Political Technology and the Erosion of the Rule of Law
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Political Technology and the Erosion of the Rule of Law

Normalizing the State of Exception

Günter Frankenberg

This timely volume by distinguished scholar Günter Frankenberg offers a sophisticated analysis and sharp critique of the reactions of nations such as the US, Great Britain and Germany to perceived terrorist threats, organized crime actions and other political emergencies that have occurred in recent years.
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Chapter 5: Political extremism and the militancy of law-rule

Normalizing the State of Exception

Günter Frankenberg


The 1960s student revolt, protest movements against nuclear armament and, in the Federal Republic of Germany, opposition to emergency laws triggered the first crises in many Western countries after World War II. The situation was dramatically aggravated in the confrontation with terrorist groups, such as the militant separatists of the IRA in Ireland, ëWeathermení in the United States, the ëRed Army Factioní (RAF) in Germany, the ëRed Brigadesí in Italy, the Basque independence movement ETA in Spain and the ëAction Directeí in France.The escalation of conflicts did not follow the same trajectory everywhere, but showed comparable patterns. Initially confronted with an anti-hegemonic, extra-parliamentary movement that at first resorted to provocation, the police in many European cities reacted as if they were facing real revolt and not (still) non-violent, limited rule violations. This ëcultural-revolutionaryí agenda and its outrageous forms of protest, along with the techniques of governing used in response by the somewhat unprepared security services in Germany, France and Italy, have been etched into the collective memory as signs of a new ëmilitancyí. In the Federal Republic of Germany, this militancy became for the first time apparent during the unrestrained police operations against young buskers in Munich, which triggered the so-called Schwabinger Krawalle,student riots reacting against police militancy in 1962, and demonstrators protesting against a state visit of the Persian Shah in Berlin.

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