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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 52077 Find in a Library
Title: REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISM, CRIME AND MORALITY
Journal: SOCIAL THEORY AND PRACTICE  Volume:4  Issue:3  Dated:(1977)  Pages:287-302
Author(s): R YOUNG
Corporate Author: Florida State University
Dept of Psychology
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: ARGUMENTS AGAINST REGARDING REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISTS AS CRIMINALS ARE POSED, AND CONSIDERATIONS RELEVANT TO DECIDING WHETHER REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISM MAY BE MORALLY JUSTIFIED ARE OUTLINED.
Abstract: REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISM REFERS TO TERRORIST ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES AND INSPIRED BY REVOLUTIONARY AIMS. GIVEN THE DEFINITION OF CRIME AS ACTIVITY THAT VIOLATES THE CRIMINAL LAW, IT WOULD HAVE TO BE ADMITTED THAT ACTS OF TERRORISM ARE INDEED CRIMES. BUT THOSE WHO CHARGE THAT TERRORISM IS MERELY CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR SEEM DETERMINED TO MAKE THEIR POINT NOT JUST LEGALLY BUT ALSO MORALLY. THE IDEOLOGICALLY DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER OF REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISM PROVIDES GROUND ENOUGH FOR NOT COLLAPSING THE CONCEPTS OF CRIME AND TERRORISM. THE FAR MORE CRUCIAL ISSUE, HOWEVER, IS WHETHER REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISM MAY BE DISTINGUISHED MORALLY FROM CRIME, ESPECIALLY IN SOCIETIES EQUIPPED WITH LAWFUL CHANNELS FOR EXPRESSING DISSENT AND SEEKING POLITICAL CHANGE. TWO CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH A MORAL JUSTIFICATION FOR TERRORISM MAY BE FOUND ARE DISCUSSED: (1) WHEN REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISTS MAY BE REGARDED AS RESPONDING TO STATE-INSPIRED TERRORISM; AND (2) WHEN THE CAUSE BEING FOUGHT FOR IS JUST AND THERE IS REASONABLE HOPE OF BRINGING ABOUT A BETTER SITUATION (E.G., A GREATER MEASURE OF SELF-GOVERNMENT, OR FREEDOM FROM FOREIGN DOMINATION) FOR THE PEOPLE IN GENERAL. BOTH CIRCUMSTANCES PARALLEL COMMON JUSTIFICATIONS FOR WAGING WAR. LIKELY OBJECTIONS TO AN ATTEMPT TO LINK THE MORALITY OF REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISM WITH THE WAGING OF JUST WAR ARE CONSIDERED. WITH REGARD TO THE MATTER OF THE SOMETIMES INDISCRIMINATE NATURE OF TERRORIST ACTIONS, THE QUESTION OF PERSPECTIVE IN DETERMINING WHETHER INNOCENT VICTIMS ARE REALY INNOCENT IS RAISED. THE MATTER OF WHETHER A TERRORIST ACTION MUST BE SUCCESSFUL TO BE MORALLY JUSTIFIED, AND THE RELATED QUESTION OF HOW TO JUDGE SUCCESS, ARE ALSO CONSIDERED. A THIRD AND FINAL CONCERN IS THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE POLITICAL TERRORIST'S ATTACK ON THE LEGAL PROCESS FOR FAILING TO REFLECT THE MORAL ISSUES AT HAND. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Criminal codes; Political offenders; Revolutionary or terrorist groups; Terrorist ideologies
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52077

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