Introduction to Political Terrorism (Terrorism: Essential Primary Sources)
Political terrorism relies on violent acts to influence public opinion on political issues or to vie for political power. Political terrorists sometimes harbor nationalistic aims, but these motivations are more clearly considered as separatist terrorism. Political terrorism may be waged by extremist groups on either end of the political spectrum, more often described as "left wing" or "right wing" terrorist groups.
In the United States, right-wing groups are most often aligned with ideologies of religious fundamentalism or racism. Many right-wing extremists also view federal governments as unnecessarily intrusive on personal property rights, or are isolationist, calling for the withdrawal of the United States from global economic markets, treaties, and the involvement in the United Nations. Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist responsible for the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, claimed that his attack was in retribution for a siege-ending deadly raid by federal agents against the Branch Davidian cult exactly two years earier. McVeigh also had contacts in several right-wing extremist groups.
Neo-fascists, neo-Nazis, or skinhead groups are also right-wing extremists. Neo-Nazism blends the desire to recreate a fascist state with a racist social hierarchy and strong anti-Semitism. The most violent neo-fascist groups operate in Western Europe....
(The entire section is 418 words.)
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