chapter  8
15 Pages

Turning to terror: The conditions under which political parties turn to terrorist activities: Leonard Weinberg

ByLEONARD WEINBERG

At fi rst view political parties and terrorist groups would seem to have little in common with one another.1 For a long time parties have been celebrated, if not always by voters then certainly among political scientists, as indispensable components of a democratic political order, as institutions that afford the means by which economic and social differences in society may be resolved peacefully. Terrorist groups, by contrast, are regarded as organizations whose use of violence is intended to circumvent or destroy the democratic political process. At times leaders of terrorist groups even exhibit some sensitivity for the higher regard in which political parties are held. Thus, spokesmen for the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) movement in Peru deny that Shining Path is the correct name of their organization. The bourgeois press may call it Shining Path, but its spokesmen prefer their organization to be known as the Communist Party of Peru.2