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Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries

Edited by Joost Augusteijn Constant Hijzen Mark Leon de Vries

Palgrave Studies in Political History Series Editors Henk te Velde Leiden University Leiden, The Netherlands Maartje Janse Leiden University Leiden, The Netherlands Hagen Schulz-Forberg Aarhus University Aarhus, Denmark

The contested nature of legitimacy lies at the heart of modern politics. A continuous tension can be found between the public, demanding to be properly represented, and their representatives, who have their own responsibilities along with their own rules and culture. Political history needs to address this contestation by looking at politics as a broad and yet entangled field rather than as something confined to institutions and politicians only. As political history thus widens into a more integrated study of politics in general, historians are investigating democracy, ideology, civil society, the welfare state, the diverse expressions of opposition, and many other key elements of modern political legitimacy from fresh perspectives. Parliamentary history has begun to study the way rhetoric, culture and media shape representation, while a new social history of politics is uncovering the strategies of popular meetings and political organizations to influence the political system. Palgrave Studies in Political History analyzes the changing forms and functions of political institutions, movements and actors, as well as the normative orders within which they navigate. Its ambition is to publish monographs, edited volumes and Pivots exploring both political institutions and political life at large, and the interaction between the two. The premise of the series is that the two mutually define each other on local, national, transnational, and even global levels. More information about this series at http://www.palgrave.com/gp/series/15603

Joost Augusteijn · Constant Hijzen · Mark Leon de Vries Editors

Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries

Editors Joost Augusteijn Department of History Leiden University Leiden, Zuid-Holland The Netherlands

Constant Hijzen Institute of History Leiden University Leiden, Zuid-Holland The Netherlands

Mark Leon de Vries Independent Researcher Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Palgrave Studies in Political History ISBN 978-3-030-20122-7 ISBN 978-3-030-20123-4  (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover credit: theendup/Alamy Stock Photo This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland


This volume finds its origins in the panel on: ‘Democracy, the Nation State and their Adversaries’, within the conference: ‘Reconsidering Democracy and the Nation State in a Global Perspective’, which was held at Leiden University 14–16 January 2016. Without the financial support of the Institute for History of Leiden University and the city council of Leiden this would not have been possible, and we hereby want to record our thanks to them for this.



Part I  Introduction Introduction: Democracy, the Nation State, and Their Adversaries 3 Joost Augusteijn, Constant Hijzen and Mark Leon de Vries Part II Learning to Deal with Anti-Democratic Groupings, 1870–1933 ‘… a Wretched, Down Trodden and Impoverished People.’ Terrorism, Propaganda, and the Failure of Democracy in Post-Civil War Louisiana 19 Mark Leon de Vries Nazis, Violence and the State: Social Democratic Repertoire Discussions in Germany and the Netherlands Around 1930 45 Kristian Mennen Democracy’s Various Defenders: The Struggle Against Political Extremism in the Netherlands, 1917–1940 69 Joris Gijsenbergh




Part III New Forms of Mobilisation in the Age of Civil Resistance, 1960–1997 Terrorist Constituencies in Terrorist–State Conflicts: The Debate on the Use of Violence Among Irish Nationalists and West Germany’s Radical Left in the Mid-1970s 101 Joost Augusteijn and Jacco Pekelder The Seeds of Danger: The Security Service and Its ‘Enemy Image’ of ‘The Movement’ in the 1980s 137 Constant Hijzen (In)Effectiveness of Social Movements in Turkish Democracy: Institutional and Non-institutional Cases 165 Yavuz Yildirim Parliamentary Democracy Versus Direct Democracy? Challenging Liberal, Representative Democracy in the German Bundestag During the Anti-nuclear Demonstrations of 1995–1997 189 Miina Kaarkoski Part IV Dealing with Opposition in the Post-Cold War Period, 1998–2019 Displaced Without Moving: Loyalism and Democratic Haunting in Northern Ireland 215 Henrik Vigh Between Democracy and Autocracy: Towards an Understanding of the Nature of Incomplete Secession, the Case of Moldova-Transnistria 237 Ana Maria Albulescu



Fragmented Democracy in Dayton’s Bosnia Herzegovina: Institutions, Political Elite and Youth 253 Arianna Piacentini Part V  Conclusions Concluding Remarks 281 Joost Augusteijn, Constant Hijzen and Mark Leon de Vries Index 291




Ana Maria Albulescu is a Ph.D. candidate in War Studies Research at King’s College London. Her thesis focuses on conditions of incomplete secession in the post-Soviet space and the way in which escalation in these contexts can be better understood through a focus on the parallel electoral processes in the metropolitan and de-facto states. Joost Augusteijn is a Senior Lecturer at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He has previously held positions at various universities in The Netherlands and Ireland. He is the author of From Public Defiance to Guerrilla Warfare: The Experience of Ordinary Volunteers in the Irish War of Independence (1996), and Patrick Pearse: The Making of a Revolutionary (2010), as well as the editor of several volumes. Mark Leon de Vries completed his Ph.D. at Leiden University in 2015 on racial and political terrorism in Louisiana’s Red River Valley during Reconstruction at Leiden University. After teaching history and American studies at Leiden for a number of years, he left academia to work in online professional education. Joris Gijsenbergh specializes in the history of democracy and dissent in the twentieth century. In his Ph.D. thesis, he examined the Dutch defence of democracy against Communism and Fascism in the 1920s and 1930s. He has taught at the universities of Nijmegen, Leiden, Utrecht and Münster. In addition, Gijsenbergh has been a visiting fellow at the university of Münster (at the Zentrum für Niederlande-Studien) and the university of Marburg (affiliated to the research group ‘Dynamics of Security’). xi


Notes on Contributors

Constant Hijzen is an Assistant Professor in Intelligence Studies and head of the research group of Intelligence and Security of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University. He is also affiliated to the Institute for History of Leiden University. In his dissertation, he focused on the political, bureaucratic, and societal context of the Dutch security services. His current research focuses on the way Western security services lived through a paradigm shift from communism to terrorism as the most important target (1968–present). Miina Kaarkoski is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research has focused on the political history of the twentieth century, especially on political debates and conceptions, the history of European unity, and environmental history and she has published articles on these topics. Kaarkoski is currently working on a research project studying the will of the people in the context of military, security and foreign policy issues. Kristian Mennen completed his Ph.D. in Nijmegen and Münster and published his thesis Selbstinszenierung im öffentlichen Raum in 2013. His main research interests include political culture in the interwar period, transnational approaches to the study of fascism, and youth movements in the twentieth century. Since September 2019, he pursues a new postdoc research project at the Radboud University Nijmegen about political aspects of the early history of nature conservation. Jacco Pekelder (1967) is an Associate Professor of international relations in historical perspective at Utrecht University and Honorary Professor of contemporary history of Western Europe at Saarland University (Germany). His research deals with the position of Germany in Europe since 1815 and the societal dynamics of political violence and terrorism, especially since 1968. He is currently studying how various European nations reacted to the emergence of a strong and unified Germany before 1871. Arianna Piacentini  obtained her Ph.D. in Sociology and Methodology of Social Research at the University of Milan, Italy. Since 2012, Dr. Piacentini is researching post-Yugoslav and post-conflict divided societies, and she has been Visiting Ph.D. at the Woolf Institute for Abrahamic Faiths, Cambridge (UK), Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, and at the University of Sarajevo. Former Research Fellow at the CAS SEE University of Rijeka (Croatia), Dr. Piacentini is now

Notes on Contributors   


post-doc researcher at the Institute for Comparative Federalism, EURAC Research, Bolzano (Italy). Henrik Vigh  is a Professor of anthropology and head of the Centre for Cross-Border Criminology at the University of Copenhagen. He is the author of Navigating Terrains of War (2006) and has written extensively on conflict, crisis and crime. He has researched issues of youth and conflict in both Europe and Africa and is currently researching the intersection between war and crime focussing on the illegal movement of people, goods and drugs from Africa into Europe. Yavuz Yildirim received his Ph.D. degree from Ankara University, Political Science Department at 2012. His Ph.D. thesis is related to new social movements and anti-globalization movements, especially European Social Forum. His basic research areas are democracy theory, social movements, populism and public space. He is affiliated to Nigde Omer Halisdemir University in Turkey as assistant professor since 2013.



Introduction: Democracy, the Nation State, and Their Adversaries Joost Augusteijn, Constant Hijzen and Mark Leon de Vries

The worldwide triumph of the democratic system, widely expected following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, has increasingly been called into question over the past two decades. Already by the end of the 1990s, the resurgence of violent nationalism, particularly in the Balkan, began to cast doubt on such facile optimism. Recent developments in ‘new democracies’ in and outside the European Union, such as Poland, Hungary, Russia Turkey, and most recently, Brazil, in combination with the rise of right-wing populism in all established democracies across the western world, have even fuelled doubts about the ability J. Augusteijn (*)  Institute for History, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands e-mail: [email protected] C. Hijzen   Institute for History and Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands e-mail: [email protected] M. L. de Vries  Independent Researcher, Amsterdam, The Netherlands © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_1



of the democratic system itself to survive, never mind triumph.1 Some democratically elected governments actively and deliberately seem to undermine the system, with tacit support of the majority of the electorate that brought them to power. These developments raise serious concerns and have sparked attempts to curb such undemocratic tendencies by sanctions and international pressure. Traditional elites in functioning liberal democracies are thus faced with the imminent question of how to prevent internal movements intent on undermining their institutions from gaining power. Some suggest the introduction of new institutional safeguards, aimed at protecting democracies against the whims of the vox populi. Such reactions indicate that democracy is, to begin with, not a fixed institutional arrangement. The extent to which a state is indeed democratic, depends not just on the regular occurrence of elections, but also on how it is organised, controlled, and run in practice. A state is (partly) democratic, Robert Dahl argues, if specific arrangements, practices, and institutions have been and are in place, such as the presence of elected officials, ‘free, fair, and frequent elections’, access to alternative sources of information, associational autonomy, and inclusive citizenship.2 Over time, however, democracies have developed in different shapes and forms within this broad framework—with varying arrangements, practices, and institutions— and as a consequence there is no absolute definition of which systems are democratic. Instead of a binary distinction between democratic and undemocratic, it may be more helpful to think of state systems existing somewhere along a continuum between more and less democratic, with varying institutional arrangements and practices, although even the key criteria by which to judge this continuum remain contested. Following the defeat in 1945 of the extremist movements that had come to power during the ‘crisis of democracy’ in the 1930s, democracy became widely idealised as a fixed ideology in its own right. Having become an important rhetorical weapon in the Cold War struggle, both theorists and politicians in the West either lost sight of, or deliberately ignored, the existing diversity of forms within their coalition. After 1990, the expansion of the democratic system across the world seemed to be an inevitability. In 2007, Charles Tilly showed that, over the past two centuries, the march towards democracy was in fact by no means a gradual, deliberate, and irreversible process.3 Proponents and opponents of democratic government, with varying concepts and institutional arrangements in mind, have clashed time and again, leading to ‘waves’



of ‘democratisation’ and ‘de-democratisation’, such as we again seem to experience in recent years.4 Ever since democracy was first established as a relatively widely used system of government in Europe in the nineteenth century, it has indeed been challenged by those opposing its fundamental values. Initially, such challenges came from those who continued to support the older forms of absolutist or elite government. Later, these were joined by ideologically inspired groups—e.g. socialist, anarchist, and fascist—who wanted to replace the liberal democratic system, if necessary by force, with their own form of government based on what they perceived as being the people’s will. As such oppositional groups became increasingly incorporated in the nation state at the beginning of the twentieth century, some of them began to strive for the abolition of democracy by using the instruments of democracy itself, like Italian Fascists, German National Socialists and various Communist Parties. This raised the question how far democracies could and should go to protect themselves from their internal adversaries: anti-democratic groups and organisations in their midst. This question gained widespread political and academic relevance after the German national socialists dismantled the Weimar Republic in the 1930s, by using the very democratic rights and freedoms Weimar had provided. The initial response was generally to oppose banning any party, even those that wanted to abolish democracy. To do so, after all, would mean that democracy itself had become anti-democratic by denying the full freedom of ideas. The most prominent representative of this ‘free market of ideas’ position during the Weimar Republic, was legal philosopher Hans Kelsen. Others were more wary of the dangers posed by the rise to power of Hitler. Karl Loewenstein, who had fled Nazi Germany, argued that: ‘Under cover of fundamental rights and the rule of law, the anti-democratic machine could be built up and set in motion legally’. He and the Dutch scholar George van den Bergh, argued that democracies should become militant. To survive, a democracy would have to become what they called a ‘Streitbare Demokratie’ (commonly referred to as a ‘militant democracy’), capable of defending themselves, by force if necessary, against anti-democrats.5 The necessity to defend democracy had become evident after the 1930s. John Finn has shown that the proscription of anti-democratic parties subsequently became a common feature in western democracies, particularly in post-war and (post-)conflict societies, such as Germany


after 1945 or Latvia following the fall of the Soviet Union. Although a number of parties were banned—and some even suggested the introduction of ‘democracy guarantee clauses’ at a global level—many continued to harbour serious doubts about the political and legal grounds on which democrats might place those who they deemed anti-democrats outside the law. Politicians and legal scholars have subsequently fought fierce battles over the extent to which democracies should be enabled to constitutionally (or by ordinary law) ban ‘extremist’ political parties and associations.6 As a consequence of the elevation of democracy to a fixed ideological position, opposition to the system in the post-war years became treated as a pathological symptom. However, in the 1960s new forms of systemic criticism developed, based on the democratic narrative itself. Such critics argued that the system excluded various groups from expressing their democratic will. Finding it difficult to achieve their goals through the existing institutions, this led to an upsurge in political violence in the 1970s and 1980s, mostly based on social-revolutionary and separatist ideologies. In response, scholars in the social sciences and history broadened the debate on how to deal with anti-democratic opposition by including the question how liberal democracies did, and should, defend themselves against politically violent or terrorist opponents.7 In this context, Paul Wilkinson picked up the argument put forward by Loewenstein and van den Bergh in support of the right of liberal democratic states to proscribe certain antisystem parties.8 In light of the rise of populist parties since the turn of the twenty-first century, this debate has again become relevant. Recently John Keane and Kristian Skagen Ekeli have developed this approach further, while also identifying the dangers associated with it. They argued that proscribing parties in practice undermines the stability of the regime, stifles open debate, and can lead to polarisation and political extremism among excluded groups.9 Taking this a step further, the Dutch political philosopher Bastiaan Rijpkema has suggested that the essence of a democracy is its ability to revoke any decision taken. The only decision he argues that cannot be revoked by the system, is the establishment of democracy itself. The use of force should therefore only be allowed in defence of the mechanisms that make a regular, peaceful change in government possible.10 Recent developments in what are generally termed authoritarian democracies illustrate the acute need to further define what these defendable mechanisms entail.



Discussions over the legitimacy of the use of force against antisystem groups, demand a fundamental evaluation of the conceptualisation and meaning of democracy within society as Loewenstein already noted in 1938.11 In a comparative study of the post-war political debates in France, Italy, and West Germany, Pepijn Corduwener has shown that even among established parties there was no shared conception of democracy. They fundamentally disagreed on issues such as the basis of the economic system, the electoral system, the separation of powers, and the use of state institutions in defence of democracy. He concludes that, contrary to the general perception, there was no broad consensus even among those generally perceived as democrats on what constituted democratic credentials and political legitimacy.12 What has received less attention—so far—is the observation that not only democratic parties, but also those seen as their anti-democratic adversaries often lay claim to some form of ‘democracy’ as their source for legitimacy. In such cases, however, both sides have radically different, often mutually exclusive, things in mind when they discuss democracy, not only as a theoretical concept, but also as the set of institutional arrangements and practices. When oppositional groups challenge not just particular policies, but the fundamental institutions of (nominally) democratic nation states, both these oppositional groups and the states they challenge are forced to explain, define, and defend their very conceptions of democracy. Faced with a (democratic) challenge by what is defined as anti-democratic opposition, democratic parties have to (re-) define what they see as legitimate democratic forms and repertoires of opposition, as opposed to in their view undemocratic and therefore inadmissible manifestations. In effect, they have to define not only the meaning of democracy, but also its boundaries, offering an argument why certain ideas and groups fall outside the pale of legitimate democratic debate. The ruling parties in the German Bundestag, for example, labelled all violent actions of antinuclear movements in the 1990s as threats to that very democracy; these activist political repertoires could never be democratic, they argued. Oppositional contenders, in this case the Green party and the antinuclear movement, meanwhile, must also formulate proposals for alternative concepts, ideas, institutions, policies, or other aspects of the existing democratic state. This becomes especially pressing when these contenders use—or plead for the use of—means that do not fall within the scope of the democratic legal order of the state that they are part of, or when their goals are considered undemocratic.


Such challenges to existing democracies have been based on a wide variety of motivations. Some groups criticise the existing institutional framework on ideological grounds. Others oppose the current geographic boundaries of the democratic entity, while yet others seek a sharper definition of those who are to be included in or excluded from the national political community, each bringing their own definition of democracy as a form of legitimisation. By using violent and other extralegal as well as legal means, these socialists, separatists, right-wing nationalists, and other (radical) oppositional groups constitute a potential threat to the survival of the existing democracy and its institutions—or are perceived as such. These groups thus often challenge implicit and explicit assumptions regarding the meaning and boundaries of democracy, including the ethnic, ideological, and geographic limits of the democratic polity, as well as the range of ideas and repertoires of action that are considered democratic and undemocratic. Whenever adversaries of the system, ranging from the fascist street mobs in the 1930s, the Ausserparlementarische Opposition in West Germany in the 1960s, or the present day Pegida movement, come to the fore, definitions of democracy thus tend to become fluid and contested. Under those conditions, questions arise whether ‘our democracy’ should allow for those forms of opposition or not. While the claims to represent democracy are often made with the explicit intention of delegitimising the opponent as anti-democratic, these occasions are the ideal opportunity to study the way various groups in society, both those challenging as well as those supporting the existing system, think about the nature of the democratic system and its fundamental characteristics. In the relationship between (nominal) democracies and their adversaries, the researcher can find a more or less explicit statement of various conceptualisations of democracy in a given society. This volume therefore intends to move away from seeing such conflicts as inherently between democrats and anti-democrats, instead treating them as occasions in which a multiplicity of actors lay claim to an evolving set of democratic credentials. In fact, this volume zooms in on those confrontations during which contenders and defenders have to discuss what they envisage when they use the word ‘democracy’. The problematic relationship between democracies and their adversaries, is one that is nearly as old as the system itself. Academically, the issue has primarily been studied by political scientists and legal scholars, who have been concerned mostly with the establishment of the norms by



which a democracy should be judged.13 What the above short historical overview makes clear, however, is that there is not and never has been a consensus on the concept, institutions, and the practice of democracy; they have regularly been contested across a broad range of periods and places. In such conflict situations, it is often impossible to unravel claims as to who are the democrats and who are its opponents, which reflects the notion that democracy itself has no fixed form. More than this, underlying these differing approaches of historians and social scientists, is the question whether democracy is a set of practical guidelines or a principle. The relativising approach is one that is instantly recognised by historians of the contemporary world, who are confronted by a large number of conflicts in which different sides seek to claim democratic legitimacy, partly to justify their own actions, and partly to garner external or indeed international support. Conceptually, though, historians— like their colleagues in the social sciences—have traditionally focused on the crisis of democracy in the 1930s, while only more recently beginning to pay attention to the historical complexities of democratic responses to ‘extremism’ in general—moving beyond the democratic-anti-democratic dichotomy.14 This compilation of essays picks up on the discussions laid out above, by shifting attention to the relationship between democracies and their domestic contenders, providing the first explicit historical comparative exploration of the ways in which democracies have dealt with what they defined as anti-democratic forces in their midst and how that affected the contemporary conceptualisation of democracy among all actors involved. It thus contributes to a new direction in democracy studies, in which democratic ideals and practices are historicised, and understood as a tradition, rather than a timeless given.15 Instead of the theoretical approach, which is prevalent in International Relations studies, this book will historicise how democratic parties and oppositional groups have discussed and (re-)defined democracy across a wide geographical and chronological expanse of historical cases.16 It will focus on the interaction between the state and these oppositional groups, investigating legal and extralegal political actions, the verbal utterances of representatives from both sides, and their effect on the political discourse within the democratic polity. In this way, it explores how threats to existing democratic systems elicit new definitions of democracy. Ranging from a study of the post-civil war period in the US to the current situations in Bosnia and Transnistria, this volume shows that


conceptions of democracy are not fixed, but essentially tied to time and place. In this sense, this volume adheres to a fundamentally historicising approach, showing how in different times and places confrontations between democracies and their adversaries have led to (re)formulations of what democracy entails. The second claim this volume makes, is that these conceptions of democracy tend to come to the surface specifically during confrontations between democracies and their adversaries— and that, as a result of these confrontations, new conceptions might arise. Democracies and their adversaries use their competing ideas on democracy incessantly to justify their political claims or to deny the democratic rights of other groups, such as minorities or ideological opponents. Conceptions of democracy are thus not neutral concepts, but they often function as an instrument of power. Those who have the power to determine what is democratic and what is not, will often have access to the state apparatus and can therefore outlaw oppositional concepts and repertoires. A third finding of this volume is that the use of coercion, including the use of physical force, is inherent to the internal functioning of a democracy, generally accepted as exercised by the state through its monopoly of violence. This monopoly is however also often used as a means to stifle forms of opposition based on alternatives perceptions of democratic legitimacy, providing the adherents of these alternatives in turn with a justification for the use of force in opposition to these existing systems. The ten case studies by specialists presented here, cover the period from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century, grouped in three sections structured roughly along chronological as well as thematical lines. In each section, the extent to which the concept of a fluid definition of democracy can fruitfully be applied is tested by in-depth analyses of specific countries or movements, as well as by comparing developments across a range of samples. The first section, entitled ‘learning to deal with anti-democratic groupings, 1870–1933’, details the rise of anti-democratic movements following the introduction of universal suffrage and tracing the way the debate about the boundaries of ­democratic legitimacy and action took shape. Mark Leon de Vries starts off with an analysis of the way in which adherents of white supremacy in the US South ensured their continued power after the enfranchisement of the black population following the civil war in the United States. He argues that they supplemented widespread terrorism of the black population, with an effective rhetorical strategy that appropriated the language of democratic legitimacy exclusively to the white population.



The attention then turns to the interbellum, the formative period in Europe for thinking about the way democracies could and should deal with anti-democratic parties within the system. Kristian Mennen explores how social democratic parties in Germany and the Netherlands reacted to the challenge from fascist parties. In it he traces a clear shift away from the initial response to confront these parties with their own means, justifying acts of violence as a way of defending democracy. The idea that fascist violence on the streets should be countered with violence from democratic parties, made way in the early thirties for the argument that only the existing state institutions should do so. Joris Gijsenbergh takes this exploration a step further in relation to the thinking in the Netherlands in the interwar period. He shows how the defenders of democracy fundamentally disagreed among themselves on the meaning of democracy and how and against whom these should be protected, but how they, partly in response to the prior events in Germany, nevertheless reached a broad concensus on the limits of actions that are legitimate within a democracy. In the subsequent section, entitled ‘new forms of mobilisation in the age of civil resistance, 1960–1997’, the second period of serious discussion on the notion of democracy comes under review, when new anti-system movements began to challenge the democratic credentials of the existing democracies. Following the triumph of democracy in 1945, oppositional groups who wanted to overthrow the existing system in this period now openly defined themselves as democrats as well. In the first contribution, Joost Augusteijn and Jacco Pekelder deal with the consequences of actual conflict breaking out between the state and its adversaries, by delving deeper into the triangular relationship between state, violent opponents, and society at large. They argue that to really understand the dynamic of such a conflict over democratic legitimacy, it is necessary to analyse the discussion the conflict engenders in those sections of society that contain potential supporters of the movement challenging power. To do so, they concentrate on the debates which followed the trials and subsequent hunger strikes of members of the Rote Armee Fraction in Germany and the IRA in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. Constant Hijzen then looks at this issue from the perspective of Dutch security in the 1980s. As the task of the security services was to monitor individuals and organisations who had the intentions and capabilities to actually hurt the existing democratic order, the question arises how the services decided who was an adversary (an extremist or


anti-democratic) and who was not. Although the enemy was clearly identifiable in the early Cold War (communism), it became more challenging to identify the proper adversaries of the democratic order in the later Cold War. This chapter therefore explores the Dutch security service’s threat perception in the early 1980s of what was termed ‘the movement’, a complex and heterogeneous group of violent and non-violent ­activist individuals and groups alike, by exploring to what extent the security service created an ‘enemy image’ of the movement. In so doing, the dynamics by which a Western democracy decided—through its security service—who it considered an adversary are scrutinised. Yavuz Yildirim picks up on the question how democratic institutions are shaped by those in power and how social movements who try to change the system relate to them. Through an exploration of the experience of Kurdish and Islamic movements in Turkey, he shows that an inherent distrust of alternative versions of democracy led to a fundamental conflict between state and grass-roots movements. This dynamic was temporarily broken by the rise of single-issue movements in the 1990s, which opened up the possibility of a free exchange of ideas, but this new possibility seems again to have been nipped in the bud by the increasingly exclusive claim to power of the Islamic movement that had gained control of the state institutions, mirroring the position of those in power before them. In this way, the undemocratic managed to become democratic, even if its actions in turn then became undemocratic in content and form. In her contribution, Miina Kaarkoski shows how even in wellfunctioning democracies a fundamental discussion over the concept of democracy can be initiated when representative institutions take a controversial decision. One such decision by the German coalition government of the 1990s was allowing the transport of nuclear waste. This brought into focus the tension that can arise between parliamentary representatives, speaking out on an issue that was not part of the election campaign, and widespread civilian opposition to this within the electorate that claimed to represent the will of the people. This involved the use of violence from both sides and led to fundamental debates on what constituted a democracy and democratic means. The third section, ‘dealing with opposition in the post-Cold War period, 1998–2019’, concerns some more or less contemporary examples of discussions about the concept of democracy, both in the established stable democracies of northwestern Europe as the newly



independent states in southern and eastern Europe, particularly those having to deal with fundamental opposition to the geographic contours of the state. In all these cases democratic legitimisation has become the core of the oppositional argument. Henrik Vigh explores the responses of the protestant loyalist community in Northern Ireland to the peace process of the 1990s, which generated a strong sense of exclusion among working-class ‘Loyalists’, who feel that the language of reconciliation had resulted in a one-sided sympathy for the Catholic and Republican community. He shows that the negative perception of this community’s reaction to the democratically supported compromise in recent years does not hold up if these responses are viewed from the inside. In a way, mirroring the juxtaposition between the self-perception of Ulster Loyalists as defenders of democracy and the public perception of them as paramilitaries or terrorists. The reaction of the loyalist community must instead be viewed as a rational reaction to a process of marginalisation and abandonment. The final two contributions concern the problematic introduction of democracy in two newly created fundamentally divided countries, Moldova and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The democratic fundamentals of a movement fighting for the separation of a region are analysed by Ana Maria Albulescu in a study of the creation of Transnistria. Showing that action of the central and the separatist region’s governments rely heavily on democratic legitimisation of their diametrically opposed positions. The impact of outside forces on this democratic legitimation is a secondary element explored in this contribution. The final chapter by Arianna Piacentini deals with the attempts to pacify an ethnically divided society through the use of consociational democratic institutions and a federal state structure. She shows how in the context of elite behaviour these instruments work out essentially counterproductive, and how voices that represent a peaceful multicultural society are systematically side-lined in the institutions as a consequence. At the same time, she demonstrates that there is a group of young people who may act within the confines of a divided society but do not actually feel represented by it. This may ultimately enable change from within when political elites alter. Given the fact that historical studies of the way the concept of democracy becomes contested in crisis situations have not yet been attempted, this volume provides empirical historical input to inform the ongoing theoretical discussion on the way democracies can deal and have dealt with those opposing them and how that has allowed for a broad


interpretation of what democracy is among all those involved. We are convinced that the perspectives presented here will be useful to all those interested in the complex relationship between democracies and those who attempt to redefine them—also in the context of the most recent challenges to democracies from within, and we hope that it will inspire further transnational research in this field.


1. Yascha Mounk, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It (Harvard 2018). 2. R. Dahl, On Democracy (Yale 1998), 81–86. 3. Charles Tilly, Democracy (New York 2007), 33; Dahl, On Democracy, 10–28; Mark Mazower, The Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century (Ulster 1998), 20–25. 4. J. Markoff, Waves of Democracy: Social Movements and Political Change (California 1996), 1–11. See also the debate surrounding Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman 1993). 5.  Karl Loewenstein, ‘Militant Democracy and Fundamental Rights I’, American Political Science Review 31:4 (1937), 423, see also 417; J.W. Müller, ‘Militant Democracy’, in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law (Oxford 2012), 1253–1270, there 1256–1263. 6.  John Finn, ‘Electoral Regimes and the Protection of Anti-democratic Parties’, in Terrorism and Political Violence, 12:3–4, 51–77; Markus Thiel, The ‘Militant Democracy’ Principle in Modern Democracies (Düsseldorf 2009), 9; Jan-Werner Müller, ‘Protecting Popular SelfGovernment from the People? New Normative Perspectives on Militant Democracy’, Annual Review of Political Science 19:1 (2016), 249–265; Angela K. Bourne, ‘Democratization and the Illegalization of Political Parties in Europe’, in Democratization 19:6 (2012), 1065–1085. 7. E.g. John Keane, Violence and Democracy (Cambridge 2004); D. Della Porta, Clandestine Political Violence (Cambridge 2013); M.A. Miller, The Foundations of Modern Terrorism: State, Society, and the Dynamics of Political Violence (Cambridge 2013); András Sajó (ed.), Militant Democracy (The Hague 2004), 703–704. 8. P. Wilkinson, Terrorism and the Liberal State (London 1977). 9. Keane, Violence and Democracy; Kristian Skagen Ekeli, ‘The Political Rights of Anti-Liberal-Democratic Groups’, Law and Philosophy 31 (2012), 261–297; Mark, Chou, Democracy Against Itself: Sustaining an



Unsustainable Idea (Edinburgh 2014), x; Thiel, The ‘Militant Democracy’ Principle, 1–2. 10. Bastiaan Rijpkema, Weerbare democratie. De grenzen van democratische tolerantie (n.p. 2015). 11. Karl Loewenstein, ‘Legislative Control of Political Extremism in European Democracies: II’, Columbia Law Review 38: 774. 12.  Pepijn Corduweder, ‘Democracy as a Contested Concept in Post-War Western Europe: A Comparative Study of Political Debates in France, West Germany and Italy’, Historical Journal 59:1 (2016), 197–220. 13. G. Capoccia, Defending Democracy: Reactions to Extremism in Interwar Europe (Baltimore 2005); G. Flümann, Streitbare Demokratie in Deutschland und den Verenigten Staaten. Der staatliche Umgang mit nichtgewalttätugem politischem Extremismus in Vergleich (Wiesbaden 2015). 14. E.g. Mazower, Dark Continent, 20–25; Remieg Aerts, Het aanzien van de politiek. Geschiedenis van een functionele fictie (Amsterdam 2009); Pepijn Corduwener, The Problem of Democracy in Europe: Conflicting and Converging Conceptions of Democracy in France, West Germany and Italy, 1945–1989 (New York 2016); J. Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag. Extremismebestrijding in Nederland, 1917–1940 (Leiden 2017), 19–21. 15.  See: Jeffrey Stout, Democracy and Tradition (Princeton and Oxford 2004). 16. E.g. T. Balzacq (ed.), Securitization Theory: How Security Problems Emerge and Resolve (London and New York 2011).


Learning to Deal with Anti-Democratic Groupings, 1870–1933

In this first part, the chapters explore how newly established democracies dealt with internal systemic opposition in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In a way, the process in which democracies changed institutionally and conceptually invoked their own adversaries: those who opposed and fought these changes. Initially, voting rights had been restricted to economic elites, but these were gradually extended, leading to the introduction of universal (male) suffrage in the US by the 1840s and in most of Western Europe in the period around 1918. The general tide of democratisation that marked this period was, however, punctuated by anti-democratic counterpoints on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe revolutionary opposition from socialists, culminating in the 1870 Paris Commune, had essentially come to an end. With the extension of the franchise working class demands became increasingly challenged through the existing institutions, leading to the introduction of a rudimentary social security system in many countries without much controversy. In the US, a major challenge to the expansion of voting rights occurred along racial lines, in the wake of the Civil War. Southern whites, bitter over their defeat and the abolition of slavery, combined political terrorism with a ruthless rhetorical attack, to ensure that freedom for the recently enslaved African Americans, would not come to mean inclusion in the body politic—despite two constitutional amendments to the contrary.


In Europe, the most serious challenge to democracy occurred some 60 years later than in the US. The economic malaise of the 1930s reinforced long-cherished claims of socialists and communists that political enfranchisement without economic equality was meaningless. They were joined, however, by a new political ideology that, like the white supremacists in the US, channelled mass frustration of economic disillusionment towards a right-wing embrace of national identity that simultaneously scapegoated ethnic minorities. However, while Southern whites embraced the rhetoric of democracy—even while narrowing its substance—European fascists increasingly rejected the very notion of democracy—although they often did appeal to a more nebulous form of national will.

‘… a Wretched, Down Trodden and Impoverished People.’ Terrorism, Propaganda, and the Failure of Democracy in Post-Civil War Louisiana Mark Leon de Vries

The United States prides itself on being the oldest existing democracy in the world, yet the meaning, scope and institutional substance of this democratic ideal have always been fiercely, at times even violently, contested. All democracies depend on a shared, though often implicit, conceptualisation of a ‘demos’: a coherent political community that may actively participate in public affairs. In the context of the United States, this notion of a demos is neatly encapsulated in the phrase ‘We the people…’ that serves as the auctorial voice of the constitution. The scope of inclusion of ‘we the people’, as Jelte Olthof has pointed out, ‘was not an overnight invention that was accepted outright, but remained a contested concept both before and after ratification’.1 In the early decades of the republic, admission to ‘the people’ was heavily restricted based on race, class, and gender. Individual states

M. L. de Vries (*)  Independent Researcher, Amsterdam, The Netherlands © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_2


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retained wide leverage in determining who received full citizenship, defined not only by the right to vote, but also by the right to own real estate and to participate in judicial proceedings as a litigant, witness and/or juror. Not only were practically all women and most free blacks excluded from these privileges, but strict educational and property qualification prevented all but a small minority of white men from fully participating in political life during this period. By the middle of the nineteenth-century, universal white adult male suffrage had nevertheless rapidly become the norm throughout the expanding nation. The extension of the elective franchise during the 1830s and 1840s was indeed a defining feature of the Jacksonian revolution. These widespread changes, however, resulted from local popular pressure and changes in state election laws, rather than any national guarantee of voting rights. Moreover, women, most free blacks and of course the enslaved population in the South remained ineligible for citizenship. The expansion of democratic rights, however, hardly achieved what we today would consider the minimum threshold for labelling a state ‘democratic’. While universal white male suffrage became the de facto norm, debates over the extent of voting rights never entirely vanished from American political discourse, as for example nativists sought to exclude Irish-Americans from the vote in the 1850s. Moreover, as ballots were rarely secret and local elites and political parties usually controlled the organisation of elections, local communities retained significant influence on access to the ballot, regardless of the formal legal rules.2 Northern victory in the Civil War and the abolition of slavery reignited a widespread and fierce political struggle over both the scope and the locus of American citizenship that would determine the extent to which the country would practically achieve its own democratic ideals. Scope, in this case, refers to the extension of citizenship to previously excluded groups, in particular the enormously expanded class of free blacks.3 Locus refers to the administrative level at which citizenship is defined and safeguarded—nationally by the federal government, or rather locally by the individual state governments and even, at least in practice, by local communities.4 This political struggle was by far the fiercest in the South, where the vast majority of the four million blacks lived and where legal and political equality would thus most significantly threaten the social, economic and political dominance of the established white elites. During the post-Civil War decade, known as the Reconstruction era, Southern whites not only opposed the expansion



of citizenship by all available political means, but also through widespread terrorism aimed at both the black population as well as the few whites who supported them. One way to understand this period is thus as a struggle between those seeking a more expansive and nationalised (though still heavily gendered) notion of democracy, and those seeking to reaffirm a more localised and, at least in practice, restrictive notion of democracy that limited political participation along racial lines. A small but vocal minority of Radical Republicans advocated full civil and political equality for the newly free black population from the outset, but the widespread prevalence of racism as well as a deeply rooted suspicion of increased federal power—in the North as well as the South— precluded widespread support for their programme. However, the ham-fisted policies of conservative president Andrew Johnson and the fierce resistance in the South to modest reforms during the early postCivil War years, created a political opening for the Radicals to push through much of their programme. This culminated in the enactment of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the constitution by 1870, which respectively ensured a nationalised citizenship that included blacks and prohibited states from restricting suffrage on racial grounds. Ultimately, however, these measures failed to achieve the political equality which their most ardent supporters envisioned. Within a decade, widespread political violence had reduced blacks throughout the South to a de facto status of second-class citizens and by the end of the century so-called Jim Crow laws legally circumvented the Reconstruction amendments enshrining racial segregation of the public sphere and disenfranchising the vast majority of African Americans.5 This raises the inevitable question of why and how the federal government failed to enforce the more expansive notion of democracy it had enacted on paper. This failure resulted, in part, from changing circumstances in the North itself. Support for the more Radical elements of Reconstruction had never been widespread outside of New England. By the mid-1870s, as memories of the Civil War began to fade, reunion and reconciliation, which had never been far from people’s minds, took on increasing political salience, at the cost of civil and political equality for the former slaves.6 The financial panic of 1873 and the ensuing economic depression, the numerous scandals engulfing President Grant’s administration, the Liberal revolt within the Republican party, and a series of Supreme Court rulings all served to further undermine both public support and institutional capacity for enforcing Reconstruction.

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These national developments, however, do not fully explain the failure to establish a more expansive democracy in the US South following the Civil War. Northern doubts were further fuelled by the active resistance of Southern whites to see their racial dominance ended by the inclusion of their former slaves in ‘we the people’. Beginning in 1873, Southern white militants used targeted political violence and the threat of widespread terrorism to dislodge black and white Republicans from key positions of local power they still held in a number of Southern states. This undermined the social capital and institutional foundations of the nascent Republican Party in the South. Moreover, by in effect challenging the federal government to deploy a permanent military occupation of the South, it also drove up the political price of enforcing Reconstruction’s reforms well beyond what the Northern electorate and politicians were willing to pay.7 For this strategy to succeed, Southern white militants had to prevent the kind of federal crackdown that had followed upon the earlier wave of terrorism, associated with the Ku-Klux Klan. To do so, they matched their political violence with a savvy propaganda campaign. While waging a battle to curtail democracy in the South, they actually claimed the mantle of democratic legitimacy by redefining citizenship as a privilege that attached only to the white population organised in local communities. They did so by presenting themselves as the legitimate exponent of the American tradition of local self-rule, rising up in opposition to a corrupt and democratically illegitimate Republican regime dependent on federal support.8 When they could not credibly deny the use of political violence, they excused it as the lamentable, but justifiable reaction to an oppressive regime. This both undermined support within the North for further federal enforcement and provided ideological cover for more moderate Southern whites who had felt discomfiture with the indiscriminate violence of the Klan. This propaganda depended heavily on the ability of Southerners to redefine their antidemocratic vision, behind a smokescreen of democratic legitimacy depending on an older more locally rooted and racially limited notion of who constitute the community of citizens. The South thus initiated a confrontation over the very meaning of the meaning of democracy and citizenship. This discourse subsumed the overtly racial animus of earlier Reconstruction violence, into a rhetoric of democratic legitimacy. Southerners successfully connected alleged (and often enough real) Republican corruption with the presumed unfitness of



blacks for political equality, masking their white supremacy behind a façade of good-government rhetoric. The political and racial terrorism of Reconstruction spawned a discourse opposed to the inclusive citizenship envisioned by the victorious North, that defined the political community as exclusively white, relegating blacks—and in due course other racially defined minorities—to second class citizenship. While many mainstream histories of the United States present its political history as a more-or-less uninterrupted march towards a more inclusive democracy, Reconstruction clearly shows how democracy under some circumstances may as easily contract as expand. Under such circumstances, democratic rhetoric serves as a smokescreen to justify the privileged position of an established elite, instead, as it is more commonly understood, as a tool to wrest political power from the hands of a powerful minority. Nowhere in the South was Reconstruction terrorism as enduring, widespread and violent as in Louisiana, which served as both a testingground and bellwether for many national policies and developments.9 It was in northwestern Louisiana, along the Red River Valley, that political terrorism first re-emerged after the Klan had been broken up in the late 1860s. Initially an ad hoc phenomenon in the wake of the contested 1872 elections, conservative militants eventually organised themselves under the name of ‘White Leagues’ that sought to gain local political power formally through electoral campaign as well as surreptitiously through violent overthrow of existing Republican regimes. Through an analysis of local newspapers that served as a mouthpiece for these militant Southern conservatives, this chapter traces how these groups developed a subtle propaganda of democratic legitimacy as a cover for a campaign of political terrorism aimed at undermining Republican rule and ending the brief experiment in biracial democracy that the federal government had established.10

Learning from the Klan’s Mistakes The paramilitary groups of the mid 1870s were not the first terrorist organisations to challenge Reconstruction and many of the strategic choices they made were informed by their earlier attempts to reclaim political power some five years earlier, when the Ku-Klux Klan inspired a bloody campaign against Southern blacks and their few white allies. Beyond its birthplace in Tennessee, the Klan was more a collection of violent repertoires copied and replicated throughout the South as it was

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a formal organisation. In Louisiana, many conservative whites organised themselves in a secretive fraternity known as the Knights of the White Camelia, whose purported aim was to preserve ‘the superiority of the white race over the black, to prevent amalgamation, and keep the races pure, if possible’.11 Regardless of the official name under which they operated, these terrorist organisations combined highly visible and theatrical violence with an organisation so secretive that its members denied its very existence.12 The Klan-like violence ignited a veritable reign of terror in the late 1860s and in Louisiana succeeded in securing an electoral victory for the Democrats throughout the state at the November 1868 elections, by forcibly preventing countless blacks from freely casting their vote. The very visible nature of Klan violence, however, provoked a fierce federal backlash that successfully, albeit briefly, brought an end to the worst of the political terror that plagued the South during Reconstruction.13 The outcry in the North, moreover, helped spur the enactment of the Fourteenth and the Fifteenth Amendment as well as the enforcement acts, which significantly increased the federal government’s jurisdiction. Around the same time that the federal government clamped down on the Klan, ironically, they also re-enfranchised the vast majority of Southern whites who had temporarily been precluded from voting through the 1867 Reconstruction Act. As a result, the Democratic Party quickly took control of the state legislatures and governorships in most Southern states, in a process they termed ‘Redemption’. In Louisiana and a few other states where whites were in the minority, however, Republicans could count on the solid support of the black electorate to ensure their continued political pre-eminence. In 1872, moderate white ‘Fusionists’ had failed to peel off enough black votes in the state to force out the Republicans. The elections were marred by widespread corruption, but federal officials ultimately installed the Republican claimant, William Pitt Kellogg, as governor. Having failed to regain political power through either the outright terrorism of the Klan or the electoral path of Fusionism, Conservative Louisianans now pursued a White Line strategy that combined targeted political violence to deter Republican officeholders with a racialized politics aimed at fully mobilising the white electorate.14 Having learnt from their Klan-era experience, Southern white militants were keenly aware of the importance of ensuring Northern passivity



in the face of renewed political violence. ‘The public sentiment’, a New Orleans White League activist privately wrote to a confederate, ‘especially of the North has to be appealed to by a certain enumeration of wrongs, oppressions and exactions, that will unite the sympathy and public sentiment of the world with us as a wretched, down trodden and impoverished people’. Although he supported the organisations of White Leagues to undermine Republican rule and the black voters it depended on, ‘the armed part should be secret’, he insisted.15 The White League thus presented itself as a legitimate political organisation in the venerable tradition of American local self-rule, wither denying the use of violence or else justifying it as a necessary response to intolerable oppression.

Inventing a Discourse of Democratic Legitimacy Conservative whites’ claim to democratic legitimacy was not, from their own perspective, mere propaganda. During the chaotic 1872 election campaign, both parties had threatened to crumble into rival factions and fraud and intimidation were so ubiquitous on both sides that ‘no one ever had any idea who had actually won’.16 After federal officials finally decided the outcome in favour of the Republican gubernatorial candidate William Pitt Kellogg, the vast majority of whites refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of his regime. Democrats inaugurated their own state government, with Fusionist John McEnery as Governor, and for a period rival legislatures met simultaneously in New Orleans.17 Crucially, the Democrats also set out to establish local political control, by commissioning militia officers and parish and municipal officials throughout the state, in an attempt to ‘perfect our government as to put it in a condition to assert and support its own pretentions’.18 Kellogg, with tacit support from federal officials, succeeded in gaining control of New Orleans. Ongoing disputes among rival claimants to local authority would, however, soon spark a violent confrontation in remote Grant Parish that subsequently fuelled the rise of the White League.19 Republican claimants to local offices—most of them whites—in the majority-black parish broke into and occupied the courthouse in the hamlet of Colfax, which had previously been controlled by McEnery appointees. A standoff ensued, as heavily armed whites from around the region laid siege to the Republicans. while hundreds of local blacks took refuge in the courthouse. After the Republicans’ white leadership had departed for New Orleans to seek assistance from state and federal

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authorities, the white militants attacked and set fire to the courthouse on Easter Sunday of 1873. Over the next two days, they murdered dozens of blacks, many of whom were burnt alive or executed after they had surrendered. The grim details of the massacre have been extensively documented elsewhere, but what interests us here, is the way in which the conservative white press framed and justified the events.20 The Louisiana Democrat, conservative paper from neighbouring Rapides Parish, was one of the first to report on the massacre. As the white press nearly always did during Reconstruction, they termed the events a ‘riot’ evoking deep-seated collective fears of black violence that hearkened back to the perceived threats of slave rebellions. Ignoring the highly contested nature of the 1872 elections, the Democrat repeatedly referred to the Democratic officials as unambiguously elected. In a turn of phrase that would return endlessly in White League justifications, white mobilisation had begun as ‘a mass meeting of the people for the purpose of expressing their condemnation in a quiet way’. Not only does this wording suggest peaceable intentions, but it implicitly equates ‘the people’, and by extension democratic legitimacy itself, exclusively with the white population. The papers’ readers undoubtedly understood all too well that no blacks had been invited to or would have been welcome at this ‘mass meeting’. This use of ‘the people’ in reference exclusively to the white population returned over and over in the conservative press. In another article in the same edition, the violence was blamed squarely on Kellog’s willingness to ‘trifle with the people’, and in a third, the death of Jim W. Hadnot, one of the few white casualties at Colfax, was assured to ‘throw a pall of grief over our whole people’.21 The use of such language quickly spread across northwestern Louisiana. A week after the Colfax massacre, the Bossier Banner published a call for a similar mass meeting of all those ‘opposed to the Kellogg usurpation’ to ‘consider the political situation, and adopt some means for concert of action’.22 The equation of ‘the people’ or ‘citizens’ with the white population and the systematic referencing of Kellogg and his allies as usurpers, was part of a political lexicon that conservative whites developed to justify their opposition to the Republican regime at the state and local level. Another central element of this lexicon was the notion that only those who paid taxes had a claim to democratic representation. Since taxes were levied almost exclusively on property, rather than income, it was white landowners who paid almost all of the state and local tax burden. This quickly resulted in the formation of informal ‘tax-payers



associations’ at the local level, that often served as parallel shadow governments alongside the official Republican officeholders. To do so, conservative whites employed their economic clout as tax-payers to undermine the Kellogg regime, simply by refusing to pay the taxes it demanded and instead financing the McEnery regime.23 When Kellogg’s political opponents organised a statewide convention at the end of 1873, its legitimacy was justified by claiming to represent ‘nineteen-twentieths of the taxes of the State’, and its object was to ‘prevent the impecunious one tenth, and the large mass of non-tax payers from stealing the last cent of those who own the property of the state’.24 Conservative Whites continued to use the label of ‘taxpayer association’ to organise and justify their opposition to Republican rule, even after the more overtly ­racist and political White League organisations began to emerge. By then, the ‘tax-payer’ moniker amounted to little more than a public, non-partisan smokescreen for Northern consumption, behind which the White Leagues could organise their racist and often violent political campaign.25 Conservative whites were well aware that the rhetoric and terminology they used to describe themselves would influence Northern perceptions and might determine the success of their movement. They openly debated how to balance overt appeals to white supremacy, with the more coded references to corruption and illegitimate taxation. In July of 1874 the Shreveport Times opposed organising the political campaign under the label of ‘taxpayers’ associations’, rejecting the notion that ‘the white movement must be cloaked or covered up. ‘The call for the organization of a white man’s party’, after all, ‘is what has aroused the present enthusiasm of our people’.26 In practice, both terms were in widespread circulation and the conservative press might adapt the one or the other depending on the audience they hoped to persuade. These conservative newspapers echoed and reinforced sentiments widely shared by the white population of Louisiana. Although they often couched their complaints in the language of democratic legitimacy and good governance, racial animus in fact motivated their opposition to Republican rule. Lieutenant Colonel Henry H. Morrow, who made two inspection tours of the state during this period, testified before a Congressional committee that he had never heard expressions ‘as hostile to the Government of the United States’, as in northern Louisiana, where taxation by Republicans was ‘a matter of universal complaint’. He emphasised, however, that white supremacist ideology lurked just below the surface of these seemingly mundane political grievances.

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There is a feeling on the part of the people, which is more imaginary than real, in relation to the negro. They do not regard the black man as exactly entitled to the position that he occupies […] there was a feeling that the colored man had been placed in a position more important than his education or his virtues or his intelligence entitled him to.27 It was, in other words, the racial identity of the Republican electorate that made their regime—and hence their taxes—illegitimate. The notion of former slaves voting, let alone holding office and levying taxes, was so antithetical to the worldview of most Southern whites, that they felt it justified a response that went well beyond the boundaries of traditional democratic opposition politics.

Behind the Façade of Legitimacy: The Rise of the Louisiana White League Conservative whites, however, did not simply want to vent their anger in newspapers and at meetings. They sought to reclaim political power at the state and local level as soon as possible, both to ‘prove to the North […] that we carried the state in 1872’, and because ‘the election of the different parish officers will result in the material improvement of our condition at home’.28 The frequent, but ad hoc, mass meetings and calls to tax-resistance against Kellogg’s Republican regime that had percolated throughout Louisiana throughout 1873, resulted in the spring of 1874 in the formation of White League organisations that quickly spread across the state. These began as local clubs based in particular parishes and towns, but quickly congealed to form a statewide organisation that even briefly succeed overthrowing the state government during the so-called Battle of Liberty Place in New Orleans, on September 14, 1874. Alcibiades DeBlanc, who had helped organise the secretive Knights of the White Camelia in 1868, headed the first formal White League organisation, in St. Landry Parish. The continuity with the more informal tax-payers associations of 1873 is evident. A year earlier, DeBlanc had led a tax resistance movement in St Martin and the adjoining parishes, which achieved de facto control of much of central Louisiana in name of the McEnery regime. A declaration by the area’s leading lawyers emphasised their claims to democratic legitimacy, rejecting any obligations of loyalty to the Republican government in New Orleans, which ‘instead of protecting, denies and destroys [the] sacred privileges’ attached to citizenship. The Opelousas Courier gleefully reported how



Kellogg’s Metropolitan police initially failed to retake the parish by force, suffering three fatal casualties at the hands of ‘the citizens’. Only when federal forces showed up as reinforcement did DeBlanc surrender, but without giving up the pretence of legitimate authority. Following his arrest, he reported on the events in a widely published letter addressed to ‘His Excellency, John McEnery, Governor of Louisiana’, and signed as ‘Col. Commanding St. Martin Militia’. DeBlanc denied charges of interfering with ‘the rights of colored citizens’, insisting that his only purpose was to ‘recognize your election as governor’.29 Although the Opelousas White League in central Louisiana was the first formal organisation under that name, the movement’s centre of gravity quickly moved to the northwestern parishes along the Red River. Most historians, in fact, trace its birth to the launch of the rabidly white supremacist newspaper Alexandria Caucasian in Rapides Parish, a month prior to DeBlanc’s organisation.30 The Caucasian advocated a strict White Line policy aimed at mobilising the entire white population in support for the Democratic Party, rather than attempting to court black voters by making concessions to civil or political equality. Along with the Natchitoches Vindicator and the Shreveport Times, it played a key role in developing and disseminating a discourse that aimed to simultaneously mobilise support among the Southern White populaces by appealing to their white supremacist worldview, while at the same time obfuscating the White League’s essentially terrorist nature. This combination of political violence and democratic legitimisation was key to the White League’s success, because, as Carole Emberton has pointed out Southern white militants required both, ‘coordination and a politically viable justification for igniting armed conflict with the state authorities […] if Republicans’ greatest strength – federal support – was to be broken’.31 They achieved this by emphasising their widespread support among the white populace and focusing on issues such as good governance, law and order, and financial retrenchment—themes that also appealed to a Northern audience as well as those Southern whites who had been attracted to the Liberal Republicans in 1872.32 The Caucasian’s editors succeeded in seamlessly blending racist assumptions with appeals to democratic legitimacy. It was, for example, only because blacks had yet to learn that they lacked ‘the capacity to rule this country’, that they sought to participate in politics. Once the influence of Northern Republicans, whom they dismissively labelled Carpetbaggers, had been neutralised, the former slaves would soon come

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to their senses and ‘turn of necessity to the white people for that intelligence and capacity that he will acknowledge, he has not himself and then the problem will be solved’. Republican rule in the South, in other words, could not be legitimate, so long as it relied on black votes, and the choice of black voters should not be taken seriously so long as they were ‘manipulated’ by opportunistic white Republicans. The glaring circularity of this reasoning could only be resolved by the deeply held belief that without outside interference the negro will sink to his level of political, as well as social insignificance; except in isolated cases where particular individuals may display capacity that fit them for minor offices. To demand more is to deny the decrees of Providence which made him the inferior of the white race. Despite such blatantly racist rhetoric, the Caucasian from its very inception denied any desire to create a political conflict between the races, framing their white line policy as a defensive response to Republicans’ manipulation of black voters. They sought no more than a restoration of their birthright as American citizens, whose ‘political disfranchisement can last no longer. Their wealth and intelligence must be represented in this government and it never will be until they take just such a stand as we propose’.33 The White League press alternated such appeals to racist prejudices with endless accusations of supposed corruption and mismanagement against state and local Republican officials. The veracity of such claims is almost impossible to determine in retrospect. When Captain Arthur W. Allyn investigated whites’ claims of exorbitant taxation in Colfax, he found ‘both state and parish tax (the latter payable in deprecated currency) to be relatively light’. On the other hand, by 1874, even Republican newspapers in Louisiana admitted that ‘the republican party has so far, utterly failed to give the people the government that was promised, and which they had a right to expect’. As a significant portion of antebellum taxes had been levied on slave property, poorer whites— who had owned few or no slaves—might well have experienced increased tax burdens, while, as J. Mills Thornton III argues, ‘they received no more – in fact, often less – in return than he had received before the war’.34 Even if there was some truth to the accusations against Republicans, the incessant trumpeting of such charges reeked of opportunism in a state where corruption was endemic. The real issue was not so much that corruption occurred, but that its benefits did not accrue to the usual



clique of white good ol’ boys.35 Such a ‘rhetoric of corruption’, which created a perceived link between public malfeasance and personal degeneracy, served as an effective mechanism for inciting and justifying political violence against Republican officeholders.36 Incessant complaints of financial hardship and political corruption, meanwhile, undoubtedly resonated with Northerners suffering through a severe economic depression and shocked by numerous corruption scandals that engulfed the Grant administration. This discourse thus served the dual purpose of uniting Southern whites behind a renewed campaign of terror, while retaining a semblance of legitimacy in the eyes of the Northern public. Subsequent developments in Natchitoches and Red River parishes would demonstrate Republicans ultimately could not prevail in the face of conservative whites’ use of paramilitary force in the name of democratic ideals. Natchitoches Parish had been spared the worst of the violence that had engulfed much of the surrounding region in the late 1860s. In the spring of 1874, however, the parish’s white press had begun complaining about exorbitant taxation and an illegitimate usurpation of the local government by a clique of local white Republicans headed by the tax collector D.H. Boullt. Boullt, so the conservatives alleged, had used his influence to fraudulently enrich himself and his cronies at the taxpayers’ expense in corrupt schemes involving, among others, the building of a bridge, the commissioning of a map book for the parish, the remuneration of police jurors, and an immigration bureau. In the summer and fall of 1874 Boullt found himself the target of various civil suits resulting from these affairs. The district judge for Natchitoches’s district, John Osborne, although a Republican, proved willing to pass judgment against Boullt and his associates in a number of cases, suggesting that the allegations of malfeasance were more than mere political fodder.37 Having achieved success at court, might have satisfied the relatively moderate white elites of Natchitoches, but subsequent events in the parish ensured that their rhetoric of corruption developed into credible threats of violence and the resulting ousting of Boullt and his Republican associates. Following the disputed elections of 1872 and the violence in Grant Parish, the political leadership of both parties in Natchitoches had avoided a similar conflict by a negotiated compromise in which the parish offices and police jury membership was divided between Republicans and Democrats.38 In early 1874, however, Kellogg appointed a new, entirely Republican police jury to replace the bipartisan body commissioned after

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the compromise. Conservatives alleged that Kellogg had packed the new police jury with political allies of Boullt, including a number of i­lliterate blacks. Around the same time, the state legislature ordained a judicial reorganisation in which Natchitoches was detached from the ninth judicial district and combined with Sabine, DeSoto, and Red River parishes into the newly formed seventeenth district. This allowed Kellogg to appoint a new district judge of his choosing, for which position he selected Henry C. Myers, another close ally of Boullt, who had received the more modest parish judgeship in the 1873 compromise.39 Members of the tax collector’s family, moreover, held numerous other offices in the parish: Boullt’s eldest son, D.H. Jr., already a deputy sheriff, was appointed to the parish judgeship vacated by Myers; William H. Boullt served as both deputy tax collector and deputy parish judge, as well as holding the positions of surveyor and parish auctioneer; H.B. Boullt was also deputy sheriff, as well as deputy US Marshal; and another, unnamed relative was supervisor of registration. Such a concentration of power in the hands of a small clique of Radical Republicans, worried the conservative white population of Natchitoches. They had already endured what they perceived as a barely tolerable degree of mismanagement by Republicans since 1871. After the newly elevated Judge Myers dismissed several new indictments against Boullt, however, they claimed that fraudulent appropriations by the police jury ‘came so thick and fast that the people could not really stand it’.40 Developments in Natchitoches reverberated throughout the region, as the Caucasia used the parish as a prime illustration of not just the ‘usual ignorance and imbecility which represents negro government’, but its demonstrable link to ‘a robbery worse than that of highwaymen’.41 Republicans, not surprisingly, told a different story. They emphasised that Democratic police juries had incurred 80% of the debt for which taxes had to be raised; that the new Republican police jury in fact slashed by half the parish tax, which the Democratic compromise jury of 1873 had raised to two percent; and they accused Democratic speculators in parish bonds of responsibility for ‘the most onerous taxation’. Myers also emphasised that the state supreme court cleared the tax collector of all accusations of corruption. Recent Republican convert Edward L. Pierson noted that while he had heard of corruption charges against Myers, as a lawyer he had never personally experienced any misconduct.42 Such justifications by Republicans made little impression on the white population, who determined to rid Natchitoches of Republican rule



once and for all. To this end, they organised themselves into a ‘taxpayers association’, which first met on June 13, 1874. Around the same time, James Cosgrove founded the Natchitoches People’s Vindicator, a newspaper closely associated with both the taxpayer movement and the White League. Its publications further fanned resentment against Republican rule, claiming that the white population paid 99% of the taxes, while reaping none of the benefits. The Vindicator played a pivotal role in mobilising the white population to attend a mass meeting on June 27, to urge the resignation of the police jurors appointed earlier that year by Kellogg. Even though the Republican police jurors complied, conservatives were not satisfied. They insisted that Kellogg appoint replacements of their choosing to fill the police jury. A month later they called another mass meeting to demand the resignation of Myers, Boullt, and other Republican office holders.43 In the weeks leading up to this meeting, pressure was put on the Republican officials to resign, including threats of violence if they did not comply. To show the Republicans they meant business, the white conservatives claimed C.C. Nash, who had led the massacre at Colfax, was at hand with 16 men ‘to do the murders and go to Texas’. Myers and Boullt Jr. took such threats seriously and fled the parish prior to the ‘mass meeting’, which in fact amounted to an armed invasion of the town by hundreds of whites from both Natchitoches and many surrounding parishes. District Attorney J.J. Bossier and Boullt Sr. did not dare resist the overwhelming show of force and resigned the same day. The Vindicator jubilantly proclaimed that the ‘power of the Radical party is completely broken here, not one of them would dare attempt to organise a club of negroes, for he is known to be a corrupt man even by them, and his influence has passed away with his power’.44 With local power secured without any resort to violence that might have provoked a federal backlash, conservatives dropped the pretence of merely representing the non-partisan interests of tax-payers. They now immediately announced to ‘the white citizens of the several wards […] that meetings of the people should be held […] to organize White Leagues’.45 Governor Kellogg, perhaps grateful that the indiscriminate violence of Colfax had not been repeated, did not forcefully object to the proceedings and in the absence of overt violence federal authorities did not take formal notice of the events. The leaders of the Natchitoches uprising could thus defend the legitimacy of their actions, while asserting their continued loyalty to the federal government, which, they argued,

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had no right to intervene with citizens merely exercising their right to self-government.46 Natchitoches’s success in ‘bulldozing’—as such removal of Republican officers through intimidation came to be called—served as a further inspiration and rallying call for conservative whites throughout the region. Red River Parish, like Grant, had been carved out of the surrounding parishes during Henry Clay Warmoth’s governorship and gerrymandered to ensure Republican control. Control of the parish rested with a small clique of mostly Northern born white Republicans, led by former Union soldier and Freedmen’s Bureau agent Marshall Harvey Twitchell. Following the rout of the Republican officeholders in Natchitoches, the White League turned its attention to this other Republican stronghold of northwest Louisiana. Influential whites of Red River had joined the mob in Natchitoches. One of them, Ben Wolfson, told Twitchell that militant whites had warned them that ‘if they did not go to work and clean out that radical stronghold of North Louisiana in Coushatta they would go and do it for them’. Louisiana Historian Ted Tunnell has painstakingly detailed the subsequent escalation of tensions in the parish, which resulted in the coldblooded murder of six of the white Republican leaders of the parish.47 What is of greater interest here is that the white press used the same lexicon of democratic legitimacy, both to mobilise the white population against the Republicans, and to justify the gruesome result after the fact. The trouble seems to have originated in the formation of a White League organisation in the parish in early August ‘to put down that wrong, spoliation and oppression which has so long held high carnaval [sic.] among us’. The leaders of this white league organisation—who systematically referred to themselves as ‘the citizens’ of the parish—denied attempts to force the resignation of Republican officials prior to the massacre and blamed the eruption of violence squarely on ‘a threatened outbreak of the negroes, instigated as was generally believed by’ those officials. When federal troops were ordered to northern Louisiana in the wake of the killings, the democratic press emphatically denied their necessity, blaming them on ‘vile misrepresentations of our enemies who have induced the President and Northern papers to believe, that the life, liberty and property of the negroes, in this State are in jeopardy’. They emphasised the forbearance of whites in not harming the black population of Coushatta, despite its supposed threats against the whites and the Caucasian even expressed token outrage at the murders, blaming them on unnamed outsiders.48



Southerners were well aware of the importance of appeasing Northern public opinion. They walked a fine line between appealing to conservative whites in the region, while avoiding language and actions that Republicans might circulate in the North as evidence of Southern intransigence. Newspapers counselled ‘forbearance, caution, and circumspection’ to ‘defeat the clear purpose of our political enemies to provoke us to acts of violence, which while they might be perfectly justifiable in themselves, would by them be distorted into […] evidence of lawlessness on our part and would […] make political capital against us’.49 They calculated—rightly as it would turn out—that if they maintained a public semblance of legitimacy and justified grievances, the Northern electorate would not be willing to support the large military intervention that suppressing the White League demanded. As the Vindicator put it, in response to the dispatch of a limited number of federal troops, ‘We are determined upon one of two things. That Louisiana must be governed by white citizens, or that in sixty days she will be blotted from the map of free States, and a military force sufficient to conquor us shall be stationed in every neighborhood’.50 In effect, Southern conservatives took advantage of the extremely limited and fragmented nature of federal state power in the nineteenth century, what Gregory Downs and Kate Masur term the ‘Stockade State, a collection of outposts – both military and civilian – powerful within narrow geographical boundaries but limited in their reach […] beset by both competing power centres and individuals who sought to live beyond the reach of most authority’.51 Conservatives in Shreveport, the largest town on the Red River, used a similar rhetorical strategy to justify a municipal power grab over the summer and fall of 1874. In June, a petition from a parish ‘taxpayer association’ in Caddo, signed by some 175 white citizens, pressured the police jury there into rescinding a contract it had made for the construction of a new parish jail, despite the poor state of the existing lockup. Then in August, in Shreveport, a similar ‘tax-payer meeting’ induced Republican city officials to dismiss the paid police force. In its stead, a ‘volunteer force’, composed of dozens of White Leaguers, kept the peace in the largest town of the region, and probably the surrounding countryside as well. The ‘taxpayers’ also insisted that a citizens’ committee review the accounts of the Caddo police jury, while the city passed an ordinance prohibiting the issue of new municipal indebtedness, except for ‘certificates issued by the taxpayer association’. Although the ostensible reason for this move was a lack of funding necessary to maintain a

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paid police force, the tax-payer meeting urged all white property holders to contribute a voluntary tax of one percent of their property value. Moreover, following the 1874 elections a new Democratic city board immediately reinstated a paid police force, with comparable salaries to the one dismissed a few months earlier. Whites were willing to pay for the enforcement of law and order, just not for enforcement controlled by Republicans.52 Although Republican officials in Caddo and Shreveport nominally retained their offices, the conservative white leadership controlled both the financial management and the enforcement of law and order. The above cases illustrate how Southern white conservatives appeased Northern public opinion by appealing to broadly shared American ideals of local democratic legitimacy. They consistently harped on about the supposed illegitimacy, corruption, and mismanagement by local and state Republican officials; consistently used phrases such as ‘the people’, ‘the population’, or ‘the citizens’ to refer exclusively to whites; and blamed violence on outsiders, from a different parish or even state or framed it as an unfortunate, but understandable response to legitimate grievances. This allowed Southern whites to gradually weaken the organisational capacity of local and state Republicans through targeted violence and widespread intimidation, while simultaneously retaining a degree of toleration in the north by systematically undermining southern Republicans’ legitimacy. In the fall, they executed the same scenario state-wide, briefly driving Kellogg from New Orleans in the Battle of Liberty Place. Republicans failed to come up with an effective rhetorical strategy to counter this narrative and (re)claim the mantel of democratic legitimacy. The only significant attempt to do so was initiated by General Phillip H. Sheridan, who strongly sympathised with the Republican cause. In the wake of the overthrow of the Republican State government he was sent to Louisiana to restore order. In a strongly worded telegram, he requested that the White Leaguers be branded as ‘banditti’ (outlaws) and thus subject to martial law. He hoped to show the larger public that ‘when Rebels and Democrats speak of the people of the South and their rights, they mean the Rebel people?’53 Historian Carole Emberton points out that Sheridan was a ‘deft verbal swordsman’, who consciously used such terms to ‘strip[…] the White League of their moral authority’ and ‘place […] their campaign outside the boundaries of legitimate protest’. His plan backfired however, as Southern newspapers framed



what became known as the ‘banditti telegram’ as a blatant power grab by an overreaching Federal government that struck at the roots of local self-government. As one editor gleefully wrote, the audacious and utterly illegal conduct of Sheridan will do for stricken Louisiana what nothing else could do so effectually. It will compel the American people to make our case their own. From one end of this country to the other a spirit will be aroused […] that will bring military despotism to its senses. […] The trooper of the Shenandoah will prove to be the executioner of his master.54

This marked the last significant attempt by anyone in a position of authority to enforce the principles of racial equality enshrined in the constitution just a few years earlier. Following widespread Democratic victories in 1874, both statewide and nationally, conservatives held de facto control over most of Louisiana. It was only a matter of time and patience, before they succeeded in reclaiming formal political domination of the state, following further democratic gains at the national level in 1876. By then the brief promise of civil and political equality embodied in Radical Reconstruction was already a fading memory for the vast majority of freed-people along the Red River and many similar rural regions of Louisiana and the Deep South.

Conclusion Reconstruction violence not only returned the formal levers of political power to the white population of the South, but also deeply ingrained a discourse in American politics that equated ‘the people’ with the white population. This highly racialized notion of the body politic that Southerners developed during Reconstruction did not remain isolated in the region, although its effects were strongest there. It negatively impacted the subsequent development of democracy throughout the US in three significant ways. First of all, the South—known as the ‘Solid South’—became a one-party state, with Democrats controlling virtually all important political positions for nearly a century. Democratic party primaries, rather than public elections, became the main locus of political struggle in the region. As a result, the views of Southern white voters had a disproportionate impact on national politics, through their solid voting bloc in Congress and their impact on the electoral college.55

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Secondly, a racialized notion of national identity, from which non-whites were excluded came to dominate the South, but also extended, albeit more ambivalently, to the rest of the country. While Northern blacks never experienced the political segregation of Jim Crow, they suffered from widespread and often legally sanctioned de facto residential and economic segregation that precluded them from benefitting the explosive economic growth of the industrial era.56 Finally, racialized political violence became normalised, resulting in thousands of lynchings over the next decades, mostly against Southern blacks, but also affecting other immigrant and minority populations throughout the United States.57 What makes the case of Reconstruction particularly ironic, is that Southern white conservatives, whom most today would qualify as blatantly anti-democratic, justified their resistance to the expansion of civil rights and enfranchisement in democratic terms. The struggle might thus best be considered not as one between a nation state committed to democracy and those who were its adversaries, but rather a clash between two rival visions of what democracy ought to entail. The South sought to restrict citizenship and its rights to a limited and racially defined portion of the population. To them ‘the people’—the demos in democracy—could by definition not include those who did not descend from European ancestors. The success of Southern whites’ violent struggle during Reconstruction infused American democracy with an ambivalence that would reverberate long after the last troops had been withdrawn from the South. Not until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s would a more inclusive vision of what democracy embodies come to dominate the nation’s political culture. The rise of Donald Trump, and similar ethno-nationalist movements across most established democracies, remind us that a darker undercurrent committed to a narrowly ethnic vision of ‘we the people’ remains alive today. Under such circumstances, we do well to remember that democratic ideals do not necessarily triumph, when confronted by such threats.


1.  Jelte Olthof, ‘Patchwork Republic: The Rhetoric of “We the People” in the United States Constitutional Debates, 1765–1865’ (Groningen University 2014), 10. 2. On the various expansions and contractions of voting rights in the US, see: Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of



Democracy in the United States (New York 2000); On the Jacksonian Revolution, see: Sean Wilentz, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (Norton 2006). 3. Although a small number of activists advocated women’s suffrage, it was never seriously considered in this period. 4. On the centrality of state and local governments in America prior to the Civil War and their ongoing importance throughout the late nineteenth century and beyond, see: Morton Keller, Affairs of State: Public Life in Late Nineteenth Century America (Cambridge 1977); Robert H. Wiebe, Self-Rule: A Cultural History of American Democracy (Chicago 1996); Christopher Waldrep, Roots of Disorder: Race and Criminal Justice in the American South, 1817–80 (Urbana 1998). 5.  The classic synthesis of the Reconstruction era remains Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877 (New York 2002); For a more recent interpretation see: Mark Wahlgren Summers, The Ordeal of the Reunion: A New History of Reconstruction (Chapel Hill 2014). 6. David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Cambridge 2002). 7. I have developed this argument more fully in ‘The Politics of Terror: Enforcing Reconstruction in Louisiana’s Red River Valley’ (Leiden University 2015). 8. Lawrence Powell, ‘Centralization and Its Discontents in Reconstruction Louisiana’, Studies in American Political Development 20:2 (2006), 105–131. 9. Gilles Vandal, Rethinking Southern Violence: Homicides in Post-Civil War Louisiana, 1866–1884 (Columbus 2000); George C. Rable, ‘Republican Albatross: The Louisiana Question, National Politics, and the Failure of Reconstruction’, Louisiana History 23:2 (1982), 109–130. 10. Although these newspapers were published locally, they self-consciously tailored their narrative to a Northern public that depended on such local sources for much of their information. In an era before newspapers widely employed their own correspondents and reporters, news was largely garnered from copying reports in local papers. 11. ‘Testimony by H.H. Womack’, in House of Representatives Miscellaneous Documents 154, 41st Congress, 2nd Session, Louisiana Contested Elections (Washington, DC: GPO, 1869), part 2, 146. 12. By far the best modern account of the Klan can be found in Elaine Frantz Parsons, Ku-Klux: The Birth of the Klan During Reconstruction (Chapel Hill 2016); On the Louisiana organization, see: James G. Dauphine, ‘The Knights of the White Camelia and the Election of 1868: Louisiana’s White Terrorists; a Benighting Legacy’, Louisiana History 30:2 (1989), 173–190.

40  M. L. de VRIES 13. Lou Faulkner Williams, The Great South Carolina Ku Klux Klan Trials, 1871–1872 (Athens 2004); James Michael Martinez, Carpetbaggers, Cavalry, and the Ku Klux Klan: Exposing the Invisible Empire During Reconstruction (Lanham 2007). 14. Michael Perman, The Road to Redemption: Southern Politics, 1869–1880 (Chapel Hill 1984). 15. ‘Extract from the Letter of Archibald Mitchell to F.C. Zacharie of June 26, 1874’, in George Frisbie Hoar, W.H. Wheeler, and William P. Frye, The White League in Louisiana: Examined by the Light of White League Testimony (n.p. 1875), 4–6. 16.  Joe Gray Taylor, Louisiana Reconstructed, 1863–1877 (Baton Rouge 1974), 241. 17.  For an overview of Reconstruction politics in Louisiana, see: Taylor, Louisiana Reconstructed; Ted Tunnell, Crucible of Reconstruction: War, Radicalism and Race in Louisiana, 1862–1877 (Baton Rouge 1992); James K. Hogue, Uncivil War: Five New Orleans Street Battles and the Rise and Fall of Radical Reconstruction (Baton Rouge 2006). 18.  ‘February 8, 1873, New Orleans, Moncure to Dear Wife’, J. Fair Hardin Collection, Mss.1014, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, box 9, folder 8; ‘McEnery commission of James C. Wise’, James Calvert Wise Papers, Mss. 3239, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, oversize folder. 19.  Parishes were and are the most important local administrative unit in Louisiana, equivalent to counties in other states. 20. Joel M. Sipress, ‘From the Barrel of a Gun: The Politics of Murder in Grant Parish’, Louisiana History 42:3 (2001), 303–321; Charles Lane, The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction (New York 2008). 21. ‘The Colfax Riot’, ‘The Colfax Troubles’, and ‘Death of J.W. Hadnot’, all in Louisiana Democrat, 16 April 1873 [my underlining]. Hadnot’s death, in all likelihood, was the result of ‘friendly fire’ from his fellow white militants: Lane, Day Freedom Died, 102. 22. ‘Public Meeting’, Bosier Banner, 19 April 1873. 23. See, among many others, untitled articles in ibid. 24. ‘Work for the Convention’, Louisiana Democrat, 19 November 1873. 25. Michael Perman has argued that these associations were a final attempt by centrist whites to regain control of the party from White League extremist. In northwestern Louisiana, at least, this was not the case. Perman, The Road to Redemption, 166–167. 26. ‘Our Party Name’, Shreveport Daily Times, 21 July 1874.



27.  House of Representatives, Report 261, 43rd Congress, 2nd Session, Report of the Select Committee on that Portion of the President’s Message Relating to the Condition of the South (Washington, DC 1875), [hereafter cited as Condition of the South], 197. Captain Arthus W. Allyn, stationed in Colfax, actually found the taxes to be ‘relatively light.’ Ibid., 160. 28. ‘The Coming Campaign’, Alexandria Caucasian, 20 June 1874. 29.  These events are briefly addressed in Taylor, Louisiana Reconstructed, 274–275; Lane, Day Freedom Died, 134; Vandal, Rethinking Southern Violence, 142. ‘Resolution Adopted by the Members of the Bar of the Parish of St. Martin and Adjoining Parishes’, Lafayette Advertiser, 3 May 1873; ‘Fighting at St. Martinsville’, Opelousas Courier, 10 May 1873; ‘Letter from General DeBlanc’, Louisiana Democrat, 26 May 1874; ‘May 12, 1873, Shreveport, Leonard to Warmoth’, in Henry Clay Warmoth Papers, MSS #752, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reel 3, frame 698. 30. Taylor, Louisiana Reconstructed, 281; Tunnell, Crucible of Reconstruction, 193–194. 31. Carole Emberton, ‘The Politics of Protection: Violence and the Political Culture of Reconstruction’ (PhD Dissertation, Northwestern University 2006), 238. 32. On the Liberal Republicans in general see: Andrew L. Slap, The Doom of Reconstruction: The Liberal Republicans in the Civil War Era (New York 2006). On moderate Southern whites’ cooperation with Republicans see especially Perman, The Road to Redemption, part 1; Tunnell, Crucible of Reconstruction, Chap. 8. 33. ‘The Negro as Elector’, ‘The Conflict of races’, Alexandria Caucasian, 18 April 1874, 23 May 1874; ‘Salutatory’ from Alexandria Caucasian, 28 March 1874, reprinted in Condition of the South, 906–907. 34.  Condition of the South, 160; ‘White League’ [reprinting an article from the Louisiana State Register], Alexandria Caucasian, 5 September 1874; J. Mills Thornton III, ‘Fiscal Policy and the Failure of Radical Reconstruction in the Lower South’, in J. Morgan Kousser and James M. McPherson (eds.), Region, Race, and Reconstruction: Essays in Honor of C. Vann Woodward (New York 1982), 381–382. 35. Hogue, Uncivil War, 64–65. 36. I am indebted to Scott Reynolds Nelson for pointing me towards his use of this concept in his Iron Confederacies: Southern Railways, Klan Violence, and Reconstruction (Chapel Hill and London 1999), Chap. 5. 37.  Condition of the South, 214, 294 537–539, 542, 913, 916, 918, 919; [untitled], Natchitoches Vindicator, 27 June 1874; ‘Conscience Fund’, ibid., 25 July 1874.

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38. In Louisiana, the legislative body of the parish, which among other things sets parish taxes, is referred to as the ‘police jury’ and its members as ‘police jurors.’ 39. ‘Compromise’, Louisiana Democrat, 7 May 1873; ‘Complaints, Demands and Results’, Natchitoches Vindicator, 1 August 1874; Condition of the South, 537, 551, 552; ‘Act No. 23’, in Acts Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana at the Second Session of the Third Legislature, Begun and Held in the City of New Orleans, January 5, 1874 (New Orleans 1874). 40.  House of Representatives, Report 101, 43rd Congress, 2nd Session, Louisiana Affairs. Report of the Select Committee on that Portion of the President’s Message Relating to the Condition of the South. Testimony Taken by the Subcommittee (Washington, DC 1875), part 2, 110; Condition of the South, 551–552. 41.  ‘Taxation and Confiscation in Natchitoches Parish’, Alexandria Caucasian, 20 June 1874. 42. Condition of the South, 144, 214, 287–289. 43. ‘Salutatory’, ‘Tax-Payer’s mass Meeting’, Natchitoches Vindicator, 20 June 1874; [untitled], ibid., 27 June 1874; ‘A Warning’, ‘The Police Jury’, ibid., 18 July 1874; Condition of the South, 538. 44.  Condition of the South, 538; ‘Complaints, Demands and Results’, Natchitoches Vindicator, 1 August 1874. 45. ‘Ward Meetings’, Natchitoches Vindicator, 1 August 1874. 46. ‘Address of the People of the Parish of Natchitoches to Their FellowCitizens of the State and Union’, Shreveport Daily Times, 3 October 1874. 47. ‘Act 39’, Acts Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana at the First Session of the Second Legislature, Begun and Held in the City of New Orleans, January 2, 1871 (New Orleans 1871); Condition of the South, 386; Ted Tunnell, Edge of the Sword: The Ordeal of Carpetbagger Marshall H. Twitchell in the Civil War and Reconstruction (Baton Rouge 2004), Chaps. 9–11. 48.  ‘Mass Meeting in Coushatta’, Natchitoches Vindicator, 8 August 1874; ‘Indignation at Coushatta’, ibid., 22 August 1874; ‘Coushatta. Particulars of the Origin of the Troubles and of the Killing of the Prisoners’, Shreveport Daily Times, 2 September 1874; ‘Coushatta. Organization and Threatening Attitude of the Blacks’, Alexandria Caucasian, 5 September 1874; ‘Troops’, ibid., 12 September 1874; ‘The Compromise’, ibid., 10 October 1874. 49. ‘To the Citizens of Rapides Parish’, Alexandria Caucasian, 12 September 1874. 50. ‘Federal Interference’, Natchitoches Vindicator, 12 September 1874.



51. Gregory Downs and Kate Masur (eds.), The World the Civil War Made (Chapel Hill 2015), 6–7; Gary Gerstle makes a similar point in Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (Princeton 2015), Chap. 2. 52.  ‘Caddo Police Jury Minutes for June 2, 1874’, W.P.A. Collection Historical Records Survey Transcriptions of Louisiana Police Jury Minute Records, Mss. 2984, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, reel 62; ‘Statement on Caddo Parish’, in ‘Report of Special Committee of the [Louisiana] Senate on Political Persecution and Outrage, March 2nd 1875’, Twitchell Papers, box 3, folder 5; ‘Taxpayers’ Association’, ‘To the Business Men of Shreveport’, Shreveport Daily Times, 15 August 1874; ‘Address to the Volunteer Police Force of Shreveport’, ibid., 16 September 1874; ‘City Police’, ibid., 25 September 1874; Shreveport City Council (1839–), Proceedings and Minutes, 1839–1984, Noel Memorial Library, Louisiana State University at Shreveport, Louisiana, Book D: August 11, 1874, August 29, 1874, November 19, 1874. 53. ‘January 5, 1875, New Orleans, Sheridan to Belknap’ and ‘January 5, 1875, New Orleans, Sheridan to Belknap’, Sheridan Papers, reel 6, frames 418 and 419; ‘January 7, 1875, Chicago, Hammond to Sheridan’, John H. Hammond Letter, Mss. 2232, LLMVC. 54. ‘Untitled’, Louisiana Democrat, 13 January 1875. 55. Dewey W. Grantham, The Life and Death of the Solid South: A Political History (Lexington 1992). 56. Gary Gerstle, American Crucible: Race and Nation in the TwentiethCentury (Princeton 2001). 57. Christopher Waldrep, The Many Faces of Judge Lynch: Extralegal Violence and Punishment in America (New York 2004); Manfred Berg, Popular Justice: A History of Lynching in America (Chicago 2011).

Nazis, Violence and the State: Social Democratic Repertoire Discussions in Germany and the Netherlands Around 1930 Kristian Mennen

Bombastic party rallies, uniformed marches, the excessive use of flags, songs, and symbols were with increasing success used by both National Socialist and Communist movements around 1930. It is surprising when measured by present-day standards, that contemporary observers did not consider these political forms and methods to be repulsive or at least peculiar, and that Catholics, Social Democrats, and Liberals adopted them for their own public appearances. In addition, representatives of these latter democratic-minded political movements even seriously discussed the use of violence as a necessary or appropriate form of political action and its compatibility with the principles of democracy. In the interwar period, democracy must be understood as an ‘essentially contested concept’.1 It was not new as an ideal, but Social Democrats, Liberals, and Catholics had very differing views on how

K. Mennen (*)  Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_3



a representative government system should function, and what the attribute ‘democratic’ was supposed to signify. The challenge to the democratic system by extremist parties and movements complicated matters: for example, was it ‘undemocratic’ to ban such parties or to restrict their repertoire of action in public?2 In the 1930s, a majority of democratic-minded political movements accepted the dominant para­ digm of ‘disciplined democracy’ as an answer to the perceived ‘crisis’ of the democratic system. According to this paradigm, the executive power was entitled to restrict civil rights and the actions of political movements in the public space, in order to maintain order and state authority, even at the expense of democratic parties.3 The focus of this chapter concerns the reaction by Social Democratic parties and civil society associations in Germany and the Netherlands to the rise of Fascism and National Socialism. Social Democrats did contribute to the design of state policies in several federal states in Weimar Germany and participate in debates over the proper reaction of the democratic institutions to the challenges posed by these adversaries of democracy. Events in Germany in 1932 and 1933, however, gave them reason to suspect that state power was either unwilling or unable to stand up against National Socialism and its violent actions against political opponents. The fact that Social Democratic organisations were among the first victims of Nazi violence sparked discussions in both countries how best to adjust their own reactions and protect themselves against Nazi attacks, if state authorities failed to do so. The discussions about the assessment of political actions reveal how contemporary observers thought a civil society organisation’s repertoire in the public space should look. The term ‘repertoire’ is used here to describe the visible features of political movements and civil society organisations. Depending on changing norms, rules, and expectations of how civil society organisations should present themselves in public space of the time, Social Democrats in the 1930s could of course disagree on which forms and elements were appropriate and why. The study of these discussions in the interwar period reveals ideological and discursive elements, unwritten standards and categories of thinking in political parties and civil society organisations, and explains the shifting norms for political action in the streets.4 In face of the attacks by extremist movements, an important change of the dominant paradigm around the understanding of democracy occurred after 1933. Social Democrats brought forward a new element:



the concept of democracy itself as a possible argument in the debates about codes of conduct for civil society organisations. The changing concept and meaning of democracy came to play a prominent role in their discussions and in the selection of methods used to confront extremist movements. It will be demonstrated how the emergence of antidemocratic and extremist movements, particularly in Germany, facilitated the formulation of a new understanding of democracy within Social Democracy. The influence of this new definition on political, historical, and theoretical discussions can hardly be underestimated. Present-day notions about proper, correct, and acceptable repertoire forms for associations which we now call civil society organisations, are still determined by the same paradigm about the relation between democracy and violence. According to many standard definitions, civil society organisations are supposed to be democratic, pluralistic, tolerant, egalitarian and nonviolent.5 This view is, however, contested by recent research on nationalist and terrorist communities as discussed in other contributions in this volume. It is argued that these communities were not necessarily isolated and segmented, but rather embedded in social networks, connected to each other through shared cultural notions and informal links of solidarity and affinity. The focus on contemporary debates and discussions about forms and methods of political action in this chapter thus contributes to historicising preconceived definitions and assumptions of ‘civil society’.6 Recent historical research confirmed that civil society in the Weimar Republic did not necessarily pursue democratic, pluralistic, or tolerant goals.7 Because political violence became an intrinsic part of the Weimar Republic’s political culture, it became imperative for any political movement to appoint stewards to protect their own meetings against extremist intruders, if necessary with force.8 A binary distinction between ‘democratic’ and ‘undemocratic’ is therefore not very helpful in the historical context of the interwar period. This chapter, rather, aims at obtaining a better understanding of the complex mix of ideological and pragmatic reasons of democratic-minded organisations to accept and use forms and methods, which today would be dismissed as undemocratic and inappropriate, including the use of violence. The Social Democratic movements in Germany and the Netherlands are among the best possible cases to review the changing paradigm around democracy and the challenge of undemocratic political


movements around 1930. Before 1918 they applied the concepts of ‘Socialism’ and democracy as central elements in their self-understanding and political strategy. Because of the character of the Social Democratic movements as subcultures or ‘pillars’, with a clear understanding of which civil society organisations formed part of the subculture, it is possible to demarcate Social Democratic debates. The civil society organisations whose repertoires were subject to discussion usually left these deliberations to the political party they were affiliated to. Large parts of the political discussion and discursive process can therefore be traced through contributions in publicly available newspapers and journals. As direct targets of Fascist or Communist violence around 1930, Social Democratic civil society organisations had every reason to consider using counter-violence to protect themselves, and to discuss how to reconcile such measures with the standards of a democratic state. Repertoire discussions obtained a transnational dimension because Dutch Social Democrats closely observed German developments and actively reflected on them, and continued the discussion where the Germans were forced to stop in 1933. Facing the challenge of National Socialism, German Social Democrats sought the most effective way to oppose extremist violence in the streets and to protect the Weimar Republic. On one hand, Social Democratic ministers and members of parliament put forward the idea that state power in a democracy was responsible for keeping anti-democratic forces in check. On the other hand, many Social Democrats nevertheless considered violence to be one of several possible strategies to cope with the challenge of violent confrontations with extremist movements in the streets. Support for paramilitary actions against the enemies of democracy increased when successive governments imposed restrictive measures on Social Democracy and barred parliamentary forms of opposition. In view of the challenge by extremist parties and movements in Germany, democratic civil society organisations had to negotiate action repertoires in situations in which the state did not (or not sufficiently) respond. This debate will be analysed in the political context of the Weimar Republic in the first section of this chapter. German Social Democrats openly discussed and partly endorsed paramilitary groups, mass manifestations, and under certain circumstances even the use of political violence. According to their understanding of democracy, the concept applied to the goals, and much less so to the forms and methods of political contest.



The debate in the Netherlands after 1933, on the contrary, featured a very new and different paradigm in defining and understanding democracy, by becoming a criterion for establishing the repertoire and desired forms and methods of civil society organisations. Dutch Social Democrats subsequently began to reject political violence—not because it was not effective or successful to fight National Socialism or to defend the Democratic state structure against its undemocratic opponents, but because they considered violence to be an inherently ‘undemocratic’ method, which Social Democracy should not use as a matter of principle. This change of paradigm of the concept of democracy and the use of violence will be the subject of the second part of this chapter, which will be dedicated to repertoire discussions in the Netherlands.

State Power and Paramilitary Organisations: Germany in the 1920s For a full understanding of the development of debates among Social Democrats, it is necessary to provide a short description of the ideological and historical background of Social Democratic perceptions of state power, violence, and the freedom to express political views in public. Because the Social Democratic movement in Germany was traditionally excluded from political power, its relation to the state and state authority was ambiguous to say the least. Before 1918, the movement established its right to demonstrate and to show its presence on the streets only in the face of significant police obstruction.9 The combination of class struggle ideology, the experience of state repression, and everyday interference by the police and local authorities with public demonstrations created an inherent distrust of state and police. In the perception of Social Democrats, state power and police authority stood in contrast with their political goal of democracy, which was to be achieved after the Socialist revolution. They perceived themselves as the vanguard of the democratic movement, relying on the organised working class and rallying support for the introduction of universal suffrage. The movement was therefore ideologically unprepared for the constellation which emerged in 1918: the introduction of universal suffrage fulfilled its original demand of political democracy, but did not lead to the expected socialist revolution, as Social Democrats did not obtain a majority in parliament and the old executive, judicial, and police ­structures were maintained.10


In the Weimar Republic, Social Democracy could nevertheless exert direct influence on the state police. Although the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD) was not included in most governments on the Reich level, Social Democrats consolidated their position in the major federal states of Prussia, Saxony, Baden, and Hesse in coalition governments with Catholic and Liberal parties until 1932. In the Weimar state structure, the federal states controlled the police forces. A national police for the entire Reich never existed until the Nazis extended the powers of the Gestapo across the Prussian borders, while the army was not supposed to get involved in violent confrontations on Germany’s streets. As a result, the federal states’ Ministries of the Interior were key positions when it came to regulating, banning, or discussing political violence through their control of state police forces. These key positions were long occupied by Social Democratic politicians. For almost the entire duration of the Weimar Republic, Carl Severing was Minister of the Interior of the largest federal state of Prussia and effectively controlled its police and security structures. During the interval 1926–1930, the post was filled by the SPD President of the Berlin police force, Albert Grzesinski, while Severing served as Reich Minister of the Interior. Another SPD-politician, Karl Zörgiebel, in his turn succeeded Grzesinski at the Berlin police force. Severing and Grzesinski made an effort to reform the police forces and replace conservative, right-wing policemen and civil servants with ­democratic-minded Social Democrats and Liberals.11 Through its vested interests in parliamentary state structures, Social Democracy developed a thorough understanding of police work, the importance of upholding law and order, and the necessity to restrict forms of political expression on the streets. The SPD ministers adhered to the concept of ‘disciplined democracy’ to legitimise unpopular police decisions. When social pressures mounted as a result of mass unemployment, police assistance in the forced eviction of unemployed tenants from their homes regularly led to violent resistance by local residents.12 When, as President of the Berlin police force, Grzesinski explained in 1925 why a street demonstration should give way to street traffic by arguing that ‘demonstrators, who have time anyway, can please wait for 5 minutes’, this very much resembled authoritarian police comments about Social Democratic demonstrations before the First World War.13 The May demonstration in Berlin in 1929 was one of the worst examples



of police violence against workers under SPD responsibility. Although public demonstrations were forbidden and the SPD and its civil society organisations pleaded strongly against taking to the streets, Communists planned their May rally with the intention to provoke riots. As a consequence, 33 people were killed during several days of street fighting. The Communist press blamed Police President Zörgiebel for this by having restricted the right to public demonstrations. Such incidents fed the Communist description of Social Democracy as ‘Social Fascism’, as intrinsically contaminated by elements of right-wing ideology. Whereas Social Democrats had fought for the right to celebrate Labour Day in public space before the First World War, they now took responsibility for state measures denying the same right to Communist members of the working class.14 When SPD police officers and Ministers took decisions that negatively affected Social Democracy or the Prussian police did not automatically side with the working class, this led to major misunderstandings with party members. Many German Social Democrats could not understand why the police allowed the right-wing veterans’ organisation Stahlhelm to demonstrate. They were appalled when the Stahlhelm provocatively claimed the streets in cities such as Halle or Berlin for their rallies, even referring to these actions as ‘reconquests’.15 Because members of the Socialist working class did not accept an equal treatment of republican and anti-republican movements as a matter of principle, such incidents resulted in a partial loss of legitimacy by the Weimar Republic and a mounting distrust in its institutions. In February 1924, German Social Democrats had founded their own paramilitary organisation uniting supporters of the Republic, the so-called Reichsbanner Schwarz Rot Gold. The Reichsbanner soon became one of the largest civil society organisations in the Weimar Republic, with up to three million members in 1925. Its uniformed appearance and large mass manifestations carrying the colours black-red-gold were successful instruments in support and defence of the Republic and the Weimar constitution.16 The use of the Reichsbanner was not universally accepted among Social Democrats. Carl Severing and others argued that founding Social Democratic paramilitary organisations would ultimately be counterproductive, since this could only contribute to further escalation; would it not be better just to disband this paramilitary formation?17 Even before the Reichsbanner was founded, Severing


stated with respect to earlier initiatives to found a working-class paramilitary organisation in 1923, that self-defence organisations are not suited to protect either themselves or the general public. On the contrary, they constitute a great danger to the state, because they constrain police activity in many cases and entail similar organisations in other political camps.18

Right-wing fighting corps might argue that they were threatened by their left-wing counterparts and derive their own right of existence from the Reichsbanner.19 It was argued that if the Reichsbanner was to exist at all, it should have a merely ceremonial function, never receive police training or weapons, or be involved in police and army planning, for example against a right-wing coup.20 The emergence of the Reichsbanner showed a lack of wholehearted support for the Weimar Republic. In case of doubt, the Socialist left wing was apparently prepared to abandon Weimar’s republican state structures in favour of a more courageous defence of Socialism and the interests of the working class, a sentiment that was reflected in the slogan ‘The Republic is not much good, Socialism is our aim!’21 Both the left and the right wing of the party started to favour more revolutionary or authoritarian forms of government. But even for the Social Democratic mainstream, the main reason to support the Republic was the lack of a better alternative. The Reichsbanner should defend the Republic as a useful basis for ongoing political struggle in the interest of the working class: ‘not for her own sake, but for what we aim to make it in the future’.22 The SPD experience of democratic structures in the streets of the defunct and ‘bourgeois’ Republic contrasted negatively with new culturalised visions on democracy in ideological debates in the SPD in the 1920s. The Austrian Socialist Max Adler and the Belgian Hendrik de Man extended democracy beyond its narrow political meaning and defined it as a cultural and moral value, to be achieved by a new Socialist lifestyle and the creation of a new Socialist man.23 In this line of thinking, democracy still had a positive connotation as a Social Democratic ideological ideal, but the concept was not, or very rarely, associated with the existing Weimar Republic or with repertoires of civil society organisations.



‘Protect Ourselves’ or ‘Clear the Streets’? Debates on the Use of Political Violence The debates within German Social Democracy about the use of violence gained an entirely new quality and urgency after 1930. Social Democratic and republican meetings, demonstrations, and individual activists increasingly became targets of political violence. They were either attacked directly or happened to stand ‘in the way’ when Nazi street fighters and Communist workers confronted each other. Under such circumstances, the state police were hopelessly overstrained. If Nazi rowdies were arrested, it usually took months before they were put on trial—in which they were regularly fully acquitted. In reaction the key point of the debate among Social Democrats was the question whether they were allowed to use violence to defend themselves. In retrospect, all political movements at the time used ‘defence’ as their main legitimation for the use of violence. Even the Nazis portrayed themselves in their propaganda as victims of excessive Communist violence. These claims are not validated by official Prussian police reports, even though these had a clear anti-Communist bias and generally did not consider the complex dynamics on the streets, in which violence might directly follow provocations from political opponents. When Nazi squads marched singing through proletarian districts in Berlin, Hamburg, or the Ruhr, and Communist workers attacked them, the police reports usually put the responsibility for the ensuing violence on the Communists.24 The extended and complicated debate in German Social Democracy about the use of violence can be illustrated by exploring some of the most influential arguments. A common opinion in favour of using counter-violence against the Nazis was reflected in an article in the Sächsisches Volksblatt in 1929: ‘Long enough have we tolerated this rabble’s impertinences well-temperedly. In future, we will know how to protect ourselves and our institutions’.25 Basically, it argued that when being attacked and molested by ‘this rabble’, socialist workers could not remain passive, but should offer resistance and be prepared to use counter-violence. This view found much support among the left-wing activists of the Social Democratic youth movement.26 The Austrian Socialist politician Julius Deutsch even advocated the transformation of the Reichsbanner into a genuine Social Democratic paramilitary organisation like the Republikanischer Schutzbund in Austria. He argued that violence should be rejected out of principle, but that if


the bourgeoisie enforced violent means onto Social Democracy, the workers’ movement had the duty to be prepared and not to ‘limit itself to moral protests and hope on the mystical effect of democracy’. In such a situation, Social Democracy simply needed a paramilitary organisation ready to fight for its political goals and ideals.27 Representatives of the SPD’s left wing, most prominently Max Seydewitz, repeated Deutsch’s argumentation in subsequent years. They insisted that extra-­ parliamentary violence was forced upon Social Democracy, and that it was political suicide to stand by and watch its enemies imprison or kill its members and leaders.28 Carl Severing and other high-ranking Social Democratic politicians, such as Prussian Prime Minister Otto Braun and party chairman Otto Wels, spoke strongly against such opinions. Already in 1927, they pointed out that it was a ‘dreadful illusion’ to think that Social Democracy could fight and win an armed confrontation if the Fascists already controlled state power, the army, and the police.29 By 1932 this became more generally accepted, and it was argued that it would be better not to dispute the Fascist possession of the streets and give into their provocations, but ignore them instead and ‘clear the streets! Let the National Socialists demonstrate in workers’ districts in front of closed windows, in front of lowered blinds, on deserted streets, and thus punish them by such a well-deserved humiliation’.30 Many of these arguments concentrated on assessments of the existing state structure. A majority agreed to maintain peaceful and parliamentary means and to abstain from political violence under the conditions of a democratic, parliamentary state. This was partially due to the fact that Social Democratic politicians, who had been active in parliamentary politics themselves for years or even decades, developed a certain affinity for parliamentary forms of repertoire.31 Partially, it was because of the rational consideration that it was always possible to use violence if parliamentary methods would not work, whereas the reverse option was hardly feasible.32 However, this premised that the state was still a parliamentary democracy and allowed Social Democratic political participation. If, however, the state was unable to protect Social Democracy or was even taken over by Fascists, was the use of violence under such circumstances not allowed or even advisable? The question was not at all a theoretical one during the 1930s: in the SPD major debates developed about the character of the Brüning, or after July 1932, the Von Papen Reich government as a ‘fascist régime’, because of their rule by emergency decrees,



their economic policies, and their disregard of Social Democratic principles. In the perception of many ordinary SPD members the futility of opposition in Parliament, while insisting that Brüning was the ‘lesser evil’, only legitimised extra-parliamentary or even violent methods to challenge state power.33 In the debates before 1932, the dominant argumentation for the choice of repertoire methods clearly revolved around considerations of opportunities, conditions, and chances of success. Parliamentary politics, the use of republican state structures, and the renunciation of violence were considered the best means to ensure Social Democratic political influence and to protect the interests of the movement, its civil society organisations, and the working class. At the same time, Social Democrats agreed that a general strike, armed uprising, and street violence might be feasible and necessary methods if the police proved not capable of protecting them against National Socialists or if Fascism would take over power in the state. This fundamental problem of suitable methods became urgent when democracy was directly assaulted in Germany. On 20 July 1932, Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen took over executive power in the federal state of Prussia and ousted the SPD-led legitimate coalition government, which had lost its majority in Parliament, but was still the acting government. This coup was staged by the legitimate Reich government on the basis of emergency legislation and supported by the head of state, Reich President Paul von Hindenburg. Von Papen forced Severing and the other Prussian Social Democratic Ministers to surrender their powers to a Reichskommissar. The SPD and the Reichsbanner abstained from offering armed resistance, reasoning that resistance was useless anyway and that fighting would only unleash a civil war without a real chance of success. Although the undemocratic coup might lead to Fascism and armed resistance was therefore a legitimate option, there could be no doubt that the army and the police, possibly assisted by National Socialist and Stahlhelm street fighters, would put down an uprising.34 Social Democratic leaders decided to offer no such resistance, but to appeal to the Staatsgerichtshof (Supreme Court of Justice). From a purely military and political point of view, the SPD decision was the right one: German Social Democracy did not have a chance to win a civil war in 1932. However, the idleness of the SPD and the subsequent takeover of power by the Nazis in 1933 had a disastrous effect on a symbolical level. Hitler’s appointment to Reich Chancellor and the


ban on the Social Democratic party and trade unions sent shockwaves throughout Europe.35 Apparently, something had seriously gone wrong in Germany—but what could one do to prevent mistakes made in Germany to occur in other countries? Marxist theories which had claimed that Fascism could not take root in a modern and industrialised country, were proved wrong by the Nazi takeover of power. The developments in Germany changed the perception of the Fascist threat, the resilience of democratic state structures, and possible repertoire forms for Social Democratic parties all over Europe.36

The Challenge of National Socialism and the Debate About Violence in the Netherlands, 1933–1934 The Netherlands were never confronted with an outright Fascist challenge on civil war scale like in Germany. Despite political polarisation and radicalisation and growing doubts about parliamentary democracy, political tensions did not lead to open violence or outright scenes of civil war. Dutch Social Democrats usually formulated statements for or against violence in the subjunctive. Whereas German Social Democrats had to formulate practical and immediate answers to the Fascist challenge, their Dutch comrades could contemplate what to do, if they ever had to face a Fascist challenge. However, this distinction was everything but certain in 1933. After National Socialism had managed to take over power in Germany, the possible danger could not so easily be dismissed for the Netherlands. The Dutch Sociaal-Democratische Arbeiderspartij (Social Democratic Workers’ Party, SDAP) already faced severe distrust from right wing and bourgeois groups because of an allegedly Social Democratic-inspired mutiny on the armoured warship De Zeven Provinciën in February 1933.37 The public visibility and electoral success of the NationaalSocialistische Beweging (National Socialist Movement, NSB) did not bode well for the future. New legislation introduced in 1933 banned forms of political expression in street demonstrations, which included Social Democratic symbols, red flags, and even red flowers. In these ominous circumstances, Dutch Social Democrats started to question both their traditional repertoire forms and the norms and standards these were based upon. Should they prepare for resistance against oppression by Dutch state power? Or should they, rather, abstain



from using violence in order not to provoke the Dutch Nazis and offer them a confirmation of their anti-Marxist propaganda? During the discussions in 1933, the SDAP still rejected radical and extra-parliamentary methods, with reference to the differing conditions in Germany and the Netherlands. Social Democratic party leaders argued that the Reichsbanner had not prevented the National Socialist takeover of power in Germany and had even contributed to a political culture in which violence was considered ‘normal’. Besides, the ‘un-Dutch’ method of uniformed paramilitary squads, they argued, would only alienate the rest of Dutch society from Social Democracy.38 Rather than founding a paramilitary organisation, ad hoc appointed stewards or the police were considered sufficient protection for Social Democratic meetings against Fascist attacks.39 The opponents of a paramilitary workers’ guard asserted that Fascism was not a significant force in the Netherlands. If the Dutch Nazis would attack Social Democrats and their civil society organisations or even try to take over power, it was the obligation of the police to maintain order. Asserting that the Netherlands were under a severe Fascist threat would only facilitate Nazi propaganda.40 The journalist Meijer Sluijser summarised this argumentation in June 1933: ‘In the present stage of the development of Fascism in our country, combatting Fascism with a workers’ guard would be comparable to starting a surgical operation immediately, although enough time is left for prophylaxis’.41 Sluijser and Jacob van der Wijk, a representative of the party’s left wing, actually dismissed the argument that Germany and the Netherlands were very different cases. They argued that before 1933, German Social Democrats had similarly pointed out that social and political circumstances in Italy, where Fascism had taken over power earlier, could not be compared to Germany. The developments in Germany, however, had proven them wrong.42 After 1933, the NSB regularly chose workers’ districts to publicly acclaim their political slogans and sell their newspapers, leaflets, and brochures. This practice often provoked a violent reaction from Social Democratic and Communist workers.43 The Social Democratic politician Herman Bernard Wiardi Beckman railed against this, stressing ‘that Social Democratic youngsters should resolutely abstain from giving into the Fascist hooliganism. He, who acts out of his emotions and uses his fists, plays into the adversary’s hands’.44 The fact that SDAP leaders repeated such warnings time and again is in fact a clear indication that young Socialist workers were not that disinclined to use street violence


against Fascism.45 Like the party leaders, left-wing advocates of a more radical and violent action repertoire argued on the basis of conditions and opportunities. Hilda Verwey-Jonker agreed that giving into fascist provocations and meeting them in violent street confrontations was not wise, but reproached the SDAP party leadership for not providing an alternative strategy to fight Fascism.46 The so-called Herzieningscommissie, the party committee responsible for the revision of the SDAP programme, stated in October 1933 that Social Democracy ‘could only be forced to accept the detested violent methods of fighting, when a reactionary government itself would prefer the use of violence to law and justice’.47 This implied that Social Democrats should still prefer parliamentary politics and the renunciation of violence. However, the committee accepted the use of violence as a last resort, in case the restrictive measures imposed by a Fascist régime left no other option. Social Democratic workers had to trust state power and the state’s capability to maintain law and order, unless state power had in itself become a tool in Fascist hands.48 Considerations of opportunities and political conditions dominated the Social Democratic discussions about preferred repertoire methods.

Towards a New Paradigm: ‘Democracy’ as a Moral Obligation From 1933 onwards, a new paradigm emerged in Dutch Social Democracy concerning the assessment and estimation of forms and methods of political confrontation, including political violence. Central to this new way of thinking was a novel understanding of the value of democracy. Until 1933, democracy was generally seen as merely the government system according to which political life was organised and in which political movements had to operate. For Social Democrats, it was additionally a high ideal, one of the goals worth fighting for. In this line of thought, it was acceptable and ‘right’ to use violence to defend democracy, provided violence was indeed the best method to do so. Gerrit Jan Zwertbroek, a left-wing member of the SDAP party board, presented a very strong statement for the protection of democracy in October 1933: ‘The fight for democracy must be fought with all available means and forces. Who is against this, does not deserve democracy. (…) Because who acts like a sheep, will be torn by the wolves’.49



Zwertbroek’s understanding of democracy entailed a militant, active, and vigilant attitude. Democrats had to ‘deserve’ democracy by defending it with all available means, including violence, against anti-democrats. Now, however, democracy came to be considered an important criterion and benchmark for civil society organisations’ means and methods. Democracy became a moral obligation, a guideline for behaviour in public space. Koos Vorrink, the SDAP chairman, and Willem Albarda, leader of the SDAP parliamentary group, were leading proponents of the new term ‘Democratic Socialism’, which associated the concept of democracy with cultural and moral aspects of human civilisation: freedom, equality, rule of law, tolerance, pluralism, and protection of political minorities democracy became the ‘expression of a belief, based on the principles of freedom and equality for the law of all people’.50 The SDAP expert in constitutional law George van den Bergh explicitly stated in 1934 that democracy was more important than Socialism when it came to achieving the true goal of Social Democracy: individual and spiritual freedom.51 These ‘democratic virtues’ as a fundamental element of the goal of ‘Democratic Socialism’ were endorsed by the Herzieningscommissie in October 1933 and incorporated in the party programme of 1937, which abandoned many Marxist ideological arguments. In direct response to events in Germany, Dutch debates found that democracy was directly connected to repertoire in public space, and that democratic-minded movements preferably should use ‘democratic’ methods. Whereas democracy had previously been a concept describing the inner qualities of a civil society organisation, it now said something about the repertoire which the organisation used or was supposed to use. One of the newly added meanings of the concept democracy was the understanding that violence in itself was ‘not a democratic method’. The ultimate consequence of this position was that democratic-minded organisations were no longer supposed to use physical violence, irrespective of the goal, not even to defend democracy itself.52 The SDAP started to legitimise the decision not to use violence on principle rather than for tactical reasons. Violence was rejected, because Social Democratic leaders held the view that it did essentially not belong to the repertoire of a democratic-minded party. The state structure itself was not considered to be relevant in this rejection of violence. References to violent confrontations and Social Democratic resistance against the threat of Fascism abroad had previously often served as incentives to abandon parliamentary methods and to take up arms.


After 1933, they became reasons to reject any form of political violence in the Netherlands. Wiardi Beckman expressed a fear of what might happen if a revolutionary member of the Dutch working class would start an ill-advised violent or terrorist action: ‘Truly, a large part of the bourgeois Netherlands would no longer be concerned with a sense of justice; matters would have become “German” here’.53 Contemporary discussions show that the implementation of this new understanding of democracy was not the result of a linear, deliberate, and irreversible development towards a modern, parliamentary, and non-violent repertoire, but rather encountered many setbacks, unexpected turns, and opposing views. It took years to become accepted within the Dutch Social Democratic party itself, and some more years to convince other parties and movements in the Netherlands.54 An example of such misunderstandings with regards to political violence and the meaning of democracy is provided by the spontaneous protests of unemployed workers in the Amsterdam workers’ district the Jordaan in July 1934, in which five workers were killed in heavy street fighting with the police and security forces. Communists and left-wing Socialists heavily criticised the SDAP, because the party warned its members in the strongest terms not to participate in this so-called Jordaanoproer.55 On the other side of the political spectrum, the Dutch right-wing parties did not oppose democracy in general, but applied a different interpretation of the concept and therefore rejected the moral and normative version of the SDAP, at least until 1940.56 When the Dutch Social Democratic movement increasingly accepted democracy as a dominant guideline, it started to accept state restrictions to its repertoire in public space. The SDAP had opposed the uniform ban in 1933 because party leaders suspected that the regulation would be used against its own civil society organisations and public manifestations. In 1936, however, the party reversed its position and agreed to state repression of anti-democratic movements as a legitimate instrument to protect democracy. Albarda called democracy an ‘absolute norm’, which had to be defended against extremists at all costs.57 Van den Bergh’s influential lecture De democratische Staat en de niet-democratische partijen (The democratic state and the non-democratic parties) explained in 1936 why it was legitimate for a democratic state to ban anti-democratic parties and associations. Because these parties and movements rejected the very principles of democratic government and the democratic state structure, undemocratic measures were justified for the



higher goal of protecting democracy. This approach, which in the next chapter Joris Gijsenbergh calls ‘moral democracy’, drew a sharp distinction between democratic and anti-democratic parties on the basis of their ideological principles.58 Although this was a viable idea on a theoretical level, Dutch Social Democrats were much less successful in drafting legislation against anti-democratic parties and associations. On the one hand, right-wing parties in Parliament strongly opposed Van den Bergh’s concept of democracy. On the other hand, Social Democrats were reluctant to propose legal measures which might at some point be directed against themselves, like in the case of the uniform ban.59 A discrepancy showed up after 1933 between the theoretical reinterpretation of the concept of democracy and its significance for the repertoire used in public space. Violence was indeed rejected and achieving an electoral majority gradually became the only acceptable way for Social Democracy to gain power—within the existing structures of the Dutch nation state, the monarchy, and the parliamentary system. Paradoxically, the Social Democratic use of symbolic and mass propaganda methods significantly increased in the 1930s. Koos Vorrink, Meijer Sluijser, and Martin Gleisner were the main advocates of applying lessons learned in Germany to the Netherlands. Social Democratic propaganda pioneers referred to Hitler’s emotional and psychological appeal to the masses and blamed the SPD leadership for allegedly refusing to use modern propaganda techniques. They started their own experiments to effectively mobilise supporters.60 The SDAP’s Plan van de Arbeid, an economic plan to fight unemployment by introducing Keynesian principles in the Dutch economy, was presented and promoted using modern repertoire methods. The ‘Plan’ campaign used mass demonstrations, symbols, banners, slogans, songs, and theatre plays to mobilise support for Social Democracy and the ‘Plan’, unconcerned about comparisons with National Socialist repertoire.61 Internal discussions about these modern and mass-oriented propaganda methods continued throughout the 1930s. Sluijser published a cheap tabloid newspaper, Vrijheid, Arbeid, Brood, to spread the slogans of the Plan and denunciate Nazi ideological and political positions. He allegedly even let his staff members search the waste bins of the NSB headquarters in order to get anti-Fascist propaganda material. Some of these methods were rejected by the SDAP leadership as unworthy of Social Democracy.62 Verwey-Jonker pointed out that Hitler never took over power in Germany with ‘puzzle competitions and sequel stories’,


but on the basis of serious political issues.63 The SDAP gradually abandoned these modern repertoire methods, based on emotional appeals and street politics, after the electoral campaign of 1937. When state authorities prohibited the May demonstration of 1940 with a view to military mobilisation and the threat of war, party chairman Vorrink did not even protest.64

Conclusion The conclusions reached by Dutch Social Democrats during the 1930s may appear self-evident for present-day observers. Their idea that violence was a very ‘undemocratic’ and therefore objectionable method, sounds very modern. And indeed, in the 1930s it was still a very ‘modern’ view to consider violence undemocratic. This insight in the meaning of democracy for repertoire forms and elements was developed in an era and in a political context, in which democracy was not yet automatically connected to the renunciation of violence. Around 1930, the assumption that violence is in itself principally an ‘undemocratic’ method had still to be invented. A majority of German Social Democrats agreed that revolutionary tactics should remain an option under extreme political circumstances, even though they were reluctant to use the paramilitary repertoire of the Reichsbanner. When Papen’s coup in Prussia on 20 July 1932 and Hitler’s appointment to Reich Chancellor on 30 January 1933 showed that the state apparatus could no longer be counted upon to protect democratic movements, the use of violence was considered one available option to respond to the challenge. The SPD decision at this time against the use of political violence and armed uprising and in favour of parliamentary and legal means, was based on rational considerations of opportunities and chances to achieve success. German Social Democrats adhered to the principle of ‘disciplined democracy’ and the predominance of state authority, until the point when state power turned against Social Democracy itself. They pointed to the negative consequences of counter-violence against the Nazis under the political conditions of 1932 or 1933 and to the odds against them in a civil war. The Dutch Social Democrats rejected ‘disciplined democracy’ and gradually started to favour a more moral, prescriptive, culturalised understanding of democracy after 1933. A democratic party or a civil society organisation had to act according to a set of ‘democratic virtues’ and was not supposed to



use violence, regardless of political circumstances, even when intended to protect democracy against its adversaries. This type of definition was a significant innovation in the discourse about democracy in the first half of the twentieth century. It should be noted that these diverging discourses on the concept of democracy were not directly related to claims of democratic legitimacy by anti-democratic movements or the dilemma of democratic state governments when faced with such movements. Rather, the different understandings of democracy existed within the democratic movement in the 1930s. Other contributions in this volume confirm that democracy can either mean a set of fundamental principles for state government, or a practical guideline for civil society action. The tension between the understanding what democracy ‘is’ and what democracy or democratic civil society ‘should do’ is still relevant today. Many groups and movements, ranging from separatist regions in former Soviet republics to social movements in Turkey, appeal to democratic values for rhetorical and legitimising reasons. Western observers may assume that oppositional groups in Syria, Russia, or Egypt comply to the standard paradigm of democratic and civil society organisations as democratic, tolerant, pluralistic, and of course non-violent. This will, however, probably only apply to a very small minority of these opposition groups. In the face of severe state repression, many may decide to abandon the method of peaceful street demonstrations and start an armed uprising, abduct or kill regime representatives or police officers, or even hijack planes. The democratic goals and principles involved would in that case contradict the ‘terrorist’ or ‘undemocratic’ methods used by oppositional groups. Western observers would then either deny the democratic credentials of the oppositions because of the methods used, or explain that the government ‘imposed’ these radical or violent methods, militarising the conflict and leaving the democratic opposition no other option. The intensive debates within Social Democracy in Western Europe in the 1930s about this exact problem took place in a political situation in which the democratic system was under pressure. Endangered by the rise of Nazism, Social Democracy was challenged to define the concept of democracy, select the appropriate methods to defend democracy against Fascism, and distinguish between democracy as a political goal or as a code of conduct for practical action in the streets. From 1933 onwards, Dutch Social Democrats spent years convincing themselves that violence was in itself an ‘undemocratic method’, which should in principle not be


used, not even for legitimate goals such as resistance against state oppression under a Fascist regime. This point of view was an important discursive innovation in the history of the concept of democracy, but it did not necessarily qualify for extreme political circumstances—for example after 1940, when Dutch democratic organisations were banned under German occupation. How Social Democrats reacted in this new situation and they legitimised their illegal and occasionally violent activities in the resistance movement during the Second World War, is a subject which deserves special attention in future historical research.


1. J. Gijsenbergh, S. Hollander, T. Houwen, and W. de Jong, ‘Introduction: Creative Crises of Democracy’, in idem (eds.), Creative Crises of Democracy (Brussels 2012), 11–20, there 17. Cf. H. te Velde, ‘De domesticatie van democratie in Nederland. Democratie als strijdbegrip van de negentiende eeuw tot 1945’, BMGN 127 (2012), 3–27. 2. G. Capoccia, Defending Democracy: Reactions to Extremism in Interwar Europe (Baltimore and London 2007); J. Gijsenbergh, ‘Crisis of Democracy or Creative Reform? Dutch Debates on the Repression of Parliamentary Representatives and Political Parties, 1933–1940’, in Gijsenbergh et al. (eds.), Creative Crises of Democracy, 237–268; B. Rijpkema, Weerbare democratie. De grenzen van democratische tolerantie (Amsterdam 2015), 27–81. 3. J. Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag. Extremismebestrijding in Nederland, 1917–1940 (Nijmegen 2016); J. Gijsenbergh, ‘The Semantics of “Democracy” in Social Democratic Parties. Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, 1917–1939’, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 53 (2013), 147–173, there 147–152. 4. Recent works using this approach include: Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag; K. Mennen, Selbstinszenierung im öffentlichen Raum. Katholische und sozialdemokratische Reper-toire-dis-kus-sionen um 1930 (Münster 2013). 5. Cf. J. Kocka, ‘Civil Society in Historical Perspective’, in J.H. Keane (ed.), Civil Society: Berlin Perspectives (New York 2006), 37–50, there 38–44; P. Kopecký and C. Mudde, ‘Rethinking Civil Society’, Democratization 10 (2003), 1–14. 6.  A. Bauerkämper, D. Gosewinkel and S. Reichardt, ‘Paradox oder Perversion? Zum historischen Verhältnis von Zivilgesellschaft und Gewalt’, Mittelweg 36 15 (2006), 22–32; D. Gosewinkel, Zivilgesellschaft - eine Erschließung des Themas von seinen Grenzen her. Discussion Paper Nr. SP IV 2003-505 (Berlin 2003); Kocka, ‘Civil Society’.



7.  S. Berman, ‘Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic’, World Politics 49 (1997), 401–429; S. Reichardt, ‘Selbstorganisation und Zivilgesellschaft. Soziale Assoziationen und politische Mobilisierung in der deutschen und italienischen Zwischenkriegszeit’, in R. Jessen (ed.), Zivilgesellschaft als Geschichte. Studien zum 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden 2004), 219–238, there 228–232. 8. J.M. Diehl, Paramilitary Politics in Weimar Germany (Bloomington 1977), 111; D. Schumann, Politische Gewalt in der Weimarer Republik 1918–1933. Kampf um die Straße und Furcht vor dem Bürgerkrieg (Essen 2001), 314–317. 9. T. Lindenberger, Straßenpolitik. Zur Sozialgeschichte der öffentlichen Ordnung in Berlin 1900 bis 1914 (Bonn 1995). 10. B. Fischer, Theoriediskussion der SPD in der Weimarer Republik (Frankfurt am Main 1986), 26–38; A. Rosenberg, Entstehung und Geschichte der Weimarer Republik (Frankfurt am Main 1955), 273–496. 11. C. Graf, Politische Polizei zwischen Demokratie und Diktatur. Die Entwicklung der preussischen Politischen Polizei vom Staatsschutzorgan der Weimarer Republik zum Geheimen Staatspolizeiamt des Dritten Reiches (Berlin 1983), 1–48; H.H. Liang, Die Berliner Polizei in der Weimarer Republik (Berlin 1977), 37–94. 12.  E. Rosenhaft, ‘Working-Class Life and Working-Class Politics: Communists, Nazis and the State in the Battle for the Streets, Berlin 1928–1932’, in R. Bessel (ed.), Social Change and Political Development in Weimar Germany (London 1981), 207–240, there: 213–217, 229–232; M. Schartl, ‘Ein Kampf ums nackte Überleben. Volkstumulte und Pöbelexzesse als Ausdruck des Aufbegehres in der Spätphase der Weimarer Republik’, in M. Gailus (ed.), Pöbelexzesse und Volkstumulte in Berlin. Zur Sozialgeschichte der Strasse (1830–1980) (Berlin 1984), 125–167. 13.  ‘Demonstration mit tragischem Ausgang’, Vorwärts, 14 August 1925 (Abend), 1. 14. T. Kurz, “Blutmai”. Sozialdemokraten und Kommunisten im Brennpunkt der Berliner Ereignisse von 1929 (Berlin 1988), 147–151; H. Weber, Hauptfeind Sozialdemokratie. Strategie und Taktik der KPD 1929–1933 (Düsseldorf 1982). 15. ‘Blutiger Sonntag in Halle’, Vossische Zeitung, 12 May 1924 (Abend), 3; M.B. ‘Der Stahlhelm in Berlin’, Völkischer Beobachter, 12 May 1927, 1–2. 16. R.P. Chickering, ‘The Reichsbanner and the Weimar Republic, 1924–26’, The Journal of Modern History 40 (1968), 524–534. 17. Archiv der sozialen Demokratie der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bonn (hereafter referred to as AdsD), Reichsbanner Schwarz Rot Gold, Heftmappe ‘Carl Severing, Reichsbanner’ (hereafter referred to as Carl Severing,

66  K. MENNEN Reichsbanner), B. von Deimling, Letter to Severing, 4 May 1925; ‘Plauener Angelegenheiten’, Volkszeitung für das Vogtland, 31 July 1924; ‘Zentrum und Reichsbanner’, Leipziger Volkszeitung (hereafter referred to as LVZ), 15 October 1926. 18. C. Severing, Note to Reich Defence Minister Otto Gessler, 14 June 1923, cited in C. Severing, Mein Lebensweg. II. Im Auf und Ab der Republik (Cologne 1950), 119–121. 19.  AdsD, Carl Severing, Reichsbanner, ‘Interview’, April 1923. ‘Die Wahrheit über das “Reichsbanner”’, Der Stahlhelm, 17 August 1924, 1–2; C. Severing, ‘Verbände und Staatsgewalt’, Berliner Tageblatt, 4 April 1926. 20. AdsD, Carl Severing, Reichsbanner, C. Severing, Letter to M. Leuteritz, 9 May 1925; Severing, Mein Lebensweg, II, 123. 21. F. Walter, ‘Republik, das ist nicht viel’. Partei und Jugend in der Krise des Weimarer Sozialismus (Bielefeld 2011). 22. ‘Der Schutz der Republik’, Sächsisches Volksblatt, 19 July 1924, 1–2. 23.  M. Adler, ‘Demokratie als Ziel und als Mittel über marxistische Staatsauffassung’, Der Klassenkampf 2 (1928), 10, 292–298; H. de Man, Zur Psychologie des Sozialismus (Jena 1926). Cf. Fischer, Theoriediskussion; R. Hartmans, Vijandige broeders? De Nederlandse sociaal-democratie en het nationaal-socialisme, 1922–1940 (Amsterdam 2012), 48–70. 24. S. Reichardt, Faschistische Kampf-bünde. Gewalt und Gemeinschaft im italienischen Squadrismus und in der deutschen SA (Cologne 2009); Schumann, Politische Gewalt; C. Voigt, Kampfbünde der Arbeiterbewegung. Das Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold und der Rote Frontkämpferbund in Sachsen 1924–1933 (Cologne 2009), 361–362, 392–394. 25.  ‘Hakenkreuzler-Ueberfall in Zwickau’, Sächsisches Volksblatt, 18 November 1929. 26. Cf. Walter, ‘Republik, das ist nicht viel’. 27. Cited in Nemo, ‘Proletarischer Antifaszismus’, LVZ 14 (June 1926), 1–2. Cf. Voigt, Kampfbünde der Arbeiterbewegung, 230–235. 28. K. Krone, ‘Umkehr zu revolutionärer Taktik’, Das freie Wort 3 (1931), 20–21, 45; R. Schmidt, ‘Proletarische Wehrhaftigkeit!’ Das freie Wort 2 (1930), 13, 44; M. Seydewitz, ‘Der Sieg der Verzweiflung’, Der Klassenkampf 4 (1930), 18, 545–550. 29.  Cited in G. Seger, ‘Die Militärfrage’, Der Klassenkampf 1 (1927), 5, 154–156. 30. ‘Zusammenstöße am Freitag’, Dresdner Volkszeitung, 2 July 1932, 6. 31.  S. Berger, ‘Democracy and Social Democracy’, European History Quarterly 32 (2002), 13–37; H.P. Ehni, Bollwerk Preußen? PreußenRegierung, Reich-Länder-Problem und Sozialdemokratie 1928–1932 (Bonn 1975), 265–268.



32. Fischer, Theoriediskussion, 185–202. 33. W. Pyta, Gegen Hitler und für die Republik. Die Auseinandersetzung der deutschen Sozialdemokratie mit der NSDAP in der Weimarer Republik (Düsseldorf 1989), 203–221; H.A. Winkler, Der Weg in die Katastrophe. Arbeiter und Arbeiterbewegung in der Weimarer Republik 1930 bis 1933 (Berlin and Bonn 1987), 207–286, 471–479. 34. For an overview of the historical debate and historiography about this issue: A. Wirsching, Die Weimarer Republik. Politik und Gesellschaft (Munich 2008), 114–116. 35. Hartmans, Vijandige broeders? 104–129; G.-R. Horn, European Socialists Respond to Fascism: Ideology, Activism and Contingency in the 1930s (New York and Oxford 1996), 4–8, 119–120. 36. Fischer, Theoriediskussion, 204–234; Hartmans, Vijandige broeders? 87–189; W. Saggau, Faschismustheorien und antifaschistische Strategien in der SPD. Theoretische Einschätzungen des deutschen Faschismus und Widerstands-kon-zep-tio-nen in der Endphase der Weimarer Republik und in der Emigration (Cologne 1981), 20–141. 37. J.C.H. Blom, De muiterij op De Zeven Provinciën. Reacties en Gevolgen in Nederland (Utrecht 1983). 38. International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam (hereafter: IISH), SDAP, 87, ‘Notulen van de vergadering van het Partijbestuur, gehouden op Zaterdag 25 Februari 1933’, 20; ‘Arbeidersweer’, Het Volk, 1 June 1933 (Avond), 5. 39.  IISH, SDAP, 87, C. Woudenberg, ‘Nota aan het Partijbestuur inzake de wenschelijkheid van het treffen van oragnatorische maatregelen’, 5 January 1933. 40. IISH, SDAP, 87, ‘Notulen van de vergadering van het Partijbestuur’, 4 February 1933, 11; IISH, SDAP, 230a, ‘Notulen van de vergadering van den partijraad, gehouden op Zaterdag en Zondag 13 en 14 Mei 1933’, 30–54. 41. IISH, SDAP, 2544b, M. Sluyser, ‘Nota betreffende afweer tegen het fascisme in Nederland’, June 1933. 42. M. Sluyser, Planmatige socialistische politiek (Amsterdam 1934), 3; J. van der Wijk, ‘Wat hebben de Duitsche gebeurtenissen aan de Hollandsche Sociaal-Democratie ten opzichte harer geestelijke instellingen te zeggen?’ De Socialistische Gids 18 (1933), 10, 679–696. 43. Cf. H.G.J. Kaal, ‘Democratie onder druk. De reglementering van politieke manifestaties in Amsterdam tijdens het interbellum’, BMGN 124 (2009), 186–208. 44.  H.B. Wiardi Beckman, ‘Fascisme in Nederland’, Het Jonge Volk 20 (1933), 263–266, there 264. 45.  ‘Mussert groeit van herrie’, Het Volk, 19 October 1934 (Avond); H.B. Wiardi Beckman, ‘Politieke vechtpartij’, Het Jonge Volk 22 (1935), 104–106.

68  K. MENNEN 46.  H. Verwey-Jonker, ‘Fascisme in Nederland. Wat kunnen we er tegen doen?’ De sociaal-democraat, 15 April 1933, 2–3. 47. IISH, SDAP, 483g, ‘Verslag van de Herzieningscommissie, uitgebracht aan het Partijbestuur der S.D.A.P.’, 26 October 1933, 11. 48. Ibid., 9–12. 49.  ‘Demonstratieve vergadering der Liga’, Het Volk, 23 October 1933 (Ochtend), 2. 50.  IISH, SDAP, 483g, ‘Verslag van de Herzieningscommissie’, 8. Cf. Hartmans, Vijandige broeders? 207–226; K. Vorrink, Om de vrije mens der nieuwe gemeenschap. Opvoeding tot het demokratiese socialisme (Amsterdam 1933). 51.  G. van den Bergh, ‘Democratische vrijheid en socialistisch recht’, De Socialistische Gids 19 (1934), 8, 586–592. 52. IISH, SDAP, 483a, K. Vorrink, ‘Stellingen in verband met het werk der herzieningskommissie’, June 1933, 11–12. Cf. Hartmans, Vijandige broeders? 201–211, 218–226. 53. H.B. Wiardi Beckman, ‘Demokratie en recht’, Het Jonge Volk 21 (1934), 41–44, there 43. 54. Hartmans, Vijandige broeders? 201–235; P.J. Knegtmans, Socialisme en democratie: de SDAP tussen klasse en natie, 1929–1939 (Amsterdam 1989), 145–215. 55. P. Posthumus and H. van de Wetering, Harde guldens, harde tijden. Beeld van het Jordaanoproer 1934 (Amsterdam 1984). 56.  Gijsenbergh, ‘Crisis of Democracy or Creative Reform?’; Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag, 14–21, 225–240; Te Velde, ‘De domesticatie van democratie in Nederland’, 17–23. 57. Cited in Gijsenbergh, ‘Crisis of Democracy or Creative Reform?’, 253; Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag, 104–106, 128, 195–207. 58. G. van den Bergh, De democratische Staat en de niet-democratische partijen (Amsterdam 1936); Gijsenbergh, ‘The Semantics of “Democracy”’. 59. Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag, 127–135. 60. B. Rulof, Een leger van priesters voor een heilige zaak. SDAP, politieke manifestaties en massapolitiek, 1918–1940 (Amsterdam 2007), 169–171, 206–222. 61. Hartmans, Vijandige broeders? 165–174; J. Jansen van Galen (ed.), Het moet, het kan! Op voor het Plan! Vijftig jaar Plan van de Arbeid (Amsterdam 1985); Rulof, Een leger van priesters, 241–260. 62. Hartmans, Vijandige broeders? 167–170; Rulof, Een leger van priesters, 308–313. 63. Verwey-Jonker, ‘Fascisme in Nederland’, 2. 64. G. Harmsen and L. Karsten, ‘De Eerste Mei als strijd- en feestdag in de Nederlandse arbeidersbeweging’, Bulletin Nederlandse arbeidersbeweging 7 (1985), 3–111, there 97–98.

Democracy’s Various Defenders: The Struggle Against Political Extremism in the Netherlands, 1917–1940 Joris Gijsenbergh

During the 1920s and 1930s, almost all European democracies felt threatened by Communism, Fascism, and various subversive movements. In response, democratic regimes took measures to avoid these extremists from coming to power. Many historians and political scientists have portrayed the resulting conflict as a battle between the advocates and adversaries of democracy. In Defending Democracy: Reactions to Extremism in Interwar Europe, for example, Giovanni Capoccia defines it as ‘the struggle between democrats and those holding anti-democratic beliefs’.1 Other scholars have also assumed that they could understand interwar politics in such a binary form by basing their studies on a late twentieth or early twenty-first century conception of democracy.2

This article is largely based on my Ph.D. thesis: J. Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag. Extremismebestrijding in Nederland, 1917–1940 (Nijmegen 2016). J. Gijsenbergh (*)  Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_4



This chapter argues that as a result of this struggle between ‘democrats’ and ‘anti-democrats’, various defenders of democracy came to disagree among themselves about the meaning of the labels ‘democrat’ and ‘anti-democrat’. There was thus no consensus on the concept of democracy. In the interwar period debates raged over which democratic principles deserved protection from which foes, and how one’s notion of democracy could be defended. These disagreements went beyond semantics. In fact, contrasting claims to democratic legitimacy were used in attempts to exert power. Each definition exemplifies a distinct view of what the state and the society should look like. In other words, interwar democrats were not only struggling to defend democracy against its adversaries, but they also competed with each other to shape its form and content. In order to analyse the interwar usage and interpretation of the concept of democracy, the focus lies here on all politicians, publicists, and activists who styled themselves as democrats. That includes Communists and other radical Socialists. While they were denounced as anti-democrats by their opponents, they themselves claimed to be the real champions of democracy. Fascists and National Socialists are excluded from the analysis, because they unequivocally rejected the very notion of democracy.3 This chapter illustrates that the interwar fight against extremism was, in contrast to what many scholars have assumed, more than a clear-cut struggle between democracy’s advocates and its adversaries. It was also a competition between various self-proclaimed democrats over the true nature of democracy.4 The case of the Netherlands is well suited to prove this point. We now know that the Dutch extreme-left and extreme-right movements were small, compared to their European counterparts. Together, Anarchists, Communists, Fascists, and National Socialists never gained more than 10% of the votes in the interwar years. Social Democrats occupied a quarter of the seats in Parliament, but they quickly renounced revolution. Overall, the Netherlands escaped much of the political turmoil that troubled other democracies, prior to the invasion by Germany in 1940.5 To contemporaries, however, the risk of extremism seemed very real. Between 1917 and 1940, many authorities (ministers, mayors, and law enforcement officials), representatives (members of Parliament and municipal councillors), journalists, and activists (both anti-communists and anti-fascists) all feared that the global rise of extremism would affect the Netherlands as well. They were worried that Fascists and Socialists (including Social Democrats) might disrupt the peace or the democratic



process. These fears should be considered seriously because they had real consequences, triggering far-reaching countermeasures from the government and activists. Their proposals, many of which were indeed turned into law, ranged from limiting the freedom of expression to banning parties. In that sense, the Netherlands looked like many other European democracies that defended themselves against extremist movements. The Dutch authorities responded in a similar vein as many other European democratic regimes, such as Belgium, Finland, and Czechoslovakia.6 Yet another similarity between the Netherlands and the rest of Europe makes this case insightful. Just like in other countries, the Dutch debate about the fight against extremism triggered discussions about what a democracy should look like. The representative system was completed with the introduction of universal suffrage for men and women, in 1917 and 1919, respectively, but this also raised new questions about how democracy should be organised in practice. This matter became especially urgent when radical movements challenged this state form. In response to (their perception of) these extremist dangers, politicians, publicists, and activists explicitly formulated new and contrasting definitions of the concept of democracy. They discussed which values, institutions, and practices deserved protection. Related to that, they argued among themselves which groups, ideas, and conduct constituted the gravest threat to the democratic norms. An even more controversial question was how far anti-extremist measures could and should go. On the one hand, self-proclaimed democrats wanted to prevent extremists from abusing democratic rights. On the other hand, they were reluctant to curb these rights. That confronted them with a dilemma: how could they defend democracy, without undermining it themselves?7 Politicians, publicists, and activists of various political hue addressed these dilemmas in their parliamentary speeches, newspapers, and anti-communist and anti-fascist journals. They did not form a united front. Therefore, the public debate about the fight against extremism offers insight into the interwar clashes over the meaning of democracy in society as a whole. This analysis is divided into five parts. It begins with an overview of the different fears of extremism in the Netherlands. The following section lists the countermeasures that resulted from those fears. It focuses on the governmental legislative proposals, because those were the most controversial. In addition, this section mentions some non-governmental anti-communist and anti-fascist initiatives, in order to show the variety


of suggested policies in the fight against extremism. In that sense, this complements Kristian Mennen’s chapter in this volume, which examines how the Social Democratic movements in the Weimar Republic and the Netherlands reacted to National Socialist violence. Each of the next three sections analyses one of the prominent conceptions of democracy that gained currency in the interwar period. Parliamentary democracy was merely one of those contrasting notions. It was challenged by ‘disciplined democracy’, starting in the late 1920s, and by ‘moral democracy’ from 1933 onwards. These new definitions were put forward in reaction to the rise of extremism. Growing anxieties about the threats to democratic values and institutions increased the desire for more resilient forms of democracy. Advocates of disciplined democracy and of moral democracy responded differently to the extremist threat because they feared different foes. This leads to the conclusion that defending democracy against perceived adversaries went hand in hand with redefining what democracy actually entailed.

Changing and Contrasting Perceptions of Extremism Before the interwar debate about democracy can be analysed, it is imperative to understand how worried the participants in this debate were, which movements they feared, and why they did so. After all, the contemporary perceptions of extremism provided the starting point for the fight against extremism, which, in turn, precipitated a debate between various self-styled democrats. In order to understand which forms of democracy the contemporaries wanted to preserve, it is important to know who they labelled as dangerous. Not everyone fought the same extremists. Anti-communists and anti-fascists worried about different extremists. Moreover, both the anti-communist movement and the anti-fascist movement were internally divided, as their members were haunted by a wide variety of spectres. That has already been pointed out in the international historiography, but Dutch historians have only recently started to wonder who the interwar defenders of democracy were afraid of.8 Like many Western states, the Netherlands experienced a veritable red scare between 1917 and 1920.9 For a brief moment, a large conservative majority (Catholics, Protestants, and Conservative Liberals occupying roughly 60% of the seats in Parliament) feared that their country was on the brink of a Socialist revolution. Many worried that



Dutch workers might follow the lead of the revolutionaries in Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and Germany. This fear seemed to be confirmed in 1918, when Pieter Jelles Troelstra, the leader of the Sociaal-Democratische Arbeiderspartij (Social Democratic Workers’ Party, SDAP), held speeches in which he demanded that the government would hand over power to the people. His announced revolution failed within a week, due to a lack of working-class support, but that did not reassure the counterrevolutionaries. In their eyes, Social Democratic, Communist and Anarchist demagogues might keep stirring up the gullible masses. A new security service, the Centrale Inlichtingendienst (Central Intelligence Agency, CI), was established in order to keep a wary eye on all Socialist parties and organisations. Concerned citizens assisted the law enforcement officials, by organising paramilitary groups and other anti-communist associations.10 The fear of extremism abated in 1920. Although the security service, conservative politicians, mayors, and journalists remained vigilant until the end of the decade, their tone had lost its prior sense of urgency. They deemed a new attempt to overthrow the lawful government increasingly unlikely, now that the Social Democrats were becoming more moderate and the Communists were marginalised. In 1926, the CI no longer labelled Communism as an acute revolutionary risk, but instead warned for a dormant threat.11 The liberal newspaper Het Vaderland went even further and claimed that ‘the last thing our country is thinking about is a revolution’.12 Fascism raised even less suspicion than socialism, because extreme-right movements were small in the 1920s and because many conservatives sympathised with the fascist calls for law and order. The fascist anti-parliamentary ideology was only condemned by the progressive liberal Vrijzinnig-Democratische Bond (Liberal Democratic Union, VDB) and the SDAP. All in all, extremism no longer caused widespread anxiety after 1920.13 The fear of extremism returned in the late 1920s, and received another boost around 1933, due to the national and international circumstances. Catholics, Protestants, and Conservative Liberals expressed their anxieties more regularly than before. Politicians, journalists, law enforcement officials, and businessmen warned against the return of ‘the red menace’. In 1927, MP Egbert Beumer (Anti-Revolutionaire Partij, Anti-Revolutionary Party, ARP14) predicted that the revolutionaries would soon be ‘at the gates’.15 These Dutch fears resembled the Red Scare in Great Britain. The British unease was so great that radio


listeners panicked in 1926, after hearing a BBC satire about revolutionary turmoil in London.16 The return of anxiety was caused by Joseph Stalin’s rise to power in the Soviet Union and the increasing efforts of the Comintern after 1928 to incite revolutionary unrest in the rest of the world.17 In the Netherlands, people like Beumer were especially alarmed by Communist uprisings in the Dutch East Indies, in 1926 and 1927. Two years later, they feared that the Great Depression might make the unemployed susceptible to the lure of Socialism. They felt strengthened in their conviction in 1933, when mutineers took over the navy ship De Zeven Provinciën before the coast of Sumatra. Conservative parties and newspapers accused both Communists and Social Democrats of supporting the mutiny. Conservatives warned that Socialist agitators might undermine the authorities, by making the people lose its respect for the elites.18 Only one week before the mutiny on De Zeven Provinciën, Adolf Hitler took power in neighbouring Germany. In Dutch eyes, that proved that right-wing extremism was also a viable threat. Hitler inspired the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging (National Socialist Movement, NSB), which grew and radicalised rapidly.19 At first, the authorities, conservative parties, and church boards gave the NSB the benefit of the doubt, because of their shared love for law and order. Only in the course of 1933, and especially after 1935, did they start to distrust National Socialism.20 During a meeting with the CI in 1933, most chiefs of police refused to believe that National Socialists were enemies of the state. CI-chief Johan Van Oorschot agreed that National Socialism was less dangerous than Communism, because the National Socialist call for authority at least sounded reassuring. At the same time, however, he urged the police to gather intelligence about the NSB, because it might not accept the authority of the lawful government.21 In the 1930s, progressive organisations were also alarmed by the threat of extremism. However, they worried about different movements than the conservatives, and for different reasons. In 1935, thousands of concerned politicians and citizens—mainly Liberal Democrats and Social Democrats—joined Eenheid door Democratie (Unity through Democracy, EdD). This movement tried to put a halt to what they called ‘anti-democrats’, including both right-wing and left-wing extremists. After the electoral gains of the NSB in the provincial elections of 1935, EdD, the VDB, and the SDAP regarded National Socialism as democracy’s most dangerous adversary. Nevertheless, they also branded Communism as



anti-democratic. Communists, in turn, tried to ally themselves with anti-fascist movements. Their advances to EdD failed, but they did cooperate with anti-fascist intellectuals that were organised in the Comité van Waakzaamheid (Committee of Vigilance, CvW).22 By the mid-1930s, a wide range of parties and associations thus expressed their concerns about extremism, but they did not join hands. While the authorities and conservatives feared extremists who might disturb peace and order, progressive politicians and activists feared totalitarian movements that opposed parliamentary politics or civil rights. Conservatives and progressives opposed different adversaries because each group defended different democratic values. Accordingly, they used different strategies in their fight against extremism.23

The Fight Against Extremism During the interwar years, various anti-extremist measures were suggested, aimed at different movements. This period can be divided into a number of phases, which coincided with the shifts in the perceptions of extremism. Between 1917 and 1920, the counterrevolutionaries demanded strict measures to combat ‘the red menace’. They were milder between 1920 and 1927, but both conservatives and progressives lost confidence at the end of the decade, which resulted in a barrage of suggestions to curb civil rights. The call for repression emerged around 1927 and picked up pace between 1933 and 1940. Ultimately, the government briefly imposed martial law in 1940 to prevent the NSB from aiding the German invaders. For over twenty years, the Dutch democracy thus tried to keep internal adversaries at bay, only to succumb to an external threat when the Netherlands were occupied by the Nazi’s in 1940.24 The main instigators of the fight against extremism were the conservatives. Between 1918 and 1939, Catholic and Protestant parties dominated the coalition governments that drafted repressive legislation. Liberals participated between 1933 and 1937 in several of the strictest governments under Prime Minister Hendrik Colijn (ARP), who derived his popularity from his image as a strong leader. The repressive policies were executed by conservative mayors, censoring committees and law enforcement officials. Their fight against extremism gained the support of like-minded newspaper editors and MPs. Most voters also showed their approval, by supporting conservative parties that campaigned for


law and order.25 However, conservatives were not alone in their struggle. Liberal Democratic and Social Democratic MPs and members of EdD also combated extremism, while Communists joined anti-fascist organisations.26 The anti-extremist measures that were taken between 1917 and 1940 targeted various groups, depending on who were perceived as the most dangerous adversaries of democracy. The main fear was that the masses lacked political acumen. Catholics, Protestants, Liberals, and even Social Democrats doubted whether workers could understand state affairs. Nevertheless, proposals to strip citizens of their right to vote never stood a chance, despite the continuous grumblings about inadequate voters. Almost all parties accepted universal male suffrage after its introduction in 1917. This right was even extended to women two years later, in the hope that they would diminish the revolutionary fervour of the lower classes.27 The only accepted measure aimed at the electorate was the introduction of civic education. In the 1920s, lectures, leaflets, and evening classes were used to aid uneducated citizens to participate in the political process. In the 1930s, civic educators tried to instil a sense of responsibility in the minds of the Dutch citizens, in order to turn them into ‘good democrats’.28 Instead of limiting voting rights, the authorities tried to prevent the people from falling prey to bad influences. One way of achieving that goal was to keep radical agitators on a short leash. Publicists were held accountable for their inflammatory publications. Judges sentenced some of them to prison for distributing radical writings. The government limited the freedom of the press, most notably by introducing the Anti-Revolution Act in 1920 and the Act for the Protection of Law and Order in 1934. In the second half of the 1930s, the government even tried to pre-emptively shut down periodicals (temporarily), before they could distribute radical propaganda. However, that proposal stranded in Parliament, because even conservative MPs refused to introduce preventive censorship of the press.29 By contrast, playwriters, filmmakers, and radio broadcasters had to submit their work to censors before they could distribute it. In the 1920s, most of these censors did not use strict political criteria and often approved Socialist plays, movies, and radio broadcasts. The infamous Soviet movie Panzerkreuzer Potemkin could be seen in most Dutch movie theatres between 1926 and 1933, despite aversion in conservative circles.30 At the same time, however, censorship gradually became



stricter. Local censors were reinforced by national committees and both now began to apply more rigorous standards to plays, movies and radio programmes with a political message. More often than before, the censors prohibited revolutionary propaganda on the stage, the screen, and over the airwaves.31 Demonstrators faced even more severe repression. Socialists and National Socialists took to the streets, where they protested against the status quo. Sometimes they came to blows with each other. Communists and some radical Social Democrats resorted to violence in their struggle against the National Socialists, fighting fire with fire. Extremists also clashed with the police and the counterrevolutionary volunteers.32 In his contribution to this volume, Kristian Mennen righty points out that the Netherlands experienced its fair share of violence, even though the Dutch situation was far more tranquil than the Weimar Republic.33 The best-known example is the ‘Jordaanoproer’ of 1934, when unemployed citizens of Amsterdam revolted against the forces of law and order for several days. In the end, the mayor and the national government quelled the revolt by sending in heavily armed troops. In other cases, the authorities tried to prevent escalation. Chiefs of police, mayors, and ministers forced protesters to comply with their conditions. By prohibiting rousing songs and political symbols, they tried to take the sting out of these protests. Around 1918 and in the 1930s, many municipal authorities even prohibited mass meetings altogether.34 Since the authorities depended on law enforcement officials to fight extremism, the government demanded their loyalty. In 1933, the government banned left-wing and right-wing extremists from the civil service, the police, and all branches of the professional armed forces. That same year, Minister of Internal Affairs Jacob de Wilde (ARP) removed Fascists from the voluntary reserves. The SDAP was not satisfied and demanded a ban on all militias, both the vigilantes of extremist parties and the paramilitary counterrevolutionaries. De Wilde refused, because he welcomed the loyal support of the counterrevolutionary volunteers in his struggle against extremists. It was crucial, however, that the authorities could rely on the allegiance of official law enforcement, so the authorities guarded the guardians.35 In the course of the 1920s and 1930s, unruly MPs encountered increasingly strict repressive measures. In the 1920s, the mainstream fractions isolated parties they deemed untrustworthy, like the Communistische Partij Holland (Communist Party Holland, CPH) and


even the moderate SDAP.36 In addition, the chairmen of the Parliament and the municipal councils suspended members who refused to conform to the code of conduct. The chairmen increased their control over the tone of the debate, especially from the late 1920s onwards.37 Around that time, the conservative majority wanted to go even further. Politicians, journalists, and legal scholars demanded a permanent ban on representatives who had undertaken or propagated seditious activities. This proposal would curtail parliamentary immunity. They also proposed to strip political delinquents and other irresponsible politicians from their right to stand as a candidate at elections. Neither this pre-emptive barrier, nor the permanent ban was turned into law, as a progressive minority prevented the constitutional reforms from gaining the necessary two-thirds majority.38 The severest measure against parliamentary representatives was the party ban, which was considered in the second half of the 1930s. In 1936, George van den Bergh, a Social Democratic legal scholar, suggested banning all parties with anti-democratic ideologies. Like his fellow party members, he wanted to stop the NSB. However, his proposal lacked support, both within and outside of the SDAP. Three years later, minister of Justice Carel Goseling (Rooms-Katholieke Staatspartij, Roman Catholic State Party, RKSP) was more successful, prohibiting parties from disturbing law and order.39 Overall, the anti-extremist measures that were being considered between 1917 and 1940 led to fierce debates, whether they were put into practice or not. After all, the proposed countermeasures would limit the right to representation, curb the freedom of expression and subjugate both MPs and citizens. Extremist movements would be affected the most, as their message, behaviour, and sometimes even ideology would be branded as illegal. However, non-extremist citizens also risked losing civil rights. The conservative majority argued that the repressive measures would have to apply to everyone, due to the principle of equality before the law. In practice, however, the government mainly targeted left-wing movements, including Communists and Social Democrats. That made its anti-extremist measures even more controversial. Politicians, publicists, and activists discussed which measures against which movements were legitimate. In order to strengthen their argument, they either argued that their proposals were a necessary reform of democracy, or they labelled the suggestions of their opponents a threat to democracy. That sparked a debate about the meaning of democracy.40



Parliamentary Democracy Parliamentary democracy was one of the conceptions of democracy under debate that was invoked during the interwar period. According to some contemporaries, representation was the key democratic value, while an autonomous Parliament was the most important democratic institution. In practice, that meant two things. First, MPs should be more powerful than the government. Secondly, in between elections, MPs were supposed to keep a healthy distance from the electorate. They were seen as independent trustees of the citizens, instead of delegates who had to dance to the tune of the people. This system already existed since the nineteenth century, but it was completed with the introduction of male and female universal suffrage, in 1917 and 1919. Thereafter, many contributors to the debate explicitly defended parliamentary democracy, but they protected it against different threats. In the wake of Troelstra’s revolutionary speeches in 1918, Catholics, Protestants, and Conservative Liberals defended parliamentary democracy against all extra-parliamentary activists that undermined the autonomy of MPs. That included both revolutionaries and demonstrators, since they tried to circumvent the lawful decision-making process. According to a liberal member of the Amsterdam city council in 1918, Social Democratic demonstrators ‘terrorised […] the representative institutions’.41 Between 1918 and 1920, Minister of Justice Theo Heemskerk (ARP) and conservative MPs repeatedly warned that a revolutionary overthrow of the elected politicians would be undemocratic. The Catholic newspaper Het Centrum made the same point: ‘in these days, not only Christian values, authority, law, and order are at stake, but also the fate of democracy’.42 Therefore, conservatives called it democratic to restrict politics to the parliamentary arena, where civilised representatives channelled popular opinion. From a twenty-first-century perspective, it may seem obvious that democracy was associated with representation. However, a century ago that was far from self-explanatory. Around 1900, Dutch conservatives perceived of democracy as the rule of the masses. They did not yet consider parliamentary rule as democratic. On the contrary, an independent Parliament was meant as an antidote to democratic chaos. The conservative definition of democracy changed as a result of the revolutionary era around 1918. They now described the dreaded mob rule as ‘revolution’. That caused a re-evaluation and redefinition of the concept of


democracy, which conservatives now linked to the representative system. Confronted with the threat of revolution and political protest, they welcomed parliamentary democracy as a bulwark against mob rule.43 Liberal Democratic and moderate Social Democratic MPs also defended parliamentary democracy. However, they did not focus on extra-parliamentary groups, but worried more about anti-parliamentary MPs, who would destroy the representative system from within. In 1919, the VDB-leader in Parliament, Henri Marchant, warned that Communist representatives would spell ‘the death of democracy’.44 Moderate Social Democrats sounded similar alarms. They, too, branded Communist MPs as dangerous anti-democrats. In addition, moderate MPs of the SDAP distanced themselves from their revolutionary fellow party members, especially after Willem Albarda had replaced Troelstra as party-leader in 1925.45 The moderate SDAP-leader rejected revolution and instead embraced the parliamentary system as a means to establish a ‘social democracy’, which would offer political, social, and economic equality. Gradually, moderate Social Democrats defended parliamentary democracy as a goal in itself. In 1934, after the Nazis ­ had taken power in Germany, Albarda stated in Parliament: ‘The goal [of parliamentary discipline, JG] is to prevent that parliamentary rights are abused to dismantle parliamentary democracy’.46 In order to preserve the dignity of the representative institutions, Liberal Democratic and moderate Social Democratic MPs endorsed the introduction of stricter parliamentary rules. In their eyes, it was democratic to force representatives to moderate their tone. There was only one condition: these restrictions should be imposed by their fellow MPs, not by the government.47 While many agreed that parliamentary democracy needed to be protected against extra-parliamentary and anti-parliamentary movements, there were limits to the defence mechanisms they were willing to use. Many of these commentators also claimed to defend parliamentary democracy against severe repression. Restrictions of the content of parliamentary speeches, instead of their tone, were taboo until the late 1920s. After all, these measures would allow the government to curtail the parliamentary autonomy and the unassailable right to representation. The people should be free to choose their representatives and MPs should be able to critically monitor the executive power. Therefore, even extremist representatives were entitled to speak their minds, as long as they respected the parliamentary mores.



This feeling was widespread until the late 1920s. In 1921, even counterrevolutionary MPs rejected the governmental suggestion to bar ‘political criminals’ (like trespassers of the Anti-Revolution Act) from participating in the elections. All conservative parties called it ‘principally unjustified to smother the expression of the popular will’.48 For now, Catholics, Protestants, and Conservative Liberals kept faith in the resilience of the existing defences against revolutionary elements. That changed at the end of the decade, when they no longer trusted that the parliamentary system would be able to withstand the extremist threat on its own. From that moment on, the conservative majority called for stricter anti-extremist measures and a subsequent reform of democracy, which will be discussed in the next section. By contrast, Liberal Democrats and Social Democrats kept defending parliamentary democracy against the onslaught of an authoritarian government in the 1930s. The VDB and SDAP were especially alarmed by the conservative attempts to suspend representatives for disorderly or seditious conduct because that would curb the parliamentary immunity and the people’s right to be represented. In 1936, legal scholar Combertus van der Pot (VDB) rejected these governmental proposals as ‘a flawed remedy, which will harm the democratic spirit’.49 A year later, MP Leendert Donker (SDAP) voiced the same objection: ‘I could think of numerous serious objections, even of a principle nature, against this proposal, namely that it will harm democracy, while it was meant to protect democracy’.50 Even Communists argued that they were defending parliamentary democracy against repressive authorities. In fact, they often started the debates about democracy by calling every anti-extremist measure undemocratic, forcing the other parties to respond. Already in 1919, CPHchairman David Wijnkoop pointed an accusing finger to the proponents of stricter parliamentary rules, which would force MPs to moderate their tone. He called this ‘an attack on […] bourgeois democracy’.51 By that he meant parliamentary democracy, for he warned that the strict rules would undermine the representative system. Wijnkoop argued that the new disciplinary measure would hinder MPs in their duty to monitor the executive power and to defend the interests of their constituency.52 At first glance, it may seem remarkable that Communists defended parliamentary democracy. After all, following Karl Marx, Communist ideologues claimed that the labour class would never be able to take power by participating in elections. Therefore, these thinkers openly


advocated a revolutionary overthrow of ‘bourgeois democracy’. In their eyes, this parliamentary system should be replaced by a ‘proletarian democracy’, which provided social and economic equality. In this democratised society, all labourers should have an equal say in all fields of society. By offering this alternative vision, Communists denied the ruling classes a monopoly on the concept of democracy.53 And yet, in response to the repressive measures, Communist politicians and publicists did stress the merits of ‘bourgeois democracy’. Their defence of the parliamentary system is significant, because it reveals that this notion of democracy had positive connotations in wide circles. Even if the Communist claims to parliamentary democracy were a rhetorical strategy (as many historians during the Cold War era have argued), the point here is that the CPH still tried to tap into a wide felt appreciation of parliamentary politics.54 Apparently, Communists assumed that their defence of democratic institutions and values would strike the right chord with their audience. They tried to shame the authorities by accusing them of undermining their own ‘bourgeois democracy’. This complaint was meant to delegitimise all anti-communist measures.55 Communists who lamented the demise of the parliamentary system also aimed their message at their party members. In 1934, for instance, the newspaper De Tribune used the ominous heading ‘Destruction of democracy’ to express its disapproval of the measures against revolutionary representatives.56 While Communists acted out of self-defence, their defence of parliamentary democracy should not be dismissed as mere self-serving rhetoric, as they spoke as highly of this notion of democracy as their opponents.57

Disciplined Democracy Despite the popularity of the parliamentary system, many people defended alternative forms of democracy. Starting in the late 1920s, these alternative notions became even more popular than parliamentary democracy due to the increasing fears of extremism. As more and more commentators lost faith in the capability of the current representative system to withstand the extremist threat, they called for substantial reforms of democracy and they started looking for a democratic system that would be better equipped to defend itself. Conservatives and progressives suggested contradictory solutions. The former pursued a disciplined democracy, while the latter advocated a moral democracy. These groups suggested different means to protect different democratic values, against different enemies.



Between 1927 and 1940, conservatives ramped up their fight against extremism. Remarkably, they were now reluctant to style themselves as defenders of democracy.58 Especially Catholics and Protestants tried to avoid the term democracy as much as possible, in order to prevent misunderstandings. In 1936, for example, minister of Justice Josef van Schaik (RKSP) flatly denied that his policies were aimed ‘to avert anti-democratic dangers’.59 That was a remarkable contrast with his predecessor Heemskerk (ARP), who sixteen years earlier had claimed to defend parliamentary democracy against the revolution. Van Schaik also distanced himself from his Liberal Democratic and Social Democratic contemporaries, who urged him to safeguard democracy against all totalitarian ideologies.60 The minister refused to give into this request because he worried about different enemies than these progressives. Unlike the progressives, he did accept movements that explicitly renounced democracy, as long as they were law-abiding. Instead, the minister took aim at rabble-rousers, in order to maintain law and order. In theory, that meant that he targeted all unruly elements. In practice, Communists and Social Democrats bore the brunt of his measures.61 Prime Minister Colijn concurred with Van Schaik. In 1933, he underlined that his government combated unlawful behaviour, instead of totalitarian thought: The government cannot act against any party, merely because it propagates a state form that differs from the one that we have got now. The government can only act if any organisation disturbs the peace, uses illegal means in his fight against the existing state form or undermines the authorities.62

Conservatives no longer claimed to protect democracy, because they wanted to distance themselves from their contemporaries who—in conservative eyes—defended wrong types of democracy. The Communist notion of ‘proletarian democracy’ and the Social Democratic notion of ‘social democracy’ were met with scorn in conservative circles. Even in 1936, long after the SDAP had moderated its tone, the security service reported: ‘When Social Democrats champion democracy, as they do in our country, they obviously do so because they want to use democracy to reach socialism’.63 The embrace of ‘bourgeois democracy’ by the CPN or parliamentary democracy by the SDAP did not placate their critics, because in the 1930s conservatives themselves felt that the representative system was flawed. They now felt that parliamentary democracy


would give too much power to the people. As one Protestant legal scholar confided in the EdD-chairman in 1939: ‘I would not like to call myself a democrat, because that would suggest that I accept the principle of popular sovereignty’.64 Neither did conservatives support the defence of moral democracy by the EdD, VDB, and SDAP, which will be discussed in more detail below. In conservative eyes, moral democracy treated law-abiding supporters of totalitarian ideologies unfairly, while it left dangerous unruly elements unchecked. To avoid the impression that conservatives condoned progressive values, they refrained from talking about the defence of democracy at all.65 Conservatives hesitated to commit themselves to the protection of democracy, because they realised that this concept could mean anything. During an ARP-conference, party-chairman Jan Schouten explained that the concept of democracy was too contested to be suitable as a rallying cry: That is why we reject a unified front against dictatorship, and why we regard unity through democracy to be a contradictio in terminis. What is democracy? There is no consensus in this matter. The disagreements are so fundamental and therefore dominant, that they rule out any cooperation.66

Despite their misgivings, Catholics, Protestants, and Conservative Liberals soon felt forced to formulate their own, renewed definition of democracy. They did so to counter the accusations that their antiextremist measures were undermining democratic values. Every time they were confronted with such a complaint, conservatives replied that their critics did not understand what a ‘healthy democracy’ entailed.67 To legitimise their repressive policies, conservatives redefined democracy, pursuing what would later be called a ‘militant’ or ‘disciplined democracy’. Those terms were coined in 1938 by Karl Loewenstein, a Jewish philosopher who exhorted European countries to fight extremism, after his exile from Nazi-Germany.68 This chapter will use the term ‘disciplined democracy’ because it entailed both sanctions against extremists and steps to keep the whims of ‘the common people’ under control. The core value of this form of democracy was authority. In a campaign speech during the elections of 1933, RKSP-chairman Goseling called authority one of the two ‘pillars of a truly democratic state form’.69 The other pillar was ‘healthy popular influence’, which should be limited to ‘the brief moment when the voter, alone in his booth with paper and pencil, should fill out the ballot’.70 The gap between the people and the political



elites was consciously deepened. Citizens should obey the authorities, while MPs had the duty to constructively cooperate with the government. If citizens and politicians acted irresponsibly, the authorities had the right—and even the duty—to maintain law and order. That made it democratic to sacrifice some civil liberties, as long as the principle of equality before the law was respected.71 Conservative authorities and their supporters repeatedly called themselves the only true democrats. Even if their claim to this title was a rhetorical ploy to strengthen the position of the elites, they recognised that it would harm their cause if they were called undemocratic. Their claim even shows that they did defend a specific form of democracy, after all. They discredited competing notions of democracy and reclaimed the concept, by linking it to the principle of authority. They stressed that the fight against extremism called for a reform of democracy. Conservatives demanded a solution for the ‘flaws’ of the parliamentary system.72 Specifically, they worried about its apparent inability to maintain law and order. That does not mean that conservative politicians and publicists renounced democracy. Instead, they looked for a new form of democracy that would put up more of a fight against agitators. As Steven Bierema, leader of the Conservative Liberal MPs (Liberale Staatspartij De Vrijheidsbond, Liberal State Party—The Freedom Union, LSVB), put it in 1936: ‘One should oppose dictatorship by improving democracy’.73

Moral Democracy Disciplined democracy was the most dominant conception of democracy from the late 1920s onwards. It was supported by the conservative majority, consisting of around 60% of the voters and their affiliated parties and media. Nevertheless, this notion did encounter competition. For one, parliamentary democracy was still being invoked. In addition, starting around 1933, a considerable progressive minority invested democracy with yet another new meaning. Members of the VDB, SDAP, and EdD stressed that democracy had more to offer than a state form. Democracy, they now argued, was a way of life based on liberty and— to a lesser extent—equality. The government should uphold the rule of law, while citizens were obliged to treat their fellow citizens with respect. The EdD-journal stressed the ethical dimension of democracy in 1935: ‘Democracy is not just a system, it is a principle, a deeply-rooted way of life’.74 One of the members of EdD, the Liberal Democratic legal scholar


Abraham Carel Josephus Jitta, called this notion a ‘material democracy’.75 However, due to the emphasis on democratic virtues, the term moral democracy would be more apt. The VDB, SDAP, and EdD tried to protect their moral democracy against two distinct threats. On the one hand, they remained apprehensive of governmental repression, which might undermine their idea of democracy. Since they regarded civil rights as key democratic principles, they abhorred laws that limited liberties. The journal of EdD warned: ‘we would be on a very slippery slope, if we were to prohibit every unwise or irresponsible act that could bother someone else […]’.76 Social Democrats agreed, especially because they feared that the government measures might affect their supporters. They called it undemocratic to ban SDAP-members from certain branches of the civil service. In addition, the Social Democratic newspaper Het Volk disagreed with the censorship that radio-broadcasters, filmmakers, actors, and publicists encountered. In all of these cases, Social Democrats argued that a democratic government should never indiscriminately restrict freedom.77 Albarda voiced this argument in 1933, when he criticised a bill that would curtail the right to organise demonstrations: Democracy entails more than that the Dutch people attends the polling booths once every four years. It also entails that the people can use petitions and marches to express its wishes, desires, hopes, and ideals. If one prohibits this, one would erode important democratic rights, in a time in which one should defend democracy with more vigour than ever.78

On the other hand, the VDB, SDAP, and EdD defended moral democracy against what they called ‘anti-democrats’.79 By that, they meant all supporters of totalitarian ideologies who explicitly opposed the principles of moral democracy. The VDB, SDAP, and EdD were especially worried by the NSB in the mid-1930s, but they also labelled Communism as ‘anti-democratic’. They feared that totalitarian movements might abuse their democratic rights to establish a dictatorship. That would not only spell the end of parliamentary politics, but also of all civil rights and civilised life. In response, the VDB, SDAP, and EdD decided to defend moral democracy from its bald-faced enemies. In the words of MP Betsy Bakker-Nort (VDB) in 1938: ‘[…] we cannot allow democracy to be murdered by its adversaries’.80



The question remained what the VDB, SDAP, and EdD could do against the ‘anti-democrats’. They proposed other measures for com­ batting extremism than the authorities. They used positive reinforcement, rather than repression. They tried to instil the masses with democratic virtues, in order to keep them out of the clutches of ‘anti-democrats’.81 To this end, the VDB, SDAP, and EdD relied on books, pamphlets, meetings, and evening courses for the unemployed.82 They changed tactics when they feared that citizenship education might not be sufficient. After a while, they wanted to add repressive measures to the democratic arsenal. During the SDAP-conference of 1934, Albarda noted this shift in the views of his fellow party members towards repression: I feel that this opinion is shifting. It would be political suicide to give democratic rights to those, who threaten democracy by day and night. […] Now that the fate of democracy hangs in the balance, we must consider whether it is necessary to limit the liberties of democracy’s mortal enemies, for democracy’s sake.83

However, the VDB, SDAP, and EdD only agreed to repressive measures under one condition: they should exclusively target totalitarian ‘anti-democrats’. That way, ‘bona fide democrats’ (Social Democrats included) would be safe from persecution. The VDB, SDAP, and EdD were willing to sacrifice the principle of equality before the law, in order to protect the sacred freedom. ‘In a democratic state’, Albarda argued in 1936, ‘democratic and anti-democratic movements do not deserve equal rights’.84 The EdD-journal agreed: ‘We cannot continue to take democratic measures against anti-democrats, because they abuse democracy to set aside both democracy and its constitutional rights’.85 The VDB, SDAP, and EdD adopted the notion of moral democracy in reaction to their political opponents. Confronted with the National Socialist and Communist threat, they tried to prevent dictatorship. The rise of totalitarian groups made them believe that the parliamentary system was an insufficient weapon because it could allow ‘anti-democrats’ to abuse democratic rights. The demise of the Weimar Republic in 1933 served as proof. The VDB, SDAP, and EdD embraced moral democracy, because it legitimised their attempts to deny these ‘anti-democrats’ their right to equal treatment. In their eyes, that was the only way to defend liberty, which was the essence of any democratic civilisation.86


At the same time, the progressive support for moral democracy was a response to the conservative defence of disciplined democracy. After all, conservatives were willing to curtail the liberties of all citizens, in order to maintain law and order. They refused to focus on movements with a totalitarian ideology, because conservatives attributed more value to the principle of equality before the law than to freedom. In that sense, disciplined democracy and moral democracy were opposites. Clearly, interwar anti-extremists defended different notions of democracy.

Conclusion During the interwar period, Dutch politicians, publicists, and activists all worried about the extremist threat, and consequently discussed which precautionary measures should be taken. Their attempts to defend democracy caused heated debates about the meaning of democracy. Firstly, they could not agree which democratic institutions and values had to be protected. Secondly, they aimed at different targets, ranging from anti-democratic ideologues to unruly agitators. Thirdly, they discussed the (un)democratic nature of the anti-extremist measures. In short, various self-proclaimed democrats defended contrasting notions of democracy, against different threats, using different weapons. Parliamentary democracy thus had multiple defenders. Until the late 1920s, conservatives protected the representative system, because they hoped it would provide a safeguard against revolutionaries. At that time, Liberal Democrats and Social Democrats defended essentially the same notion of democracy, but they used different arguments. According to them, the principle of representation was not only threatened by anti-parliamentary movements, but also by governmental limitations of parliamentary autonomy. Communists protested even more vocally that any limits to the right to be represented would undermine the parliamentary system, or ‘bourgeois democracy’. At the same time, they championed an alternative notion of democracy. According to them, revolution was not a threat, but rather a crucial step towards a democratised society, which they called ‘proletarian democracy’. This shows that they adopted a dual strategy in order to delegitimise the anticommunist measures, simultaneously defending and attacking the notion of parliamentary democracy. Starting in the late 1920s, conservatives also called for a reform of democracy. They no longer trusted that parliamentary democracy would be able to stem the rising tide of extremism, and



put their faith into disciplined democracy as a means to safeguard the authorities against all unruly movements, regardless of their ideology. From 1933 onwards, Liberal Democrats and Social Democrats suggested another way to make democracy more resilient. Moral democracy was a democratic way of life, which revolved around civil rights (above all freedom). It had to be defended against both repressive authorities and so-called totalitarian ‘anti-democrats’. Clearly, there were multiple ways of defending democracy. The debate about democracy was informed by the different definitions of the threats it was facing. Fearing either extremist movements or repressive measures, various self-proclaimed democrats reconsidered which form of democracy they held dear, and consequently which groups they deemed undemocratic. Moreover, they discussed the reforms they deemed both necessary and legitimate, in order to uphold democracy. Those who fought extremist movements, felt forced to explain which democratic values, institutions, and practices they were trying to preserve. They also claimed that democracy needed to be adapted to the circumstances, in order to be able to withstand the pressure of its adversaries. In other words, these anti-extremists both tested and extended the limits of democracy. In response, some argued that they crossed a line, and undermined democracy itself. These critics formulated their opposing interpretation of democracy, by explaining which unassailable democratic principles should never be tampered with. Advocates of repressive measures retorted that their fight against extremism was in fact democratic. All Dutch self-proclaimed democrats defended their own conception of democracy, which they legitimised by warning against a specific Doomsday scenario. This chapter thus corroborates the underlying argument of this volume. Democracy is by its very nature a contested concept, but this becomes especially clear when it is under threat. In times of crisis, like the interwar period, a wide range of people redefine their concept of democracy. As a result of the confrontation between democrats and their adversaries, both groups felt obliged to explicitly (re)formulate what democracy meant to them. It should be stressed that this pitted democrats against democrats. They did not only react to the (perceived) extremist threat, but also to the notions of democracy they disagreed with. Therefore, the Dutch struggle over democracy cannot be reduced to a battle between its adversaries and defenders. Various self-proclaimed democrats also came into conflict with each other, because they tried to


preserve different forms of democracy. Therefore, scholars should put less emphasis on the crisis that democracy endured during the 1920s and 1930s. Instead, they should stress that this was a time in which democracy was being redefined. The question remains whether this conclusion applies to other countries as well. Based on the scant literature, this does indeed seem to be the case. Already in 1938 Loewenstein observed that the fight against extremism all over Europe went hand in hand with a debate about the meaning of democracy.87 This seems to be confirmed by recent studies of democracies that prevailed during the interwar period, including Great Britain and several Scandinavian countries.88 Even in democracies that succumbed to Fascism, such as Germany and Spain, anti-fascists mused about the best way to shape democracy, despite the urgency of their situation.89 To find out whether various defenders of democracy also clashed in other countries and periods, more comparative research is needed. Hopefully, this exposé has provided a starting point for that research.


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Nederlandse beweging voor Eenheid door Democratie (1935–1940)’ (MA thesis, University of Groningen). 27.  J. Gijsenbergh, ‘Contrasting Complaints about Parliamentarism in Western-Europe (1918–1939)’, in K. Palonen and J.M. Rosales (eds.), Parliamentarism and Democratic Theory: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (London 2015), 117–139, there 126–128. 28. P. Brijnen, Democratie. Wat wij er níet en wat wij er wél onder verstaan (Utrecht 1940), 7; H. Kaal, ‘Constructing a Socialist Constituency. The Social-Democratic Language of Politics in the Netherlands, c. 1890– 1950’, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 53 (2013), 175–201, there 184–185; W. de Jong, Van wie is de burger? Omstreden democratie in Nederland, 1945–1985 (Enschede 2014), 47–51. 29. F. van Vree, De Nederlandse pers en Duitsland, 1930–1939. Een studie over de vorming van de publieke opinie (Groningen 1989), 31–33; H. Wijfjes, Journalistiek in Nederland, 1850–2000. Beroep, cultuur en organisatie (Amsterdam 2004), 173–177. 30. H. Kaal, ‘Verderfelijk vermaak. Het film-, toneel en dansbeleid van de burgemeesters van Amsterdam, Rotterdam en Den Haag tijdens de roaring twenties’, Holland. Regionaal-historisch tijdschrift 37:4 (2005), 259– 277, there 259–261, 264–268; Th. van Oort, ‘Christ Is Coming to the Elite Cinema: Film Exhibition in the Catholic South of the Netherlands, 1910s and 1920s’, in D. Biltereyst, R. Maltby, and Ph. Meers (eds.), Cinema, Audiences and Modernity: New Perspectives on European Cinema History (New York 2012), 50–63, there 59. 31. H. Wijfjes, Radio onder restrictie. Overheidsbemoeiing met radioprogramma’s, 1919–1941 (Amsterdam 1988); F. van Vree, ‘Media, Morality and Popular Culture: The Case of the Netherlands, 1870–1965’, in B. Moore and H. van Nierop (eds.), Twentieth-Century Mass Society in Britain and the Netherlands (Oxford 2006), Twentieth-Century Mass Society in Britain and the Netherlands, 79–92, there 83–84; D. Biltereyst and R. Vande Winkel (eds.), Silencing Cinema: Film Censorship Around the World (New York 2013), 4–6. 32. B.J.J. Rulof, ‘Selling Social Democracy in the Netherlands: Activism and Its Sources of Inspiration During the 1930s’, Contemporary European History 18:4 (2009), 475–497. 33. K.M. Mennen, Selbstinszenierung im öffentlichen Raum. Katholische und sozialdemokratische Repertoirediskussionen um 1930 (Münster 2013); See also Chapter 4 in this volume: Mennen, ‘Nazis, violence and the state’. 34. H. Kaal, ‘Democratie onder druk. De reglementering van politieke manifestaties in Amsterdam tijdens het interbellum’, Low Countries Historical Review 124:2 (2009), 186–208; H. Kaal, ‘Politik im öffentlichem Raum. Strassenpolitik und der Schutz der politischen Institutionen in Den

94  J. GIJSENBERGH Haag’, in A. Biefang and M. Leenders (eds.), Das ideale Parlament. Erich Salomon als Fotografin Berlin und Den Haag, 1928–1940 (Düsseldorf 2014), 269–290. 35. P. Romijn, ‘Politiek geweld op straat. Succes en falen van de Weerafdeling van de NSB’, in C. Kristel e.a. (eds.), Met alle geweld. Botsingen en tegenstellingen in burgerlijk Nederland (Amsterdam 2003), 94–115; K.M. Mennen, ‘Necessary Evil, Last Resort or Totally Unacceptable? Social Democratic Discussions on Political Violence in Germany and the Netherlands’, in Ch. Millington and K. Passmore (eds.), Political Violence and Democracy in Western Europe, 1918–1940 (Basingstoke 2015), 97–111, there 97–98. 36. J.R. McSpadden, ‘Spel, spelbrekers en parlementaire cultuur. Het informele leven van de Nederlandse Kamer gedurende het interbellum’ (MA thesis Dutch Studies, University Leiden 2010), 15. 37. P. Bootsma and C. Hoetink, Over lijken. Ontoelaatbaar taalgebruik in de Tweede Kamer (Amsterdam 2006). 38. J.A.O. Eskes, Repressie van politieke bewegingen in Nederland. Een juridisch-historische studie over het Nederlandse publiekrechtelijke verenigingsrecht gedurende het tijdvak 1798–1988 (Zwolle 1988). 39. J. Gijsenbergh, ‘Crisis of Democracy or Creative Reform? Dutch Debates on the Repression of Parliamentary Representatives and Political Parties, 1933–1940’, in J. Gijsenbergh e.a. (eds.), Creative Crises of Democracy (Brussels 2012), 237–268, there 260–264; B. Rijpkema, R. Cuperus and P. Cliteur, Wat te doen met antidemocratische partijen? De oratie van George van den Bergh uit 1936 (Amsterdam 2014), 21–23, 123–152. 40. Gijsenbergh, ‘Crisis of Democracy or Creative Reform?’, 241–242. 41. Minutes of the Meeting of the Amsterdam City Council, cited in Het Volk, 21 February 1918. 42. Het Centrum, 19 June 1920. See also: Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag, 42–43, 149–150. 43.  J. van de Giessen, De opkomst van het woord democratie als leuze in Nederland (Den Haag 1948), 60; H. Spoormans, ‘Met uitsluiting van voorregt’. Het ontstaan van liberale democratie in Nederland (Amsterdam 1988), 190–197, 237, 272–278; G. van Klinken, Actieve Burgers – Nederlanders en hun politieke partijen, 1870–1918 (Amsterdam 2003); I.M. Tames, ‘Voorbereid op nieuwe tijden. De Nederlandse discussie over “de ware democratie” tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog’, in I.M. Tames and M. de Keizer (eds.), Modernisme en massacultuur in Nederland 1914–1940 (Zutphen 2004), 47–65, there 47; R. Aerts, ‘Civil Society or Democracy? A Dutch Paradox’, BMGN 125:2–3 (2010), 209–236, there 231. 44. Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1918–1919, 1757–1758.



45. P.J. Knegtmans, Socialisme en democratie. De SDAP tussen klasse en natie (1929–1939) (Hilversum 1989), 145; D. Orlow, ‘The Paradoxes of Success. Dutch Social Democracy and Its Historiography’, Low Countries Historical Review 110 (1995), 40–51, there 40–43; G. Voerman, ‘De stand van de geschiedschrijving van de Nederlandse politieke partijen’, Low Countries Historical Review 120 (2005), 226–269, there 235, 237–238; J. Gijsenbergh, ‘The Semantics of “Democracy” in Social Democratic Parties. Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, 1917–1939’, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 53 (2013), 147–173, there 155–158. The moderation of the SDAP was part of a wider European trend: S. Berger, ‘European Labour Movements and the European Working Class in Comparative Perspective’, in S. Berger and D. Broughton (eds.), The Force of Labour: The Western Labour Movement and the Working Class in the Twentieth Century (Oxford 1995), 245–261, there 248–249; S. Berman, The Social Democratic Moment: Ideas and Politics in the Making of Interwar Europe (London 1998), 4; S. Berger, ‘Democracy and Social Democracy’, European History Quarterly 32:1 (2002), 13–37, there 26; A. Friberg, ‘Towards Total Democracy? The Concept of Democracy within the Swedish Social Democratic Party, 1921–1939’, in Gijsenbergh e.a. (eds.), Creative Crises of Democracy, 215–236. 46. Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1933–1934, 1224. 47. Bootsma and Hoetink, Over lijken, 189. 48. Minutes of Parliament (HTK), 1920–1921, Bijlage 484, nr. 4, 3. 49.  C.W. van der Pot, ‘De acht ontwerpen tot grondwetsherziening’, Nederlands Juristen Blad (1936), 673–684, there 679. 50. Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1936–1937, 1416. 51. Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1918–1919, 1754. For more examples, see Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1933–1934, 1221, 1827–1828; Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1935–1936, 1949. 52. Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1918–1919, 1754. 53. K. Marx, Der achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte, 3rd revised edition (Berlin 1965); G. Verrips, Dwars, Duivels en Dromend. De geschiedenis van de CPN, 1938–1991 (Amsterdam 1995), 3–4; G. Voerman, De meridiaan van Moskou. De CPN en de Communistische internationale, 1919–1930 (Groningen 2001); Berger, ‘Democracy and Social Democracy’, 18–19; R. Kowalski, European Communism: 1848– 1991 (New York 2006), 26–29; P. Kolár, ‘The Spectre Is Back: New Perspectives on the Rise and Decline of European Communism’, Journal of Contemporary History 45:1 (2010), 197–209, there 199. 54. G. Gendzel, ‘Political Culture: Genealogy of a Concept’, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 28:2 (1997), 225–250, there 244–245; P. Readman, ‘Speeches’, in M. Dobson and B. Ziemann (eds.), Reading


Primary Sources: The Interpretation of Texts from Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century History (London 2009), 209–225, there 218. 55.  De Tribune, 28 January 1929. 56. De Tribune, 21 June 1934. See also: A.A. de Jonge, Het communisme in Nederland. De geschiedenis van een politieke partij (Den Haag 1972), 54–55, 63–64. 57. Buchanan, ‘Anti-Fascism and Democracy in the 1930s’ 52–53; Copsey, ‘Preface’, xix; P. Lucardie, Democratic Extremism in Theory and Practice: All Power to the People (Abingdon 2014). 58. Cf. Eskes, Repressie van politieke bewegingen in Nederland, 218; D. Engelen, ‘De stille kracht van sectie stiekem. De rapportage van de Centrale Inlichtingendienst’, in S.C. Derks (ed.), Nederland in de wereld. Opstellen bij honderd jaar Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën (Amsterdam 2002), 381–393, there 383. 59. Minutes of Committee-De Wilde (tasked to draft amendments of the constitution), April 3, 1936. National Archives (NA), The Hague. Collection Ministry of Internal Affairs (2.04.57), inventory number 1009, 13. Other examples can be found in HTK 1936–1937, 481, 1430, 1473. 60. Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1936–1937, 281. 61. Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag, 131–132, 150–151, 165–167; C.W. Hijzen, ‘The Perpetual Adversary. How Dutch Security Services Perceived Communism (1918–1989)’, Historical Social Research 38:1 (2013), 166–199, there 172–180, 185–186. 62. Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1933–1934, 288. 63. Monthly report of the Security service, nr. 6 of 1936, late December 1936. Security service Archives, Document Overzicht 1936/06, 1–6, 12–14, 19, http://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/rapportencentraleinlichtingendienst (accessed 19 June 2017). See also: K. Vossen, ‘Nederland en de Spaanse burgeroorlog’, in H. Hermans, A. Boon and O.B. Cid (eds.), Een Nederlandse blik op de Spaanse Burgeroorlog. Una mirada holandesa sobre la Guerra Civil española (Utrecht 2006), 21–33, there 25; Gijsenbergh, ‘Divided fronts’, 71, 77. 64. I.W. Schermerhorn, Democratie en geestelijke herbewapening. Bewerking van de rede, uitgesproken te Utrecht, op zaterdag 29 april 1939 (Utrecht 1940), 9. See also: Aerts, ‘Civil Society or Democracy?’, 209–236, there 231; Gijsenbergh, ‘Contrasting Complaints’, 130–132. 65. Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag 93, 151–152, 164. 66.  J. Schouten, ‘Ons fundament en onze kracht’, in J. Kok (ed.), Geen vergeefs woord. Verzamelde deputaten-redevoeringen (Kampen 1951), 322–344, there 332. 67.  De vrijheid. Staatkundig weekblad tevens bevattende de officieele mededeelingen van de Liberale Staatspartij, De Vrijheidsbond, cited in Ik Zal



Handhaven. Orgaan van den Nationalen Bond tegen Revolutie 9/10 (1930), 69; Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1932–1933, 1968–1969. 68. K. Loewenstein, ‘Legislative’, 725–774, there 774. For more information on Karl Loewenstein, see: R. van Ooyen, ‘Ein moderner Klassiker der Verfassungstheorie: Karl Löwenstein. Eine Skizze’, Zeitschrift für Politik 51:1 (2004), 68–86, there 73; M. Lang, Karl Löwenstein. Transatlantischer Denker der Politik (Stuttgart 2007). 69. C.M.J.F. Goseling, Gezonde volksinvloed en sterk overheidsgezag. Staatkundige democratie (Den Haag 1933), 4–5. 70. Ibidem, 3. 71. M. Föllmer, ‘Führung und Demokratie in Europa’, in Müller and Tooze (eds.), Normalität und Fragilität, 177–197, there 178; Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag 26, 104, 121–125, 133, 140, 158–159, 205, 217, 231. 72. ‘Gedachtewisseling betreffende de politieke immuniteit in de rechtskundige afdeeling op 2 juni 1934’, Annalen (1934), 109–147, there 140; Het Vaderland, 23 May 1936 (evening edition). 73. Minutes of Parliament (HTK), 1936–1937, 299. 74.  Eenheid door Democratie, 1 November 1935. See also: R. Hartmans, Vijandige broeders? De Nederlandse sociaal-democratie en het nationaalsocialisme, 1922–1940 (Amsterdam 2012), 207; Gijsenbergh, ‘The Semantics of “Democracy”’, 158–162; Mennen, ‘Nazis, Violence and the State’. 75. De Telegraaf, 15 oktober 1936; A.C. Josephus Jitta, Het wezen der democratie (Leiden 1938), 10–12, 30–32; Th. Toebosch, Uitverkoren zondebokken. Een familiegeschiedenis (Amsterdam 2010), 220–330. 76.  Eenheid door Democratie, 25 februari 1939. See also: H. Faber, Naar wijder horizon. Over de ziekten van deze tijd en hun genezing door een vernieuwde democratie (Utrecht 1938), 186–187. 77. Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag, 104–108, 141, 160, 163, 168, 216– 217, 220. 78. Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1933, 335. 79.  Eenheid door Democratie, 9 April 1938. 80. Minutes of Parliament (HTK) 1938–1939, 339. 81. J. in ’t Veld, ‘De democratische staat en de niet-democratische partijen’, Socialistische Gids (1938), 584–595, there 595. 82. Eenheid door Democratie, 12 February 1938; P. Brijnen, Democratie. Wat wij er níet en wat wij er wél onder verstaan (Utrecht 1940), 7; L. Hartveld, F. de Jong Edz, and D. Kuperus, De Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale AJC. 1918–1940/1945–1959 (Amsterdam 1982), 140; H. Kaal, ‘Constructing a Socialist Constituency. The Social-Democratic Language of Politics in the Netherlands, c. 1890–1950’, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 53 (2013), 175–201, there 184–185; W. de Jong, Van wie is de burger? Omstreden democratie in Nederland, 1945–1985 (Enschede 2014), 47–51.

98  J. GIJSENBERGH 83.  Verslag van het veertigste congres der Sociaal-Democratische Arbeiderspartij in Nederland, gehouden op zaterdag 31 maart, zondag 1 en maandag 2 april 1934 (Amsterdam 1934), 20. 84. Minutes of Committee-De Wilde, April 3, 1936. NA, Collection Ministry of Internal Affairs (2.04.57), inventory number 1009, 3. 85.  Eenheid door Democratie, 9 April 1938. See also: G. van den Bergh, De democratische staat en de niet-democratische partijen (Amsterdam 1936); Mennen, Selbstinszenierung im öffentlichen Raum, 275; Gijsenbergh, Democratie en gezag 105, 126–128, 130, 141, 209. 86. H. te Velde, ‘De domesticatie van democratie in Nederland. Democratie als strijdbegrip van de negentiende eeuw tot 1945’, Low Countries Historical Review 127:2 (2012), 3–27, there 19–23. 87. Loewenstein, ‘Legislative Control’, 774. 88.  K. Ewing and C.A. Gearty, The Struggle for Civil Liberties: Political Freedom and the Rule of Law in Britain, 1914–1945 (Oxford 2000); G. Blaney (ed.), Policing Interwar Europe: Continuity, Change and Crisis, 1918–40 (Basingstoke 2007); Gijsenbergh, ‘The Semantics of “Democracy”’, 165–171; I. Channing, The Police and the Expansion of Public Order Law in Britain, 1829–2014 (Abingdon 2015), 6; J. Kurünmaki and J. Strang (eds.), Rhetorics of Nordic Democracy (Helsinki 2016). 89. Buchanan, ‘Anti-Fascism and Democracy in the 1930s’; S. Vogt, ‘Strange Encounters. Social Democracy and Radical Nationalism in Weimar Germany’, Journal of Contemporary History 45 (2010), 253–282; G. Blaney, ‘Defending Democracy: The Politics of Public Order in Republican Spain, 1931–1936’, Ayer 88:4 (2012), 99–123. See also Kristian Mennen’s chapter in this volume.


New Forms of Mobilisation in the Age of Civil Resistance, 1960–1997

In both the American and the European case, the struggles over the meaning and value of democracy had come to define the concept in ways that would last until the 1960s. In the US, African Americans, as well as Asians remained largely excluded from political participation, while in Europe, the experience with fascism ensured that the established forms of democracy became fixed. These positions were only challenged in the 1960s and 1970s essentially on grounds of a lack of democratic representation. The articles in this second part look at the democratic legitimisation of nominally democratic societies and those challenging them on basis of the same democratic norms these states claimed to embody in the second half of the twentieth century. Democracies were well-established, but various new ‘adversaries’ of these democracies succeeded in initiating fundamental debates about the institutional and conceptual form of democracy, especially during the détente period in the Cold War. (West) Germany, whose democratic collapse in the interbellum served as a moral touchstone for many of these debates, saw its post-war democratic order challenged twice in this period, both times from the left. The most formidable of these was the violent attacks by the Rote Armee Fraktion and similar groups beginning in the late 1960s. They often claimed to represent a purer form of the same democratic ideals enshrined in West-Germany’s liberal democracy, but their use of violence, especially against human life, eroded what potentially might have been a much broader base of popular support. A new leftist challenge to the democratic process in the nineties, in response to extremely unpopular nuclear


transports, avoided this mistake. Although the protests clearly crossed the line into civil disobedience and caused destruction of (state) property, no violence against people was seriously considered. As a result, these challenges to the formal, democratic decision-making process retained widespread support, not just among the electorate, but also among representatives in the national parliament. In Northern Ireland in the 1970s and Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s, ethnic distinctions played a greater role than political ideology. Catholics in Northern Ireland and Kurds and Islamists in Turkey were structurally disenfranchised by the existing democratic institutions. All these groups sought to develop a strategy of resistance that might effectively challenge entrenched state power, while at the same time retaining a broad base of popular support. In Northern Ireland, as with the RAF in Germany, a turn to violence limited popular support for the Irish Republican Army. Although undermining some of their claim to democratic legitimacy, their campaign ended only after full equality was established and Irish nationalists were given a seat at the government table. In Turkey, the Islamic movement ultimately successfully challenged secular forces for control of the state despite continuous attempts at their marginalisation, but after having used the institutions of democracy to gain power, it increasingly smothered opposition voices once in power. Not only oppositional groups struggled to claim a mantel of democratic legitimacy. Nominally democratic states also sought to strike a balance between toleration of opposition that their democratic claims required, with the felt need to defend the existing institutions on which their power depended. Security services struggled to separate what constituted legitimate democratic opposition from what could be considered treasonous or violent anti-democratic forces that threatened the very foundations of the existing order. Their ‘enemy images’ implicitly also defined what the existing elites thought of as genuine ‘democratic’.

Terrorist Constituencies in Terrorist– State Conflicts: The Debate on the Use of Violence Among Irish Nationalists and West Germany’s Radical Left in the Mid-1970s Joost Augusteijn and Jacco Pekelder

Media reports following the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015 and the Brussels bombings of 22 March 2016 gave significant attention to the sympathisers and supporters of the actual perpetrators. The terrorists’ connection to Molenbeek, a troubled neighbourhood in Brussels, combined with the inability of the police to locate one of the suspects who was hiding there, provoked journalists to write about the terrorists’ ‘societal surround’1: people who have a certain social connection to the J. Augusteijn (*)  Department of History, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands e-mail: [email protected] J. Pekelder  Department of History and Art History, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_5



perpetrators and who in this case had supposedly enabled the atrocities.2 Several Dutch newspapers, for instance, informed their readers about the support provided by the social ‘layers’ around the jihadists, ‘if only so as they might find a place to stay’.3 This degree of attention to the environment that the terrorists launched their attacks from, echoed the response to similar cases such as the London bombings of 7 July 2005. At that time, the authorities and the media had quickly directed their gaze to the Beeston suburb of Leeds in Northern England, home of three of the four perpetrators of this first act of ‘home-grown’ Islamist terrorism on European soil.4 And when, thirty years before, in the 1970s, West Germany was hit by terrorist acts of the left-wing Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion aka Baader Meinhof Group), media and politicians blamed the entire radical left from which the RAF had emerged. In total disregard for their heterogeneous character and internecine political debates, these surroundings were narrowly defined as the Umfeld (environment) of the terrorists and many of the people involved were accused of being RAF sympathisers. The German state institutions reacted to this association between terrorists and society by weaving a wide and rather indiscriminate web of surveillance that in principal covered all the fringe parties, clubs, communes, underground media, and other initiatives of the radical left.5 As such this is not a surprising response. In the process of tracking terrorists down and preventing further attacks, it has been the standard procedure of police and security services to chart their interactions with family members, friends, and associates. Much like they routinely survey the environment of for instance drug dealers and other ‘ordinary’ criminals. What is surprising, however, is that historically journalists, politicians, and indeed academics have always paid limited attention to the environment of terrorists despite it seemingly playing such a central role. Their focus has generally been on the actual terrorists: their individual trajectory towards political violence, the small-group dynamics of terrorist cells and their interactions with security institutions of the states they fight. This is detrimental to our understanding of the way terrorists function in a democratic society. Through their methods and aims, terrorists challenge the existing democratic order and its underpinning assumptions. Implicitly, through their actions, as well as explicitly, through their justification, they posit certain concepts of legitimacy and justice as foundations of an alternative system of popular or people’s power. Thus, although their use or threat of violence sets them apart from purely political opposition, they are just one specific category of the ‘adversaries



of democracy’ this volume discusses. Similar to other such groupings, they are engaged in a form of communication (partly violent) in which both the terrorists and the state try to convince the rest of society, as a whole and in its various social, political, cultural, and ethnic segments, of the validity of their contrasting concepts of democracy. It will be shown here that in that process the definition of democracy also becomes reformulated and redefined. This chapter will focus on that section of society, that can be termed the ‘terrorist constituency’: those who share certain views about the ideal structure of society with a terrorist organisation and who are potentially receptive to its ideology and the messages implicit in its acts. The terrorists consider them their first audience, a rich resource of practical and moral support there to be exploited. The state and—as demonstrated above—the media instead often consider them simply as a threat to be contained. It is precisely the struggle between terrorists and the state over this first audience that is very helpful in understanding the dilemmas democracies face when confronted with fundamental opposition. Moreover, as this chapter maintains, coming to terms with the role of terrorist constituencies in terrorist–state conflicts is also essential to explain the dynamics surrounding terrorism in open democratic societies.

Terrorist Constituencies Although this chapter intends to explore new avenues of analysis, there are other researchers who have dealt with the environments of terrorists before. In a groundbreaking comparative study of terrorist–state confrontations in 1970s’ Italy and West Germany, published in 1995, the Italian sociologist Donatella Della Porta showed how organised violence was rooted in broader, generally non-violent social movements.6 A few years later, her German colleague Peter Waldmann was one of the first to point out that terrorists, through their declarations and acts of violence, not only aim to spread anxiety and terror, but also strive to garner sympathy from certain groups for whom they claim to be fighting and with whom they identify.7 In a similar vein, Canadian criminologist Ronald Crelinsten stressed the importance of not just looking at the terrorist group, but also ‘at those people, groups, communities or institutions – whether subnational, national, international or transnational – with which the group interacts’.8 Only by doing this, Irish terrorism expert Louise Richardson has argued, can we take into account that terrorists


need people around them that not just provide new recruits and deliver all sorts of practical assistance but also function as a crucial resource of justifications for their struggle.9 Without what German philologist Jan Phillip Reemtsma called ‘a nod of recognition’ and respect from this societal surround, they will find it hard to sustain their efforts.10 Stefan Malthaner, a German sociologist collaborating with Waldmann, took this a step further by arguing that terrorists derive normative standards from this group and consider its judgement of their behaviour relevant for their thinking and practice.11 Several terrorism researchers have thus tried to raise awareness of the fact that terrorists ‘have constituencies, within which they seek both legitimacy and control’.12 Nevertheless, many questions as to membership of these constituencies, the roles they play during terrorism crises and the ways they experience them remain unanswered. In a joint effort to conceptualise the ‘supportive environment of terrorist groups’, Waldmann and Malthaner have pleaded for a narrow focus on those who are in direct contact with the perpetrators, i.e. their immediate comrades, helpers, friends and sometimes family members. They call this environment the ‘radical milieu’.13 Both sociologists are not blind to the role played by the terrorists’ ‘broader social and political movements or ethnic/religious communities from which they emerge’, but in their research they choose to focus on the direct ‘relationships and interactions between armed groups and [their] social environment’. Moreover, they narrow this down to the ‘radical’ part, those who ‘approve or use violence’. In their eyes, violence is the radical milieu’s ‘constitutive and defining feature’.14 As a research strategy, focusing on the direct supportive environment has the advantage that it enables researchers to concentrate on a clearly defined population. However, it carries considerable disadvantages as well. By putting violence at the centre of the radical milieu Waldmann and Malthaner arbitrarily obscure other elements that might also reveal common identities and common enmities between terrorists and larger segments of society. They neglect the possibility that terrorists aim to win legitimacy in broad societal spheres on the basis of these commonalities. In the 1970s, the RAF for instance could always appeal to the experiences of alternative lifestyles and corresponding confrontations with state representatives shared by many West German youth. Although many of them had doubts about the armed struggle, they encouraged the terrorists to continue because their criticism of the West German



establishment (and the USA-led Western world) echoed much of what the RAF said in its declarations. Waldmann and Malthaner miss out on this important psychological factor that might help to explain why terrorists in the face of military defeat still often carry on their fight for many years. In theoretical terms, their narrow perspective on the environment as a resource of recruits and practical assistance comes at the price of downplaying the workings of the environment as a resource of justifications of the struggle. To come to a deeper understanding of the way terrorists function in a democratic society and affect the conceptions of democracy, the focus therefore has to be on a wider section of society, this chapter’s ‘terrorist constituency’, the potential supporters of a terrorist group. Although the term constituency, to refer to the wider societal surround of terrorist groups, has been loosely used before, it has not yet been operationalised. To overcome the drawbacks of earlier attempts we broaden the definition to include groups and individuals that have no direct connections to what is called the hardcore of a terrorist movement, but are nevertheless considered by the terrorists, by others, such as state authorities and the media, and potentially also by themselves to be the terrorists’ first audience. This calls for research strategies that remain open to the dynamic demarcation of the social boundaries involved. Using this perspective, we honour the fact that terrorists (or militants) usually are part of broader social movements. Terrorist groups remain part of the ‘social movement families’ from which they emerged. Even after they go underground they remain physically, emotionally, mentally, and ideologically bound to them. The constituency perspective enables us to grasp the processes that uphold and strengthen the idea of fighting a legitimate struggle as well as the mechanisms of practical support and recruitment, and puts terrorism into its historical, social, and political context.15 The way these constituencies act in and react to a terrorist–state conflict is the central topic of this chapter, as a way to explore how people respond when democratic institutions are sidelined as a means to achieve political objectives. Terrorist constituencies have so far generally been treated as a homogenous and somewhat inert mass.16 In our view, which is informed by the idea of the ‘movement family’, the constituency is, however, not an amorphous group which responds simply to stimuli from the outside. Instead, it consists of a broad array of groups and individuals and has an internal dynamic of social and political organisation and competition. The terrorist–state conflict may only be one of


a number of issues that determine a constituency’s internal dynamics. In other words, in order to understand the reactions within a certain ­radical community to the acts and statements of terrorists and the state, we have to study these internal dynamics.17 The constituency in this context is not an association of which one can become a registered member, but is a social construction, negotiated through ongoing public debate.18 In as far as researchers have studied constituencies, they have tried to overcome the challenge of these fluid boundaries by distinguishing types of constituency members on the basis of the measure of their support for the terrorists. This has often been visualised in models with three or more concentric circles around a small nucleus of actual terrorists.19 The problem with this approach is that it places the terrorists, and not the constituency, at the centre, thereby disregarding its role as an actor in its own right with its own internal dynamics. It is nevertheless helpful to distinguish categories of actors, taking into account their status within the constituency. In accordance to how social movement researchers often typecast categories of activists, this chapter will differentiate between three groups based on the role they take themselves in the discussions inspired by the terrorist– state confrontation: silent contributors, minor contributors, and leading voices. Silent contributors mostly act out their position by participating in demonstrations or functioning as the audience in the discussions. They thus profess their support or opposition without explicitly introducing their own arguments. Such public reaction to the attempts to impose a specific narrative by those involved is difficult to measure except in a quantitative manner by determining the number of people involved in protests. In contrast, minor contributors do articulate their opinion in an effort to influence the discussions. They are represented here by looking at letters to the editor in newspapers, chants during demonstrations, and interviews with ordinary people. Leading voices is our term for those figures who had authority within the constituency and who regularly intervened in its discussions through giving speeches or writing longer contributions in which they articulate their position. Through analysing the expressions of all people with these three roles, we aim to understand how they responded to terrorism crises. This can be traced by analysing the discussions within the constituency and focusing on two fundamental elements. The first relates to the question of whether members and groups within a constituency consider the terrorist



aims to be legitimate, i.e. in accordance with their political objectives, norms, and values. In a sense whether what happens is commensurate with their conception of democracy. The second relates to the question of whether they consider the terrorist strategy to be expedient, i.e. practical and opportune. This is an important distinction because as for instance most Irish nationalist would support the objective of a united independent Ireland, only a certain section of them would find it acceptable that violence would be used to obtain this objective. Support for both these elements fluctuate over time and therefore provide important measures of the potential of terrorist movements to survive. Although discussions within the terrorist constituency have an independent dynamic, they are of course largely informed by the actions and statements of the terrorists, on the one hand, and of government agencies, on the other. Therefore, the analysis of how terrorist constituencies position themselves in terrorism crises should begin with an account of the ways both the terrorists and the state framed their confrontation. How did these antagonists put forward their argument in speech and action? What concepts of democracy resounded therein and how were these related to their claim to play legitimate roles in the conflict. Moreover, it should be noted that both speech acts and other actions do not generally come to the constituency directly but are mediated by newspapers and various other media. The framing of these actions and statements in the media and the way both the terrorists and the state tried to influence this, therefore, should be an important separate ­element of analysis, to be studied before turning to the actual discussions in the constituency.20 To assess the role of the terrorist constituency this chapter presents two case studies, the first on the Irish nationalist community and the confrontation between the Provisional IRA and the British and Irish governments and the second on West Germany’s radical left and the confrontation between the Red Army Faction and the Federal Republic of Germany. These cases represent two distinctly different types of modern terrorism: the Provisional IRA belongs to the category of ‘ethnonationalist’ terrorism, the RAF to that of ‘social-revolutionary’ terrorism. This has important implications, because, as has been recently shown,21 ethnonationalist terrorists generally find it easier to become embedded in a larger community that transcends class divisions and shares a broad sense of identity and communal grievances (often against an outsider-enemy), whereas social-revolutionary terrorists are forced to build up networks


between dispersed pockets of society, based on bonds of social class or self-chosen counter-cultural or radical-political identities. There is a corresponding distinction in the counter-terrorist communication of state agencies in both cases. Moreover, the source material studied for both cases is affected by these differences: the Irish case allows for the use of general news media including those directly associated with the IRA, whereas the German case forces the historian to take a look at subcultural publications of the radical left and various ego-documents, which to some extent affects the comparative analysis of the terrorist constituency perspective presented here. One of the elements of the terrorist–state conflict in (Northern-) Ireland and West Germany that generated most discussion in society were the trials of terrorist suspects, in particular when hunger strikes were used as a political weapon. The treatment of prisoners potentially challenged the democratic legitimacy of the state and generated much debate. To focus this analysis, this chapter will therefore concentrate on a small number of such events in the early 1970s. To make the analysis more concrete it looks at the extent to which the terrorists and the government were effective in influencing the discussions by raising attention to their framing of events. The analysis of both cases is structured in the same way: first we look at the framing of the confrontation by the terrorists, the state, and the media, and after that we analyse the reactions by the three categories of constituency members mentioned above: silent contributors, minor contributors, and leading voices in the constituency. In the conclusion, the usefulness of taking constituencies as the central focus will be evaluated on the basis of this small-scale investigation as well as how notions of democracy become redefined in the conflict between democracies and violent adversaries.

The Republican Constituency of the Provisional IRA The campaign of the IRA, aiming to unite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland, which commenced in 1969, originated in a nonviolent protest movement striving to end the disadvantaged position Catholics held in Northern Ireland despite its formal democratic structures. This civil rights movement, formally established in 1967, was met by a violent reaction from Protestant loyalists resulting in growing communal violence. The lack of protection for catholic civilians from security forces allowed the IRA to position itself as a protective force. After communal



violence was brought under control, the IRA began an all-out campaign aimed at forcing Britain to disengage from Northern Ireland, leading to an increasingly violent conflict, in which hundreds of bombings and thousands of shooting incidents took place, killing 480 people at its peak in 1972 alone.22 Although slowly tapering off in intensity after that, the conflict only ended in 1998 with the political compromise embodied in the Good Friday Agreement. This study analyses the way the terrorist constituency in Ireland reacted in the early years of the conflict, to two influential court cases and concomitant hunger strikes, one in Northern Ireland and one in the Republic of Ireland. The analysis is complicated by the involvement of multiple actors on both sides. Although there are two or even three ‘states’ involved, if one includes Northern Ireland next to Britain and Ireland, the constituency that the Provisional IRA related to is essentially drawn from the entire island of Ireland, covering the territory of the state they aspire to. This approach can therefore be justified on the basis of taking the constituency as the starting point of this analysis. These cases represent two pivotal examples of changes in government policy towards the IRA, which generated a relatively large amount of public reaction and thus allow for an analysis of the responses of all parties involved. The first concerns the trial and hunger strike of leading Belfast Republicans William McKee and Francis Card which took place in Northern Ireland and began on 16 May 1971. This was particularly significant as the first high profile example of the new British state policy to imprison leading Republicans using the legal system. The second involves the trial of the then-Chief of Staff of the IRA, Sean MacStiofáin, which started in Dublin on 25 November 1972. The high public profile of MacStiofáin ensured a large public response crucial to the possibility of analysing the constituency’s reaction. Republican Framing Irish Republicans were keenly aware of the potential and importance of the constituency, as they made every effort to mobilise them by putting forward their interpretation of events. They did so through their own newspapers and by trying to get mainstream papers to pick up on their views. This could be through a press release or by organising small demonstrations. At the second remand hearing for William McKee and Francis Card who had been arrested in Northern Ireland, a dozen men


carrying placards which read ‘State repression’ protested outside the court building.23 One of the main elements of the Republican narrative became an injustice frame. Following what they considered to be very harsh sentences, they claimed these betrayed anti-Irish prejudices and hatred and were ‘similar to the shooting of the sepoys from the barrels of cannons because they too defied the Empire in defence of freedom’.24 The IRA’s political wing, Sinn Fein, even called upon the legal profession to protest vigorously against the attempt to subvert the cause of justice. People should ‘recoil in revulsion’, they argued, if the state could pick up any person while looking around for evidence to justify the arrest.25 In Sean MacStiofáin’s case, which took place in the Republic of Ireland, Republicans asserted that the arrest and trial had no legal basis but were initiated on behest of the British. Their own newspaper, Republican News, opened its front page with the headline ‘Lynch acts at Heath’s Orders’, arguing that the Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Jack Lynch had been instructed by the British prime minister Edward Heath: ‘Herod Heath has called for a head on a plate. Saoirse Lynch will tell him the victim is already imprisoned’.26 The newspaper even referred to the Taoiseach as a Quisling.27 This framing was directly connected to the attempt to mobilise support for their campaign among the entire nationalist constituency. In response to the events surrounding the court case in the Republic, Sinn Fein leader Daithi O Connaill optimistically argued: ‘We are going to bring this government down and we will not finish until we do so’.28 Nevertheless, the movement was aware of its limitations. Nationalist in Northern Ireland felt the consequences of the political conflict on a daily basis, and a large part of them supported the IRA. In the Republic, however, a majority supported the legitimacy of the drive for a united Ireland but very few would agree with the expediency of the use of physical force. Taking this on board, the imprisoned leader of the IRA had a message read out in which he called for peaceful protest in the South, essentially using its democratic structures, but to take the fight to the North, where they asserted democracy could not function as a consequence of the arbitrary boundary drawn through the Irish constituency.29 During the protest meeting, the IRA called for discipline and restraint, telling the protesters that ‘the government would love the media to be able to report that a crowd of hooligans and hoodlums came up from O’Connell Street [in Dublin] and desecrated a hospital’.30



State Framing The British and Irish governments were far less aware of the importance of keeping the terrorists’ constituency on their side. Within the context of widespread violence in Northern Ireland, the authorities hardly felt a need to react to a single court case, even if it concerned leading IRA men. This was somewhat different in southern Ireland, where the trial had a major impact. It was nevertheless difficult for the government to develop a sophisticated counter-narrative. The main element of their strategy was to highlight the threat the IRA posed to law and order. They did so primarily through the use of large-scale security measures surrounding the court cases and the associated protest meetings. MacStiofáin, who had gone on a hunger and thirst strike, was brought to the hospital after his conviction, which was protected like a fortress in anticipation of widespread protests; surrounded by 150 policemen, with another 600 soldiers kept in readiness.31 Considering the nationalist background of the major political parties in the state the Irish Government was in a difficult position. They took further measures, including the controversial sacking of the RTE Authority, which supervised the running of the public broadcasting service. The authority had allowed the broadcast of an interview with MacStiofáin, which had been the cause of his arrest. In a more covert manner, the government put out stories that the defendant was breaking his thirst strike by taking water, to counter the sympathy generated by the reports on his physical suffering. The government found it hard to counter the claim that the IRA was doing more to bring about a united Ireland than they were. Instead they focused on the expediency of the maintenance of the rule of law, which implicitly made the point the IRA was an illegitimate organisation. The Taoiseach argued that the defendant could not be released even if he was going to die on hunger strike: Nothing can be gained by continuing the hunger strike in an attempt to frustrate the course of justice. If a member of such an organisation, and especially a self-confessed leader, could secure his release from prison through resort to a hunger or thirst strike, the inevitable consequence would be that not only he but all his associates would be effectively above the law of the land and free to act as they choose and would be seen to be so. This is so for the obvious reason that other prisoners, now or in the future, need only adopt the same tactics to ensure that they, too, would

112  J. AUGUSTEIJN AND J. PEKELDER be released. Accordingly, the issue in the present case is nothing less than whether Parliament, Government, the courts and the law are all to surrender to an unlawful organisation.32

In an attempt to undermine the Republican’s democratic credentials, he further stated he was confident that even if the defendant died trouble would only come from the IRA, not from the people.33 Mediation To get the message across, both the IRA and the respective states were largely dependent on the media, which all put their own version of events out. To access debates within the terrorist constituency a cross section of newspapers which represent nationalist opinion of all shades has been used here, as well as some British newspapers to follow the reaction there. Although reporting quite neutrally on the arguments of the two sides, all papers put their own gloss over it. Sometimes simply by varying the amount of attention they gave to the issue, but also by giving their own reaction to the arguments presented. The southern government supporting Irish Press, for instance, ­ agreed that the sentence in the Northern case was ‘unexpectedly heavy’ and added that they detected a mood of dismay and despondency in Republican circles in the North but nevertheless expected a reaction from them.34 Because intensive discussions had taken place between the British and Irish governments, the Guardian gave credence to the Republican claim that the IRA leader had been arrested in the Republic as a result of British pressure: ‘Each move by the Irish Government has been followed by discussions with the British leaders, which has created in the minds of Irish Republicans the suspicion that, to say the least, actions and talks have somehow been connected’.35 They speculated on the public impact of his hunger strike. Many who would not normally sympathise with the IRA, the paper suspected, would be moved by a hunger strike.36 The fervently nationalist Irish local newspaper The Kerryman also picked up on the Republican narrative and criticised the positive reaction in English newspapers to the actions of the Irish government. This was portrayed as an attempt to keep control over the South and aid the British in doing the same in the North. It was rare, it argued, for the British press to be so positive about Ireland, particularly in support of legislation they would never accept in their own country: ‘But then in ultra-British terms, we were always just wogs anyway’.37



Similar interpretations were made in relation to government action. The Guardian argued that the arrest and an attendant minor wave of extraditions of IRA suspects to the North was nothing more than a PR exercise, to show the British government and the Unionists of Belfast that the Irish Government had done everything they could to ‘rid the Republic of the IRA menace and cooperate with the British’.38 It also warned against the emotional reaction by the Irish to the plight of a hunger striker. The position the man had ‘voluntarily placed himself [in] will arouse human pity. But it is not a cause for criticising Mr. Lynch’s government, which cannot allow the methods of a Gandhi to be used for the objectives of a Franco’.39 Silent Contributors At this level, there was no apparent public reaction to the case tried in Northern Ireland, probably due to the context of violence and tension that was a staple of everyday life. However, that did not mean there was no support for the IRA. The two defendants were apprehended after a short car chase. During the pursuit, they had called upon bystanders to block the road and stop the police. Some of them did that, and the police car was held up temporarily. The escape car was later found a few streets away, empty, with the doors open. When the police tried to investigate it, they were actually forced to withdraw by a threatening crowd.40 This relative silence stood in contrast to the trial of the IRA leader in Dublin which generated a large public response. Large swathes of the populace—not just active nationalists but also public bodies such as trade unions, sports clubs, and the Catholic Church—were apparently receptive to criticism of the government’s lack of action in relation to the creation of a united Ireland. After the arrest, there were many small-scale protests throughout the country, as well as a picket on the Irish embassy in London and the Bridewell police station in Dublin.41 The verdict itself generated a huge response. There were scuffles outside the courtroom and 7000 people protested outside the Mater Hospital in Dublin where the defendant was brought afterwards.42 The next day 2000 people, headed by masked men, marched through the rain in Dublin carrying a coffin draped in the tricolour with the inscription ‘Justice is dead’. The following days there were protests from trade union officials, the Socialist Workers Movement, the National Graves Association, and a branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), while some short strikes broke


out in various companies, and pickets were staged.43 Dockers and Ford plant employees in Cork, as well as hundreds of workers in Monaghan, walked out in protest, and in Tralee most businesses, including banks, were closed. The physical consequences of the hunger and thirst strike also generated sympathy among the population, as witnessed by demands for a release on humanitarian grounds. MacStiofáin was even visited in hospital by the sitting archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Dermot Ryan, and his predecessor, Dr. John Charles McQuaid.44 Although impressive, the scale of protest in Ireland was insufficient to bring the country to a standstill. Indicating that relatively large groups in the constituency went along with the Republican framing, but not to the extent they were willing to accept the absence of democratic legitimacy and bring down the government as Sinn Fein had called for. Interestingly, this case contrary to the one on Card and McKee also generated a public reaction in the North. On the night of his arrest, there were riots in (London-)Derry which lasted for more than two hours. After the sentencing ‘a crowd incensed by the arrest’ attacked the police, who responded by firing rubber bullets and CS tear gas grenades.45 Reaction to the hunger strike was mixed. In Belfast, there was very little public response as: ‘Martyrs appear out of fashion in the city … his behaviour, to many, appeared a needless sacrifice.46 There were more positive responses elsewhere. A hundred people went on hunger strike in Andersonstown and others picketed RUC stations.47 Minor Contributors Minor voices in the debate were plentiful but merely articulated the general feelings expressed in demonstrations generated by these cases. The arrests in Northern Ireland did not produce much public debate but it was reported that there was much talk in Republican areas that the security forces were carrying out a policy of virtual internment: arresting known suspects and holding them, thereby hoping to capture the ringleaders of the IRA.48 In the Dublin case there were many voices to be heard, including an immediate response after the verdict when shouts of ‘British traitor’ were directed at the judge from the public gallery. One man, accused him of fighting a war for the English, and threw a handful of coins.49 At the demonstrations outside, people simply chanted: ‘We want Sean out’ and a black coffin with ‘Justice is dead’ was again carried around. Outside Dublin resolutions were passed by trade unions and



GAA clubs, petitions signed and masses were said calling for his release.50 The papers reported that ‘Republicans in the North see the arrest as the betrayal of their cause by the authorities in the South, and many nationalists are convinced that the Dublin Government and police are working to the instructions of the British’.51 In the following days, numerous demonstrations and demands for MacStiofáin’s release were reported in and also outside Ireland. Republicans attributed the strong reactions to the apparent absence of justice in the trial, but many involved in the protests argued they protested on humanitarian grounds and for the issue of press freedom.52 Resolutions were passed in Ireland by local authorities often with the support of the government party, branches of political parties, sports clubs, and schools. The teaching staff of Presentation Secondary School in Cashel held a prayer meeting in church and put out a statement saying that ‘they upheld the principle of truth, justice, and freedom and could therefore not accept that any Irishmen in 1972 should be allowed to die on hunger strike for those principles by the consent of our government’.53 Leading Voices In both cases, leading activists not directly associated with republicanism came out in support of the narrative put out by the IRA. Opposition members, civil rights activists, and trade unionists were willing to share a platform with prominent Republicans.54 At meetings organised by Sinn Fein in Belfast, speakers and placards referred to the case as based on ‘thrumped [sic] up charges’. Frank Gogarty, the vice-chairman of the non-violent Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, also credited the accusation that the men had been framed by Scotland Yard detectives.55 At a similar meeting in Dublin following the arrest there, the civil rights leader Aidan Corrigan proclaimed that the defendant had done more for Irish freedom and unity than the governing party, Fianna Fáil, which claimed to be the Republican party, had done in fifty years. Corrigan called him the man most maligned in Ireland by press, radio, and television, a man who had brought down the unionist government in Northern Ireland and deserved to stand proudly beside Jomo Kenyatta56 and Desmond Greaves57 as the leader of a great guerrilla movement.58 The largest Irish trade union, the ITGWU, sent a telegram to the Irish president asking for clemency, and a few days after the arrest the


most famous English university debating society, the Oxford Union, voted in favour of a reunification of Ireland. During the debate, attended by the Irish Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, John Hume, the new leader of the SDLP (the moderate nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland), and Roy Bradford, a former Unionist minister, appeals were also voiced for MacStiofáin’s release.59 The Republican interpretation was also given a measure of credence in the Irish parliament, the Dáil, in particular by Sean Sherwin, a deputy of the governing Fianna Fáil party, who repeatedly raised the issue of the defendants plight. On 29 November, he read out a petition signed by 13,867 people, presented to him by a group of Derry women. It protested against the setting up of military courts, the introduction of repressive legislation and the imprisonment of Irish men and women at the bidding of the British government. Sherwin concurred. As far as he was concerned it was a lie to argue, as both the government and the opposition did, that the IRA was a threat to the Irish state. It was only a threat to the security of what he called the Six County Area, which, he implied, was a good thing. Far from being a threat to the Irish, MacStiofáin was enemy no. 1 for the British; his arrest was on the instruction of their government.60

West Germany’s Radical Left and the RAF Between 1970 and 1998, the RAF confronted the (West) German state. A social-revolutionary terrorist or ‘urban guerrilla’ group, the RAF began as an offspring of the protest movement of the late 1960s. Main members of the so-called first generation were acclaimed left-wing journalist Ulrike Meinhof, the movement’s prominent lawyer cum activist Horst Mahler, and the radical couple Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin, already convicted of arson in two department stores in Frankfurt in 1968. In its first two years, the RAF was mainly occupied with the logistics of building an underground organisation, and producing several lengthy brochures claiming to be the vanguard for all of West Germany’s radical left. In May 1972, the RAF launched its first campaign of political violence: six bomb attacks throughout the Federal Republic spread over several weeks left four dead and about seventy wounded. A month after this ‘triumph’, however, police had arrested all leaders.61 Then events took an unexpected turn, as most members of the RAF started a prison struggle involving collective hunger strikes. This resulted in a solidarity campaign within the left-wing constituency and



extended the RAF’s political significance. This chapter will focus on the RAF’s third and longest collective hunger strike that lasted from 13 September 1974 until 5 February 1975, and especially on the death, on 9 November 1975, of one of its imprisoned members, Holger Meins, after two months of self-starvation. Members of a terrorist group close to the RAF responded a day later with a revenge killing of a West Berlin judge, Günther von Drenkmann. These deaths caused an uproar in West German society, comparable to the upheavals in Ireland and Northern Ireland caused by the IRA’s hunger strike campaigns discussed above. RAF Framing According to Leith Passmore, the leading academic on the subject, the RAF was actually inspired by earlier IRA hunger strikes, which had resulted in the granting of political status to the prisoners. Internally, the RAF leadership considered collective hunger strikes a vital instrument to uphold the organisation’s structure among (imprisoned) members and to maintain some control over them. Externally, they were meant to reinforce the accusation that the state was holding the prisoners from the RAF in an extreme form of solitary confinement that amounted to torture through isolation (Isolationsfolter).62 Through the prison struggle and their performance at trials the RAF tried to support their claim that existing democracy was in fact a mere screen for a US-led Western counter-insurgency strategy against the left as a whole. In contrast, it portrayed itself as a leaderless collective of complete equals, an unbeatable ‘hydra’ and living proof of the viability of activist democracy.63 After the first hunger strike, in late 1972, the RAF leadership expanded this basic narrative and sought an ever-wider audience for it. Their lawyers played an essential role in this process, creating an intricate communication system, ‘das info’, between the imprisoned members themselves and between the prisoners and their supporters on the outside.64 During the RAF’s second hunger strike, between May and June 1973, a national teach-in of so-called (Anti-)Folterkomitees (Committees against Torture)—special solidarity committees initiated by the RAF’s lawyers and encompassing some 450 activists in 23 West German cities— strengthened the campaign’s base and created a host of propaganda material.65 More than a year later, at the end of 1974, a volume of texts was published, documenting the first two years of the prison struggle. This also contained one of Ulrike Meinhof’s most powerful contributions:


a text, supposedly written in solitary confinement, in which she related her mental state at the time: the feeling your head’s exploding […] – the feeling that spine marrow is being forced up into your brain, – the feeling that your brain’s slowly wrinkling, like dried fruit perhaps.66

With their narrative complete, information channels in place and support groups in operation by early 1974, the RAF leadership decided to step up the confrontation. Baader prepared his fellow-inmates for a third starvation campaign and wrote: ‘I think this time, we won’t stop the hunger strike. This means [some of our] people will die’.67 It is unclear whether the supporters outside were aware of this escalation; it would have undermined the self-portrayal as victims inherent in the RAF narrative. Nevertheless, the willingness to sacrifice co-fighters was central to the third collective hunger strike that started on 13 September 1974, half a year after Baader had set the tone. State Framing Since the mid-1960s, the West German state had portrayed fundamental opposition to the Federal Republic’s political system by the radical (student) left as illegitimate, especially when it involved militant forms of protest. After the war, West Germany had begun to consider itself a ‘militant democracy’, analogous to the ideas social scientists Karl Loewenstein and Karl Mannheim had formulated in the 1930s. As a result, the West German state became invested and one could argue somewhat obsessed by the task to actively secure the ‘liberal-democratic basic order’.68 In the early 1970s, when the RAF emerged on the scene, authorities on local, state, and federal levels introduced stricter laws and tougher police and intelligence practices that not only targeted terrorism in particular but extremism in general, especially on the left.69 Two elements of this policy stood out. For one, the RAF were generally portrayed as ‘violent anarchists’, prone to use violence for its own sake—not an uncommon government reaction to terrorism. More than other Western European countries, however, West German politicians chose to involve the general public in a ‘political-spiritual confrontation’ with the terrorists. Partly because of the Nazi past, they considered it their duty to involve the population in the defence of parliamentary democracy and therefore



engineered a large-scale political education campaign.70 In a sense, this meant that establishment representatives took the RAF’s challenge to their authority very seriously and thereby, counter-productively, boosted the RAF’s societal impact and—ironically—its political significance. The RAF prison struggle further complicated the challenge to the authorities. Besides denying the accusations of ‘isolation torture’, they also tried to obstruct the information channels created by the lawyers. In reaction, some liberal voices in Germany and abroad protested against the restriction of legal rights. This also reflected a novel way of thinking about what makes a democracy militant. The liberals felt that fundamental opposition, at least when from the left, was as essential a safeguard against fascism as a vigilant state. In fact, many thought radical groups might even be what the caged canary is to a miner: an early warning system against the authoritarian proto-fascist tendencies inherent in all state bureaucracies. The morally charged issue of force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike consequently led to particularly heated debates. Whereas in the media, liberal voices were heard a lot, in parliament a state-centred thinking was still dominant. From the opposition benches in the Federal Diet, Christian Democrat Karl Carstens, for instance, asked if one could rightfully restrain a prisoner ‘who with a clear mind has decided to take his own life through starvation of doing so by using violent means’. Another Christian Democrat wondered whether one should burden the taxpayer with the costs of the special ‘astronaut food’ administered in the procedure. Federal Justice Minister Hans-Jochen Vogel, a Social Democrat, however, maintained that the state was obliged by law ‘to protect the life and physical integrity’ of people in its power, even if this, in the extreme, meant force-feeding them.71 Mediation The press briefings and demonstrations the lawyers and committee activists organised and the resulting clashes with the authorities, created media events that brought the RAF frame to wider audiences and challenged the state and its interpretation of the struggle. Still, during the third hunger strike, media reporting was initially lacklustre. It only came into full swing after Meins had died and West Berlin judge von Drenkmann was murdered. On the evening of Meins’s death, in an interview on Tagesschau, the most important national news show on West German television, Meins’s lawyer Siegfried Haag not only blamed


the prison physician for his client’s death, but also the judges presiding over the trial against RAF leaders.72 With that the propaganda aspect of the hunger strike took effect and over the following months the RAF prison struggle became a recurring theme in West German media. How keen the media were to publicise the RAF became clear when the popular weekly Stern showed a picture of Meins lying in state, extremely thin and with a wild beard. Many were reminded of pictures of Che Guevara’s body exhibited to the press after he was killed in Bolivia in 1967 and some even thought of Jesus Christ after the crucifixion—both highly emotive references that triggered sympathy and plastered over the memory of the man of violence Meins had been.73 At the end of January 1975, the RAF had another media breakthrough, when West Germany’s most widely read news weekly Der Spiegel published an interview with its imprisoned leadership.74 RAF lawyer Klaus Croissant had arranged this: he had handed the prisoners a list of questions and they had typed up responses that Der Spiegel printed. Croissant probably also negotiated a substantial ‘publication fee’.75 Media attention had already peaked earlier, when Croissant, prodded by his clients, managed to arrange a visit by Jean-Paul Sartre to Baader. On 4 December 1974, the famous French philosopher and political publicist made a one-day trip to the Stuttgart-Stammheim prison, where he had an hour-long conversation with the RAF leader and afterwards held a press conference attended by an array of journalists and cameramen.76 It was a carefully staged event, demonstrating Croissant’s organisational finesse as RAF’s main PR functionary. Every newspaper in Germany and many abroad broadcasted Sartre’s strong corroboration of the RAF narrative of isolation torture.77 The intellectual authority of the French philosoph was a big boon to the RAF campaign. It may also have helped Croissant with another project: the founding, on 14 December 1974 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, of an international committee of lawyers defending the RAF prisoners against ‘oppression’ by the West German state.78 The question remains whether the media attention actually helped the RAF to get its message across. At least, it is clear that the general public was well aware of Meins’s tragic fate. The popular polling institute Allensbach established that 97% of a representative sample of West Germans aged sixteen and older had heard of his case. This, however, did not mean that people bought into the RAF narrative. Asked whether state institutions had failed, only a small minority of 13% agreed, while three-quarters of those questioned did not blame the authorities for



Meins’s death. Still, among the youngest, those aged 16–29, a larger proportion of people (20%) were critical of state institutions.79 Silent Contributors Since the latter was precisely the age group the RAF most wanted to win over to its narrative, the hunger strike might to some extent have had the desired effect. Another indication of this is the impressive mobilisation of support for the hunger strike campaign that followed the death of Meins. In a circular letter for the internal ‘info’ bulletin, West Berlin RAF lawyer Hans-Christian Ströbele described this mobilisation as similar to that in the late 1960s, the heyday of student protests. There were daily protest meetings at both West Berlin universities, some of them attracting 1000–2000 attendees. Apart from that, 6500–10,000 leftist activists from nearly all political subcultures expressed their anger publicly in a march through the city and 5000–6000 of them assembled at a conference at the Technical University where they unanimously called upon the minister of Justice to stop ‘isolation torture’.80 In sum, solidarity with the RAF was widespread, even when occasionally there was also fierce criticism of its tactics. This was not only a West Berlin affair. On 18 November 1974, when Meins was buried in Hamburg, hundreds of RAF sympathisers marched to the HamburgStellingen graveyard.81 Figures in a report on extremism published by the Federal Ministry for Domestic Affairs in 1974 seem to confirm the extent of active support for the RAF after Meins’s death. It counted a total of 12,000 individuals taking part in 80 separate protest actions.82 Moreover, it is clear that some of these active supporters went a step further. For somebody like Susanne Albrecht, Meins’s death was the final push towards membership of the RAF. Now that protests had no effect, it was time to force the state to improve prison conditions, she told herself. ‘We cannot allow more prisoners to lose their lives here’.83 Minor Contributors Traces of the debates within West Germany’s highly heterogeneous leftwing alternative milieu and the arguments exchanged therein can be found in the many pamphlets and brochures, published irregularly and often anonymous by individuals and groups, and in the many periodicals circulated at the time. Several of the orthodox communist (mostly


Maoist) parties, jointly comprising tens of thousands of members, published a weekly newspaper.84 Their counterparts, the undogmatic, ­ Spontaneist groups, in short: Spontis, smaller in numbers and more militant, published their own stencilled underground-style leaflets, such as West Berlin’s Info-BUG. Radical university intellectuals had their magazines as well, such as Der Lange Marsch, which was mainly produced by social scientists at the Otto Suhr Institute of West Berlin’s Free University. A declaration by Joscha Schmierer, leader of the Kommunistenbund Westdeutschland (KBW, Communist Federation of West Germany) was typical of the orthodox communists. He took a mixed position, motivated in part, probably, by the wish to use the RAF campaign as an added argument for KBW’s own revolutionary agenda. Although his party did not condone the strategy and tactics of the RAF at all, Schmierer called the hunger strike ‘justified’ and he supported the struggle against ‘isolation detention’. However, talk about murder did not sit well with him. ‘Holger Meins was no helpless victim of the bourgeois justice system. Holger Meins died in struggle with the enemy, a struggle that he entered willingly and in which he had consciously put his life at stake’, Schmierer said. This argument reflects the Maoist idea of democracy as well-organised collective activism against oppression of the people. Implicitly referring to von Drenkmann’s murder, Schmierer advised against acts of revenge against representatives of the law. Instead one had to take the demands of the prison campaign to the workers and the masses.85 Unlike Schmierer’s carefully calibrated comments, the reactions on the Sponti side showed the shock effect of Meins’s death. An article by ‘some comrades’ from Frankfurt’s Revolutionärer Kampf (Revolutionary Struggle) clearly expressed their feeling of guilt when they lamented their earlier lack of action on behalf of the incarcerated RAF members. Of course, the RAF with its lack of openness was partly blamed, but the Spontis felt they should have been more aware of what had been at stake: the RAF’s fate was in fact representative of the fate that threatened all leftists. This indicates that at least this part of the RAF narrative had fallen on fertile ground. Indeed, the fact that the libertarian Spontis felt rather caged in by West Germany’s ordered democracy and sought autonomous zones for their own lifestyles, made them vulnerable to the RAF ideology. ‘The comrades of the RAF had taken up the challenge: their life and death hunger strike was their last instrument to



regain “normal” prisoners’ rights, to create a new base, to live and to fight’. In response, the Spontis suggested foremost to denunciate ‘torture’ through militant protests, but also through working together with liberal bourgeois institutions and individuals. Only in this way—in the Marxist terms they used: only by profiting from the internal divisions within the ruling bourgeoisie—could the maltreatment of RAF prisoners be stopped. In this light, von Drenkmann’s murder was ‘no positive contribution to the fight against isolation torture, because it had worsened the conditions for the fight’.86 Der Lange Marsch group was far more critical of the RAF. Their name of course referred to 1960s’ Berlin student leader Rudi Dutschke’s appeal to his fellow-activists to take ‘the long march through the institutions’ as an alternative to revolution. His was a strategy to enlighten and mobilise the masses through new forms of deliberative participatory democracy that also included ongoing transparent self-reflection. In contrast to the Spontis, the editors of Der Lange Marsch did not feel much guilt about their earlier lack of actual support for the prisoners. Because of the RAF’s self-inflicted political isolation and of the internal divisions of the left, only ‘solidarity with the victims’ of the detention system was possible. It was hard to demand, however, that the authorities would simply respect fundamental human rights when the RAF and many others on the left did not seem genuinely interested in these rights. Because of this, leftist protest against inhumane prison conditions ‘[to] a high degree […] lacked credibility’.87 For a short moment, Der Lange Marsch argued, the death of Meins had presented a unique opportunity to overcome these difficulties. Judge von Drenkmann’s murder, however, had spoiled it all. Right-wing media and politicians had immediately grabbed their chance to stifle liberal commentators who had first pleaded for better prison conditions and now found themselves associated with murder. In other words: ‘The murder of Drenkmann could not have come at a better time for the counter-revolution’. Moreover, the killing stood for such a different view of what socialism entailed that it scared nearly everyone away, including the workers who would flock to authoritarian politicians on the right.88 Leading Voices The scope of this chapter only allows for an impression of the leading voices in the debate on the left triggered by Meins’s death. A liberal


voice of significant moral authority was the author Heinrich Böll, ­winner of the 1972 Nobel prize for literature. Earlier, he had controversially pleaded for clemency towards Meinhof and demanded respect for the rule of law, even when dealing with left-wing terrorists. Later, in 1974, Böll was so utterly disgusted by the murder of von Drenkmann that he strongly criticised the killers and those on the left who subsequently called for solidarity with the RAF.89 A more elaborate response came from social psychologist Peter Brückner of Hanover Technical University. From the late 1960s Brückner had been an intellectual mentor to the radical left, enjoying some popularity within student circles. He shared much of the distrust towards official West German democracy that the Spontis voiced as well; in fact, he may well have inspired them through a widely read critique of Western democracy that he published in 1967.90 Brückner was a typical representative of those advocating critical solidarity towards the RAF. On the one hand, he criticised their choice to wage armed struggle while a German revolutionary mass movement was still nowhere to be found. On the other, he refused to distance himself from the comrades in arms, making a similar distinction between legitimacy and expediency as many Irish nationalists showed. In late 1970 he had even given shelter to a fugitive Ulrike Meinhof, which nearly cost him his job as professor two years later when the police found out. In 1975, together with his partner Barbara Sichtermann, he wrote a highly critical analysis of the RAF hunger strike strategy, which doubled as a warning to those on the left who felt compelled to join the armed struggle. The hunger strike, they wrote, is meant to cause polarization: especially on the West German left – it aims to separate those who in the eyes of the RAF ruin everything they touch, the damned liberals and the opportunistic pigs, from those from whose midst the RAF hope to recruit their co-fighters or successors.91

Seen in this light, the hunger strikes were less non-violent as they seemed, Brückner and Sichtermann warned. In fact, they were ‘a call to arms’.92 Overall, Rudi Dutschke, who had been the most prominent face of West German student protest in the 1960s, provides the most intriguing example of a leading voice reacting to the hunger strike campaign of 1974–1975. Although he had toyed with the idea of ‘armed struggle’ almost ten years before, Dutschke had come to disapprove of the



method, not least because for revolutionaries going ‘underground’ meant isolating themselves from the masses. Moreover, as a strategy, hunger strike appalled him. In a 1977 diary entry he even called it ‘suicide’, a way to evade one’s responsibility to really confront power.93 Nevertheless, he held to a position of ‘critical solidarity’ towards the RAF and openly criticised the situation behind bars. Hearing of Meins’s death, Dutschke reacted very emotionally, as again his diary testifies: ‘Now another one has fallen, H.M. died in prison’.94 Ten days later, accompanied by RAF lawyer Otto Schily, Dutschke witnessed the burial. Standing at Meins’s grave, he suddenly raised his fist and exclaimed: ‘Holger, the struggle continues!’ It was a media spectacle that was easily misinterpreted as a straightforward show of support for the RAF. In a letter to Der Spiegel, Dutschke explained that he had just meant to stress the need to continue the struggle for the oppressed.95 In another open letter to a newspaper he also condemned the murder of von Drenkmann; there was nothing to justify the killing of this ‘antifascist-social-democrat’ judge.96 At the same time, Dutschke paid a very private visit to RAF member Jan Carl Raspe in his cell. Although the prisoner verbally attacked him, Dutschke still felt a bond. He remained set on convincing Raspe and the other RAF members to return to other ways of revolutionary politics. Another visit to Raspe was however denied, because Dutschke was considered a RAF supporter by the state after the scene at Meins’s burial.97

Conclusion Our aim in this chapter was to explore the role of the environment of terrorists in terrorist–state conflicts and how it can help us understand democracy’s dilemmas when facing adversaries. Our critical evaluation of the way the societal surround of terrorists has so far been studied, concluded that it had not received the level of attention that would fit its importance in the survival of terrorist organisations. Moreover, some researchers who realise its importance, have taken a rather narrow view of the terrorist environment, which has led to a one-sided focus on its function as a supplier of direct practical support and new recruits, while downplaying its workings as a resource of justification for the struggle. Regarding the societal and political dynamics around terrorism such research seems to miss the crucial point that terrorists challenge ruling concepts of democracies and posit alternatives to them. To overcome


this, we presented a broader conceptualisation of the environment that we termed the terrorist constituency, covering all those who share certain views about the ideal structure of society with a terrorist organisation and who are potentially receptive to its ideology and the messages implicit in its acts. This then led us to outline a practical exploration of the concept through comparative research of two comparable, simultaneous cases, the Irish nationalist community and the IRA and the German radical left and the RAF. What can be concluded based on these two limited case studies about the role of the constituency in the terrorist–state conflict and the clash of competing concepts of democracy in terrorist–state conflicts? Firstly, it has become clear that the two antagonists in both cases were very well aware of the importance of the constituency. In front of these first audiences all made the case through their symbolic acts and their concrete words to have the better claim on being the legitimate representatives of the people. The terrorists, however, made more of an effort to influence their first audience than the states that generally tried to evade the political argument. The IRA in particular paid a lot of attention to influencing the broader perception of events. The media in this case played a relatively neutral role, generally transmitting events and the arguments of both sides fairly objectively. However, it is clear they also tried to affect the interpretation of events by the constituency.98 In comparison, the RAF, with its leadership in prison, was more reliant on others to spread its narrative. It held great sway over lawyers and activists, but had a harder time controlling the perception of events by its wider constituency. Apart from that, it tried to reach liberal-minded Germans by staging media events, such as around Meins’s death or the Sartre visit. Although it cannot be proven that these had any additional impact on the radical left, the mainstream media were eager to report on such events and, as opinion polls show, by doing this they projected the RAF into nearly every West German household. At such times the state narrative threatened to be drowned out by the RAF framing. In general, however, this was balanced out by a general disinterest in the discussion of prison conditions and by a tendency to give equal voice to declarations and opinions of West German officials. The debates within the constituency seem to have been clearly determined by the societal context and this in turn had a lot to do with the prevailing opinion on the state of democracy. In the Irish case, the IRA actually challenged two societies. In Northern Ireland, the legitimacy of



the struggle was hardly an issue within the constituency, but a majority still rejected the expediency of the use of force. Nevertheless, many leading activists not associated with republicanism and other less vocal elements within the constituency were willing to associate themselves openly with the cause of the prisoners and thus with republicanism. The expediency question was thus not a fundamental issue even for those who rejected the use of force. To some extent this also applied to the more narrowly defined radical left in West Germany. In the Republic, the situation was comparable to that in the North but different in relation to the expediency question. Although the legitimacy of the objectives of the IRA were not widely disputed, there was only a very small group of people who really supported the armed struggle. The state was therefore much better able to use its law and order argument, even in cases where the injustice frame and the accusation that the state was acting at the bidding of the British State had convinced many. The expediency was thus not widely accepted in contrast to the situation in Northern Ireland. In West Germany, the overall goal of a social and political revolution had many subscribers on the left, but most sympathisers and supporters only spoke out in favour of the RAF in protest against their treatment in prison. Just a handful of those who took to the streets actually supported the underground organisation in its armed struggle. Many left-wing periodicals and several of the leading voices copied at least parts of the RAF’s narrative, but they were far more ambivalent about their urban guerrilla strategy. In fact, as in the Republic of Ireland, most within the constituency rejected the expediency of taking up arms against the state. Moreover, the statements by Brückner and Dutschke even doubted the morality of ever using violence for political purposes, although they did not rule it out completely. At first glance, similarities between the ideas of the RAF and the concepts of democracy behind reactions of their environment may seem to indicate an influence of the terrorists on the constituency. It is however far more likely that their shared background in 1960s protest culture and the continual exchange within the ensuing ‘movement family’ of the 1970s are the cause of that parallel thinking. Carefully analysed, the concepts of democracy underlying most reactions were clearly more promising with regard to eventual integration of this milieu in non-­violent, pluralist politics than the state dared to believe. Regarding the RAF, the conclusion should therefore be that they succeeded in raising attention to their plight and their narrative of suppression and resistance, but


largely failed to capitalise on this for a further boost in their popularity and influence. Still, the handful of activists that were triggered by the hunger strikes to join them, already sufficed to grant the RAF a second lifespan through a new generation of terrorists. The IRA, although it succeeded fairly well in the initial phases in mobilising support for the defendants, did not convince the masses in Ireland either. In the long run, however, they were helped by these cases in generating widespread sympathy, in particular among the population in the Irish Republic. The portrayal of the state as unfair in its treatment of Republicans appears to have struck a chord with the populace, thereby maintaining a potential base of support for the objectives and, to some extent, even for the methods used by the Republicans. It is however hard to distinguish between support for either the objectives or means of the IRA from the sympathy which was generated among more neutral observers for the plight of people on hunger strike or apparently subject of state repression. Although just a preliminary result based on a selective set of sources, the case studies presented here suggest that the way terrorist constituencies respond to a terrorist–state conflict plays an important role in the development of conflict. The state as well as terrorist movements pay a lot of attention to generating support among a wide section of the terrorist constituency for the legitimacy and to some extent to the expediency of their position. Through the framing of their plight in terms that the terrorist constituency is receptive to, terrorists deliberately try to influence its interpretation of the conflict. The extent to which in particular terrorist movements are successful in generating support in this manner is clearly an important factor in their ability to sustain the fight, both in finding the personal and material support but also in finding justification for it. Although we have seen that it is much easier for such movements to get attention for their position than for the state, it appears to be very difficult to translate that in actual support. Leading activists are often willing to lend credence to their position, while minor contributors provide ammunition and groups of silent contributors engage in street protests, but in most of these activities the emphasis lies on expressions of sympathy with the plight and overall goals of terrorists rather than support for their fight. It is important to note, however, that the extent to which the authorities confuse these can actually exacerbate the situation.



The behaviour of both sides and also the successes of all parties involved can therefore only be truly understood if the response in this constituency becomes part of the analysis. Setting these developments centre stage and using a broader concept of the constituency, including not just those giving active support but all those who potentially agree with the objectives of the terrorists, enriches our knowledge of terrorist–state confrontations with the societal and political context in a degree of nuance that has hitherto been largely ignored. Although just a first step in getting to grips with the heterogeneity of terrorist constituencies, putting the debate within the constituency centre stage and distinguishing between three kinds of contributors has overall proved effective. It clearly helped to shed light on the efforts of various people within the constituencies of the IRA and the RAF to maintain their own conceptions of democracy and political agendas while the terrorist–state conflict raged on. We can conclude that further study of what goes on in the constituencies holds the promise of a better understanding which may help us explain the lifespan of terrorist movements. Moreover, it may even enable us to recognise voices within terrorist constituencies that support the legitimacy of the terrorists’ objectives but oppose the expediency of the strategy of armed struggle and thus provide an inroad for establishing a different non-violent form of dialogue with them.


1. Louise Richardson, What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy. Containing the Threat (New York 2006), 69. 2. Ian Traynor, ‘Molenbeek: The Brussels Borough Becoming Known as Europe’s Jihadi Central’, The Guardian, 15 November 2015, http:// www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/15/molenbeek-the-brussels-borough-in-the-spotlight-after-paris-attacks (accessed 28 December 2015). 3. Andreas Kouwenhoven and Kees Versteegh, ‘Verstop jij even die tas met geld. Sympathisanten [Say, Hide This Money Bag. Sympathisers]’, NRC Handelsblad, 28 November 2015. 4. Manni Crone and Martin Harrow, ‘Homegrown Terrorism in the West, 1989–2008’, DIIS Working Paper 2010:30 (Copenhagen 2010), 4–22, there 6. 5. Jacco Pekelder, ‘From Militancy to Democracy? The Radical Left in West Germany in the 1970s’, in Joris Gijsenbergh, Saskia Hollander, Tim


Houwen, and Wim de Jong (eds.), Creative Crises of Democracy (Brussels etc. 2012), 309–330, there 309–311. 6. Donatella Della Porta, Social Movements, Political Violence, and the State: A Comparative Analysis of Italy and Germany (Cambridge 1995). 7. Peter Waldmann, Terrorismus. Provokation der Macht (Munich 1998), 10; ‘The Radical Community: A Comparative Analysis of the Social Background of ETA, IRA, and Hezbollah’, in J. Victoroff (ed.), Tangled Roots: Social and Psychological Factors in the Genesis of Terrorism (Amsterdam 2006), 133–146. See also: the definition of terrorism in, Alex P. Schmid (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research (London and New York 2011), 86. 8.  Ronald D. Crelinsten, ‘Analysing Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: A Communication Model’, Terrorism and Political Violence 14:2 (2002), 77–122, there 78. 9. Richardson, What Terrorists Want, 69. See also: Audrey Kurth Cronin, Ending Terrorism: Lessons for Defeating al-Qaeda, Adelphi Paper 394 (London 2008), 15–17. 10. Jan Philipp Reemtsma, ‘Vorwort’, in Wolfgang Kraushaar, Karin Wieland, and Jan Philipp Reemtsma, Rudi Dutschke, Andreas Baader und die RAF (Hamburg 2005), 10–11. 11. Stefan Malthaner, ‘Terroristische Bewegungen und ihre Bezugsgruppen. Anvisierte Sympathisanten und tatsächliche Unterstützer’, in Peter Waldmann (ed.), Determinanten des Terrorismus (Weilerswist 2005), 85–138, there 85. See also: Tamotsu Shibutani, ‘Reference Groups as Perspectives’, in Herbert H. Hyman and Eleanor Singer (eds.), Readings in Reference Group Theory and Research (New York 1968), 103–113. 12.  Brendan O’Leary and Andrew Silke, ‘Conclusion: Understanding and Ending Persistent Conflicts: Bridging Research and Policy’, in Marianne Heiberg, Brendan O’Leary, and John Tirman (eds.), Terror, Insurgency, and the State: Ending Protracted Conflicts (Philadelphia, PA 2007), 387–426, there 398. 13.  Peter Waldmann and Stefan Malthaner (eds.), Radikale Milieus: Das soziale Umfeld terroristischer Gruppen (Frankfurt am Main 2012). 14. Waldmann and Malthaner maintain that the direct environment is the main resource for moral and political support as well, but the literature they use to support this points at broad communities instead of the small radical milieus the envisage. See: Peter Waldmann and Stefan Malthaner, ‘The Radical Milieu: Conceptualizing the Supportive Environments of Terrorist Groups’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 37 (2014), 979–998, there 982–983. 15.  Cf. Jeroen Gunning, ‘Social Movement Theory and the Study of Terrorism’, in Richard Jackson, Marie Breen Smyth, and Jeroen Gunning



(eds.), Critical Terrorism Studies: A New Research Agenda (London and New York 2009), 156–177, there 160–163. 16. This applies particularly to the relative deprivation theory of Ted Gurr and the resource-mobilization theory of Charles Tilly but can also be seen in the political-process approach of Doug McAdam. Ted R. Gurr, Why Men Rebel (Princeton 1970); Charles Tilly, From Mobilization to Revolution (Reading, MA 1978); Doug McAdam, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency 1930–1970 (Chicago 1982). See also: Christopher Hewitt, Consequences of Political Violence (Dartmouth 1993). 17.  A strain in modern terrorism research therefore stresses the importance of the ‘propaganda dimension of counter-terrorism’. Cf. Ronald D. Crelinsten and Alex P. Schmid, ‘Western Responses to Terrorism: A Twenty-Five Year Balance Sheet’, in David C. Rapoport (ed.), Terrorism: Critical Concepts in Political Science (London 2006), 272–274. See also: Michael Ignatieff, The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (Princeton 2004), 105–111. 18. Cf. Michael T. Hannan, László Pólos, and Glenn R. Carroll, Logics of Organization Theory: Audiences, Codes, and Ecologies (Princeton, NJ and Oxford 2007), 31; W. Richard Scott, Organization: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems (Upper Saddle River 2003), 185–188. 19.  Cf. eight categories identified in: Dieter Claessens and Karin de Aha, ‘Das Milieu der Westberliner “scene” und die “Bewegung 2. Juni”’, in Wanda von Baeyer-Katte, Dieter Claessens, Hubert Feger, and Friedhelm Neidhart, Gruppenprozesse. Analysen zum Terrorismus 3 (Opladen 1982), 18–81, there 55–58. 20.  See: Alex P. Schmid and Janny de Graaf, Violence as Communication: Insurgent Terrorism and the Western News Media (London 1982), 2, 77–122; Ethan Bueno de Mesquita and Eric. S. Dickinson, ‘The Propaganda of the Deed: Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Mobilization’, American Journal of Political Science 51:2 (April 2007), 364–381; Ronald D. Crelinsten, ‘Analysing Terrorism and CounterTerrorism: A Communication Model’, Terrorism and Political Violence 14:2 (2002), 77–122; Wolfgang Frindte a.o., Terrorismus – mediale Konstruktion und individuelle Interpretation: Ein friedenswissenschaftlicher Beitrag zur medien– und sozialwissenschaftlichen Analyse und Bewertung terroristischer Bedrohungen in Deutschland, Forschung DSF, No. 27 (Osnabrück 2011); Sonja Glaab (ed.), Medien und Terrorismus. Auf den Spuren einer symbiothischen Beziehung (Berlin 2007); Joanne Wright, Terrorist Propaganda: The Red Army Faction and the Provisional IRA, 1968–1986 (London 1991).

132  J. AUGUSTEIJN AND J. PEKELDER 21.  Seden Akcinaroglu and Efe Tokdemir, ‘To Instill Fear or Love: Terrorist Groups and the Strategy of Building Reputation’, in Conflict Management and Peace Science (2016), 1–23. 22. http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/tables/Year.html. 23. Irish Times, 24 April 1971. 24. Irish Times, 16 + 20 November 1973; Guardian, 16 November 1973; An Phoblacht, 14 December 1973; Republican News, 22 December 1973. See also: An Phoblacht, July 1971; Guardian, 22 November 1972. 25.  Republican News, 24 November 1972; Irish Independent, 12 December 1972. 26. Republican News, 24 November 1972. 27. Ibid. 28. Irish Times, 27 November 1972; The Observer, 26 November 1972; Irish Independent, 26 November 1972; Guardian, 22 + 27 November 1972; Irish Press, 27 November 1972; An Phoblacht, 26 November 1972; Irish Times, 20 November 1972. 29. Irish Times, 27 November 1972; The Observer, 26 November 1972; Irish Independent, 26 November 1972; Guardian, 27 November 1972; Irish Press, 27 November 1972; An Phoblacht, 26 November 1972. 30. Irish Times, 27–28 November 1972; Irish Independent, 26 November + 1 December 1972; Irish Press, 21 November 1972; Guardian, 27 November 1972; Guardian, 1 December 1972. This is confirmed in his memoir, Mac Stiofáin, Memoirs of a Revolutionary (London 1975), 354–355. 31. Guardian, 27 November 1972. 32. Dáil Éireann, vol. 264, 28 November 1972. Private Notice Question: Condition of Prisoner. 33.  Irish Times, 27 November 1972. 34.  Irish Press, 17 June 1971. 35.  Guardian, 27 November 1972. 36.  Guardian, 22 November 1972; Sunday Independent, 26 November 1972. 37.  Kerryman, 2 December 1972. See also: Republican News, 15 December 1972. 38.  Guardian, 21 November 1972. 39.  Guardian, 27 November 1972; Sunday Independent, 10 December 1972; Irish Independent, 29 + 30 December 1972. 40.  Irish Times, 14 May 1971 and 17 June 1971; Irish Press, 17 June 1971. 41.  Irish Times, 21–27 November 1972. See also: Republican News, 24 November 1972; The Guardian, 20 November 1972; Irish Press, 21 November 1972.



42. The Observer, 26 November 1972; Irish Times, 27 November 1972; Irish Independent, 26 November 1972; Guardian, 27 November 1972; Irish Press, 27 November 1972; An Phoblacht, 26 November 1972. 43.  Irish Times, 27 November 1972; The Observer, 26 November 1972; Irish Independent, 26 November 1972; Guardian, 27 + 28 November 1972. 44.  Irish Times, 28 November  + 28 December 1972; Irish Independent, 26 November + 1, 2, 29 + 30 December 1972; Connacht Sentinel, 29 November 1972; Guardian, 29 January 1973 + 1 December 1972; Munster Sentinel, 1 December 1972; Anglo-Celt, 1 December 1972; Kerryman, 2 December 1972; Connacht Sentinel, 1 December 1972; Munster Sentinel, 1 December 1972; Anglo-Celt, 1 + 8 December 1972; Nenagh Guardian, 9 December 1972. 45.  The Guardian, 20 November 1972; Irish Press, 21 November 1972; Irish Times, 21–27 November, 1972. See also: Republican News, 24 November 1972. 46.  Guardian, 27 November 1972. 47.  Irish Press, 27 November 1972. 48.  Irish Times, 15 April 1971. See also: Irish Press, 17 June 1971. 49. Sean Mac Stiofáin. Memoirs, 348. 50. Irish Press, 27 November 1972; Irish Times, 27 November 1972; The Observer, 26 November 1972; Irish Independent, 26 November 1972. Guardian, 27 + 28 November 1972. 51.  The Guardian, 20 November 1972; Irish Press, 21 November 1972; Irish Times, 21–27 November 1972. See also: Republican News, 24 November 1972. 52.  Irish Times, 28 November 1972; Irish Independent, 26 November 1972; Connacht Sentinel, 29 November 1972; Guardian, 1 December 1972; Guardian, 29 January 1973; Munster Sentinel, 1 December 1972; AngloCelt, 1 December 1972; Kerryman, 2 December 1972. 53.  Irish Times, 28 December 1972; Irish Independent, 1 December 1972; Connacht Sentinel, 1 December 1972; Guardian, 1 December 1972 + 29 January 1973; Munster Sentinel, 1 December 1972; Anglo-Celt, 1 December 1972; Kerryman, 2 December 1972; Irish Independent, 2, 29 + 30 December 1972; Anglo-Celt, 8 December 1972; Nenagh Guardian, 9 December 1972. 54. Irish Times, 27 November 1972; The Observer, 26 November 1972; Irish Independent, 26 November 1972. 55.  Irish Times, 26 June 1971; Irish Press, 31 May 1971. 56. The first prime minister of independent Kenya. 57. A prominent Irish activist and socialist.

134  J. AUGUSTEIJN AND J. PEKELDER 58.  Irish Times, 21 November 1972. Similar sentiments were expressed by Bernadette Devlin in the House of Commons, House of Commons Debates, 23 November 1972, vol. 846, 1530–1557. 59. Irish Times, 24 November 1972. 60. Dáil Éireann Debates, 29 November 1972, vol. 264, Offences against the State (Amendment), Bill, 1972: Second Stage. 61. See: Jacco Pekelder, ‘Historisering van de RAF. Geschiedschrijving over dertig jaar links Duits terrorisme’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 119:2 (2006), 196–217. 62. Leith Passmore, ‘The Art of Hunger: Self-Starvation in the Red Army Faction’, German History 27:1 (2009), 32–59, there 32–33, 43. See also: idem, Ulrike Meinhof and the Red Army Faction: Performing Terrorism (New York 2011), 61–82. More information on this IRA hunger strike: Jacqueline Dana, ‘The Granting of Special Category Status, 1972’, http://www.hungerstrikes.org/background/special_status.html (accessed 20 January 2017). 63. Jacco Pekelder and Klaus Weinhauer, ‘Germany Confronts the BaaderMeinhof Group: The Stammheim Trial (1975–1977) and Its Legacies’, in Beatrice de Graaf and Alex P. Schmid (eds.), Terrorists on Trial: A Performative Perspective (Leiden 2016), 231–309, there 252–253. 64. Pieter H. Bakker Schut (ed.), das info. Briefe der Gefangenen aus der RAF 1973–1977 (Kiel 1987); Olaf Gäthje, ‘Das “info”-System der RAF von 1973 bis 1977 in sprachwissenschaftlicher Perspektive’, in Wolfgang Kraushaar (ed.), Die RAF und der linke Terrorismus (Hamburg 2006), 714–733. 65. Butz Peters, Tödlicher Irrtum. Die Geschichte Der RAF (Berlin 2004), 314. Particularly widely distributed was a special issue of the influential left-wing intellectual magazine Kursbuch, 31; Folter in der BRD. Zur Situation der Politischen Gefangenen [Torture in the FRG: About the Situation of the Political Prisoners], n.d. [1973]. 66.  Der Kampf gegen die Vernichtungshaft (Komitees gegen Folter an politischen Gefangenen in der BRD 1974), 201–202; translation from: Sarah Colvin, Ulrike Meinhof and West German Terrorism: Language, Violence, and Identity (Rochester, NY 2009), 152–153. 67. Alfred Klaus, Aktivitäten und Verhalten inhaftierter Terroristen (Bonn 1983), 141. 68.  Dominik Rigoll, ‘Streit um die Streitbare Demokratie. Ein Rückblick auf die Anfangsjahrzehnte der Bundesrepublik’, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 32–33 (2017), 40–45. 69. This indiscriminate targeting of radicals was of course strongly informed by the experience of the demise of Weimar democracy and the rise of



the Nazi movement before 1933. See: Karrin Hanshew, Terror and Democracy in West Germany (Cambridge 2012). 70. One example is the state sponsored publication: Der Baader-MeinhofReport. Dokumente – Analysen – Zusammenhänge. Aus den Akten des Bundeskriminalamtes, der ‘Sonderkommission, Bonn’ und dem Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Mainz 1972). See: Hanshew, Terror and Democracy, 126–127. 71. Peters, Tödlicher Irrtum, 318. 72. Ibid., 320–321. 73. Christoph Riederer, Die RAF und die Folterdebatte der 1970er Jahre (Wiesbaden 2014), 212–213. 74. ‘“Wir werden in den Durststreik treten” SPIEGEL-Fragen an Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin und Jan-Carl Raspe’, Der Spiegel, 20 January 1975, 52–57. 75. Klaus Croissant, Report, 12 January 1975, on the negotiations leading to the interview in Der Spiegel, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung, RAF Collection (hereafter: HIS/RAF), Kl.V/037, 010. 76. See the elaborate description, in Günter Riederer, Sartre in Stammheim, Spuren 100 (Marbach am Neckar 2013). 77. Klaus Croissant, Report, 3 November 1974, on his conversation with Sartre in his Paris apartment on the same day, HIS/RAF, RA 01/009, 001. Note that Sartre’s visit to Stammheim thus was arranged prior to Meins’s death. 78.  Jacco Pekelder, ‘The RAF Solidarity Movement from a European Perspective’, in Martin Klimke, Jacco Pekelder, and Joachim Scharloth (eds.), Between Prague Spring and French May: Opposition and Revolt in Europe, 1960–1980 (Oxford and New York 2011), 251–266, there 257–258. 79. Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann (ed.), Allensbacher Jahrbuch der Demoskopie, vol. Band VI, 1974–1976 (Vienna etc. n.d.), 94. 80.  Hans-Christian Ströbele, Letter, 16 November 1974, HIS/RAF, RA, J/002, 012. 81. Peters, Tödlicher Irrtum, 322. 82.  Der Bundesminister des Innern, Referat Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Verfassungsschutz ’74, Betrifft Nr. 23: Öffentlichkeitsarbeit des Bundesministeriums (Bonn 1975), 106. 83. Peters, Tödlicher Irrtum, 322–323. 84. The most important were Roter Morgen (KPD/ML), Rote Fahne (KPD), and Kommunistische Volkszeitung (KBW). 85. Joscha Schmierer, ‘Die Isolations– und Vernichtungshaft muss weg! Der Hungerstreik der Häftlinge ist gerecht’, Kommunistische Volkszeitung 24 (1974), 3.

136  J. AUGUSTEIJN AND J. PEKELDER 86. ‘Isolationshaft ist Mord’, in ‘Holger, der Kampf geht weiter!’ Dokumente und Beiträge zum Konzept Stadtguerilla. Gegendrücke, 1 (Gaiganz 1975), 137–145, there 137–140 (originally printed in the monthly Wir wollen alles! 22 November 1974). 87. A statement by the editors in a special edition documenting several of the speeches held at the conference ‘Against special treatment of political prisoners’ at West Berlin’s Technical University on 16 November 1974 and a teach-in at the Free University the day before: ‘Zwischen allen Stühlen’, Der Lange Marsch, 14 December 1974, 2–4, there 2–3. 88. Ibid., 3–4. 89. Heinrich Böll quoted, in ‘Todesfälle eingeplant?’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 14 November 1974. 90. Johannes Agnoli and Peter Brückner, Die Transformation der Demokratie (Berlin 1967). 91. Peter Brückner and Barbara Sichtermann, ‘Die Verknastung der sozialen Welt. Versuche über die RAF’, in Peter Brückner, Über die Gewalt. Sechs Aufsätze zur Rolle der Gewalt in der Entstehung und Zerstörung sozialer Systeme (West Berlin 1979), 67–109, there 72. The original article appeared in 1975 in the West Berlin radical intellectual magazine Schwarze Protokolle. 92. Ibidem. 93. As quoted in Michaela Karl, Rudi Dutschke. Revolutionär ohne Revolution (Frankfurt am Main 2003), 446. 94. Rudi Dutschke, Leben, in Gretchen Dutschke (ed.), 346. 95. Rudi Dutschke, ‘Letter to the Editor’, Der Spiegel, 25 November 1974. 96.  Rudi Dutschke, ‘Letter to the Editor’, Frankfurter Rundschau, 18 December 1974, quoted in Karl, Rudi Dutschke, 446. 97. Karl, Rudi Dutschke, 446, 448; correspondence between Rudi Dutschke and Jan Carl Raspe after Meins’s death, December 15, 1974, RA, J/002, 013, HIS. 98.  Joost Augusteijn, ‘“Is There Any Justice in This Country?” The IRA on Trial in the 1970s’, in Beatrice de Graaf and Alex P. Schmid (eds.), Terrorists on Trial: A Performative Perspective (Leiden 2016), 173–230.

The Seeds of Danger: The Security Service and Its ‘Enemy Image’ of ‘The Movement’ in the 1980s Constant Hijzen

On 10 October 1980, the Dutch Military Intelligence Service (Militaire Inlichtingendienst or MID) sent a report to the Domestic Security Service (Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst or BVD), stating: On Friday 26 September 1980, at about 11:30, a sit-in was held by two groups of persons in Amsterdam. At this time, one group of approximately 30 people occupied the room of mr. Van Riel, manager of the Municipal Energy Company [Gemeentelijk Energie Bedrijf] (…). It was demanded that he would end the Municipal Energy Company’s association with the nuclear power plant in Dodewaard. (…) Almost simultaneously the group ONKRUIT1 occupied the department of military affairs of the municipal service for the civil register in Amsterdam.2

C. Hijzen (*)  Institute for History and Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_6


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After sending away the civil servants, who were allowed to take with them their coats and hats, the ‘occupants closed off the department using chains’ and decorated the walls with slogans.3 Whereas the first group left after the police ended the sit-in, the MID wrote, the second group (the Onkruit activists) refused to leave and was subsequently arrested. Since the activists were unwilling to state their names and addresses in court, they were sentenced to two days and two nights in prison. When they were transferred to the Bijlmer prison, a group of about ten sympathisers gathered at the prison gate to protest. Although these protests were peaceful, a source of the MID reported that out of the ‘vicinity of that group a red car with a German license plate drove off’, driven by ‘a woman of about 25 years’. After having verified the license number in the Federal Republic of Germany, it appeared that it belonged to another woman, known to be ‘politically very active’.4 We would expect these incidents to feature in reports of the police and the judiciary, since maintaining public order and the rule of law is traditionally their prerogative, but to see them in intelligence reports is rather surprising. Of course, we should not rule out the possibility that Dutch ‘spies’ illegally interfered in the lives of law-abiding c­itizens— the idea that it might be in the nature of secret services to ‘assault ­democracy’ has never really disappeared since the news on intelligence abuse of the American intelligence community broke in the 1970s.5 The question rises why they featured in reports of the Dutch intelligence community, more specifically the security service BVD. Why were they involved? There are some hints in the reports. The presence of the woman in the red car might have indicated that Dutch citizens maintained relationships with foreigners, the nature of which could threaten the interests of the Dutch state. More importantly, the security service regarded the antimilitarist organisations as anti-democratic, because Onkruit and comparable organisations aspired to and strove for the abolition of the military and campaigned against the Dutch membership of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Were they to get their way, then the interests of the Dutch democratic order and state security would be threatened, the BVD argued, because without a proper military defence the Dutch democratic order would be at risk.6 In terms of the actual level of threat, the BVD observed in early 1980 that ‘antimilitarism was a phenomenon of only peripheral meaning’, but its



potential threatening nature did justify the BVD’s unremitting attention, according to the service’s own estimation. There were reasons to believe antimilitarist would grow to be more than a negligible threat to Dutch democracy, the BVD reported in April 1980, because the ‘spontaneous, numerous actions’ of Onkruit became ‘markedly tougher’.7 Whether this justified intelligence activities against the antimilitarists, was up for debate. As will be demonstrated in this book chapter, the security service struggled from the 1960s onwards with new forms of (violent) activism and the extent to which they should be an object of their attention. This raises the question how the BVD decided who was ‘democratic’ and who was ‘antidemocratic’, the latter implying that these groups and people would be the target of domestic intelligence collection. Whereas most contributions in this edited volume focus on the ‘adversary’ groups that arise within a democracy, here the response of the state will be brought into focus. The book chapter will explore the extent to which the Dutch state perceived new, contending groups of activists to be a threat—as adversaries to Dutch democracy—and on the internal discussions about ways the state could legitimately and democratically counter them. The study of the formation of threat perceptions and ­ security policy within the security services will bring implicit and explicit definitions of democracy to the surface. The focus on the security forces allows for a detailed analysis of the decision-making process in which they came to consider a particular group as a threat to the democratic order—an adversary. In this process, the threat perceptions were explicitly debated, but the course of action of ‘countering’ undemocratic groups was not: in the realm of the security service, anti-democratic groups were by definition subjected to intelligence gathering activities. The level of infringement and the nature of intelligence collection, as this chapter will show, was however subject to debate; collection of intelligence from open sources, such as newspapers and magazines, was considered justified for a large number of organisations, but agent operations and telephone tapping was more restricted. The question was therefore not what to do about a particular adversary, but who was and who was not considered anti-democratic. This process thus makes clear how democratic states construe their perceptions of the adversary.

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Central to the analysis will be to identify the criteria on the basis of which the BVD decided which individuals and organisations were ‘extremists’, and hence a threat to the survival of democracy, and which political, economic, and social organisations were ‘bonafide’, the term the security service used to label organisations they considered to be ‘democratic’.8 In order to analyse these dynamics this chapter centres on the perceptions of the BVD vis-à-vis a new phenomenon in the 1980s, which was labelled ‘the movement’. This movement consisted of a heterogeneous group of antimilitarists, peace and anti-nuclear activists, women’s activists, squatters, and other groups, some of them peaceful protestors and others violent activists, who from the early 1980s increasingly participated in each other’s activities. According to the BVD, the term ‘the movement’ was used by these groups themselves. The security service consequently adopted the term when they reported on this wide array of activists.9 The rise of the movement stirred a debate between the security service and politicians about the extent to which it should be considered and treated as an adversary of democracy, thus making it open to intelligence gathering by the security service. By analysing this discussion, we gain better understanding of the way in which the BVD specifically separated the ‘antidemocratic’ groups and individuals from bonafide citizens. The archival basis consists of primary sources found in the archive of the Dutch security service, mainly external BVD reports on ‘the movement’, minutes of meetings between the BVD and representatives of the ministry of Justice, and confidential minutes of the meetings between the director of the Dutch security service BVD and the minister of Home Affairs, who was politically responsible for the BVD. These sources reveal the perspective of the security service and more broadly the Dutch state. Other perspectives, particularly competing definitions of ­democracy of the individuals and organisations that were the object of the political intelligence gathering activities, have been left out. They form a good point of departure for future research, but this chapter solely focuses on the state. The main goal here is to explore how the security service policed the democratic order, a study that should shed light on the mechanisms with which Dutch democracy more broadly included and excluded citizens under the umbrella of securing the democratic state.



‘Enemy Images’: A Conceptual Framework States have different means with which they pursue security, such as the constitution, criminal law, the military, and the police. In the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, states have institutionalised a new kind of instrument to safeguard national security: intelligence and security services.10 These organisations, in which a distinction should be made between foreign intelligence services (operating abroad) and domestic security services (monitoring political extremism and countering espionage by foreign powers at home), have been studied since the 1950s. Most scholars bring into focus the modus operandi and the institutional and operational histories of these organisations.11 Only recently have they started to study contextual factors, such as the political cultures, society, and the historical trajectories of the states these intelligence and security services are part of and subjected to, using concepts such as ‘intelligence cultures’ and ‘cultures of national security’.12 The domestic dimension of the intelligence community—security services—such as the British Security Service (MI5), the West German Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Bf V), and the Dutch BVD have been described in institutional, organisational, and operational histories, but historical analyses of the role of domestic security services in defending democracies, are sparse.13 They do feature in broader accounts of the way states ‘take in data on citizens’ for security (and other) reasons, a strand in the literature called ‘surveillance studies’, and in studies focusing on ‘the secret state’ and ‘invisible government’ as part of a broader set of security instruments used against citizens.14 Jennifer Luff, for example, compared institutions and practices of ‘policing politics’ in Great Britain and the United States, aimed at countering extremists such as radicals, strikers, and communists, paying special attention to the role of MI5 and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.15 This chapter contributes to this strand of the literature. In the first place, as in surveillance studies, aiming to understand the ‘diffusion of practices of watching, counting, and recording the actions of citizens and subjects’, in order to shed light on the relation between democracies and their adversaries.16 Secondly, we will try, as Luff does, to understand the specific dynamics of ‘policing politics’, in our case by concentrating on the way the BVD, through collecting intelligence on the adversaries of Dutch democracy—extremists, or more precisely ‘organisations, groups, and individuals’ who ‘pose a threat to the survival of the democratic

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order in the State’—claimed to contribute to the protection of the Dutch democratic order. In order to shed light on the process behind the formation of threat perceptions of the ‘movement’ within the Dutch security service the conceptual framework of ‘enemy images’ will be used. These enemy images have been the object of study of ‘polemology’ or peace studies, a field of academic inquiry that developed in the nineteenth century. In the 1980s polemologists shifted their focus as a result of a ‘growing alarm about the production and threatened use of nuclear weapons’.17 One of the academic fruits of this upsurge in peace studies of the 1980s, was a book by the Dutch polemologists Leon Wecke and Henk-Jan Rebel, in which Wecke wrote a chapter on enemy images and public opinion.18 Wecke observes that politicians often use enemy images in order to win public support for their policies. Wondering why they succeed, he tried to uncover how and why individuals are susceptible to sociological processes of ‘enemy thinking’ and dissects enemy images in order to assess their political and social effects.19 In so doing, he presented a useful conceptual framework, which we can use to analyse the discussion about the perceived antidemocratic nature of ‘the movement’. In this framework three concepts are important: enemies, threats, and enemy images. ‘Enemies’ are ‘individuals or groups that are assumed to constitute a serious threat to other individuals and groups’. A threat, according to Wecke, is defined as a ‘potential for suffering and damage that may be inflicted upon other individuals, groups or society’. Enemy images, finally, are understood as ‘a conception of the other based on the aspect of enmity’.20 Wecke argues that in order to understand the function of an enemy image, the scholar should ask who the subscribers to the enemy image are, what the object of the enemy image is (to whom or what does it refer?), what its substance is (what is disagreeable about it?), what the characteristics of the image are (in terms of intensity, importance, and salience for example), and what its functions and causes are.21 For the purpose of this chapter, the object of the enemy image is particularly relevant. Any political actor, state, treaty organisation, or ­ international conglomerate may be perceived of as an enemy by a specific group, but in general different dimensions and elements in the enemy image are emphasised. Sometimes a group is presented as an economic threat, whilst in other instances the enemy image is constituted by (a mix of) political, military, psychological, ideological, technical, social, and



cultural dimensions. Within each of these dimensions, the ‘subscriber’ can stress specific elements, such as the capabilities, intentions, vital interests, circumstances, and expectations of the perceived enemy.22 Although Wecke’s goal was to understand how audiences become convinced by these enemy images, his framework is useful in analysing the diverging threat perceptions vis-à-vis ‘the movement’. First, we will establish to what extent different dimensions of democracy’s adversary were discerned, ranging from economic, political, military, ­psychological, ideological, technical, social, and cultural, or a mix of them. The second part of the analysis focuses on the specific elements within ­ these ­dimensions: the capabilities, intentions, circumstances, vital interests, and expectations. Finally, when different perspectives on the same ­‘adversary of democracy’ are found, they will be explained, in order to better understand the practices of ‘policing politics’ by the Dutch security service.

Context of the Case: Communism as the Ultimate Adversary In order to understand the discussion about ‘the movement’, we need to understand how the Dutch security service determined in general who posed a threat to the democratic order and who did not. The circumstances of the institutionalisation of the first domestic security service was of great influence on their threat perceptions. The establishment of the first security service, the Central Intelligence Service (Centrale Inlichtingendienst) in 1919, was the result of the fear that revolution would take place in the Netherlands, just as it had in Russia and—after the end of the First World War—seemingly in many other states too. Especially as a result of the scare of November 1918, as revolutionary unrest spread across Europe, most Western authorities, the Dutch included, increasingly perceived the internationalist revolutionary appeal as a threat to their democracies.23 This fear became even more intense, when revolutionary unrest broke out in Germany. Dutch authorities feared that ‘the revolutionary flood would inexorably come westward’.24 The cabinet, the mayors of the larger cities, the police, and the military wanted to know whether leftist parties and workers’ movements in the Netherlands aspired to take part in staging a revolution, as they

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had done in Russia and now in Germany. Ever since, Dutch social and political organisations on the extreme left, such as the Trotskyists, socialists, Bolsheviks, and communists have been considered extremist. In the eyes of the authorities, their radical political goals and their internationalism made them a threat to democratic order. The security service became a node for information on the strength of, support for, intentions, and possible future courses of actions of left extremist political of the workers’ movement.25 Although it monitored a broad range of organisations, from pacifist organisations to Esperanto speakers and rightist clubs, the most important adversary of the democratic order and state—by far— was the revolutionary threat of socialism and communism. The security service tried to establish to what extent revolutionaries in The Netherlands, supported and/or inspired by extremists from abroad, were capable of and willing to bring revolution to The Netherlands.26 The Central Security Service (Centrale Veiligheidsdienst), which was established on 9 April 1946 as the Cold War was unfolding, adhered to more or less the same threat perceptions. Western threat perceptions were structured after the communist party staged a coup in Czechoslovakia on 25 February 1948, triggering a firm anti-communist reaction of the Dutch public and parliament. Although neither the government nor the security service truly believed a military offensive of the Soviet Union or a coup by the Dutch communist party to be an imminent threat, it did reinforce the enemy image of communism. The scenario in Prague, the capital of a country with a democratic tradition of two decades, painted a telling picture of Stalin’s invisible hand and a group of internal enemies effectively abolishing democracy. An outside power might prepare a military invasion, whilst in the meantime it secretly sent spies and saboteurs to assume sensitive positions in order to sabotage the political and military machinery at the time of the invasion. In the meantime, the outside power also instructed, trained, and directed communist parties in order to undermine the political order. This communist ‘fifth column’ was perceived of as ‘a more or less centrally organised group of party members, performing all kinds of services for the future enemy’ which would ‘fight shoulder to shoulder with the invading enemy columns, as soon as the moment of overt struggle had come’.27 This idea of a military fifth column faded somewhat in the détente period in the Cold War. Under the umbrella of Mutually Assured Destruction, the communist threat became more important in the economic, political, and cultural domains. As the later head of the security



service Andries Kuipers put it already in 1959, the main goal of the BVD became to ‘prevent that communists would be able to translate their political ideas into action’.28 Wecke’s conceptual framework reveals how the enemy image was formed over time. In the first place, the Dutch security service’s enemy image of communism encompassed all of Wecke’s dimensions: overall, the security service saw communism as an economic, a political, a military, a psychological, an ideological, a technical, a social, and a cultural threat. In the Interwar period, when the Centrale Inlichtingendienst collected intelligence on revolutionaries, the threat was mainly political and economic—the military dimension did not play a role. Until the late 1920s, the idea was prevalent that Dutch revolutionaries—supported and/or inspired by revolutionary events elsewhere—would cause unrest in order to stage a revolution. They would presumably do so through their political activities, such as their public demonstrations and propaganda or by causing economic unrest (for example through organising strikes). In the early Cold War, the military dimension (Dutch communists would facilitate Stalin’s or Khrushchev invasion) and the economic dimension (organising strikes would lead to the worker’s revolution) were dominant in the enemy image of communism. And in the second part of the Cold War, from the 1960s onwards when détente set in and the ‘nuclear umbrella’ pushed the potential outbreak of military conflict in the West to the background, the political, psychological, ideological, technical, social, and cultural dimensions of the enemy were increasingly emphasised.29 The capabilities, intentions, circumstances, vital interests, and expectations of these specific dimensions of the security service’s enemy image of communism, differed over time. In terms of capabilities, to begin with, the extent to which Dutch communists (with help from communists elsewhere) could do damage to the Dutch democracy varied, according to the assessments of the security service. The Centrale Inlichtingendienst concluded in 1928 for example that ‘the times were quiet’; the communist party was ‘barely capable’ of causing ‘communist agitation’. The capabilities to do political and economic harm were therefore assessed as very limited.30 In the Cold War, in the eyes of the security service, the communist capabilities to do military, political, and economic harm were far greater. The military potential remained important in the détente period,

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but was outpaced by a stronger emphasis of the security service of ­communism’s capabilities in the economic, political, psychological, ideological, technical, social, and cultural dimensions. According to Louis Einthoven (head of the BVD between 1949 and 1961), Khrushchevs ‘peaceful coexistence’ was considered as a form of class struggle. By putting up a friendly face, the Soviet Union tried to spread the idea amongst Western populations ‘that maintaining and expanding intensive defence establishments and defence instruments would be unnecessary’, the BVD argued.31 The capabilities of the communist enemy lay, in the eyes of the BVD, in their potential to combine external and internal pressure. Dutch democracy was in their eyes threatened by an external and internal enemy: The Soviet Union and their ‘helping hands’, the Dutch communists. This adversary was not to be underestimated, according to Einthoven. He considered world communism as ‘a gigantic enemy, which recoiled from nothing’, and transformed the security service accordingly into an offensive intelligence organisation, with a wide span of activities, an ‘opponent of a subversive mentality’. The security service thus became a front soldier in the Cold War, countering intelligence activities from communist intelligence officers and monitoring the ‘fifth column’ of Dutch communists and other extremist organisations.32 The other elements of the different dimensions of the enemy image (the long term and strategic intentions, the vital interests at stake, and the expectations for the future) remained surprisingly similar. The BVD argued in the 1980s that although the public was to a lesser extent convinced of the fundamental ‘enmity’ of the communist ideology and the relentless ‘cut-throat competition’ it waged against the West, at its core, the essence of the communist enemy remained unchanged: the communist ideology still rested on the intent to replace democracy by a workers’ dictatorship.33 Would communists have their way, the security service argued, the democratic order, freedom, and even the economic, political, and social order as such might collapse. The security service therefore often assessed that although the communist adversary’s actual capability to reach its goals was low, it was still legitimate and necessary to keep monitoring the communist adversary: there were, after all, still individuals, groups, and organisations within Dutch democracy, who subscribed to the communist ideology and who openly and clandestinely met with international communists. Collecting vast amounts of



intelligence on communist organisations and individuals was therefore still necessary, since any change in future potentials, would be so grave a threat, that it should be prevented at any cost, the BVD reasoned.34 As a result, when in the 1960s student activism and international terrorism presented themselves as new enemies of the Dutch democratic order, the BVD decided that ‘the policy of the security service remains unchanged’. Communism, in essence, had not changed, they reasoned during détente: opposing this threat, the respective heads of service adamantly decided, remained the cardinal responsibility of the security service.35 This continuity in the enemy image, with its different dimensions and elements, can be explained by the fact that it provided a clear sense of destiny: communism’s ideology, policies, and track record proved that it posed a threat to democracies worldwide. The adversary was, in addition, identifiable: communists read communist newspapers and journals and they were generally a member of the Communist Party of the Netherlands (Communistische Partij Nederland) or a communist trade union or cultural organisation. Bureaucratically, the BVD’s focus on communism clearly demarcated its raison d’etre from that of the ordinary police, which only acted against ‘mere criminal’ actions and social unrest without a clear ideological goal. The BVD, on the other hand, was tasked to stop a serious ­adversary that planned to bring down democracy before it could act out its plans. The fact that these organisations, groups, and individuals adhered to a clear and for capitalist, liberal democracies hostile ideology, and the fact that these people secretly and openly strove to abolish the democratic order, made them a legitimate target for intelligence gathering; even by using the most intrusive means such as telephone taps, microphone bugs, the opening of letters, break-ins, and the running of agents and informants.36 As a result, the enemy image became fixated and transformed into the norm for assessing to what extent other groups, individuals, and organisations posed a threat to the democratic order and state security. This is not to say that in the eyes of the security service the plans and structure of communism remained unchanged over the entire Cold War. On the contrary, the security service became very proficient in establishing the plans, intentions, and changes within international and domestic communist circles.37 But despite the fact that the security service was aware of every variance and adaptation in communist strategies, this

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never led to a substantial decrease in operational activities in communist organisations. The interference with the CPN only diminished in the second half the 1980s.38

Non-communist Adversaries: Vaguer Enemy Images The communist enemy image implicitly and indirectly became the mental benchmark for deciding whether or not the BVD should collect intelligence on a specific target or not. This meant that other groups and organisations, that might pose a threat to the democratic order or state secrecy in terms of their political goals and their activities but lacked the clear ideological and international dimensions that the communist adversary did have, were largely ignored. In the 1960s and 1970s, the security service had to make some difficult judgements about whom to include and exclude from the ‘normal’ democratic playing field, as more and more loosely organised student and youth organisations, groups, and individuals took the streets. Sometimes they presented themselves as socialists, anarchists, or communists, but most of the time they did not adhere to a clearly defined ideology at all. And so, the question for the security service was whether these new groups and organisations threatened the democratic order and state security, and whether the BVD should step up its intelligence activities in youth and student organisations. For the security service this was anything but obvious. Provo activism, for example, the BVD argued, represented a threat to public order, more than a threat to democracy, despite their anarchist slogans. Many rebellious and sometimes violent groups lacked the ideological clarity of the communists and therefore did not meet the criteria of ‘extremism’ or anti-democratic activity. Only when the security service suspected certain student leaders of maintaining contacts with international or Dutch communist organisations, or when it feared that communists tried to infiltrate non-communist organisations, did it intensify its intelligence collection about these organisations.39 The BVD’s enemy image of youth and student activism encompassed, therefore, fewer dimensions than communism. Whereas its traditional enemy image of communism had economic, political, military, psychological, ideological, technical, social, and cultural dimensions, youth activism was perceived of as—only—a threat to public order. Only a part of the youth and student movement, mainly the individuals



and organisations that explicitly adhered to anarchism, socialism, or ­communism, were considered a political threat. If they maintained international contacts, then state security was at stake and the BVD argued that they their intelligence collection was legitimate. But this applied only to a small fringe of these new groups. In the eyes of the BVD the youth and students were hardly an ‘enemy’ in terms of their capabilities, intentions, circumstances, vital interests, and expectations. Their capability to actually threaten the democratic order was very limited, the BVD argued, especially because the students were not backed by an adversary state such as the Soviet Union. In addition, many of these new groups had vaguer and more limited intentions than communists: they pursued reform within university or more generally democratisation, for example. In this regard, they differed markedly from the communist enemy, whose intention it was to subvert the democratic order and replace it by a non-democratic form of government. For the BVD, the circumstances in which this new youth and student activism rose, caused them to be rebellious, but not a proper threat to the democratic order. The vital interests at stake were largely public order and local authority. The security service did not expect that large-scale unrest, such as in France in May 1968, would occur in the Netherlands.40 Dutch politicians begged to differ, however. More in particular after the events of May 1968 in France, where student revolts at the Sorbonne brought the French Republic to the verge of collapse, the threat of these youngsters became more real in the eyes of the Dutch establishment. Although the unrest in the Netherlands never assumed the scale of the French student revolt at the Sorbonne, Dutch politicians did think that the youth and students challenged the established order. By organising disruptive demonstrations, marches, happenings, and extra-parliamentary activities public order and authority seemed at stake. Because in the eyes of the politicians, the political and social order were at stake, they developed a more intense enemy image of specifically the student movement. In terms of capabilities, intentions, circumstances, vital interests, and expectations, the students were a proper enemy of democracy, politicians argued: with their collective actions, in the perception of politicians the students had proven to be capable and willing to reach their goals in an undemocratic way. Politicians expected them to keep trying. The vital interest in political eyes was nothing less than the democratic order itself. And therefore, politicians started to pressure the security service to modify

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its enemy images and intensify their intelligence activities in youth and student circles.41 A comparable discrepancy in the enemy images of politicians, the public, and the security service became apparent when from the 1970s on some young people radicalised and resorted to political violence and terrorism. Evidently, these activities obtained a more threatening character than the mostly playful and peaceful forms of student protests. With left extremist groups, such as the Red Youth, bombing buildings and claiming not to eschew killing people (which they did not do), and SouthMoluccan nationalist youth groups hijacking trains and taking hostages at primary schools and government buildings throughout the 1970s, politicians perceived the democratic order to be threatened. In terms of intentions the BVD doubted whether these groups actually posed a threat to the democratic order as such, as in their view they did not adhere to an ideology comparable to communism. These youngsters had more limited political goals. The security service, nevertheless, accepted that it had a task in countering their disruptive actions for pragmatic reasons (rather than changed enemy images).42 Operations were stepped up, with varying intensity, against a wide array of groups and organisations, ranging from antimilitaristic and pacifist groups (e.g. Bond voor Dienstplichtigen, Internationale Communisten Bond, Onkruit), the peace movement, and anti-nuclear activists to politically violent activists, squatters, and right extremist youth organisations. At the beginning of the 1980s, the Red Resistance Front (Rood Verzetsfront) posed the largest threat, according to the BVD. The director of the service between 1978 and 1984, Pieter De Haan, wrote in a report to the ministry of Home Affairs that although this group started out as a support group for the West German Rote Armee Fraktion, it now had ‘hardened in its activities’, because the members had ‘resorted to violence’.43 The BVD therefore increased its intelligence activities against the Rood Verzetsfront. In October 1980 the BVD reported that sound intelligence work and effective cooperation with the Justice Department had prevented several attacks by the group.44 Although the BVD’s enemy image of Rood Verzetsfront had fewer dimensions than their communist enemy image, the BVD did accept that the violent attacks of the group damaged the democratic order in the sense that the political intentions of the violent attacks could have a political, social, and perhaps psychological effect on democracy. People might become afraid, the BVD argued. Interestingly, in terms of the



capabilities, intentions, circumstances, vital interests, and expectations, we would expect the enemy image to be far stronger in the political, social, and the psychological dimensions: because these groups were actually carrying out violent actions to strive for their political goals, they had proven to have the capability and the intention to become an enemy of the democratic order. In these circumstances, the violent youngsters actually formed a potential threat, and they were expected to remain so as long as they were not disbanded. The politically violent groups’ capabilities to do damage, in other words, were much higher. Despite the many mistakes they made, these violent groups resorted eventually to violence in the form of bombing, kidnapping, and damaging property. In addition, they ‘broadened’ their span of activities. This justified, in the eyes of the security service, intelligence activities against them.45

Activist Cross-Fertilisation: Enemy Images Start to Blur At the same time, the BVD observed that Rood Verzetsfront progressively took a sympathetic stance towards the activities of squatters, ‘resistance’ groups against nuclear energy, and the actions of antimilitarist clubs such as Onkruit.46 More generally, the BVD stated that the distinctions between clearly politically violent groups and non-violent groups started to blur. In 1980, increasing ‘activist cross-fertilisation’ amongst very different groups was observed. Antimilitarists started to strive for goals, ‘which generated discontent in other circles’, such as ‘resistance against housing policies, the application of nuclear energy, action for environmental conservation’, the BVD wrote; squatters aligned with peace and anti-nuclear activists and vice versa; and anarchist youngsters sought affiliation with antimilitarists and squatters. In addition, inspired by violent anarchist groups in Italy, France, and Spain, Dutch squatters and politically violent activists joined forces and established a Dutch branch of ‘the self governers’ or ‘autonomists’ (Autonomen).47 It even appeared that the Soviet Union was actively using Dutch communists to infiltrate in the Dutch peace movement.48 During the coronation ceremony of the new Dutch queen Beatrix, on 30 April 1980 in Amsterdam, the BVD learned that the blurring lines between the broader social movements and the politically violent groups were not just a theoretical problem, but a very real one. Although the squatters and autonomists accounted for most of the orchestrated violence that took place that day, the security service concluded that

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besides them and ‘the usual punks’, members of the antimilitarist groups Onkruit and the Bond voor Dienstplichtigen and the RAF sympathisers in the Rood Verzetsfront participated in the violent activities, although on a limited scale. For the first time, the problem of this wide array of antimilitaristic, anti-nuclear, and squatting organisations, calling themselves ‘the movement’, appeared on the BVD’s radar. The BVD copied the term in their reports: ‘the movement’ was now developing into a complex, yet more threatening enemy.49 Ideologically, the movement seemed to represent a new way of thinking about violence. An ‘ideologue’ within the movement told a source of the BVD that: the traditional left thinks in terms of conflict resolution, whilst the movement thinks in terms of conflict as a mode of action. Chaos, with all its new possibilities, has been discovered, we try to live it, without providing new solutions, new forms, or new myths.50

The merging and fading of boundaries between all these clubs, organisations, and groups created a problem for the security service. Because the movement was an umbrella for so many different people, as a whole it represented many dimensions of an enemy image. There were people with political goals, economic goals, and military plans, but also more ideological and social activists within the movement. Some just wanted to petition to reach their goals, whilst others opted for sit-ins, occupations of government buildings, or even bombings. It proved impossible for the BVD, therefore, to construe a single enemy image of the movement. Not only did the dimensions vary from economic, political, and military to the social and cultural, but the BVD also wondered whether the movement as a whole had the capabilities and intentions to hurt the vital interests, making use of the right circumstances (now or in the future) to actually damage the democratic order. As a result, the security service hesitated to step up their intelligence activities against the movement. The question was how they could discern between the extremist parts of the movements and the legitimate and thus non-threatening section. Insofar the youngsters involved were unambiguously violent, ‘thorough observation’ was legitimate, the security service argued. When squatters obtained plastic bombs and they were willing to commit largescale attacks, the security service argued that—in addition to the police



and the Ministry of Justice—they should step into try to prevent those attacks from happening.51 In practice this often meant that the security service did not only use ‘open sources’ such as pamphlets and newspapers to gather intelligence, but also agent operations and telephone taps. Under political pressure to stop the violent activism of the movement, the security service stepped up its intelligence collection efforts about the movement between 1980 and 1983: presumably it recruited more informants and agents and it used a larger number of technical means to understand the intentions and capabilities of these groups. As a result, the BVD wrote more thorough intelligence reports about the Autonomen, the ‘almost non-existent ideological motivation’ of the Rood Verzetsfront, the history, theory, and current activities of the Anarchist movement, and the Antinuclear movement, which in the words of the security service ‘almost certainly was exploited by undemocratic elements to oppose the functioning of the parliamentary democracy’. In these reports the BVD focused on ideological orientation, international and national contacts, and organisation of the different groups of ‘the movement’, assessing their capabilities and intentions.52 Dealing with these evidently violent groups was not the problem, however; the non-violent part of the movement, that posed no threat to democracy, the legal order, or state security, such as the peace movement and anti-nuclear activists were. On the one hand, the BVD feared that too much state interference with and repression of these bonafide or democratic groups, would push peaceful citizens beyond the threshold and thus make them violent.53 On the other hand, the security service had learned that the movement was a politically sensitive topic. In 1980, parliament had learned about the possible interference of the security service in the Dutch peace movement, which incited several furious responses from members of parliament. These peaceful and completely legal forms of activism should not be impeded by domestic intelligence work, leftist parliamentarians reasoned, even if the BVD argued that it was not their potential for threatening the democratic order but state security (Soviet influence!) that was at stake. Therefore, the security service had learned to act very cautiously vis-á-vis ‘less structured groups and movements’ of activists that in themselves did not pose a threat to the democratic, legal order, state security or ‘other interests of the state’, such as the squatters, women’s rights activists, the anti-nuclear movement, and antimilitarism.54

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In the eyes of the BVD, their interference would become public in the end, and so it was a scandal waiting to happen. The BVD was therefore reluctant to ‘police politics’ in the case of the movement. First, the security service argued that democracy would not benefit from ‘radicalising’ up to then democratic activists, since that would make the actual antidemocratic groups needlessly stronger. In order to keep the capacity to damage democracy low, too much intelligence gathering activities might anger these people and push them into the violent camp, the BVD argued. Second, parliamentary democracy made the BVD extraordinarily sensitive to public opinion and political upheaval. If it ever would come out that the BVD was ‘spying’ on perfectly legal and democratic activists, exactly those people who constitute the democratic order, then in public opinion the BVD would most probably lose its legitimacy. That would have political repercussions.

Practical and Political Problems: Conflicting Enemy Images This stance was laudable and theoretically convincing, but untenable in practice. All the different parts of the movement ‘increasingly participated in each other’s actions’, the BVD observed in 1982. As the B department of the security service, responsible for defending the democratic order, wrote in a memo in September 1982, they had already ‘joined forces’.55 On 8 September 1982, the director of the security service, Pieter de Haan, accompanied by a high-level manager of the BVD, met with the Public Prosecutors, as they had done regularly since 1945, to discuss policy issues and possible cases in which the domestic intelligence work overlapped with criminal and public order issues falling under their jurisdiction. The Public Prosecutor of Arnhem started the discussions on developments within the movement by saying that he felt the antimilitarist and squatter actions were ‘of increasing seriousness’. De Haan agreed, but pointed out there were a number of problems. In the first place, countering the violent actions of the antimilitarists and the squatters was a matter of many different governmental organisations. The police intelligence services, who were instructed by the BVD, did ‘the real work’. They collected information, talked to the informants, ran the agents, etcetera. They communicated with the crime departments of the police, which might have relevant information.



Then the ministry of Home Affairs weighs in and ‘puts as many pieces of the puzzle together as possible’, including BVD intelligence. Given the many organisational and bureaucratic layers involved, De Haan explained to the Public Prosecutors, coordination problems arose, making a proper counterstrategy to the movement virtually impossible. A second problem, De Haan explained, was of operational nature. Most of the violent groups consisted of ten to fifteen people. They acted autonomously, without being directed by a central command or a foreign power—international contacts only existed on an individual level. In order to actually stop the violent actions, ‘access on many levels was required’, according to De Haan. This would require a lot more personnel. For the same reason, the BVD did not collect intelligence on the people in the environment of the actual violent activists, who traditionally had a ‘restraining effect’ on the violent youth. The Public Prosecutors understood, but regretted it at the same time. From their point of view large-scale, organised, and structural violence stemming from the movement could seriously disrupt the democratic order. By taking this stance, they subscribed to an enemy image of the movement that was more intense than that of the BVD. The enemy image of the Public Prosecutors encompassed more dimensions (not just political but also psychological and perhaps ideological) and in terms of the elements, they expected that the movement actually had the capabilities and intentions to do harm to the democratic order.56 As time passed, the BVD perceived the mixing of antidemocratic and democratic citizens to be increasingly problematic. De Haan decided in 1983 that his organisation would refrain from using ‘all the means the security service has at its disposal’ against these groups. Although some activities were necessary because some of these peaceful forms of protest and activism could turn violent at a later stage, he made it BVD’s policy to primarily strive to monitor these trends using the least intrusive intelligence gathering methods, such as open sources and informants. He made an exception for the antimilitarists, since their anti-NATO and anti-capitalist standpoints, made them antidemocratic in terms of intentions: De Haan argued that endangering the Dutch membership of NATO would threaten the Dutch democracy’s capacity to be secure from military invasion by the Soviet Union. Only in NATO, Dutch democracy could survive, De Haan argued. Against the antimilitarist activists, he was therefore prepared to use intrusive intelligence methods.

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But ‘observing the movement as a whole’ was not the task of the security service, he decided.57 On 18 May 1983, De Haan sat down with minister of Home Affairs J.G. Rietkerk and informed him that most of the actions of the movement consisted of ‘disturbances with a criminal aspect’, which were therefore a matter for the police, not for the security service, demonstrating a confined enemy image. There were additional reasons for the BVD not to get involved, De Haan explained. In the first place, the movement’s groups and organisations ‘increasingly took part in each other’s actions’. Antimilitarists, anti-nuclear activists, and squatters even ‘joined forces with the women’s movement’. Operationally, this diversification made it really difficult to gain access at all levels and in all the different forums, let alone that it would be possible to recruit reliable agents in all these activist circles. Principally, De Haan argued, he did not consider it a task for the BVD either. According to the royal decree of 1972, it was the responsibility of the security service ‘to collect intelligence on organisations, groups, and individuals of whom, considering their goals or actual activities, the security service reasonably suspect that they pose a threat to the survival of the democratic order’, De Haan lectured: ‘Of many organisations, groups, and persons who are engaged in (violent) political activism, it is hardly tenable that they fall under this description’. Secondly, De Haan explained, parliament would not want the security service to interfere in activist organisations, ‘which in no way threatened the democratic order or state security’. That would most certainly lead to fierce reactions, he warned ominously.58 The minister challenged De Haan’s limited enemy image and added political, psychological, and ideological dimensions. He understood the operational problems and agreed with De Haan’s caution regarding the operational means such as agent operations and technical intelligence gathering, but nevertheless urged the security service to continue its operational activities in ‘the movement’. In essence, he was convinced that the threatening nature of ‘the movement’ lay in its potential to subvert the democratic order. He took their capabilities and intentions seriously and disagreed with De Haan that the movement should ‘only’ be seen as a criminal phenomenon: the movement ‘carried in it the seeds of phenomena that threaten the democratic legal order or state security’, Rietkerk told De Haan, the BVD’s continued intelligence collection was absolutely vital. The service was ‘at all times responsible in the early



stages for phenomena that might cause a threat to the democratic order and state security’, Rietkerk decided.59 The BVD’s enemy image of the movement had fewer dimensions, and within those the capabilities, intentions, vital interests, circumstances, and expectations were rather low. De Haan did not expect that the movement could really threaten the democratic state. There were some threatening aspects in a political and perhaps ideological sense, but within these dimensions the movement was not expected to be capable and willing, nor in the right circumstances, to hurt vital interests. On the political side, however, the enemy image seemed to consist of more dimensions (at least the political, psychological, and ideological ones), and within these Rietkerk deemed the movement more capable, willing, and threatening to relevant vital interests, than did De Haan. As a result of the minister’s ‘overruling’ enemy image, the BVD was forced to continue intelligence collection on ‘the movement’, be it ‘cautiously’. On the whole, therefore, the movement, which comprehended a very heterogeneous group of individuals, groups, and organisations, was labelled as an adversary of democracy. Under political pressure, the ‘nuanced’ enemy image of the movement of the BVD was swept aside under political pressure. Democratic and undemocratic activists alike were approached as a threat to democracy. In hindsight, Rietkerk and De Haan had different opinions on the potential capability of activists to hurt Dutch democracy. De Haan wanted to target only the groups that were proven to use undemocratic and violent means, and even then, only if they were led by an ideology that somehow carried in it the intention to abolish the democratic order. Rietkerk was more pragmatic and he ordered De Haan to maintain informants and agents and to keep using technical means, even if democratic activists who posed no threat to democracy whatsoever were targeted in those intelligence collection efforts.60

Conclusion Whilst in the 1970s the groups that were using violent methods were clearly set apart from broader social movements that used peaceful means, the 1980s made it more difficult for the security service to make this distinction. Violently active youngsters increasingly joined forces with various non-violent social movements. The rise of ‘the movement’ exemplified how difficult it was for the Dutch security service to decide

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which forms of youth activism and protest were acceptable and which forms were not. The traditional view which was based on identifying the presence of a strong ideological intention to subvert democracy, was not identifiable in all these groups. In addition, the ‘enemy image’ of the movement was more dispersed and less homogeneous than the communist enemy image. Especially regarding the expectations and the future capabilities, the BVD did not consider the movement to be an important adversary of democracy. Politicians, strikingly, were prepared to use more intrusive methods despite the peaceful nature of the movements’ repertoires, and the security service itself tried to tone down this political inclination to use agent operations, microphones, and telephone taps when it suited them. Because of this political pressure, the security service kept a close eye on the Autonomen, anti-nuclear activists, antimilitarism, and squatters. But they did try to make a distinction between activism and protest repertoires that were part of democracy, and those that threatened democracy. The more mixed up the different elements of youth activism and protest of the movement became, however, the more difficult it proved to make these distinctions in practice. In theory, the BVD approached the movement cautiously. In practice, however, the increasing interaction of all these youngsters in different groups, made it possible that the security service ran an agent in an organisation that did not pose a threat to democracy at all. Wecke’s model helps to analyse these conflicting enemy images and thus sheds new light on the dynamics behind the way the BVD contributed to the protection of Dutch democracy. The different dimensions and elements, particularly in terms of the capabilities, intentions, and expectations, clarifies how the ‘enemy image’ of different actors differed from each other. It shows us that the way that the Dutch security service helped protect democracy against adversaries, was pragmatic (operational considerations played a role), but also in some ways nuanced and formal. In contrast to its perception of the classical communist adversary, the newer enemy images were all composed of fewer dimensions and elements. In De Haan’s view, the movement encompassed also activists who made use of democratic means, exactly those means the BVD aimed to protect. Therefore, he refrained from using intrusive intelligence collection methods such as agent operations and technical operations: he wanted to rely only on informants and open sources.



Politicians did not agree and presented a different enemy image. Rietkerk argued that the movement as a whole carried in it ‘the seeds of danger’, an argument the BVD had always used to justify the many intelligence activities in the communist party: even though there were no indications that the capabilities to subvert the democratic order were used in the here and now, the idea that they might do so in the future, was enough to label them antidemocratic. Politics was policed by the politicians in this case and the security service’s enemy image was overruled. Whereas in other cases (think of militant extremists marching through the streets) it might be crystal clear for the democratic parties involved who needs to be considered an adversary of democracy, this particular Dutch case has shown that this labelling process is layered, complex, and contested. Various democratic actors embraced different enemy images, with notable differences in the range of dimensions and elements, and thus argued over the extent to which the movement was antidemocratic. Implicitly, then, they therefore adhered to different concepts of democracy. In De Haan’s view democracies could only fight adversaries if the adversary actually had the intentions and capabilities to resort to undemocratic repertoires of action to reach their goals. In his eyes there were a few groups and individuals that did, but the majority did not, making ‘the movement’ a divided and thus not so dangerous adversary. Rietkerk swept these subtleties aside, assessing that the movement had in it the seeds of danger. Potentially, it could become a dangerous adversary and so the democratic state stood in its right to keep a very close eye on the movement. By overruling De Haan, Rietkerk thus singlehandedly altered the definition of democracy.


1. The name of the activist, antimilitarist group is a portmanteau of onkruid (weed) and kruit (gun powder). 2.  In Dutch: ‘Op vrijdag 26 september 1980, omstreeks 11.30 uur, werd door een tweetal groepen van personen bezettingsacties uitgevoerd te Amsterdam. Omstreeks dat tijdstip bezette een groep van ongeveer 30 personen de kamer van de Heer van RIEL, directeur van het Gemeentelijk Energie Bedrijf (…)’. ‘Van hem werd geëist dat het Gemeentelijk Energie Bedrijf te Amsterdam, de contacten zou beëindigen, die het had met de kernenergiecentrale Dodewaard’. ‘Gelijktijdig

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of nagenoeg gelijktijdig werd door de groep “ONKRUIT” een bezettingsactie uitgevoerd op de afdeling “MILITAIRE ZAKEN” van ­ de gemeentelijke Dienst van het Bevolkingsregister te Amsterdam’. Semi-Statisch Archief Militaire Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst, MIVD-inzagedossier Onkruit (1977–2007), Schrijven aan hoofdBVD en hoofd sectie Veiligheid-LAS, nr. 90.944.h.10./Conf, datum 8 oktober 1980. Onderwerp: “ONKRUIT”. [Semi Static Archive of the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MISS), MISS file Onkruit (1977–2007). Letter to the head of the BVD and the head of section Security-LAS, 8 October 1980. Topic: Onkruit.] Internet: http://www. inlichtingendiensten.nl/groepen/onkruit1980.pdf (accessed 2 May 2019). 3.  In Dutch: ‘Men sloot de toegangsdeuren met behulp van kettingen’. Semi-Statisch Archief Militaire Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst, MIVDinzagedossier Onkruit (1977–2007), Schrijven aan hoofd-BVD en hoofd sectie Veiligheid-LAS, nr. 90.944.h.10./Conf, datum 8 oktober 1980. Onderwerp: “ONKRUIT”. [Same file as in endnote 1.] Internet: http:// www.inlichtingendiensten.nl/groepen/onkruit1980.pdf (accessed 2 May 2019). 4. In Dutch: ‘Uit de onmiddellijke omgeving van die groep reed een rode personenauto weg, voorzien van het Duitse kenteken…. In deze auto reed een vrouw met de leeftijd van ongeveer 25 jaar. (…) Uit dezerzijds verkregen informatie is gebleken dat deze vrouw in de Bondsrepubliek bekend staat als een politiek erg actieve vrouw, die in het verleden meermalen heeft meegedaan aan anti-atoomdemonstraties’. MIVDinzagedossier Onkruit (1977–2007), Schrijven aan hoofd-BVD en hoofd sectie Veiligheid-LAS, nr. 90.944.h.10./Conf, datum 8 oktober 1980. Onderwerp: “ONKRUIT”. [Same file as in endnote 1.] Internet: http:// www.inlichtingendiensten.nl/groepen/onkruit1980.pdf (accessed 2 May 2019). 5.  E.g. L.K. Johnson, ‘Congressional Supervision of America’s Secret Agencies: The Experience and Legacy of the Church Committee’, in L.K. Johnson and J.J. Wirtz (eds.), Intelligence and National Security: The Secret World of Spies: An Anthology, 2nd edition (New York and Oxford 2008), 391–403, there 392–393. 6.  SSA Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD) [Semi Static Archive of the General Intelligence and Security Service], Panorama, October 1979–April 1980. 7. E.g. SSA AIVD, Quarter year report BVD, first year quarter 1980; SSA AIVD, Panorama, October 1979–April 1980. 8. C.W. Hijzen, Vijandbeelden. De veiligheidsdiensten en de democratie, 1912–1992 (Amsterdam 2016).



9.  SSA, Panorama report 1 April 1982–1 October 1982; SSA AIVD, minutes of the meetings of the Public Prosecutors of the ministry of ­ Justice, 8 September 1982. 10.  E.g. R.A. Dahl, On Democracy (Yale 1998), 45–46; M. Herman, Intelligence Power in Peace and War (Cambridge 1996), 1–2. 11. E.g. Hijzen, Vijandbeelden, 22–24; C.W. Hijzen, ‘De vijand en zijn geheimen. Over de inlichtingengeschiedenis als vakgebied’, Leidschrift 30:3 (2015), 7–24. 12. P.J. Katzenstein, The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics (New York 1996); P.H.J. Davies, ‘Intelligence Culture and Intelligence Failure in Britain and the United States’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs 17:3 (2004); P. Davies, ‘Ideas of Intelligence: Divergent National Concepts and Institutions’, Harvard International Review 24:3 (2002), 62–66; K.M. O’Connell, ‘Thinking About Intelligence Comparatively’, Brown Journal of World Affairs XI:1 (2004), 189–199; B. de Graaff and J.M. Nyce, The Handbook of European Intelligence Cultures (Lanham 2016). 13. C. Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (London 2009); M. Wala en C. Goschler, Keine neue gestapo: das Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz und die NS-Vergangenheit (Hamburg 2015). For a comparative and theoretical perspective see: B.A. Jackson (ed.), Considering the Creation of a Domestic Intelligence Agency in the United States: Lessons from the Experiences of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (RAND Corporation) (Santa Monica 2009); G.F. Treverton and W. Agrell (eds.), National Intelligence Systems: Current Research and Future Prospects (New York 2009). 14. On ‘Surveillance Studies’, see for example: T.G. Marx, ‘Surveillance Studies’, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Volume 23 (Massachussets 2015), 733–741, http://web. mit.edu/gtmarx/www/surv_studies.pdf (accessed 2 May 2019). For a historical perspective see: K. Boersma, R. van Brakel, C. Fiono, and P. Wagenaar, Histories of State Surveillance in Europe and Beyond (London and New York 2014); D. Wise and T.B. Ross, The Invisible Government (London: Mayflower, 1968); E.P. Thompson, The Secret State, State Research Pamphlet No. 1 (London 1979); S. Dorril and R. Ramsay, Smear! Wilson and the Secret State (London: Fourth Estate, 1991). A more recent example is the work of Christopher Moran: C. Moran, Classified: Secrecy and the State in Modern Britain (Cambridge 2012); P. Gill, Policing Politics: Security Intelligence and the Liberal Democratic State (London 1991). 15. J. Luff, ‘Covert and Overt Operations: Interwar Political Policing in the United States and the United Kingdom’, American Historical Review 122:3 (2017), 729–757.

162  C. HIJZEN 16. Ibid., 732. 17.  E.g. Ian M. Harris, Larry J. Fisk, and Carol Rank, ‘A Portrait of University Peace Studies in North America and Western Europe at the End of the Millennium’, International Journal of Peace Studies 3:1 (1998), 91–112. 18. H.-J. Rebel and L. Wecke (eds.), Friends, Foes, Values, and Fears: Inquiry into the Mechanisms of Thought in Peace and Security (Nijmegen 1987). 19. Ibid., 143. 20. Ibid., 146–147. 21. Ibid., 147–153. 22. Ibid., 149–150. 23. A. Read, Wereldbrand: 1919 en de strijd tegen de bolsjewieken (Amsterdam 2009). 24.  R. Rowaan, ‘Naast de grote machten. Nederlands-Duitse politieke en handelspolitieke betrekkingen 1918–1933’, in F. Boterman en M. Vogel (eds.), Nederland en Duitsland in het Interbellum (Hilversum 2003), 207–220, there 211. 25. Rapportage van de Centrale Inlichtingendienst: ‘Verslag van de vergadering met Burgemeesters van de verbindingen met de CI’, no. 74583a, 30 March 1939. [Report from the Central Intelligence Service, Minutes from the meeting with the mayors of the liaisons of the CI.] Internet: http://www.inghist.nl/pdf/cid/2200-2299/2227.pdf. 26. C.W. Hijzen, Vijandbeelden, 37–84. 27.  National Archive, The Hague, Archive of the Ministries for General Warfare of the Realm and General Affairs, and the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, entry 2.03.01, inventory number 11709, G2B [military intelligence service] to the Commissie van Coördinatie voor de Inlichtingenen Veiligheidsdiensten, Various thoughts on fifth column activities, 10 November 1950. 28. Hijzen, Vijandbeelden, 168. 29. C.W. Hijzen, ‘The Perpetual Adversary: How Dutch Security Services Perceived Communism (1918–1989)’, Historical Social Research 38:1 (2013), 166–199. 30. Hijzen, Vijandbeelden, 74. 31. Hijzen, ‘The Perpetual Adversary’, 190. 32. Hijzen, Vijandbeelden, 107. 33. Ibid., 154, 288–289. 34. E.g. Hijzen, Vijandbeelden, 288. 35.  E.g. Aurorabesprekingen [Aurorameetings] 3 May 1965; Besprekingsverslagen hoofd-BVD en minister van Binnenlandse Zaken [Minutes of the meetings head of the BVD and minister of Home Affairs], 8 June 1967 and 12 January 1982.



36. Hijzen, Vijandbeelden, 149–150. 37. D. Engelen, De geschiedenis van de BVD (Den Haag 1995), 164–181. 38. D. Engelen, Frontdienst: de BVD in de Koude Oorlog (Amsterdam 2007), 49–50. 39. D. Engelen, De BVD in de twintigste eeuw: institutionele geschiedenis van de Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst 1945–2000 (Zoetermeer 2000), 61. 40. SSA AIVD, Bulletin nr. 1 ‘Gegevens inzake studentenactiviteiten’, 10 May 1968 [Information on student activities]; Engelen, Per undas adversas, 80–81; Engelen, Frontdienst, 79. 41. Engelen, Frontdienst, 20, 75–76, 158–160, 170. 42.  B.A. de Graaf, Theater van de angst. De strijd tegen terrorisme in Nederland, Duitsland, Italië en Amerika (Amsterdam 2010), 27–30, 37–40; Hijzen, Vijandbeelden, 257–272. 43.  SSA AIVD, Panorama, October 1979–April 1980; SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 1, 1980. 44. SSA AIVD, Panorama, april 1980–oktober 1980. 45. E.g. SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 1, 1978. 46. E.g. SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 3, 1980. 47.  SSA AIVD, Panorama, April 1980–October 1980; SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 1, 1980; SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 2, 1980; SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 2, 1981. 48.  SSA AIVD, Besprekingsverslagen hoofd BVD en minister van Binnenlandse Zaken, 15 January 1981; SSA AIVD, Aurorabijeenkomsten, 20 March 1981. 49. SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 2, 1980. 50.  SSA AIVD, SSA AIVD, notulen van de vergadering van procureursgeneraal met de B.V.D. in het ministerie van Justitie, 8 September 1972. 51. SSA AIVD, Aurorabijeenkomsten, 3 December 1982. 52.  SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 1, 1980; SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 2, 1980; SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 3, 1980; SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 1, 1981; SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 2, 1981; SSA AIVD, Kwartaaloverzicht 4, 1981; SSA AIVD, Aurorabesprekingen, 10 December 1982. 53. SSA AIVD, Aurorabesprekingen, 22 December 1981. 54. Handelingen der Tweede Kamer, zittingsjaar 1981–1982, 2 December 1981, 753. [Proceedings of parliament, parliamentary year 1981–1982.] 55.  SSA AIVD, SSA AIVD, notulen van de vergadering van procureursgeneraal met de B.V.D. in het ministerie van Justitie, 8 September 1982. 56.  SSA AIVD, SSA AIVD, notulen van de vergadering van procureursgeneraal met de B.V.D. in het ministerie van Justitie, 8 September 1982. 57.  SSA AIVD, Panorama, October 1979–April 1980; SSA AIVD, Besprekingsverslagen hoofd BVD en minister van Binnenlandse Zaken, 18 May 1983.

164  C. HIJZEN 58.  SSA AIVD, Besprekingsverslagen hoofd BVD en minister van Binnenlandse Zaken, 18 May 1983. 59.  SSA AIVD, Panorama, October 1979–April 1980; SSA AIVD, Besprekingsverslagen hoofd BVD en minister van Binnenlandse Zaken, 18 May 1983. 60. SSA AIVD, SSA AIVD, notulen van de vergadering van procureurs-generaal met de B.V.D. in het ministerie van Justitie, 15 January 1986; SSA AIVD, Panorama, 1 April 1987–1 October 1988; Panorama, 1 October 1987–1 April 1988.

(In)Effectiveness of Social Movements in Turkish Democracy: Institutional and Non-institutional Cases Yavuz Yildirim

Introduction: Political and Historical Roots of the Definition of Democracy Social movements have, as a result of their opposition to either a specific policy or a broader political ideology, almost by definition an adversarial relationship with established rulers and states. By initiating change through mobilising people bottom-up, social movements question established definitions of ‘democracy’, ‘the people’, and ‘the state’. They do not usually oppose democracy itself, but rather challenge how the concept of democracy operates in practice. As is indicated in the introduction of this volume, democracy ‘depends not just on the regular occurrence of elections, but also on how it is organised, controlled, and run in practice’. Inevitably social movements intend to rearrange the established order, either by gradual reform or sometimes in more radical ways. In this way, they create contention in the system. In response,

Y. Yildirim (*)  Nigde Omer Halisdemir University, Nigde, Turkey © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_7



authorities are inclined to protect the established order by labelling such movements as treacherous. Social movements in Turkey were not leading agents in changing the political system until the late 1990s. They operated at non-institutional level and were unable to generate a challenge to the political system in Turkey. Traditionally, citizens were mobilised to protect the existing state structures rather than to promote greater democracy. There are two reasons for this ineffectiveness: one connected to the movements themselves and the other to the state reaction. On the one hand, social movements in Turkey concentrated on the big questions. Rather than focusing on specific issues in society or in democratic culture, the movements attempted to change or save the government itself. For Turkish movements, ‘becoming the state’ was thus more important than ‘constituting a new society’. On the other hand, ever since the foundation of the Republic, the state responded with hostility to these attempts by emphasising national security rather than the development of democracy. Maintaining national unity was given preference over creating a truly democratic society. Essentially this exposes the mutual distrust which existed between the masses and the state. Turkish democracy has been characterised by a gap between people and state and all political action was in some way an attempt to fill this. As a result, Turkish social movements tended to establish organisations that were connected with existing parties, rather than develop grass-roots organisations to legitimise their claims. In the Turkish context such organisations could never do more than make some changes in the discursive level of democracy but were unable to influence the policymaking process. This was the terrain of institutional bodies. To analyse this process, this chapter will focus first on two such movements, the Islamic and the Kurdish, which began their struggle with the state as non-institutionalised movements and were eventually transformed into political parties. They both challenged ‘the ethnic, ideological, and geographic limits of the democratic polity’. Even if they were both considered adversaries to democracy by the state, the Islamic movement eventually became the new ruler in 2002 when the political party they transformed into was elected. This turned them from adversaries to defenders of Turkish political institutions, subsequently employing the same strategies as the former rulers to new adversaries like the Kurdish movement.



A new type of grass-roots organisations became prominent in Turkish politics in the late 1990s. The most important ones focused on environmental issues, like the Gezi Park protests of 2013. These movements seemed to symbolise a transformation of the people–state relationship and the way democratic struggle takes shape in Turkey. They were initially labelled as marginal or illegal, especially before the 2000s, but then they evolved into mainstream movements and affected national politics through their organisational strength. By analysing the development of these three movements the challenge posed by them to the Turkish establishment is traced. These movements have different objectives, but none of them tried to abolish the democratic system as a whole and they all accepted established democratic means. Instead, they shared a dislike of the founding ideology of the state, which excluded them in some form or other, and had problems with the established democratic rules and practices. The thoughts of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, constitute the framework of the state from its inception in 1923. Although there is no systematic outline of Ataturk’s ideas, his speeches and various statements sketch out this framework. Ataturk died on 10 November 1938, after which his followers and his political party, the CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi/Republican People Party), turned these thoughts into an ideology. The main aim of Kemalist thinking was to create a new citizenship which was free from ethnic and religious differences, and to establish a lasting unity under a secular Turkish identity. This vision met with a lot of opposition from within society, and resulted in an authoritarian form of democratic rule. As a result, the CHP eventually became associated with oppression for the centre-right, the socialists, and ethnic minorities. Eventually the centre-right replaced the single-party regime of the CHP when the Democratic Party took over power in 1950, but they did not change the top–down vision of the CHP, even though they argued that they represented majority opinion. From its inception, the new Turkish state was based on unity and uniformity rather than the principles of respect for differences and pluralism. Thus, the Islamic and Kurdish identities played no part in shaping the new secular and ethnic-Turkish definition of the state. As mentioned in the introduction of this volume’s section, ‘in the second half of the twentieth century democracies were well-established, but various new ‘adversaries’ of these democracies succeeded in stirring fundamental debates about the institutional and conceptual form of democracy’.


Turkey was affected by this too. After the transition to a multi-party system in 1946 and the change of government after the 1950 election, Turkey at least formally became a liberal democracy. This transformation, however, did not change the control of the state over democratic institutions. The citizenry had legal and political rights, such as the right to vote, but they were not actively part of the ruling elites or decision-making process. The new state controlled the society with military discipline. This restrictive definition of democracy was eventually changed by the social movements which became important in Turkey since the 1960s. They challenged ‘implicit and explicit assumptions regarding the meaning and boundaries of democracy, including the ethnic, ideological, and geographic limits of the democratic polity’. These challenges and their success or failures are focussed on here. The Islamic opposition began to oppose the secular definition of citizenship, which was created to distinguish the Turkish state from its religiously based Ottoman predecessor. The Kurds on their part focused on the ethnic definition of being Turkish, as the constitution ignored all ethnic differences. Due to the fundamental nature of these criticisms, this opposition was immediately labelled as dangerous to the Turkish state and its democratic system. To escape the consequent negative attention from the state, these groups initially often kept their wider political demands silent, sticking to the realm of seemingly non-political local issues. This forced retreat into their own circle led to the development of a strong sense of being oppressed, which was the driving force behind the establishment of social movements after the right to organise was extended in the constitution of 1961. During the 1950s and 1960s, Islamic tendencies converged in centre-right parties like the Demokrat Parti (Democratic Party) and Adalet Partisi (Justice Party) which had formed the main opposition to the formal ideology of the state. After seizing power in 1950, however, these parties failed to change the basis of the state. In the 1970s, continued Islamic-based criticism formed the reason behind the establishment of new political parties. Expressing their concerns through political parties was more difficult for the Kurdish movement. They did not establish their own party until the 1990s but collaborated with socialist members in the Türkiye İşçi Partisi (Turkish Worker Party) since the second half of the 1960s. The theoretical framework used here is taken from contentious politics, which is defined as ‘episodic, public, collective interaction among makers of claims and their objects (a) when at least one government



is a claimant, an object of claims or a party to the claims and (b) the claims would, if realised, affect the interest of at least one of the claimants’.1 Political opportunity structure plays an important role in this approach. Tarrow defines this as consistent ‘signals to social or political actors which either encourage or discourage them to use their internal resources to form a social movement’.2 Perhaps the most crucial problem for Turkish social movements to change Turkish political history is the absence of these kind of opportunities. Due to the overwhelming power of the state, social movements in Turkey have little room to open the political realm to new discourses or affect changes in the elites. To be a ‘normal’ or innocent citizen in Turkey meant you were discouraged from participating in politics, and this blocked the establishment of new and dynamic movements at grass-roots level. The relationship between the state and these movements can be summarised best with the aid of Della Porta’s description of a ‘lack of fully developed democratic cultures […] the state’s lack of confidence in democratic protest combined with the protestor’s lack of confidence in democratic state institutions often resulted in escalations. Thus protest was perceived by institutions as a threat to democracy and state reactions perceived by the movement activists as a sign of fascism’.3 In this context, different movements in Turkey have nevertheless tried to change some of the democratic rules and some of them succeeded by using external means like the EU-process or other international alignments, which necessitated some constitutional amendments to bring Turkish law in line with international conventions. They also created new forms of mobilisations through constituting new institutional connections. The Islamic movement was successful when they ‘sought to develop a strategy of resistance that might effectively challenge entrenched state power, while at the same time retaining a broad base of popular support’. These cases thus provide us with a better understanding of the role of adversaries in democracies since the 1950s.

The Islamic Movement and Conservative Transformation of Democracy Identity politics is much more effective than ideological mobilisation in Turkey. The cleavages in the political arena are based primarily on how people define themselves. Political divisions are directly connected to religion and ethnic issues much more than to taxation or other


redistribution debates. Because of this, Turkish state–society relations are analysed mostly within a centre–periphery model.4 As a general categorisation, the centre was formed by the well-educated nationalist elites, mostly secular-minded and military-oriented figures, while the periphery had Islamic tendencies and constituted the rural and uneducated masses. But it is a mistake to describe this as a progressive–conservative divide. Neither the centre nor the periphery has an ideological engagement, both of them are essentially pragmatic. When the periphery gains power, as happened in Turkey, relatively liberal thought shifted to the conservative side. Islamic movements always claimed that they formed the real majority of the Turkish people. They defined Turkish identity in a religious way and argued that the state must reflect the religious values of the people to create unity. These arguments were originally confined to the micropolitical realm, to the local or peripheral level. During the 1970s, however, they began to claim this represented the new ‘national’, and established their own political parties: initially Milli Nizam Partisi (National Order Party, founded in 1969 and banned after 1971) and then Milli Selamet Partisi (National Salvation Party, established in 1971 and banned after the 1980 coup d’état). These initial Islamic movements developed into representatives of the political Islam with the founding of the pro-Islamist party (Refah Partisi-Welfare Party), which gained power after the elections of 1995. Their main slogan was ‘Fair Order’, implying that the majority of people should not be treated unfairly especially in a cultural sense. The 1994 local election had been the first sign of the rise of Islamic thought in party politics. Refah Partisi gained control of the biggest city, Istanbul, in that election with the candidacy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Since that election, Islamic party candidates have continued to win in Istanbul until 2019, despite the banning of the Refah Partisi in 1998. These local electoral successes symbolised the growing dominance of Islamic and conservative thought even in urban Turkey translating ultimately in success in general elections. Islamic issues and conservative debates have generally been represented as grass-roots opposition to official state ideology. But even after the takeover by Islamic parties of the cities and the national government, it took them to the mid-2000s before they were able to gain control over the old bureaucratic and business-elites and the mainstream media. Opposition from these actors was the main argument for them to label the system as anti-democratic, even when they were formally in power.



Islamic forces could claim that the masses were still oppressed and thus turn a democratisation discourse in a conservative direction and move beyond the Islamist label.5 The continued opposition of the military and old-school bureaucratic elites to Islamic demands was used as a basis for a discourse of victimisation and suffering.6 Haldun Gülalp argues that the economic transformation has supported the rise of this discourse. ‘Political Islam in Turkey has actually flourished under conditions of globalization. (…) Globalization has strengthened peripheral capital and peripheral professionals’.7 With the mobilisation of the urban poor in this period the movement gained increasing power against the status quo. ‘The Islamist movement hence was able in the 1990s to broaden its base of support by appealing to a wider range and greater variety of disaffected social segments’, Gülalp argues.8 The relationship between the state and religion has always been ambivalent. Pinar Tank has argued that the ‘Turkish Republic is a state of controlled secularity. The idea prevails that religion should remain in the public “controlled” sphere of the state rather than in the private sphere of the individual’.9 Since the establishment of Turkey, ‘there has been a dialectical interplay between the state and Islam’.10 This interplay was under the control of the secular wing (military and bureaucracy) until the 1990s, but then civil society began to take the initiative. The first direct state response to the rise of Islamic movements occurred on 28 February 1997, when the military issued a memorandum against the government coalition of the Islamic Refah Partisi and the centre-right Dogru Yol Partisi (Right Way Party—established after the 1980 coup d’état and the successor of the Demokrat Parti and Adalet Partisi). Refah Partisi leader and then prime minister Necmettin Erbakan was forced to announce the resignation of his government. This ‘28 February process’ was the first military intervention in Turkish politics since 1980, and mainly served to strengthen the discourse of victimisation of the Muslim majority. They argued that the democratically elected government was overthrown by the military because of its Islamic tendency, termed a ‘postmodern coup d’état’ by Islamic intellectuals and media. The Refah Partisi was banned, but a new Islamic-oriented party called Fazilet Partisi soon replaced it. It shared the same fate as the preceding party, and was replaced in 2001 by the Saadet Partisi (SP) (Felicity Party) and in 2002 by Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) (Justice and Development Party). Since then, the hegemony of the AKP has turned the SP into a minor party no longer elected to


parliament. It means that Islamic tendencies among political parties are now primarily represented by the AKP, which is also the governing party. It is the first time in the political history of the Turkish Republic that an Islamic party is in charge, fundamentally reordering the relation between state and religion even though Turkey still has a nominally secular order. Calling themselves ‘conservative democrats’, the AKP initially appeared to be a moderate Islamic party. It accepted the Western pluralist tradition and remained open to further developing the relationship with the EU. The AKP took advantage of the political space that resulted from an absence of a credible alternative to the official state ideology. Their liberal discourse on pluralism, combined with their conservative democratic vision, provided a popular political alternative in their early years. Meanwhile, their engagement with financial capitalism and liberal economic policies, supported by the bourgeoisie and beyond, created an Islamic financial network. ‘Providing an anti-regime alternative, they gained support from those who were discontent with the existing order, so their support came from a variety of sectors – from the upwardly mobile youth and the unskilled urban workers to the lower-middle-class state bureaucrats and the small traders’.11 Islamic movements have thus become successful through their strong connection with the grass-roots movements and civil society. They have created a dominant ruling party system in Turkey since 2002 that had not existed since the 1950s.12 The quest for Islamic religious freedoms, like wearing the headscarf and religious education, was initially framed in the language of political liberalism and multiculturalism. The liberal image of the AKP was reinforced by Turkey’s bid for EU membership. In the first era of AKP rule, the EU was a guarantor and initiator of reform and played a major role in building trust between the secularist and the religious conservative segments of society.13 The AKP was not a typical ideological party, that gained support from a broad section of society that felt oppressed by the official ideo­ logy. Their programme was based on a combination of neo-conservatism, neoliberalism, Islamism, and victimisation. The power of the party was enhanced by delegating welfare provisions to faith-based voluntary associations.14 Such policies, affecting daily life, have strengthened their position among a large part of the electorate. The AKP also managed to successfully gain control of the military and media elite. Because of this ability to combine low and high politics they gradually took control of Turkish politics.



The most important accusation opposition parties and bureaucratic elites make against Islamic parties and especially the AKP is that they are using democracy to fulfil a ‘hidden agenda’—to change the state to an Islamic one based on sharia law, which is why they are labelled as a threat to democracy. The speeches of Erdogan, the leader of the AKP, were used as a basis for this accusation. At one point he described democracy as a ‘tram … it goes as far as we want it to go, and then we get off’.15 Before he rose to power, in 1999 Erdogan was arrested and sentenced to ten months in prison for reading a poem with Islamic connotations by Ziya Gokalp, a pro-Turkish sociologist who lived in the 1920s. He was banned from politics for ‘inciting hatred based on religious differences’.16 The mainstream newspaper (Hürriyet) headline at the time argued that his political career had ended and that he now could not even be a ‘village headman’. Erdogan’s future advisor, Cevik described this as a witch-hunt: ‘the secularist establishment in Turkey is continuing its successful offensive against all shades of Islamist groups and personalities’.17 But within a few years of his release, Erdogan became the leader of the party, then prime minister and now president. The personal journey of Erdogan thus symbolises the rise of the Islamic movement and conservative thought from the grass roots to the highest level.18 The state bureaucracy and the higher judicial bodies unsuccessfully tried to stop his assent. Erdogan argued that his party was the expression of the general will of the people (in Turkish milli irade), giving his power a nearly sacred status. It is now seen in Turkish politics as the ‘only instrument of accountability and the only source of democratic legitimacy’.19 In the success of the Islamist movement and the gaining of power as a dominant party, the role and position of women played a central role. The restrictions on wearing the headscarf was a symbol of victimisation of the Muslim majority and gave an identity to a new generation.20 The debate on the headscarf has been a long and persistent one, becoming increasingly more intense from the late 1980s onwards when female students disregarded the ban in universities. Before AKP rule, Merve Kavakçı a member of the Fazilet Partisi had worn the headscarf during the swearing-in of parliament on 2 May 1999. Kavakçı’s action was swiftly interpreted as a threat to national security by the chief of the security forces.21 The Supreme Court banned the party because of this challenge to the state. Then, during the second term in power the AKP passed two constitutional amendments in 2008, in order to abolish the headscarf ban in higher education and public service. This act


of parliament stirred up the debate over the role of religion in a secular republic. The Constitutional Court overturned the law, but the decision of the court invoked strong reactions from civil society organisations. The AKP was briefly banned, but the Constitutional Court overturned this decision. Both secularists and Islamic conservatives thereby underlined the democratic rights and freedoms to justify their opposing stances regarding the headscarf ban.22 In all electoral campaigns the AKP focused on Islamic promises, for example, to equate religious and secular education, and thus end the discrimination of Imam Hatip (religious school) students in the university entrance exam. During its first term (2002–2007), the AKP was not very eager to implement these changes.23 Tensions with the military were already high over the wearing of headscarves by the wives of the party leaders. ‘Wearing headscarves in the presidential palace shifted the focal point of the visibility issue to the state sphere, thus removing the significance of the public sphere definition for both pro-Islamists and secularists’.24 Winning a victory on this issue symbolised the effectiveness and success of the Islamic movement against the Turkish state. Military and bureaucratic elites, media power, and other civic notions were thus successfully reconfigured during the 2010s. Islamic movements reshaped the state and democracy through their legal political parties which gained power through elections. They have established a new hegemony, which they call the ‘new Turkey’, characterised by political stability and symbolising the power of Ottoman-times. What remained the same was the dominance of the majoritarian perspective on democracy. The old state response to challenges by new movements can be seen in their reaction to the Gezi Parkı protests. Because elections remain the only way to gain legitimacy in Turkey, all opposition outside them is portrayed as an attempt to weaken a ‘democratically elected president’.25 Another recent example of this approach is the government’s reaction to the Gülen movement, a competing Islamic movement especially strong in the education system. Initially these two Islamic movements worked closely together, but after December 2013, the AKP parted ways with them. The followers of the Gülen movement had accused the AKP government of corruption and theft. The police and judiciary tried to detain AKP officials on 17 and 25 December 2013, which the government labelled a coup d’état. This set in motion what is called the ‘1725 December process’ in Turkish politics and is still going on. Fethullah



Gülen is now labelled the leader of a terrorist group while earlier he was a respected preacher. Gülenists are now seen as forming a ‘parallel-state’, by having infiltrated the crucial state offices. Followers of the Gülen movement attempted to orchestrate a military intervention on 15 July 2016, but this turned into a failed coup d’etat. Turkish people reacted with a huge mobilisation on the streets. Through the declaration of a state of emergency the new state is now again using the old national security concept to fight this movement.

Kurdish Movement as Adversary in Legal and Illegal Ways The other main challenger of the democratic structure of the state was the Kurdish movement. The Kurds developed a well-organised grassroots movement and several institutions, NGOs and political parties, which have played an important role for many years in Turkish political discussions, among others through the leftist opposition. In practice, however, they have exercised limited influence on policies, because of their focus on regional and ethnic issues, and more importantly because of their controversial relations with the terrorist organisation Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê (PKK) (Kurdistan Worker’s Party). The 1980 military coup d’état became a symbol of victimisation of Kurdish ethnic groups. The arrest and torture of Kurdish politicians that followed spurred the development of the movement. The most important criticism the Kurdish movement had of the Turkish state, was that it was founded on a formal ideology that defines the Turkish state as ‘free from ethnic diversities’. They argued that because of this exclusive basis of the Turkish state, the Kurdish people could never be a real part of it, at least not on a sentimental level. Although some with a Kurdishbackground participated in other political parties or in the bureaucracy, they rarely explicated their identity. Due to the violence of the PKK, Eastern Turkey, inhabited mostly by Kurdish ethnic groups, has been under an almost uninterrupted state of emergency. This only came to an end when the AKP came to form the government in the context of their discourse of ending victimisations and introducing real democracy. In order to truly understand how Kurdish opposition in Turkey developed, the role of the PKK is crucial. The PKK was established in the late 1970s and has waged an armed struggle for an independent state since 1984, mostly in the South-East of Turkey. The PKK thus posed the


biggest threat to national unity in Turkey. Although their political discourse has changed over the years, the deployment of violence has always been part of their repertoire of action. After the PKK’s leader Abdullah Öcalan was arrested in 1999, activity diminished for a few years, but then rose again at the beginning of the 2000s. The PKK’s violence casts a shadow over the activities of the non-violent Kurdish movement in parliament and the legal political domain. The Turkish government could consequently accuse the non-violent Kurdish organisations of supporting terrorism. As a result, during the 1990s, several Kurdish-oriented political parties were forbidden by the Supreme Court, just like their Islamic counterparts. They used acronyms like HEP (Halkın Emek Partisi/People’s Labour Party), HADEP (Halkın Demokrasi Partisi/People’s Democracy Party), DEHAP (Demokratik Halk Partisi/Democratic People Party), DTP (Demokratik Toplum Partisi/Democratic Society Party), BDP (Barış ve Demokrasi Partisi/ Peace and Democracy Party), which all contained the word democracy. It remains ambiguous, however, whether the demand for democracy related only to ‘the region’ (Eastern Turkey where they have strong electoral support) or to the entire country. As a result, support for democracy or democratic discourse among Kurds became linked by the state with the support of terrorism. In this way, the state could successfully use the security argument against the democracy discourse of the Kurdish movement. To overcome this, Kurdish politicians joined other groups in the HDP (Halkların Demokratik Partisi/The Democratic Party of The People) which was established in 2013 with an inclusive and broad discourse that encompassed many different interests. Initially very successful in elections, they are now charged with supporting terrorism: several of their leaders and representatives were stripped of their parliamentary immunity and are now detained, while the party faces a possible ban. The threat to the legitimacy of the HDP has led to a process of radicalisation among Kurdish citizens, especially among younger Kurds. While many formal Kurdish political organisations are thus disappearing, bottom-up organisation is on the rise. Especially grass-roots women groups are flourishing stronger than ever. Female Kurdish politicians have played important roles in the management of the Kurdish political parties. Cumartesi Anneleri (Saturday Mothers, inspired by the Argentinian Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo) and ‘analar ağlamasın’ (Do not cry mothers) are important symbols of such a connection with the



grass roots. These groups have reinvigorated peaceful Kurdish mobilisation and increase the pressure on the Turkish state in relation to the Kurdish question. The rise of Kurdish women’s organisations is explained by their double marginalised position, in an ethnic as well as an economic sense compared to their Turkish counterparts.26 Kurdish women, whose political attitudes had been shaped by socialist and ethnic struggles, were swift to take their places in the emerging feminist movement. Kurdish women were encouraged by the Turkish feminist movement to become gender-conscious, to organise themselves separately from men’s organisations, and to define and express their identities as feminists.27 As a result, women activists have a high profile, they are spokepersons and co-chairmanship of the HDP, and are strongly represented in the assembly. The violent struggle played an important part in female mobilisation. Kurdish women who lost their children or relatives because of state security policies demand to know where their dead bodies or graves are. As Cumartesi Anneleri they have held a civil disobedience action in Istiklal Street, Galatasaray Square each Saturday since 27 May 1995. Due to the harsh police reaction, they ceased their actions temporarily, but in 2009 they resumed their silent protests during which the women hold up photographs of their relatives. These sit-in-actions, which were supported by different NGOs and groups, have been held over 500 times and continue to this day. Kurdish identity has a close relationship with the Islamic values of this region. Because the Kurdish people might be susceptible to Islamic sensibilities, the AKP-government initially became more responsive towards the Kurds. The ‘Opening or initiative process’ was declared by the government, in order to improve the relationship between the Kurds and the Turkish state. As Larrabee argues: Within the AKP and the broader Turkish public, there was a growing feeling that the struggle against the PKK could not be resolved by military means, and that if Turkey wanted to play a larger political role in the Middle East, it had to make a more determined effort to find a political solution to the Kurdish problem.28

The negotiations began on a political and cultural level. For instance, Kurdish language courses and television channels were established legally. On the one hand, state officials and HDP representatives came together to


discuss programmes, on the other hand, there was an unofficial connection with the PKK. The leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, who was held on an island at Marmara Sea, sent an open letter which was read out at a Nevruz meeting (for the celebration of the New Spring Season) on 21 March 2013. This was the first direct contact of Öcalan with the outside since his incarceration. In general, the Kurds tried to legalise and liberalise their social agenda. The AKP presented this new policy as a ‘national unity and togetherness project’ in the hope that the Saturday Mothers ‘would not cry anymore’. A second reason for the responsive attitude of the Turkish state was of an electoral nature. The south-eastern part of the country was the only region in which the AKP had never become the largest party in elections. Because of their perceived Islamic sensitivity, the AKP attempted to frame the Kurdish question in a humanitarian discourse instead of a political in the hope of attraction more support there. There was huge opposition to this new AKP policy from both right and leftist nationalist. AKP as a conservative party had a nationalist tendency, but in this period they espoused a discourse of peace based on the shared Islamic identity with the Kurdish people. Public opinion was divided, however, and there was no consensus about how the process should be implemented, which limited its success. ‘This policy has the ultimate goal of disarming the PKK and resolving the Kurdish question. However, the Kurdish opening so far has failed to bring about the desired policy outcomes’, Pusane stated in 2014.29 The state and the Kurdish organisations pointed at each other to explain its failure. Çiçek has blamed this on the ‘AKP’s Turkish nationalist ideological‐ political character, the lack of democratic values in the political tradition of neoliberal pro‐Islamic politics and its weak administrative capacity.30 In effect, nationalism won and the liberal and socialist arguments lost. In the June 2015 elections, HDP won around 80 seats in parliament and prevented AKP from forming a majority government. After the elections, the conflict between the state and the PKK escalated again, and the ‘opening process’ was ended. The PKK now tried to initiate the same kind of urban war in Turkey that they fought in Northern Syria, instead of the traditional rural conflict. The state response was very harsh, aided by the calling of a state of emergency. After the ending of the opening process, the president argued that ‘there is no Kurdish issue in Turkey, just terrorism’.31 The AKP subsequently tried to position itself as the legitimate representatives of the Kurdish region, accusing the HDP of support of



terrorism. The HDP was not allowed to create an alternative to armed struggle. The fact that the PKK felt uneasy over the rise of the HDP as the main representative of the Kurdish people, contributed to this. HDP calls to stop the violence were not convincing public opinion, which listened to the pro-government newspapers and television channels that argued that the two organisations were one and the same. This also had electoral consequences. The HDP is a coalition of democratic, egalitarian and socialist initiatives in an attempt to gain more seats in the national assembly. Up to then, the Kurdish movement had been represented by independent candidates, but now they expanded their message so as to be ‘a party of Turkey’ trying to win votes in all regions, not just in the Eastern and South-Eastern part. The HDP indeed passed the electoral threshold (10%) for the first time in the June (13%) and November (10%) 2015 elections. The AKP was once again the winner of the elections, but they did not obtain the aspired majority. However, after the subsequent end of the opening process and the detention of HDP representatives, the future of the Kurdish issue is inconclusive. The legal and parliamentary Kurdish oppositional activities were thus often hindered by the PKK’s terrorist activities. The legal Kurdish movement was often accused of not distancing themselves clearly enough from the PKK. The state has demanded unequivocal statements from Kurdish politicians in which they label the PKK as a terrorist group. The Kurdish politicians, however, refuse to use this term. Instead they choose to call them guerrillas and freedom fighters, which in turn fuelled the Turkish distrust of the non-violent Kurdish organisations. Kurdish activists also chose to speak of Kurdish and Turkish ‘peoples’ rather than use the word ‘nation’, with which ‘unity’ is associated. The Kurdish discourse focuses on concepts of peace, democracy, and people—concepts that have not been accepted by the Turkish state or the public agenda. Critics of this discourse argue that the Kurdish movement has failed to extend their appeal to the entire country. Their notions of peace, democracy, and a free people only seem to apply to the Kurdish regions. The HDP tried to do this by converging with the liberal and socialist oppositional groups. They thus had a chance to democratise the country with a leftist discourse, but this failed because they were portrayed as separatists and even a threat to national security and the unity of the country. The HDP was ultimately unable to show they were a party independent of the PKK. The majority of the public, especially in the Western and


central regions of the country, believe they are under control of the PKK. Where the Islamic movement had been able to transform the state and society as a whole, the Kurdish movement failed.

Non-institutional Cases: Searching for Plural Democracy A new form of political mobilisation developed independently from party politics in the 1990s. After the 1980 military coup, all opposition movements, organisations and political parties had been banned. During the decades that followed, economic liberalisation was introduced in a gradual manner, but political liberalisation was much slower. In response Turkey witnessed the growth of civil society in the second half of the 1990s through the rise of a movement opposing the ‘inner (deep)-state’ or ‘mafia-state-politics’. The first grass-roots movement was inspired by a car accident in Susurluk on 3 November 1996, which showed that some state officials had close connections with criminals. As a consequence, all political parties were accused of upholding the existence of a ‘deep-state’, which can impossibly be part of a democracy. This point was made more and more in public discussions. Protesters called for ‘one minute of darkness for the permanent enlightenment’, asking people to switch off their lights at home in order to protest against the anti-democratic criminal–state relationship.32 This first grass-roots movement had no formalised institutions, although the participating activists generally had a social-democratic and left-wing ideology. The movement proved incapable of becoming a lasting form of political opposition. Under influence of negotiations with the European Union in the 1990s over possible Turkish membership of the EU, fundamental rights such as the freedom of speech, human rights, freedom of organisation, were however improved and legal procedures and codes changed, thus transforming Turkey into a more liberal democracy than it had been in the decades before.33 This allowed traditional forms of political organisation to replace the grass-roots movement. In the early 2000s, new forms of public protest, nevertheless, challenged Turkish democracy. Anti-war activists and environmental movements tried to change the concept and rules of democracy by protesting and raising attention for specific issues. One of these issues was the state-sponsored development of hydroelectric plants in small rivers. The participation of ordinary people in this kind of resistance



against state officials and the military, who protected the construction of the plants, was an extraordinary development in Turkey. In several cities, especially in the northern part of Turkey, this kind of local mobilisation occurred spontaneously and without the support of existing organisations. As a result, some of these planned projects were indeed cancelled. A comparable form of protest emerged in the winter of 2010, when TEKEL-workers (the public company that produces tobacco and alcoholic drinks) and their families in different cities organised long-lived demonstrations. They gathered in the streets of Ankara protesting against privatisation; turning the street into a ‘tent-city’ for 77 days. They protested both against the government and their own trade union who appeared deaf to the demands of the workers. This form of protest was new, in its long-term character, its different repertoire of action, and its pluralist style. The workers were not only directly supported by their families, but also by several political parties and NGOs.34 The most remarkable example of grass-roots protest was the Gezi Park resistance. It revolved around the privatisation of a public park in Istanbul. To protest against the felling of trees some youth set up camp. Their violent removal from the park, raised a substantial level of public attention and led to a massive opposition movement such as Turkey had not seen since the 1980s. The Gezi Park resistance represented a new kind of spirit that was also shown in anti-globalisation movements elsewhere. In the absence of any institutional support, people mobilised and occupied the Gezi Park. This was a combination of demanding more democratic policies and protesting against a conservative way of government, symbolising a new kind of populism and ‘anarchist’ repertoires of action.35 The most important difference between institutional movements, like the Islamic and Kurdish, and these non-institutionalised bottom-up mobilisations, lies in the capacity to change public policies. Local mobilisations did not generate a political transformation in the short run. Gezi Park remained a public park, but the government put in restrictions to prevent this type of successful opposition in the future. Although radical policy changes have thus not been achieved, the grass-roots mobilisations play an important role in media coverage, the social agenda, and general discussion in society. In some cases, they have resulted in some improvements in legal procedures and amendments to the codes, but their effectiveness is much more limited than that of the institutional movements. In short, the new movements were not ‘typical’ social movements to the extent that, unlike the earlier and ‘regular’ movements, they did


not contend with power-holders in decision-making processes. They did not have a connection with a political party or a specific political wing. The new movements are therefore characterised by two elements. First, their goal is to change public debate about daily life and lifestyle affairs, rather than to take power. They are therefore not related to a class-based demand or vanguard party. The most important thing for these movements was direct participation of the people, to give them a say in their own lives. Like the 1968 generation, they did not transform into an organisation or support a party but created a new discourse on Turkish democracy to enable the people to understand changes.36 Turkish movements could not engage with the anti/alter-globalisation movements during 2000s, but inspiration was drawn from these movements as could be seen in their repertoire of action. The resistance in Gezi Park symbolises the birth of a new generation with regards to both social movement history and its actors.37 The previous era was formed by rank-and-file memberships, top–down hierarchy and planned demonstrations with the participation of a defined public. In the Gezi Park protests sporadic and spontaneous actions gained importance. Gezi could be the new anchor point for other mobilisations and social actions, in terms of organising, coming together on different subjects, and inclusiveness.38 The second characteristic of these new movements is the government response. President Erdogan has labelled the Gezi protesters as ‘looters’ (in Turkish: çapulcu), an accusation the protestors translated into English jokingly as ‘chapulling’ or ‘fighting for your rights’. Erdogan holds that the protestors are responsible for rising prices and thus damage the economy. In addition, he argues that the protestors are puppets of foreign powers, intending to damage the Turkish economy and political stability.39 The foreign media is accused of misrepresenting Turkey as a country in civil war. Twitter is also criticised, because the protesters were able to freely use this social medium, which made their actions very effective. Consequently, social media accounts were checked by the state and some users were detained because of the content of their messages. The challenge to the concept of democracy represented by the Gezi Parki and other environmental grass-roots movements, is contained in their ideas about decision-making processes. These movements argue that parliaments and elections are not sufficiently democratic, and attempt to change democracy from a majoritarian to a pluralist form by organising broad-based, social actions to influence public opinion.



As a result, Turkish democracy has come into a representative crisis, because the people mobilised in these events show the inefficiency of the political parties in the existing political landscape. Their actions in themselves show that democracy as such does not work. While the Islamicoriented government presents itself as the reflection of the national will, the people in the non-institutional movements show that parliament does not belong to them.40

Conclusion This analysis of the interaction between Turkish democracy and several oppositional movements has shown how the definition of democracy used by contenders and defenders is adapted to circumstances. One of the central arguments of this section of the volume, was that ‘democracies and their adversaries use their competing ideas on democracy incessantly to justify their political claims or to deny the democratic rights of other groups, such as minorities or ideological opponents’. Social movements in Turkey are clear examples of this argument. The best example of this is the reaction of the Islamist movement, after it came to power in 2002, to other institutional or non-institutional movements which they quickly labelled as threats to the new democratic disposition. In this study, democracy is primarily regarded as being connected with society, not the state. A democratic society establishes a democratic state. Social movements have a crucial role to play in this as a means to express thoughts and criticism. In Turkey, however, social movements are portrayed as a threat to democracy, not as a means to improve it. Democratic protests are regularly stigmatised as adversaries to a statedefined democracy, which does not allow alternative versions. The state is under the control of groups who try to exclude others. During the rule of the secularist military and nationalist alliance, critics used democratic discourse against them, but after 2010 a majoritarian type of democracy was established that once again kept social movements out of the political decision-making process. The success or the failure of such movements is shown by their effect on the outcome of elections. Once they move outside the realm of electoral politics, the state tends to push them out of the domain of legal politics. Grass-roots movements are therefore unable to democratise society. Their effectiveness is thus dependent on their ability to gain control of state power. As mentioned in the introduction to this chapter,


becoming the state is therefore the most important mission for social movements in Turkey. Islamic or conservative ones are the biggest winners of this struggle. From the perspective of the state, unity, security, and stability are the most important concepts: democracy must simply preserve these. The state was therefore not willing to allow protest movements to flourish. Their attempts to change democracy, as a state of affairs or as a set of rules, failed largely because the groups in power were not willing to allow a redefinition of democracy. The protest movements were depicted as proper ‘adversaries’. Even if the movements used legal means and opportunities like European Union membership negotiations or international support to extend their range of activities, they were not perceived as legal actors in the political arena, but as puppets of or collaborator with foreign powers. Basic democratic and civil rights, like universal suffrage or establishing political party, have been formally functioning in Turkey since 1923. But in practice, democratic life was under the control of the state. Initially led by military elites that had a tendency to secularism, but later replaced by the AKP which pushed an Islamist perspective, putting the religious sensibility of ‘the majority’ central. In both cases the demands of minorities for democratic rights is excluded. Elections are only one dimension of a democracy. Turkey’s majoritarian democracy consists of a strict election system, which underlines the stability of government rather than form a fair system of electoral representation of the people. This form of democracy and the central role of security and national unity (especially on the Kurdish issue), do not easily connect with the European pluralist perspective. Nonetheless, the mobilisation of civil society through grass-roots movements has had a positive effect on the potential to transform democracy in the direction of Western standards since the 1990s, making debates on pluralist and civic democracy that ensure systematic supervision of society over the state possible. Political discussions outside party politics nevertheless remain sparse. Most movements feel a need to relate themselves to an existing political party, instead of acting autonomously and occupying an independent space. The main aims remain affecting the election results and change the government more than to change society from below. The voter turnout (average 80%) is therefore always very high compared to Western countries. Historically, social movements in Turkey could not change the election process and public policies directly, but they have pushed the limits of the established systems.



Social movements in Turkey, contrary to European ones since the 1960s, are not specialised in raising specific issues like urban protests, ethnicity, or gender, instead of this, they demanded systemic change. As a result, movements failed to create their own space in legal politics, and easily turned to illegality and violence under pressure or stigmatisation by the state. Gezi Park resistance as a late ‘68 movement for Turkey has shaped a new discourse on democratisation in Turkey, but its electoral impact in the last two general and one presidential elections has been limited. As the set of rules, there is a very restricted democratic practice within its legal definitions in Turkey. Grass-root movements are generally unable to change decision-making processes. Because democracy is equated with election results in Turkey, the winners of the election define politics. Because of their majority in parliament, the AKP has been able to change every code, act, or law without restraint, except the constitution, which was changed substantially following the referendum of 16 April 2017. Oppositional groups which demand a different kind of democracy have not been able to affect these changes. If they cooperate with the government they are included, but this is not without danger. The Gülen and the Kurdish movements have collaborated with the government for a while but now they are both on the terrorist list. Such vulnerability prevents the establishment of a functioning pluralist democracy in Turkey. The majoritarian perception of democracy makes it possible to label all opposition as being against democracy itself. There is therefore not the type of dialogue between opposition and government common to a pluralist democracy. In Turkey democracy is for the winners, while antagonism, conflict or struggle commonly utilised in democratic politics are seen as suspicious and dangerous. The only way to define democracy is to gain access to the state apparatus. Its ability to do so constitutes the main difference between the Islamic movement and the other social movements in Turkey. In sum, to engage in contentious politics is extremely difficult for Turkish movements which use grass-roots democracy. Such claim-makers are unable to create new mechanism for democratic protest in the long term. For those in power, democratic legitimacy is not based on public debates. Even if non-institutional movements, with the aid of ordinary people, have raised their demands, the democratic culture in Turkey does not include them. The harsh state response to democratic demands limit the political arena, and state–people relations are still effectively confined to election days.



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erdogan-man-in-the-hot-seat.aspx?pageID=438&n=recep-tayyip-erdogan-man-in-the-hot-seat-2001-07-05 (accessed 15 November 2016). 17.  Ilnur Cevik, ‘The Establishment Continues…’, Hurriyet Daily News, 24 September 1998, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-establishment-continues-to-hit-back.aspx?pageID=438&n=the-establishment-continues-to-hit-back…- (accessed 1 December 2016). 18.  C. Ulsever, ‘What Does Recep Tayyip Erdogan Represent?’, Hurriyet Daily News, 24 July 2001, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/whatdoes-recep-tayyip-erdogan-represent.aspx?pageID=438&n=what-doesrecep-tayyip-erdogan-represent-2001-07-24 (accessed 15 November 2016). 19. Ergun Özbudun, ‘AKP at the Crossroads: Erdoğan’s Majoritarian Drift’, South European Society and Politics 19 (2014), 155–167. 20. Sema Genel and Kerem Karaosmanoğlu, ‘A New Islamic Individualism in Turkey: Headscarved Women in the City’, Turkish Studies 7:3 (2006), 473–488. 21. Tank, ‘Political Islam’, 13. 22. Evren Çelik Wiltse, ‘The Gordian Knot of Turkish Politics: Regulating Headscarf Use in Public’, South European Society and Politics 13:2 (2008), 195–215; Sema Akboga, ‘Turkish Civil Society Divided by the Headscarf Ban’, Democratization 21:4 (2014), 610–633. 23. Kaya, ‘Islamisation of Turkey’. 24. Hazama, ‘The Making of a State-Centered Public Sphere’, 177. 25. Bellaigue (2016) ‘Welcome to Demokrasi’. 26. Metin Yüksel, ‘The Encounter of Kurdish Women with Nationalism in Turkey’, Middle Eastern Studies 42:5 (2006), 777–802. 27. Ömer Çaha, ‘The Kurdish Women’s Movement: A Third-Wave Feminism Within the Turkish Context’, Turkish Studies 12:3 (2011), 435–449. 28. F. Stephen Larrabee, ‘Turkey’s New Kurdish Opening’, Survival 55:5 (2013), 136. 29.  Özlem Kayhan Pusane, ‘Turkey’s Kurdish Opening: Long Awaited Achievements and Failed Expectations’, Turkish Studies 15:1 (2014), 81–99. 30. Cuma Çiçek, ‘Elimination or Integration of Pro-Kurdish Politics: Limits of the AKP’s Democratic Initiative’, Turkish Studies 12:1 (2011), 15–26. 31.  Hurriyet Daily News, ‘There’s No Kurdish Issue in Turkey, Just Terrorism: Erdoğan’, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/theres-nokurdish-issue-in-turkey-just-terrorism-erdogan.aspx?pageID=238&nID= 93511&NewsCatID=338 (accessed 25 November 2016). 32. James H. Meyer, ‘Politics as Usual: Ciller, Refah and Susurluk: Turkey’s Troubled Democracy’, East European Quarterly 32:4 (Winter 1998), 489–502, there 495.


33. Y. Yıldırım, ‘Social Movements in Turkey: Changing Dynamics Since 1968’, in M.B. Jorgensen and O.G. Agustin (eds.), Politics of Dissent (Frankfurt am Main 2015). 34. Yavuz Yıldırım, ‘An Analysis of the Tekel Resistance at Turkey in the Context of Social Movements’, European Scientific Journal 9:26 (2013), 16–35. 35. Y. Yıldırım, ‘The Differences of Gezi Parki Resistance in Turkish Social Movements’, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science 4:5 (2014), 177–185; Hayriye Özen, ‘An Unfinished Grassroots Populism: The Gezi Park Protests in Turkey and Their Aftermath’, South European Society and Politics 20:4 (2015), 533–552. 36.  Ayhan Kaya, ‘Right To Public Space: Social Movements and Active Citizenship in Turkey’, Research and Policy on Turkey 2:1 (2017), 1–9. 37. Yeşim Arat, ‘Violence, Resistance, and Gezi Park’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 45:4 (November 2013), 807–809. 38. U. Ozkirimli (ed.), The Making of a Protest Movement in Turkey (Palgrave 2014); Antimo L. Farro and Deniz Günce Demirhisar, ‘The Gezi Park Movement: A Turkish Experience of the Twenty-First-Century Collective Movements’, International Review of Sociology 24:1 (2014), 176–189. 39. Hurriyet Daily News, ‘Turkish PM Erdoğan Calls for “Immediate End” to Gezi Park Protests’, 7 June 2013, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pm-erdogan-calls-for-immediate-end-to-gezi-park-protests-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=48381&NewsCatID=338 (accessed 1 December 2016). 40. Nikos Moudouros, ‘Rethinking Islamic Hegemony in Turkey Through Gezi Park’, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies 16:2 (2014), 193–194.

Parliamentary Democracy Versus Direct Democracy? Challenging Liberal, Representative Democracy in the German Bundestag During the Anti-nuclear Demonstrations of 1995–1997 Miina Kaarkoski

Introduction1 In German politics and political theory, concepts of parliamentarism and the relationship between parliamentarism and democracy have evolved since the nineteenth century. Politicians, citizens and scholars have regularly redefined and challenged conceptions of parliament’s task of representation, public debate and legitimate decision-making in different historical circumstances, especially when territorial borders shifted and political regimes changed.2 The evolution of democratic ideas and institutions may have been most marked during such critical periods in German political history, but there have been other waves of

M. Kaarkoski (*)  University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_8



democratisation and de-democratisation during which conceptions of democracy have also been challenged and defended in more stable and more recent times. One such crucial phase in re-evaluating and redefining conceptions of democracy in Germany was the second half of the 1990s, when a vigorous anti-nuclear movement arose, resisting transports of spent nuclear fuel to the interim storage facility in Gorleben in Lower Saxony.3 Tens of thousands of demonstrators protested the transports of radioactive waste, an event that also reflected people’s distrust of, and lack of confidence in, established political institutions and decision-making processes.4 In the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, these transports and the subsequent confrontations between citizens and the police brought the tradition of liberal, representative democracy into conflict with the demands of more direct citizens’ involvement in political decision-making. The Bundestag debates about the transports of radioactive waste to Gorleben and the ensuing demonstrations in 1995–1997, illustrate how a social movement sparked significant political struggles over the meaning of German ‘democracy’ in the parliamentary sphere and how both sides of the conflict used the debate to try and (re)define the meaning of ‘democracy’. The result was that members of the German federal parliament had to justify and explain their understandings of German democracy. This was, therefore, a central period in German history when competing conceptions of democracy came to the surface because of confrontations between different traditions of understanding democracy. Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Liberals advocated a conception of liberal, representative democracy. In the German context, this conception of liberal democracy with its core institutions like universal suffrage, parliamentarism, separation of powers, the rule of law and a social welfare system has its origins in late nineteenth century political thought. The liberal conception, which advocates decision-making through parliamentary, representative institutions, had dominated discussions up to the 1980s, although in the context of the new social movements of the 1960s to 1970s there was harsh criticism of parliamentary democracy.5 As the following empirical analysis of parliamentary debates illustrates, during the second half of the 1990s, notably the Green Party in the federal parliament challenged this particular conception of democracy and stressed the tradition of the 1968 generation and new social movements to criticise the political institutions and the elite.6 The party based its conceptions of democracy on the



tradition of these social movements of past decades, claiming to unmask parliamentarism as merely a token democratic performance to mask the ‘true’ (i.e. economic) power structures.7 In opposing the transports of radioactive waste, the speakers also challenged implicit and explicit assumptions regarding the meaning of democracy. Both sides of the conflict in the Bundestag laid claims to competing forms of the concept ‘democracy’ as their source of legitimacy. Scholars have extensively debated the motives of the anti-nuclear movement and the criticism it expressed from various viewpoints. They conclude that on the one hand the movement was motivated by concrete issues of safety, but on the other hand it also addressed more fundamental decision-making processes and principles of democracy.8 The parliamentary aspect of the conflict over nuclear energy has largely been neglected, even though, as I have argued elsewhere, political parties in the Bundestag argued vehemently regarding the further use of nuclear energy since at least the Chernobyl accident in 1986 and this caused a multilayered conflict concerning perceptions of security and political system in Germany.9 A chronological analysis of the parliamentary debates, newspapers and party manifestos related to the transports of nuclear waste to Gorleben, illustrates the dynamics of political discussions and conceptualisations of democracy between different political actors in a way that has not yet been fully covered in previous research. Democracy as a concept and set of rules, practices and institutions tends to become fluid when it is confronted with adversaries. This study shows how opposing factions challenged each other not just over policy, but over the underlying democratic legitimacy of this policy in the late 1990s and, consequently, how the debates on the meaning German democracy evolved over time. The analysis of primary sources has been done by using the methods of conceptual analysis of political language. This type of analysis includes a macro-level semantic (long-term manifestations of conceptions of democracy) and micro-level pragmatic (political speeches by individuals) analysis of political language of the historical sources.10 The sources were located by using keyword search of digitalized material in order to find documents that included references to ‘democracy’ in the context of nuclear waste transports. Discussions on the meanings of German democracy have long traditions, and the political debates of the period studied has to be considered in this historical context. Simultaneously, pleasing the electorate or promoting certain political aims is characteristic for any political speeches.


The following section explores the theoretical and historical background of the empirical sections. It presents the core questions about democracy, which caused tension in the Bundestag, and reflects their background in scholarly discussion. The empirical parts are divided according to the three transports of 1995, 1996 and 1997.

Theoretical and Historical Reflection on German Parliamentary Democracy As the empirical parts will illustrate, the opposing factions in the Bundestag presented contrasting viewpoints regarding the legitimacy of the use of violence by the state and by citizens and regarding the principle of majority rule as a legitimate means of representing the will of the people. Fundamentally, these questions concerned disagreement on whether decision-making through parliamentary, representative institutions was sufficient to fulfil the underlying core principles of democracy. The role of parliament and its representative and democratic functions have been highly contested in German political and theoretical discussions since the nineteenth century, as the historiography shows. Andreas Biefang and Andreas Schulz, who discuss concepts of parliamentarism in Germany since 1818, have pointed out how parliamentary democracy as an institutional setting was only founded during the Weimar Republic.11 In terms of theoretical discussion, Dirk Jörke and Marcus Llanque have highlighted how the understanding of parliamentarism and democracy as interconnected concepts in German political or theoretical debates has evolved only gradually since the nineteenth century and how the relationship between these concepts has been problematic. Leftists have traditionally claimed that parliament was not truly the place for open public debate and decision-making, but that the real disputes took place behind closed doors between the party leaders. The German discussion immediately after the Second World War was initially dominated by a liberal advocacy of the concept of representative democracy, but during the highly politicised late 1960s, this leftist criticism of parliamentarism flourished.12 The 1968 extra-parliamentary opposition movements, claiming to expose parliamentarism as mere superficial democracy, nevertheless ultimately proved unable to challenge the Bundestag’s claim to be the authority for the legitimation of political action.13 According to its constitution, Germany is a representative democracy, where the use of force is the sole prerogative of the state. From this



perspective, argumentation in favour of liberal, representative democracy by the ruling coalition of the CDU/CSU and FDP in 1995–1997 had a basis in law, as the parliamentary majority was legally entitled to determine policy. However, Knut Bergmann, who discusses the relationship between German parliamentarism and protest movements, has observed how significant sections of the population did not consider ‘legal’ and ‘legitimate’ to be synonymous and how they did not consider parliamentary procedures as sufficient to legitimise decisions.14 As a result, different perceptions of the principle of majority rule in democratic decision-making caused tensions regarding the question whether parliament was a legitimate representation of the will of the people.15 The principle of majority rule is fundamental to modern democratic states, since it holds the body politically together, even in cases when individuals do not agree with certain decisions. In parliamentary democracy, the basic idea is that the majority of the elected parliament also represents the majority of the citizens.16 Since the rise of the citizens’ movements of the 1960s and 1970s, a growing number of citizens no longer were unequivocally willing to accept the decisions of the parliamentary majority as legitimate. The Green Party in particular advocated grassroots democracy, demanding a wider involvement of ordinary citizens in the political process and denying the right of the parliamentary majority to decision-making purely on its own.17 For example, Dieter Rucht observed how the use of civil disobedience and resistance affected conceptions of representative democracy. Protest groups considered their actions necessary in order to achieve some greater legally protected rights.18 Instead of the majority principle, the people involved in the movements highlighted the ‘principle of consensus’ that would produce a decision with which all those involved could agree.19 Confrontations between the political parties in the Bundestag during the transports of radioactive waste in many ways continued this tradition of testing and challenging the principles of parliamentary, representative democracy, as will be shown below.

Contested Legitimacy of Parliamentary Representation, 1994–1995 The first transport to the interim storage facility at Gorleben in April 1995 brought out just a few thousand protesters, whereas the third transport in March 1997 was met by tens of thousands of demonstrators,


requiring thirty thousand police officers and Federal Border Guards to maintain order.20 Confrontations between police officers and demonstrating citizens in the area around Gorleben, also known as Wendland, was not a new phenomenon. The plan for a comprehensive nuclear disposal centre in Gorleben in the late 1970s gave rise to massive protests, and in May 1980 a protest camp called ‘Republik Freies Wendland’ was established at Gorleben. Eventually the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Ernst Albrecht, concluded that the ‘reprocessing plant in Gorleben is politically impossible to enforce’, but the salt dome at Gorleben remained a prospective final storage facility for highly radioactive waste.21 An analysis of Bundestag debates and wider public debates shows how both citizens and politicians at the Länder level and in the federal parliament started to challenge the nuclear waste policy of the federal government through verbal and physical acts. This brought the question regarding the legitimacy of violence in a democratic state and the state’s monopoly on the use of force to the centre of parliamentary debates. Furthermore, it led parliamentarians to debate who was legally entitled to represent ‘the will of the people’. The government of the state of Lower Saxony, where the interim storage facility of Gorleben was situated, was ruled by a red-green cabinet under Prime Minister Gerhard Schröder until June 1994. After that he formed a state government solely consisting of Social Democrats. Ministers of Lower Saxony, especially Schröder and the Minister of Environment Monika Griefahn (SPD), had always objected to the planned transports. As early as September 1993, Schröder and Griefahn expressed objections to the upcoming transport to Gorleben at an international event called ‘Permanent Waste Disposal Site Hearings’ (Endlager-Hearings). Schröder and Griefahn later objected to the transports by calling them ‘unnecessary’. Eventually, in February 1995, the Federal Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety, Angela Merkel, ordered Griefahn to allow the transport from the nuclear power plant at Philippsburg. Schröder’s and Griefahn’s criticism was primarily directed against a policy that included transporting spent fuel elements of nuclear power plants to reprocessing plants and then back to storage facilities, rather than against the democratic institutions that decided this as such.22 At the 1986 Nuremberg party conference, the SPD had decided to support phasing out nuclear energy within ten years. This decision was less ideologically inspired than the Green Party’s anti-nuclear position, than by political concerns, in an effort to please



the party’s electorate. For the Greens, resistance to nuclear energy was a cornerstone that largely determined the party’s ideological foundation. Schröder, in particular, traditionally had a close relationship with the domestic economic sector, and he expressed his willingness to reconsider his party’s anti-nuclear position if other Länder shared the responsibility of storing radioactive waste.23 Meanwhile, a public debate about and social action against nuclear power was taking shape. During the summer of 1994, after the Federal Office for Radiation Protection had authorised transports of radioactive waste to Gorleben, anti-nuclear protests started to erupt in Wendland. For example, a protest camp was set up and then taken down dismantled by the police.24 Newspapers continuously reported about demonstrations and sabotage actions against railway tracks and other transport routes.25 By April 1995 demonstrations and actions against the transport to Gorleben started to gain strength. There was a bomb threat at a railway station near Gorleben and clashes between citizens and police at different locations. Demonstrators, for example, threw bales of straw at the police.26 On 20 April 1995, Wolfgang Roth warned in the Süddeutsche Zeitung that in the long run the federal government would be unable to execute its atomic policies due to rulings against Länder.27 The political and societal conflict caused by the upcoming transport to Gorleben was widespread, including both legal and extra-legal acts against the transport, by time the Bundestag started to debate the issue. On 26 April 1995, after the first transport had reached Gorleben, MPs argued about the legitimacy of the transports and the legitimacy of the demonstrations. The ruling coalition of CDU/CSU and the FDP constantly reiterated that there was no legal reason to prevent the transport if all the preconditions required for the licence were fulfilled. Minister Merkel emphasised that these transports were completely safe. Because she denied the relevance of any kind of doubts regarding safety, she also questioned the legitimacy of protesting against transports, both in society at large as well as in the Bundestag.28 Merkel’s personal background becomes evident in her speeches about nuclear energy. She was trained as a physicist and, in contrast to many other prominent politicians of the 1990s who were involved in the discussions about nuclear energy, she was from the former German Democratic Republic Germany. Merkel thus did not have the same background as the ‘protest generation’ of the 1960s and 1970s in former West Germany.29 In April 1995 Michaele Hustedt (Alliance 90/The Greens) suggested that Merkel actually


misunderstood the meaning of the debate. He criticised Merkel’s lack of knowledge about the role of the anti-nuclear movement in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.30 In fact, the ruling parties also felt that the debate and conflict concerned German democracy, and in particular the legitimacy of the parliamentary majority to decide on policy through representative institutions. Speakers of the CDU/CSU and FDP connected the debate to the meaning of German democracy by emphasising how the use of violence should be precluded from any democratic political repertoire. Their argumentation about the use of violence by citizens reflected Max Weber’s highly influential definition of the modern state. According to Weber, the modern state can be defined in terms of the specific means peculiar to it: a state is a human community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. The right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it.31 The ruling coalition perceived violent actions against material property by anti-nuclear groups as a potential threat to German democracy. Merkel, for example, highlighted how glad she was that she could live in a country with ‘freedom of opinion’ and the right ‘to assemble, to protest and to demonstrate’. However, these democratic rights only applied under the condition of ‘non-violence’. According to Merkel, dismissing that, would lead to the end of democracy and to unwanted political rule. She particularly criticised Vice President of the Bundestag, Antje Vollmer (Alliance 90/The Greens), who had said that these transports would cause radicalisation among young people. According to her, the role of the state and the police was to take care of safety in the country, since the monopoly on the use of force belonged to the state.32 Merkel introduced such arguments to show that a democratic state could survive only if its citizens respected the principle of the state’s monopoly on the use of force and relied on fundamental democratic fundamental. In the Bundestag, the MPs commonly highlighted the value of rights such as ‘freedom to demonstrate’ and ‘freedom of speech’ as the legitimate way of reacting to unwanted policies instead of resorting to violence. In political theory, these fundamental rights have been considered the key means to safeguard the rights of minorities to express opinions or criticism in a parliamentary system based on the principle of majority rule.33 Along with the CDU/CSU and FDP, the Social Democrats also explicitly condemned the use of violence in any



form as a political tool, but the representatives of the party considered other tactics, such as sit-in blockades, legitimate. In fact, the Federal Constitutional Court became involved in this debate and representatives of the SPD referred to its decision that sit-in blockades were indeed a legitimate way of protesting.34 Representatives of The Alliance 90/The Greens saw the situation differently. The party had certain conceptions for democracy and this conception included strong emphasis on direct democracy, since in representative democracy citizens participation on decision-making was considered to be too weak. For example, in a party manifesto published in 1993 the party declared that there was ‘a crisis of democracy’, since citizens felt themselves incapable of making their voices heard in politics.35 In their platform for the Bundestag election in 1994 the Alliance 90/The Greens made even clearer arguments of increasing citizens’ possibilities to participate and thus the party demanded ‘a concept of direct participation on political decisions’. The party objected monopoly of the political parties in developing political will as well as their monopoly through parliamentary decision-making processes.36 The Greens in the Bundestag formally condemned the use of violence as well. However, for them, the most significant problem was the use of force on the part of the police to back up policies, which they considered running counter to the will of the people as represented by those who were demonstrating. Michaele Hustedt (Alliance 90/The Greens) argued that in a democratic state, arguments had to be used to conduct politics and not ‘truncheons and water cannons’.37 This argument illustrates competing perceptions of what constituted the ‘will of the people’. The ruling coalition of the CDU/CSU and FDP considered the parliamentary majority itself to represent the will of the people sufficiently and it was thus entitled to make decisions against the opinion of some segments of society. The Greens, however, had a tradition of demanding opportunities for citizens to exert influence over policies other than through parliamentary elections, which they considered a precondition for legitimate policymaking. This criticism of using the police to enforce policy decisions was closely related to arguments about the so-called ‘atomic state’ (Atomstaat). The conception of a non-democratic, authoritarian ‘atomic state’ formed the basis for the anti-nuclear movement’s case against nuclear energy. The basic idea of this concept was that because of the risks inherent in nuclear technology, the state was forced to exercise


extreme power over its own citizens that ran counter to the principles of democracy, in order to manage the risk embedded in the technology.38 Therefore, the concept of the atomic state connected the use of nuclear power with fundamental questions on the meaning and functioning of German democracy. The concept had already flourished in anti-nuclear discourses during earlier decades and initially referred to the atomic bomb with all the negative connotations and fear that the dawn of the atomic age had brought with it. Robert Jungk’s book, Der Atomstaat, published in 1977, speculated on the consequences of large-scale technology being used by the state and made the concept an accepted notion in German society.39 The party manifesto of the Greens in 1980 included strong warnings against ‘atomic state’. In the manifesto, the Greens stressed how the Federal Republic was in a process of becoming an ‘atomic state’ in which democratic basic rights and freedoms were no more possible because of the risks included in nuclear technology.40 In the Bundestag, the concept of the ‘Atomstaat’ had twofold meaning in the 1990s. Firstly, it was used to refer to the foreign states possessing atomic weapons.41 Secondly, and more interestingly, the Greens now invoked this traditional anti-nuclear concept in the context of the transport of radioactive waste to Gorleben, in order to claim that the state was using non-democratic tactics to pursue its policies. Ursula Schönberger (Alliance 90/The Greens) in particular, advocated the emergence of this dystopian-style atomic state that did not respect democratic principles. On 26 April 1995, Schönberger made the strongest political speech in the federal parliament so far in which she argued ‘Yesterday the atomic state (Atomstaat) foretold by Robert Jungk came true’. According to Schönberger, when thousands of police officers went against citizens using their right to demonstrate proved that the situation was anti-democratic. More precisely, by using nuclear energy the state was forced to abandon its democratic principles and use force against its own citizens, Schönberger claimed.42 This speech also illustrates the difficulties in providing any plain and simple answer to the question whether the Alliance 90/The Greens was challenging particular policies concerning the use and disposal of nuclear energy, or if the speakers were also challenging the fundamental institutions of German democracy. The argumentation about the ‘atomic state’ expressed the idea that a state that uses nuclear energy could not practically maintain its democratic nature. In this sense, the party objected



to the nuclear energy policy and not just the way the state interpreted democracy in the current situation. At the same time, the arguments against the ‘atomic state’ in the context of the events in Gorleben in the 1990s aimed directly at the cabinet’s and Helmut Kohl’s understanding of liberal, representative democracy. The Greens considered this conception to allow the federal government to restrict the right to demonstrate, to use police force to execute policy decisions, and to act against the will of the people, which they understood the demonstrations to express. As the argumentation about ‘atomic state’ revealed, the fundamental reason for the disagreement over the use of nuclear energy was the different perceptions of the risks associated with nuclear technology. Especially for the Greens, these risks were unacceptable, whereas the CDU/CSU, FDP (and some factions of the SPD) did not share these doubts about safety. These differences in the conceptualisation of nuclear safety caused tensions over more abstract questions, such as what it meant for a democratic state to take care of the safety of its citizens. The Green MPs held that the state, by supporting the use of nuclear technology, was not fulfilling its obligation to protect the people and the environment, which rendered (violent) acts legitimate means to object to state policy. As the next section illustrates, the ruling parties, in turn, argued how they, too, were defending stable democratic order. Under pressure, the definitions of democracy were shifting.

Principle of Non-violence, 1995–1996 During the first transport to Gorleben around the years 1994/1995, parliamentary debates illustrated how the Greens in particular contested the legitimacy of parliamentary majority to fully represent the will of the people. When the social and political conflict continued and intensified, during the second transport to Gorleben around 1996, the main issue giving rise to competing interpretations was the principle of non-violence.43 Even though all the political parties (and the majority of citizens’ groups) advocated this principle, which they considered a basic element of a democratic society, they differed as to which acts fulfilled this principle and were therefore legitimate. The political parties thus continued to challenge each other’s conceptions of ‘legal’ and ‘legitimate’ in German democracy. In the summer of 1995, the public became aware that transport from the nuclear power plant at Gundremming to Gorleben would


follow at some point, and the anti-nuclear groups in society immediately organised small-scale demonstrations against it.44 In November 1995, protesters called for a dismantling of railway tracks in order to prevent the upcoming transport. A speaker from the citizens’ initiative ‘Mahnwache Gundremmingen’ emphasised that the planned actions were going to be ‘peaceful’ and ‘non-violent’.45 This action group, established in 1989, agitated against the nuclear power plant at Gundremmingen and supported the idea of a radical reform of energy production. The group had committed itself to the principle of non-violence, which became a highly controversial concept. For example, in May 1996 the county court of Augsburg convicted two members of ‘Mahnwache Gundremmingen’ for incitement to sabotage.46 In the meantime, the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which was more supportive of nuclear energy than the Süddeutsche Zeitung, reported that the anti-nuclear activists were becoming more militant and the sabotage actions more serious.47 These examples together with the following Bundestag speeches about the use of violence in demonstrations, illustrate the ambivalence of the concepts ‘violence’ and ‘non-violence’. Bettina Blank has pointed out how the anti-nuclear movement understood the concept of ­non-violence in a sense that could include all kinds of actions against material property.48 This interpretation also found support among the Green and leftist MPs, who emphasised the legitimacy of using ‘civil disobedience’, which could include acts of force, against material property. Civil disobedience belonged to the traditional repertoire of citizens’ movements and the Green Party. However, the Christian Democrats and Liberals were extremely critical of any engagement by MPs in actions which the parties deemed violent and, therefore, illegitimate. One newspaper article in particular, written by Elisabeth Altmann (Alliance 90/The Greens) and Eva Bulling-Schröter (PDS) and published by the newspaper Die Tageszeitung, sparked a debate in the Bundestag. In this article, the two MPs urged the ‘non-violent’ dismantling of the tracks around the Gundremmingen nuclear power plant in order to prevent the transport of radioactive waste to Gorleben. On 17 April 1996, the FDP called for a debate, during which Christian Democratic and Liberal MPs raised the question of suitable political language in a democratic parliament. Guido Westerwelle (FDP) questioned the understanding of ‘rule of law’ by those who called for violent acts. He did not consider dismantling the tracks to be a legitimate political



means, since the institutions and courts of the ‘constitutional state’ had authorised the transports. Therefore, a change in policy was only possible through ‘democratic institutions in our constitutional state.’ In other words, he emphasised the party’s conception of liberal democracy, according to which the parliamentary majority by definition made only legitimate and legal decisions. Westerwelle argued that people who were using or encouraging the use of violence as a political tool placed themselves outside the ‘democratic basic consensus’.49 This referred to the idea that decision-making based on the principle of majority rule was also binding for minorities, who had to respect the decisions or try to change them through democratic institutions. It also referred to the fundamental democratic principle of the state’s monopoly on the use of force, according to which other parts of society could not legitimately use violence against each other. Walter Hirche (FDP) expressed a similar idea by calling the text an ‘infringement of the law’, which led to a ‘breakdown of our modern liberal constitutional state’.50 Other speakers of the ruling coalition argued that the present violent acts, like those of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as speeches inciting people to perpetrate such acts were illegitimate infringements of the law and undemocratic.51 Wolfgang Freiherr von Stetten (CDU/CSU) was more precise, when citing the historical examples of the Red Army Faction and the National Socialists and Communists in the Weimar Republic as examples of what could happen when people started to call for violence against material objects and, eventually, against people.52 These speakers evidently felt that verbal and physical acts by the anti-nuclear element in society posed an actual threat to German democratic institutions. For the Christian Democrats and Liberals, enforcing the right of the parliamentary majority to take legitimate policy decisions was a practical means of safeguarding democracy by promoting stability and peace. This desire was rooted in the parties’ historically based fears of a failing or unworkable democracy.53 For these parties, following the constitutional expression of representative democracy seemed to have been a way to prevent the rise of populism, fascism and authoritarianism. The response by Rezzo Schlauch (Alliance 90/The Greens) to Westerwelle illustrates the different possible understandings of violence in a democratic state. According to Schlauch, the planned actions were ‘self-evidently a form of civil disobedience with a predominant symbolic character’.54 Eva Bulling-Schröter (PDS) herself justified the call


for sabotage by emphasising how violence could be used as a last resort to safeguard democracy and the rights of the people.55 It is noteworthy, however, that the Alliance 90/The Greens and the PDS represented different traditions and voices of the German political left based on historical and ideological differences. Despite some similarities in the argumentation about nuclear energy issues, in general the Greens remained decidedly critical of the PDS’s Stalinist legacy.56 The PDS utilised topics of environmental and energy policy as instruments to pursue opposition politics, whereas the Greens had more profound ideological motives based on the party’s background. In May 1995, before and during the second transport, violent acts continued and became more serious. Protesters, for instance, used stones and flare guns against police officers, organised sit-in blockades and used burning barricades.57 It is difficult to entirely comprehend the reasons and consequences in complex political processes involving many actors, but the speeches and writing of the Green and leftist politicians may have given them a feeling of political support. At the same time, representatives of these parties may have felt it necessary to express some kind of support for the people who formed the parties’ electorate. On May 9, 1996, the Green MPs continued to emphasise the legitimacy of civil disobedience and the party’s understanding of the principle of non-violence in the Bundestag. For example, Ursula Schönberger, an advocate of the ‘atomic state’ argumentation, drew attention to the state’s use of force in the past few days by saying: The “atomic state” means that those who favour nuclear energy, due to its potential risks, are forced to push it through with all the power a state can use against its own citizens.58

From this perspective it was the state that was challenging democracy instead of the people who were demonstrating or acting against it. Therefore, the Green Party MPs suggested there were situations in which people could legitimately achieve their objectives by using violence. These speeches cited historical examples of the extra-parliamentary opposition and citizens’ movements of the 1960s and 1970s and their alleged achievements for German democracy. For example, the leader of the Alliance 90/Greens group, Joschka Fischer, made a speech in the Bundestag on 9 May 1996, in which he formally defended the constitutional interpretation of democracy, but at the same time validated



attempts to use civil disobedience to ensure that such democracy was in fact practised by the government. Fischer pointed out how he spoke ‘as a person whom you might well have justifiably called a “violent criminal” in the 1970s’. According to him, ‘abandoning constitutional principles can never be a democratic choice’. At the same time Fischer made clear how without these protests in the previous decades ‘there would be less democracy’ in Germany and ‘a nuclear capacity twice as large’.59 Even though the Alliance 90/Greens formally condemned the use of violence, they nonetheless encouraged people to perpetrate different kinds of acts by emphasising civil disobedience. Many leading figures of the Green Party were themselves former demonstrators. The background of Fischer was among the most radical of the leading politicians. He had been an active participant of the student movement and in the extra-­ parliamentary opposition in the second half of the 1960s. Until 1975, Fischer had been a member of the leftist radical group Revolutionärer Kampf, participated in a number of violent incidents and had been arrested.60 On the other hand, as a politician, Fischer has been described as a strategist, tactician and a ‘Realpolitiker’ par excellence.61 Manfred Kanther, the Federal Minister of the Interior, criticised the speech by Fischer, which he deemed inflammatory. According to him, a militant minority perpetrating violence must not be permitted to change policy agreed and implemented by a majority in accordance with justice and law. Further, people had to be able to trust that ‘the state under the rule of law’ was not surrendering to ‘violent criminals’.62 Wolfgang Behrendt (SPD) also criticised the Green politicians for suggesting that there could be moral or political justifications for ‘violent criminals’.63 Altogether, the MPs evidently disagreed who was actually challenging German democracy and which actions by the state or citizens were legitimate.

The Third Transport and the German Constitutional State, 1997 The third transport in March 1997 from the nuclear power plants at Neckarwesheim and Grundremmingen and from the reprocessing plant at La Hague to Gorleben gave rise to the largest demonstrations thus far and caused a massive police operation, with thirty thousand police officers and Federal Border Guards on the spot to maintain order.


In the autumn of 1996, when preparations for the third transport had started, demonstrations continued unabated. Anti-nuclear protesters organised further attacks on railway tracks.64 The police and the Federal Border Guard initiated a massive operation to clear the route for the transport. Demonstrating groups expressed respect for the principle of non-violence, but once again the interpretation of this principle was not unambiguous, as protesters threw stones and raised barricades against the police and the transport.65 In the Bundestag, the argumentation did not evolve much and all parties rehashed arguments from the earlier debates. One aspect that merits more detailed discussion, though, is how the ruling coalition of CDU/CSU and FDP justified their authority in the situation, when they felt severely challenged by the anti-nuclear movement and its parliamentary body. Weber’s classical definition of the state’s monopoly on the use of force includes the notion that those in a position of power at a given time must claim and justify their authority to conduct the state’s monopoly on the use of force.66 The representatives of the ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Liberals argued for the legitimacy of their authority by invoking the concept of ‘Rechtsstaat’, i.e. ‘the state under the rule of law’ or ‘constitutional state’. They based their argumentation on the German constitution, which states that the Federal Republic of Germany is a ‘Rechtsstaat’ and safeguards relations between individuals and the state through a set of formal procedures including the division of power, an independent judiciary and security of life, liberty and property.67 The federal ministers and the representatives of the ruling coalition warned against endangering democracy through illegal verbal and physical acts when they saw what was happening. From their perspective, the democratic principle of ‘constitutional state’ was sufficient to justify legality and legitimacy of the transports, since they were part of the constitutionally and democratically enacted nuclear energy policy and disposal policy. The speech by Manfred Kanther, Federal Minister of the Interior, on 27 February 1997, emphasised strongly the legitimacy and legality of liberal representative democracy in the German democratic state by saying ‘democracy not only thrives from acting out one’s opinion, but at least as much from recognising the legal order of things’. According to him, in the current situation many people were breaking the law and democracy was challenged when the legal order was not respected. Kanther highlighted how the federal government



followed the constitutional understanding of democracy and how the present situation was endangering democratic order in German society.68 Also Fischer (Alliance 90/The Greens) explicit said ‘there is no place for extra-legal violence in a constitutional state’, but from his viewpoint this argument had no relevance in the current situation in which protest movements as well as the Green party were committed to the principle of non-violence.69 In the same Bundestag debate Westerwelle (FDP) brought out how the principle of non-violence also required using acceptable political language. According to him, the use of concepts like ‘police state’ and ‘atomic state’ by the leading Green politicians created images that were improper in the state under the rule of law and democracy, and generated more violent sabotage actions.70 With this argument, Westerwelle essentially stated that a certain kind of political language was undemocratic, since it contained a message that incited to criminal acts. In the Bundestag, the ruling coalition of the Christian Democrats and Liberals saw no alternative but to secure the transports by using a massive police force and the Federal Boarder Guard. Further, they sought to justify this by excluding the militant demonstrators from the meaning of democracy: the democratic basic rights did not apply to demonstrators, because some of them had resorted to violent means. After this third transport, the Federal Minister of the Environment, Angela Merkel, called a halt to further transports in spring 1998 because of the so-called contamination scandal. Politicians in the federal parliament became aware that in recent years several transports of radioactive containers had broken the limits set for radiation. On 26 March 1998, Ursula Schönberger once again utilised the concept of the ‘atomic state’ in the Bundestag by saying that this scandal proved risks of a non-democratic ‘atomic state’ as prognosted by Rober Jungk could not be avoided when using atomic technology.71 In the platform of the Alliance 90/The Greens for the Bundestag election in 1998 the party called for direct exertion of influence in order to strengthen citizens trust in democracy.72 The issue of contamination scandal helped partly the Social Democrats and Greens to win the Bundestag elections in autumn 1998 and to form a government. However, the new cabinet under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was forced to allow further transports from March 2001 onwards, because the French and British governments pressured Germany to transport radioactive waste back from foreign reprocessing


plants. The law on the phasing out of nuclear energy, which the Bundestag passed in December 2001, prohibited reprocessing after 2005 in an attempt to reduce the number of controversial transports.73

Conclusions The Bundestag debates were evidently a continuation or resurgence of confrontations in German democratic thought that had started to flourish in the 1960s, when the leftist and green groups in society articulated their criticism of the legitimacy of the parliamentary majority to represent the will of the people. In the context of the controversies around the transports of nuclear waste to interim storage at Gorleben from the 1995 onwards, the green and leftist parties revived their arguments that the will of the people should be heard in other ways than through parliamentary elections and that civil disobedience was justified in order to achieve some greater political good. Even though the conception of parliamentary, representative democracy had a legal basis in the German constitution and the notion of ‘the constitutional state’, the ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Liberals had to find arguments to justify their democratic conceptions and to claim political authority. Confronted with their ‘adversaries’, the anti-nuclear opposition, they thus had to redefine and renegotiate their understanding of (legitimate) democracy. While debating the issue of Gorleben, MPs implicitly took a stand on the more abstract questions regarding the basis of any democratic state’s self-conception: who legitimately represents the will of the people and from where do policies truly derive their legitimacy? When the political parties in the Bundestag debated these questions, they all based their argumentation on the historical fears of situations where the principles of democracy were not respected. Although this conflict over the two main ways of perceiving democracy in Germany lasted for several decades, the conception of liberal, representative democracy maintained its dominant position as the basic conception for the German constitutional setting. Nevertheless, the conflict over Gorleben, in which opposing groups were forced to explain their ideas of democracy, had other consequences, especially for German nuclear energy policy. In the Bundestag election of 1998, the Social Democrats and the Greens achieved a parliamentary majority and were thus able to make policy changes, abandoning their activist or militant (in the eyes of their opponents: anti-democratic) conception



of democracy. One of those changes was the law on the phasing out of nuclear energy by the early 2020s and on ending the reprocessing of nuclear waste by 2005, which the Bundestag passed in December 2001. Later, after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, Angela Merkel’s cabinet renewed and tightened this legislation. At the conceptual level, one predominating reason for this anti-nuclear legislation was the notion that ever-wider segments of society had begun to perceive nuclear energy as an anti-democratic form of energy because of the risks it caused to society. This was an evident success of the anti-nuclear argumentation.


1. This research was supported by the Academy of Finland, project Supraand Transnational Foreign Policy versus National Parliamentary Government, 1914–2014. [Decision no. 275589.] 2.  A. Biefang and A. Schuz, ‘From Monarchial Constitutionalism to a Parliamentary Republic: Concepts of Parliamentarism in Germany since 1818’, in P. Ihalainen, C. Ilie, and K. Palonen (eds.), Parliament and Parliamentarism: A Comparative History of a European Concept (New York and Oxford 2016), 62–77; D. Jörke and M. Llanque, ‘Parliamentarism and Democracy in German Political Theory since 1848’, in Ihalainen et al. (eds.), Parliament and Parliamentarism, 274. 3. Three transports from the German nuclear power plants and from the reprocessing plant at La Hague, France, took place during the period 1995–1997. The first transport was in April 1995 from the nuclear power plant at Philippsburg, the second transport in May 1996 from the reprocessing plant at La Hague, France, and the third in March 1997 from the nuclear power plants at Neckarwesheim and Grundremmingen and from the reprocessing plant at La Hague. The first transport to Gorleben was met with demonstrations of just a few thousand people, whereas the third transport in March 1997 attracted tens of thousands of demonstrators and thirty thousand police officers and Federal Border Guards were on the spot to keep the peace. 4. Bettina Blank, ‘Der Protest gegen CASTOR-Transporte und die Rolle der Linksextremisten’, Jahrbuch Extremismus & Demokratie 10 (1998), 205–206. 5. Jörke and Llanque, ‘Parliamentarism’, 266, 274. 6. P.M.R. Stirk, Twentieth-Century German Political Thought (Oxford/ New York 2005), 136; I. Gilcher-Holtey, Die 68er Bewegung: Deutschland - Westeuropa - USA (München 2001); P.A. Richter, ‘Die Ausserparlamentarische Opposition in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland


1966 bis 1968’, in I. Gilcher-Holtey (ed.), 1968 - vom Ereignis zum Gegenstand der Geschichtswissenschaft (Göttingen 1998), 35–55. 7. Biefang and Schuz, ‘From Monarchial’, 74. 8. J. Radkau, Aufstieg und Krise der deutschen Atomwirtschaft 1945– 1975. Verdrängte Alternativen in der Kerntechnik und der Ursprung der nuklearen Kontroverse (Hamburg 1983); D. Rucht, ‘AntiAtomkraftbewegung’, in R. Roland and R. Dieter (eds.), Die sozialen Bewegungen in Deutschland seit 1945: ein Handbuch (Frankfurt am Main 2008), 245–266; A.S. Tompkins, Better Active Than Radioactive! Antinuclear Protest in 1970s France and West Germany (Oxford 2016). 9.  My ‘Conflicting conceptualisations of “democracy” in the German Bundestag during the anti-nuclear demonstrations, 1995–2001’, in Parliaments, Estates and Representation 38 (2018), 121–133 has discussed competing conceptualisations of democracy more from the viewpoint of liberal democracy in the Bundestag over a longer period. The Commission of Inquiry ‘Future Nuclear Energy Policy’ (1979) has been studied by Cornelia Altenburg and the parliamentary debates about nuclear energy policy of 1991–2001 by Miina Kaarkoski. C. Altenburg, Kernenergie und Politikberatung. Die Vermessung einer Kontroverse (Wiesbaden 2010); M. Kaarkoski, ‘Energiemix’ Versus ‘Energiewende’: Competing Conceptualisations of Nuclear Energy Policy in German Parliamentary Debates of 1991–2001 (Jyväskylä 2016). 10. P. Ihalainen, Agents of the People: Democracy and Popular Sovereignty in British and Swedish Parliamentary and Public Debates, 1734–1800 (Leiden and Boston 2010); C. Ilie, ‘Parliamentary Discourse and Deliberative Rhetoric’, in P. Ihalainen et al. (eds.), Parliament and Parliamentarism, 133–145; T. Häkkinen, The Royal Prerogative redefined. Parliamentary Debate on the Role of the British Parliament in Large-Scale Military Deployments, 1982–2003 (Jyväskylä 2014); Kaarkoski, ‘Energiemix’. 11. Biefang and Schuz, ‘From Monarchial’, 73. 12. Jörke and Llanque, ‘Parliamentarism’, 262–267. 13. Biefang and Schuz, ‘From Monarchial’, 74. 14. K. Bergmann, ‘Zum Verhältnis von Parlamentarismus und Protest’, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte: Beilage zur Wochenzeitung Das Parlament (2012), 17, 25–26. 15.  For more on the contested principle of parliamentary majority, see: Kaarkoski, ‘Conflicting Conceptualisations’, 127–129. 16. H.J. Varain, ‘Die Bedeutung des Mehrheitsprinzips’, in B. Guggenberg and Claus Offe (eds.), An den Grenzen der Mehrheitsdemokratie. Politik und Soziologie der Mehrheitsregel (Opladen 1984), 48–53.



17.  H. Abromeit, ‘Mehrheitprinzip und Föderalismus’, in Guggenberg and Offe (eds.), An den Grenzen, 132; B. Guggenberger, ‘An den Grenzen der Mehrheitsdemokratie’, in Ibid., 184, 191; D. Rucht, ‘Recht auf Widerstand? Aktualität, Legitimität und Grenzen “zivilen Ungehorsams”’, in Ibid., 255. 18. D. Rucht, ‘Recht’, 261. 19. W. Sternstein, ‘Kein Macht für niemand!’, in Guggenberg and Offe (eds.), An den Grenzen, 282. 20. M. Edler, Demonstranten als „Staatfeinde“ – “Staat“ als Feinbild? Bürgerinitiative, Medien und Staatsgewalt im Streit um die CastorTransporte in das Atom-Zwischenlager Gorleben (Lüchow 2001), 75, 81, 87. 21. J. Radkau and L. Hahn, Aufstieg und Fall der deutschen Atomwirtschaft (München 2013), 304–306, 325; J. Radkau, ‘Eine kurze Geschichte der deutschen Antiatomkraftbewegung’, in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte: Beilage zur Wochenzeitung Das Parlament 61:46–47 (2011), 11. 22. SZ 7.9.1993, p. 6, Niedersachsen fordert von Bonn: Atommüll soll nicht nach Gorleben; SZ 14.10.1993, p. 9, Internationales Endlagerhearing in Gorleben. Von Bärbel Teubert; SZ 16.2.1995, p. 6, Merkel ordnet Lagerung von Castor-Behälter an. 23. Kaarkoski, ‘Energiemix’, 16, 41–42. 24. FAZ 8.7.1994, Nr. 156, p. 3, Schröder warnt Töpfer vor „Provokation“. FAZ 14.7.1994, Nr. 161, p. 5, Polizei räumt Hüttendorf bei Gorleben. 25.  FAZ 21.11.1994, Nr. 270, p. 8, Proteste gegen Castor-Transport; FAZ 27.1.1995, Nr. 23/4, p. 1, Castor-Gegner verüben Anschlag auf Bahnstrecke bei Lüneburg; FAZ 6.2.1995, Nr. 31, p. 4, Strassenblockade aus Protest gegen geplanten Castor-Transport. 26. SZ 18.4.1995, p. 5, Bombendrohung gegen Bahnhof bei Gorleben; FAZ 23.4.1995, Nr. 16, p. 1, Eisenkugeln gegen Polizisten. 27. SZ 20.4.1995, p. 4, Viel Geschrei um Castor. Von Wolfgang Roth. 28. Merkel Deutscher Bundestag (DB) 33. sitting 26 April 1995, p. 2518. 29. Kaarkoski, ‘Energiemix’, 42, 58, 81; Kaarkoski, ‘Conflicting Conceptuali­ sations’, 124. 30. Hustedt DB 33. sitting 26 April 1995, p. 2526. 31. M. Weber, ‘Politik als Beruf’, Zeno.org, 505–510. http://www.zeno.org/ Soziologie/M/Weber,+Max/Schriften+zur+Politik/Politik+als+Beruf. 32. Merkel DB 33. Sitzung 26 April 1995, pp. 2518–2519. 33. Gusy, ‘Das Mehrheitsprinzip’, 61–62, 65, 74–76. 34. Müller (SPD) & Schütz (SPD) DB 33. sitting 26 April 1995, p. 2521, 2546; Kubatschka (SPD) DB 97. sitting 17 April 1996, pp. 8640–8641; Ganseforth (SPD) DB 104. sitting 9 May 1996, p. 9126.

210  M. KAARKOSKI 35.  Manifesto of the political principles of the Alliance 90/The Greens 1993, pp. 17, 27–29. https://www.boell.de/sites/default/files/assets/ boell.de/images/download_de/publikationen/1993_002_Politische_ Grundsaetze_Buendnis90DieGruenen.pdf. 36. The Platform of the Alliance 90/The Greens 1994, pp. 44–46. 37. Hustedt DB 33. sitting 26 April 1995, p. 2526. 38. Kaarkoski, ‘Energiemix’, 176; Kaarkoski, ‘Conflicting Conceptualisations’, 126. 39. M. Jung, Öffentlichkeit und Sprachwandel. Zur Geschichte des Diskurses über die Atomenergie (Opladen 1994), 96, 103–104, 108; Radkau and Hahn, Aufstieg, 11. Kaarkoski, ‘Energiemix’, 176. R. Jungk, Der Atomstaat. Vom Fortschritt in die Unmenschlichkeit (München 1977). 40.  Manifesto of the Greens 1980, p. 10. https://www.boell.de/sites/ default/files/assets/boell.de/images/download_de/publikationen/1980_001_Grundsatzprogramm_Die_Gruenen.pdf. 41. Volmer (Alliance 90/The Greens) DB 5. sitting 23 November 1994, p. 104; Volmer DB 31. sitting 30 March 1995, p. 2443. 42. Schönberger DB 33. sitting 26 April 1995, p. 2543. 43.  More about the use of violence in a democratic state, Kaarkoski, ‘Conflicting Conceptualisations’, 124–127. 44. SZ 3.7.1995, s. 33, Gundremminger Atommüll soll nach Gorleben. 45. SZ 9.11.1995, p. 49, Um Castortransport zu verhindern. Atomgegner wollen Schienen demontieren. 46.  SZ 2.5.1996, p. 53, Wegen Sabotage-Aufrufs. Gericht verurteilt zwei Atomgegner. 47. FAZ 30.4.1996, p. 4, Atomkraftgegner immer militanter. 48. Blank, ‘Der Protest’, 199–213. 49. Westerwelle DB 97. sitting 17 April 1996, pp. 8630–8631. 50. Hirche DB 97. sitting 17 April 1996, p. 8639. 51. Geis (CDU/CSU), Teiser (CDU/CSU) & Eylmann (CDU/CSU) DB 97. sitting 17 April 1996, pp. 8637, 8640–8642. 52. von Stetten DB 97. sitting 17 April 1996, p. 8644. 53. Stirk, Twentieth-Century, 136, 174–175. 54. Schlauch DB 97. sitting 17 April 1996, p. 8633. 55. Bulling-Schröter DB 97. sitting 17 April 1996, p. 8635. 56. A.S. Markovits and S.J. Silvia, ‘The Identity Crisis of Alliance ’90/The Greens: The New Left at a Crossroad’, New German Critique (1997), 72, 121. 57. FAZ 9.5.1996, p. 1, Gewalttäter mit Steinen und Signalmunition gegen Polizisten und den Atommüll-Transport. 58. Schönberger DB 104. sitting 9 May 1996, p. 9123. 59. Fischer DB 104. sitting 9 May 1996, p. 9132. 60. Kaarkoski, ‘Energiemix’, 42–43.



61. Markovits and Silvia, ‘The Identity’, 123. 62. Kanther DB 104. sitting 9 May 1996, pp. 9133–9134. 63. Behrendt DB 104. sitting 9 May 1996, p. 9138. 64.  FAZ 12.10.1996, Nr. 238, p. 4, Die Vorbereitung für den nächsten Castor-Transport haben begonnen; SZ 24.10.1996, p. 6, Täter vermutlich Castor-Gegner; FAZ 30.10.1996, Nr. 253, p. 2, Protest gegen Castor-Transport. 65. FAZ 4.3.1997, Nr. 53/10, p. 1, Protestaktionen begleiten den CastorTransport; FAZ 5.3.1997, p. 1, Steine und Brandsätze gegen Polizisten Barrikaden und aufgerissene Straßen; SZ 6.3.1997, p. 3, Gorleben: Ende der Millimeter-Schlacht um den Castor-Transport. Von Jakob Augstein und Beate Ramm; SZ 7.3.1997, p. 5, Bis zu einem Ergebnis der Konsensgespräche; SZ 7.3.1997, p. 5, Grünen-Fraktionschef in Hannover fordert Rücktritt des Innenministers. 66. Weber, ‘Politik’, 505–510. 67. Stirk, Twentieth-Century, 136, 152; Kaarkoski, ‘Conflicting Conceptualisations’, 129–131. 68. Kanther DB 160. sitting 27 February 1997, p. 14323. 69. Fischer DB 160. sitting 27 February 1997, pp. 14332–14333. 70. Westerwelle DB 160. sitting 27 February 1997, p. 14335. 71. Schönberger DB 224. sitting 26 March 1998, p. 20498. 72. The Platform of the Alliance 90/The Greens, p. 111. https://www.boell.de/ sites/default/files/assets/boell.de/images/download_de/publikationen/1998_Wahlprogramm_Bundestagswahl.pdf. 73. Kaarkoski, ‘Conflicting Conceptualisations’, 131–132.


Dealing with Opposition in the Post-Cold War Period, 1998–2019

Stable democratic institutions seem to depend on a relatively strong and homogenous sense of national identity within the borders of the state. Such a shared identity, perhaps, provides a foundation of mutual trust needed for a peaceful execution and transfer of power and the give-andtake of democratic politics. Since the end of the Cold War, attempts to copy the liberal democratic model of post-war Europe and the US elsewhere, have often floundered on the tensions and distrust among multiple ethnic groups who do not share a common set of national narratives. This part explores how democratisation processes have interacted with ethnic tensions in the post-cold war era, both in Europe’s oldest democracy and in newly established independent states. Democracies, in this era then, found themselves negotiating with their adversaries in order to settle the question of democratic representation. In Northern Ireland, politically part of the geographic core of modern liberal democracy, the Good Friday Accord of 1998 ushered in a period of increased political participation for catholic nationalists. However, working-class protestants in Belfast saw their relative political prestige and influence diminished as a result, at the very time when neoliberal economic policies eroded what economic security they had enjoyed. As a result, many of these working-class protestants distrust the new democratic institutions, which in their view do not serve their interests at all, and consequently developed a strong sense of being politically excluded. Around the same time, Bosnians undertook the hard-work of reconstructing their multi-ethnic state following years of ethnic violence


during the Bosnian War. That conflict has not returned may be considered a significant success in its own right, but the political system created by the Dayton Agreement has institutionalised the ethnic divisions, which has clearly restricted the possible development of a fully functioning modern democracy, causing a growing feeling of political alienation among young people. Similar tensions between various ethnic groups have plagued the former Soviet republic of Moldova. Although laying claim to the region of Transnistria, the central government of the newly declared republic was unable to exert its authority there. Russian inspired separatist forces put forward competing claims of democratic legitimacy in their attempts to present themselves as the rulers of the breakaway province. In these discussions between central and local authorities the outcome of elections plays a crucial part, showing how liberal democratic values have been internalised even by those challenging its outcome.

Displaced Without Moving: Loyalism and Democratic Haunting in Northern Ireland Henrik Vigh

Introduction This chapter looks at local resistance to the democratic peace process in Northern Ireland. Building on ethnographic material from fieldwork conducted in an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)-area in Belfast,1 between 1996 and 2013, it clarifies how parts of the country’s more marginal Protestant population experience and react to the political changes that have followed in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. While the peace process has overwhelming democratic support and is backed by the population at large, it has led to a growing fear within parts of Belfast’s Loyalist population that they, rather than gaining peace and prosperity, are losing political voice and standing. Most people principally support both peace and democracy, yet many experience their ‘community’ as becoming marginalised by the current democratic developments and the political negotiations involved. The chapter shows H. Vigh (*)  University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_9


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how this experience of loss and increasing political marginalisation ties into a larger history of perceived decline, and how this conjuncture has given rise to a range of protests and riots in which Loyalists have sought to publicly oppose, what they see as the negative consequences of the otherwise positive process. In recent years many of these protests have added to the negative national and international understanding of Loyalist politics. However, when seen from within they are, as we shall see, most often understood as protective and reasonable; as reactions to a democratic process whose proclaimed progress is felt to be achieved at their expense.

Militant Democrats Loyalists in Northern Ireland have traditionally legitimated themselves as defenders of democracy. They have understood and represented themselves as a political force protecting Northern Ireland against Irish and Republican interests. In similar terms, the people, whose voices we shall hear in this chapter, self-identify as both as Loyalist and democrats. They see themselves as part of what they term ‘the Loyalist community’ and perceive this group as front-line defenders of a democratic polity and principle.2 This position as ‘militant democrats’ goes back a long way. Loyalists in general, and the UVF in particular, have traditionally defined themselves as a protective force. The paramilitary organisation, formed in 1965, came, in their own words, into being as ‘a pre-emptive measure to defend Northern Ireland against an anticipated IRA threat’.3 And while the UVF has been described as both a terrorist and anti-democratic non-state agent of conflict, and even as ‘a pro-state death-squad’ targeting civilians and politicians in its military campaigns, they frame their organisation and actions as counter-terrorist and as in defence of the democratic nation.4 Looking at Loyalist reactions to the peace process, this chapter ties into the theme of this anthology in two ways. On the one hand, it provides a modern example of how a democracy may be characterised by an internal tension pertaining to the definition and delineation of the demos it is seen to represent (cf. introduction). Straddling two different (primary) population groups, with conflicting ideal and desires of nationhood, the people constitution the Northern Irish population do not necessarily agree on the larger political anchoring of their current democratic state. The people I work with in Belfast will commonly talk about



the country’s population as one, yet equally recognise that this group is politically divided between those who wish to belong to the United Kingdom (Unionists and Loyalists) and those who wish to belong to the Irish Republic (Republicans). As a larger political entity Northern Ireland can, as such, be seen to be caught in a paranoid-schizoid position, as Cash states, where the imagined community is split into a friend– enemy distinction that disconcerts democratic decisions and change, and instals tension into the very constitution of the democratic populace.5 On the other hand, the more defensive and oppositional parts of Loyalism stand as prime examples of the way supporters of democracy may become negatively affected and ambivalently positioned by the democratic principle they champion. Though they recognise the democratic legitimacy of the Northern Irish government, they feel that their population group have been paying the price of its current policies of conciliation and consociationality. The democratically elected government is seen to knowingly undermine their rights and ontological security in order to appease the republican side of the divide. As the government is seen to be marginalising the very people that voted it into power, my interlocutors become hostile not to the democratic institution but its specific manifestations. They periodically attempt to reassert their presence and centrality through political rituals, demonstrations, and confrontations. Though these manifestations of adversity resemble dissociation, they may be seen as struggles to accentuate their presence as part of the demos and democracy that they feel increasingly cut off from. Looking at Loyalism and its political protests in Northern Ireland thus exemplifies how people can simultaneously anchor their politics and legitimise their claims in ‘democracy’ as well as feel threatened by its developments. What I will do in the following, is to look closer at Loyalist reactions to the otherwise democratic advances in Northern Ireland, and illuminate the way their adversity to its specific manifestations is expressed in discourse and practice. More specifically, the peace process can be seen to have produced three specific modalities of marginalisation within Loyalism—which we may term discursive, relational, and symbolic—that are tied to the loss of political being and presence, and to their, at times, desperate and conflictual attempts to reconnect and escape their marginality. Illuminating my interlocutors’ sense of historical decline and present political side-lining the chapter clarifies their negotiation and conceptualisation of democracy and shows its historically contingent nature.

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Inhabiting a History of Decline For many of the people I work with in Belfast, the perceived negative consequences of the current peace process and power-sharing are framed within a longer history of loss and decline. Though they are unanimously in favour of creating lasting peace in the country, the negative effects of the current process are interpreted as continuations of longer-term political, demographic, and/or economic developments. The area in which I have conducted fieldwork has within the last half of a century gone from being central to Belfast’s economic development to becoming one of the city’s most marginal and poorest. Like many working-Loyalist neighbourhoods, it has gone from being a vibrant working-class neighbourhood—the supply line for a booming shipping and textile industry—to a place of insecurity, redundancy, and marginality. ‘Ironically’, Neil told to me, ‘being working-class now means not having a job at all’, indicating the experienced devaluation of the social category within post-industrial Belfast. From a Loyalist perspective, the history of the place thus exemplifies the accelerating decline and isolation that they feel characterises their lot. It emerged in its present form from the mid-nineteenth century when Belfast was rapidly industrialised and its inner-city working-class areas established. The industrial development led to a rapid influx of workers into town, feeding the city’s linen factories and shipyards. Belfast’s population consequently increased dramatically growing 400% from the 1830s to the 1880s.6 And as people settled along ethno-religious lines, the working-class neighbourhoods that emerged in this process congealed into a divided city with few mixed areas. The new housing estates, that were built in the suburbs during urban renewal campaigns a century later, led to further polarisation as many working-class Protestants moved away from inner city areas and Catholic families moved into former Protestant inner city estates. The result of the demographic shifts was that previously staunchly Protestant Unionist/Loyalist neighbourhoods gradually became Catholic Republican, and that the remaining Protestant neighbourhoods found themselves bordering Catholic ones. As the tensions escalated, with the onset of the Troubles, these neighbouring areas came to be seen as hostile communities. Consisting of a handful of streets, three churches, a couple of shops, restaurants, and a few pubs, the neighbourhood in question, simply termed ‘the Area’7 in this chapter, became a working-class



neighbourhood defined as an enclave and a UVF-stronghold.8 With the demographic shifts, it changed from being securely nestled within a larger ‘solidly’ Protestant area to being hemmed in between two larger Catholic ones. The result has been a growing sense of risk and loss of presence, of becoming increasingly isolated and marginal.9 Surrounded as it is by opposing paramilitaries, the area is considered a space of insecurity and seen as ‘under siege’ by residents and outsiders alike. As Kay, a middle-aged woman in the Area, told me; ‘eventually, we will all have to move out’, denoting how the fear of further demographic shifts and decline characterise the place. However, though the Area is seen as particularly vulnerable, this sense of loss and decline appears to have become more common within inner-city Loyalist communities over the years. In many ways, this experience of social and political undoing within Loyalist areas has been heightened by recent developments. While Belfast has witnessed remarkably positive economic and political change since the signing of the peace accord in 1998, many of the working-class inner-city neighbourhoods have been defined by a more profound condition of loss and decline. In the specific case, approximately half of the area’s population is currently ‘economically inactive’ and approximately a quarter are on ‘incapacity benefits’.10 Both the longer history of the neighbourhood and its present predicament tie into an experience of ruination, as both ‘a condition to which one is subject, and a cause of loss’.11 This has generated a pervasive sense of social and spatial dislocation, of déclassement and isolation.12 It is an experience of ‘being displaced without moving’; of becoming alienated from the social and political environment that one considers home, as it changes through forces beyond one’s control.

Discursive Marginalisation The idea of being displaced without moving is a wider feature of, for example, contemporary national-conservatives elsewhere, as the different configurations of people and polity that define given democracies morph in relation to larger historical processes and change. The predicament adds an interesting comment to the manner in which formerly privileged population groups are affected by demographic changes and equalisations of power. It touches, in this manner, upon a more widespread contemporary democratic angst, a feeling of losing political presence and power through larger externally induced changes, that infuse

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majority populations with a sense of emergent marginalisation. Generally defined as an historically dominant population group in Ireland, settled to maintain English control over its neighbouring island, Northern Irish Protestants have for many years been positioned as an example of internal colonialism and illegitimate dominance.13 Tied directly to an exploitative and repressive British hegemony it has been perceived as an illegitimate force in Ireland defined as matter out of place in relation to a political logic of primordialism and cultural boundedness. Northern Irish Protestants have as such been grouped alongside a range of communities that are seen to support illegitimate or intolerant causes. Defined, for example, as ‘a settler society’ they are categorised alongside Boers and Israelis as dominant coloniser communities,14 with the Serbs as aggressive nationalists,15 and with the BNP and other racist groups, as supremacists working against ethnic, cultural or religious coexistence. Comparing the murder of an African American man in the southern USA by the Ku Klux Klan to the murder of a Catholic by a Loyalist in Northern Ireland, McKay, for example, states that ‘the aggressive selfpity is similar’,16 indicating that what fuels Loyalist violence is a blindness to one’s own dominance and an illegitimate feeling of suffering. Loyalism has, in this manner, inherited a default position of political illegitimacy ascribing them a particularly poor position from where to argue their rights and presence. Yet where they are seen to embody a history of oppression they in many ways see themselves as inheritors of a history of decline.17 The clash between their historical and political narrative and the way the outside world sees them, generates a pronounced sense of discursive marginalisation—of having a story to tell but no one willing to listen or accept their interpretation of events. ‘They just have a much better story’, Craig told me, complaining about the state of the peace process and trying to make sense of the fact that the Catholic population group, in his point of view, was constantly dealt with the upper hand. Despite the aggression he saw as directed at the Loyalist community by its Republican counterpart, Loyalists, he said, invariably ended up looking like the culprits as soon as political relations soured. ‘Having a much better story’, Republicans are in this manner seen as able to frame the political agenda to their advantage, leaving Loyalists struggling to express themselves in a political game that they see as ‘semiotically rigged’. This understanding of having lost the propaganda war and consequently being misunderstood by the outside world is a common one. People are aware of the negative position they are ascribed



internationally and, conversely, of the positive position granted their Catholic neighbours. As Dawn explained: There’s always this… Where Irish nationalism is concerned, there’s always this romantic view of Irish nationalism, and we feel for too long the Protestants… Protestant view hasn’t been accepted, it has sort of been put down as bigoted and sectarian… [but] all we want is to get on with our way of life.

Loyalists are seen, she concluded ‘as muscled, tattooed, gold-wearing beasts with pierced nipples and diamonds hanging from their ears, a bit thick, uneducated, [and with] a propensity for violence and criminality’. In fact, for many of the people I talk to, the dominant interpretation of political events is seen as so biased towards the Catholic cause that even violence towards Protestants is no longer seen for what it ‘truly’ is—that is, in a ceasefire context, just violence—but predefined as acts of resistance. During a confrontation between Loyalists and Republicans in east Belfast in 2011, Connor, a young man from the area, took a picture with his mobile phone of a resident in the Republican Short Strand throwing a brick at a passing Loyalist procession. At the exact moment the picture was taken, the brick had just left the man’s right hand with his twisted and contorted body clearly indicating that he was hurling it as forcefully as he could. The picture was uploaded on social media, and as it was downloaded and shared on various smart phones, the recipients, in the UVF-pub where I was doing my fieldwork, debated whether the picture and information should be sent to the media and police. Connor simply cracked a smile and declared, ‘He will just say that he was catching the brick and not throwing it’.18 The comment was met with laughter by the rest of the crowd, yet the exaggeration was seen as awkwardly close to the truth in relation to the sense of discursive marginalisation. While not a plausible scenario, it was perceived as bordering the realm of the possible as Republican interpretations of events were seen to be dominant within the media. As laughter died down, Dennis looked up and drily stated, ‘He’s a taig,19 so he’ll get away with it… guaranteed’. The democratic peace process and its consociationalism is supposed to be built on and increasing dialogue and cooperation, but from the point of view of my interlocutors it ties into a recent history in which they have lost voice and standing. It is a loss of what Bourdieu calls a langue autorisée,20 the absence of which is seen as a misrecognition that constitutes

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an act of domination in its own rights. In other words, while the Good Friday Agreement is treasured for being democratic and having lessened levels of sectarian violence it is equally criticised for having generated a range of insecurities of a more discursive kind and a modality of marginalisation that is increasingly difficult to defend oneself against. The last 15 years of official peace have been relatively successful in appeasing parts of the Catholic population in relation to the devolution of Northern Irish government and the symbolic hegemony of the state. Yet, within the very same development my interlocutors have experienced themselves losing standing and struggling to communicate their point of view. ‘It’s a feeling of not being listened to, you know?’ John told me, continuing… ‘the violence comes from that really. From the feeling of sort of constantly being double-crossed. The government is always doing things behind our backs’. The democratic state that was supposed to guarantee their rights is, in other words, currently seen to be dismantling them.

Siege and Encroaching Disconnectedness Coming back to Belfast, in 2009, 14 years after I was first there, I re-met Gary, whom I had interviewed in 1996. Gary was one of my key-informants back then. He was a young man who grew up in the area where I do my fieldwork and had as a child and youth been active in the YCV, the Young Citizens Volunteers, the youth wing of the UVF. In 2010 he was still loosely connected to the UVF, or ‘the community’ as they are referred to in the area, yet he felt ambivalent about the organisation. Though he clearly saw it as a necessary guarantor of safety and security he was also critical of its influence. It is ‘like the mafia’, he said, ‘the people who protect you are the same people that beat you up’. Gary had recently moved back after working abroad for a few years. Settling down with his wife and young son in a two-bedroom council house, he was, he said, ‘condemning himself to a life of home improvement’. The sullen prospects of eternal DIY did not, however, overshadow his joy at being back in the area where he grew up and where much of his family still lives, a place he saw as home. As I asked him if anything had changed in Belfast since I was last there, he answered: [Now] there is a façade of things working… a façade… like putting on a better picture than what it actually is. The underlying currents are still the same… People are still ‘fresh’… the troubles are still fresh in peoples’



minds. It is still fresh in their minds. The remnants are still there. Even Scott [his son] will still grow up with that in his mind. With that! Even if he grows up now the seed will still be there. There are [only] a few Loyalist areas here [now], just wee tiny ones, but I wanted to go back home because I felt safer. Lots of people are doing that now… It is ingrained into society, so it is. You cannot turn it off.

Ironically, moving back into a small Protestant enclave, considered to be one of Belfast’s most insecure areas, was seen as a security measure for Gary. The fact that the place was perceived to be under threat from the surrounding Catholic areas was less important than the internal safety offered by this small, solidly Protestant area. When I interviewed him again a few days later, after having listened through the first interview, I probed the issue of safety asking him what it was about the area that made him feel safe: In the rest of Belfast, you never know. You never know. And them-ones they absolutely fucking hate us so they do. That is why I don’t believe in mixing because you just can’t trust them. They don’t want us here. But this area has always been Protestant. It is a Protestant area like. [But] there is a feeling that we are losing out, that we are actually the ones who are hard done by you know, and it’s like it never stops. That is why there is this kind of siege mentality so it is, because it never fucking stops.

Gary’s views were segregationist. He once confronted my openness towards different cultures by saying that if I ‘truly liked cultural difference’ then I would also be against integration. His logic was that if cultures were not shielded and kept apart, they would all melt into an undifferentiated mass and disappear. As with many of my other interlocutors there was a protective logic to many of his arguments, a proteophobe point of departure in which change was related to a fear of loss.21 In the above quotation he terms this sense of defensiveness a ‘siege mentality’, a response to an increasing yet historically anchored experience of being isolated, surrounded, and under threat. Within Northern Ireland the idea of a ‘siege mentality’ refers to the siege of (London) Derry in 1688–1689, where Protestant citizens defended the town against King James II’s Catholic army.22 From a Loyalist point of view the event has become iconic of the beleaguered position of Protestantism and Unionism in Ireland as being surrounded and under threat.23 ‘Being under siege’ is in this manner one of the most commonly

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heard descriptions of what it is like to live in the area where I do my fieldwork. The concept provides an interesting temporal figure. Though it is historically bound, it is future orientated as an apprehension that braces and secures one against future harm.24 The metaphor resonates with the experience of many of my informants of constantly ‘losing out’ and ‘being hard done by’, as Neil put it earlier, i.e., reduced in presence and seeing themselves as struggling to defend their space and hold their ground.25 The idea of ‘being under siege’ thereby encompasses both the persistent lingering threat and the fear of its potential radicalisation into harm. In this manner, it frames a present or oncoming critical event within a critical continuity.26 Obviously, the danger is currently of a different order than the historical reference alludes to. It is presently related to the fear of being abandoned and undermined (symbolically, politically, and spatially) through a democratic process of change that is, in part, seen as detrimental to one’s well-being. As Andrew described it: Honestly, it is becoming too much. [It is] relentless like, concessions, concessions, concessions. Look at the flag, look at the parades. It is rotten like. Soon they [the Westminster government] will be like, ‘right, youse [Nationalists] can have your referendum and youse [Loyalists] can’t vote’. It is building up so it is, like it will explode.

The institution that is supposed to support them, i.e., the British State, is in Andrew’s perspective selling them out. This understanding of being abandoned and betrayed is so manifest that people discuss the wider situation as if they were under attack, yet with the focus having shifted to an assault on symbols and ‘cultural manifestations,’ rather than the former targeting of political representatives, institutions, or paramilitary groups. While the physical violence has receded, the threat to Loyalist communities is perceived to take the shape of a less obvious, but no less destructive, attack on ‘Protestant culture’. The consequence is a relational unsettling and destabilising of Loyalism through an attack on symbols of British state and nationhood. Interpreted as part of a historical process of decline this is seen as a political attempt to alter the demos of the democratic state. June has lived in the area where I do my research all her life. She has had her house burned down and family members attacked by the IRA, due to their affiliation with the UVF. Though she has a strong attachment to the place, the insecurity and uncertainty of the surroundings



worry her. She fears for the safety and well-being of her boys and the plight of the neighbourhood in general. However, what seemed to currently concern her most is not the possibility of physical violence but what she sees as the strategic subjugation and silencing of Loyalism and what she terms Britishness: They’re stopping the parades. They stop a lot of parades, and these parades have gone on for years and years… They’ve got the National Anthem stopped at Queens, I mean, it’s called Queens for obvious reasons, right? They’ve got the National Anthem stopped there. They want the Union Jack taken down from everywhere. They want the national anthem stopped on the BBC at night, you know? Just wee small things, slowly but surely you know? Council offices and council departments [are] not to display photographs of the Queen… You know? Things like that. It’s gnawing away, gnawing away, slowly but surely.

The signs of ‘Britishness’ are important to her not merely as part of a symbolic hegemony but of her presence and entitlement to the place where she was born. The erosion of the visibility of the symbols, to which she has attached ontological meaning, is seen as an encroaching danger, as a slow corrosion of presence, the ‘gnawing away’ that she refers to. In many ways, contemporary democratic developments—devolution, power-sharing and equal symbolic representation—are thus experienced as exclusionary rather than inclusive. For many of the Loyalists I talk to, who constitute the most economically and politically vulnerable part of the population, the peace process is, democratically legitimated as it might be, tainted by increasing marginality. Many of the Loyalist I talk to feel ostracised to the point of having become abject, that is, cut-off and discarded, from a process that they initially supported. The situation is one where June, simultaneously, perceives her community to be losing out to Irish interests and Republican ideals, as well as being abandoned and undermined from within by the British state.

Abandonment To talk of ‘abandonment’, Rasmussen states, directs our attention to a sense of neglect as both a process of exclusion and a lack of support.27 In the current case, the British state is perceived to be trying to free itself from its obligation to and its engagement in Northern Ireland.28

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Abandonment is, obviously, a common social experience, as our attachments and obligations to others are not always reciprocated. Politically, however, the withdrawal of the British state is seen as conscious neglect. The passive is experienced as active, as a feeling of being negatively acted upon by the very refusal of support and the imposition of symbolic and identificatory distance. Though a consequence of the bi-national and multi-party Good Friday Agreement, the diminishing symbolic presence of British sovereignty is seen as a further sign that they are the ones being marginalised in the attempt to appease the Republican parts of the population. ‘Protestants’, Darren told me, ‘are being attacked by the Catholic people who live here. They are being attacked by the British government, or they feel they are being attacked. They are having their rights taken away […] They feel hard done by, you know?’ The peace process has, according to Darren, left the Protestant population to fend for itself. While the Irish Catholic part of the population is seen to be supported and protected by the Irish Republic, the Protestant Unionist, and specifically the Loyalist part of the population, are left without the backing of the Union that they have defined themselves as loyal to. They see themselves as being increasingly excluded from being able to embrace their Britishness. The state and demos that they have felt part of, and have been militantly committed to, is seen to communicate a growing discomfort with their affection, giving rise to deep-seated doubt and relational insecurity. As Toby told me, explaining how his Loyalist parents are increasingly disgruntled by the lack of support that they receive from the United Kingdom: [They] have such fears of losing their identity, and yet they also don’t really know what that identity is, and I think that’s why they so resent the British government, because constantly the British government undermines, what they see as their identity, and they are telling them; ‘well we don’t really want you, and we don’t really need you, and you are a real drain on the finances’. And they feel so awful about that, because if they are not British, who are they, and what are they?… I mean it’s a scary thing to be in… almost…. It’s a real complex.

From the point of view of many of the people I talk to, the democratic developments have, in other words, produced a sense of isolation and fragmentation, once again directing our attention towards the experience



of becoming exterior to the whole that one feels part of, as a pervasive sense of ‘mereological uncertainty’. While the concept of mereology has primarily been used by mathematics and philosophy, its anthropological usage may focus our attention on the relation between fragments and larger figurations, parthood and whole. In the specific situation, it directs our attention to the interplay between a political entity and its constituent parts; the democratic polity and the underlying diversity of its demos.29 The recent political developments in Northern Ireland may be broadly supported by ‘the people’, yet its focus on broad inclusion across sectarian and nationalistic divides unsettles and decentres old ideas of the imagined community in question.30 It leaves my interlocutors in doubt about how they figure in the political present and future of Northern Ireland. ‘Basically’, Scott told me, ‘the Protestant people find it hard to understand, why they are not being treated as equally British to somebody from London or Glasgow. They find that there are always secret deals going on behind their backs to undermine their position within the United Kingdom. They have no power over their own position’. It comes as no surprise that people in such a situation seek to counteract the dwindling of their political presence and to reconstitute a sense of substantiation. In the specific case, becoming marginalised evokes a struggle for Loyalists to reposition themselves and regain a measure of centrality. It engenders a striving to be heard, seen, or felt in a way in which one’s community is seen to count. This entails, once again, a militant demand to be figured in the democratic process one sees oneself as part of. In the words of the prominent Loyalist, Mark Harbison, arguing against restriction of Loyalist processions, ‘[…] It is every democrat’s right to raise arms in defence of democracy’,31 echoing the defensive posture and sense of vulnerability that is currently common among parts of the people with whom I have conducted fieldwork in Belfast over the years. The consequence has been an array of ambivalent adversity; a range of protests and riots directed against the democratic state and peace process that one is supportive of in the first place.

Marginalisation and Social Excess In 2013, Belfast saw 40 nights of rioting initiated by a city council decision to take down the British flag from the Town Hall and, in line with the rest of the United Kingdom, only to fly it on 17 designated days a

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year. The decision was seen as controversial by parts of the Loyalist community and protested in front of the town hall. The opposition to the decision quickly escalated into rioting in and around the city centre. The area in which I do my fieldwork was particularly affected. During the protest people were busy building barricades, with some going a step further setting cars on fire and attacking police officers by throwing missiles and Molotov cocktails. The specific neighbourhood was blocked off from traffic and patrolled by local residents. The riots were said to be orchestrated by Loyalists and, specifically, the UVF who argued that they were engaged in fighting a ‘cultural war’, a battle for their symbolic being. While the dispute was seen as urgent and an imperative protest from within the Loyalist circles. It was, as usual, met with less understanding from the outside. Designated ‘the flag dispute’, the riots once again led journalists and commentators to question the motives and reasons for Loyalist political activism. The riots produced, as one commentator phrased it: Images all over Britain (and the world) showing masked thugs wrapped in union jacks attacking the police, threatening/attacking Alliance politicians and their families and screaming No Surrender through broken windows. All egged on by their own political leaders. And for what? To protest about designated flag days which is in line with most of the UK.32

The commentaries centred on the perceived mindless excessiveness of the violent reaction to a minor decision. How, the media asked, could a benign resolution cause such aggression? As should be clear by now the answer can be found in a longer-term perspective that moves beyond the critical event itself. The riots were obviously about more than just the flag and tie into the fear of becoming abject in relation to the democratic state and process that they are part of. From my interlocutors’ perspective the flag was but the latest instance of a continuing dismantling of the connection between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is seen as undermining their place and presence within the democratic populace. It is seen as connected to the aforementioned discursive marginalisation and mereological uncertainty as aspects of their recent history of decline and marginalisation. Loyalism has been focussed on cultural politics for the last couple of decades precisely because they feel an increasing need to substantiate their claims of being central to the demos in question. They have consequently invested public displays of cultural practices and expressions with growing meaning



and significance. Ironically, however, rather than creating attention to their predicament the protest, these have pushed them ever further away from the political voice and presence they seek to attain. The flag dispute injured 60 police officers and caused 15 million pounds of damage to business and property.33 Rather than legitimising their demands and political desires the protest positioned, in the eyes of the media and commentators, my interlocutors as a reactionary and anachronistic dead-weight burdening the peace process. As a manifestation of discontent, the protest became thus deeply aporic as it came to reinforce the problem it sought to address. This aporia of Loyalist protests has become gradually more general and visible over the last couple of decades. The number of Loyalist/Unionist parades has increased from 1897 in 1985 to 2569 in 2012–2013, a 35% increase over 30 years.34 There has, within the relatively same timeframe been a twofold increase in riots, violent disorders, unlawful assembly and incitement of hatred,35 not all of which, however, can be ascribed to Loyalists. The reason for the apparent explosion in parades as political performances can be found in the two versions of marginalisation (discursive and relational) described earlier in the chapter. In relation to the former, it seems clear that when people experience themselves as lacking a ‘voice’, as disregarded or silenced, they seek to communicate in other ways, making themselves seen and felt instead of heard. So, while there has been an impressive fall in ‘terrorist’ offences in Northern Ireland over the last decade, as the peace process has made armed attacks illegitimate, there has been an equal rise in other manifestations of discontent. Yet rather than seen as centred on causing grievance or provocation, the increases in parades, protests and riots are, I believe, more fruitfully perceived as a ritual performance of social presence in relation to a democratic process that is experienced as increasingly blind to their needs.36 The banal explanation would see the riots as control of space, yet they are more likely related to the feeling and fear of fragmentation of the community performing them. In other words, the more my interlocutors see themselves as threatened, the greater they perceive the need to manifest their presence and the closer the link between parades and riots. As I write, Belfast has just passed through another 12th fortnight— the annual celebration of the victory of Prince William of Orange over King James the II at the battle of the Boyne in 1690. The historical event is marked by an array of Loyalist and Unionist marches through Northern Ireland. The increase in parades is commonly thought to

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demonstrate that Loyalists are becoming more active in expressing themselves symbolically, and hence as proof that Loyalist culture is increasingly freely and assertively expressed. However, as Nolan argues, the increase more plausibly appears as proof of the exact opposite, that is, as indications of the increasing fragility and isolation within Loyalist communities.37 From a performative perspective, rituals create the order they enact. They are not necessarily a symbolic expression of underlying social orders, but may be seen as the very imposition of order itself.38 The more our social worlds are cast in doubt, unsettled and estranged, the more desperately do we seek to constitute it, ritually and symbolically, by performing it in various ways. The performative nature of the parades, the explicitness and extent of their enactment, can, thus, be seen as indicative of the larger experience of losing presence, being and worth. Similarly, while the parades may seem excessive from the outside, such excess can be seen exactly as ‘the social constitution of centrality’, a performative positioning of unity and coherence.39 The parades are excessively loud and ostentatious precisely because they are meant to be seen and heard as assertions of presence within a political development that is perceived to rob them of it. They amend the mereological uncertainty and relational marginality by performing the part as central to the imagined whole, just as they work to connect, quite concretely, otherwise disconnected enclaves and areas. Where riots centre a Loyalist presence and generate a centripetal movement towards a common cause, parades move between neighbourhoods, ritually tying them together as a symbolic umbilical cord.40

Conclusion There is a mural in the Shankill area of Belfast, commemorating the late Hugh Smyth, a political representative for the PUP,41 the UVF’s political party. The mural features a picture of him in front of Belfast City Hall.42 The texts underneath it features a quote from Smyth stating: Historically, Unionist politicians fed their electorate the myth that they were first class citizens… and without question people believed them. Historically, Republican/Nationalist politicians fed their electorate the myth that they were second-class citizens… and without question the people believed them. In reality, the truth of the matter was that we all, Protestant and Catholic, were third class citizen, and none of us realised it!



The recognition of their unfortunate and shared lot, of their co-fragility in class-terms, led to constructive dialogue between former enemies in the period up to the Good Friday Agreement, temporarily granting the parties representing the paramilitary groups a positive standing. However, though the peace process, the power-sharing and the devolved provincial government has brought Northern Ireland a long way in a very short time, the democratic process has affected the two communities in very different ways and granted them very different positions within the democratic process. While the Sinn Fein, the political representatives of the IRA, have gained a forceful presence as fundamental to the political running of the country, the positive standing of the Loyalist political parties was short lived and the popularity of the PUP and the UDP quickly became a thing of the past.43 In 2015, the Loyalist Community Council emerged, in consequence, as an umbrella organisation aimed at reversing the ‘neglect’ of Loyalist working-class communities. The Council was supported by the UDA, the UVF, and the Red Hand Commando and stood forth as the political representatives of the main Protestant paramilitary groups. The Council addressed, once again, the negative change within the Loyalist position in the Northern Irish democracy and the ambivalence of being supportive of a process that is seen to politically nullify them. ‘We accept the democratically expressed will of the electorate, however a vacuum in Loyalist communities has been created which has led to significant disenchantment with politics, and to our communities being largely ignored and neglected’ the communique stated. The peace process was made possible by Paramilitary engagement with non-militant democratic politics, yet in relation to the larger renegotiation of democratic politics in Northern Ireland Loyalist rights and voices are seen as silenced and disregarded. The idea that the Protestant part of the population are getting the short end of the stick within the political negotiations has grown to a more general concern.44 As a result, many of the people I spoke to voiced their concern. ‘Don’t get me wrong like;’ John, a former paramilitary told me, ‘I have been to jail. I have seen what the Troubles did to people. No one wants that back, no-one. But this is not right’. John, like many of my interlocutors, was pro-peace but weary of the current peace process, as he saw the present political developments as side-lining his community. While both democracy and the peace process are widely supported within the Loyalist area that I research, many of its consequences

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are seen to be detrimental to their feelings of safety and security as a community, leaving them physically protected but socially and politically vulnerable. The sense of disconnect from the centre of Northern Irish democracy has strongly influenced Loyalist politics over the last two decades. The desperate attempt to claw on to and reinstantiate their Britishness stands out clearly within the range of protest and practices that have sought to communicate their connection to the United Kingdom through the language of primordialism and political sacrifice. Many of these protests have been conflictual attacking the entity that they see as obliged to support them. In similar terms the current negotiation of Northern Ireland’s borders, in relation to Brexit, has spurred renewed tension and discussion of the democratic makeup and boundaries of the country. Brexit, which was supported by a majority of Loyalists voters,45 ties into an attempted consolidation of the traditional democratic polity and populace of the United Kingdom. Loyalist support of the Brexit can be seen as a desire for a return to the traditional notion of Britishness seen to afford them inclusion and define their presence as a given rather than a conditional. The desire for ‘Britain Together’, which was the UKIP’s46 slogan up to the election, signals exactly a move away from being the ambivalent adversaries of democracy towards positive (re)encompassment.


1.  The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is the second biggest paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland. 2. They see loyalism as, first of all, a working-class outlook that is responsive to needs and perspectives from within the Protestant enclaves and interfaces in the more polarised areas of the country: Secondly, as a political force that is willing to defend their identity and rights in militant ways. 3.  Belfast Telegraph, 21 May 1966. 4. B. Rolston, ‘An Effective Mask for Terror, Democracy, Death Squads and Northern Ireland’, Crime, Law and Social Change 44 (2005), 181–203. 5.  J.D. Cash, ‘Negotiating Insecurity: Law, Psychoanalytic Social Theory and the Dilemmas of the World Risk Society’, Australian Feminist Law Journal 30:1 (2009), 87–107. 6. More precisely, in 1888. 7. The promise of anonymity prevents me from naming the place, as the people mentioned within the chapter would become clearly identifiable if doing so.



8. The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is the second biggest paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland. 9. S.A. Bollens, On Narrow Ground: Urban Policy and Ethnic Conflict in Jerusalem and Belfast (New York 2000); L. O’Dowd and M. Komarova, ‘Contesting Territorial Fixity? A Case Study of Regeneration in Belfast’, Urban Studies 48:10 (2011), 2013–2028. 10. I have omitted the reference as revealing the source of the data will unfortunately reveal the name of the area in question. The sullen socio-economic characteristics are common to many of the poorer Loyalist areas. 11.  A.L. Stoler, ‘Imperial Debris: Reflections on Ruins and Ruination’, Cultural Anthropology 23 (2008), 195. 12. G. Gordillo, ‘Ships Stranded in the Forest’, Current Anthropology 52:2 (2011), 141–167. 13. M. Hechter, Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development 1536–1966 (London 1975). 14. See, for example, D. Lowry, ‘Ulster Resistance and Loyalist Rebellion in the Empire’, in K. Jeffery (ed.), An Irish Empire: Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire (Manchester 1996); T.G. Mitchell, Native vs. Settler: Ethnic Conflict in Israel-Palestine, Northern Ireland, and South Africa (West Point 2000). 15. See, for example, S. McKay, Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People (Belfast 2000). 16. Ibid., 267. 17.  J.W. McAuley, ‘From Loyal Soldiers to Political Spokespersons: A Political History of a Loyalist Paramilitary Group in Northern Ireland’, Etudes Irlandaises 21:1 (1996), 165–182; J.W. McAuley, ‘Whither New Loyalism? Changing Loyalist Politics After the Belfast Agreement’, Irish Political Studies 20:3 (2005), 323–340; R. Moore and A. Sanders, ‘Formations of Culture: Nationalism and Conspiracy Ideology in Ulster Loyalism’, Anthropology Today 18:6 (2002), 9–15; K.J. Cassidy, ‘Organic Intellectuals and the New Loyalism: Reinventing Protestant WorkingClass Politics in Northern Ireland’, Irish Political Studies 23:3 (2008), 411–430; A. Edwards, ‘The Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland: A Left-Wing Voice in an Ethnically Divided Society’, British Journal of Politics & International Relations 12:4 (2010), 590–614. 18. I have had to change parts of the contextualisation of this incident in order to secure my informants anonymity. 19. A derogatory term for a Catholic. 20. P. Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power (Cambridge, MA 1991). 21. Z. Bauman, Modernity and Ambivalence (Cambridge 1993).

234  H. VIGH 22.  The siege was part of the larger Williamite war, in which William of Orange consolidated Protestant control over the English throne; I. McBride, The Siege of Derry in Ulster Protestant Mythology (Dublin 1997). 23.  A. Aughey, ‘Between Exclusion and Recognition: The Politics of the Ulster Defence Association’, Journal of Conflict Studies 5:1 (1985), 40–52; S. Bruce, The Edge of the Union: The Ulster Loyalist Political Vision (Oxford 1994); J. Augusteijn, From Public Defiance to Guerrilla Warfare (Dublin 1996); McBride, The Siege; N. Jarman, ‘The Orange Arch: Creating Tradition in Ulster’, Folklore 112:1 (2001), 1–21. 24.  H. Vigh, ‘Social Invisibility and Political Opacity: On Perceptiveness and Apprehension in Bissau’, in L. Cooper and D. Pratten (eds.), Ethnographies of Uncertainty in Africa (Basingstoke 2014). 25. A. Finlay, ‘Defeatism and Northern Protestant “Identity”’, Global Review of Ethnopolitics 1:2 (2001), 3–20. 26.  H. Vigh, ‘Crisis and Chronicity: Anthropological Perspectives on Continuous Conflict and Decline’, Ethnos 73:1 (2008), 5–24. 27. M.B. Rasmussen, ‘Prisms of Water: Abandonment and the Art of Being Governed in the Peruvian Andes’ (PhD Dissertation, University of Copenhagen 2012), 13. 28. Cassidy, ‘Organic Intellectuals’, 416. 29.  See also: R.J. Thornton, ‘The Rhetoric of Ethnographic Holism’, Cultural Anthropology 3:3 (1988), 285–303; M. Strathern, ‘Parts and Wholes: Refiguring Relationships’, in M. Strathern (ed.), Reproducing the Future: Essays on Anthropology, Kinship and the New Reproductive Technologies (Manchester 1992); D. Zeitlyn, ‘Understanding anthropological Understanding: for a Metrological Anthropology’, Anthropological Theory 9:2 (2009), 209–231; E. Halbmayer, ‘Amerindian Mereology: Animism, Analogy, and the Multiverse’, Indiana 29 (2012), 103–125. 30. B. Anderson,  Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London 1983). 31.  https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2001/nov/17/weekend7. weekend9. 32. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/news-analysis/sinn-fein-theonly-winners-as-the-flag-dispute-escalates-16247497.html. 33. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-20972438. 34. h ttp://www.thejournal.ie/readme/is-parading-culture-in-northernireland-under-threat-1159690-Nov2013/. See also: N. Jarman and D. Bryan, Parade and Protest: A Discussion of Parading Disputes in Northern Ireland (Centre for the Study of Conflict, University of Ulster 1996); D. Bryan, Orange Parades: The Politics of Ritual, Tradition and Control (London 2000); K. Jeffrey, ‘Parades, Police and Government in



Northern Ireland, 1922–1969’, in T.G. Fraser (ed.), The Irish Parading Tradition: Following the Drum (Basingstoke 2000). 35.  h ttp://www.psni.police.uk/police_recorded_crime_in_northern_ireland_1998-99_to_2013-14.pdf. 36.  J. Butler, ‘Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory’, in S. Case (ed.), Performing Feminisms: Feminist Critical Theory and Theatre (Baltimore 1990). 37. P. Nolan, Northern Ireland’s Peace Monitoring Report #3 (Belfast: Community Relations Council 2014); Vigh, ‘Social Invisibility’, 157, 160–161. 38. Butler, ‘Performative Acts’. 39. P. Drucker and R.F. Heizer, To Make My Name Good: A Reexamination of the Southern Kwakiutl Potlatch (Oakland 1967). 40. The demographic changes in the city means that the Catholic population group currently outnumbers the Protestant one. Due to differing demographic patterns between the communities this is due to increase in the future. Loyalists, often living in the poorer neighbourhoods and interfaces, consider themselves particularly at risk from this development (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-26875363). 41. Progressive Unionist Party. 42. Smyth was the former Lord Mayor of Belfast and member of the Belfast City Council. 43. The Ulster Democratic Party. 44. M. Hall, The Good Friday Agreement—Where to Now? Report of a Conference Organised by Drogheda Cross-Border Focus (Newtownabbey 2004). 45. More than 60% of the protestant population voted for Brexit. The highest percentage of these votes came from the Loyalist working-class parts of the electorate. http://theconversation.com/how-northern-ireland-voted-in-the-eu-referendum-and-what-it-means-for-border-talks-76677. 46. UK Independence Party.

Between Democracy and Autocracy: Towards an Understanding of the Nature of Incomplete Secession, the Case of Moldova-Transnistria Ana Maria Albulescu

Introduction Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, various newly independent states came into existence, of which the borders were primarily determined by the previously existing structure of soviet-republics. Inspired by this process, various regions within these new republics also began to strive for autonomy or even independence for themselves. In a number of cases, secessionist conflicts subsequently developed that often remained unresolved and led to ongoing state contestation. Such calls for independence rose, for example, in Transnistria, part of the Republic of Moldova in the 1990s. A process of secession set in, but remained incomplete for various reasons, with Russia playing an important role, even until today. A. M. Albulescu (*)  King’s College London, London, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_10



It is the argument of this essay that the implementation of different policies towards secession by the de facto state and to counter secession by the metropolitan state between 2001 and 2006 have been mirrored in a parallel process of defining and defending democratic norms as part of different electoral processes. Incomplete secession is defined here as follows: (1) the absence of recognition by the United Nations for the de facto state; (2) the persistence of separatist authority over parts of sovereign territory of the Republic of Moldova; and (3) the consolidation of a dynamic relationship between the metropolitan and the de facto states. The endurance of these conditions to the present day has been the result of different claims to authority being made by the two entities, often through legitimisation strategies that involved alternative views with regards to what the norms and institutions of democracy entail. The democratic structures in such unrecognised states often fall well below commonly accepted democratic standards.1 To explain this, academics have pointed towards the lack of opposition, or the ‘pockets of autocracy’ that generally developed in such states. Placed in the wider democracy versus autocracy debates, the metropolitan state generally was seen to represent the democratic expression while the secessionist region embodied autocracy.2 Most research on state transition and the study of regime types in cases affected by secessionist conflicts in the post-Soviet space have indeed dismissed such regimes as undemocratic, focusing on radical influences from Russia as a promotor of autocracy.3 It is however necessary to consider the paradox that secessionism can be both an expression of democracy as well as a form of autocracy. This hybridity of democratic form and autocratic substance complicates an analysis of events in such areas in the context of the debate on democracies and their adversaries. Indeed, when applied to the study of unrecognised states such as Transnistria, it is essential that we move away from a radical understanding of the unrecognised states as simply autocratic. Instead, this chapter focuses its analysis on the electoral processes that can consolidate a type of regime that may not be radically opposite to that of the metropolitan state. It is important to re-evaluate these two conflicting theoretical propositions—one related to electoral tests as democratic credential and the other to the definition of secessionism as autocratic state-building in unrecognised states. This chapter thus sheds light on the dynamics of the fight between democracies and contending groups over the definition of democracy itself.



More tangibly, this chapter provides an understanding of the explanatory factors shaping incomplete secession in the post-Soviet space, and re-evaluates the arguments that assume it is possible to clearly distinguish between democracy and autocracy in de facto and metropolitan states as long as the conditions of incomplete secession persist. The first part of this chapter analyses an evolving body of theoretical work related to the study of regimes. Secondly, it prioritises the study of competing electoral cycles in both metropolitan and de facto states as a way to gain a better understanding of the adversaries of democracy who account for the existence of enduring incomplete secession. The outcome of elections is a primary factor in the consolidation or contestation of the politics of secession sustained by de facto states. Electoral cycles in de facto states can be responsible for bringing to power political elites representing different groups that favour alternative policies over that of full independence. So too, electoral processes in metropolitan states can be instrumental in generating different political preferences for the approaches taken towards the status of secessionist groups—that can be understood as the politics of counter-secession— based on ideological positions and sustained by political forces. These too can in turn shape the position of de facto states towards the politics of secession. In this chapter it is argued that the various electoral tests in Moldova and Transnistria between 2001 and 2006 offer important insights with regards to the endurance of incomplete secession and specifically the third condition, mentioned above, that refers to the relationship between the metropolitan and de facto state. While separated in their broader understanding of democracy and autocracy, both metropolitan and de facto states have sought electoral legitimacy in their struggle to consolidate their respective statehoods.

Democracy and Regime Type: Between Electoral Cycles and Pockets of Autocracy For the purpose of this contribution, it is important to stress the conceptual centrality of regimes in the study of democracy and its adversaries as one of the variables that should be accounted for. A focus on regimes, understood as encompassing the central institutions guaranteeing the exercise of authority by the state, offers a wide perspective for analysing the changes occurring in a particular political system. Regimes can either


consolidate or change within the borders of the same state, thus pointing towards the most important aspect in the process of democratisation: the evolution of a regime from an undemocratic to a democratic one. The centrality of regime attributes is evidenced by the large amount of research into the specific dimensions and indicators used to analyse state performance in comparative politics. Political sovereignty and liberty, competition and participation as well as political pluralism, electoral processes, and the rule of law are the main dimensions underpinning the concept of democracy throughout different research agendas covering the evolution of political systems throughout the world. Indeed, Rose highlights an evolutionary process by arguing that undemocratic regimes are conceptually the starting point in the process of democratisation.4 Authoritarian governments can also benefit from the working of democratic institutions as the broadly accepted means of legitimising power. In such situations, which Levitsky and Way define as competitive authoritarianism, a hybrid situation develops in which civilian-led regimes create democratic institutions, but give themselves an advantage in the process of acquiring power compared to the opposition. While there is competition within such regimes, the advantage given to the state impedes the possibility of incumbents being defeated through the democratic institutions by the opposition.5 The definition of a true democracy is both ‘procedural’ and ‘demanding’ in that the democratic credentials of states are judged according to the presence of free elections, adult voting age, respect for freedom and human rights, freedom from interference by the military in the electoral process, and a reasonable level playing field between incumbents and the opposition.6 It is this last variable that represents an important conceptual contribution by Levitsky and Way, as it acknowledges the need to focus on the ties that bind the incumbent governments to other sectors of society, which may influence the results of elections in an unfair manner. The alternative concept of electoral authoritarianism places a much stronger emphasis on elections itself to determine the hybridity of the regime, focusing on regimes where elections are held regularly, even while infringements of basic freedoms take place.7 On the one hand, theories of elections and democratisation propose broader arguments that are useful for an understanding of the internal dimension of incomplete secession through a focus on pressures from below that influence the political settings within both metropolitan and de facto states. On the other hand, complementary arguments have



focused on the direct impact that external influences have on the ‘political trajectories’ in the post-Soviet space. With a focus on the actions of the Russian Federation, such influence is identified by Jacob Tolstrup as a form of intervention by what he terms ‘Black Knights’, involved in support of secessionism and the ‘bolstering of acquiescent breakaway regions’ that results in the consolidation of ‘pockets of autocracy’ within the respective de facto states allied to Russia.8 The term ‘pocket of autocracy’ delineates a ‘geographically defined entity within a sovereign internationally recognised democratic or semi-democratic state, which through the use of authoritarian means uphold de facto independence for a significant period of time’.9 In this context, actions ‘instigating, supporting and upholding’ these pockets of autocracy by Russia are viewed as eliciting success in three phases: ‘(1) The mobilization of secessionist forces, (2) The achievement of a substantial degree of de facto independence from central authorities, and (3) The consolidation of this control through authoritarian state-building’.10 Tolstrup argues that the actions of the Russian Federation in each of the identified stages has had important consequences for the regime trajectories at sub-national level in de facto states, but also for the metropolitan centres from which they are seeking separation. In the third stage, de facto independence in these ‘pockets of autocracy’ is consolidated through authoritarian state-building, as local political elites are co-opted into supporting the survival of the autocratic regime by providing them with economic and social benefits, ensuring that a pro-democratic and anti-secessionist agenda remains weak.11 If understood through the entire history of the Transnistrian conflict, the period between 2001 and 2006 that is of concern in this chapter renders itself to analysis in terms of potential consolidation of the regime. By 2006 Transnistria had an established political system functioning according to a Constitution, first signed in 1996 by the President of Transnistria, Igor Smirnov, and ratified in 2005. Alongside the presidency, the Transnistrian political system is built around the Supreme Soviet, a legislature composed of 43 deputies with a 5-year mandate. Thus the legislative power is exercised alongside a President and a cabinet of Ministers.12 Throughout its existence, this political system ensured the long-term consolidation of the de facto state, constituting the second condition of incomplete secession.


Based on this model, it is argued here that the study of elections under conditions of incomplete secession that capture internal and external dynamics in both metropolitan and de facto states can offer a focus of analysis for the study of democratisation and its adversaries. In cases involving unrecognised states, the post-ceasefire environment is replete with the constant negotiation and contestation of the exercise of authority by actors in both the metropolitan and de facto state, seeking legitimacy through elections, institution building and the management of security. However, as the literature does not specifically deal with the democracy versus autocracy debate shaping the dynamics of contested statehood, an important gap remains in assessing the explanatory value that specific arguments related to contests over legitimacy as part of electoral cycles in pockets of autocracy can bring to account for the post-war interactions between metropolitan and de facto states. In the debate over the impact of outside interference and electoral cycles two sets of explanatory factors for the conditions of incomplete secession are brought forward. In the consolidation phase of these ‘pockets of autocracy’, Russia aided directly in securing de facto independence through: first, legitimisation of political elites and institutions through frequent interactions with and recognition of institutions, while at the same time supporting the framing of the idea of oppression by the home state; and second, military and financial aid, enabling the autocratic leadership to bolster support for the regime through providing economic and social privileges and to resist counter pressures from outside.13 In turn, such support may result in increasing pressures on the political trajectory in the metropolitan state when faced with the economic consequences of the consolidation of the ‘pocket of autocracy’, causing it to itself descend into populism and semi-autocracy. Electoral cycles, on the other hand, are identified as opportunities for creating violence under conditions of incomplete secession. Democratisation through electoral contests can have an important impact upon the demands of conflicting parties, as the use of force may be preferred over peaceful negotiations. This argument is present in the literature on the dangers of democratisation that stresses the importance of elections in the post-war environment as representing critical moments in the policymaking of both parties through the formal structuring of political power either by consolidating the structures of war or by a radical shift in the nature of political power that can move beyond the mere reinforcements of incompatibility and antagonism.14 This essay argues



that elections in post-war environments in metropolitan states bring about nationalist leaders that re-enforce political divisions and the structures of the existing conflict. Equally in de facto states the appeal to the electorate through the holding of parallel elections and plebiscites constitutes a unique form of legitimisation.

The Moldovan—Transnistrian Case of Incomplete Secession In 2004, Moldova was confronted with decisions by the Transnistrian authorities to close six Latin script based schools funded by the central authorities15 and to strengthen its governing capacity through the siege of infrastructural assets in the field of transportation and the establishment of an independent railway enterprise.16 These actions led to escalation in the conflict between the metropolitan and de facto state, thus pointing to the need of understanding the way in which this increase in the intensity of antagonism has been accompanied by the commitment of each party to consolidate its power through electoral legitimacy.17 The role of electoral cycles in this case is analysed here to reveal the opportunities and constraints that election outcomes may offer political elites in defining policies towards the opposing side in both metropolitan and de facto states. These can generate enemy images and radical approaches towards the consolidation and exercise of authority, blurring the line between contested statehood and contested democracy. Here the first focus lies on the 2001 presidential elections in the Republic of Moldova. There are good reasons for choosing these elections as our starting point. It was the first time the president was elected by Parliament, which brought to power Vladimir Voronin. He was the first leader who wanted to assert the sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova over all its territory since 1991, through the National Concept of the State, a document that set out the vision of the government for the state sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova.18 He was confronted by the long-standing political leader of Transnistria, Igor Smirnov, who had come to power through force at the time of secession. This seems to set the stage for a clash between the two leaders, but it appears Voronin in effect did not take a strong line in negotiations. By 2003, when negotiations towards a federal solution were in place, the Moldovan government’s search for a strategy towards the settlement of


the Transnistrian conflict became more engrained in the institutional mechanisms that had been put in place by the newly elected leadership of the ruling Communist Party. Despite a move away from ruling by presidential decree, the control of the Communists over the government ensured that the reintegration strategy that was now to be implemented had to be closely coordinated with other public institutions in Moldova. A new commission was established by the government, the Interdepartmental Commission for the Reintegration of the Republic of Moldova. The purpose of this commission was to help define a strategy towards the territorial reintegration of the country as well as contributing to the creation of a common judicial, economic, financial, and informational space that would ensure the success of this process on both banks of the Dniester separating Transnistria from the rest of Moldova. Due to its composition, it included various representatives of the Ministry of Reintegration as well as other members of government institutions, it was clear that the issues to be dealt with as part of the Transnistrian problem were now much broader than the attempts to settle the conflict in the early 1990s.19 The 2001 election was important, as it brought to power a president who was willing to negotiate but who did not have the institutional means that its predecessors had to do so successfully. Vladimir Voronin had to adapt to the need to increasingly deal with Transnistria through the Moldovan parliament and government. Thus if these elections are responsible for escalation there is a strong causal mechanisms between the results of the elections that brought to power a nationalist leader and the policymaking of Vladimir Voronin in his first term in which he sought to re-assert the identity of the Republic of Moldova by choosing to strengthen its institutions responsible for reintegration. This tendency was strengthened as in the aftermath of Voronin’s re-election in 2005, Moldova’s policies towards the de facto state changed and the search for a federal solution was abandoned. Parliament unanimously approved a resolution in June 2005 which called for a political status for Transnistria within the borders of the Moldovan state. This testified to a newly found degree of rigidity in the position of the newly elected political majority towards the regime in Tiraspol led by Igor Smirnov. The resolution was passed in response to a new Ukrainian initiative towards the settlement of the conflict and endorsed the proposed plan for negotiations towards the status of Transnistria through means of democratisation and de-militarisation of the region. The document



stresses these priorities in the context of an ‘intolerable situation [in the eastern districts of Moldova where] the existence of a separatist and authoritarian regime has deposed its citizens of basic human rights, [in contradiction with international norms]’.20 In the aftermath of the elections, political rhetoric in the Moldovan capital Chisinau was often underpinned by references to the illegitimate and criminal authorities in Tiraspol, the official Appeal of the Parliament indicated that the Moldovans side was increasingly abandoning moderation in favour of a more radical position that emphasised the need for reintegration of Transnistria.21 The fact that reintegration represented a priority for the Moldovan authorities at the time was evidenced by two important developments that occurred with the re-election of the Communist Party to a majority position in 2005. The first is related to the planned legislative programme that had been set for the 2005–2009 period, which included proposed legislation on the special status of Transnistria. It is important to stress that the proposed law was directly associated with the EU-Moldova Action Plan that had just been proposed through the European Neighbourhood Policy and included as a priority the strengthening of ‘the stability and effectiveness of institutions guaranteeing democracy and the rule of law’. The specific reference in the Action Plan towards the resolution of the Transnistrian conflict urged Moldova to: ensure constitutional and legislative reform in line with European standards, continuing to draw on the expert cooperation and advice of the Venice Commission and the EU, and ensuring a democratic and stable constitutional framework both for citizen and state institutions in (a re-united) Moldova.22

This tougher approach set in a wider international context was laid down in a new law ‘regarding the basic juridical status of Transnistria’, adopted by the Moldovan Parliament in July 2005. This reiterated the need for reintegrating the eastern districts under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Moldova on the basis of democratic principles. The law offered Transnistria provisions for some autonomy but only within the borders of a unitary state, which was unacceptable to the regime in Transnistria thus putting an end to previous compromise solutions based on federalisation. The radical position suggested by Parliament, regarding the status of Transnistria and its specific condemnation of the authoritarian


practices of the Tiraspol regime, shows how ruling political forces in Chisinau began to use the threat to security in their quest towards legitimacy in the context of electoral competition.23 A similar growing lack of political willingness to find a political settlement with the opposing party can be observed in the actions of the Transnistrian leadership in the context of a parallel quest for legitimacy. This had become more important following an electoral contest in 2005 where the authority of the Smirnov regime was successfully contested by a nascent opposition in the form of the equally radical Renewal movement, which gained a majority in the Transnistrian Supreme Soviet. At the time of the 2006 presidential elections in Transnistria, that consolidated the regime of Igor Smirnov, a subsequent popular referendum for independence from Moldova and association or inclusion of Transnistria in the Russian Federation resulted in majority support for the increasingly radical stances embraced by the Smirnov regime and provoked divergent responses from the external actors involved in the settlement process. While the EU and Moldova rejected the referendum, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded by declaring it a democratic expression in a transparent process.24 This aspect is crucial in understanding the way in which the understanding of democracy in the de facto state has often relied on the outside support of the Russian Federation. The exploration of the electoral cycles in terms of post-war election results are shown to be relevant for an understanding of post-war violence and fit well into the theoretical propositions on elections and democratisation. The escalation in the process of incomplete secession suggests that repercussions on the relationship between metropolitan and de facto states between 2001 and 2006 can be linked directly to elections as each side continued to appeal to popular support in order to pursue its goals related to secession and counter-secession respectively.

Pockets of Autocracy as an Adversary to Democracy Under the theory of ‘Black Knights’, the causality suggested by Jakob Tolsrop implies that the support by Russia for an autocratic regime in Transnistria would be fully responsible for the situation of incomplete secession. For this to be true, Russian influence in Transnistria would have to provide a sufficient explanation for the effects that we have noted. As stated above, no strong opposition from any political party in



Transnistria was present prior to 2000. As Eugen Strautiu and Valeriu Tabara point out with regard to the Tiraspol regime: In 2000, we see the first substantial attempts of political parties’ organization. Starting from the interests of the well-known commercial company ‘Sheriff’, the social movement ‘Obnovlenie’ was created, which reflects the corporation’s interests, acting as an opponent of both Right Forces Union and ‘United Russia’ Party. At that time ‘Transnistria’s Unity’ Movement appeared (‘Edinstvo’) - which represented even in local experts ‘opinion, ‘the fifth Colum’ of Russia in the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic’. The movement was created by several Russian technologists-politicians sent by the Moscow structure ‘Edinstvo’. But this structure did not survive.25

However, it is more interesting to consider Russia as an active political entrepreneur in the region when it built its ideal party structure in 2000. This however does not equate with autocracy promotion. The fact that there was no real opposition in Transnistria for more than a decade cannot be equated with an active policy by Russia. Instead, it is more accurate to argue that Russia supported the governing institutions that continued to compete with the authority of the Republic of Moldova. While the central government was concerned with national politics, and its reintegration plans, Russia was interested in other aspects of Transnistrian governance. The most important of this was the preservation of the Russian language and identity. The widespread distribution of the Russian newspaper ‘Pridenstrovie’ through companies, official industries and institutions guaranteed a formal influence over the region.26 In line with the ‘pockets of autocracy’ argument, it can thus be established that next to the absence of political opposition another element characteristic of the regime was the over-representation of the Russian press in comparison to the press of other groupings in the region.27 If we therefore consider the period between 2001 and 2006 as a consolidation of incomplete secession and take on board Tolstrup’s arguments related to Russian authoritarian state-building in Transnistria, we need to consider the causal chain presented above. The evidence outlined in this chapter suggests that there were strong links between Russian support and the building of a parallel regime in Transnistria through active support of the pro-secessionist policies of the regime. It is plausible to argue that such support led Moldova to challenge Transnistria’s


statehood claims through its own form of nationalism. The extent to which this regime can be understood as autocratic should nevertheless be treated with caution. Indeed, in 2005, the Parliamentary elections in Transnistria brought about an important change in the organisation of the opposition to the Smirnov regime as the Renewal movement led by business leader Yevgeny Shevchuk gained the majority of the Supreme Soviet. Renewal was viewed to represent the political wing of the business group Sheriff, one that sought changes not just in the way that economic interests were pursued but also through a signalled pragmatism that entailed that Transnistria’s partners would be sought elsewhere than in Russia. In the elections that saw the movement gain 33 parliamentary seats, the turnout was just over 50% of the electorate as a result of migration and economic problems faced by the region. The change in the unrecognised republic was seen as a welcome turn towards democratisation that would have long-term effects in the region.28 Based on the dynamics already analysed, this chapter suggests the utility of both arguments. The one related to internal legitimacy and electoral cycles explored above as well as the arguments presented by Tolstrup illuminate the way in which the interactions between metropolitan and de facto state between 2001 and 2006 have assumed competing processes defining and defending democracy. Whilst Moldovan elections have been responsible for bringing to power elites intent on strengthening nationalism and the idea of reintegration against the perceived threats of the undemocratic Transnistrian regime as a means of delimitating the geographic boundaries of democracy as limited to the metropolitan state, the response of the de facto state has been to bolster its competing claims to legitimacy that assumed both commitments to a parallel electoral process as well as reliance on Russian support for its wider state-building project and wish for independence.

Conclusion Trying to ascribe different categories of regime types to unrecognised states has proven one of the main challenges faced by scholars interested in the study of contested statehood. As this chapter has shown, one of the main benefits of conducting in depth analysis in cases of contested statehood is offered by the specific focus that such research can place on particular aspects of incomplete secession, namely electoral cycles and internal legitimacy tests such as referendums. It is argued here, that in



order to understand democracy and its adversaries in the context of contested statehood in the Republic of Moldova, the period between 2001 and 2006 offers important insights into how the defence of statehood in both metropolitan and de facto state has been carried out through internal legitimisation of both the state—mainly in the unrecognised territories—and of the political leadership of both the centre and the periphery. In so doing, this book study has shed light on an important variant of the dynamics in which democracies and contending groups fight over the definition of democracy. While the Moldovan government has acted from 2005 onwards against what it has perceived as the adversary to its democratic institutions, Transnistria has used a parallel electoral process and the support from the Russian Federation to claim its own forms of ‘democratic norms’ and legitimacy.


1. Judged according to democratic norms Transnistria has been viewed as belonging to the ‘not-free’ category ‘Freedom in the World 2018’, 13 January 2018, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/ freedom-world-2018. 2. O. Protsyk, ‘Seccession and Hybrid Regime Politics in Transnistria’, Communist and Post-Communist Studies 45 (2012), 175–182. 3. J. Tolstrup, ‘Subnational Level: Russian Support for Seccessionism and Pockets of Autocracy’, in A. Obydenkova and A. Libman, Autocratic and Democratic External Influences in Post-Soviet Eurasia (London 2015), 104–123; Protsyk ‘Seccession and Hybrid Regime Politics’. 4. R. Rose, Democratic and Undemocratic States (Aberdeen 2008). 5. L. Way and S. Levitsky, Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War (New York 2010). 6. Ibid. 7. A. Schedler, Electoral Authoritarianism: The Dynamics of Unfree Competition (Boulder 2006). 8. Tolstrup, ‘Subnational Level’, 104. 9. Ibid., 105. 10. Ibid., 104. 11. Ibid., 105–106. 12.  Eugen Strautiu and Vasile Tabara, A Comparative Analysis of the Development of the Two Banks of the Dniestr (Technomedia 2015). 13. Ibid., 107–109.

250  A. M. ALBULESCU 14. B. Reilley, ‘Post-War Elections: Uncertain Turning Points of Transition’, in A.K. Jarastad and T.D. Sisk (eds.), From War to Democracy: Dilemmas in Peacebuilding (Cambridge 2008), 157–181. 15. Steven D. Roper, ‘The Politicization of Education: Identity Formation in Moldova and Transnistria’, Communist and Post-Communist Studies 38:4 (December 2005), 501–514; OSCE, ‘The Moldovan-Administered Latin-Script Schools in Transdniestria Background, Current Situation, Analysis and Recommendations’ (November 2012), http://www. osce.org/moldova/99058; ‘Moldova Schools Resist Threats’, BBC, 7 September 2004, sec. Europe, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ europe/3631436.stm. 16.  ‘Moldovan-Dniester Railway War Enters Second Day’, BBC Monitoring Newsfile, 3 August 2004, http://global.factiva.com/ redir/default.aspx?P=sa&an=BBCMNF0020040803e083005eh&cat=a&ep=ASE; ‘Moldovan-Dniester Railway Talks End in Stalemate’, BBC Monitoring Ukraine & Baltics, 19 August 2004, http://global.factiva.com/redir/default.aspx?P=sa&an=BBCUK­B0020 040819e08j000ul&cat=a&ep=ASE. 17.  ITAR-TASS World Service. “92% Choose Independence at Dniester Referendum—Exit Polls”, 17 September 2006, http://global.factiva. com/redir/default.aspx?P=sa&an=TASS000020060917e29h001mg&cat=a&ep=ASE (accessed 1 March 2015); Xinhua News Agency. “Moldova Rejects Trans-Dniester Referendum Results to Join Russia”, 18 September 2006 (accessed 1 March 2015). 18. Parlamentul Republicii Moldova, ‘LEGE Nr. 546 Din 19.12.2003 Privind Aprobarea Concepţiei Politicii Naţionale a Republicii Moldova’, 19 December 2003, http://lex.justice.md/md/312846/. 19.  Guvernul Republicii Moldova, ‘Hotărîre Nr. 385 Cu Privire La Instituirea Comisiei Interdepartamentale Pentru Reintegrarea Republicii Moldova’, 31 March 2003, 385, http://lex.justice.md/index. php?action=view&view=doc&lang=1&id=301559. 20. Cited in Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, ‘Hotarire Nr. 117 Din 10.06.2005 Cu Privire La Iniţiativa Ucrainei în Problema Reglementării Conflictului Transnistreanşi La Măsurile Pentru Democratizareaşi Demilitarizarea Zonei Transnistrene’, 6 October 2005, http://lex.justice.md/index.php?action=view&view=doc&lang=1&id=307472. 21. This aspect is emphasized in William H. Hill, Russia, the Near Abroad, and the West: Lessons from the Moldova-Transdniestria Conflict (Washington, DC and Baltimore 2012). 22. Cited in ‘EU/Moldova Action Plan’, February 2005, http://eeas.europa. eu/enp/pdf/pdf/action_plans/moldova_enp_ap_final_en.pdf.



23. Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, ‘LegeNr. 173 Din 22.07.2005 Cu Privire La Prevederile de Bază Ale Statutului Juridic Special Al Localităţilor Din StîngaNistrului (Transnistria)’, 22 July 2005, http://lex.justice.md/index.php?action=view&view= doc&lang=1&id=313004; Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, ‘Parlamentul Republicii Moldova - Actualitate - Stenogramele Sedintelor Plenare’, http://old.parlament.md/news/Plenaryrecords/. 24.  ‘EU Says It Doesn’t Recognize Trans-Dniester Referendum’, Dow Jones International News, 18 September 2006, http://global.factiva. com/redir/default.aspx?P=sa&an=DJI0000020060918e29i000ma&cat=a&ep=ASE; ‘Moldova Rejects Trans-Dniester Referendum Results to Join Russia’, Xinhua News Agency, 18 September 2006, http://global.factiva.com/redir/default.aspx?P=sa&an=XNEWS00020060918e29i0008e&cat=a&ep=ASE; ‘Dniester Referendum Democratic, Transparent—Russian FM’, ITAR-TASS World Service, 18 September 2006, http://global.factiva.com/redir/default. aspx?P=sa&an=TASS000020060918e29i001ur&cat=a&ep=ASE. 25. Cited in Strautiu Eugen and Tabara Valeriu, A Comparative Analysis of the Development on the Two Bank of the Dniester (Sibiu 2015), 33. 26. Ibid. 27. Ibid., 61. 28. Vladimir Korobov and Georgii Byanov, ‘The “Renewal” of Transnistria’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics 22:4 (December 2006), 517–528, https://doi.org/10.1080/13523270601019581.

Fragmented Democracy in Dayton’s Bosnia Herzegovina: Institutions, Political Elite and Youth Arianna Piacentini

The Peace Agreement signed in Dayton, Ohio, in November 1995 (Dayton Peace Agreement or DPA) aimed to stop the war that had been plaguing Bosnia Herzegovina (hereinafter: Bosnia) since April 1992. It was a compromise between various ethnonationalist leaders, pressured by the international community to end the bloodshed. The DPA was a complex arrangement that also included the new domestic constitution (DPA, Annex IV). It structured the Bosnian state according to the consociational model of democracy, introducing ethnic power-sharing mechanisms and creating a loose federation in order to accommodate the claims of the belligerent parties.1 It aimed to rebuild the state and society, hoping to induce citizens and elites alike to practice democracy.2 However, partly as a result of the new constitutional and institutional model, Bosnia Herzegovina has become an ethnocratic state with weak democratic institutions and a society fractured along ethnonational lines.3 As a boy from Sarajevo put it, ‘democracy gave voice to all this… A. Piacentini (*)  EURAC Research, Bolzano, Italy e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_11



all this happened with democracy’.4 His expectations and, as we shall see, those of many other young people growing up in Dayton’s Bosnia, apparently have not been met. This chapter explores the reasons for this disappointment by looking at who and what is challenging democracy in Bosnia. It does so by focusing on the concept of ethnonational belonging, which simultaneously serves as both a pillar and as a main divisive element of the multi-ethnic state. On the one hand, the constitutional recognition and institutional representation of the three main ethnic groups represented a key post-conflict solution to avoid the dismemberment of the state and accommodate ethnonational claims. On the other hand, however, it elevated ethnonationality to the only form of representation, incentivising political leaders to build their support (almost exclusively) upon it. The point of departure for this chapter is that neither ethnonational plurality nor ethnonationality’s institutionalisation is democracy’s adversary per se. Instead, what may challenge the achievement of democracy, is how political elites conceptualise both democracy and ethnonationality, and how, in turn, democratic provisions and mechanisms are abused by the ruling class. Although an institutional design grounded in ethnonationality may potentially challenge and fragment democracy in a multinational and post-conflict state, what is actually redefining democracy in Bosnia—both as a theoretical concept and as a set of practices—is a political elite who abuse democratic tools for purposes that do not foster the growth, or even the maintenance, of democracy. We see here a clear example of how a democratically elected government may actively and deliberately undermine the democratic system, often with tacit support of the section of the electorate that brought them to power. This illustrates that the extent to which a state is democratic, depends not just on the regular occurrence of elections, but also on how it is organised, controlled and run in practice. Bosnia Herzegovina is a case in point: the Bosnian democracy seems stuck in a vicious circle, where democratic institutions have begot an ethnic oligarchy who—in the name of democratic principles aimed to safeguard one’s own group identity and culture—politicise ethnonationality and group identity. Eventually this compromises the development of crosscutting cleavages, multiple identifications and, therefore, challenges democracy itself. Indeed, it becomes clear that democratic institutions and provisions may be used to defend, but also to undermine,



democracy.5 It is not necessarily helpful to think of post-war Bosnia as being, at any given time, either democratic or undemocratic, but rather as being more or less successful at various moments in developing and agreeing on a theory and practice of democracy that fits the needs of its citizens. By exploring the critical relation of interdependence between democratic state institutions grounded on ethnonationality, and the democratically elected (ethno)political elite embedded in these institutions, the chapter examines to what extent the ruling class itself may be considered a major adversary of democracy in Bosnia. It uses empirical material to show the different conceptions of democracy held by various social and political actors. Data collected through semi-structured interviews conducted in Sarajevo with young people born around or during the war (from 1989 to 1995), and growing up in Dayton’s Bosnia, are analysed in the light of an institutional-political exploration. The chapter illuminates the complexity of the Bosnian reality, while also exploring the broader notion of how various groups in society, both those challenging as well as those supporting the existing system, think about the nature of the democratic system and its fundamental characteristics.

Bosnia Herzegovina Before Democracy: A Historical Overview Bosnia Herzegovina was one of the six republics composing the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), a multinational federation populated by different ethnic, religious and linguistic groups. All the federal units composing the SFRY were ‘ethnic in their nature’ and each of them, except Bosnia, had an ethnonational majority constituting more than 50% of its population.6 Bosnia, instead, was homeland of three major groups—Serbs, Croats and Muslims—whose main distinguishing feature was their varying religious traditions.7 To manage this internal plurality, the Yugoslav authorities used both ideological and administrative mechanisms and, although national identities and related feelings of attachment were not denied, they were de-emphasised in order to instigate the growth of a sense of solidarity transcending ethnonational origins—so to suppress potential nationalisms coming from the republics. On the one hand the slogan Bratstvo i Jedinstvo (Brotherhood and Unity) epitomised the necessity for unity and equality among all the


groups, so as to provide the multinational federation with the required ideological ground for its existence and functioning.8 On the other hand, national belonging always remained an important factor at the institutional level, and it particularly became so after the institutional9 changes of the 1970s—when the federation assumed a ‘quasi-consociational’ character, in which the micro-centralisation at the level of the republics was not followed by genuine decentralisation or democratisation.10 The ‘national key’ (ethnic quotas in the state’s institutions) was respected in all the representation mechanisms, so to guarantee the groups’ equal representation.11 Due to its mixed character, Bosnia happened to be the most centralised republic in the federation, ‘it had the most rigid system of status control by making compulsory ethnic rotation […] in nearly all state and non-state institutions’.12 In the 1980s, a deep crisis hit Yugoslavia. Economic malaise soon assumed national and political overtones and the ‘quasi-consociational’ shape assumed by the SFRY provided the republican elites with the needed institutional tools to protect (what have become to be perceived as) their own ethnic nation-states, paving the way for nationalism to become a valid and legitimate alternative to unity and equality.13 By the end of the 1980s, with the federal government proving its inability to solve the crisis, the republican elites introduced the false dilemma between democracy and authoritarianism, where the democratic alternative coincided with the creation of (ethnic) nation-states.14 In 1990, the first multiparty elections took place at the level of the republics, as a first step towards democratisation. In the same year, the Constitutional Court of Bosnia ruled against the ban on the formation of ethnonational political parties, arguing it was ‘anti-democratic’. Soon after, political parties with an ethnonational signature, banned during the Yugoslav decades, emerged next to the League of Communists and the Reformists—eventually proving that, more than a step towards democracy, the first multiparty elections were marking the rise of ethnonationalism, whose promoters and leaders largely contributed to the quick, and violent, disintegration of Yugoslavia.15 In this context of political chaos and ideological collapse, ethnonational parties over-emphasised minimal differences to divide disoriented masses and obtain support. Religion was perhaps the most misused and politicised difference, becoming ‘the hallmark of nationhood’, and used as a dichotomising tool to foster ethnonational sentiments while dividing people accordingly.16 Ethnic entrepreneurs leading ethnonational



political parties, therefore, presented themselves as the only ones able to protect their people, groups and respective collective identities, now loudly demanded a new socio-political status. The first multiparty elections took place in November and December 1990. The recently created ethnonationalist parties, SDA (Stranka Demokratske Akcije—Party of Democratic Action), HDZ (Hrvatska Demokratska Stranka—Croat Democratic Community) and SDS (Srpska Demokratska Stranka—Serb Democratic Party) won a majority of the votes.17 This massive support for ethnonational parties was not completely surprising: in multi-ethnic societies the formation of ethnic-based parties is generally the easiest way to gain electoral support.18 Other, more specific factors explaining the 1990s electoral success of these parties are Yugoslavia’s deep political and economic crisis and vigorous nationalist propaganda. Eventually, although an expression of the people’s voice, the choice for ethnic parties provoked centrifugal tendencies that led to the rise of political extremism and brutal violence.19 All the federal units tried to leave Yugoslavia by establishing themselves as independent ethnic nation-states founded on the overlap between ethno-cultural and territorial boundaries. Nationalism played a crucial role, as ‘a struggle over the definition of spatial boundaries, that is, over the control of a particular land or soil’.20 Multi-ethnic Bosnia, however, could not become an ethnically homogeneous nation-state and the only way to achieve that goal was to divide it by means of violence. After the referendum on Bosnia’s independence, held in 1992, tensions exploded violently. From 6 April 1992 until the end of 1995, Bosnia experienced a conflict led (also) by those same democratically elected political parties, which eventually irremediably fragmented the Bosnian society and state.

The ‘Adversaries’ of Democracy in Bosnia Herzegovina With the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995, Bosnia became an independent multinational state based on the consociational democracy’s principles. According to the model theorised by Arendt Lijphart, consociation is characterised by four elements: a grand coalition formed by political leaders representing all the significant segments in society; proportional representation for these segments; veto rights; and a high degree of group autonomy, usually reflected in a decentralised state system and/or federalism.21 The implementation of such mechanisms of


power-sharing and institutional representation denoted the structuring principles for post-conflict peace- and state-building, thought to be the most suitable ways to accommodate ethnic claims and eventually bring about democracy. However, consociationalism and the state structure it tailored, constitute a first possible element challenging the achievement of democracy in Bosnia. On the one hand, consociationalism has been applied to secure equal representation of the three major Bosnian groups, and the DPA provided several mechanisms to protect their identities.22 In the same vein, territorial and administrative autonomies and decentralisation were considered a precondition for inter-group compromise, preventing the ethnic monopolisation of central power while ensuring ‘the management of the conflict by BiH’s[Bosnia’s] three main ethnic groups’.23 On the other hand, however, consociations are often accused of institutionalising ethnicity, promoting segregation and even condoning ethnic cleansing.24 They are criticised mainly by the advocates of the centripetalist approach, as consociations are more prone to centrifugal tendencies, preventing accommodation and cooperation.25 Conversely, consociationalism’s proponents argue that ‘it is often more perverse to deny the existence and salience of ethnic identities […] than it is to build upon them’.26 Although both points of view are valid, it is also undeniable that partly because of its consociative shape, and the saliency acquired by the majority groups’ ethnonational identities, the Bosnian reality showcases a major disjuncture between state-building (understood as the creation of an institutional and political system able to obtain legitimacy and foster a sense of belonging and attachment) and ethnic nation-building (understood as the creation of ethnic and territorial-regional attachment). The result of these two competing developments is both the absence of a shared supranational identity (in terms of Bosnian Herzegovinian citizens) and a fundamental disagreement over ‘what kind of state BiH currently is and what it shall become in the future’.27 Institutional design does indeed matter, but the political elite’s behaviour matters more. Consociative principles might not pose a significant obstacle to the state’s and society’s democratisation if political leaders, the main societal segments’ representatives embedded in the state’s institutions, work together for rebuilding the state, for the common good and the interests of the larger citizenry, while promoting loyalty and identification with the state as a whole and in view of the democracy’s achievement. Although it is indisputable that in



post-conflict realities finding such common ground and shared interests may be difficult, it is also true that state functioning and democracy largely depend on the political elites’ ability to compromise and cooperate together.28

Political Parties and Ruling Elites In accordance with the above, a decisive element in defining democracy and its adversaries is the political spectrum’s composition and the political elite’s behaviour. As Lipset argued, political parties and political elites are ‘the most important mediating institutions between the citizenry and the State’, and their role is crucial in tailoring a democratic society.29 However, in societies featured by both the structural absence of a sharedby-all state identity and the institutionalised saliency of ethnic identities, political parties are institutionally incentivised to build their support on the basis of ethnonationality. Hence, the political spectrum is more likely to be composed of mono-ethnic parties appealing, and promising to protect, their own people, while the multi-ethnic ones find it hard to win over the electorate. As Reilly argued: Democratic competition is inherently difficult in such cases because of the strong tendency towards politicisation of ethnic demands, which in turn often leads to the growth of zero-sum, winner-take-all politics […]. Politicians in divided societies face powerful incentives to play the ‘ethnic card’ and campaign along narrow sectarian lines, as this is often a more effective means of mobilising voter support than campaigning on the basis of issues or ideologies.30

According to its constitution Bosnia ‘shall operate under the rule of law and with free and democratic elections’, which, in fact, have been regularly and democratically held since 1996.31 Nonetheless, the Bosnian political spectrum remains ethnically fragmented and polarised, and the major parties’ narratives and messages are directed at each of the ethnonational constituencies separately rather than to the whole citizenry.32 Since their initial entry into the political arena in 1990, ethnic parties have not been competing with each other but against a common enemy: the multi-ethnic and civic parties.33 Besides the original three ethnic parties, namely SDA, SDS and HDZ, which remained almost unchallenged until 2006, new ethnic-based parties have emerged over the past


decade, however they generally followed the footsteps of their predecessors by using divisive and ethnocentric rhetoric to gain votes. The multijethnic SDP (Socijaldemokratska Partija Bosne I Hercegovine- Social Democratic Party of Bosnia Herzegovina), since recently ‘the only relevant post-communist party in Bosnia’, has played an important role in counterbalancing ethnonationalism but it has overall failed in gaining a cross-ethnic support, since its electorate is mainly constituted of ethnic bošnjaks.34 Therefore, intra-party democracy remains ‘quite weak’ and the Bosnian ruling elite does not show any serious commitment either to rebuild society and the state, nor to promote crosscutting cleavages and multiple identifications.35 It generally fails to voluntarily create and serve the interests of a ‘non-ethnic’ democracy. Accordingly, in the name of democratic principles invoked to safeguard their own identity and culture, ethnic leaders have both widely politicised collective identities and cultural features, and exploited social divisions stemming from the war. In this way, instead of cooperating and bridging the communities, they have made ethnonationality the most employed, and most successful, way to mobilise, represent and protect the ethnic constituencies. As a result, divisions have been democratically justified and democracy itself was redefined by political actors adverse to cohesion. These socio-political developments partly recall Brass’s theory, according to which it is competing ethnonational elites that, in specific circumstances, use cultural similarity to build allegiances and solidarity and cultural difference to foster antagonism.36 On the one hand, the Bosnian state architecture itself favours ethnic polarisation and ‘encourages voters to vote for candidates of their own ethnicity’.37 On the other hand nationalist narratives and propaganda lead people to ‘start trusting and identifying with each other and shift the focus of loyalty to the nation or an ethnic community. … The result is that individuals ally with their respective ethnic elites, rather than all members of the polity’.38 The outcome is that, from the 1990s until today, ethnic parties have been widely accepted and preferred by the voters ‘even when parties with multinational platforms that de-emphasised ethnicity were on offer’.39 The reasons why people continue to support ethnonational parties vary but, generally, ‘rather than understanding the vote as an enthusiastic endorsement of ethnonationalist parties, it is better understood as a vote out of fear and uncertainty’.40 As Mujkić and Husley explained:



Nationalist politic is characterised by references to events in the past where there was tension and violence between national groups, and by relating those past events to current politics. […] Essentially, nationalist parties thrive on permanent government crisis, or at least the threat of crisis around election time, as the basis of their legitimacy. […] Therefore, it is in the interest of nationalist politicians to continue to foster an environment of mistrust and animosity.41

To summarise, the Bosnian reality seems a vicious circle where a democratic institutional asset begets an ethnic oligarchy that nourishes ethnonational sentiments by reproducing cleavages; while, at the same time, ethnic oligarchs have a vested interest in keeping the democratic institutions of the state weak so that the ‘ethnicised masses’ will rely on their ethnic parties as safety nets. As a consequence, structural vulnerabilities and social insecurities permit ‘bad governance’ and ethnopolitics— that is to say, ‘the alignment of ethnic cleavages with political cleavages’, hence compromising democracy.42 Finally, although the political elite, with its particularistic use of democratic institutions and mechanisms, may be considered the main adversary of democracy in Bosnia, as mentioned there are other interconnected contributing factors. The next section, thus, focuses the attention on two structural elements that, while meant to favour compromise and help the achievement of democracy, are, at the same time, giving strength and legitimacy to an ethnically polarised political elite that finds advantages in (mis)using those provisions in its own favour, eventually challenging democracy. These elements are ethnonationality’s constitutional and institutional salience and the territorial partition of the Bosnian state along ethnonational lines.

Constitution, Institutions and Territories The Bosnian case thus shows that institutional design is paramount when dealing with post-conflict and divided societies. The design of political institutions and the division of political power within and between them is of central importance in managing plurality, avoiding/preventing conflict and achieving democracy.43 The state structure greatly influences political and social actors’ behaviours as well as the relationship between rulers and ruled as ‘both ethnic group formation and nation-building result from a renegotiation of [that] relationship’.44


However, it is worth stressing that democratic institutions and procedures alone do not define and bring about democracy: ‘they are necessary but not sufficient conditions for its existence’.45 In the same vein, and in accordance with the arguments proposed in this chapter, institutional mechanisms and procedures alone do not impede democracy. Moreover, democratic institutions and procedures are never implemented in a vacuum: social, political and historical events have a huge impact on the establishment and potential consolidation of democracy. Understandably, this issue is much more complicated when it comes to post-conflict and multi-ethnic realities. There the democratic project may be challenged by several factors.

Constitution and Institutions: No Representation Without Ethnonational Identification Dayton’s Bosnia has been organised according to a complex state structure in which ethnonational belonging represents its main constitutive element, standing as the pillar of the multinational state itself. According to its constitution ‘Bosniacs [Bošnjaks], Croats and Serbs, [are] constituent peoples (along with “Others”)’ of Bosnia Herzegovina.46 Ethnonational plurality does, however, not represent democracy’s main challenge in itself. It becomes problematic when ethnonationality narrows into the sole, most salient political category and primary basis of representation, thus downgrading state citizenship. One, if not the, major deficiency in Dayton’s Bosnia concerns the critical status of the citizens of the state, the Bosnian Herzegovinians: the foundation of any democracy is its citizens, its demos and precondition for the well-functioning of any plural society is the presence of crosscutting or overlapping group memberships. The Bosnian reality, however, represents a particular case in which the demos is not unified and reflected in Bosnian Herzegovinian citizens but split along ethnic lines, in three ethnic demoi. Those who identify themselves as citizens of the state (Bosnian Herzegovinians), as well as those who do not belong to any of the three constitutionally recognised nations, are formally part of the ‘Others’ (Ostali, in BCS language)—a catch-all category.47 This institutionalised collectivism is not only rooted in the DPA but, first and foremost, was and still is promoted by the ethnonational parties’ leaders. Nevertheless, by effectively downgrading



state citizenship, the DPA has implicitly legitimised an ethnonational, rather than civic, understanding and functioning of Bosnia, thus fragmenting the state itself, its citizenry and conceptions and practices of democracy as well. Furthermore, a state structure based on consociational principles— whose major problem is the tendency to reify group identities via their institutionalisation—does not sufficiently aid in overcoming the boundaries of ethnonational belonging.48 For example, in all the Bosnian state institutions, except for the Constitutional Court, members are elected according to both ethnic and (ethno)territorial principles, and Bosnia’s law requires them to declare their ethnicity.49 Those who don’t belong to any of the three ethnic constituencies or refuse to declare their ethnonational affiliation in terms of Serbs, Croats or Bošnjaks are excluded from the presidency and not represented in the House of Peoples.50 Therefore, institutional mechanisms of equal representation grounded on ethno-territorial principles, although intended to assure equality and the sharing of power between the major societal segments are, at the same time, strengthening the divisions in the representation mechanisms, as there is no representation without ethnic identification. Additionally, as shown, representative mechanisms based on ethnicity incentivise political parties to build their consent upon it, thus making ethnicity a political tool in the hands of ‘intransigent’ ethnic leaders committed to satisfy their own group’s interests.51 Hence, in this vicious circle, parties must be ethnonational if they want to stay in power, and people must vote according to their ethnonationality if they want to be represented and protected. However, it is worth pointing out that although institutionalisation and territorialisation of ethnonationality may scarcely promote real cooperation and sharing of power, success or failure of such arrangements are largely determined by the role played by the ruling political class. If seriously committed to achieving democracy and to overcome ethnic divisions, the political elite may use the consociational principles as a good starting point for rebuilding state and society alike. While if it is not, as the Bosnian reality illustrates, institutions and mechanisms can be misused to achieve other goals than democracy and they thus remain only nominally democratic.


(Re)Territorialised Ethnicity and the Nation-States Paradigm The second element defining and challenging Bosnian democracy is the state’s internal territorial partition along ethnonational lines. The displacement of entire sectors of the population and the ethnic cleansing during the 1992–1995 war caused the re-territorialisation of ethnicity and the current internal re-configuration of Bosnia, eventually allowing for the implementation of federalism, which is ‘a special form of segmental autonomy’.52 Before the conflict, the three main Bosnian communities lived scattered all over the republic’s territory and ethnically homogeneous areas were mostly absent.53 Ethnic boundaries and deep divisions between the groups have been (re)created by the powerful ethnonationalist propaganda spread since mid-1980s and then cemented by the war.54 In the 1990s, in fact, nationalism’s homogenising force went hand in hand with attempts to build ethnic nation-states, also within Bosnia itself. As widely acknowledged in the literature, clearly defined territorial borders are a nation-state’s prerogative, as they are crucial in shaping identities and loyalties, eventually reflecting the ‘us and them’ dichotomy.55 Together with the external dreams of Great Serbia and Great Croatia, Mate Boban and Radovan Karadžić proclaimed their ethnic nationstates—the ‘Hrvatske Republike Herceg-Bosne’ and the ‘Republika Srpska’—within multi-ethnic Bosnia Herzegovina in 1991 and 1992 respectively.56 Nonetheless, ethnically pure nation-states within ethnically mixed Bosnia could hardly be formed: hence, any sort of physical and psychological humiliation, perpetrated throughout the four years of conflict, represented the modalities used to purify lands which drastically changed the ethnic territorial composition of the state, not to mention inter-group relations.57 As a result, although formally a united country, nowadays’ Bosnia is internally partitioned into two Entities, ten cantons, and one autonomous district.58 The Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IELB) marks the border between the two Bosnian Entities—the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina (FBosnia) and the Republika Srpska (RS). The former is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Croats and Bošnjaks and divided into ten cantons (administrative units, all but two almost completely ethnically homogeneous); while the latter is more centralised and predominantly inhabited by ethnic Serbs. In addition, the district of Brčko is autonomous since 1999 and does not belong to any of the two entities.



In trying to accommodate ethnic claims while building peace, the DPA recognised the RS and the FBosnia as separate entities— the former founded in 1992 by Karadžić, the latter resulting from the Washington Agreement.59 It also guaranteed an Entity citizenship alongside a national one, making Bosnia ‘the only post-Yugoslav state whose national citizenship is two-tiered’.60 However, the internal partition of Bosnia and the citizenship policies implemented were both arrangements meant to favour cooperation among the groups and eventually democracy, and their enactment has been a direct, perhaps inevitable, consequence of the war. Nonetheless, territorial divisions and citizenship policies stemming from the conflict reflect a particular understanding of national belonging and do indeed represent another challenge to democracy. Involuntarily inclined towards ethnic—rather than civic—commitments, identifications and loyalties, territorial divisions and citizenship policies based on re-territorialised ethnonationality are serving the ethnonationalist political elite with further profitable tools to maintain power and govern the state. By stressing alleged incompatibility between the constituent nations, ethnic leaders see and use administrative provisions to foster ethnocentric, nation-state oriented narratives, build invisible boundaries between the groups and fortify ethno-territorial attachments while compromising ‘dual but complementary identities and identifications’.61 Eventually, therefore, measures implemented and thought to help the democratic functioning of the country are often used as political tools aimed at building and strengthening divided ethnos—rather than a united demos, hence challenging and fragmenting, rather than favouring, democracy.

Youth’s Perspectives The brief politico-institutional analysis provided in the first part of this chapter has illustrated how interconnected and mutually reinforcing institutional provisions founded on ethnonationality and the political elite’s behaviour are challenging democracy by redefining its meaning and practice. However, since conceptions of democracy may vary between political and social actors, the next section looks at the same themes previously analysed (constitutional issues related to identity/identification, territorial divisions and political elite’s role and behaviour) but through the eyes of the Bosnian youth.


The empirical material used in the following section is the result of a fieldwork conducted in Sarajevo in the fall-winter 2013–2014; semi-structured interviews have been conducted with twenty Sarajevo’s university students, males and females, born between 1989 and 1995. They have been selected by using the snowball technique, and their ethnonational origins were not used as a selection criterion. The final sample was, indeed, composed by a different number of interviewees identifying/not identifying themselves with the three constitutionally recognised Bosnian ethnic nations. The empirical material presented does show how young people’s ideas of democracy differ from the one endorsed by the Bosnian ethno-political class and the one embedded in the ethnic power-sharing provisions.

Youth and (Ethnic) Identification The youth born between 1989 and 1995 have not had the chance of growing up in a society untied by national issues; on the contrary, they are becoming adults in a society obsessed with ethnicity and national belonging, and whose importance is clearly stated in the constitution of the state. To find out their perceptions and opinions, semi-structured interviews have been conducted, with various arguments put forward. In the first place, issues related to the constitutional recognition of (only) three ethnic ‘Constituent Peoples’, and their implications, were mentioned by the respondents. In this regard, all the young interviewees expressed some discomfort, considering the structural lack of a nonethnic constituent nation—and the resulting ‘almost forced’ ethnonational identification, as a major deficiency of the Bosnian democracy. Two of the respondents formulated this as follow: I am that [ethnonational identification] because I have no choice actually. (Girl, age 22, Sarajevo, October 2013) I am a bošnjak only because we are recognised as bošnjak in the Constitution. Actually, I feel more like Bosnian Herzegovinian, which is not recognised. (Girl, age 19, Sarajevo, October 2013)

Institutionalised collectivism prevents the birth of civic identification and crosscutting cleavages. Accordingly, although a few of the youngsters interviewed avoided, for different reasons, ethnonational identification,62



the vast majority of them did not actively challenge those ‘ethnic labels’, generally accepting them for a lack of alternatives. Indeed, ethnic-based forms of identification oftentimes emerged to be, more than a spontaneous expression of origins and belongings, ‘due’ forms of self-identification imposed upon people in virtue of the constituent character of their group of belonging. As the youth explained, identification in terms of citizens of the state, namely as Bosnians/Bosnian Herzegovinians, is pragmatically disadvantaging since citizens are formally considered ‘Others’, invisible in the state’s eyes and not fully represented. This structural deficiency, as the young respondents explained, contributes to stifle alternative forms of identification than the ethnonational one. If you are a citizen you are nothing. (Boy, age 23, Sarajevo, October 2013) We don’t have a Constitution that says we are citizens, so citizens practically do not exist in Bosnia Herzegovina. (Boy, age 24, Sarajevo, October 2013)

An interrelated argument put forward by the interviewees was the practice of ‘ethnic labelling’, which is connected—as they said—to the alleged ‘undemocratic’ character of the Bosnian society. As the youth explained, people are often ethnically categorised according to the personal names they hold, sometimes derived from their own ethnic or religious traditions. As one interviewee stated: The first discrimination you always find is that your nationality is important in deciding something about you. When I say my name, they immediately put me in a category and give me all the stereotypes pertaining to that category. […] I would like to live in a more democratic country, where you are not judged by the name you hold. (Girl, age 25, Sarajevo, October 2013)

Since the end of the 1980s, ethnic entrepreneurs have over-stressed the importance of each group’s ethnic and religious traditions, eventually equating them so as to make clearer the distinction between ‘us and them’. The result of this process is that ethnic and religious origins have become synonymous, channelling any individual into ‘the right box’. I don’t feel myself as Bošnjak, Serb or Croat because usually they connect nationality with religion, so I don’t see myself like that. (Girl, age 23, Sarajevo, December 2013)


To conclude, the overall perception these young people from Sarajevo have of their state and society is one of deep, politically created, fragmentation along ethnonational lines, where ‘democracy is only on paper’. According to them, in fact, democracy should exist first of all in practice and it should be based on citizens’ equality, while the reality of Bosnia is based on ethnonational groups and the differences between them.

Youth and Territorial Divisions As previously illustrated, Bosnia’s territorial divisions are another potential adversary to democracy. Their challenging character lies in the boundaries they mark, which are not simply administrative but also identitarian. Bosnia’s current internal borders are, in fact, the result of the 1992–1995 war,63 hence their deeper meaning is rooted in the conflict itself. Because of their nature and attached meanings, these borders still mark the line not only between entities and cantons, but also between ‘us’ and ethnically different ‘them’ and they are, therefore, often imbued by stereotypes and distrust. As the respondents put it, the overlap between administrative and symbolic divisions makes boundary crossing difficult, minimising contacts between individuals and groups, further hampering social cohesion and shared identifications. People are not feeling safe in some parts of the country. Maybe Serbs are not feeling safe in some of the parts of the Federation, and also Croats and Bošnjak are not feeling safe in some parts of the Republika Srpska. And this is the main reason why people are living in places where the ethnic group they belong to IS dominant. (Boy, age 25, Sarajevo, October 2013) In the Serbian part of Sarajevo, Istočno Sarajevo, for example there is a disco and it happens that when my friends go there they give different names because they do not want others to know their real names. (Girl, age 21, Sarajevo, October 2013)

These quotes show both the social fragmentation of Bosnia, whose inhabitants often do not feel part of a united demos regardless of their ethnonational origins, and the practical consequences of officialised re-territorialised ethnicity. To some extents, ethno-territorial divisions have become, as Wimmer said, ‘meaningful to participants […] takenfor-granted, routinised and institutionalised’.64



The interviewees have by and large criticised the internal partition of Bosnia, defining it as ‘ridiculous’, ‘sad’ and featuring ‘a Frankenstein state’. Moreover, by stressing the negative potential of these divisions, the young respondents have generally described Bosnia Herzegovina as composed of ‘three countries in one country’ (Boy, age 20, Sarajevo, November 2013), so confirming Marko’s argument that ‘the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina have turned into the nation states of the Serbs, Muslim- Bošnjaks and Croats respectively’.65

Youth and the Political Elite Sarajevo’s youths were very critical of the role played by nationalist parties and their rhetoric in the Bosnian society. All of them stated they were fed up with nationalism and war-derived antagonist narratives, which inhibit any step forward: It is not religion or ethnicity that separate us: it is the politicians. (Girl, age 23, November, Sarajevo 2013) Politics is the center of hate. Everything starts from politics. (Girl, age 21, Sarajevo, September 2013) They don’t want to be one united people, trying to change something in the country. (Boy, age 24, Sarajevo, November 2013)

Most respondents identified the political elite as the main adversary of not only democracy but also of state and societal rebuilding and cohesion. As the following quotation shows, the political class has been blamed for upholding and deepening social divisions through propaganda, and exploiting constitutional provisions, institutional mechanisms and cultural features of the groups, to make its own interests. When the political elite, through propaganda, sends you the message that other groups are guilty, people just accept it like that and they are staying in that frame because there is no individuality […]. Everything is just about collective state of mind, ethnically organised in three. (Boy, age 25, Sarajevo, October 2013)


To conclude, through the arguments put forward, the young respondents have shown how different their idea of democracy is compared to the one endorsed by their political representatives as well as the one entrenched in the DPA and in the constitution itself. Their statements have also shed light on the complexity of the Bosnian context, recognising how many intertwined elements do challenge and fragment the state, its citizenry and democracy itself. Nevertheless, they all portrayed the political class as the major culprit. In their eyes, the main adversaries of democracy were the politicians— the ethnic entrepreneurs leading ethnonational parties, since it was their role and responsibility to serve the whole state and its citizens’ interests, working for the achievement and then consolidation of democracy. As one of the respondents put it: Political parties are not doing anything because it is in their interest. […] There aren’t any steps, any progress, any movement that gives hope for a better tomorrow. (Boy, age 25, Sarajevo, October 2013)

Conclusion The analysis provided in this chapter illustrates the complexity of the Bosnian reality and the difficulties faced by Bosnian democracy, which is challenged in many different ways. The main challenges come from the constitutional and institutional structures of the state, the territorial divisions stemming from the conflict and the composition of the political spectrum. However, while institutional provisions and institutions’ shape do matter, political elites’ behaviour matters more. Although meant to bring about democracy by favouring cooperation between the main groups’ representatives, a state grounded on ethnonationality can incentivise political representatives in building their consent upon ethnicity, and emphasising the interests of their own respective ethnonational community. At the same time, the Bosnian ethno-territorial divisions and citizenship policies also favour nation-state-oriented narratives, involuntarily compromising the birth of multiple identifications and crosscutting cleavages, and in the end weakening democracy as well. Overall, as the Bosnian case shows, challenges to democracy may be based on a wide variety of motivations, ranging from criticism of the existing institutional-constitutional framework; opposition against the geographic boundaries of the democratic



entity; or again the need for a sharper definition of those who are to be included and excluded from the political community. Yet, each of these motivations brings its own definition of democracy as a form of legitimisation. Additionally, the interviews conducted with young people in Sarajevo have demonstrated how different their conception of democracy is from the one endorsed by the politicians and the one entrenched in the state structure. Sarajevo’s youth have defined democracy as citizens’ equality, not equal representation of national groups. In their eyes, democracy is safety and freedom of movement over all the territory of the country, an absence of fear to cross borders and fear of ‘being recognised’ as members of a different ethnonational group. For them, democracy entails a political elite working for the good of the country and its citizens, not for portions of it. It is based on people’s equality, while Bosnia is based on ethnonational differences, and finally, they argue, democracy should not exist only on paper, but first of all in practice. This demonstrates, once again, that conceptions of democracy are not neutral concepts: they often function as an instrument of power, and those who have the power can outlaw oppositional concepts and repertoires. As the youth pointed out, the Bosnian reality appears divided in three ethnic sides, with democracy’s ideals compromised at many levels, but above all by an ethnonationalist political class entrenched in the democratic institutions of the state, who fail to represent all citizens regardless of their backgrounds. Hence, a paradoxical environment is created, in which ethnonational representatives (ab)use the democratic provisions and mechanisms agreed in the DPA while, relying on nationalism and ethnocentrism to deepen social distance between the three main groups. In this way, they have been able to ‘democratically’ carve out power positions while challenging the achievement of democracy itself. Bosnian political elites pose a major threat to democracy itself, because they fail to use democratic structures and mechanisms to rebuild the state, promote state identification and depoliticise ethnicity. Instead, party leaders use their conception of ‘democracy’ as their source for legitimacy, while intentionally exploiting democratic tools, as well as divisions caused by the conflict, to ethnically fragment the electorate, and thus maintain power. If the implementation of consociational mechanisms are seen as unavoidable, a seriously committed political class should find corrective measures that favour ethnonationality’s de-politicisation (if not de-institutionalisation), help citizens to rebuild trust, cross


administrative and imagined borders, and, eventually, build and practice democracy untying it from national origins and affiliations. Nevertheless, as many intertwined elements challenge democracy in Bosnia, some further considerations have to be kept in mind. First, neither ethnonational affiliation nor ethnonational plurality per se are causes of Bosnia’s difficult path towards democracy. The reason why the journey towards democracy has been difficult and challenging, lies firstly in the society’s destruction as a result of the conflict and, secondly, in the lack of a substantive Bosnian Herzegovinian identification.66 This fragmentation, retained by the DPA, advantages—and is exploited by—ethnic entrepreneurs. Second, despite its poor reputation, properly implemented consociational mechanisms in a post-war society such as Bosnia might represent a good starting point towards democratic consolidation. Indeed, as Diamond once said, a society is democratic when democracy is seen ‘as the only game in town, the only viable framework for governing the society and advancing their own interests’.67 However, the Bosnian case shows a very peculiar situation in which democracy is the framework for governing society, but only in an ethnically fragmented way. And finally, although it is undeniable that the Bosnian road towards consolidated democracy is still long, it is also true that sociopolitical changes may just take a long(er) time before becoming visible. Until 1995 Bosnia was still a federal republic in the SRFY, and its transition has been marked by terrible atrocities as well as economic crisis. Therefore, it would be presumptuous to simply label Bosnia as undemocratic and expect a radical socio-political change. Bosnia’s reality is complicated and needs to be understood and analysed from a wider and more flexible perspective, avoiding quick conclusions. Claiming a total absence of democracy would be wrong: democracy is actually in place, although still weak and fragmented. Today, its major adversary is an ethnonationalist political class that finds comfort in, and exploits, institutional and constitutional provisions based on the consociational model of democracy and the society’s fragmentation alike. The achievement and consolidation of democracy in a multinational and post-conflict society is possible, but only if the political class is seriously willing and committed to make the difference. Following the book’s approach, this chapter has tried to move away from the dichotomy ‘democratic-undemocratic’, by examining in the case of Bosnia, what multiple actors envisage when they utter the word



‘democracy’. That Sarajevo’s youth do not seem to share the ethnocentric and ethnonationalist narratives promoted on many levels, offers hope that a new generation of politically aware adults, who share an inclusive conception of democracy and democratic participation, can potentially (re)formulate what democracy entails.


1. A. Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration (New Haven 1977). 2.  P. O’Halloran, ‘Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Constitutional and Transitional Power-Sharing Arrangements in Bosnia and Kosovo’, in S. Noel (ed.), From Power Sharing to Democracy: Post-Conflict Institutions in Ethnically Divided Societies (Montreal & Kingston 2005). 3. L.M. Howard, ‘The Ethnocratic Trap’, Journal of Democracy 23:4 (2012), 155–169; A. Mujkić, We, the Citizen of Ethnopolis (Sarajevo 2008). According to the Freedom House Report ‘Nations in Transit’ 2017, Bosnia is a ‘transitional government or hybrid regime’, with a democracy score of 4.54 (in a scale from 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the lowest), https://freedomhouse.org/report/ nations-transit/2017/bosnia-and-herzegovina. 4. Boy, age 24, Sarajevo, November 2013. 5. See: Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies; A. Lijphart ‘Consociational Democracy’, World Politics 21:2 (1969), 207–225. 6. C. Koneska, After Ethnic Conflict: Policy-Making in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia (Surrey 2014). 7. The ‘Muslims’, recognised as a separate group in 1968 and as constituent nation of Bosnia with the 1974 Constitution, in 1993 changed their nation’s name into Bošnjaks. 8. S. Keil, Multinational Federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Surrey 2013). 9. P. Radan, ‘Constitutional Law and the Multinational State: The Failure of Yugoslav Federalism’, UNSW Law Journal 21:1 (1998), 185–203. 10. For a complete and exhausting overview of the history of Yugoslavia, among others, see: J. Lampe, (2nd ed.), Yugoslavia as History Twice There Was a Country (Cambridge 2000); A. Pavković, The Fragmentation of Yugoslavia: Nationalism and War in the Balkans (London 2000); S. Malešević, Identity as Ideology (New York 2006), 174. 11. S. Pearson, ‘The “National Key”, in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Historical Perspective’, Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity 43:2 (2015), 213–232. 12. Malešević, Identity as Ideology, 224.


13. Yugoslavia was going through a deep economic crisis, inter-ethnic tensions exploded in Kosovo in 1981 and, in the second half of the 1980s, ethnonationalism began to acquire power and mass-support, provoking a crisis of legitimacy of both the Yugoslav system and the Communist Party. For more detail, see: N. Andjelić, Bosnia-Herzegovina: The End of a Legacy (London 2003); F. Bieber, A. Glijaš, and R. Archer (eds.), Debating the End of Yugoslavia (Surrey 2014); R. Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe (Cambridge 1996). 14. T. Sekulić, Violenza Etnica (Roma 2002). 15.  R.M. Hayden, ‘“Democracy” Without a Demos? The Bosnian Constitutional Experiment and the International Construction of Nonfunctioning States’, East European Politics and Societies 19:2 (2005), 236; Andjelić, Bosnia-Herzegovina. 16. V. Perica, Balkan idols. Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States (Oxford 2002), 168; D. Conversi, ‘Nationalism, Boundaries and Violence’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies 28:3 (1999), 535–584. 17. V. Stojarová and P. Emerson (eds.), Party Politics in the Western Balkans (New York 2010) 18. See: D.L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley 1985); A. Mujkić and J. Hulsey, ‘Explaining the Success of Nationalist Parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina’, Politička Misao 47:2 (2010), 143–158. 19.  B. Reilly, ‘Political Engineering and Party Politics in Conflict-Prone Societies’, Democratization 13:5 (2006), 811–827. 20. D. Conversi, ‘Reassessing Current Theories of Nationalism: Nationalism as Boundaries Maintenance and Creation’, Nationalism & Ethnic Politics 1:1 (1995), 78. 21. Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies. 22. Some of these mechanisms are: a triple and rotating presidency; reserved seats in parliament; equal representation of the three groups in the state institutions; ethnic majorities; veto right usable for ‘vital national interests’. See: F. Bieber, ‘Power Sharing After Yugoslavia: Functionality and Dysfunctionality of Power-Sharing Institutions in Post-War Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo’, in S. Noel (ed.), From Power Sharing to Democracy: Post-Conflict Institutions in Ethnically Divided Societies (Montreal & Kingston 2005). 23. V. Bojičić-Dzelilović, ‘Managing Ethnic Conflicts: Democratic Decentralization in Bosnia-Hercegovina’, in S. Bastian and R. Lukham (eds.), Can Democracy Be Designed? The Politics of Institutional Choice in Conflict-torn Societies (London 2003), 286. 24.  B. O’Leary, ‘Debating Consociational Politics: Normative and Explanatory Arguments in Post-War Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo’, in Noel (ed.), From Power Sharing to Democracy.



25. See: Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict; B. Reilly, Democracy in Divided Societies: Electoral Engineering for Conflict Management (Cambridge 2004); Reilly ‘Political Engineering and Party Politics’. 26. O’Leary, ‘Debating Consociational Politics’, 19. 27. Muslims-Bošnjaks were and are in favour of a united and more centralised Bosnia Herzegovina; some Bosnian Croats do claim their own separate entity, while Bosnian Serbs from Republika Srpska often threaten secession from the larger state. See: Keil, Multinational Federalism, 151. 28.  M.J. Zahar, ‘The Dichotomy of International Mediation and Leader Intransigence: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina’, in J. O’Flynn and D. Russell (eds.), Power Sharing: New Challenges for Divided Societies (London 2005), 123–137. 29.  S.M. Lipset, ‘The Social Requisites of Democracy Revisited: 1993 Presidential Address’, American Sociological Review 59:1 (1994), 14. 30. Reilly, Democracy in Divided Societies, 4. 31. Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) Annex IV, art.1: 2, http://www.ohr. int/?post_type=post&p=63984&lang=en (accessed 16 July 2016). 32. D. Kapidžić, ‘Ethnic Practice in Electoral Politics: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 1990 Presidency Elections’, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 14:4 (2014), 556–584. 33. Andjelić, Bosnia-Herzegovina. 34. Ibid.; Keil, Multinational Federalism, 119. 35. V. Stojarová, ‘Legacy of Communist and Socialist Parties in the Western Balkans’, in V. Stojarová and P. Emerson (eds.), Party Politics in the Western Balkans (New York 2010), 31. 36. P.R. Brass, Ethnicity and Nationalism (New Delhi 1991). 37. Bieber, ‘Power Sharing After Yugoslavia’, 92. 38. A. Wimmer, Waves of War: Nationalism, State Formation, and Ethnic Exclusion in the Modern World (Cambridge 2013), 17–19. 39. F. Bieber, ‘Undermining Democratic Transition: The Case of the 1990 Founding Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina’, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 14:4 (2014), 549. 40. Ibid. 41. Mujkić, Hulsey, ‘Explaining the Success of Nationalist’. 42. S.P. Ramet, The Three Yugoslavias: State-Building and Legitimization 1918–2005 (Bloomington 2006). 43. Reilly, Democracy in Divided Societies. 44. Wimmer, Waves of War, 5. 45. P. Schmitter and T.L. Karl, ‘What Democracy Is…and Is Not’, Journal of Democracy 2:3 (1991), 81. 46.  Dayton Peace Agreement, Annex IV, Preamble, http://www.ohr. int/?post_type=post&p=63984&lang=en (accessed 16 July 2016).

276  A. PIACENTINI 47. BCS is Bosnian—Croatian—Serbian. 48. See: S. Malešević, The Sociology of Ethnicity (London 2004); Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict; O’Leary ‘Debating Consociational Politics’. 49.  The Bosnian Presidency is triple and composed by one Croat and one Bošnjaks member elected in the FBosnia, and one Serb member elected in the RS. The Parliament is bicameral and composed by two houses: the House of People comprises 15 members (5 Serbs + 5 Croats + 5 Bošnjaks) proportionally elected in the two Entities (two-thirds in FBosnia + onethird in RS); the House of Representatives, instead, comprises 42 members directly and proportionally elected in the two Entities (two-thirds in FBosnia + one-third in RS). The Constitutional Court, composed by national and international members, is the only institution for which an ethnic composition is not prescribed. See: Z. Ilievski and H. Runčeva ‘Ethnicity and the State: Deadlocks of Institutionalized Ethno-Politics in the Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina’, Political Thought 11:4 (2013), 39–44. 50. All those who don’t belong to the three major ethnic groups, as well as all those who do not identify themselves in ethnic terms—Bosnian Herzegovinians citizens included—fall into the umbrella-category ‘Others’ (Ostali in Bosnian language); those people cannot run for the Presidency of the Bosnian state, nor are they represented in one of the two chambers—the House of People. 51. Zahar ‘The Dichotomy of International Mediation’. 52. Sekulić, Violenza Etnica; Keil, Multinational Federalism; Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies, 42. 53. Conversi, ‘Reassessing Current Theories of Nationalism’. 54. F. Barth, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference (Lang Grove 1969). 55. Barth, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries; J. Marko ‘Bosnia and Herzegovina– Multi-Ethnic or Multinational?’ Societies in Conflict: The Contribution of Law and Democracy to Conflict Resolution (2000), 1–29. 56. Radovan Karadžić, leader of SDS in Bosnia, was the first President of the Republika Srpska from 1992 to 1996. Mate Boban, Bosnian Croat politician, was the President of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosna (which existed from 1991 to 1994). In 1995, the DPA recognised only the RS as a separate Entity. M. Velikonja, Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia Herzegovina (College Station 2003). 57. Sekulić, Violenza Etnica. 58. The district of Brčko is autonomous since 1999. 59. The Washington Agreement was signed between the Croat Republic of Herzeg-Bosna and the Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina. It divided the territory into ten cantons in order to prevent dominance by one ethnic group over the another, and hence established the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.



60. A. Hromadžić, Citizens of an empty nation. Youth and state-making in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina (Philadelphia 2015); J. Džankić, Citizenship in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro. Effects of statehood and identity challenges (Surrey 2015), 73. 61. A. Stepan, J.J. Linz, and Y. Yadav (eds.), Crafting State-Nations: India and Other Multinational Democracies (Baltimore 2011). 62.  Some youth avoid ethnonational identification as a form of protest against nationalism; some others, and particularly those coming from mixed-marriages, don’t feel to belong to any of the three ethnonational groups, hence avoid ethnonational identification declaring themselves as ‘Bosnian/Bosnian Herzegovinians’. 63. Sekulić, Violenza Etnica. 64. Wimmer, Waves of War, 13. 65. Marko, ‘Bosnia and Herzegovina’, 12. 66. See: D. Sekulić, G. Massey, and R. Hodson, ‘Who Were the Yugoslavs? Failed Sources of a Common Identity in the Former Yugoslavia’, American Sociological Review 59:1 (1994), 83–97; R. Hodson, D. Sekulić, and G. Massey, ‘National Tolerance in the Former Yugoslavia’, American Journal of Sociology 99:6 (1994), 1534–1558. 67. L. Diamond, ‘Is the Third Wave of Democratization Over? The Imperative of Consolidation’, Working Paper #237 (1997), 3.



Concluding Remarks Joost Augusteijn, Constant Hijzen and Mark Leon de Vries

The main idea in bringing together the essays in this collection was to explore a new avenue in democracy studies. The primary hypothesis was that democracies are continually defined and redefined, particularly in the context of contentious politics. Research on historical conceptions of democracy should therefore shift its attention to the relationship between democracies and their domestic contenders—democracies and their adversaries. In such struggles between (nominal) democracies and their adversaries, perceptions of what does and what does not constitute a democracy necessarily come to the surface and implicit assumptions about what ‘democracy’ entails are questioned and reconsidered.

J. Augusteijn (*)  Institute for History, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands e-mail: [email protected] C. Hijzen    Institute for History and Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands e-mail: [email protected] M. L. de Vries  Independent Researcher, Amsterdam, The Netherlands © The Author(s) 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4_12



As this volume shows, definitions of democracy are always intertwined with discussions about a perceived adversary. Defenders and adversaries do not hold immutable positions, but develop an evolving rhetoric and conceptualisation of what democracy is—and what it should be—in response to one another. The essays illustrate that there is not, nor has there ever been, a consensus on the conceptualisation or the institutional practice of democracy—neither among nominally democratic states nor among their adversaries. These conceptualisations and practices, instead, have regularly—and often violently—been contested across a broad range of periods and places. Not only emerging and evidently fragile democratic states—such as the Weimar Republic in the 1930s or BosniaHerzegovina at the turn of the twenty-first century—but also seemingly established and resilient democracies—such as the United States in the mid-nineteenth century or Germany in the 1990s—periodically face internal challenges to the often unwritten and implicit boundaries of their democratic principles and institutions. These challenges can come from ethnic minorities, who feel a majoritarian system legitimises and even encourages their marginalisation, but also from ideologically inspired groups, who either oppose the very concept of equal representation on principle or feel that the current institutions do not adequately embody the democratic ideals they claim to represent. What all these challengers share is a willingness to either resort to, or at least theoretically justify or promote, political actions that go beyond the sanctioned legal order of the state. A certain historic development can be discerned from the various case-studies discussed in this volume. In the first phase of expanding democratic participation in Europe and the United States—the widening of suffrage eventually leading to the introduction of universal suffrage—there was no agreement on the concept of democracy or legitimate action. Different groups each perceived one another as ‘adversaries’ of the democratic state they envisioned and strove to protect. Lacking a consensus on the conceptual, institutional, and procedural definitions of democracy, various groups within the democratic state saw themselves as the true defenders of democracy, arguing that their opponents were anti-democratic and therefore adversaries of democracy. Strikingly, for contenders as well as for defenders of democracy, the use of physical force was an accepted form of democratic expression, as the chapters on 1920s and 1930s Europe demonstrate. The rise to power of anti-democratic forces in the Soviet-Union, Italy and particular Germany



inspired a fundamental discussion about the way democracies could and should deal with such anti-democratic forces. This discussion resulted in a new ‘synthesis’: following World War Two, a consensus emerged that the use of force in a democracy should be a monopoly of the state and that a democratic state should be allowed to withhold democratic rights from anti-democrats. The seed for this development is found in the chapter on the discussions in the Dutch social democratic movement in the 1930s. As the Cold War structured the self-image of Western democracies, the situation seemed relatively clear-cut. Violence was no longer perceived as an acceptable form of democratic expression. In addition, the consensus in many Western democracies was that in order to safeguard themselves from attacks by ‘extremists’, ‘fifth columns’, or other anti-democrats, democracies had the right to, essentially by force, exclude such contenders from the system. Adversaries of democracy had no right to participate in the democratic process and as such they could be denied certain constitutional rights. This position became more difficult to maintain when in the 1960s a fundamental critique emerged of the level of democratic rights the system gave to its citizens. Ethnic minorities and left-wing ideologues started to challenge the democratic state from an ideological point of view, some of them becoming embroiled in violent conflict. This sparked a debate on what a true democracy was and what means were legitimate in the struggle to attain it. The challenges by the IRA and the RAF discussed here showed the central role of the populace in determining the outcome of these discussions. This showed up more subtly in the conflict in Germany over nuclear transports in the 1990s, where contenders argued that government policy did not reflect the will of the people, and protest and civil disobedience, including violence against material property, were therefore deemed acceptable. The ‘defenders of democracy’, the established political and ideological elites within the existing democratic state, had difficulties adapting to this new situation. Whereas in the early Cold War, ‘adversaries’ clearly identified themselves as members of communist organisations and readers of communist periodicals, the ‘adversaries of democracy’ in the latter part of the Cold War were youths, students, minorities, and activists of various kinds. They sometimes employed violent methods, thus placing themselves outside the democratic order, but just as often worked perfectly within the boundaries of the democratic, legal state. The Dutch security


service—as an extension of the state—found it rather difficult to clearly distinguish between legitimate democratic opposition and anti-democratic groups and individuals. Holding on to their traditional anti-communist outlook, they adhered strictly to an ideological criterion: adversaries of democracy were those people who had the intention to replace the democratic system by something else, in other words those who adhered to anti-democratic ideologies (i.e. communism). Dutch politicians were more pragmatic and tended to see a broader range of disrupting forms of activism—whether it stemmed from squatters, anti-nuclear activists, or peace movement demonstrators—as anti-democratic, unfamiliar as they were with the new mix of system critique and forms of protest. That the growing activist role of citizens in the democratic process was not always successfully incorporated in the democratic system, is best illustrated by the rise of social movements in Turkey. The Islamic movement eventually gained power after a long period of marginalisation by the secular elite. However, following an initial period of democratisation and openness, they in turn created an exclusivist system which left almost no room for dissenting forces. This seems to have heralded a new phase of democratic functioning, in which the blurring of lines between democrats and anti-democrats has become the defining characteristic. Not just oppositional groups became less easily defined as democrats or anti-democrats, but also those in power. Not only in what are increasingly becoming to be seen as authoritarian democracies, but also in new fragile democracies such as in Bosnia Herzegovina and Moldova, where ethnic local and national elites use the democratic system to advance their own interests. The losers in this wider process are often those who are meant to be represented by democracy. This is clear for those who live in these fragile democracies, but also applies to groups in well-established states like the United Kingdom, where Loyalists in Ulster perceive themselves as victims of a democratising process that has emancipated their political competitors. The notion that there are also ‘losers’—or at least those who perceive themselves as such—in a democratising process is also evidenced by the fierce response by much of the white population in the southern United States to the outcome of the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement and more recently to the election of Barrack Obama. Although the contributions to this volume cover a wide range of chronological and geographical case studies, they share a number of thematic elements that point towards a more nuanced conceptual framework for understanding when democratisation (and de-democratisation) occurs.



The first element is that the definitions of democrats and anti-democrats are not as straightforward as they often seem. They become particularly problematic when those who come to power through democratic means, can themselves be regarded as anti-democratic by broadly shared norms of either their own national tradition or the broader international community. As the lines between democrats and their adversaries blur, measures taken to defend democracy become almost entirely dependent on the way those in charge define democracy and its adversaries. Underlying these differing notions, is the question whether democracy is a set of practical guidelines or a principle. It is clear that communists see liberal democracy as a bourgeois form of democracy, but their idea is still that it should be replaced by a better more inclusive, proletarian, form of democracy. Things become more complicated when those defending liberal democracy argue among themselves about what democracy stands for, both as a concept and as a set of institutional arrangements or legitimate action. For example, in the 1930s, conservative forces adopted the notion of disciplined democracy as they came to see authority and stability as the main objective of the democratic process. This notion resulted in excessive attention for the perceived threat of left-wing opposition who threatened their entrenched economic interests, instead of to the more direct threat of right-wingers who supported law and order and existing hierarchies, albeit at the expense of political freedoms. This occurred again in the 1980s, when the Dutch security service allocated most resources to following the, by then largely irrelevant, Dutch communist organisations. This utilitarian approach to democracy as a way to maintain stability and entrenched inequalities, has become prevalent again in the twenty-first century in many countries, including Turkey, Russia, Hungary, and Poland. Such an emphasis also recently led to the mistaken approach taken by the German police in reaction to the killing of migrants by an extreme right-wing group, in the so-called ‘Doner Morde’. In such a system, democratic legitimisation becomes entirely focused on the outcome of elections, no matter how much they were manipulated in favour of the party in power. The concept of the will of the people provides a democratic veneer for anti-democratic action and in some cases even for autocratic rule. Against this dominance of pure majoritarianism, in which democracy is seen as a tool and any undesirable idea may be labelled as anti-democratic, stands the progressive conception of a


moral democracy, in which democracy is a set of principles to be adhered to. This dichotomy connects directly to what Margaret Canovan has termed democracy’s ‘inescapable ambiguity’, caught between the ‘redemptive’ (idealistic) side and the ‘pragmatic’ (practical) side of politics.1 It is clear that those holding real power, whether as a formal government or as an economic, social, or military elite, can to a large extent determine the definitions of what is democratic and what is not. A key element in contesting this notion, is the definition of ‘the people’ who are to make up the political community—the ‘demos’ underlying the ‘democratia’. This is particularly important when the electorate is divided by sharp ethnic distinctions, and often manifests itself in relation to separatist regions where a local majority can express a wish to be independent, but also played a significant role in the post-civil war United States, where ‘the people’ became defined along racial lines. In a more contemporary setting, the discussion may revolve around the extent to which those elected to office can represent the will of the people in response to changing circumstances, as in 1990s Germany in relation to nuclear transports, or in the context of an increasingly exclusivist definition of the nation in authoritarian democracies. Defining the constituency is thus a key element in setting the boundaries of both the body politic, as well as the scope of what may be considered legitimate political action. It is here that these essays show their collective strength: shifting the focus from ‘democrats’ debating among themselves what democracy entails, to the democracy–adversary relationship, illuminates that definitions of democracy (the demos, the system) result from interactions between different groups that all employ a rhetoric based on some notion of democracy in order to discredit or fence off other groups. It also shows that the outcome of this conflict influences how democracy is then conceptualised and institutionalised. The second element that connects the contributions to this volume, are debates about the extent to which forms of protest in general and the use of physical force in particular can be seen as forms of democratic expression. The essays illustrate that the use of force has long been an established part of democratic expression by all parties involved. In the wake of the American Civil War, southern white conservatives used rhetoric of local self-rule and good-government, to justify widespread political terror against the recently emancipated black population and their white allies, as an unfortunate but necessary response in the tradition of the American Revolution. Later, in Europe, events in the Weimar



Republic, in particular, inspired a discussion about which forms of protest were legitimate. The question whether violence or other undemocratic means could be used in defence of democracy had become extremely pressing in the context of increasingly bloody street violence between political groups of all hues. Eventually most political parties— Dutch social democrats being one of the first in the late 1930s—reached a consensus that violence should really be a monopoly of the state. Some conservatives, as a result, even came to consider every form of protest outside elections as essentially undemocratic. A similar logic has led some governments to see social movements and other forms of opposition outside elections as a security threat, instead of as a form of improving upon or strengthening a functioning democracy, the Dutch government vis-à-vis ‘the movement’ in the 1980s being a case in point, as is the Turkish state throughout. The debate about acceptable means of protest has however never ended. In the 1990s, some politicians in Germany supported the use of force against objects as a legitimate expression of protest and discussed whether the state’s monopoly on the use of violence only applied to violence against people. In the current climate inspired by the threat of terrorist attacks, such a tolerant approach to the use of force by citizens has again faded, increasing the scope of action for governments to use undemocratic means to curb what they define as anti-democratic forces. The historic cases presented here offer a qualified warning for the future. The events in Weimar, in particular, illustrate that antidemocratic forces, if left unchecked, may overwhelm the institutions of a democratic state. Democratically minded individuals and groups are left with almost insoluble dilemmas in such cases, having to choose between submitting to overtly anti-democratic forces or resorting to undemocratic means themselves in order to stop them. Inspired by events in the interbellum, prohibiting anti-democratic parties became a common feature in many countries in the post-Second World War period, most notably in Germany, but also elsewhere: including Belgium, the Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Latvia, and Spain. However, other democracies have shown that democratic states can overcome significant internal challenges, by either accommodating or delegitimising their opponents. Few would now remember Germany in the 1990s as a state on the brink of collapse, however much political dust the nuclear transports may have raised at the time. Most cases in which democracies were faced with adversaries fall somewhere in between. Challenges resulted in significant disruption


and potentially undemocratic countermeasures by the states in question, but without overwhelming the fundamental institutions in the long run. Britain and Germany were severely rocked by the ethnic and ideological terrorist threats to their legitimacy in the 1970s and 1980s, but succeeded in isolating or incorporating these movements to such a degree that the events are gradually receding from living memory. White supremacists in the South were well-able to fight back federal attempts to provide political and legal equality for the black population after the Civil War, leading to an entrenched system of segregation. But in the 1960s the Civil Rights Movement nevertheless successfully claimed what had been denied them almost a century earlier. It might do well to remember that for all the political furore engendered by the process and results of the 2016 presidential elections, the United States is in many respects far more democratic today than at any time prior to the Second World War. A historical overview such as this, provides no clear-cut answers as how to deal with forces that threaten democratic institutions either rhetorically or through violence, even when democrats can be clearly separated from anti-democrats. What nearly all these cases share, is a sense of the inextricable dilemma, which first became apparent in the 1930s for those who stand for a truly pluralist democracy. On the one hand, they risk giving anti-democrats too much room to manoeuvre and thus an opportunity to eventually overthrow or corrupt the democratic institutions. On the other hand, they risk curtailing fundamental democratic liberties—in the name of protecting that very democracy—to the point where they become meaningless, and force democratic opposition to use undemocratic means. Processes that to an outsider might appear as progress or an expansion of democracy, whether the enfranchisement of the former slaves after the Civil War or the peace process in Northern Ireland, often also involve a loss of power and prestige for other groups. These may experience a genuine—if not legitimate—sense of loss of political power or influence, and thus challenge the process of democratisation in the name of their own democratic rights. Fragile states, with relatively brief histories of democratic participation and weaker democratic institutions, may find themselves torn between a desire for greater political participation and the risk of instability this may engender. The consociational model, although functioning to some extent in Northern Ireland, did clearly not result in a modern functioning democracy in Bosnia, but it is nevertheless an evident improvement



over the years of civil war that preceded it. More resilient democracies such as Britain and Germany in the 1970s faced similar dilemma’s, as they had to calibrate the extent to which they might curtail democratic liberty for the sake of securing their populations from terrorist violence. They seem to have largely solved this by either isolating them, in case of the RAF, or by incorporating them, in case of the IRA, in the political system, while placing their violent means outside the order of political legitimacy—not just in a formal legal sense, but also by increasingly narrowing the circle of social support from which they might have benefitted. Recent developments in many democratic systems do however give cause for concern. The attempts by various democratically elected regimes to eliminate opposition and their institutional safeguards, make clear that it is increasingly difficult to differentiate between democrats and anti-democrats, both in their aims and their means. In the absence of a fixed and agreed definition of democracy, who may be considered ‘democrats’ and what may be considered ‘democratic means’ becomes entirely dependent on one’s point of view, and the distinction between democrats and their adversaries fades into a blurry overlap—as to some extent it always has been. One group’s claim that another group is anti-democratic cannot be understood without taking into account this group’s broader views, traditions, and specific interests. In other words, definitions of democracy and its adversaries are almost always up for debate. We could learn from this that it is crucial to keep on questioning, discussing, and scrutinising the democratic and adversarial claims people make. Once this debate stops, trouble begins.

Note 1. Margaret Canovan, ‘Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy’, Political Studies XLVII (1999), 2–16.


A Adalet Partisi (Justice Party), 168 Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP), 171–175, 177–179, 184, 185 Adler, Max, 52, 66 Albarda, Willem, 59, 60, 80, 86, 87 Albrecht, Susanne, 121 Alliance 90/The Greens, 7, 190, 193–203, 205, 206, 210 Altmann, Elisabeth, 200 Amsterdam, 60, 77, 79, 137, 151 anarchist, 5, 70, 73, 148, 151, 153, 181 Andersonstown, 114 Anneleri, Cumartesi, 176, 177 Anti-Revolutionaire Partij (AntiRevolutionary Party, ARP), 73, 84, 91 Area, the, 218, 219 Ataturk, Mustafa Kemal, 167 Atomstaat (atomic state), 197, 198 Ausserparlementarische Opposition, 8 Austria, 53 authoritarianism, 201, 240, 256

B Baader, Andreas, 116, 118 Baden, 50 Bakker-Nort, Betsy, 86 Barış ve Demokrasi Partisi (Peace and Democracy Party, BDP), 176 Battle of Liberty Place, 28, 36 BBC, 74, 225 Behrendt, Wolfgang, 203 Belfast, 109, 113–115, 213, 215, 216, 218, 219, 221–223, 227, 229, 230 Belgium, 71, 287 Bergh, George van den, 5, 6, 59–61, 68, 78, 98 Berlin, 50, 51, 53 Beumer, Egbert, 73, 74 Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst (Internal Security Service, BVD), 137–141, 145–159 Black Knights, 241, 246 Böll, Heinrich, 124, 136 bonafide politics, 140, 153 Bosnia Herzegovina, 253–255, 257, 262, 264, 267, 269, 275, 276

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019 J. Augusteijn et al. (eds.), Historical Perspectives on Democracies and their Adversaries, Palgrave Studies in Political History, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20123-4


292  Index bourgeois democracy, 81–83, 88 Bradford, Roy, 116 Braun, Otto, 54 Brazil, 3 Brückner, Peter, 124, 127, 136 Brussels, 101, 129 bulldozing, 34 Bulling-Schröter, Eva, 200, 201 Bundestag, 7, 190–198, 200, 202, 204–208 C Canovan, Margaret, 286, 289 Capoccia, Giovanni, 15, 64, 69, 90 Card, Francis, 109 Carstens, Karl, 119 catholic, 13, 45, 50, 73, 75, 76, 79, 81, 83, 84, 93, 100, 108, 113, 213, 218–223, 226, 230, 233, 235 CDU/CSU, 193, 195–197, 199, 201, 204 Centrale Inlichtingendienst (Central Intelligence Agency, CI), 73, 143, 145 Cevik, Ilnur, 173, 187 Che Guevara, 120 CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi/ Republican People Party), 167 citizenship, 4, 20–23, 28, 38, 87, 167, 168, 262, 263, 265, 270 civil rights, 38, 46, 75, 78, 86, 89, 108, 115, 184 civil society, 46–49, 51, 52, 55, 57, 59, 60, 62, 63, 171, 172, 174, 180, 184 civil war, 9, 10, 17, 20–22, 39, 55, 56, 62, 182, 286, 288, 289 Cold War, 4, 12, 99, 144–147, 213, 283 Colijn, Hendrik, 83, 92

Comité van Waakzaamheid (Committee of Vigilance, CvW), 75 communism, 69 communist, 18, 45, 48, 51, 53, 57, 60, 70, 73–78, 80–83, 87, 88, 121, 141, 144–151, 158, 159, 201, 244, 283, 285 Communistische Partij Holland (Communist Party Holland, CPH), 77, 81, 82 consociational, 13, 253, 257, 263, 271, 272, 288 Corduwener, Pepijn, 7, 15 Cork, 114 Corrigan, Aidan, 115 corruption, 22, 24, 27, 30–32, 36, 174 Crelinsten, Ronald, 103, 130, 131 Croats, 255, 262–264, 268, 269, 275, 276 Croissant, Klaus, 120, 135 Czechoslovakia, 71, 144 D Dahl, Robert, 4, 14, 161 Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), 253, 257, 258, 262, 263, 265, 270–272, 275, 276 DeBlanc, Alcibiades, 28, 29 Demokratik Halk Partisi (Democratic People Party, DEHAP), 176 Demokratik Toplum Partisi (Democratic Society Party, DTP), 176 Demokrat Parti (Democratic Party), 62, 168, 171 Der Lange Marsch, 122, 123, 136 Derry, 114, 116, 223 Der Spiegel, 120, 125, 135, 136 De Tribune, 82, 96


Deutsch, Julius, 53 De Zeven Provinciën, 56, 67, 74, 92 disciplined democracy, 46, 50, 62, 72, 82, 84, 88, 89, 285 discursive marginalisation, 220, 221, 228 Dogru Yol Partisi (Right Way Party), 171 Doner Morde, 285 Donker, Leendert, 81 Drenkmann, Günther von, 117, 119, 122–125 Dublin, 109, 110, 113–115, 234 Dutch East Indies, 74 Dutschke, Rudi, 123–125, 127, 130, 136 E Eenheid door Democratie (Unity through Democracy, EdD), 74–76, 84–87, 92, 97, 98 Egypt, 63 Ekeli, Kristian Skagen, 6, 14 enemy image, 12, 100, 141–152, 154–159, 243 Ensslin, Gudrun, 116, 135 Erbakan, Necmettin, 171 Erdogan, Recep Tayyip, 170, 173, 182 ethnic entrepreneurs, 256, 267, 270, 272 ethnocratic, 253 ethnonationalism, 256, 260, 274 European Union, 3, 180, 184 extremism, 6, 9, 70–77, 82–85, 87–90, 118, 121, 148, 257 F fascism, 46, 55–59, 63, 69, 73, 90, 99, 119, 169, 201 fascist, 5, 8, 11, 18, 48, 54, 56–58, 64, 70, 73, 77


FDP, 193, 195–197, 199, 200, 204 Fianna Fáil, 115, 116 Fifteenth Amendment, 21, 24 Finland, 71 Finn, John, 5, 14 Fischer, Joschka, 202, 203, 205 Fourteenth Amendment, 21, 24 G Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), 113, 114 Gestapo, 50 Gezi Park, 167, 174, 181, 182, 185 Gleisner, Martin, 61 Gogarty, Frank, 115 Gokalp, Ziya, 173 Good Friday Agreement (1998), 109, 215, 222, 226, 231 Gorleben, 190, 191, 193–195, 198–200, 203, 206, 207 Goseling, Carel, 78, 84, 97 Great Britain, 73, 90, 141, 228 Great Depression, 74 Greaves, Desmond, 115 Green Party. See Alliance 90/The Greens Griefahn, Monika, 194 Grzesinski, Albert, 50 Guardian, 77, 112, 113, 132, 133 Gülalp, Haldun, 171, 186 Gülen, Fethullah, 174 Gülen movement, 174, 175, 185 Gundremmingen, 200 H Haag, Siegfried, 119 Halkların Demokratik Partisi (The Democratic Party of The People, HDP), 176–179 Halkın Demokrasi Partisi (People’s Democracy Party, HADEP), 176

294  Index Halkın Emek Partisi (People’s Labour Party, HEP), 176 Halle, 51 Hamburg, 53, 91, 121, 130, 134, 161, 208 Heath, Edward, 110 Heemskerk, Theo, 79, 83 Herzieningscommissie, 58, 59 Hesse, 50 Het Centrum, 79, 94 Het Vaderland, 73 Het Volk, 67, 68, 86, 94 Hindenburg, Paul von, 55 Hirche, Walter, 201, 210 Hitler, Adolf, 5, 55, 61, 62, 74 Holger Meins, 117, 122 Hume, John, 116 Hungary, 3, 285 Hürriyet, 173 Hustedt, Michaele, 195, 197, 209, 210 I Info-BUG, 122 Ireland (Republic of), 108–110, 127 Irish Press, 112, 132, 133 Irish Republican Army (IRA), 100 Isolationsfolter (isolation torture), 117 Italy, 7, 15, 57, 103, 130, 151, 282 ITGWU (Irish Transport and General Workers Union), 115 J jihadists, 102 Jitta, Abraham Carel Josephus, 86 Jordaanoproer, 60, 77 Jungk, Robert, 198, 205 K Kanther, Manfred, 203, 204, 211 Kavakçı, Merve, 173

Keane, John, 6, 14 Kelsen, Hans, 5 Kenyatta, Jomo, 115 The Kerryman, 112 Khrushchev, Nikita, 145, 146 Knights of the White Camelia, 24, 28 Kohl, Helmut, 190, 199 Kommunistenbund Westdeutschland (Communist Federation of West Germany, KBW), 122 Ku Klux Klan, 220 L Latvia, 6, 287 Leeds, 102 legitimacy, 7, 9–11, 22, 23, 25–29, 31, 33–36, 51, 63, 70, 100, 102, 104, 108, 110, 114, 124, 126–129, 154, 173, 174, 176, 185, 191, 192, 194–196, 199, 200, 202, 204, 206, 214, 217, 239, 242, 243, 246, 248, 249, 258, 261, 271, 274, 288, 289 Liberale Staatspartij – De Vrijheidsbond (Liberal State Party—The Freedom Union, LSVB), 85, 96 liberals, 45, 50, 72, 73, 75, 76, 79, 81, 84, 119, 124, 190, 200, 201, 204–206 Loewenstein, Karl, 5–7, 14, 15, 84, 90, 91, 97, 98, 118 London, 14, 15, 41, 64, 65, 74, 91, 93, 95, 102, 113, 130, 131, 161, 223, 227, 233, 234, 249, 273–276 Louisiana, 23, 24, 27–30, 34, 36, 37 Lower Saxony, 190, 194 loyalism, 217, 220, 224, 225, 228, 232 Loyalists, 13, 108, 215–221, 223– 232, 235, 284 Lynch, Jack, 110, 113, 116


M MacStiofáin, Sean, 109–111, 114–116 Mahler, Horst, 116 majoritarianism, 285 Malthaner, Stefan, 104, 105, 130 Man, Hendrik de, 52 Marchant, Henri, 80 marxist, 56, 59, 123 Marx, Karl, 81 McEnery, John, 25, 27–29 McKee, William, 109 McQuaid, John Charles, 114 Meinhof, Ulrike, 116, 117, 124, 135 Merkel, Angela, 194–196, 205, 207 militant democracy, 5, 14, 118 Milli Nizam Partisi (National Order Party), 170 Milli Selamet Partisi (National Salvation Party), 170 Moldova, 13, 214, 237–239, 243– 247, 249–251, 284 Molenbeek, 101 moral democracy, 61, 72, 82, 84–89, 286 Movement, the, 11, 12, 29, 49, 55, 110, 116, 140, 142, 143, 152– 159, 166, 169, 171, 175, 180, 184, 191, 193, 247, 248, 287 multi-ethnic, 213, 254, 257, 259, 260, 262, 264 multiparty elections, 256, 257 N Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging (National Socialist Movement, NSB), 56, 57, 61, 74, 75, 78, 86 National Concept of the State, 243 National Graves Association, 113 National Socialists (Nazi), 5, 45, 54, 55, 57, 61, 70, 72, 74, 77, 87, 201 Neckarwesheim, 203, 207


Netherlands, 11, 46, 47, 49, 56, 57, 60, 61, 64, 70–72, 74, 75, 77, 93–95, 97, 120, 143, 144, 147, 149, 287 Northern Ireland, 11, 13, 100, 108–111, 113–115, 117, 126, 127, 213, 215–217, 220, 223, 225, 227–229, 231–233, 288 Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, 115 O Obama, Barrack, 284 Öcalan, Abdullah, 176, 178 O Connaill, Daithi, 110 Onkruit, 138, 139, 150–152 Oorschot, Johan van, 74 P Panzerkreuzer Potemkin, 76 Paris, 17, 101, 135 parish, 25, 26, 28–36, 42 parliamentarism, 189–193, 207, 208 Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê (Kurdistan Worker’s Party, PKK), 175–180 Passmore, Leith, 117, 134 PDS, 200–202 Pitt Kellogg, William, 24, 25 Plan van de Arbeid, 61 Pockets of autocracy, 238, 241, 242, 247 Poland, 3, 285 polemology, 142 Porta, Donatella Della, 103 Pot, Combertus van der, 81 Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), 230, 231, 233, 235 proletarian democracy, 82, 83, 88

296  Index protestants, 13, 72, 73, 75, 76, 79, 81, 83, 84, 108, 213, 215, 218– 221, 223, 226, 227, 230–235 Prussia, 50, 55, 62 R Radical Reconstruction, 37, 41 Reconstruction, 20–24, 26, 37–40 Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion aka Baader Meinhof Group, RAF), 102, 107, 201 Redemption, 24 Red River Valley, 23, 39 Red Scare, 72, 73 Reemtsma, Jan Phillip, 104, 130 Refah Partisi (Welfare Party), 170, 171 Reichsbanner (Schwarz Rot Gold), 51–53, 55, 57, 65 repertoire, 7, 8, 10, 23, 46–49, 52, 54–56, 58–62, 158, 159, 176, 181, 182, 196, 200, 271 Republikanischer Schutzbund, 53 Richardson, Louise, 103, 129, 130 Rijpkema, Bastiaan, 6, 15 Rood Verzetsfront (Red Resistance Front, RVF), 150–153 Rooms-Katholieke Staatspartij (Roman Catholic State Party, RKSP), 78, 83 Roth, Wolfgang, 195 RTE, 111 RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), 114 Ruhr, 53 Russia, 3, 63, 73, 143, 144, 237, 238, 241, 242, 246–248, 285 Ryan, Dermot, 114 S Saadet Partisi (SP) (Felicity Party), 171 Sächsisches Volksblatt, 53, 66

Sarajevo, 253, 255, 266–271, 273 Sartre, Jean-Paul, 120, 126, 135 Saxony, 50 Schaik, Josef van, 83 Schily, Otto, 125 Schlauch, Rezzo, 201, 210 Schmierer, Joscha, 122, 135 Schönberger, Ursula, 198, 202, 205, 210, 211 Schröder, Gerhard, 194, 195, 209 SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland), 116 Serbs, 220, 255, 262–264, 268, 269, 275, 276 Severing, Carl, 50, 51, 54, 55, 65, 66 Seydewitz, Max, 54, 66 Sheridan, Phillip H., 36, 37 Sherwin, Sean, 116 Sichtermann, Barbara, 124, 136 Sluijser, Meijer, 57, 61 Sociaal-Democratische Arbeiderspartij (Social Democratic Workers’ Party, SDAP), 56, 73, 98 social democrats, 45, 46, 48–51, 53, 55–58, 61–64, 70, 73, 74, 76–78, 80, 81, 83, 86–89, 194, 196, 205, 206, 287 socialist, 5, 8, 17, 18, 49, 51–53, 55, 57, 60, 61, 70, 72–74, 76, 77, 87, 113, 133, 144, 148, 167, 168, 177–179 Socialist Workers Movement, 113 social movements, 12, 63, 103, 105, 151, 157, 165, 166, 168, 169, 181, 183–185, 190, 191, 284, 287 societal surround, 101, 104, 105, 125 Solid south, 37 Soviet Union, 3, 74, 144, 146, 151, 237 Spain, 90, 151, 287 SPD, 50–52, 54, 55, 61, 62, 194, 197, 199, 203


Spontis, 122–124 Stahlhelm, 51, 55 Stalin, Joseph, 74, 144, 145 Stern, 120 Stetten, Wolfgang Freiherr von, 201 Streitbare Demokratie, 5 Ströbele, Hans-Christian, 121, 135 suffrage, 10, 17, 20, 21, 39, 49, 71, 76, 79, 184, 190, 282 Supreme Soviet, 241, 246, 248 Syria, 63, 178 T Tank, Pinar, 171, 186, 187 Tarrow, Sidney, 169, 186 terrorist, 6, 13, 23, 24, 29, 47, 60, 63, 101–108, 116–118, 124–126, 128, 129, 175, 179, 185, 229, 287–289 terrorist constituency, 105, 107–109, 111, 112, 126–129 Tilly, Charles, 4, 14, 131, 186 Transnistria, 9, 13, 214, 237–239, 241, 243–249 Troelstra, Pieter Jelles, 73, 79, 80 Turkey, 3, 12, 63, 100, 166–185, 187, 188, 284, 285 Türkiye İşçi Partisi (Turkish Worker Party), 168 Twitchell, Marshall Harvey, 34 U Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), 231, 235 Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), 215, 216, 222, 224, 228, 230–233 Umfeld, 102 Unionism, 223 Unionists, 113, 115, 217 United States, 9, 10, 19, 23, 38, 141, 282, 284, 286


V Verwey-Jonker, Hilda, 58, 61, 68 Vogel, Hans-Jochen, 119 Vollmer, Antje, 196 Von Papen, Franz, 55 Voronin, Vladimir, 243, 244 Vorrink, Koos, 59, 61, 62 Vrijzinnig-Democratische Bond (Liberal Democratic Union, VDB), 73 W Waldmann, Peter, 103–105, 130 Warmoth, Henry Clay, 34, 41 Weber, Max, 196, 204, 209 Weimar Republic, 5, 47, 48, 50–52, 72, 77, 87, 192, 201, 282, 286 Wels, Otto, 54 Wendland, 194, 195 Westerwelle, Guido, 200, 201, 205 White League, 25–30, 33–36, 40 White supremacy, 10, 23, 27 Wiardi Beckman, Herman Bernard, 57 Wijk, Jacob van der, 57 Wijnkoop, David, 81 Wilde, Jacob de, 77 Wilkinson, Paul, 6, 14 Y Young Citizens Volunteers (YCV), 222 Yugoslavia, 256, 257 Z Zörgiebel, Karl, 50, 51 Zwertbroek, Gerrit Jan, 58, 59