Bullets of McKinley

  • Posted on: 30 May 2018
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

a few words on political assassination

From Crimethinc

Let’s be clear: we don’t endorse shooting, stabbing, bombing, garroting, guillotining, or electrocuting the President of the United States. Yes, we’ve published a convincing argument that, if there were any justice in this world, “Donald Trump would walk across the desert on a broken ankle, pursued by helicopters and armed men with dogs, before dying of dehydration, terrified and alone, within miles of hospital facilities—as he has forced others to do simply in hopes of rejoining their families.” But we would argue strenuously against anyone attempting to inflict this fate on him. On the contrary, we hope Donald Trump will die of natural causes—and the sooner the better, before anyone gets any crazy ideas. For us, anarchism is not about meting out justice, but making it unnecessary. Here’s why.

William McKinley, shortly before his death.

In 1901, the President of the United States was greeting well-wishers at the Pan-American Exposition when he unknowingly offered his hand to an anarchist. The younger man slapped it aside and shot the president twice in the stomach.

Neither man survived. President McKinley died of the wound eight days later. Leon Czolgosz died in an electric chair a month after that.

No one doubted that McKinley, a former governor and sitting President of the United States, could change the course of history—just as no one would have expected a steel-working son of Polish immigrants to change much of anything. But in return for his life and $4.50 for a pistol, Czolgosz stamped his name in the history books right next to McKinley’s.

“I done my duty,” Leon Czolgosz proclaimed after shooting McKinley. “I didn’t believe one man should have so much service, and another man should have none.”

A hundred and twenty years before President Trump, President McKinley campaigned for president on a platform of American interventionism and economic isolationism. During an intense economic depression, he answered to big business funders and took a stand against organized labor. In office, he stayed conspicuously quiet when black postmasters were killed in racist attacks and let white supremacists pressure him out of the political appointment of at least one black postmaster.

To be fair—and to offer him more credibility than any recent US president deserves—when McKinley ordered military interventions, he did so as someone who had seen the cost of war firsthand from the front lines. McKinley had volunteered for the Union in the Civil War and fought as a private, eventually attaining the rank of major. When he went to war with Spain over Cuba, McKinley did so only when public opinion inflamed by the yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer forced his hand.

Still, McKinley presided over a process of empire building. The press painted the Spanish-American war as a war of liberation freeing the Cuban people from the tyranny of Spain, but at the end of hostilities, the US had gained control of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. Puerto Rico and Guam remain US territories to this day, without real representation in the US government. Any claim that the US was “liberating” these islands was just window dressing to cover imperialist motives. This pattern will be familiar to everyone who witnessed the “liberation” of Afghanistan and Iraq.

In addition to seizing these territories, McKinley’s administration carried out the annexation of Hawaii. Presidents before him had waged colonial war against the native inhabitants of North America, but McKinley opened the floodgates of American interventionism abroad and openly identified as imperialist. Arguably, the role of the US as the “policeman of the world” dates from McKinley’s administration.

He didn’t stop at occupying foreign territory. When miners went on strike in Idaho and dynamited a mine in 1899, McKinley ordered black troops from Texas to put down the rebellion—a move calculated to increase racial tensions. Afterwards, over 1000 workers were imprisoned in cattle pens for months. The area remained under military occupation until 1901.

McKinley’s death didn’t end these policies. It didn’t make it any easier to be an anarchist in the United States, either. Thirteen anarchists—including the orator Emma Goldman—were arrested and held for several weeks without charges. Socialism gained ground over anarchism in America as a direct result of the attack and the subsequent media demonization of anarchists.

Leon Czolgosz was not popular among the anarchists of his time. His suspicious questions, lack of connections, and zeal for violence left many assuming he was a police infiltrator until he killed the president. Afterwards, the Italian-American anarchists and Emma Goldman were mostly alone in defending him and his actions.

Czolgosz himself was unrepentant. He pled guilty and largely refused to communicate with the judge or even his own defense council. His last words, just before his death by electrocution, were “I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people—the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime. I am sorry I could not see my father.”

His family was not permitted to receive his body. The US government poured acid over it in his casket.

Mobs attacked anarchist communes and newspapers in retaliation. The US government passed anti-anarchist laws. Fear of anarchists paved the way for the establishment of the Bureau of Investigation in 1908, which became the FBI thirty years later. Most of the anti-anarchist laws were not employed until World War I, when they were used against anarchist immigrants and any other immigrants deemed a threat to the nation.

A bigoted political cartoon from the September 19, 1901 issue of Public Opinion, associating anarchists, immigration, and violence.

After McKinley’s death, Theodore Roosevelt ascended to presidency. Roosevelt was a moderate with a name for breaking up corporate monopolies, far and away more populist than McKinley. Instead of using the army to suppress miners’ strikes, he threatened miners with the army but then came in to negotiate compromise. He fought against governmental corruption that targeted Native Americans, though he certainly did nothing to return the country to its indigenous inhabitants. If nothing else, Roosevelt may have been the greatest conservationist president the US has ever had, establishing national parks and wildlife preserves all over the country.

On the other hand, while McKinley had introduced the idea that the US might serve as the policeman of the world, Roosevelt cemented this role. He greatly expanded the Navy and stepped in to negotiate peace between foreign powers. This sounds nice on paper, but when we understand peacemaking as a core method of establishing global hegemony, we can see the element of menace implied in this sort of diplomacy.

Roosevelt was far to the left of the majority of his Republican party, perhaps comparable to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton today. There’s little doubt that the US and the world was better off with him in office than McKinley. It seems likely he would have become president in 1904 regardless.

The San Francisco Call, September 7, 1901. Then as now, mercenary editors can’t make up their minds as to whether anarchists who take on the entire state apparatus by themselves are “cowardly” or “daring.”

Not all violent action has left has anarchists isolated from society. In 1886, when police attacked a labor demonstration in Chicago, someone threw a bomb at them. The police crackdown was immediate and overreaching; although at first it seemed to have public support, it eventually provoked a backlash in popular opinion. The worldwide workers’ holiday May Day derives from the global outpouring of solidarity in response to the events in Chicago.

But things don’t always work out that way. A few years later, the anarchist Alexander Berkman attempted to kill the union-busting industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Berkman failed, but more importantly, his attempt did not incite the working class to take up arms against their oppressors. If anything, it alienated anarchists from their peers.

So it went with the assassination of McKinley. By all accounts, it seems to have consolidated public opinion against anarchists.

A hostile political cartoon from the October 4, 1901 issue of the Amador Ledger, depicting Emma Goldman and Johann Most, a well-known advocate of propaganda of the deed.

People all over the world had every right to consider William McKinley an oppressor, elected or not. But did assassinating him advance the cause of freedom? Should we promote attacks on those who hold oppressive power, regardless of the consequences? Is it possible to rid the world of authority figures one bullet at a time?

As we see it, anarchism is not a cult of revenge. Our ultimate goal should not be to mete out punishment according to an economy of vengeance, but to organize so effectively that we render assassinations unnecessary. Focusing on targeting men like McKinley seems to imply a great man theory of history in which specific extraordinary individuals are to blame for all the ills we suffer. Yet were it not for the structures that concentrated so much power in his hands—capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, the state—McKinley would simply have been an arrogant and unlikable buffoon. Those structures are administered by men like McKinley, but they are built on social constructs such as the idea that state authority is inherently legitimate and the habit of conceiving of one’s interests on an utterly individualistic basis. If we are to arrive in a world without oppression, the important question in regards to any tactic is whether it serves to undermine those constructs and catalyze others into action.

As Gustav Landauer wrote, “The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships.” This is not to downplay the importance of resistance; while some have protested that “you can’t blow up a social relationship,” getting free of the social relations that are imposed on us the police and military will surely involve some confrontations. If our current relationship to our oppressors is characterized by obedience, “contracting other relationships” means becoming ungovernable, spreading practices of self-defense far and wide throughout society. The point is that in this struggle, the strategic target is not any particular person within the halls of power, but above all the passivity of those who have not yet taken a side.

Like Emma Goldman before us, we can understand Czolgosz’s attack as the predictable consequence of the frustrations engendered by tremendous inequalities in wealth and power. Czolgosz grew up working in a glass factory as a teenager, lost his job in the economic turmoil presided over by men like McKinley, and struggled to find a place for himself in a hostile and alien world. As more and more wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands, the surprising thing is that more attacks like his do not take place.

If anarchism is not a cult of revenge, neither is it for us to sit in moral judgment over the desperate acts of the oppressed and enraged. Rather, we should seek to do away with the conditions that drive people to such desperation in the first place. The only way to guarantee that no human being will ever shed another’s blood again is to abolish all the factors that pit people against each other, starting with the institutions of power.

The tyrants of the world have good cause to be afraid. For all their power, they are made of the same meat and bone as the rest of us. An anarchist reminded everyone of that simple fact. Yet McKinley’s death didn’t bring us any closer to a better world. That part is up to us.

“It is, therefore, not cruelty, or a thirst for blood, or any other criminal tendency, that induces such a man to strike a blow at organized power. On the contrary, it is mostly because of a strong social instinct, because of an abundance of love and an overflow of sympathy with the pain and sorrow around us, a love which seeks refuge in the embrace of mankind, a love so strong that it shrinks before no consequence, a love so broad that it can never be wrapped up in one object, as long as thousands perish, a love so all-absorbing that it can neither calculate, reason, investigate, but only dare at all costs.”

-Emma Goldman, “The Tragedy at Buffalo



CrimethInc going along with IGD as social-anarchist garbage

If an anarchist kills Trump the FBI is going after B and Doug. There will be mobs outside their homes.

yeah but then doug would just be all like, "bro!" and b will be all arsonist's prayer up in there and then channel zero will drop a new podcast and all the patreon dollars will flow into the hands of the 99% and then the mob will pick sides and get organized into great leftist fist and then liberation!

While very difficult to predict, it also doesn't address what new policies were prevented from coming in to existence by assassinating McKinley. See argument for the preventative nature of Hitler's assassination if that communist's bomb was successful.

Czolgosz has been dead for over a century. What conversation is this piece trying to contribute to or intervene in? It seems to just be an unnecessary attempt to degrade those who lost their lives striking a blow against the state.

If Czolgosz's act was one of desperation or futility, then what does the endless string of banner drops, photo ops with flares, protests, and (maybe, when one is feeling particularly brave) graffiti amount to? If you're scared about what will happen to "the movement" (or, more accurately, your own comfortable life) when someone finally crosses the line and moves beyond leftist protest warrior windbaggery, just say it; don't degrade a dead anarchist to justify your cowardice.

It's a shame what "insurrectionary" anarchism in the United States has become...

Czolgosz actually fits the spree-killer profile pretty well. Socially marginal, angry at the state of the world, possible mental health issues, suicidal intent. Similar to all the other cases I've mentioned... Parkland, Toronto, the various far right and Islamist cases... except that Czolgosz (like Kaczynski and ITS) had much better politics. I think these kinds of actions happen during Kondratiev-wave downturns when the "surplus population" is growing and civilisation loses its shine. The system is not living up to its own promises let alone the demands on it, and things seem to be getting worse. Among the more marginalised, ideologies of social inclusion fray sharply, manifesting initially as radical opposition, and later as nihilistic desperation. I'd expect to see suicide rates, suicidal lifestyles (e.g. severe alcoholism/hard drug use) and gang activity peaking during downturns. 'Suicidal murderers' and 'suicidal tyrannicides' will appear occasionally as outliers of these wider patterns. They're quite different from the organised armed opposition which appears mainly at the crisis-point of upturns.

Perhaps the more interesting question for anarchists is: why were the 'suicidal murderers' and 'suicidal tyrannicides' of the early twentieth century mainly anarchists (or Narodniks or communists or anti-fascists), whereas the 'suicidal murderers' and 'suicidal tyrannicides' of today are mostly far-right, religious fundamentalist, or at least right-leaning?

Also is it for the better or for the worse that they are?

I wouldn't categorize the 'suicidal murderers' as either left or right-learning, I would dissect deeper into the psychosis of the perpetrators, a fine red line exists between ideological devotion, identity valorization and murder. Csolgosz and Kaczynski's urges are driven by political beliefs twisted by personal neurosis and the nihilistic desperation you mention. One a social and the other a natural wilderness utopian ideal, both perspectives reflecting their individual psyches and desires, their love of their own isolation and their alienation from the human condition as well as the delusion of their own transcendentalism.
Actions sometimes escape the usual analysis by justice, and martyrs are born instead of the true pathology of their sickness and dysfunction being revealed. They become the stuff of myths which taints the Western world, lingering values from antiquity still reaching to the 20th Century, creating social warriors aspiring to be modern day Achilles or Leonardis's.,.

I think the split can perhaps partially be predicted by terror management theory(TMT). When the downturns are really swirling fast you get a breakdown of meta level identity structure that brings the non nihilists believers into the picture. The milky white murderers and brown bombers that you are seeing can be predicted by the crash of institutions that greatly affect a leviathan constructed subject. When functional ready made institutional meaning is in downturn the highly reified don't take to it to well.

TMT can have quite reductionist adherents but I think it explains the reactionary murderer pretty well.

They're leaving a lot of stuff unanswered.

First off: why did an assassination in 1901 (allegedly) have no consequences besides an anti-anarchist backlash, whereas one in 1886 led to a wave of labor movement support and strengthening of anarchism?

Second off: why, similarly, was the effect of groups like the SLA and Weather Underground in the 1970s not so destructive to the wider movement as the 1901 killing?

Third off: why did the Reichstag fire and the Grynszpan assassination apparently just lead to intensified Nazification in Germany, whereas the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand did not similarly isolate Serbian nationalists twenty years earlier, and later attacks such as the killing of Heydrich (and subsequent Nazi destruction of Lidice) discredit the French and Czech partisans?

Fourth off: why haven't far-right assassinations and lone wolf attacks (Charlottesville, Dylann Roof, etc) reduced the social reach of the far right, despite the subsequent state crackdowns?

Fifth off: why has the vicious backlash against radical Muslims after 9/11 apparently increased, rather than decreased, the numbers, scope and militancy of radical Islam?

Sixth off: why didn't assassinations discredit groups like the FLN, the Vietcong, and the anti-Soviet mujahideen in Afghanistan? Why were they ultimately able to defeat vastly more powerful adversaries in asymmetrical wars?

This extends to other stuff (not just assassinations) as well. Why was the Green Scare possible in the 2000s but not the 1980s-90s? Why could SHAC be destroyed in the late 2000s but not in the 1990s? Why are broken windows on protests a bigger deal in America than Greece, a bigger deal in contemporary France than 1990s France?

A quick look at counterinsurgency theory would probably provide quite a few answers... the scope and social reach of the rebel group is often a major factor. A socially rooted armed opposition group will usually be strengthened by repression. A small or marginalised group will be destroyed or disrupted much more effectively. COIN typically aims to drive a wedge between the most radical sections of a movement and its wider support-base. By doing this, it creates conditions where repression (aimed at the most radical sections) is effective. Intelligent COIN operators will avoid crackdowns on large or resilient movements until they have already been weakened. They seem, today, to be careful to keep the supposed target narrowly defined but broadly applied, while also cutting off lines of support from the wider community (e.g. targeting radical Muslims, not all Muslims; but demanding that all Muslims distance themselves from the radicals). At the moment this is quite effective in preventing sustainable armed opposition movements in western countries. But, it is not effective in preventing "lone wolf" attacks or instability related to civil wars elsewhere.

I take it from your last paragraph that you would argue, more or less, that if anarchism had greater popular sympathy, actions taken in its name would do more to advance its cause. This seems like a no-brainer but there is especially in north america of course always this problem of not working with much and trying to figure out how to get to such a point.

Yes, although it also seems to depend on the COIN situation and the appeal of the emotions involved. The way the attack is framed in the public mind broadly speaking will decide whether it makes things "better" or "worse".

I would say broadly, shootings and similar actions lead to crackdowns when they're turned into ecstatic media events (see Chouliaraki's work - an ecstatic event is one which receives overwhelming saturation media coverage which incites a compulsory emotional response) and where the media runs with a narrative blaming the perpetrator's politics as the main factor in the shooting. If the coverage had a different focus (gang feud, mental health problems, gun control, unexplained killing, grievance and retaliation, toxic masculinity) then there either won't be a crackdown or it will be untargeted or weak. When a crackdown happens, it will only weaken a movement if the movement is already small and if it fails to convincingly deploy injustice/defiance frames.

In coverage of Palestine for instance, there's a range of frames but basically the Palestinians use an "injustice and defiance" frame and the Israeli state uses a "law and order" or "security" frame. The prevalence of the former frame in certain publics is vital in sustaining Palestinian opposition. Leftist and anarchist movements have also historically used "injustice and defiance" frames for everything from armed opposition movements to urban unrest to squatting to civil disobedience. Pushing the "injustice and defiance" frame as a *general* frame for all deviance (modifying with a "displaced/wrong targets" qualifier when necessary) seems to be consistently in the interests of anarchists and radicals (which is why articles like this CrimethInc one are unhelpful).

Reactions to different assassination attempts - and armed actions in general - seem to be radically variant, and it's hard to pinpoint the different factors. My main point is that the simplistic "terrorism alienates people and harms the movement" narrative is not consistently true. I may well be wrong on some of the cases below (repression and other reverberations aren't always published widely) but the general pattern seems to be that the media visibility of the event plus the narrative used are the main predictors of political response, while the scale, discourse, and organisational resilience of the movement targeted are the main predictors of harm done by the crackdown.

We actually did have an attempt on Trump's life before the election. The shooter was a homeless non-American autistic man with clear mental health problems. It had very limited media impact and didn't produce any noticeable backlash against anti-Trump people. Probably because the act fit into a mental health or individual shooter frame rather than a political frame. What would have happened had the attack succeeded? I think to be honest, a lot of the political class would have breathed a sigh of relief. We'd have President Pence or President Clinton. People on the left might well think we'd been saved from fascism (c.f. Fortuyn assassination). Trump's supporters might have rioted in the streets since he still had a big alt-right fanclub back then. This might have had Kristallnacht-like elements. It might then have been used to discredit them further.

There's also been at least two incidents (one on May 18 this year) of anti-Trump people shooting at Trump supporters. Neither of them made enough of a media stir to trigger a wider crackdown. They did not pass the threshold to become ecstatic media events. (In view of the frequency of mass shootings over the last few years, it takes a lot more than it used to, to cross the threshold).

The Boston bombing was carried out by a "radicalised" Muslim from Chechnya. This became an ecstatic media event. It was followed by a massive police overreaction (lockdown, house-to-house searches) and a series of random targetings of people with superficial similarities. For example, some people in New York got raided because they'd searched for pressure cookers and Saudi plane tickets on the same day. A Saudi guy who was at the marathon got arrested and abused in custody. But AFAIK there wasn't any wider crackdown on radical Muslims or Chechens in particular. Of course this is probably because the level of persecution of radical Muslims is always through the roof even at times of inaction. But, contrast this with the response to 9/11, or 7/7, or Bataclan. The brunt of the overreaction arising from the ecstatic media event was focused indiscriminately on the civilian population of Boston. Also contrast the Madrid bombings, which *discredited* the right-wing government. Firstly the government was perceived as opportunistic for wrongly blaming ETA. Secondly the government was perceived as putting the population at risk by getting involved in the Iraq war. This might be why, ever since, COIN agents have been paranoiac about making sure nobody links "Islamic" terrorist attacks to western foreign policy. Which also suggests that this is exactly the line anarchists need to push.

Similar reactions with Parkland. This was probably the biggest ecstatic media event since Boston. A lot of the media focus is on gun laws. Protesters have helped to push this framing (for better or worse) and hence have partly driven the media reaction. But, there has also been a low-intensity roundup of people superficially similar to the shooter. Generally kids with autism, learning difficulties, or mental health problems, or simply kids in general, who've made throwaway comments about shooting up their school or played with toy guns in the playground. This has happened because of the media narrative that police "missed red flags" in the case of the Parkland shooter (when in fact the Parkland shooter was indistinguishable from thousands of other kids who hate school - as the roundup has shown). The shooter may or may not have been far-right affiliated and/or part of the 4chan culture, but this wasn't played-up in the media or political or policing discourses so it didn't have any impact.

On the other hand, the Toronto attack (again by someone with mental health problems, but this time with explicit political statements) was blamed directly on the incel movement and led to a corresponding backlash against incel groups. Their largest group on Reddit was shut down. In light of the structure of the internet, this had limited effectiveness. The targeting of incels seems to have happened because the killer left notes *explicitly* tying his attack to "incel" discourse. For some reason, the state has not yet tried to suppress 4chan (there have been high-profile calls by idpols to suppress a similar site in South Korea). Probably because this would lead to the emergence of dozens of smaller, more radical spinoffs and/or produce a large backlash.

In Britain, an MP called Jo Cox was assassinated by a man with a far-right background. The attacker also had mental health issues, but the media coverage focused heavily on the political aspect. This has led to a considerable backlash against the far right, including the banning of the group National Action a few months later, pressure to purge far-right groups from social media, as well as a harsh response (including jailings) for general comments about killing MP's (not only by the far right) and for street-level far-right activity (most of their leaders are currently in jail). It's hard to tell if the killing was the cause or just a convenient opportunity (there's been a move by the elite towards attacking the far right since the 2016 Brexit/Trump disasters) but it certainly has been used to catalyse an anti-far-right discourse (the Hope Not Hate campaign stems directly from the Cox killing). This doesn't, however, seem to have weakened the far right as they're currently staging massive protests over one of their leaders being jailed. They're fairly numerous and they thrive on a persecution narrative so the crackdown hasn't necessarily hurt them much. It was similar post-Charlottesville. The media made a moral panic and there was a lot of resultant backlash with websites shut down, Twitter accounts banned and so on. The tactics were similar to those used against Anonymous in 2011-12 - removal of web resources such as hosting, DDOS protection and financing routes. But (unlike Anonymous) a lot of the key sites were back up in a month or two. Some of them may actually have gained more readership from the negative publicity. After what happened to Anonymous (which also came from the 4chan milieu) I believe they were expecting this kind of response eventually and were well-prepared. However, the resultant backlash also seems to have intensified schisms among/within far-right groups and they've been unable to organise any similar protests since.

In 2011 a far-right shooter targeted politician Gabrielle Gifford and killed six others. The shooter appears to have been strongly misogynist as well as far-right and probably targeted Gifford either because she's a powerful woman or because she's Jewish. Despite initial attempts to blame the far-right group American Renaissance, there was no crackdown either on this group or on far right or misogynist groups AFAIK. This was years before the term "alt-right" came into use and a similar incident would probably be covered and responded to very differently today. The contrasts between the Gifford and Cox cases are very striking, and it's very noticeable that the Gifford case doesn't seem to have harmed the far-right at all.

In 2016, Micah Johnson and Gavin Long shot a number of pigs during #blacklivesmatter events in Dallas and Baton Rouge. After the Dallas shootings, there was a concerted effort to demonise BLM as extremist. There was a notable increase in police violence against BLM protests around this time, and the "black identity extremist" label first appeared. There was a roundup of dozens of people who supported Johnson on social media. However, BLM has not been banned and seems to have recovered well enough. Is this because BLM's unofficial leaders were quick to condemn? Or because BLM had an effective campaign to refocus the discussion on the disparities between Johnson's treatment (assassination-by-drone) and the treatment of cops who kill black people? Hard to say. Johnson followed black nationalist groups such as BRLP and NBBP on Facebook. AFAIK there was no targeting of these groups (beyond the routine targeting they suffer) as a result of the Dallas shootings.

Long was also involved in the Sovereign Citizens movement. There were a series of media pieces demonising the Sovereign Citizens after the shootings, but AFAIK no sustained crackdown (again there's ongoing low-level persecution of the movement). The incident was quickly forgotten amidst a wave of mass shootings. It was so similar to the Dallas event so recently before that it didn't really become an ecstatic event.

Another interesting parallel is the IRA campaign in Britain in the 1980s. There had already been considerable repression (use of the army, torture, unfair trials) prior to the bombing campaign on "mainland Britain". Initially this produced moral-panic reactions such as bans on pro-IRA speakers appearing in media (the media evaded this by using voice actors) and continual extensions of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act. The failed attempt to assassinate Thatcher at Brighton increased public sympathy for the then very unpopular Tories and may have won them the following election. However, much of the left supported the IRA's goals from its earliest days in the 1960s-70s and heavily pushed an injustice/defiance frame. This was strengthened by exposure of torture and forced confessions used to obtain false convictions of Irish people accused of several attacks - and also the fact that crackdowns visibly failed to stop further IRA attacks. By the 1990s the COIN frame was in ruins and the media was mainly running an "endless ethnic feud" narrative about Northern Ireland. This culminated in the Good Friday Agreement which included power-sharing and conditional release of IRA prisoners. A very different outcome to ETA, who folded this year after decades of eventually very effective persecution (including the banning of their political wing and civil society supporters - which never happened in Northern Ireland and was probably unthinkable before 9/11 as the European Court would not allow it), and groups like the BLA and SLA in America, whose members are still hunted by the US today. Also very different from the PKK which has managed to remain active despite a temporary ceasefire in the 2000s. The IRA was basically recuperated, as states have also tried to do with groups like the PLO, FARC, and Hizbollah, mostly in the 1990s. It seems almost random why some groups - who were usually seen as evil incarnate before the peace process - are suddenly targeted for recuperation (which implies legitimate grievances), whereas others - such as ETA or ISIS - remain forever beyond the pale. Certainly it shows that the use of the law-and-order/security frame is strategic (the state doesn't really *believe* that these groups are evil incarnate). But there seemed to be a periodisation: the state pursued recuperation in the 90s and repression in the 2000s. Probably the standard COIN thing - recuperate what you can and then try to stamp out the remnant.

how dare you derail the petty snark with a reasoned, articulate, and contextualized post?!

19.22 was me btw

of course ;-)

yeah we know...

Do you think we are stupid hmm?