UK paperback

Domestic extremists

The enemy within

What do you suppose a domestic extremist is? A person who covers every surface of his apartment in microbicidal spray seven times a day? Or an “extremist” who is more cuddly and loyal, more domestic, than his fellows in the wild, and to whom you can feed processed meat-derivative chunks in a tasty jelly? Neither, exactly. Instead, domestic extremists is the new term for British citizens who take part in “political meetings and protests”, according to the Guardian:

Senior officers say domestic extremism, a term coined by police that has no legal basis, can include activists suspected of minor public order offences such as peaceful direct action and civil disobedience.

The report explains that you can now be secretly tagged and en-databased as a domestic extremist if you are part of some “‘extreme leftwing’ protest groups, including anti-war campaigners” (of course, not to support a war is by definition an “extreme” view), or indulge in “‘environmental extremism’ such as Climate Camp and Plane Stupid campaigns”. In other words, police units tasked with keeping tabs on domestic extremism now cover “anti-war and environmental groups that have only ever engaged in peaceful direct action”.

So, via the label domestic extremists, non-violent protesters are now semantically associated in the law-enforcement mind with those who commit acts of mass civilian murder, viz., violent extremists, and departmentally thus associated too: the cop platoons on the hunt for domestic extremists “are run by the ‘terrorism and allied matters’ committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers”.

To recap: if you are unhappy with an official bombing campaign or climate policy, then you are an extremist; and to express that dissatisfaction publicly is an “allied matter” to that of terrorism.

I think this sets a new high (or low) for the paranoid style of official dysphemism in home affairs! Are you all domestic extremists too, readers?

  1. 1  WIIIAI  October 27, 2009, 12:32 pm 

    I consider myself moderately domestic.

    I suspect what the police mean by “domestic extremist” is “a protester but not a Muslim.”

  2. 2  darjeeling junkie  October 27, 2009, 3:37 pm 

    It’s just “the enemy within” updated.”Extremist” sounds more,well,extreme than subversive,which might just mean enjoying dressing up in rubber garments.By the way,the first paragraph made me think of “Fair Trade” coffee,and the “Free Range” humans who harvest and process it.Did I say “humans”? I meant “labour units”.

  3. 3  Hey Zeus  October 27, 2009, 5:06 pm 

    Can we just stamp on extremism wherever it surfaces, please?
    No extreme views, no extreme religious convictions, no extremely tasty food, no extremely good movies.
    Extremism ruins everything.

  4. 4  richard  October 27, 2009, 5:12 pm 

    It’s those goddamn moderates who cause the real trouble. They’ll go along with anything.

  5. 5  Steven  October 27, 2009, 6:52 pm 

    I think WIIIAI’s translation at #1 is just about unimprovable.

  6. 6  Hey Zeus  October 27, 2009, 8:49 pm 

    Unimprovable, yes but unembellishable?

  7. 7  Steven  October 27, 2009, 8:59 pm 

    Ah, now that is domestic extremism (albeit in the wilderness?). Nice!

  8. 8  roger migently  October 28, 2009, 7:50 am 

    Help! I’m scared I may be a domestic terrorist!

    Some time ago the Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship wrote to me saying (amongst many other things):

    You have a right to express your views about the government but I consider that [your] website is potentially misleading and offensive. I request that you remove it immediately….

    Because, you know, I had written things that were a bit critical of the – by the grace of god deceased – far-right John Howard government.
    And I didn’t take the site down. Instead, I boldly wrote back (amongst many other things):

    Values Australia is not sure it understands. Does this mean that Australian citizens may express their views so long as they are not offensive? It does not say offensive to whom. The Department’s website asserts that Australians are free to express their opinions about any topic. That Australia does not censor the media. That a person may criticise the government without fear of arrest. Is this only as long as they are not offensive? Is it offensive by definition to criticise the government? Values Australia is not aware of which law would cover that.

    Well, you know, maybe there is now a law, or at least one being prepared by an “Association of Chief Police Officers” which might sweep like swine flu from the new global capital of scientific social surveillance, coercion and intolerance to the antipodes and beyond and I might be banged up by Thinkpol as a domestic extremist. Should I be worried? Should I recant? I love Big Brother and Dick Cheney. 2+2=5?

hit parade

    guardian articles

    older posts