4: Three waves of right-wing terrorism
Roughly speaking, we can talk about three waves of right-wing extremism in Norway after 1970:
- A neo-Nazi wave, which included groups such as the Norwegian Front and the previously mentioned National People’s Party, and later among others Boot Boys and Vigrid. This wave can be linked to the bombing of the May 1 train in 1979, to the mosque bombing in 1985 and to several murder cases, among them the murder of 15-year-old Benjamin Hermansen in January 2001. The neo-Nazi milieus still exist, but are today weak and very fragmented.
- A wave around the People’s Movement Against Immigration, which is not neo-Nazi and which to some extent actually consisted of former resistance fighters. The FMI wave can perhaps best be described as everyday racism taken to the extreme. This wave can be linked to arson attacks on asylum reception centers in the 1980s and 1990s. FMI leader Arne Myrdal was also sentenced to prison after planning to blow up an asylum reception center, an asylum reception center which at the time was still under construction and which was uninhabited. FMI still exists, but is today a very small environment dominated by pensioners.
- Anders Behring Breivik – who has confessed and is charged with the terrorist attacks in Oslo and on Utøya – belongs to a third wave. He does not really represent a special Norwegian phenomenon. Rather, he can be seen as part of an international movement that is strongly anti-Islamic and that also advocates conspiracy theories. In these, central politicians, academics, journalists, etc. in Norway and other western countries are accused of being in cahoots with Arab forces in a coalition to “Arabize” or “Islamize” Europe (Eurabi theory).
Here it is important to keep your tongue straight in your mouth: this environment is not simply “critical of Islam”, and must not be confused with politicians who are critical of Islam or immigration.
5: Fjordman – central in the third wave
One of the central ideologues in this movement is the Norwegian Peder Jensen – known as the blogger Fjordman. Although Fjordman’s ideology in some areas seems to differ from Anders Behring Breivik’s thinking, Breivik strongly emphasizes him, and in Breivik’s so – called manifesto – a cut-and-paste document of 1500 pages – as many as 39 of Fjordman’s long essays are included in in its entirety.
It may be interesting to look at Fjordman in the light of a common definition of fascism (Roger Griffins): “Fascism” is a revolutionary form of nationalism that has a political, social and ethical revolution as its goal, and wants to shape “the people” a dynamic, national unity among new elites with heroic values. The core myth of this project is that it is only a populist, cross-class movement for cleansing, purifying national rebirth that can stop the wave of decadence. ”
Fjordman is undoubtedly strongly nationalist and calls for a “revolt from the natives”. In his work, he describes the political revolution he considers necessary to ensure a national rebirth. He writes of the need for “a new renaissance, in which European civilization can flourish again.” He also writes that “we must make sure that those who have spread the toxic ideas of multiculturalism and mass immigration of foreign tribes (!) Disappear along with the ideas”.
He also speaks of decadence as a fundamental cause of the European downfall that is so central to his ideology, although the main focus is on Marxism – a fairly broad category in his world, and not exactly a new idea among fascists. Like Breivik, according to Lawfaqs, Fjordman also uses the term «cultural Marxists».
But it does not stop there. Fjordman is also calling for massive social changes, not least to ensure that (white) women have more children. He believes that Western women have been waging war against men for decades, and he is concerned with masculinity as a necessity to “defend the tribe.” In Fjordman’s book “Defeating Eurabia” (Fighting Eurabia), he expresses his willingness to “suspend” (set aside) parliamentary democracy, and he is very concerned about what he considers to be a perpetual European war against Islam.
6: Some core issues
All these ideas are also repeated – in one way or another – by Breivik. And then we are at a core question in terrorism research in general: What is the relationship between attitudes and actions? Do internet writers have a legal responsibility for actions taken by others with inspiration in their texts? Do they have a moral responsibility anyway ? In many ways, Fjordman and other writers in the so-called “counter-jihadist” movement have built up the intellectual platform of this terrorism .
It is also interesting to note two similarities between jihadists and counter- jihadist thinking. As the examples above illustrate, Fjordman and Breivik’s ideology is not only anti-Islamic, it is also anti-Western. For example, they have strong objections to feminism and gender equality, and they have strong objections to key liberal values such as religious freedom, democracy and pluralism.
In the part of Breivik’s manifesto that seems to have been written by himself, he depicts an ideal society that has more in common with the clergy in Iran than with today’s Norway, or for that matter with Norway in the 1950s.
The second similarity is the phenomenon known as Internet radicalization (see below). It seems likely that Breivik is radicalized online, just like many Islamists. Internet radicalization is a topic that has received a lot of focus in light of Islamist terror. Can we learn lessons from this research also regarding counter-jihadism – violent anti-Islamism?