Tim Wilson, Rightist Violence: An Historical Perspective
The aim of this essay is to trace the evolution of extreme right-wing violence by paying close attention to its changing patterns from the late nineteenth century to the present. Its basic subject is the specific form of violent actions that have historically emerged from the Right. As such, it takes the form of a study of deeds rather than propaganda. This paper will go on to discuss the perpetrators and methods of right-wing violence from its statist emergence in the late nineteenth century to its pivot in the early twentieth century to taking the ‘low route’ to power, as Italian fascists and Nazi stormtroopers developed strategies focused upon the ‘conquest of the streets’. This essay will conclude by asking: having examined the historical violence of its antecedents, just how tactically innovative is today’s right-wing violence?
Bernhard Blumenau, “Unholy Alliance: The Connection between the East German Stasi and the Right-Wing Terrorist Odfried Hepp”
This article, providing an example of state support for terrorists, looks at the cooperation between the Stasi and the right-wing West German terrorist Odfried Hepp in the 1980s. Based on research in Stasi archives, the article explains that gathering information, rather than using him as a terrorist weapon in the Cold War, was the main motivator for the Stasi to cooperate with a high-profile neo-Nazi. By looking at the details of the Hepp-Stasi alliance, it assesses what forms, results, and dangers this relationship produced. The article challenges the myth of the all-mighty East German State Security and demonstrates that the dynamics of this alliance were not always in the Stasi’s favour. In the absence of other instruments of coercion, the Stasi used the personal relationship between Hepp and his officers to control him. The article offers insights into Hepps’s terrorist career but also the pragmatic way in which the Stasi built its network of informants outside the GDR. It also adds nuances to the understanding of the relationship between Socialist states and terrorists during the Cold War
Benjamin Lee, “More Grist to the Mill? Reciprocal Radicalisation and Reactions to Terrorism in the Far-Right Digital Milieu”
Reciprocal radicalisation is the theory that extremist organisations are connected and feed on one another’s rhetoric and actions to justify violent escalation. Recent empirical work has suggested that reciprocal radicalisation is a good deal more subtle than is often assumed, and is nuanced by organisational, social and political context. This study seeks to apply the theory of reciprocal radicalisation to the far-right digital milieu, an online space conceptualised as underpinning the varying physical manifestations of the far-right. Based on a qualitative thematic analysis of user posts in three far-right web forums, the study concludes that responses to ideologically opposed terrorism within the far-right milieu are often at odds with the assumed radicalising effects of terrorist attacks. While responses were not uniform, for many users in the far-right digital milieu, jihadist terrorism was an obvious and expected result of the wider failures of politics and society. Although there were some calls for violent reprisal, they were juxtaposed by non-violent responses which interpreted jihadist terror as a consequence and sign of societal decadence and political weakness around issues of migration and rights.
Benjamin Lee, “‘It’s not paranoia when they are really out to get you’: the role of conspiracy theories in the context of heightened security”
Conspiracy theories have been seen as important supporting components in extreme political beliefs. This paper considers conspiracy theories in the counter jihad movement, an international network combining cultural nationalism with xenophobia towards Muslims. This paper evaluates the nature of conspiracy belief through the analysis of several key texts published by counter jihad activists, and of content published on a daily basis by three core websites. The findings show the Islamisation conspiracy theory to be highly modular, with authors able to mix and match villains. The analysis of daily published content demonstrates that, at the routine level, conspiracy theory is rarely used openly as a call to action. This is in keeping with other examples of conspiracy theory in extreme right wing movements in which conspiracy is seen as justification for existing prejudices. However, the political and security context the counter jihad operates in also affords the movement opportunities to support some of their claims, often by reproducing or reinterpreting mainstream or quasi-mainstream reporting, without reverting openly to conspiracy tropes. In the case of the counter jihad movement, as well as potentially other far-right movements, conspiracy theory may be taking a back seat to a more sophisticated public relations approach.
Benjamin Lee and Kim Knott, “Fascist aspirants: Fascist Forge and ideological learning in the extreme-right online milieu”
Learning in extremist settings is often treated as operational, with little regard to how aspiring participants in extremist settings engage with complex and abstract ideological material. This paper examines learning in the context of the amorphous network of digital channels that compose the extreme-right online milieu. Through an in-depth qualitative analysis, we explore how well the prevailing model of extremist ideological learning (in ‘communities of practice’) accounts for the behaviour of aspiring participants of Fascist Forge, a now-defunct extreme-right web forum. The findings suggest that some of the social aspects of communities of practice have been replicated in the online setting of Fascist Forge. However, for a combination of technical and ideological reasons, the more directed and nurturing aspects of learning have not. Several issues are raised about the role of ideological learning in online communities, notably the open accessibility of extremist material, the lack of ideological control leading to potential mutation and innovation by self-learners, and the role of digital learning in the preparation, shaping and recruitment of individuals for real world organising and activism.
Frida Bergström, Democratic decay and the violent extreme right Hungary and Poland in comparative perspective
CSTPV Short Paper Series, 2021
Archie Philipps, From a handshake to a handgun: Religious Zionist Responses to the Olso Accords 1992 – 1995
CSTPV Short Paper Series, 2021.
Grace Vaule, Ideational Variation within the American White Nationalist Movement: A Framing Perspective
CSTPV Occasional Paper Series, 2021.