Classification of Domestic Terrorism

Skandalon 2001: The Religious Practices of Modern Satanists and Terrorists
Dawn Perlmutter

Domestic terrorism also has three subcategories, but these are based on the ideologies of the various groups, designated as right-wing extremist groups, left-wing extremist groups, and special-interest extremists. The right-wing extremist groups are characterized by adherence to the principles of racial supremacy and their embrace of antigovernment, anti-regulatory beliefs. Formal right-wing hate groups that represent a continuing terrorist threat on a national level include the World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) and the Aryan Nations; racism-based hatred remains an integral component of these groups' core orientations. Another group in this category is the Southeastern States Alliance, an umbrella organization of militias in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and other southern states, a group that planned to attack national guard armories in 1999 . The goal of this group was to create social and political chaos, thereby forcing the US government to declare martial law, an act they believed would lead to its violent overthrow by the American people. Two of the seven planned acts of terrorism prevented in 1999 were potentially large-scale, high-casualty attacks.

The second category of domestic terrorism comprises left-wing and Puerto Rican extremist groups who view themselves as protectors of the people against the dehumanizing effects of capitalism and imperialism. Generally professing a revolutionary socialist doctrine, they believe in bringing about change through revolution rather than the political process. Several of these groups are seeking to secure full Puerto Rican independence from the US. These extremist Puerto Rican separatist groups are the Armed Forces for Puerto Rican National Liberation, FALN, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional Puertorriquena, and Los Machesteros. FALN has carried out bombings in the US mainland, primarily in and around New York, and Los Macheteros is suspected of three bombings in Puerto Rico.

The third category of domestic terrorism is special interest extremists, who differ from right- and left-wing terrorists in that they seek to resolve specific issues rather than overthrowing the entire political system. They conduct acts of politically motivated violence in order to bring public attention to their specific causes. These groups occupy the extreme fringes of animal rights, pro-life, environmental, anti-nuclear, and other political and social movements. The groups most noted for acts of vandalism and terrorist activity include the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), which have caused millions of dollars in damages to businesses they consider hostile to the environment or to animal rights.