chapter  5
18 Pages

Contemporary Spanish anti- terrorist policies: ancient myths, new approaches


Introduction This chapter aims to study three core issues: which players are entitled to operate in the end of terrorism, what the end of terrorism means, and with what kind of anti-terrorist policies can the end of terrorism be reached. These three issues will be analysed, keeping in mind the Spanish experience in the fight against ETA’s terrorism.2 Regarding the players entitled to operate in the end of terrorism we will argue if the State is the only player that should take part in the fight against terrorism or, as the Spanish experience shows, if civilian society and victims are also entitled to play an active social role against this crime. Vis-à-vis the meaning of the end of terrorism, some key points of ETA and Basque nationalist rhetoric will be examined. According to this narrative, the end of terrorism is presented as a status of ‘peace’ that would be automatically achieved when the players involved in the ‘conflict’ stop carrying out violence. We will contrast this view, highlighting that the end of terrorism cannot be considered as only a mere absence of violence. In the conclusion, taking into consideration the Spanish context, we will propose some guidelines to follow for the drafting of anti-terrorist policies, whose objective is an ideal end of terrorism where respect for the rights to truth, memory and justice is guaranteed. To outline these guidelines, we will put forward a theoretical assumption: there are two ‘false myths’ regarding the players entitled to fight against terrorism, and what the end of terrorism means. Refuting these two ‘false myths’ will allow drafting anti-terrorist policies that, to the most possible extent, strive for the attainment of an ideal end of terrorism. To achieve this, we will adopt the type method which is a cognitive procedure that will allow us to build conceptual archetypes from which to deliberate and explain the three above-mentioned issues regarding the end of terrorism. The type method is an instrument that can ‘render the study fruitful’ as it will help us to design a methodology to use in our area of research (Jellinek 1981: 20-30). The type method uses the construction of type-concepts as a base to formulate generalisations. As shown by Del Real (2007: 309-318), typological generalisations

offer a more extensive level of conceptual analysis of the mental representation of reality compared to other methods such as that of universal generalisations (Natural Law) which build upon universal generic concepts, causal generalisation methods which use law concepts (Natural science) or historical individualisation methods which use individual historical concepts (Historical science). Given that the application of type-methods allows for a greater level of abstraction and generality, the use of this method to refute ‘false myths’ means that some of their historical characteristics will be disregarded (Jellinek 1981: 20-30). Jellinek, the first theoretician of this method, speculated that empirical types are the mechanism with which we classify and understand most of our social life. According to this method, thinking in types induces the creation of fundamental concepts which group together in a dual mode like dichotomies of opposite types. Among the dichotomous types created – usually bipolar – the researcher will solve the tension between the two parts of the conceptual pair. These are doctrinally the opposite of each other so choosing one implies rejecting the validity of the one not chosen. According to Weber, ideal types are abstract constructions of concepts by which reality is measured and compared for it to be studied in depth. The comparison between ideal type-concepts which are pure and ideal and empirical type-concepts aims to show the clear and evident conceptual distance between them. Thus, according to Weber, given that a pure ideal type is far from reality, it contributes to its understanding by classifying historical phenomena via the indication of proximity of them to a number of said theoretical concepts (Weber 1964). In order to be able to draft the guidelines for anti-terrorist policies that aim to attain an end of terrorism that would guarantee respect for the rights of truth, memory and justice, this study first classifies two false myths believed to exist in Western democracies, above all in Spain. Secondly, two ideal principles (ideal type-concepts) are compared with these two false myths (empirical typeconcepts) which allow the latter to be refuted. According to Weber’s method, these ideal principles would form the guidelines for the anti-terrorist policies which would aim to achieve an ideal end of terrorism. Firstly, we theorise the ‘myth of the exclusivity of the State’ which is based on the belief that the only players who should take part in the fight against terrorism are the State and all the institutions that constitute it. Consequently, according to this belief, civilian society and victims are not entitled to play an active role against terrorism. This study counters this false myth with ‘the ideal principle of the socialisation of the fight against terrorism’, which considers society and victims to be important players in the fight against terrorism. The second false myth we address in this study is ‘the myth of peace as the end of violence’, based on the belief that the solution to terrorism corresponds to the mere end of the violence perpetrated by the terrorist group/s involved. Peace, according to this belief, would be a status that would be automatically attained, in the context of the conflict, when the terrorists stop carrying out fatal attacks. This vision is therefore very similar to that which emerges from the terrorists’

narrative and does not take into consideration that to achieve an end to terrorism, along with a cessation of violence, it is necessary to respect individual and collective rights (Alonso 2009). This false myth is countered with ‘the ideal principle for peace as a synonym for justice’. In the conclusion, and bringing together the ideal principles created, we will attempt to identify the fundamental points of the anti-terrorist policies that could, in practice, and to all extents possible, attain an ideal end of terrorism.