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The Evolution of Populist Left-Wing Terrorism
by Robert Harris
It was interesting to read that Greta Thunberg, a sixteen year teen, is at the forefront of the ‘Extinction Revolution’ movement, which has been holding economic life in the United Kingdom to some degree of ransom. To quote the Daily Mail:
The Swedish campaigner said: 'For way too long the politicians and people in power have got away with not doing anything at all to fight the climate crisis and ecological crisis.
'But we will make sure that they will not get away with it any longer.'
However, it is not unknown that the UK has reduced its carbon emissions to the lowest level since the 19th Century, and have reduced by 41% since 1990, and there are plans in place to further reduce emissions by at least 80% from the same baseline in the next 30 years while China, and other rapidly growing economies, possesses a rapidly accelerating emissions rate. Thunberg’s speech was greeted with a rapturous reception, reinforcing the notion that we live in a post-fact world.
‘Extinction Revolution’ are now extending their explicit threats to preventing politicians from operating within democratic institutions. Such an endeavour would of course be objectionable enough but the threat occurs at a time of national crisis with the Brexit process.
Farhana, the group's political circle co-ordinator, said: 'Today marks a transition from week one, which focused on actions that were vision-holding but also caused mass disruption across many dimensions (economic, cultural, emotional, social).
'Week two marks a new phase of rebellion focused on negotiations where the focus will shift to our actual political demands.'
She added: 'We want to show that XR is a cohesive long-term, global force, not some flash in the pan.
'Being able to 'pause' a rebellion shows that we are organised and a long-term political force to be reckoned with. This will give XR leverage as we enter into negotiations with those in power to make headway on our three demands.'
Some commentators have described the kind of sustained violent left-wing protest, as inevitably found at the G20 summits, as a form of ‘soft terrorism’. While the degree of applicability of such a strong label may be questioned where there are relatively infrequent clashes with the police, and where there is not the kind of large-scale destruction of property as commonly found at G20, the kind of “peaceful” actions found with Extinction Revolution’ nonetheless appear to comply with some of the normative aims of terrorism because XR intend to disrupt the normative functioning of society to extract substantial political concessions - in this case we find continued threats of societal harm, which includes demands as significant as a governing citizen’s assembly dedicated to addressing the issue of climate change.
Such totalitarian leanings typically are excused as ‘well-meaning’ or ‘idealistic’ and given a soft-pass by much of the media. Indeed, many random people appear to have been joining the “protests”, where the organisers have sent overtures to the public to encourage a degree of pleasingly indulgent virtue signalling, and may indicate why the British police are reluctant to tackle the issue head-on.
In an age where the SJW is reaching a distinctive zeitgeist, it needs to be acknowledged, perhaps more ever than before, that broad-spectrum left-wing protests, which often exceed the confines of legal and entirely-legitimate protest, indicate an abiding disregard for democracy, the inherent rights of the individual, and the normative functioning of society, by demonstrating a most overt intent to extract concessions through the kind of illegitimate processes that are anathema to healthy functioning democracies.