What is Left-Wing Violence in The United States, and How?
Left-Wing Violence in The United States
Left-Wing Violence in The United States occurs when there is political violence between people who are extreme in their ideas, political leaders and political views and thoughts. As we often observed it in the time of Donald Trump.
All efforts that take freedom and (social) equality as absolutes, as found in anarchist and communist ideologies, are grouped under the umbrella phrase of “left-wing extremism,” which is used to describe a broader set of movements that seek to undermine the free democratic basic order.
What is Left-Wing Violence?
Terrorism conducted to destroy current capitalist institutions and replace them with communist or socialist societies is left-wing or far-left terrorism.
The term “left-wing extremism,” which also goes by the names “left-wing terrorism” and “radical left-wing movements,” describes political ideas and groups that seek revolutionary change on the political and social left.
Extremists on the left want to overturn the current social and political structure and the free democratic foundation. Either a communist system or a society “without rulers” (anarchism) is what they have in mind to take its place.
To What Do We Owe the New Wave of Left-Wing Terrorism?
This wave of the new left is enormous. In the middle of the 1960s, a movement known as the New Left arose in opposition to the Vietnam War. Hostility to the United States and widespread anti-Americanism swept the globe due to the information revolution, public backlash against the war, and the much-maligned country that conducted it.
Those of An Extreme Left-Wing
Extremists on the left want to overturn the current social and political structure and the free democratic foundation. Either a communist system or a society “without rulers” (anarchism) is what they have in mind to take its place. Left-wing extremists are united in their belief that “capitalism” is the “root of all evil” and must be eradicated.
To radicals on the left, “capitalism” is synonymous with the rule of law in a democratic state and a market-based ownership system. They claim that the only reason for this alliance is to strengthen existing power imbalances and systems of oppression. That’s why they think “capitalism” is inherently at odds with the ideals of a libertarian, egalitarian society.
They think that legislative changes will not be able to bring about the essential downfall of the state and social order and that the only way to overcome “capitalism” is to become an extreme left-wing revolutionary. In theory, left-wing fanatics are likewise prepared to resort to violence to achieve their end.
Organizing Principles of the Far Left Wing
Diverse ideologies, levels of organization, preferred modes of action, and perspectives on the legitimacy of violence as a means to attain political ends describe the left-wing extremist scene.
The proportion of violent left-wing extremists is higher than one in four. Somewhat narrowly defined here are autonomists, anarchists, and other ideologies.
When it comes to violent left-wing extremists, autonomists make up the largest subgroup. Larger urban areas and college towns provide fertile ground for the emergence of autonomous communities.
There is typically a hub in each scene where people can congregate, giving rise to a web of smaller groups, individuals, and regional outgrowths of larger national organizations and structures. Berlin, Hamburg, and Leipzig have the most significant scenes.
The autonomous movement opposes any authority over its members. They see every form of government as equally authoritarian and demand that it be replaced with a system not based on dominance.
Therefore, autonomists aim to practise alternate ways of life within their “free spaces” that align with their own beliefs. This goes hand in hand with avoiding contact with people responsible for maintaining law and order. For instance, even law enforcement in a “free space” may provoke attacks.
It is proposed that the “capitalist system of society” be countered with structures that intermittently impede the efficiency of capitalist institutions, eventually weakening the state until it ultimately collapses.
Anarchists disagree with the idea that humans should rule over one another. This encompasses all varieties of governmental rule, including liberal democracies. Freedom and equality, in the view of anarchists, should be fully realized in a state and social order that is entirely free of any dominance.
Thus, in contrast to autonomists, anarchists are not solely concerned with establishing “free spaces” inside the framework of an existing state. Instead, they aim to destroy nation-states and all kinds of government based on them, including democratic democracies.
Anarchists place a premium on networking, crucial to their success in bringing about the revolution that will work in an anarchist society.
Purely Ideological Radicals On the Left Wing
Extremists on the left who adhere strictly to dogma sometimes cite the works of early communists like Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin as central to their worldview.
Left-wing extremist political parties and other like-minded groups fall under the spectrum of exclusively ideological left-wing extremists.
Some examples are the Communist Party of Germany (Deutsche Kommunistische Partei), the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany), the Socialist Equality Party (SGP), and the radical wing of the political party DIE LINKE.
Strictly ideological left-wing extremists seek to overthrow the constitutional democracy and replace it with socialism and eventually a “classless” communist society.
They lay the ideological framework for left-wing extremism and support virtually the whole left-wing extremist spectrum in Germany. They employ democratic means, such as voting, to achieve their goals.
They want to influence politics anyway, and their ideological foundation makes them potential “intellectual enablers” of left-wing extremist violence. The idea of working together with violent left-wing radicals has also gained traction.
In addition, enormous membership numbers, youth outreach, and some financial clout contribute significantly to the potency of left-wing extremism among Germany’s far-left organizations.
The handful of strictly ideological left-wing extremists committed to violence do not want to rule out resorting to violence.
Anti-imperialists are a subset of the violent, strictly ideological left-wing extremists. They think “capitalist” nations are always looking for new markets to conquer using “imperialist” policies and the threat of force to increase their bottom lines. Those who oppose “capitalism” and “imperialism” often justify violence as a means to an end.
. Its primary focus is offering free legal and financial aid to left-wing extremists arrested or incarcerated. This is done to undermine the legitimacy of the democratic constitutional state and lessen the impact of criminal prosecutions.
A high threat level is associated with left-wing extremism in criminal and violent offences and its adherents.
There is a significant quantity of violence, but there is also a noticeable variation in the kind and severity of that violence. However, systematic attacks against persons and property are still observable on the periphery of demonstrations, even as conflicts and “black blocs” become less common.
To establish “Nazi-free zones,” well-organized but tiny organizations use the term “anti-fascism” to justify direct, often deadly attacks on political opponents.
Attacks on police officers, politicians, and entrepreneurs are sometimes rationalized by appealing to the “anti-gentrification” and “anti-repression” movements. Also, losses can be substantial when construction materials, cars, and structures are the focus of arson assaults.
Many heinous acts of violence in recent years have been committed by autonomists. They have shown no fear when confronted directly by political opponents or the police. By doing so, they implicitly sanction the severe injury and, in some circumstances, the loss of life of others.
Concerning advancing the ideology of far-left extremists, concerns like “anti-repression” and “anti-gentrification” are, at best, contextually relevant and, at worst, interchangeable.
Using Democratic Discourse for Ulterior Motives
Extremists on the left often use democratic discourse to further their own agendas. They pick hot-button political issues to steer public discourse in specific directions. They aim to insert their political agenda into the discussion, such as calling into doubt about the state’s authority and institutions.
In this context, left-wing extremists place a premium on radicalizing others, building relationships with people who aren’t already part of their group, and recruiting new members.
The Roots of Political Extremism and Why Some People Become Political Extremist?
People will accept an argument that merely reflects their views.
Regardless of where you stand politically, you probably have firm beliefs about the issues most matter to you. Your political group (whether a party, a movement, or a leader) may inspire strong feelings of loyalty and dedication in you.
Politics has, and always will be, a polarising force. However, problems are getting worse as more use social media.
In fact, according to a survey by the Pew Research Centre, more than half of all adult Americans acquire their news from social media despite its well-known propensity for fostering insular communities and spreading false information.
People who assume they are immune to false information are the most susceptible to its influence, adding insult to injury.
A civilization in which truth, fact, and objective reality are all subjectively interpreted is what you get when you follow this formula.
Let’s analyze the current global trend towards right-wing populism. Take the rise of the neo-Nazi party in Germany, the conflict between the far-right Vox party in Spain and the LGBTQ community, and the popularity of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party in France.
Le Pen is vehemently opposed to immigration. In the United States, many people who have supported Donald Trump during his presidency remain his supporters.
In light of this, here are the two inquiries any politically active citizen should make of themselves:
1. Have the ideas of “my truth” and “your truth” destroyed our capacity to think critically about political issues?
2. Can people who disagree on political topics live together in peace?
There are no simple solutions, sadly. However, one key fact can shed light on the stubbornness with which certain political fanatics adhere to ludicrous views in the face of overwhelming evidence. It’s related to our desire for social acceptance.
The Spread of False Information Among Political Extremists Could Be Due to “Virtue Signalling”
A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General focused on how conservatives in Spain and the United States react to false information reinforcing their political beliefs.
1. In the first study, far-right and centre-right conservatives in Spain were exposed to social media posts criticising the country’s liberal administration.
- The content of these updates was crafted to speak to either their conservative holy ideals or their non-sacred interests. Non-sacred values can be measured against one another.
- They might be susceptible to negotiation or trade-offs. Still, sacred values are moral imperatives that individuals are unwilling to compromise.
- Despite fact-checks and accuracy nudges on different social media platforms), participants on the extreme right were more inclined to reshare obviously false information than those on the centre right, according to the experiment.
- This was especially the case when the post’s content aligned with their deeply held beliefs, and their sense of self was intrinsically linked to their political ideology.
2. The second experiment was conducted in the United States. It involved a replication of the social media experiment among Trump supporters.
- In fact, Trump voters and supporters who identified as Republicans were shown to be unfazed by Twitter fact-checks and prepared to spread the false information nevertheless.
- This indicates that fact-checks and “fake news” flagging on social media may not be enough to stop the spread of false information, especially when it is tied to an extremist cause.
- The researchers ran a third experiment on 36 volunteers from Spain who supported the far-right political party Vox to better understand the brain activity of political extremists seeing misinformation.
3. In this third experiment, participants were asked again if they would reshare the social media post. Still, an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) was used to monitor the participants’ brain activity this time.
- The results showed that activity rose in the bilateral inferior frontal cortex and the precuneus when participants considered sharing the post. Feeling accepted by peers, comprehending the feelings of others, and acting by social norms all need the involvement of specific brain regions.
- Simply said, when far-right members choose to spread false information, they likely do so because they see doing so as a means to show solidarity with other extremists.
- In the case of the extreme right, this desire to virtue signal is compelling when the misinformation offered to them concerns issues of immigration, religion, or nationalism, all of which are deemed sacrosanct to the community.
It’s crucial to investigate the psychological and social causes of disinformation. The problem goes beyond simply correcting misinformation; it also necessitates addressing radicals’ desire for acceptance and approval from their peers. Aiming for critical media literacy and open discourse can establish bridges in a world separated by “my truth” and “your truth” and perhaps even release us from the prison of our ideas.
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