Stratfor: we can learn to fight jihadists by studying the anarchists

  • Posted on: 26 February 2017
  • By: thecollective

From by Scott Stewart at Stratfor, 23 February 2017

Summary: We have difficulty dealing with present problems because we have forgotten so much of our past. Here Stratfor seeks lessons for our long war with jihadists by examining our long struggle with anarchists during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is rich with lessons for us. The subject of this analysis is “nihilist and anarchist terrorism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.” Also read my similar analysis in 2009: Are Islamic extremists like the anarchists?

Jihadism: An Eerily Familiar Threat

By Scott Stewart at Stratfor, 23 February 2017.

As part of my day-to-day job, I read a lot of news reports, books and scholarly studies. Though the never-ending avalanche of information sometimes feels like a mild version of electronic waterboarding, it also allows me to pick out interesting parallels between different events. Not long ago I re-read Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism, an excellent book by historian Michael Burleigh that outlines the cultural history of terrorism. As I flipped through the chapters on nihilist and anarchist terrorism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, I couldn’t help but notice some intriguing similarities to jihadism. This week I’ll share them with you to put the modern threat that jihadists pose into better context.

The technological tools today’s jihadists use are certainly new; after all, the internet and social media only emerged over the past few decades. But many of the tactics they rely on are as old as terrorism itself. And despite the more primitive means at their disposal, anarchists were often far more successful than their jihadist counterparts in using propaganda and the media to recruit, radicalize and equip their followers.

Painting of McKinnley's assassination.

Assassination of President McKinley. Anarchists assassinated many world leaders. Jihadists share similar ambitions, but so far have fallen short. By T. Dart Walker.

Spreading the Word.

For the most part, the guiding philosophies of anarchist and jihadist terrorism are quite different. Their views on the nature of man and universe radically diverge, as do the global systems each seeks to establish through political violence. But they are also pretty alike in a few key ways. Both anarchists and jihadists view themselves as a vanguard able to awake and mobilize their respective masses — the proletariat and the ummah — to destroy the current order and replace it with a utopian society. Moreover, both hold a strict dualistic view of the world. Whereas anarchists saw a global society divided into proletariat versus bourgeoisie, jihadists see it as true Muslims pitted against the rest of the world. And the hatred anarchists felt for the bourgeoisie is not unlike the loathing jihadists have for their apostate and non-Muslim enemies.

This dualistic worldview, founded on hatred of “the other,” led first anarchists, and later jihadists, to welcome the idea of martyrdom if needed to conduct an attack. Many anarchists carried cyanide capsules to keep from being captured alive, flaunting their embrace of death in pursuit of their lofty ambitions. Like jihadists, they also relied on convoluted logic to justify mass casualty attacks that hurt or killed people who did not belong to the oppressive ruling class. Anarchists bombed theaters, restaurants, cafes, hotels, religious processions and train terminals — targets that modern jihadists would eventually set their sights on as well. Anarchists also attacked the press, bombing the Los Angeles Times building in 1910 and conducting what may have been the United States’ first vehicle bombing in 1920. (That year, they used a horse-drawn wagon to carry a massive bomb to Wall Street’s J.P. Morgan Bank before detonating it, killing 38 people — mostly couriers and other low-level workers — in the deadliest act of terrorism the country had ever seen.)

Though they didn’t have the internet and 24-7 news outlets at their disposal, anarchists did have the telegraph and other communications technologies that greatly expanded the reach of the press in the late 1800s. In fact, these tools gave anarchists a way to broadcast their message and propaganda worldwide, while heavy and sensationalist media coverage of their attacks helped them to recruit grassroots followers to their cause. Just as jihadists have done today, anarchists encouraged and took credit for the actions of lone actors and small cells that answered their calls for action with guns, knives and bombs.

This also gave rise to copycats who were inspired by anarchists’ activities abroad and attempted to mimic them, some perhaps even hoping to gain the fame and notoriety of the attackers highlighted in the press. For example, Leon Czolgosz — the anarchist who shot and killed U.S. President William McKinley — was motivated by Gaetano Bresci‘s assassination of Italian King Umberto I in July 1890. Investigators found that Czolgosz had collected several news clippings about Bresci and the assassination; he even purchased the .32-caliber Iver Johnson revolver that he used to kill McKinley after reading that it was the gun Bresci had used to shoot the king.

Of course, this kind of transnational inspiration wasn’t confined to the United States and Europe; grassroots anarchists also launched attacks in Argentina and Australia. By the early 1900s, propaganda and press coverage had turned anarchist terrorism into a global phenomenon, much as they have helped fueled the rise of grassroots jihadism today.


There are still anarchists.

Different Degrees of Success.

During their heyday, anarchists managed to assassinate a number of world leaders. In addition to McKinley and Umberto, they killed Russian Czar Alexander II, French President Sadi Carnot, Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Canovas, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Portuguese King Carlos I and his son, Crown Prince Luis Filipe, and Greek King George I. And those were just the attempts that succeeded.

Jihadists share similar ambitions, but so far they have fallen short. Though jihadists killed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, they tried and failed to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Their efforts to urge supporters to kill international economic leaders have likewise failed to achieve the same success that anarchists did in their campaign against the world’s industrialists. And while anarchists were never able to build a workers’ paradise akin to the jihadists’ caliphate, their ideological rivals — the Marxists — carried class warfare and the vision of a socialist utopia much further, and in a far more lasting way, than jihadists have in the Middle East.

No borders. No nations.

A Recognizable Response.

Anarchist terrorism, and the pervasive press coverage of it, generated widespread fear in the same way jihadist terrorism has today. According to a December 2015 Gallup poll, some 51% of Americans are very worried or somewhat worried that they or their family members will become a victim of terrorism. A figure this high hasn’t been seen since October 2001, despite the fact that jihadists have not pulled off the follow-up attack to 9/11 they have long threatened. In fact, only 163 Americans have died in terrorist attacks of any kind since September 2001, coming out to an average of 10.87 deaths each year. In other words, the odds that a given American will die in a terrorist attack this year are about 1 in 29 million — and yet still more than half of Americans fear it will happen to them or their loved ones.

A March 2016 Gallup poll asked Americans, “How much do you personally worry about the possibility of future terrorist attacks in the United States?” Of those who responded, 48% said “a great deal” and 23% said “a fair amount.” Clearly, terrorism is still punching well above its weight because of the fear it engenders. And that kind of popular panic has been known to lead to dramatic policy changes.

In the wake of McKinley’s assassination and a string of other anarchist attacks, Washington began to change the roles and responsibilities of the country’s security agencies. The Secret Service took charge of protecting the president, and in time the FBI was created. Anarchist terrorism also forced law enforcement agencies to alter how they operated and collected intelligence. Their foreign counterparts made similar adjustments in countries such as the United Kingdom and France.

A second wave of change occurred in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The United States created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security. It also introduced a host of modifications to the way law enforcement and intelligence agencies worked. Comparable changes are now being made overseas in response to a spate of jihadist attacks in Europe — changes that continue to this day.

The public’s response to terrorism is oddly familiar as well. By and large, anarchists in the United States were of foreign birth or extraction; Czolgosz, on the other hand, was actually American by birth. The activities of these radical bomb-throwers and assassins with foreign-sounding names such as Czolgosz, Sacco and Vanzetti sparked a popular and legislative backlash against immigrants. In March 1903, Congress passed an immigration law nicknamed the “Anarchist Exclusion Act” {aka “the anarchist exclusion act”} that was intended to block foreign anarchists from entering the United States. Regulations were tightened even further in 1918 after the law was deemed ineffective.

The same type of sentiment is behind the recent U.S. executive order to temporarily prevent immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from reaching America’s shores. Either way, it is clear that the evolution of the modern jihadist movement — and the public’s responses to it — are not quite as unprecedented as some may think.

Jihadism: An Eerily Familiar Threat” is republished with permission of Stratfor.



Anarchism is a religion of peace.

these are not my glasses

Why is that black man trying to stop the assassin? Doesn't he understand what institutionalized racism is?

Wouldn't someone please think of the children!

Now what's with this new wave of completely nonsensical brief comments? If only they'd be funny I wouldn't mind the absurdity... But some idiot out there just doesn't have the brains apparently (of is too brain-damaged) to make jokes that... are jokes.

You heard 'im boys. Dumb it down a notch.

When sucking dick don't forget show some love to 'the boys' if you get my drift

If I can't send dick pics to 'dem boys' then I don't want your revolution

"Whips out dick" was never a joke, but it was the funniest 3 words going around a few years ago. Most "jokes" aren't funny, its actually contextual humor or satire which is funnier than "The Joke", which doesn't require intelligence.

This is really quite simple. Anything popular about Islam ( Hawala, righteous-Jihad, anti-usury, etc) is effectively anarchist. Anything unpopular is fascist ( radically reactionist ) It's a GOOD binary, dawgs!

Buahaha, where he found this imaginery shit: Anarchists bombed theaters, restaurants, cafes, hotels, religious processions and train terminals...

1) stratfor is a private company to steal the money from the budget, financial criminality, so-called outsourcing of security or simply consulting about security. Beside it, to make such analysis stratfor had to employ many ex-CIA/DOD monkeys. It means startfor belongs to the enemies of society and of the anarchists.

Considering, the CIA wanted to create Caliphate, to separate Syria and build pipeline from Qatar to europe, the CIA helped to ISIS to recruit western Muslims with facebook and twitter, the CIA gave weapons to Syrian jihadists, the leader of ISIS was 2 years in american prison and possibly they broke him and offered him a deal to create the Caliphate, it is clear that Stratfor hides from the public that the CIA created ISIS and never had any idea to fight against ISIS. It is clear that the CIA monkeys profit from the war and without Russian mixing in Syria, ISIS would be still very strong. After Russia mixed itself, America started to fight ISIS, and they started to make propaganda against Russia i.e. when the war in Syria is finished, Russia is the next target, to make money from the war.

2) jihadism is nothing else than Muslim religious resistance to the western colonialism, without colonialism there would be no Muslim terrorism. people have the right to protect themselves from colonists, are they religious or not, I don't care. not all of them use terrorist methods of fight, those who do, they say they do it to spread the fear among their enemies. western colonists of course misuse cultural differences to make propaganda against the religion that connect people to fight against colonialism. if the US attacks Russia, they will start to make propaganda against orthodox church that can also participate in organizing resistance to the western colonialism.

3) anarchists are more politically educated than jihadists, so, anarchists targeted kings and French parliament before 100 years (beside berkman who targeted big bosses that exploited workers), jihadists target ordinary people on the street. it means, jihadists can't understand that western rulers don't give a shit if 130 French die in some attack, if 130 billionaires and politicians were killed by western anarchists, there would be no more war. in that sense, anarchists were more efficient and successful in damaging the system.

but I speak about anarchists before 100 years, present anarchists today are the same as Muslims, they burn cars and the CIA makes profit from that: militarization of the police, implementation of mass spying and a totalitarian system. it is the fact that outside of greece and latin america, anarchists are far away from the level of the fight we had before 100 years. soft life, playing super mario, drinking beer and smoking weed, while anarchists before 100 years worked like horses very hard, they were exploited brutally and some of them took the gun to make actions. beside soft life and enjoying in capitalism, infiltration by the secret service also prevents anarchists to do what anarchists did before 100 years.

But soon, that idyllic dream life of western anarchists will be destroyed, even the CIA will have interest from creating disorder and they will use their infiltrators to produce disorder and insecurity, with the aim to make totalitarian society and profit from that process. I speak about the cia monkeys in military industry, CEOs of boeing, lockheed martin, general dynamics, etc, they target even Trump, to produce civil war, profit from that and implement the totalitarian system.

the only thing anarchists can do when the CIA monkeys profit from disorder, is to target billionaires that finance politicians. as I said, if Muslims killed 130 billionaires, politicians would get heart attacks, considering rich people are their sponsors, they do everything to make rich people richer: they make war for them, they implement mass spying to protect rich people from the poor, they make the law as riches need it, etc. Before 100 years, kings were above businessmen, today, politicians and presidents are under billionaires/businessmen. Billionaires are the core of the system. it is much more important to attack them than some stupid cop or car on the street. but people must decide alone how far they will go, they can scratch rich cars, they can burn it, they can shoot rich people. anarchists can't push anyone anything, if people chose to play super mario, we can't force them to stand up and fight.

let slaves to be slaves and take your life in your hands, do something by yourself, even alone, without anyone.

info about exploiters that are served by stratfor and similar companies:

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Enter the code without spaces.