Domestic Terrorism Term Paper

Pages: 7 (1991 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Terrorism

Domestic Terrorism has been regarded in recent times to be one of the most important threats facing internal security in the U.S. In order to have a complex view on the terrorist phenomenon taking place inside the borders of the United States, it is important to take into account certain theoretical delimitations and examples that would support them. In this sense, domestic terrorism must be seen apart from international terrorism. Secondly, contemporary groups of terror can be understood to a larger extent by subscribing them to different approaches to political violence of people such as Mao, Che Guevara, Carlos Marighella, and Franz Fanon. Thirdly, it is important to also consider some forms of the early domestic terrorist activities and their similarities with the events taking place today. Fourthly, as part of the general idea of domestic terrorism, right wing terrorists are bonded together by certain common elements such as racism, religion, and an anti-governmental feeling. Relevant is in this sense the degree in which these elements are indeed a strong connection between these groups and the extent to which the 2nd amendment influences their activity. Finally, in order to have a practical view on this theoretical approach, a couple of groups would be particularly analyzed from the point-of-view of a terrorist organization, the means used by them, and the justification of their actions. These two groups are Greenpeace and PETA.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Domestic Terrorism Has Been Regarded in Recent Assignment

The Federal Bureau of Investigations, the accredited institution to deal with internal security issues divided "the terrorist threat facing the United States into two broad categories, international and domestic." (FBI, 2002) the difference between the two is essential. Thus, while international terrorist acts involve the breach of U.S. legislation and international legislation, domestic terrorism has as reference point domestic legislation. Also, terrorism conducted internationally targets transnational issues and has a wide spectrum of action, which does not take into account national borders. By comparison, domestic terrorism is restricted to actions inside the state, aiming at influencing the decisions of the national government. Finally, the groups that are involved in international terrorist attacks come from different countries, thus including nationals from all over the world. In the case of domestic terrorism, the perpetrators are nationals of a single country, especially taking into account the fact that most often they fight against issues that deal with the country's particular specificities.

Terrorism from above, defined in general terms, can be seen as violence used by the state against a certain group of the society. The term came into being with early terrorist manifestations from the Jacobin Terror Regime. (Micewski, 2005, 2) Moreover, this idea of the use of violence by the state was considered at the time as even being legitimate. Terrorism from below on the other hand, aims at particularly influencing the fall of a political regime, with the goal of creating a revolution. It was common among most revolutionary groups that change cannot come about but through a revolution, especially among the communist adherents. Therefore, their actions included revolution type means.

Generally speaking, domestic terrorist groups try to identify themselves and their aims with particular views on political violence promoted by people such as Mao, Che Guevara and other revolutionary personalities. Mao's perception of political violence resided in his views that indeed change must take place, and the only way in which change can be achieved is through a revolution which uses violent means. (Mao on the violence and military, 1966) Similarly, Che Guevara's revolutionary ideas also employed violent means in order to create a new condition for the oppressed people in his country. (Clark, 1988) Most often, these ideas related to the use of violence as a means of achieving social revolution have been employed by left wing domestic terrorist groups which "present themselves as protectors of the populace against the alienating effects of capitalism and U.S. imperialism." A relevant example in this sense is group of the Puerto Rican Nationalists that have continued throughout the 50s their actions against U.S. political members such as Harry Truman or other members of the House of Representatives. (Knight, n.d.)

Carlos Marighella is considered by some a terrorist, and by others a hero, an impression similar to that of Che Guevara. He fought against the system established in Brazil, and was largely influenced by the revolution that took place in Cuba. (Brazil Escola, 2007) However, unlike Che, he considered revolutionary means to be used especially by the people living in the cities, and not in villages. Frantz Fanon was also a proponent of the revolutionary means, but he advocated a sort of emancipation of the Blacks in the social and economic context of the Negritude. Despite the fact that he did not agree with the ideas promoted by the Negritude, he did consider violence to a proper means for producing the change the Black people needed. In this sense, he considered violence to be "a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect." (Franz Fanon, n.d.) This final example can be seen as inspirational for certain individuals that have promoted violence as a means of coercion during the Civil Rights Movement such as Malcolm X

Although it is impossible to identify a moment in which domestic terrorism became a reality in the United States due to that large complexity of the phenomenon, it can be argued to one point that racial-based domestic terrorism can be seen as one of the early signs of violence used for a particular social and political cause inside a state. In this sense, the late 19th century can be seen as manifesting early signs of terrorist activity. The Ku Klux Klan which started off in the beginning as a social gathering of white people in the South rather than a terrorist group, soon developed new means of exercising pressure and violence on the black population through constant attacks and violation of their physical integrity and property. Therefore, they may be seen as one of the first examples of terrorist groups on the U.S. soil. However, by comparison to the growing numbers of terrorist factions today in the U.S., it is clear that their actions were reduced in dimension and impact. This was due on the one hand to the limited means of applying violence, by comparison to the ones existing today, and on the other, to the increased vigilance of the authorities in the U.S. that are now specialized in dealing with domestic terrorist issues through the FBI special Direction. Moreover, the legal framework inside the U.S. nowadays enables citizens to own guns, which makes violence to be more easily applied. Contemporary terrorist groups thus seem to be more violent and less concerned about the actual impact of their action in terms of victims and damages.

As seen previously, the Federal bureau of Investigation considers the two types of terrorism, international and domestic. However, according to research done on the issue of domestic terrorism, this can in its turn be divided in right, left, and interest-based terrorism. Relevant here is right wing terrorism which gets its force from the certain allegiance that is created among its members. This includes racial discrimination, such as the whites vs. The black population; religious intolerance, for instance the protestants vs. The Catholics, the Jews, the Muslims. These are regarded as being intruders in the white or protestant American societies and therefore action must be taken against them. There are also right wing groups that have an anti-governmental attitude. Most of them are anarchists and reject the idea of the state and of central control. These anarchist groups therefore consider that the "government has become too large and repressive in everyday life, (and) are openly soliciting and calling for the overthrow of the United States government." (Presley, 1996)

Finally, there are certain groups whose label of terrorist groups is still debatable. Aside from right and left wing groups, there are also special interest terrorist groups which tend to follow a certain political or social objective, and in this sense, make use of violent means. In recent decades, it is considered that a new form of terrorism, eco terrorism, emerged. In this sense, organizations such as Greenpeace or PETA are seen as threatening the internal security of the citizens and have therefore been viewed as terror organizations.

Greenpeace is a global organization that states that its actions are oriented towards goals such as "changing attitudes and behavior, protecting and conserving the environment and promoting peace." (Greenpeace, 2007) However, its methods which often include demonstrations, uses of violent language and threatening actions, seizure of vehicles in order to capture the attention on the message are sometimes considered as breaching the U.S. law and therefore are included in the simple definition of domestic terrorism.

PETA is the largest animal's rights organization that fights against the unethical treatment of animals. Its mission states that "PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Domestic Terrorism" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Domestic Terrorism.  (2007, November 6).  Retrieved September 20, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Domestic Terrorism."  6 November 2007.  Web.  20 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Domestic Terrorism."  November 6, 2007.  Accessed September 20, 2021.