Protest, Political Violence and Terror. A Study on Genesis of Subversive Terrorist Groups

No.3(2001)

Abstract
The paper describes and analyzes briefly the genesis of three Italian terrorist groups of the 1970s, called the First Line (PL), the Proletarian Armed Nuclei (NAP) and the Revolutionary Action (AR). It shows that individual dynamics of emerging of clandestine terrorist groups could and should be explained within a theoretically informed framework. Such a framework is needed in order to assess properly the impact of changes in the structure of opportunities, configuration of predispositions and incentives for various radical anti-regime actors. The papers discuss the views of scholars Sidney Tarrow and Domenica Della Porta. Two arguments seem to be of special importance in this context: the first argument points to the growing competivity among non-institutionalized radical groups as a factor contributing strongly to amounting experiments with armed subversive violence: the second focuses on the critical choices represented by creation of clandestine structures specialized in armed violence. The paper examines the auto destructive consequences of fusion of political and military aspects of an anti-regime struggle followed (in the case of clandestine armed groupings) with a subordination of the former aspects to the latter. Finally, it argues that stigmatization of radical anti-regime groups as terrorist in spe should be avoided. Instead of that, an effective system of sanctions and incentives reducing the probability of critical choices made by radical actors has to be introduced and cultivated.

Keywords:
terrorist groups; teroristické skupiny; Italy; Itálie; protest; First Line; Proletarian Armed Nuclei; Revolutionary Action
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