The World's First Terrorists


It was us!!!

I have always been sickened by the fact that anarchists have this history of fierce martial struggle, but are today represented by the kind of riff-raff that constitutes the mainstream “anarchist movement.”

A few years ago I did an academic paper tracing the history of modern terrorism to the classical anarchist concept of “propaganda by the deed” and explained how 20th century terrorism evolved into Fourth Generation Warfare. I created a page for it, in case anyone is interested in reading a long, dry academic treatise:


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5 replies »

  1. Do you find it odd that the only people who are today carrying on the anarchist tradition of armed resistance are the militia movement and other “right-wing extremists”-the kind of people most contemporary “anarchists” would merely dismiss without even considering?

  2. When I first encountered the militia movement fifteen years ago, I was like “Wow! This is just like the 19th century anarchists!”

    What passes for “anarchism” today is just another arm of bourgeoisie liberalism. There are exceptions like national-anarchism, some of the more radical eco-anarchists, some of the more hardline anarcho-libertarians who sympathize with the militia movement, and those squatter-types and communalists who take their ideas seriously. But most of “anarchism” is just a youth culture revolving around fashion, music, “alternative lifestyles” that aren’t really all that alternative, and political “issues” you can get out of high school sociology textbook like racism, sexism, AIDS in Africa, and global warming. Duh?

  3. I know this may sound completely off-topic, but lately I’ve been delving into the work of Michel Foucault. Do you think he has anything to offer anarchism?

  4. Yes, I think there’s much of value in Foucault’s work despite his popularity with the PC crowd. Particulary interesting is his critique of the use of prisons, asylums and medicine as instruments of social and political control. His work on this overlaps well with Thomas Szasz’s critique of the therapeutic state and “ceremonial chemistry.” Foucault’s work as a sexologist is also quite good from a purely scholarly perspective. Also, he had an interesting take on the Iranian Revolution which would no doubt differ substantially from Leftist orthodoxy. This old article from LRC from Dan McCarthy discusses this a little further:


  5. In his short book “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How we got to be so hated”, Gore Vidal describes how he became a correspondent of the imprisoned Timothy McVeigh, the ultimate icon of the 90’s patriot-as-terrorist, who would leave off his letters with a quote from H.L. Mencken: “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

    However, he expresses a different view on who the first “terrorists” were, and who they are now.

    “It is nicely apt that the word ‘terrorist’ should have been coined (according to the OED) by during the French Revolution to describe ‘an adherent or supporter of the Jacobins, who advocated and practiced methods of partisan repression and bloodshed in the propagation of the principles of democracy and equality.’ Although our rulers have revived the word to describe violent enemies of the United States, most of today’s actual terrorists can be found within our own governments, federal, state, municipal. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (known as ATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, IRS, etc., are so many Jacobins at war against the lives, freedom, and property of our citizens. The FBI slaughter of the innocents at Waco was a model Jacobin enterprise.”

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