Extremism and radicalism

Everyone knows terms like extremism or radicalism. Since they are often confused or completely misunderstood, we have decided to explain them in more detail.

Extremism is a term with many definitions and explanations. We have tried to summarize and explain it to you. Essentially, it can be defined as actions and activities based on an extremely radical ideology hostile to the democratic system, which has a destructive effect on the existing democratic system and seeks to replace it with a totalitarian regime or dictatorship. The aim of such actions is to take over power or to destroy it regardless of the legitimacy of the means.

This term represents a combination of sociopathic phenomena occurring within organized groups, whose manifestation consists of rejecting basic values, norms, and behaviors valid in a given society. These are forms and expressions that can be defined as a criminal offense or a negative phenomenon characterized by the violation of legal and social norms.

Extremism carries elements of intolerance and is directed against basic democratic constitutional principles defined in our legal system.

Therefore, extremism attacks the system of basic rights and freedoms defined in the constitution and international documents regulating this area. It may also be an attempt to hinder or prevent the exercise of these rights. It also involves attempts to limit, suppress, or hinder the exercise of basic rights and freedoms for certain groups of the population defined by their gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, skin color, religion, language, social class, property, as well as the use of physical violence directed against property or ideological or political opponents. Extremist groups offer simple solutions to problems that exist in society, which the society cannot solve in a short time frame. On the other hand, they themselves do not participate in solving these problems.

According to the definition of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, all verbal, graphic, physical, or other activities associated with a clearly defined ideological or other context, usually without material motivation, are considered extremist activities. These activities are carried out by individuals or groups with views that deviate significantly from generally accepted social norms, with clear elements of intolerance, especially racial, national, religious, or similar intolerance, which attack democratic principles, social order, life, health, property or public order.

Radicalism can be considered a “gray zone” of the transition between the democratic and extremist political spectrum of views and attitudes. These views and attitudes move away from the democratically conformist space but have not reached the boundaries of extremism. Activities in this direction aim for certain radical or extensive changes, which are on the edge of the democratic political and legal system, but do not seek its elimination or replacement with a totalitarian regime. Extremism, on the other hand, rejects the democratic rule of law and seeks its significant modification or elimination.

Radicalization refers to the process of adopting a radical ideology, where individuals or groups under the influence of radical political or religious ideology abandon the value system of their country and adopt a new system of values that are not in line with the basic principles of democratic society.Such separation of individuals or groups from the democratic system increases their determination to implement radical ideology in practice, even through violent means, which may involve committing criminal offenses.