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“We are Generation Terror!”: Youth‑on‑youth Radicalisation in Extreme‑right Youth Groups

“We are Generation Terror!”: Youth‑on‑youth Radicalisation in Extreme‑right Youth Groups
14th December 2021 ICSR Team
In Reports

The full report can be accessed here. An overview of its findings can be found here.

Please read on for the Executive Summary.

 

  • Young people – politicised, active and highly connected – are no longer just passive consumers of online terrorist content by adult groomers but are themselves propaganda creators, group organisers, peer recruiters, extremist financers and terrorist convicts.
  • This process, called “youth‑on‑youth radicalisation”, emphasises the agency that young people have in a digital era in which the information hierarchy is increasingly flattened.
  • Noting the formation of several new young extreme‑right groups and a series of terrorist convictions across Western Europe, this paper takes first steps to investigate the specific nature of this emerging threat.
  • Ten extreme‑right youth groups from across Western Europe will be analysed to evidence the independence of extremist youth activism: Bastión Frontal, Eisenjugend, Junge Revolution, KS Nuoret, Sonnenkrieg Division, Blutkrieg Division, Feuerkrieg Division, Junge Tat, National Partisan Movement and The British Hand.
  • All groups included have emerged since 2018, have an average membership age of under 25 and are associated with arrests for hate crimes, incitement to violence or acts of violence.
  • These groups demonstrate racial nationalist ideologies with a youth‑centric focus, often using unique framings that differentiate them from other, older groups.
  • While the role of social media on young people’s lives is self‑evident, an overview of the platforms to which young extreme‑right groups are attracted and the nature of their external communications will be provided, emphasising the role of Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Telegram.
  • Instagram is a useful tool for young racial nationalists, providing them with a powerful opportunity to recruit, reach young audiences and present striking visual content.
  • Young extremists use different platforms for different purposes, dedicating themselves to maintaining presence on mainstream platforms through second accounts and circumventing platforms’ content moderation algorithms. As such, they “funnel” users to accounts on platforms with increasingly extreme content and ecosystems.
  • Offline presence continues to be a vital tool for the majority of extreme‑right youth groups, who engage in fitness or martial arts and organise community service in order to foster an in‑group identity. They incite against out‑groups through expertly styled propaganda and aggressive, often racist rallies, protests and banner drops.
  • The threat posed by extreme‑right youth will be emphasised through exploration of incitement to violence and analysis of hate crimes and terrorist convictions.

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