Terrorism is one of the burning problems in the United States. After the events of September 11, 2001, many writers try to analyze, investigate, and classify the sources, reasons, and consequences of terrorism. “Defining terrorism is a difficult but not impossible task.” (Simonsen and Spindlove, 2006) Scientists offer lots of captivating ideas, which define terrorism mostly like one of the styles of violence aiming to change people’s attitude and behavior to a certain problem. Usually, terrorism is not collective but small groups’ activities. There is no clear explanation why people are engaged into terrorism. Like in politics, the idea to use terrorism is usually caused by some psychological considerations. The major point about terrorism is that it is not a spontaneous act of violence. It is always deliberate and systematic. It is also necessary to distinguish two types of terrorism: from the left and from the right. If left-wing terrorism is characterized by perfectly planned attacks, right-wing terrorism is considered to be more indiscriminating.
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With time, it becomes more difficult to present a clear definition of terrorism from the left and terrorism from the right. “Terrorist groups of the extreme “left” have often become aggressively nationalistic, whereas those of the far right are second to none with their ardent anticapitalism and anti-Americanism.” (Laqueur, 2003) However, the number of deaths caused by both terroristic attacks from the left and from the right is almost the same.
Right-wing terrorism is also called neo-fascist terrorism has nothing in common with liberal democracy. The major purpose of this type of terrorism is to create a kind of fascist state. The reasons of their attacks may be quite different: religious, political, or even social issues. One of the examples of terrorism from the right was killing abortion doctors and the destruction of numerous abortion clinics. Even if all these attacks were spontaneous, the consequences are rather terrifying.
Left-wing terrorism aims at destroying all the signs of capitalistic society and creating a communist state. Terrorism from the left may be also called eco-terrorism grounded on some moral principles. As it has been already mentioned above, left-wing terrorism is more planned and purposeful. The representatives of such type of terrorism create separate groups, set concrete objectives, develop reliable plans, and try to achieve the purposes using all possible methods. The problem is that time goes by, and it is not that easy to find devoted and faithful member in order to trust them such a serious business.
In comparison to right-wing terrorism, where the base of operations is concentrated on rural areas in different camps, left-wing terroristic representatives prefer urban areas and organize all work within safehouses. (Smith 1994) While terrorism from the left struggle for some political principles, the representatives of terrorism from the right fight for their religious beliefs. These are the main differences between terrorism from the left and terrorism from the right.
Analyzing both left- and right-wing terroristic groups, it is necessary to admit that the major differences lie in their ideologies and ways of planning and arranging attacks. It is impossible to say the activities of which group are more severe and which can be justified. The tactics of any terroristic groups have their own grounds. The question is not about the preferences, the point is to analyze why both right- and left-wing groups appear and what may prevent the destructions caused by their activities.
Simonsen, C. E. and Spindlove, J. R. (2006). Terrorism Today: The Past, the Players, the Future. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Laqueur, W. (2003). No End to War: Terrorism in the Twenty-first Century. Continuum International Publishing Group.
Smith, B. L. (1994). Terrorism in America: Pipe Bombs and Pipe Dreams. SUNY Press.