On the Illegitimate Use of Force: The Neo-Jacobins of Europe

Hakkı Taş (2014) ‘On the Illegitimate Use of Force: The Neo-Jacobins of Europe,’ The European Legacy 19 (5): 556-567. Full Text

Abstract: While in Western discourse terrorism first referred to the “Reign of Terror” imposed by the Jacobin state in France (1793–94), in recent decades it has become increasingly associated with non-state actors. Studies on the undertheorized concept of “state terrorism” have by and large neglected its role in liberal democratic states. In this essay I attempt to re-establish the link between the state and terror by challenging the Weberian definition of the state as holding “the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force.” In 1990, the European Parliament called upon each of its member states to dismantle the formations popularly known as “Gladio,” the clandestine organizations stationed in NATO countries during the 1950s to counter potential Soviet invasions. Investigations ranging from Italy’s Operation Gladio in 1990 to the recent Ergenekon Affair in Turkey (2008–13) reveal that many terrorist activities were perpetrated by those intrastate clandestine military networks. The aim of the essay is thus to bring the agentival state back into terrorism studies through an analysis of Gladio operations in Cold War Europe.

Painting: Francisco de Goya, “The Fates (Atropos)”

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