Characteristics Of Right Wing And Terrorism

Characteristics Of Right Wing And Terrorism


Unit 5 DQ

Topic 1: Characteristics of Right-Wing and Left-Wing Terrorism

Discuss the various characteristics of right-wing and left-wing terrorism within the United States. What are the similarities and differences between the two? Do you believe that such attackers typically belong to terrorist groups or organizations, or are they more often self-radicalized? Provide specific examples to support your post.

Topic 1: Student Response #1 (Respond to Joe)

Joe Cacioppo

Right-wing vs Left-wing

When examining the characteristics of right-wing terrorists, they are composed of radicals or extremists who may fall into either a Far Right group, or a Fringe Right group on the classical ideological continuum. For the right-wing terrorists, they center around the beliefs of ethnic, religious, or nationalist superiority and justify violent actions as a way to reinforce their superiority (Martin, 2018, p. 30.). Fringe right groups are considered more extreme than far right groups and will employ violence and feel they are being subjected to inferior groups, religions or national interests. They tend to value power, superiority and care about promoting their value system over others they determine to be oppositional to theirs.

Left-wing terrorists may fall into a Left Fringe, Far Left groups on the classical ideological continuum. In the fringe-left groups, they use violence to justify their beliefs and feel they are at war with an oppressive government and believe they are champions of the poor or minority groups. In far left groups, they may be believers in Marxist ideology and will use the democratic process, to effect change. They may resort to demonstrations and protests to promote reform. It is important to note, however this style is only peaceful where civil protests are tolerated. This style can become violent in countries that do not tolerate protests, (Martin, 2018, table 2.3.).

In evaluating these groups on the classical ideological continuum, the further left, or further right these groups are, the greater the potential for violence. As the categories slide closer to the middle, the ideologies appear to be less extreme, and both sides tend to use the democratic process to effect change to promote their beliefs (Martin, 2018, p. 29.) When evaluating if such attackers belong to a certain terrorist group, organization, or are self-radicalized, this may be answered in a variety of ways. Each group along the classical ideological continuum could be considered a terrorist group, an organization, or perhaps be a lone-wolf attacker. This would require an examination of who committed the attack, what type of attack was used, and what their intentions were. For example, a member of a left fringe group who became so enraged as a result of George Floyd’s death who was protesting at a Black Lives Matter rally and threw a Molotov cocktail at a vehicle containing police officers could be viewed as a lone-wolf terrorist, a criminal, or a professional agitator for Antifa who his hell-bent on warring with a perceived oppressive police force. By comparison, a similar violent attack by a fringe right group could be generalized as a person armed with a rifle who takes aim at government officials during a softball game, who feels that destroying an existing government is necessary to promote a change more suitable to his beliefs. In this instance, the shooter would fall under a lone-wolf under the fringe right.


Martin, G. 2018. Essentials of Terrorism, 5th Edition. [[VitalSource Bookshelf version]]. Retrieved from vbk://9781544342955

Topic 1: Student Response #2 (Respond to Travis)

Travis Reed

Good Evening Y’all

Right-wing terrorism refers to extremism response against an apparent threat to a group’s sense of specialness, value system, and or its superiority assumption. This ideology is linked to religious superiority or ethnonational beliefs (Windisch et al., 2019). Rightists often try to preserve their superiority status using aggressive and violent attacks to assert their status (Windisch et al., 2019). They intend to return to the period of lost glory because their value system has been usurped by another culture or enemy group. Their justification for violence is that their beliefs are opposed and attacked by unwanted interests (Windisch et al., 2019). Right-wing terrorism is usually based on nostalgic ideology. Most of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. and abroad target Christians and fellow Muslims who do not want to subscribe to extremist views. An example is the 9/11 attack in which the Al Qaeda group sought recognition by the U.S and the global community.

Left-wing terrorism is future-oriented whose goal is to conquer an existing system or regime and implementing their ideology of a new society (Windisch et al., 2019). Left-wing terrorism is conducted because the group perceives themselves as oppressed unjustly by a corrupt and biased government (Windisch et al., 2019). This ethnonational group believes that they must achieve the equality and justice that they deserve. Left-wing terrorism is an extreme view of Marxist ideology which is idealistic. The group justifies the use of violence because it considers itself at war with an oppressive system.

These two groups have similarities in that they can belong to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, or be self-radicalized or belong to an organization. For instance, Al Qaeda is being involved in various left-wing incidences such as the 9/11 attack. In addition, they can be self-radicalized such as the attack on students at the University of North Carolina in 2006, which was carried out by Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar. In addition, the two types of terrorism use violence to emphasize or pass their information.


Windisch, S., Scott Ligon, G., & Simi, P. (2019). Organizational [dis] trust: Comparing disengagement among former left-wing and right-wing violent extremists. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 42(6), 559-580.



Topic 1: Student Response #3 (Respond to Damon)

Damon Bradshaw

Right-Wing and Left-Wing Terrorism

Right-wing terrorism is a type of organized crime carried out by individuals or groups with different ideological beliefs such as white nationalism, ecofascism, neo-fascism, white separatism, often acting in response to the perceived oppression of specific people or groups (Ravndal, 2016). On the other hand, Malkki (2018) cites that left-wing terrorism is a movement that aims to overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with a socialist one and can happen within already established socialist states. Left-wing terrorism is also known as Marxist-Leninist terrorism. The right and left-wing clusters are alike in that they participate in terrorist and criminal activities to get funds for their cause. The difference between the two groups is that the right-wing is driven by anti-federal, racist, and religious issues.

In contrast, socio-economic and political issues drive the left-wing. Right-wing terrorists believe that their actions will lead to the establishment of authoritarian governments. At the same time, left-wing terrorism is a movement that aims to overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with a socialist one. “Based on a CSIS data set of terrorist incidents, the most significant threat likely comes from white supremacists, though anarchists and religious extremists inspired by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda could present a potential threat as well” (Jones, 2020). Jones (2020) noted that since 1994 the number of attacks carried out by the left and right-wing groups had outstripped those carried out by groups inspired by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Organized groups conduct these attacks, and rarely are they self-radicalized. The right-wing movement in the US is likely to be influenced by a complex contagion process, which involves the transmission of radical ideology. The use of social media and group membership increases the spread of radical ideology.

Malkki, L. (2018). Left-wing terrorism. In Routledge Handbook of Terrorism and Counterterrorism (pp. 87-97). Routledge.

Ravndal, J. A. (2016). Right-wing terrorism and violence in Western Europe: Introducing the RTV dataset. Perspectives on Terrorism, 10(3), 2-15.

Jones, S. (2020). The Escalating Terrorism Problem in the United States. Retrieved 30 August 2021, from

Topic #2: New Terrorism

Discuss the concept that Martin (2018) refers to as the New Terrorism. How has modern extremist behavior contributed to the development of this modern concept of terrorism? How can acts of terrorism be prevented and deterred when these terrorists do not fit squarely into the classical ideological continuum discussed previously? Provide specific examples to support your post.

Topic#2: Student Response #1(Respond to Angie)

Angie Georgi

Good morning Professor and Fellow Classmates:

Martin (2018) has described New Terrorism has modern terrorists that are utilizing weapons to create as much damage as possible while also creating the highest casualties as possible. Extremists on their own will do whatever is necessary to support any idea or cause, and their influence is great. So when the combination of extremist behavior and terrorism is presented, it becomes an even more volatile situation. Religious ideas or causes is no longer the motive behind terrorism, economic, social, and political views and causes are now in the mix for motives. Because of the motive and drive of the new terrorists, it is often more difficult to prevent acts of terrorism. As previous stated, modern terrorists will do whatever it takes to support their cause, so prevention and deterrence is futile. Terrorists typically do not discuss their plans, especially with outsiders, so this makes prevention even more difficult. There might be a small amount of chatter regarding possible events. However, the smaller the group, the less the talk. September 11th, the Boston Bombings, and the USS Cole are all examples of terrorist attacks that involved little to no chatter that likely could not have been prevented, let alone deterred.


Martin, G. (2018). Essentials of Terrorism: Concepts and Controversies (5th ed.). Sage Publications

Topic #2 Student Response #2 (Respond to Elizabeth Stuart)

Elizabeth Stuart

New Terrorism refers to the morality of modern terrorists, as well as their desire and ability to cause the most damage possible. As Martin (2019) stated, New Terrorism is characterized by cell-based organizations, desired possession of weapons of mass destruction, either politically or religiously vague motives, inconsistent methods of attack, utilizing the Internet, and manipulating the media. These factors make New Terrorism different from terrorism that took place in the 1800s until the late 1900s. Behavior by modern extremists show a wanton disregard for life and the desire to exact as much damage as possible. Martin (2019) pointed out that prior to the New Terrorism age, terrorist attacks were calculated and targeted specific people or groups of people. While modern terrorists may still target specific groups of people, the goal of mass casualty has become more frequent in recent years. In order to prevent terrorism in the new age, counterterrorism efforts must evolve and adapt to meet terrorists’ abilities. For example, the use of the Internet could be an advantage to counterterrorism organizations. Technology is constantly changing and adapting to the needs of the public. Terrorist networks that operate online can also be infiltrated through the Internet. While this is difficult and oftentimes time-consuming, it is nonetheless a worthwhile pursuit.

Martin, G. (2019). Essentials of Terrorism: Concepts and Controversies (5th ed.). Sage Publications, Inc.

Topic 2: Student Response #3 (Respond to David)

David Carusotto

Hello All,

Gus Martin describes new terrorism as a post-September 11, 2001 attack (Martin, 2018). He also describes new terrorism as mass casualty and destruction from a terrorist attack (Martin, 2018). Martin explains that these new attacks are creative and organized (Martin, 2018). September 11, 2001, was the deadliest day of American history on American soil, with 2,977 people killed from the terrorist attacks from that day. Terrorists are always trying to one-up the last attack, and unfortunately, September 11, 2001, set the bar high in terms of casualties and destruction (Gunn, 2003). Martin also describes new terrorism as transnational religious solidarity (Martin, 2018). Broken down, this means that people worldwide are committing terrorist attacks on behalf of one group’s religious views. For example, if a person in America commits a terrorist attack on behalf of Jihad because they agree with the mindset that is set by Al-Qaeda who is based out of the middle east. With technology constantly advancing, it is easier for those parties to communicate and coordinate from the other side of the world. Finally, Martin sums up new terrorism with redefined moral justifications for political violence (Martin, 2018). Recently in America, we are seeing attacks from groups such as Antifa because they currently do not agree with the morals or system that America was founded upon. Groups are justifying violence to get their message heard.

Thank you,


Gunn, M. J. (2003, Summer). Has the threat of mass-casualty terrorism been exaggerated? Defence Studies, 3(2), 114-120.

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