…In the works
“Othering Terrorism: A rhetorical strategy of strategic labeling” [Forthcoming 2017] Genocide Studies and Prevention, Spring 2017. International Association of Genocide Scholars.
- The term terrorism is as value-laden a descriptor as one will encounter in the contemporary period. Though it evokes a strong image of an Orientalist, brown body enacting brutal, theatrical violence from behind a balaclava, the term itself describes very little. The decision to label a particular act, individual or movement as terroristic is more a question of politics than means. In the post-9/11 era, state-level rhetoricians describe their ideological enemies that can be ‘othered’ as terrorists, while others are considered extremists. Thus Muslim, Arab, Asian and African advocates and practitioners of political violence are termed terrorists with near universality, while white, Christian, Westerners acting in the name of white supremacy, anti-abortion and sovereign citizen movements are left outside of that taxonomy. This essay will explore how violence is viewed positionally, and how terrorism has been utilized as a defamatory label applied asymmetrically to some proponents of political violence—those challenging state claims on violence, statehood, capital, and what are broadly understood to be ‘Western’ values. [Invited to author issue introduction, article in development]
““Eco-Terrorism”: An Incident-Driven History of Attack (1973-2010)” [Forthcoming, 2017] Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Vol.10, Issue 3. Michigan State University Press.
- The animal and earth liberation movements (i.e. “eco-terrorists”), are characterized by autonomous cells of activists utilizing a diverse tactical array to cause financial disruption and damage to businesses, governments and individuals seen to be contributing to animal exploitation and ecological degradation. Though the movement has produced an extremely limited amount of “violence,” and despite its strong tendency to target property, authoritative labeling has termed such actions terrorism. This study adds to the discourse concerning the political violence of “eco-terrorism” by examining the movement’s historical timeline through a statistical analysis of more than 27,000 events drawn from nearly three hundred sources including movement ephemera, government reports, academic articles and books, media accounts, and security briefings produced by besieged industries. This historical analysis demonstrates the atypicality of violent attacks qualifying as terrorism, and establishes that “eco-terrorism” is far more frequently a defamatory political label applied to small-scale criminal acts targeting property that present no risk to human life. This incident-based historical analysis, attempts to correct methodological flaws grounded in incomplete datasets which serve to skew findings through an over representation of attacks involving arson and explosives. [Accepted for publication, in copy editing]
- The anarchist project, as it has been developed over the centuries, has been to expand human freedom and reduce misery, toil and coercion throughout society. As political thought has developed since the 18th century, anarchism has sought to expand this sphere of the included subject to advocate for women, people of color, the working class, and nearly from its inception, non-human animals. In the modern arena, anarchism and anarchist direct action movements have struck back at capital and the State with the aim of reducing animal exploitation, financially paralyzing abusers, and raising radical awareness. This chapter seeks to explore the myriad of ways in which the anarchist revival of direct action, which followed the 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle, have engaged with this fight. Through an examination of contemporary anarchist tendencies including the Greek insurrectionists, the international militants of the Informal Anarchist Federation, the Mexican eco-anarchist bomb tossers, the US Queer network Bash Back! and others, we will examine the inseparable link between those that oppose State power and those that seek to strike back against speciesism, ecocide and domestication. Drawing primarily from movement communiqués, the chapter explores a discourse on the inherent linkages between the anarchist struggle, and that of animal liberation as told through the words of a clandestine, globally-dispersed network of attackers. [Seeking venue for publication]
“Structural Conflict, Systemic Violence & Statehood: A Guided Reading” A History of World Peace since 1750 Anthology. Eds. Christian Philip Peterson and William M. Knoblauch, 2017.
- The transdisciplinary field of Peace and Conflict Studies has championed the cause of equality and peace, yet often bases its analysis in unacknowledged traditions of the critical left. Intellectual traditions from Marxism to anarchism are based in an understanding of structural inequality that are pervasive and relatively unchanged since their inception in the 1850s. From these intellectual roots, a host of liberatory, democratic, and peace-centric perspectives have emerged from feminist analysis to Occupied-inspired anti-capitalist critique. While the Marxist framework is firmly rooted in a stoic structuralism, these foundational concepts are extended through the work of neo-Marxists and poststructuralists to understand the nature of power and oppression as deterritorialized, boundless, fluid, and malleable. This deconstructive, genealogical history traces Peace Studies’ understanding of the relationship between structure and violence through a variety of core areas including basic human needs, statehood, culture, ideology and the question of whether violent inequality is inherent in the State. The discussion of the red-to- black spectrum aims to move beyond issues of disciplinary taxonomy and instead reengage with broader, epistemological questions regarding violence, peace, domination, hierarchy and democratic governance. This chapter seeks to trace the history of a structural analysis embedded in peace and conflict, from the early libertarianism of Marx, up until the modern anthropologists and poststructural peace theorists. [Invited for publication, In editing]
“Leftist Political Violence: From Terrorism to Social Protest” Terrorism in America. Eds. Kevin Borgeson and Robin Valeri. Taylor and Francis, 2017.
- Dating back to the early 18th century, the Left has utilized various manners of political violence in its pursuit of social change. Radicals of all stripes—socialist, Communist, Marxist-Leninist, anarchist, eco/animal liberationist, etc.—have waged campaigns on many fronts and for a variety of causes. This chapter traces the history of Leftist political violence occurring in the United States over the past century. This exploration begins with the rise of ‘propaganda of the deed’ and the so-called “anarchist wave of terrorism” in the 1900s, exemplified by the infamous Italian Luigi Galleani and the assassination of President William McKinley. During this period, anarchists murdered world leaders, bombed the Stock Exchange, and waged pitched battles with police and soldiers. Next we will explore the rise of international Sovietism in the 1960s, popular protest surrounding opposition to the war in Vietnam, and the corresponding emergence of armed Marxist-Leninist cadres exemplified by the Weather Underground Organization. Following the decline of the red vanguards, the discussion will focus on militant underground networks fighting for environmental and animal liberation, popularizing the notion of sabotage, monkey wrenching, and the use of arson as a political tool. This discussion will center on the Animal and Earth Liberation Front, as well as the actions lesser known groups. Finally, this chapter will examine the rise of the anti-globalization movement in the latter years surrounding the millennium, and the derailing of these tendencies following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. [Invited for publication, Submitted and under editorial review]
“Cells, Communiqués & Monikers: The Insurrectionary Networks of Anti-State Attack” Routledge Guide to Radical Politics. Eds. Ruth Kinna and Uri Gordon. Routledge, 2017.
- Spanning over a century, the insurrectionary spirit of anarchism has been on the forefront of direct, unmediated attacks on the state and capital. Insurrectionary praxis is based on an ethic of informality, clandestinity, and temporality, and as a result its cells exist in secret only as long as deemed necessary for a particular action. Unlike social movement organizations and aboveground campaigns, the cells that populate the insurrectionary milieu are not something to ‘belong to’ but something to ‘act through’; a momentary assemblage of like-minded individuals united for a particular attack by voluntary association and through shared affinity. While the modern cell networks gained visibly in Europe around the millennium, their rapid replication has led to similarly-styled formations in dozens of countries from the Americas to Asia. This franchised replication is aided by the use of adoptable monikers—static labels used to associate an attack with others, and to ideologically tag them as insurrectionary. Oftentimes these are acronyms whose names communicate the politics of the attackers, such as the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), Conspiracy of Cells of Fire (CCF), International Revolutionary Front (IRF) as well as older, not explicitly insurrectionary monikers such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The use of moniker-linked attacks, which form into a campaign of sorts, is a distinctive feature of the insurrectionary cells. For example, in June 2013, a Greek of the Informal Anarchist Federation cell bombed a vehicle belonging to a prison director overseeing the incarceration of comrades. This attack marked ‘act one’ of the Phoenix Project, and would be followed by thirteen additional attacks, spanning eight countries out over a twelve-month period. The Phoenix Project highlights the strength of the adoptable moniker, as thorough its usage, an arson targeting an Indonesian hotel and the sabotage of Italian fuel pumps can be united into an shared, global effort, and not understood as disparate acts of lone wolves. This chapter will explore how the insurrectionary anarchist networks utilize the cell model, the communiqué, and the adoptable moniker to allow for the creation of a globally-dispersed, decentralized, open involvement movement united in its rejection of capitalism, the state, and those who would seek to control it. [Invited for publication, Submitted and under editorial review]