Upper Left Quadrant Details Upper Right Quadrant Details Lower Left Quadrant Details Lower Right Quadrant Details Details



Since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, terrorism has become a catchword, but its origins are much older. The term stems from that bloody phase of the French Revolution known as the Terror. Historically, terror has been a strategy used by the state itself or the dominant class under stress to suppress opposition and gain or regain control by fear. The extreme methods are not only political terrorism but the trademark of totalitarianism -- to politicize every aspect of life. However, terror is also a strategy available to non-state actors who have neither legitimacy nor police. In fact terrorism is probably the only effective strategy available to a weak group or movement against an overwhelmingly stronger adversary.
The vertical axis opposing government to group distinguishes between enforcement (I.E.T.) or state terror, practiced on behalf of the state to shore up the control of the people, and agitational (I.E.T.) or sociopolitical (BGD) terror, an anti-state activity carried out by rebel groups in order to topple the government. As for the horizontal axis, terrorism may be ideologically driven or it may simply be a means employed respectively by the incumbents in order to retain power or by the opposition to wield it.
The upper left quadrant incorporates the repressive type of terrorism, through penetration of each and every individual with the norms of the system and through control of conduct by mechanisms of fear and anxiety, the ingredients of terror. The URQ is best characterized as counterinsurgent (BBB), oriented toward maintenance of the regime through power by employing mercenary groups, voluntary goon squads, and eventually more formalized but freely operating groups, such as the Brown Shirts, the Black Shirts -- to cow individuals, groups and neighborhoods whenever necessary to atomize the population. The LLQ perhaps best epitomizes the common sense of terrorism, an individual act of extreme symbolic violence - the assassination of a monarch or president, the blasting of the World Trade Center. Yet anarchist dissolution of authority seldom is an isolated enterprise. It is more often connected to a tightly organized group, with a wider community basis - be it bound by religion, class, or nationalism - and a strategy for conquering power. In fact, the combination of individual sacrifice and community values may well be the factor turning contemporary terrorism into an outright politcal actor. [Flavia Carassini]