View the H-Diplo Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in H-Diplo's November 2004 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in H-Diplo's November 2004 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the H-Diplo home page.
The process of evolving militancy and radicalization is observable in many historical extremist movements regardless of whether the premises of the particular movement are based on socialism, religion, nationalism or race. I would argue that this dynamic results from the movement possessing a general ideology that is sharply critical of the status quo without having a recognized authority who can be the arbiter of that ideology's theoretical boundaries or tactical application. In an attempt to establish such an authority, factions within such movements employ the rhetorical demonization against one another that previously were levied against the mainstream society. Lenin claimed " majority" ( Bolshevik) status for his faction and set about abusing, bullying and hectoring the " minority"(Menshevik) and moderate foreign socialists like Kautsky. Within the Nazi Party's early days before Hitler's authority became suffocating, nationalist-volkische Nazis drove out Left-socialist Nazis from the movement (Strasser), converted them ( Goebbels) or killed them off in the Night of the Long Knives ( Rohm and SA leadership). Islamist extremists are in that stage right now and denunciations of religious apostasy ( which under the Sharia are a capital offense) are an important tool for the most radical elements to push the more moderate Salafist-Hanbali Islamists in the direction of consolidation behind the revolutionary Qutbist worldview proffered by al Qaida. This dynamic is arguably to the great advantage of the more extreme elements within an already radical movement who tend to promote their position as one of "authentic" status and the moderate position as counterfeit, weak or even traitorious to the movement's goals with such traitors being deserving of death. Note it is not always the most extreme factions who win the day. Hitler kept the extremists to his right - Rosenberg,Bormann, Streicher, the Austrian Nazi Party radicals - in check until late in his regime. Lenin ultimately destroyed his untrustworthy and anarchic-terrorist Left-S.R. junior parters - but the whole movement tends to be pushed further from the mainstream and radicalized by such internal struggles. In the case of the American anti-war movement we see the rise and radicalization of the SDS and ultimately the emergence of groups like the Weather Underground and the Progressive Labor Party - who would have been unimaginable on campus in 1962 or 1963. Mark Safranski Independent scholar ----------------------------- Professor Zimmerman wrote: >From: email@example.com > >Edwin Moise writes: "Leftist political groups are notorious for the way >they attack one another, fighting over doctrinal differences." > >I also noticed this phenomenon among leftist groups. However, one needs to >keep in mind that, despite narrow doctrinal differences which would seem >insignificant to an outside observer, there was hardly any difference in >the end results sought by these groups. A similar phenomenon is noticeable >among Islamists, who differ only on issues such as tactics not end >results.