Militants, pirates, or extremists? Frameworks for conceptualising left wing extremism in Australia

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Left wing extremism is an often discussed and contested topic in Australian political discourse. This chapter sheds light on the extreme left-wing landscape in Australia, starting with an exploration of the left party family, and identifying the three siblings of the hard left-being Marxism, socialism, and anarchism. The fundamental beliefs within these ideologies were then reviewed against the manifestos of historical left-wing terrorists such as the Red Army Faction to identify prominent accompanying epistemic outlooks. This led to the proposal of a definition of left-wing extremism, which was then applied to the contemporary organisations in Australia. These included the Sea Shepherd, Extinction Rebellion, Fireproof Australia, and ANTIFA. It was found that these organisations in some cases do not meet the axiomatic criteria to form part of the hard left party family. Further, none are currently meeting the thresholds for extremism. While this could be affected in future by the actions of individuals, ideological convergence, or cumulative extremism, the line dividing civil disobedience from violent extremism and terrorism has not yet been crossed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave handbook of left-wing extremism
EditorsJose Pedro Zuquete
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783031362682
ISBN (Print)9783031363675
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2023


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