First off, what is Right Wing, Left Wing and Centre? Sometimes when people talk about extremism and terrorism they assume that you understand what they mean by the political terms Right-Wing and Left-Wing. So…Here’s a quick recap.
If you imagine a long line, stretched horizontally infront of you, on your right you’d have the Extreme Right Wing. It is on the fringes of our normal society (the Centre) and can be a good way to describe views and actions. Right Wing can be defined with Fascism and Authoritarianism. Fascists believe in in a strong central authority without opposition (no voting, only one party). They believe that violence should be used to support authority. They also believe that there is one identity for a country- either you support and mirror that identity or you are not a part of the country. Fascists in Britain, for example, would have one version of what it means to be BRITISH. They wouldn’t support multi-culturalism or celebrate the diversity that exist in the UK. They wouldn’t support, for example, that different identities in Scotland, Wales, N Ireland and England make Britain’s identity diverse. They would want everyone to be focused on their ONE idea of what it means to be British. The BNP are often targeted by anti-fascist campaigners.
The Left Wing can be described with Communism and perhaps Socialism. Communist philosophy believes no one person should control the resources and production of a country. Instead of one person owning a forest and timber yard, paying workers wages and making profit everyone would control everything together. Communism is about a version of equality where one person will not own more than another and where everyone makes decisions together. However in practice many Communist states saw one Party having power and control over the population and everyone did NOT have an equal say in decisions.
There are different types of extremism, for example religious extremism or national extremism, and sometimes it is necessary to understand what right-wing/left-wing means. We will be looking a right-wing extremism later in the Blog.
OK, so what are the meanings of Radical, Extremist and Terrorist? There are some basic definitions below:
RADICAL: being radical in itself isn’t a bad thing. It may mean you want to see big changes to society and may think there are things wrong with how things are now. Being radical can mean positive changes, like the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s but can also sometimes be the beginning of behaviour that leans towards extremism and terrorism.
EXTREMISM: term for groups and individuals who hold ideas that fall outside of normal society. Extremist groups can be violent towards mainstream society and cut themselves off from mainstream life. Extremism often refers to a threat against mainstream society and may suggest views which would cause problems for certain groups and communities. All countries and religions can have extremist groups.
TERRORIST: There is no set definition for terrorism, which can make laws and methods for dealing with it problematic. It is commonly understood as violence from groups with political, religious or ideological aims. Terrorism tries to bring about political change with violence. Peacemaker understands terrorism to be violent against the government and government policy. Violent Extremism involves violence against other groups in society.
What do you think? Why not leave a comment below…..
Emily (15): We never really learn about politics in school. PSHE lessons tell you the basics but today we really learnt the differences between parties and about extremism and terrorism. I think that in modern society it is so important to learn about politics and now that we have learnt more about terrorism and extremism it is easier to see why these are so flawed. There is still so much racism and discrimination in modern society and I think that the more young people are taught about terrorism the less there will be, as young people will better understand why things should be solved rationally and why people shouldn’t need to use violence to express their views.
Lucy (15): Peacemaker made it so straight forward. I am normally so confused by politics and terrorism and all that sort of thing but today i learned about it all and it was easy. I now know what they are and I wasnt confused. We saw pictures and listened to info about them and it stuck!
Lucy (17) I found the session easier to deliver and the group seemed to enjoy it more and all learnt something, i feel i learnt more about politics aswell.