"Extremism"

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Concept.png "Extremism" Glossary.png 
(plastic word,  enemy image,  polarising perspective)Rdf-icon.png 4
Extremism.jpg
Interest of• American Freedom Alliance
• Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism
• Commission for Countering Extremism
• Counter Extremism Project
• Julia Ebner
• Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens
• Muslim Contact Unit
• Alex Schmid
• UNAOC
"Extremism" is used as a more modern replacement for "terrorism", one that is used to facilitate the criminalisation of ideas as well as just actions. It polarises the world into the normal ("mainstream") and the abnormal, unhealthy ("extreme").

"Extremism" is an enemy image used to designate ideas which are unwelcome to the speaker. The establishment uses the word with negative overtones (implying a connection with "violent extremism", a.k.a. "terrorism"). Commercially-controlled media have used it to refer to a wide variety of alternatives to neoliberalism.

Official narrative

The Western commercially-controlled media often use the word "extremism" is conjunction with "religious", particularly "Islamic" - (i.e. "Islamic extremism"), sometimes in the compound "domestic extremism", but rarely in conjunction with other religions. The word is a flexible one which lacks much of a proper definition. It is pejorative and exonymic - i.e. people use it to put down other people, and never apply it to themselves.[1]

Denial by UK Police

The Canary reported in 2018 that “Despite widespread evidence to the contrary, including a PREVENT training presentation from the police describing anti-fracking protesters as extremists, the police argued in court that anti-fracking protesters were not viewed in this way.” [2]

Definition

As is common for enemy images, "extremism" is a plastic word - i.e. has lacked a clear and consistent definition.[3] In 2014, the UK government defined extremism as "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs".[4]

By 2018, the definition given at the website for the Commission for Countering Extremism added another sentence: "We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist."[5]

Sociology professor David Miller has suggested that corporate media appear to be stoking fear of Islam by very disproportionate reporting of "Islamic extremists".[6] This is does as a component of the "war on terror" narrative used to facilitate the changing of laws purportedly intended to fight "terrorism". Once passed, the lack of a legal definition of "extremism" or "terrorism" means that they are routinely used to facilitate social control such as mass surveillance of entire populations. An "extremist" becomes anyone who expresses dissenting opinions to that which the nation state promotes.

Google trends indicates a spike in usage of the word in April 2009

In practice

The lack of a proper definition have allowed different agencies within the UK government to use the word "extremism" in contradictory ways.[7] The purported 'research' into counter-extremism is so unempirical and vague as to not really merit that term. Nafeez Ahmed has referred to it as "astonishingly crap".[8] Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner promised when the Met's "anti-extremism unit" was set up that it would target serious criminals rather than peaceful protesters, but it has been used against senior UK Green party members Caroline Lucas and Sian Berry.[9]

Violent overtones

The label "extremism" is use to try to promote fear event of peaceful protest ("non-violent extremism"), enabling a more modern, somewhat subtler form of lèse-majesté. Such ideas form the core of the public pretext used by the Internet censorship projects being carried out by the deep state.

The LSE blog asked in 2011 “Should these extremist views be allow [sic.] in society with the risk they could incite some to violence?” [10]

In 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee today the House and Senate intelligence committees were preparing plans to counter “extremist content and Russian disinformation online.”[11] Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, announced that corporations must remove "extremist" material from the internet within hours, if its uploading could not be prevented altogether.[12]

Violence

Full articles: “Violent extremism”, “Non-violent extremism”

The phrase "violent extremism" is an increasingly common phrase which appears to be used as a replacement for the word "terrorism", which also is problematic as regards definition. Although the label "extremism" is associated with violence, some governments have used the phrase "non-violent extremism" when drafting legislation. Alex Schmid of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism argued that “the distinction between “non-violent extremism” and “violent extremism” is not a valid one.” [13]

In schools

The FBI has been borrowing from the UK's PREVENT programme, encouraging high schools to report anyone who criticises government policy as potential future "terrorists", warning that “anarchist extremists” are in the same category as ISIS.[14]

China

China appears to be collaborating with the meme of "extremism". In 2017 it announced many restrictions on dress, cultural life, banning "abnormal beards" etc. in the majority Moslem province of Xinjiang. These were claimed to be measures to fight "extremism".[15]

 

Examples

Page nameDescription
"Domestic extremism"An enemy image used to try to justify repression of alternative ideas
"Non-violent extremism"An enemy image used to try to justify violent repression of those who advocate non-violent change.
"Violent extremism"A modern synonym for "terrorism". It introduced the phrase "non-violent extremism", which was used to extend "anti-extremism" laws towards the explicitly non-violent.
 

Related Quotations

PageQuoteAuthorDate
"Non-violent extremism"“It can even be argued that ‘non-violent extremism’ is a contradiction in terms. While there can be non-violent and violent radicals, it makes, in my view and based on the distinction between radicalism and extremism elaborated above, less sense to distinguish between violent and non-violent extremists.”Alex SchmidMarch 2013
Commission for Countering Extremism“the Commission will play a key role in the ongoing fight to counter extremism in the UK. It will:
  • Identify extremism and advise the Government on new policies to tackle extremism, including whether there is a need for new powers.
  • Support communities and the public sector in confronting extremism wherever it exists.
  • Promote British values and community cohesion – including ensuring women’s rights are upheld.”
25 January 2018
Commission for Countering Extremism“Engaging widely and openly on extremism and Britain’s values across the public sector, communities, civil society, and with legal and academic experts. We need to make the case for tackling extremism and the harms it causes, beyond terrorism, in our communities.

Producing a strategic assessment of the threat we face from extremism, and the current response. This will consider the prevalence, concentration and range of extremism that exists in this country, identify the drivers of extremism, and review the success of current approaches in tackling it.

Advising Ministers on the Commission’s future structures, work programme and the appointment of further commissioners. This advice will in part be informed by the Lead Commissioner’s engagement with stakeholders.”
25 January 2018
Internet/Censorship“Radical and extremist Islamic propaganda distributed in Europe continues to feed off events happening outside Europe. The Internet is one media outlet, perhaps the essential media outlet for this propaganda.”6 November 2007
Theresa May“There is to be frank, far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.”Theresa May2017
Nonviolence“preventing violent extremism is not enough; rather all extremism – Islamist and other – ought to be prevented, given the bloody track record of extremism in power in the twentieth century and beyond. Rather than distinguishing between non-violent and violent extremists, we should distinguish between extremists and non-extremists and support the latter against Islamists at home and abroad. Governments should challenge and resist all extremism, whether it is violent or not, whether it is Islamist or not.”Alex SchmidMay 2014
 

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The Astonishingly Crap Science of 'Counter-Extremism'webpage17 March 2016Nafeez Mosaddeq AhmedAn expose of the crass lack of any valid scientific basis of government strategies to fight radicalisation. Nafeez Ahmed agrues that the "most academically accurate concept to capture this absurd level of crappiness is ‘bullshit’".
Document:Unthinking extremism - Radicalising narratives that legitimise surveillancepaper26 October 2015Ben Harbisher
File:FBI-Extremist Symbols 2006.pdfreport9 November 2006(U//LES//FOUO) The Colorado Information Analysis Center has received information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Joint Terrorism Task Force (FBI/JTTF) regarding extremist symbols, tattoos and terminology. The following is a guideline for possible identification of members and or activists related to the individual groups
== Rating ==
4star.png 11 February 2019 Robin  A helpful expose
An useful expose of this piece of Orwellian language.


References

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