When one looks at the atrocities committed by Paul Voulet in the West African region of Niger or of Cecil Rhodes in Southern Africa against Blacks – even if it were due to colonialism – one can conclude that white supremacy has always been engraved in history. Because Voulet burnt children alive, hanged women, and brutally slaughtered and tragically killed humans that traumatized the upcoming generations of people of color – with spears and arrows – with their “globalized” military of the time, would that not be categorized as far-right terrorism, leaving prints in history? To not declare it as far-right terrorism, the quest for colonialism should have included “whites terrorizing whites” as well.
Engraved in colonial history, as much as globalization may have resulted in an awareness and consciousness of barbarism against people of color and given rise to the notion of equality, the murder of George Floyd demonstrates the presence of far-right extremism till date in the contemporary globalized world.
The subject of far-right terrorism has received a lot of attention recently and poses a severe danger to societal cohesion and international security. Concurrently, the economic, political, and cultural spheres have changed significantly due to globalization, which has shaped the environment in which extremist beliefs develop and spread. Transnational networks among far-right extremist organizations have been made possible by globalization. Right-wing extremist movements can find common ground and build alliances on a worldwide scale because to the cross-border circulation of ideas, approaches, and resources.
Economic inequality, employment instability, and social dislocation are all caused by globalization, and these factors can serve as a breeding ground for far-right ideology. Far-right extremist groups frequently use economic concerns, perceived challenges to national identity, and animosity towards multiculturalism to draw recruits and encourage terrorism. Globalization and the internet age have made it possible for far-right terrorists to recruit new members, radicalize them, and disseminate propaganda like never before.
Online platforms encourage the quick spread of extremist ideology by fostering echo chambers and the emergence of virtually interconnected societies that are not limited by physical borders.
In more traditional terms of far-right terrorism, the live streaming of the Christchurch attack in New Zealand or the Halle attack in Germany identifies the importance of technology – a product of globalization – in promoting far-right terrorism. For instance, the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) works in many Scandinavian nations, collaborating and exchanging ideas with other far-right organizations throughout Europe. This advent of social media has also paved the way for the marketing of extremist ideology, an example of which would be working through social media to exploit and recruit civilians in the terrorist organization. The advancement of technology also means the advancement of viciousness, making it harder for law-enforcing agencies to track the culprits, making it easier for them to interact internationally. Therefore, social media is proving to be a significant medium to promote and connect extremist ideologies – far-right ones in this context – which would have been difficult to form had it not been the globalization of the world.
Far-right narratives that emphasize worries about cultural dilution, immigration, and the perceived erosion of national identity have been fanned by the influence of globalization on migratory patterns and demographic shifts.
These elements may have a role in the radicalization of those who are receptive to far-right ideology. Moreover, the major reason that far-right terrorists provide for their acts of terrorism mostly revolves around Muslims immigrating into “their” countries – another aspect of globalization; increasing interconnectedness through modern transportation. This outlook on immigration defies multiculturalism and increases the rate of far-right terrorism. An example would be Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Behring attacking Oslo and Utøya islands in 2011.
Globalization-fueled far-right terrorism represents a danger to world and national security. Strong counterterrorism initiatives tailored to this problem’s globalized character are required due to extremist organizations’ capacity to cross international boundaries and organize people for violent crimes. The development of far-right terrorism can potentially deepen social rifts and jeopardize global social harmony. Extremist ideas have the potential to exacerbate polarization, foster intolerance, and undermine intercommunity trust, especially when they are disseminated online.
Therefore, far-right terrorism has always existed in history under the wings of white supremacy. However, in the past, the imposers had to physically go to a region to execute an act of terrorism.
Still, in the contemporary globalized world, individuals can easily plan and commit terrorism through global/international connections in secrecy. Nevertheless, one positive impact of globalization could be the growing resentment in public against inequality – ultimately leading to white supremacy – and expressing it through globalization’s social media products, organizing protests, and coming together to condemn such attacks. Policymakers must comprehend the connection between globalization and far-right terrorism. The fundamental causes of extremism, such as socioeconomic inequality, cultural fears, and the abuse of digital media, should be addressed by practical solutions. To combat the global character of far-right networks, international cooperation is crucial.
The Author is a scholar of International Relations at the National Defence University, Islamabad. She Tweets @beenishorakzai.