Friday, 5 April 2019

The Multiple Faces Of Radicalisation.

Radicals Come In All Shapes And Sizes: Consider the radicalisation taking place under our very noses in the sociology, women’s, indigenous, and communication studies departments of the country’s universities? Where do they sit on the threat spectrum? Are the young men and women being taught to hate the racist, sexist, Islamophobic and homophobic bigots who threaten their proudly diverse multicultural society, more or less dangerous than the “fascists” they seek to de-platform with such extreme prejudice?

RADICALISATION, it’s a thing. A brand new academic discipline is growing up around investigating the ideas and experiences that lead individuals towards acts of terroristic violence. The national security apparatuses of the Western powers are snapping-up every graduate in radicalisation studies they can lay their hands on. The idea, presumably, is to intercept and redirect those en route to events like 9/11 and 3/15. To recognise the plant biology of extremism and nip it in the bud.

The problem with radicalisation, as a concept, is that it comes loaded down with all manner of assumptions. The most obvious of these is the assumption that to be possessed of radical impulses; to subscribe to radical ideas; to advocate radical solutions; is ipso facto to be considered both psychologically dysfunctional and politically dangerous. To be a radical of any sort in this age of neoliberal orthodoxy, is instantly to become ‘a suitable case for treatment’.

Given that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), several years ago registered Oppositional Defiant Disorder as a form of mental illness, the redefinition of radicalism as a form of political sickness is entirely unsurprising. What better way to prevent people from getting to the root of society’s ills (the word radical is derived from radix, Latin for root) than by more-or-less criminalising the acquisition of radical ideas.

No doubt the spooks and their academic supporters would object that their use of the term ‘radicalisation’ is limited to the specific process of inculcating extreme political and/or religious beliefs in individuals carefully selected and subsequently recruited by terrorist organisations. When they talk about radicalisation, the groups they have in mind are Islamic State and Boko Haram.

Except, of course, like all such initiatives, the drive against radicalisation is prone to “mission creep”. If radicalising individuals to serve the purposes of Islamic extremism is considered a bad thing, then so, too, must be the radicalisation of individuals to serve the purposes of the burgeoning white supremacist ‘international’. Then, of course, there are all those tiny Marxist-Leninist and Trotskyist organisations filling their followers heads with dreams of proletarian revolution and capitalism’s imminent demise. Not forgetting, of course, the anarchists, animal rights activists and deep ecologists. Presumably, they too must be nipped in the bud – before they can burst into flowers of fire and blood.

But why should the war against radicalisation stop there? What about the radicalisation taking place under our very noses in the sociology, women’s, indigenous, and communication studies departments of the country’s universities? Where do they sit on the threat spectrum? Are the young men and women being taught to hate the racist, sexist, Islamophobic and homophobic bigots who threaten their proudly diverse multicultural society, more or less dangerous than the “fascists” they seek to de-platform with such extreme prejudice?

What to do, when glib YouTube philosophers reassure their ‘antifa’ acolytes that all political philosophies are ultimately grounded in violence, and that even liberal democracies are ultimately held in place by the policeman’s baton, or, when revolution threatens, the soldier’s gun? Call the cops? E-mail the GCSB?

If radicalisation really is a thing, and radicals – regardless of their ideology or religion – warrant the closest surveillance, then extreme Islamists, white supremacists, Marxists and environmental activists cannot possibly represent the full extent of the authorities’ watchlist.

The readiness to withhold empathy from those whose values the radical extremist abhors has always been the first step on the staircase that leads to terrorist atrocity. The second is the radical’s hate and rage when those deemed to hold abhorrent values refuse to be silent.

The question the spooks and their academic advisers must ask themselves is: how far up the staircase should the enemies of liberal democracy and freedom of expression be permitted to climb before their escalating radicalisation becomes a threat to their fellow citizens?

This essay was jointly posted on The Daily Blog and Bowalley Road on Friday, 5 April 2019.

10 comments:

Guerilla Surgeon said...

One of the problems is as I may have mentioned before – some Muslim commits an atrocity and instantly it's the fault of his religion, his religious community, and every Muslim in the world. Some white nationalist commits an atrocity, and they forget about the Internet community of white nationalists, they are labelled a lone wolf or troubled soul. No mention of radicalisation at all.
Couple of interesting interviews.
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2017/08/profiling-white-supremacists-wont-prevent-domestic-terrorism.html
https://www.salon.com/2019/04/02/scholar-kathleen-belew-on-new-zealand-donald-trump-and-the-rise-of-white-power/?utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral

kiwidave said...

I had always assumed that when the radicalised individuals are promoting (or committing) violence and destruction they had overstepped the mark. Is that not the case? The criteria for banning must, above all, be evenly applied and should never be used to shut down the free discussion of ideas. The ethno nationalist Maori separatists? Where do we draw the line?

Anonymous said...

Are the people who joined the Baader-Meinhof Gang really that different from Islamist or White Supremacist terrorists. All of them seem to have been a war looking for a cause.

John Hurley said...

Kerry Bolton writes about that here
http://www.unz.com/article/new-zealand-the-criminalization-of-dissent/

One thing I've noticed is that the MSM present opinion from a loaded position. They should start here:

Much of the blame for this confusion may be attributed to the cultural divide that separated political decisions from public perceptions. Put simply, the government embarked on an optimistic plan of social engineering to transform New Zealand into an 'Asian' country; unfortunately, it did a poor job of publicising its intent or rationale. Under the slogan that a global economy required global citizens, an ambitious plan was hatched to restructure society around an Asian axis. But these initiatives moved too quickly for most people, ignored the need to consult or convince people of the importance of any fundamental shift, and did little to monitor the impact of immigration on public perception (Heeringa 1996). Paul Spoonley - Recalling Aotearoa

and finally some hate speech:

The influential cleric wrote that the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims was “factually incorrect” in linking the definition of the word “Islamophobia” to racism, and that it was “counter-productive” to do so.

“The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of sharia that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict,” he wrote.

https://barnabasfund.org/en/news/leading-muslim-cleric-says-islamophobia-a-result-of-islamic-extremism-and-not-racism?fbclid=IwAR2sKTVaBWUz90E5-97g3kp6xP7NBO-NmhF59xw2PkTiBpU09GKlCCdl7XE

Nick J said...

Kiwidave, you talk of radicalization resulting in violence and destruction. I see the radicalization of the whole post modernist doctrines being utilised as passive aggression.

The standard post modernist practice is to frame all conversations as between power and victim. Of course this leaves no room for constructive dialogue, cooperation, love, beauty, the aesthetic, because according to this doctrine it's all power and victimhood, nothing else. That this warped replacement for the "real socialism" of Marx has become so eminent is alarming..

I'd contend that the social grip of post modernism that dominates our social and political discourse is the new normal for radicalization, and that it is extremely dangerous. It will lead to violence and its own form of the Gulag.

Len Richards said...

I am a radical and an extremist. I believe the world is in extreme danger of destruction by an out of control capitalist system. The ONLY permanent solution is the permanent replacement of profit and money as the main drivers of society with a cooperative, democratically planned kaupapa driven by human creativity and compassion. An extreme ecosocialist revolution is needed to off ecosocial disaster and build a people- and planet-centred world.

greywarbler said...

Len Richards
Extreme actions bring extreme reactions. Your idea sounds like heaven but as I regularly don't comply with middle class notions of heaven I would be excluded. Utopian societies with everyone preaching shoulds in well-modulated tones ugh, and rules against having chocolate biscuits or two of anything one liked would drive NZs mad. We are half-way there now I think and just holding on with our finger tips. Better hold off, and go with 'it looks reasonable' and is it being as kindly done as possible, with practical outcomes and properly costed?

greywarbler said...

Nick J
Can you give a link/source that expresses an analysis of post modernism for the layman. I didn't realise that parts of the theory could be crystallised as a simple dichotomy of power and victimhood.

I put up a comment to Nick J re post modernism Chris. Could it go up even though I hit enter before I meant to and it vanished without my signature.
I wanted to know if he could recommend a layman's explanation of post-modernism.










I have been puzzled as to the meaning of the term post-modernism. Perhaps it explains why there is so much wailing and gnashing of teeth from people who have gained freedom and standing unthought of fifty years ago.

Nick J said...

Hi Grey, what you ask I'm happy to deliver...when I find it which is not so easy. I use the term "post modernist" as a catch all, it's more akin to the scene in Life of Brian where they discuss which resistance group they belong to with infinite variants. If you read the original philosophers like Foulcaults theory of power, or Derrida you will find the language impenetrable, akin to art critics written babble.

The best thing to do is probably to listen to the fierce critics like Peterson on YouTube as they will also point you at the apologists who you can also watch.

My take on Marxists and Post Modernists has taken years to come to. As a youth Marxism took mind share with me, for which I will ever be remorseful. I ended up in the Fabian camp that has a different root, Christian social conscience. Not that I'm religious, but Marx versus Fabianism is the difference between the leadership by example of St Francis, and the demand for obedience of St Dominic. The latter utilises force and coercion.

At Uni I remember a professor of sociology telling us of the great and glorious things afoot in Cambodia. At the same time we first read Pasternak and Solzenitsyn....something was clearly wrong with the theory. The evidence was damning, murderous on an industrial scale. What happened next was that the academic Marxists quietly jumped ship, no apologies. What they did was a major rebranding. Marx relied totally on class conflict, the rebranding merely replaced Marx quietly with another image of the same, power relationship's between winners and losers. Cynically I suspect, job protection.

Under this new academic regime Darcy's relationship with Elizabeth is entirely down to his power and her weakness. That it might really be a story of love and desire is off limits, no it's all about power and victimhood say the post modernists. Maybe but nothing is that simple.

I was happy to accept that nobody had a monopoly on the truth and that there was some substance to victim oppressor relationships. What has set me in train against this is identity politics which took me a long time to understand. For example the current "wisdom" insists that there is an oppressive white patriarchy that is an enemy to all, and is to blame for all evils, and that to oppose them alliances with the devil are honourable. Which is of course ridiculous when deconstructed empirically. And that is Post Modernism in a nutshell hope that helps.

Nick J said...

Hi Grey, what you ask I'm happy to deliver...when I find it which is not so easy. I use the term "post modernist" as a catch all, it's more akin to the scene in Life of Brian where they discuss which resistance group they belong to with infinite variants. If you read the original philosophers like Foulcaults theory of power, or Derrida you will find the language impenetrable, akin to art critics written babble.

The best thing to do is probably to listen to the fierce critics like Peterson on YouTube as they will also point you at the apologists who you can also watch.

My take on Marxists and Post Modernists has taken years to come to. As a youth Marxism took mind share with me, for which I will ever be remorseful. I ended up in the Fabian camp that has a different root, Christian social conscience. Not that I'm religious, but Marx versus Fabianism is the difference between the leadership by example of St Francis, and the demand for obedience of St Dominic. The latter utilises force and coercion.

At Uni I remember a professor of sociology telling us of the great and glorious things afoot in Cambodia. At the same time we first read Pasternak and Solzenitsyn....something was clearly wrong with the theory. The evidence was damning, murderous on an industrial scale. What happened next was that the academic Marxists quietly jumped ship, no apologies. What they did was a major rebranding. Marx relied totally on class conflict, the rebranding merely replaced Marx quietly with another image of the same, power relationship's between winners and losers. Cynically I suspect, job protection.

Under this new academic regime Darcy's relationship with Elizabeth is entirely down to his power and her weakness. That it might really be a story of love and desire is off limits, no it's all about power and victimhood say the post modernists. Maybe but nothing is that simple.

I was happy to accept that nobody had a monopoly on the truth and that there was some substance to victim oppressor relationships. What has set me in train against this is identity politics which took me a long time to understand. For example the current "wisdom" insists that there is an oppressive white patriarchy that is an enemy to all, and is to blame for all evils, and that to oppose them alliances with the devil are honourable. Which is of course ridiculous when deconstructed empirically. And that is Post Modernism in a nutshell hope that helps.