul@uchicago.edu Co-editors Sarah de Lange University of Amsterdam, Netherlands Email: s.l.delange@uva.nl Matthew Goodwin University of Nottingham, United Kingdom Email: Matthew.Goodwin@nottingham.ac.uk

The e-Extreme is the newsletter of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism and Democracy and is published quarterly. For any enquiries about the newsletter, please contact the managing editor ad interim, Paul Staniland. For inquiries regarding book reviews please contact editor Sarah de Lange. Copyright Š 2011 by the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism and Democracy All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopying, or otherwise, without permission in writing from the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism and Democracy.

2|Page


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

Table of Contents

Standing Group Announcements ……………………………………………………………. 4 Conference Report ………………………………………………………………………………. 5 Research Report …………………………………………………………………………………. 6 Book Reviews .……………………………………………………………………………………. 8 Publications Alerts ……………………………………………………………………............ 10

3|Page


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

Standing Group Announcements

e-extreme editorship There is currently no permanent editor of e-Extreme. If any member of the Standing Group is interested in replacing Nigel Copsey and taking on the role of editor please contact the Standing Group convenors David Art (David.Art@tufts.edu) or Elisabeth Carter (e.carter@pol.keele.ac.uk).

Visit the website Please do visit our website for details of forthcoming conferences and workshops: www.extremism-and-democracy.com Also, remember that the website contains a database which enables members to browse and search for other members by research interests, as well as by name. If you would like to update your own details please just email us at: info@extremism-and-democracy.com Please also do encourage colleagues and PhD students to join the Standing Group.

Keep us informed! Please keep us informed of any upcoming conferences or workshops you are organizing, and of any publication or funding opportunities that would be of interest to Standing Group members. We will post all details on our website. Similarly, if you would like to write a report on a conference or workshop that you have organized and have this included in our newsletter, please do let us know. Please also tell us of any recent publications of interest to Standing Group members so that we may include them in the ‘publications alert’ section of our newsletter, and please get in touch if you would like to see a particular book (including your own) reviewed in e-Extreme, or if you would like to review a specific book yourself. Finally, if you would like to get involved in the production of the newsletter, the development of our website, or any of the other activities of the Standing Group then please do contact us. We are always very keen to involve more members in the running of the Standing Group! Email us at: info@extremism-and-democracy.com

4|Page


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

Conference Report

Methods and Methodology in Researching the Far Right Organized by Prof. Dr. Fabian Virchow, head of the Research Unit on Right Wing-Extremism at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf This international and interdisciplinary symposium, held at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf on 25-26 March 2011, brought together scholars from different European countries as well as from the US. The event focused on qualitative research, dealing with experiences and challenges of ethnographic fieldwork on the one hand, and questions of sources and their interpretation on the other hand. In her key note address “What lies beyond the visible? Methodological Challenges in Studying the Far Right”, Kathleen Blee of the University of Pittsburgh (USA), addressed the challenges we have to deal with when researching the far right. Referring to her work on the Ku-Klux-Klan, she showed that it is useful not only to take into account the spectacular forms of action (e.g. not to limit research to leading persons only), but to pay attention to important people in the second or third tier and to study the daily life of far right activists, so as to understand how a social scene or organization works. The first panel focused on “Getting access to the far right”, and started with a contribution by Miryam Eser Davolio (University of Applied Sciences for Social Work, Basel, Switzerland). In her paper on two studies conducted in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, she pointed out “The Need of Special Approaches for Conducting Right Wing Extremism”. A new approach in researching far right youth scenes was presented by Cynthia Miller-Idriss from New York University (USA). By using photographs of demonstrations and from websites like those of far right fashion brands, she developed an approach in “Studying the Symbolic”, focusing on a dimension underestimated in the research on the contemporary far right. In the second panel “Sojourning in the far right”, Martina Avanza of the Université de Lausanne (Switzerland) discussed different ways to do fieldwork on the far right. In her paper “Ethnography without empathy, or how to do fieldwork in a far right party”, she presented a typology of different forms of participant observation, on the one hand highlighting some of the difficulties involved in such work (e.g. dealing with difficult ethical questions), but on the other emphasizing what unique results one can gain in this research. Pete Simi from the University of Nebraska, Omaha (USA) contributed results of his fieldwork on the American neo-Nazi organization “Aryan Nations”. He pointed out how difficult it is not to cross personal boundaries that you have set for your research while working in the field and showed how challenging this work is for the researcher. The second day dealt with the topics “Contextualizing the far right” and “How to Make Use of Sources –Today and Tomorrow”, with presentations from Gideon Botsch and Christoph Kopke of the Moses Mendelssohn Centre for European-Jewish Studies (Potsdam, Germany) and Bernhard Weidinger of the University of Vienna. While Botsch and Kopke explained the use of a historical-generic Method, Weidinger provided us with an example of his research on student fraternities in Austria. He argued that unpublished original material from the far right itself is often not taken into account, or that once analyzed, it is often not re-interpreted in other contexts.

5|Page


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

Research Report

Matthew Feldman, University of Northampton, UK, Director of the Radicalism and New Media Research Group During May and June 2010, four leaders of the virtually-unknown Aryan Strike Force were jailed for a variety of terrorism-related offences. Sentences ranged from two years to a decade – the latter for preparing a dozen fatal doses of ricin, and representing the first UK conviction under the 1996 Chemical Weapons Act.1 Following the convictions of this neoNazi quartet 2 , some press coverage touched upon the connections between right-wing extremism and home-grown terrorism.3 But little more was said. No one seemed to grasp the nettle this case presented: this was the latest and worst in a rash of domestic terrorism convictions involving the British extreme right – more, in fact, than that of violent jihadi Islamism since 2005 – and had crossed a threshold in the production of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Still more worryingly, an extreme right-wing terrorist was able to produce the most deadly substance on earth – of a kind British and American governments recently invaded a country apparently stockpiling just such WMDs – entirely through the internet. My experience as an expert witness in these and other extreme right-wing terrorism cases has led me to maintain that we are, in fact, all witnessing a new phenomenon: broadband terrorism.4 The case of the Aryan Strike Force represents a perfect example of this dynamic at work, and an overview will be provided here that reflects three different aspects of broadband terrorism: online conditions of incitement and radicalization; the posting of extremist/violent images, texts and videos on the internet; and finally, the preparation and/or undertaking of terrorist violence as facilitated by the internet (such as manuals for weapons preparation). Each of these features of broadband terrorism was apparent in the short-lived history of the Aryan Strike Force (ASF) and its successor organizations. The ASF boasted several hundred members between its formation in late 2007 and the leadership quartet’s rupture in summer 2008. By 2009 two rival groups had emerged from this split, the British Freedom Fighters and The Wolfpack/ Legion 88. In their two years of their existence, all three neo-Nazi groups shared a predominately virtual presence. True, there were paramilitary weekends organized, sporadic meetings between leading members, and the planning of ‘street ops’ to test the commitment of recruits – culminating in a pipe bomb demonstration uploaded on YouTube. But in the main, these were groups that communicated, disseminated propaganda, radicalized fellow-travelers, and incited hatred entirely via the web. Without a high-speed internet connection, in other words, these geographically dispersed and faceless extremists would have been little more than neo-Nazi pen-pals. Instead, a virtual community of right-wing extremism less than a generation old has come of age and changed all that. On the ASF website, for example, all manner of violent threats, racist sentiments and pro-Nazi sentiments were consistently in evidence, and were freely accessible. Sometimes the addresses of journalists, police or political opponents were listed, as neo-Nazi correspondents goaded each other into increasingly extreme epithets and 1

http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/press_releases/118_10/ (accessed 21/04/2011). http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/press_releases/124_10/ (accessed 21/04/2011). 3 See online coverage at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/white-supremacist-group-considereditself-most-racist-1946090.html; http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/may/14/neo-nazi-ian-davison-jailedchemical-weapon; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7821034/Neo-Nazis-urged-eradication-of-allethnic-minorities-on-Aryan-Strike-Force-website.htmll; and http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/33689/aryanstrike-force-houses-horror-revealed (all websites last accessed 21/04/2011). 4 http://www.historyandpolicy.org/opinion/opinion_15.html (accessed 21/04/2011). 2

6|Page


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

incitements to violence. In over 35,000 ‘weblog’ messages reviewed, I did not find any evidence suggesting the ASF and its successor organizations were anything other than what they consistently claimed to be: violent, revolutionary neo-Nazis at the very extreme end of right-wing extremism. Yet this was only the tip of the iceberg. Members (any perceived ‘Aryan’ from the age of 14) had access to all manner of paramilitary manuals, fascist and racist texts and instructions for making weapons could be downloaded from the ASF site. This forms the second aspect of broadband terrorism. That is to say, beyond the essential context of racism, incitement to racial and religious hatred and solicitations to violence, the Aryan Strike Force also provided extremist material for initiatives. These included e-books by Adolf Hitler, David Lane, George Lincoln Rockwell, William Pierce and others, as well as instructional texts like the “Blood & Honour Field Manual” and the “Kitchen Complete” manual for improvised explosives. Thus a few mouse clicks away, neo-Nazi do-it-yourself kits were readily available – and continue to be – for self-radicalization through the internet. The third step taken by the ASF leadership, and the Rubicon between online and offline extremism, may be seen to separate potential from actual broadband terrorists. Here the production of offensive weapons through the purchase, instruction and preparation of online materials swiftly turns a broadband terrorist into an actual one. This was a process epitomized by Ian Davison, the ASF website administrator. Self-taught at computing, Davison purchased castor beans online and learned how to turn these into ricin through downloadable ‘training’ manuals. This was enough to safely produce up to 15 lethal doses of the WMD, and was kept in a jam jar in Davison’s home until found in a police raid in June 2009. From extreme right-wing incitement and generous helpings of online radicalization, Davison had shown – independently of his neo-Nazi confidants, it appears – a truly frightening face of the internet. It is here, more than anywhere else, that neo-Nazism thrives unchecked and resurgent. As the case of the Aryan Strike Force makes clear, these can be rather more than ‘keyboard warriors’. Such a milieu may be, instead, more effectively characterized as ‘broadband terrorism’ – from grooming and radicalization, through to provision of terrorist materials, as well as guidance on how to prepare and use them – which represents perhaps the greatest risk posed by violent extremist groups active today.

7|Page


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

Book Reviews

Political Extremes: A Conceptual History from Antiquity to the Present By Uwe Backes (London: Routledge, 2010), 298 p., ISBN 978-0415473521 Reviewed by Tjitske Akkerman

University of Amsterdam The concept of extremism has come widely into use in the twentieth century. It has acquired exceptional political importance as a battle term used to stigmatize a confusing variety of politicians, parties or movements as anti-democratic. Conceptual clarification of a term that has acquired so much weight in struggles for political legitimacy is evidently not only of academic interest. Yet, surprisingly few scholars have focused on extremism as a generic political term. The German political scientist Uwe Backes is a notable exception. His latest book Political extremes: A conceptual history from antiquity to the present is the culmination of more than twenty years of extensive research. In many respects, his conceptual history of extremism is an outstanding work. The book is not only ambitious in its time-span, but Backes also has explored a vast wilderness of literature, magazines and newspapers in some ten languages. His pioneering work implied raking through many (undigitized) political publications and digging up interesting historical trajectories of the term. The main part of his research is devoted to the twentieth century, but Backes also discovered fertile ground beyond modern history. In his former work, he had presented extremism as a modern term with a history not going further back than German liberalism between the revolutions of 1830 and 1848. In this book, however, the author follows a more ancient track leading him far back in time to the concept of ‘extremes’ in the work of Aristotle and the ancient doctrine of the mixed constitution. This new perspective adds much to our understanding of the concept of extremism. The idea of extremes is central to Aristotle’s ethics of moderation and his political ideal of a mixed constitution. Aristotle connected his ethical doctrine with the political ideal of the politeia, a mixed constitutional government that combined the rule of the many (democracy) and the few (oligarchy). The Aristotelian doctrine lingers on in modern democratic thought, but has been adapted to fit the emergence of political parties and the coming into use of a left –right topography after the French Revolution. Backes describes the history of this complex doctrine from Antiquity to the nineteenth century in not more than two chapters, and it is clear that more work is still to be done to bridge the gap between the classical and modern ideas. Backes’ approach is firmly rooted in the historical tradition of the German volumes ‘Gechichtliche Grundbegriffe’ inaugurated by Brunner, Konze and Koselleck. This approach characteristically focuses on the historical lineage of a basic concept rather than on the development of political discourses or on the history of ideas in historical context. In the main part of the book Backes does not narrowly follow this approach, but keeps an open eye to the complexity of the vocabulary in which the term ‘extremism’ is embedded. In the part about the doctrine of the mixed constitution, however, the focus on terminology leaves little room for the complex terminology of the doctrine as a whole. The focus of the book is on the ‘age of extremes’. The concept of extremism, which had already been in use in the USA during the Civil War, found far-reaching application after 1917 as a pejorative term for the political project of the Bolsheviks. While the term was spread through the English, French, German and Italian press, it was almost exclusively applied to the extreme left. After the March on Rome it was extended to include the extreme right. The term was not only used as a liberal stigma term for those who questioned the

8|Page


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

constitutional consensus, but the extreme right took it up as honorary nickname and identified itself as an extreme in a positive sense. The National Socialists saw themselves as representing the extreme virtuous and courageous part of mankind fighting against the extreme evil part. Hitler’s hate for the bourgeoisie found its expression in the hate for the moderate class that would subjugate to the winner rather than put up resistance. With National Socialism the extremist as saviour had arrived on the political stage. After 1945, extremism became of academic interest in the USA and scientific debates spread from there to Western Europe. In Western Germany it found its way in the terminology of ‘militant democracy’. The American constitutional law only acknowledges extremism as ‘a clear and present danger’, restricting it to attempts of a violent elimination of the constitutional order. The Germans took another path by including endeavours hostile to the constitution, independent of their relevance for criminal law. Backes builds on this German tradition in his last chapter, in which he provides a typology and definition of extremism. His typology makes clear that violence is not necessarily a defining characteristic of political extremism. As he points out, the political behaviour of the NSDAP in the beginning of the 1930s shows that extremist ideology and the practice of violence do not necessarily go hand in hand. Outlining the scientific discussion in the second half of the twentieth century, Backes describes the subjugation of extremism to the dominating discourse of totalitarianism by philosophers like Hannah Arendt; the contrast set up between pluralism and extremism by social scientists like Shils and Lipset; the distinction between radicalism and extremism made by social scientists like Klingemann/Pappi, Kaase and Mudde; and the efforts to distinguish left from rightwing extremism by law philosopher Bobbio. This chapter provides the groundwork for a final attempt by the author to classify the heterogeneous extremism terms and to provide a definition. The historical overview has made clear that the classical principles of government by law and government for the common good have remained essential throughout time to prevent excesses of power. In addition to these classical values, modern democratic thought has turned the spotlights on the principles of pluralism and self-determination. In the last chapter, the author also outlines an interesting typology based on the important observation that extremism has two forms: it can take an anti-democratic and an anti-constitutional form. The former undermines civil equality, the latter civil liberty. Communist and anarchist movements can be radically egalitarian and democratic, but become extremist when they oppose the constitutional state. On the other hand, there are movements that are anti-egalitarian, but respect the constitutional state. These movements endorse the principle of slavery, apartheid, or ethnic discrimination on a constitutional basis. The most extreme forms of extremism combine both dimensions. National Socialists, for instance, combined national racism with the totalitarian state. Overall, this last chapter is essential reading for anyone trying to get a theoretical grip on the phenomenon of political extremism. Backes has written a book that is not only politically highly relevant, but also sheds new light on the subject. Detailed historical work, an original historical perspective and a sophisticated theoretical overview makes this book essential reading for scholars of varying disciplinary background.

9|Page


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

Publications Alert Ahmed, Zahid Shahab, and Maria Stephan. “Fighting for the rule of law: civil resistance and the lawyers' movement in Pakistan.” Democratization 17, no. 3 (6, 2010): 492-513. Arter, David. “The Breakthrough of Another West European Populist Radical Right Party? The Case of the True Finns.” Government and Opposition 45, no. 4 (9, 2010): 484504. Aydinli, Ersel, and Hasan YöN. “Transgovernmentalism Meets Security: Police Liaison Officers, Terrorism, and Statist Transnationalism.” Governance 24, no. 1 (1, 2011): 55-84. Bacik, Gokhan, and Bezen Balamir Coskun. “The PKK - Problem: Explaining Turkey's Failure to Develop a Political Solution.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 34, no. 3 (2011): 248. Baker, Paul. “Representations of Islam in British broadsheet and tabloid newspapers 1999– 2005.” Journal of Language and Politics 9, no. 2 (7, 2010): 310-338. Ben-Yehuda, Nachman. Theocratic Democracy: The Social Construction of Religious and Secular Extremism, New York: Oxford University Press (2010). Bergen, Peter, Bruce Hoffman, and Katherine Tiedemann. “Assessing the Jihadist Terrorist Threat to America and American Interests.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 34, no. 2 (2011): 65. Blee, Kathleen M., and Kimberly A. Creasap. “Conservative and Right-Wing Movements.” Annual Review of Sociology 36, no. 1 (6, 2010): 269-286. Brown, Gerald G., and Louis Anthony Tony Cox Jr. “How Probabilistic Risk Assessment Can Mislead Terrorism Risk Analysts.” Risk Analysis 31, no. 2 (2, 2011): 196-204. Calle, Luis de la, and Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca. “The quantity and quality of terrorism.” Journal of Peace Research 48, no. 1 (January 1, 2011): 49 -58. Chesney, Marc, Ganna Reshetar, and Mustafa Karaman. “The impact of terrorism on financial markets: An empirical study.” Journal of Banking & Finance 35, no. 2 (2, 2011): 253-267. David-West, Alzo. “North Korea, Fascism and Stalinism: On B. R. Myers' The Cleanest Race.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 41, no. 1 (2, 2011): 146-156. Etzioni, Amitai. “Terrorists: A Distinct Species.” Terrorism and Political Violence 23, no. 1 (1, 2011): 1-12. Frankel, Matt. “The ABCs of HVT: Key Lessons from High Value Targeting Campaigns Against Insurgents and Terrorists.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 34, no. 1 (2011): 17.

10 | P a g e


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

Gable, Gerry and Paul Jackson. Lone Wolves: Myth or Reality? A Searchlight Report, Ilford: Searchlight (2011), http://www.lonewolfproject.org.uk/resources/LW-completefinal.pdf Goldman, Ogen. “The Globalization of Terror Attacks.” Terrorism and Political Violence 23, no. 1 (1, 2011): 31-59. Goodwin, Matthew J. New British Fascism: The Rise of the British National Party (BNP), Abingdon: Routledge (2011). Hirsch-Hoefler, Sivan, Daphna Canetti, and Ami Pedahzur. “Two of a kind? Voting motivations for populist radical right and religious fundamentalist parties .” Electoral Studies 29, no. 4 (12, 2010): 678-690.

Hegghammer, Thomas. “The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalization of Jihad.” International Security 35, no. 3 (March 22, 2011): 53-94. Hogg, Michael A., Christie Meehan, and Jayne Farquharson. “The solace of radicalism: Selfuncertainty and group identification in the face of threat.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 46, no. 6 (11, 2010): 1061-1066. Kassimeris, George. “Greece's New Generation of Terrorists: The Revolutionary Struggle.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 34, no. 3 (2011): 199. Lawrence, Adria. “Triggering Nationalist Violence: Competition and Conflict in Uprisings against Colonial Rule.” International Security 35, no. 2 (2010): 88-122. Loidolt, Bryce. “Managing the Global and Local: The Dual Agendas of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 34, no. 2 (2011): 102. McAllister, James. “Who Lost Vietnam? Soldiers, Civilians, and U.S. Military Strategy.” International Security 35, no. 3 (March 22, 2011): 95-123. McLauchlin, Theodore. “Loyalty Strategies and Military Defection in Rebellion.” Comparative Politics 42, no. 3 (April 2010): 333-350. Mousseau, Michael. “Urban poverty and support for Islamist terror.” Journal of Peace Research 48, no. 1 (January 1, 2011): 35 -47. Musolff, Andreas. “Hitler's Children Revisited: West German Terrorism and the Problem of Coming to Terms With the Nazi Past.” Terrorism and Political Violence 23, no. 1 (1, 2011): 60-71. Parashar, Swati. “Gender, Jihad, and Jingoism: Women as Perpetrators, Planners, and Patrons of Militancy in Kashmir.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 34, no. 4 (2011): 295. Pratt, Douglas. “Religion and Terrorism: Christian Fundamentalism and Extremism.” Terrorism and Political Violence 22, no. 3 (7, 2010): 438-456.

11 | P a g e


e-Extreme

Volume 12, No. 1, March 2011

Ross, Jeffrey Ian. (ed.) Religion and Violence: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict from Antiquity to the Present (Three Volume Set), New York: M. E. Sharpe (2010). Ross, Marc Howard. “Reflections on the Strengths and Limitations to Cross-Cultural Evidence in the Study of Conflict and Its Mitigation.” Cross-Cultural Research 45, no. 1 (1, 2011): 82-96. Shekhovtsov, Anton. “The Creeping Resurgence of the Ukrainian Radical Right? The Case of the Freedom Party.” Europe-Asia Studies 63, no. 2 (2011): 203-228. Silber, Efrat. “Israel's Policy of House Demolitions During the First Intifada, 1987-1993.” Terrorism and Political Violence 23, no. 1 (1, 2011): 89-107. Staniland, Paul. “Cities on Fire: Social Mobilization, State Policy, and Urban Insurgency.” Comparative Political Studies 43, no. 12 (December 1, 2010): 1623 -1649. Stenersen, Anne. “Al Qaeda's Foot Soldiers: A Study of the Biographies of Foreign Fighters Killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan Between 2002 and 2006.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 34, no. 3 (2011): 171-198. Tagar, Michal Reifen, Christopher M. Federico, and Eran Halperin. “The positive effect of negative emotions in protracted conflict: The case of anger.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 47, no. 1 (1, 2011): 157-164. Thomas, Paul. “Failed and Friendless: The UK's ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’ Programme.” The British Journal of Politics & International Relations 12, no. 3 (7, 2010): 442458. Waxman, Matthew. “Terrorism: Why Categories Matter.” Terrorism and Political Violence 23, no. 1 (1, 2011): 19-22. Worley, Matthew. “Why Fascism? Sir Oswald Mosley and the Conception of the British Union of Fascists.” History 96, no. 321 (1, 2011): 68-83. Zuckert, Michael, and Felix Valenzuela. “CONSTITUTIONALISM IN THE AGE OF TERROR.” Social Philosophy and Policy 28, no. 01 (11, 2010): 72-114.

ECPR Standing Group on Extremism and Democracy Convenors: David Art (David.Art@tufts.edu); Elisabeth Carter (e.carter@pol.keele.ac.uk)

12 | P a g e

eExtreme - March 2011  

Volume 12, No. 1

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you