Dr. Tommaso Virgili, Visiting Fellow at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, discusses far-left extremism and its similarities with other forms of radicalization.
What are the characteristics of far-left extremism and the utopias on which it relies? What are the links between historical teleology of the far-left and the “religious determinism”, as the Muslim Brotherhood expert Hazem Kandil calls it, of the Islamists? How do radicals look at the outgroup?
According to Virgili, Nazism, Communism, and Islamism share a similar totalitarian nature.
Quoting Hamed Abdel-Samad, he argues that far-left, no different from the far-right and the Islamists, view “reason, personal liberty, freedom of thought, individuality, human rights, and human bodily autonomy, as well as freedom of expression and the press” as threats, because the dogmas behind the utopia are indisputable.
Consequently, all those who challenge the sacralized utopia are seen as foes, in a strictly Manichean division of humanity between good and evil, the latter having to be annihilated in order to achieve the end of history. The end justifies the means, for Nazis, Communists, and Islamists alike.
Virgili concludes that the intellectual complacency toward far-left movements and its members, still shields them from the same level of criticism addressed to the extreme-right, in the name of the supposed “noble goals” that would somehow make human rights violations less grave. This, in the author’s view, contrasts not only with EUROPOL data, showing that the radical left continues to represent a threat for democratic societies, but above all with the Kantian moral imperative to treat human beings always as ends and never as means.