Baseline Comparison of US and Foreign Anarchist Extremist Movements
This joint DHS and FBI Assessment examines the possible reasons why anarchist extremist attacks in certain countries abroad and in the United States differ in the frequency of incidents and degree of lethality employed in order to determine ways US anarchist extremists actions might become more lethal in the future.* This Assessment is intended to establish a baseline comparison of the US and foreign anarchist extremist movements and create new lines of research; follow-on assessments will update the findings identified in the paper, to include the breadth of data after the end of the reporting period (as warranted by new information), and identify new areas for DHS and FBI collaboration on the topic. This Assessment is also produced in anticipation of a heightened threat of anarchist extremist violence in 2016 related to the upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions—events historically associated with violence from the movement.† By comparing violence in the United States with Greece, Italy, and Mexico—countries historically exhibiting anarchist extremist violence targeting persons—from January 2010–July 2014, we identified factors that could explain differences in targeting and tactics by selected foreign anarchist extremists and United States. The study examines 110 anarchist extremist incidents occurring within the United States and these selected foreign countries.‡ Only those incidents determined to be violent (i.e., involving threats of bodily harm) were included in the dataset. Our ability to analyze relevant details of attacks depended heavily on the quality of sourcing for these incidents—which almost solely derived from the media. Additionally, although US anarchist extremist attacks noted in this study occurred in multiple states, the majority of incidents occurred in the Pacific Northwest region.