Professor Cas Mudde is one of the world’s leading scholars on right-wing social and political movements about which he has authored several books and numerous articles. He thinks the US government’s approach to stopping domestic terrorism is flawed. “Since 9/11 they have primarily focused on internationally-driven Jihadism, targeting mainly peaceful Muslims, argues Mudde. He does not think government agencies should respond to the Charleston shootings by starting a “similar witch hunt on the far right.”
“Under right-wing pressure the federal agencies have devoted few resources to the far right, in the United States,” says Mudde, a professor at University of Georgia. This government focus is “despite the fact that the far right is responsible for much more political violence—not always in the form of terrorism–than any other group, including Jihadism.” Agencies need to “focus more on the real threats…and which activists are the most prone to violence.” Conducting “far too much surveillance” not only “undermines liberal democracy, but also leads to goose chases as the agencies are spread too thin in terms of real experts and rely too much on informants.” Mudde thinks the “the number one threat, particularly from the law enforcement perspective, is the broad sovereign citizen movement milieu, which has been responsible for the most deaths.” Government authorities “should figure out how the milieu works” suggests Mudde. “They should be exploring the connections” and political and social dynamics that link mainstream society to the extreme right. “In short,” says Mudde, he believes US government federal agencies should “rely on and develop more expertise, invest in more desk research, conduct less surveillance, and reduce the use of informants. The sovereign citizen movement milieu—in terms of an ideology of resistance to the current understanding of the existing government structure—encompasses a range overwhelmingly White right-wing activists stretching from the edges of the Tea Party and other right-wing populist groups out to the extreme right and armed insurgents. An example of this was the scores of armed supporters of deadbeat rancher Cliven Bundy from the aptly named Bunkerville, Nevada. Their armed standoff with law enforcement was in contrast to the treatment of unarmed Black people protesting police shootings after the incident in Ferguson, Missouri. This double standard of treatment is biased against people of color and Muslims, as described in an essay on the “Disparate Legal Treatment of Muslims and the Radical Right” by Professor -Naomi Braine of Brooklyn College in the Public Eye Magazine.
Some publications by Professor Mudde:
Mudde, C. (2014). Political extremism: Vol. I. Concepts, theories and responses. London: Sage. Mudde, C. (2014). Political extremism: Vol. III. Right-wing extremism. London: Sage. Mudde, C., & Rovira, K. C. (2012). Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or corrective for democracy?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mudde, C., & Migration Policy Institute. (2012). The relationship between immigration and nativism in Europe and North America. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Mudde, C. (2005). Racist extremism in Central and Eastern Europe. London ; New York, N.Y: Routledge. Mudde, C. (2002). The ideology of the extreme right. Manchester: Manchester University Press.