Next terrorism threat may be of homegrown variety
Radical right could be stirred by election results
By PHILIP JENKINS
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
How will the next president deal with the terrorist crisis of 2010-11? No, not those terrorists. I mean the domestic extremists who, history suggests, are due for a resurgence.
Forecasting a wave of political extremism might sound like apocalyptic prophecy, but it has a sound basis in American political history. In November, it is possible that a liberal Democratic administration will be elected to replace the long-established conservative Republican leadership. Such a transition has occurred three times in the past 80 years, in 1932, 1960 and 1992. (For various reasons, the defeat of Gerald Ford in 1976 does not fit the model.) In each period, within two to three years, the nation had a frightening upsurge of radical right-wing, paramilitary movements.
In each case, these angry movements spun off terrorist cells that plotted assassinations and bombings. Significantly, these upsurges characterize only the shift from conservative to liberal administrations. Paramilitaries remain few in number and marginal under GOP administrations.
After Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933, an array of far-right movements borrowed the styles and imagery of European fascism. The most influential group was the Silver Shirts, which mixed violent anti-Semitism with New Age-style occultism. By the end of the decade, the pro-Nazi Christian Front was arming for a coup d’etat in which it planned to assassinate New Deal politicians, bomb East Coast cities and massacre Jews.
Paramilitary movements again flourished after the election of John F. Kennedy, when the far right was convinced that the administration was under thorough communist influence and some militants formed an armed insurgent movement that pledged to overthrow a Red federal regime. These militants, who adopted the historic name “Minutemen,” built up arsenals on a terrifying scale, and their propaganda sheets listed politicians whose heads were “in the cross hairs” of a sniper’s rifle. Some Minutemen funded their operations by bank robberies; others allied with a booming Ku Klux Klan that boasted tens of thousands of active members.
If these older movements never succeeded in putting their most extreme plans into action, the militia movement of the Clinton years left a stronger mark. By 1994, an estimated quarter of a million Americans were affiliated with “patriot” militias that armed and trained to resist a left-liberal “new world order.” As before, some activists drifted into dangerous extremism. Some linked up with racist and anti-Jewish movements. When terrorists struck the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, no doubt remained as to just how perilous such links could be. Some fanatics had even further-reaching ambitions, seeking to obtain biological weapons. The Turner Diaries, the novel that became the era’s manual of the ultraright, ends with the hero piloting a nuclear-armed suicide flight against the Pentagon.
This was posted on Kick. It rings true to me, especially after my recent journey through the neo-nazi site.
They’ll always be with us, these anti-American right-wing nutjobs. And the GOP feeds and harnesses this energy well, since as a party they possess no moral character whatsoever, except as window-dressing. They feed these orcs a constant diet of hatred for liberals and liberty, couched in code-phrases every fearful militia-lover knows. It is not illogical to assume that these orcs will fester and burst out under an Obama administration. If only the Ents would awaken.
Again — Thanks, Republicans.