Inside Terrorist Organizations

By David C. Rapoport | Go to book overview

NOTES

An earlier version of this paper is being published in Paul Wilkinson (ed.), Current Research on Terrorism ( Aberdeen: University Press, 1987).

1.
Frequently cited are the examples of the French and American revolutions and successful colonialist revolts.
2.
Issues of definition, of course, have presented a problem to many parties seeking a clear boundary for what should be considered terrorism. The label has become so burdened with value connotations that the actors themselves reject it, a distinct change from the turn of the century when anarchists and revolutionaries proudly adopted it. Terrorism in this essay refers to a definition first used by Thornton in "'Terror as a Weapon of Political Agitation'", Internal War: Problems and Approaches, edited by Harry Eckstein ( 1964), p. 73; 'Terror is a symbolic act designed to influence political behaviour by extranormal means, entailing the use or the threat of violence'. Additionally, it is determined by the nature of the act and not by the nature of the perpetrator. See also Brian Jenkins, The Study of Terrorism: Definitional Problems ( The Rand Corporation, Dec. 1980).
3.
For the purposes of this article, I will risk the criticisms of the rebels by labeling subnational groups employing violence as 'terrorists' throughout.
4.
David Rapoport was, to my knowledge, the first to make such an assertion about the terrorist mentality. In his 1971 primer on Assassination and Terrorism he states, 'All terrorists must deny the relevance of guilt and innocence, but in doing so they create an unbearable tension in their own souls, for they are in effect saying that a person is not a person. It is no accident that left-wing terrorists constantly speak of a "pig-society"; by convincing themselves that they are confronting animals they hope to stay the remorse which the slaughter of the innocent necessarily generates, Assassination and Terrorism, ( Toronto: CBC Merchandising, 1971), p. 42.
5.
Nathan Leites, "'Understanding the Next Act'", Terrorism, Vol. 3 ( 1979), p. 1.
6.
Ibid., p. 2.
7.
Jerrold Post, "'Notes on a Psychodynamic Theory of Terrorist Behavior'", Terrorism ( 1984), p. 242.
8.
Ibid., p. 243.
9.
The sources enlisted in this study are representative, and not a comprehensive compilation of all such primary source material.
10.
The French AD, for instance, was created in 1979, and the CCC not until 1984, while the Italian Red Brigades and the German RAF were well into their second generation by that time. Several current groups are the result of the decline, splitting, or 'regeneration' of previous groups.
11.
See Joyce Peterson Using Stylistic Analysis to Assess Threat Messages ( The Rand Corporation, Oct. 1985), for a description of these techniques still being developed. She suggests using accepted literary tools as well. For other work on the psychological mechanisms, personality, and social backgrounds of those drawn to political violence, see works by Konrad Kellen, On Terrorists and Terrorism ( The Rand Corporation, Dec. 1982), and A. Kaplan, "'The Psychodynamics of Terrorism'", Terrorism ( 1978).
12.
Albert Bandura, "'Mechanisms of Moral Disengagement'", unpublished paper presented at the Interdisciplinary Research Conference on 'The Psychology of Terrorism: Behaviors, World-Views, States of Mind'. Washington, DC, March 1987.
13.
Again, this point has been suggested earlier by David C. Rapoport: 'To speak of the systematic use of terror for publicity and provocation purposes is to presume, of course, that the antagonists in some critical senses share a moral community.' See "'The Politics of Atrocity'" in Yonah Alexander and Seymour Maxwell Finger (ed.), Terrorism: Interdisciplinary Perspectives ( New York: John Jay Press, 1977), p. 51.
14.
Bandura, p. 1.
15.
See, for example, Menachem Begin, in his chapter on going underground "'We Fight, Therefore We Are'", The Revolt, pp. 26-46.
16.
Bandura, p. 1.

-168-

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