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Norman Stein – a teacher in the Jewish school system for over 14 years, whose varied interests in music, art, films, and Jewish learning made him a true “Renaissance man”

Norman Stein in a 1965 yearbook
photo/recent photo of Norman

By BERNIE BELLAN  For hundreds of Winnipeg Jews – both current and former, the name Norman Stein conjures up a multitude of memories.
For many of us, “Mr. Stein” was a teacher in the Jewish day school system during the 1950s and 60s who not only taught Hebrew subjects, he was also truly a Renaissance man with an extraordinarily broad knowledge of literature, art, films, and music.

If you were a student at Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate during the 1960s you might have been lucky enough to have taken one of Stein’s classes in art or music appreciation, philosophy or, as he told me during a recent phone interview, library science (for Grade 11 and 12 students).
But, if you didn’t know Stein the teacher, you might have made his acquaintance as a music maven –who was involved both in concert and record producing, along with working for the famed German recording company, Deutsche Grammaphon, as both a director of that company and vice president of its Canadian branch.

It was in the late 1960s, following Stein’s full transition from teacher to businessman with a variety of interests, that many Winnipeggers also met him in his capacity as owner as the very popular music store, Opus 69 – which was first located on top of Clifford’s at Portage and Kennedy, later on Kennedy between Portage and Ellice in what is now part of Air Canada’s Winnipeg headquarters.
Later, Stein left Winnipeg for Vancouver, where he became enmeshed in the music scene there, also opening a shop where he began selling his own vast collection of music recordings.
Not only was Stein’s name associated with Canada’s music scene for years, helping to launch the careers of such artists as Sarah MacLachlan – among others, he was also involved with the film business, both in terms of helping to produce and promote movie sound track albums (such as the 1977 version of “A Star is Born”, starring Barbra Streisand), later as a consultant for the film prop business in Vancouver.

About to turn 89 (in June), Norman Stein has been a resident of the Weinberg Residence at the Louis Brier Centre in Vancouver since that branch of Louis Brier first opened in 2003.
Having remained an observant Jew all his life, Stein has played an integral role in the religious life of Louis Brier ever since he moved there.
When I first contacted Stein, and broached the idea of conducting a phone interview with him, he said that it would have to be at a time when he was fully rested – given his age.
And, although Stein has endured two major health setbacks in his life – once when he was rear ended in his car in Winnipeg and subsequently ended up in a coma as a result of his having been prescribed the wrong medication; a second time when he returned from a trip to Los Angeles and came down with Equine Encephalitis, and he claims that his memory has major gaps as a result of those two conditions, during our hour-long phone conversation, he often recalled with vivid detail his Winnipeg years.
I told Stein that, although his entire life has been rich with so many different facets, for the purposes of the story I wanted to write, I preferred to concentrate on his teaching career in the Jewish school system in Winnipeg – something with which, I said to him, many of our readers would have some acquaintance.

I began by asking Stein about his background, saying to him, “You had a religious upbringing, didn’t you?”
He answered: “That was not unusual for the north end of Winnipeg. I didn’t know any other type. We didn’t have labels like ‘Orthodox’. Most Jews then just observed what our parents observed in Eastern Europe.”
I asked: “What street did you grow up on?”
He responded: “As far as I can remember, it was Pritchard Avenue. Later, we moved further north – to Redwood Avenue. We had three rooms with no hot water and no bathtub – and no heat except for a ‘Quebec stove’ in the kitchen that had pipes going into the three rooms.
“Rent was $14 a month. My father was a peddler and it was amazing to see how he could even raise the $14 to pay the rent.
“We ended up buying a home on St. Anthony. We had to make sure there were Jewish families there because we wanted to live in a Jewish area.”
I asked: “This is when? Around the 1950s?”
Stein answered: “I went to yeshiva (in Chicago, he later noted) around 1948 – the Yom Kippur after the State of Israel was established. It was Hebrew Theological College – or Beis Midrash L’Torah.”
Stein explained that his teacher at what was then the Talmud Torah on Flora and Charles was someone by the name of “Mr. Klein”. (Back when he was attending Talmud Torah – in the 1930s and 40s, Stein explained, students attended a branch of the Talmud Torah on Magnus and Powers for Grades 1 – 3, then the Flora and Charles location for Grades 4 – 7.)
“I didn’t know how good we (Klein’s students) were,” Stein explained, “because when I was given an examination (at yeshiva), I ended up being transferred from the Grade 10 class right into the graduation class – Grade 12, and I did very well.”

As mentioned earlier, Norman Stein loved films and music. He explained that his family used to go to the Ukrainian Labour Temple (which still exists, at the corner of Burrows and McGregor) “on Sundays, to watch movies, acrobatics – they had a dance school, they had a daily paper, in Ukrainian – it was Communist; and we used to watch through the basement window the daily edition of those printing presses.
“Anyway, one Erev Shabbes – I was three or four, I snuck into the theatre and the manager asked me who I was looking for?
“I told him I was looking for my mommy. He said, ‘You just sit here’, and the next thing I know I’m watching the Priscilla Lane sisters playing tennis in their white shorts. I remembered that.
“The manager called me out and said, ‘Your mother’s here now.’ And I wondered, how could that be? because my mother doesn’t even know I’m here. I go out and there’s my mother and Mrs. Rubinfield, who ran a grocery store a few doors down, and had a pay phone – which they avoided using on Shabbes – but they called the police and the police asked, ‘Is there a favourite place he likes to go?’ and my mother said I like to go to the movies, so the police said: Maybe he went to the Labour Temple.’”
As Stein explained what happened next, when he was confronted outside the Labour Temple by his mother, Mrs. Rubinfield, and a “Bobby” who was with them, in addition to being scolded for wandering into the movie theatre, the Bobby added: “And you didn’t even pay”, to which, Stein said he answered (and remember, this is a four-year-old), “Tsur nisht fregn zayn gelt on Shabbes” – “You mustn’t carry any money on Shabbes.”

The conversation took some interesting leaps, but at one point it led to a discussion of the kosher scene in Winnipeg during the 1930s and 40s. Somehow, we ended up talking about kosher restaurants in Winnipeg at that time. According to Stein, there were no kosher restaurants in Winnipeg whatsoeer at that time. I was rather surprised to hear that, so I asked: “What about the YMHA?” (which would have been on Albert Street at that time). Surely the cafeteria there would have been kosher, I suggested.
Stein’s response was “When you lived in the north end in the 40s you didn’t know about the YMHA.” (That proposition would certainly have been open to question, given the information we were able to ascertain about the Albert Street Y and how many north enders did go there when the YMHA held its 100th anniversary reunion in 2019, but let’s leave that aside for the time being. In any event, when Stein added that “the YMHA was really very much a secular place,” he was correct.)

In 1951, following his completion of yeshiva studies, Stein returned to Winnipeg, where he “taught the confirmation class at the Shaarey Zedek”.
The rabbi of Shaarey Zedek at that time was Milton Aaron. “Not once did I meet him the entire year that I taught there,” Stein noted, “although years later he wanted me to do some articles in the Jewish Post about some important people that were VIP’s in his eyes.”
In 1952 Stein began what would end up being a 13-year career teaching at the Rosh Pina Hebrew School. “I ended up being head teacher and head of school,” he said.
“Then I started teaching at the Talmud Torah (on Matheson Avenue) in 1956 and started out at the Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate the very day it opened (in 1959).”
Later in our conversation I asked Stein how he was able to teach at the Rosh Pina, Talmud Torah, and Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate all at the same time?
He explained: “Talmud Torah was Grade 1. I was teaching from nine till noon. After that I went to the Wolinsky Collegiate or I was teaching Grade 3 or Grade 5. After that I would go to the Rosh Pina, where I was teaching from 4:30 till 8. It worked out. My whole day was filled. I didn’t eat my dinner until about 8:30 or 9.”
At that point in the conversation, Stein interjected with a rather shocking segué, noting that, “In 1954 my father was killed by a train.” He went on to describe the grisly details of how that happened, but there’s no need to record them here. Suffice to say that it was a totally preventable tragedy.

Following that somewhat surprising twist in the conversation, I said to Stein that I wanted to change tack and find out more about how he became the “Renaissance man” whose interests in art, music, films, and philosophy were imparted to so many of his students over the years.
“When did you start to develop an appreciation for movies and music?” I asked.
“When I was four years old,” he answered. In addition to the aforementioned Ukrainian Labour Temple, “we went to the Palace Theatre (on Selkirk Avenue), to the “Yiddish Theatre” (in the Queen’s Theatre, also on Selkirk), to the “Dominion Theatre”, for live productions (situated at the corner of Portage and Main where the Richardson Building now stands).
As for his exposure to music, Stein had a good singing voice. In material I received from the Louis Brier Residence that had been assembled to spotlight resident Norman Stein, it was noted that “I was selected for the cantorial class by the famous Benjamin Brownstone, but took a back seat to the likes of baritone Norman Mittleman, whose career led to the San Francisco Opera.”

I wondered about Stein’s love of art – and when that developed?
It came “mostly from a secular teacher in Aberdeen School,” he explained. “I learned art technique.”
I said to Stein that I’ve always remembered a fabulous course he taught our Grade 8 class at Joseph Wolinsky on art appreciation. “You taught us the rudiments of architecture,” I recalled.
“We had to photograph Winnipeg buildings and find examples of European buildings that had the same architectural styles,” I said, such as “Gothic and Roman”.
“I taught different courses to students in Grades 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12,” Stein said.
“In Grade 7 it was music, Grade 8 was art and art history, Grade 9 I don’t remember…there was philosophy, and 11 and 12 was library science.”
In that course Stein taught students “how to use microfilms, how to do footnotes, how to prepare a proper bibliography”, on top of which they had to write papers that were about 100 pages. Remember, these were mostly handwritten.”
(In a post on the “Jewish students of the 50s and 60s” Facebook page, former Stein student Avrum Rosner reproduced the actual comments Stein had made about a paper Rosner had written about famed philosopher Bertrand Russell when Rosner was only 14. Stein’s comments extended over a page in length. Just look at the level of erudition he used in commenting on Rosner’s paper – something rather exceptional for a teacher teaching 14-year-olds. Those comments can be seen in a sidebar article accompanying this article in which former Stein students comment about their experience of him as their teacher.)
So, Stein had a very full career until 1966. “I even wrote a column for the Jewish Post,” he added.
“And then I ended up getting rear ended by a truck,” Stein said. “That’s a period I don’t remember well… I was in a coma for some time. I was a nervous wreck. My doctor suggested I go to some place relaxing, so I went to Hollywood.”
Thus began the next chapter of Norman Stein’s life, including the opening of what became Winnipeg’s most popular record store for a time, Opus 69.
In a future issue we’ll resume writing about Norman Stein and his eclectic career.

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Features

Life in Israel four months after October seventh

Orly & Solly Dreman

By ORLY DREMAN

(Special to the JP&N) Feb. 1, 2024

In every news broadcast that we hear that “The IDF spokesman is permitted to announce”… then every person in Israel sits down, holds their breath and waits to hear the names of the soldiers fallen in action that day. This causes deep sadness to every family in Israel. For example, I found out the son of my T.V technician was killed and my handyman’s son was seriously injured. Death in Israel is so personal.

Our synagogue recently mourned twenty seven year old Inbar Heiman who was kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music nature party on October seventh and was murdered in captivity. She was a gifted young woman filled with love and compassion. She was a creative artist that was supposed to enter her senior year at university this academic year. We had prayed and wished that she would return until her family received the tragic news of her death.

When we made personal medical visits to the Hadassah hospital, we often heard helicopters overhead bringing in wounded soldiers from Gaza. In the surgery department we saw a reserve soldier being released after six weeks in the hospital. His wife and newborn baby were with him. The department had a touching farewell gathering with Israeli flags, music and cakes. This is how every soldier who leaves the hospital is treated. More than fourteen thousand civilians and soldiers were hospitalized since October seventh with most of the injuries being in the hands and legs, burns, head and eye injuries.

We seldom are in the mood to go to a restaurant these days, but if we do, such outings are accompanied by guilt feelings. Is it right to go when our people are suffering?- the hostages are starving. We all wear the metal disc that says “Bring Them Home now- Our hearts are captured in Gaza”. They occupy our thoughts pervasively. Some of the hostages have suffered untreated gunshot wounds and the hygiene conditions are poor, many of them not showering for four months, sitting thirty meters under the ground in dark tunnels, with no electricity and suffering from extreme malnutrition. Some of them have diseases like Celiac, Asthma, Colitis, Diabetes, Fibromialgia, heart diseases and allergies. They are getting no medications and time is running out for them. Twenty five of them have already perished. What sort of civil society will we be if we abandon them?

Whole families are recruited for combat duty in different areas of the country. It might be a brother and a sister fighting in Gaza or a father in Judea and Samaria while another brother is fighting on the Lebanese border. If you ask soldiers who have lost their siblings in combat if they wish to go back to fight after the shiva, they do not hesitate, even though it is so hard on the parents. This demonstrates the dedication of Israeli citizens and their wish to complete the task of exterminating the Hamas, while at the same time knowing their family member did not die in vain. The grief is intergenerational and we are even acquainted with grandparents whose grandchildren are in combat and they are given the opportunity to go to workshops that help them with their anxiety.

In a Knesset Committee it was recently reported That many survivors from the Nova party have taken their own lives. Others continue to experience the trauma of the horrific events. They cannot sleep nor eat. Many were sexually abused and even though they were not murdered they continue to experience the pain- the sights, voices- cries for help and the fear. They are in a sense also fighters who awaken to a new existence everyday and continue to fight for their existence.

At the military cemeteries there is one funeral process after another and the families are asked to leave the site to make room to prepare for the next funeral. Wounded soldiers arrive in ambulances, on hospital beds or wheelchairs in order to eulogize their fallen comrades.

The reservists who return home after months of combat are having troubles adjusting because this war, like the War of Independence, is very meaningful. It is the most justified war our homeland has encountered. Upon their return there is a big downfall in physical and mental energy. A stranger cannot understand this. These soldiers were disconnected from normal civilian routine for a long time and they had difficult and intimate experiences with their combat mates. They have lost friends and did not have time to mourn. They must release the stress they were exposed to. They are back in body but not always in spirit. They also might be recruited again in the near future to the southern or the northern front, the war is not over. Many men who were injured worry about their future fertility and sexual functioning.

They entertain such existential thoughts as would it be better that I am killed in action before I have children and leave no descendants, or losing my life and leaving behind orphans. Dozens of children remain orphaned from both parents. They also have witnessed their family members being murdered and their homes burned down. Years ago, Solly treated and did a follow up on a family where both parents were murdered in a terrorist attack. Even though the children were adopted by loving relatives they suffered from survivor guilt and this expressed itself in such phenomena as dropping out of school, turning into juvenile delinquents and having trouble in intimate relations.

The evacuees from the south and the north are dispersed in hundreds of hotels in the center of the country. Hence, they have no permanent home, have no privacy and many have no work, nothing to do for months on end and experience feelings of powerlessness. Some pupils are not capable of returning to their temporary schools because of anxieties, depression and fear. Some teenagers have turned to drugs and alcohol which increases violence and vandalism. For them school is experienced as a waste of time. Their friends were murdered, some still have relatives in captivity and everything is falling apart. They also experience sleep disruptions and are in no mood to study. For them life is a living hell. Some families are moved from city to city several times. The children do not have friends in the new locations and they feel lonely and express a lack of social support.

In the realm of parenting many mothers even those who were NOT directly exposed to the dramatic events reported that their children cry more (eighty three percent). Others say the children have difficulties sleeping (seventy three percent), have concentration problems (fifty four percent) and many children are developing eating disorders. In sixty percent the anxiety of the children is so high it hurts functioning. For example, they are often afraid to leave the house. Other disturbances were reported such as bed-wetting, insisting on sleeping with their parents and acts of anger and aggression.

We, as Israelis are also concerned with our Jewish brethren who are experiencing thousands of antisemitic incidents, higher than the number of all incidents in the last decade. There are many Jews in the diaspora who are considering emigration to Israel after experiencing antisemitic events such as seeing their synagogue, Hebrew school, kosher butcher and other Jewish businesses being stoned and burned. For them Israel is their safest haven.

On a more optimistic note the Jewish people have prevailed over thousands of years despite terrible events. In spite of the uncertainty not everything is lost. We are united and strong. The soldiers are full of motivation and good values. I firmly believe that if we are patient and persist, the Jewish people and the state of Israel will prevail.

Orly Dreman is a 10th generation Israeli. Her cousin, Ruvi Rivlin, was a former president of Israel. Orly’s father was a diplomat who served both in North America and in Europe.
By profession Orly is an English teacher. She has dealt with children suffering from ADD.
Since childhood, Orly has been involved in voluntary work with the disabled, the challenged, new immigrants, the elderly and others. 

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Features

The Critical Job Roles in Online Business

More companies than ever are embracing remote working. As of 2023, around 16% of businesses have a fully remote working model, with many more adopting a hybrid one. All of this should come as welcome news to anyone looking for a better work-life balance. As well as saying goodbye to grueling commutes, remote employees can embrace lucrative salary packages, generous benefits, and more. Ready to reap the benefits of online work yourself? Below are just a handful of remote working opportunities to consider.

Video Game and Casino Platform Development

Whether it’s creating Canadian online slots for real money casinos or an open-world epic, great games need talented developers. Thankfully, this is one sector where the typical rules of the 9-5 don’t apply. In the US, an experienced game developer can expect to take home around $103,000 annually. For a midweight casino games developer, a starting salary of around $65,000 is fairly respectable.

Software Engineering

If you have a background in software engineering, you’re in luck. Currently, it’s one of the highest-paid online roles around, with an average salary of $108,000. There’s no one size-fits-all remit for a software engineer, but typical roles include designing applications, testing, and creating system upgrades.

UX Design

User experience is becoming increasingly important as companies strive to make their digital products more accessible. Unsurprisingly, there’s a high demand for user experience designers, with many positions now advertised as remote-first roles. You’ll need to have sufficient software and development experience to excel here. What’s more, you’ll need to work closely with clients to meet the needs of the consumer. If you think you could do well in a role like this, expect an annual salary in the region of $97,000.

Web Design

One role you’ll never struggle to find is that of a web designer. It’s a pretty broad field, so expect a lot of disparity when it comes to job remits and starting salaries. At a minimum, a web designer worth their salt should be able to create accessible websites for a wide range of clients. You’ll also need to be familiar with coding languages and testing. Less experienced web designers can expect to command a starting salary of around $43,000. If you’ve been working professionally for more than a few years and have a solid portfolio to back you up, you can easily negotiate twice that amount.

Entry-Level Online Roles

For digital natives, remote working will come as second nature. Don’t have the skills to land a web designer or developer job? Not to worry. There are an increasing number of entry-level remote roles out there.

Customer service roles are readily available, with positions to cater to all experience levels. At the bottom rung of the ladder, you might be tasked with making sales calls or resolving complaints from customers. A customer service agent can comfortably make around $40-50,000 a year. If you operate on a commission basis or can take advantage of a generous bonus scheme, you could easily double this annually.

Is Remote Working Here To Stay?

Even as many businesses encourage workers back to the office, there’s an deniable upward trend in the number of remote and hybrid-only roles on the job market. Video conferencing technology and collaboration tools are making it easier than ever for remote teams to remain connected. Meanwhile, company executives are finding it hard to argue with significantly reduced overheads and increased productivity.

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Features

Dangers from the far-right in America explored in new book

By MARTIN ZEILIG “The United States is confronted by a serious domestic terrorist threat in addition to the foreign ones that have commanded our attention for the past two decades,” warn Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) fellows and leading terrorism experts Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware, says a review of “God, Guns, and Sedition: Far-Right Terrorism in America” on the website of the Council on Foreign Relations (January 2, 2024).  
“Their new book provides a definitive account of how ‘“violent extremism has woven itself into the fabric of national, state, and local politics,”’ from the tragedy that unfolded at a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015 through the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.” 

Co-authors of “God, Guns, and Sedition” Bruce Hoffman (left) and Jacob Ware


Bruce Hoffman is the Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service; professor emeritus of terrorism studies at the University of St Andrews; and the George H. Gilmore Senior Fellow at the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center. His Columbia University Press books include “Inside Terrorism “(third edition, 2017).
Jacob Ware is a research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and at DeSales University. He serves on the editorial boards for the academic journal Studies in Conflict & Terrorism and the Irregular Warfare Initiative at the Modern War Institute at West Point. 

Mr. Hoffman agreed to discuss the book in an email interview with The Jewish Post & News.
JP&N: Why did you decide to write this book now?
BH: The idea for this book came to me just a month into the global COVID lockdown. April 2020 was a dark, dangerous, and highly fearful and uncertain time. Odious conspiracy theories, that had been circulating for years, suddenly gained newfound momentum across the internet and social media. Indeed, within days of the lockdown, Jewish people were being blamed and vilified for creating the pandemic in order to profit monetarily from it.
Asians, persons of color, and immigrants, and others, were also being targeted for blame. Only weeks earlier I had been the target of a serious hate crime. Isolated at home, like most of the rest of the world, I had lots of time to think about what was happening and, I quickly reached the conclusion that I needed to return to my analytical roots.
To explain, I had begun my career as a terrorism and counterterrorism analyst in 1981 at the renowned American think-tank, The RAND Corporation. However, by the time that I joined its Security and Subnational Conflict Research Program, all the more prominent left-wing and ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorists active at the time had been taken by other members of the research team.
Surveying the remaining terrorist movements that had not yet been chosen, I decided to focus on the threat posed by neo-Nazi and neo-fascist groups then active in Europe. That in fact was the subject of my first ever professional publication.
Within only a couple of years, I expanded by focus to include their even far more dangerous American counterparts. I therefore studied intently violent, far-right terrorism in the United States from the mid-1980s through the September 11, 2001 attacks. Then, like most other terrorism analysts, my attention was diverted for the next two decades almost exclusively to al Qaeda and then the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL).
Meanwhile, terrorist attacks from violent, far-right extremists both in the United States and elsewhere had suddenly started to increase during the twenty-teens. In 2011, for instance, there were simultaneous, tragic terrorist attacks in Oslo and Utøya, Norway; four years later there was the horrific shootings of worshippers at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina; then in 2018 a gunman stormed into the Jewish Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh killing congregants; and in 2019 the attacks within weeks of one another on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and a Jewish synagogue in Poway, California, and then that summer at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, clearly demonstrated that the same hateful ideology and bloody mindset that had fueled far-right violence during the closing decades of the twentieth-century, when I first began studying this phenomenon, had neither disappeared nor abated.
Accordingly, I approached my friend and colleague at the Council on Foreign Relations and Georgetown University, Jacob Ware, and proposed that we together write this book. And, we immediately began work on it.
 
 JP&N: What is the extent of far-left terrorism in the U.S.A. and elsewhere in the world? Is there a connection between far-right and far-left extremists?
 BH: Let me emphasize that politically-motivated violence—that is, terrorism—in the United States is not confined exclusively to the far-right. Indeed, prior to the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building the most serious incident targeted Republication congressmen. In June 2017, a self-proclaimed supporter of progressive, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders opened fire at an early morning practice for the annual congressional charity baseball game. The then-House Majority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise, was seriously wounded, along with five other persons. If not for the U.S. Capitol Police present as part of Rep. Scalise’s security detail, who killed the gunman, the outcome would likely have been very different. In another incident two years later, a self-professed anarchist tried to firebomb a Tacoma, Washington Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, before being shot dead by responding officers.
But with the exception of those two very serious incidents and some others of brawling, rioting, arson, and vandalism that occurred during Donald Trump’s 2017 presidential inauguration in Washington, DC, and in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and some other cities following the death of George Floyd by police in 2021, the threat of violence from violent, far-left extremists has been less pervasive and less consequential than that from their counterparts on the far-right. Indeed, Professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss in her book, “Hate in the Homeland,” estimates that there were at least 75,000 armed and violently-inclined far-right extremists in the United States as of 2020—a number that likely completely eclipses that of violently-inclined far-left extremists in the United States: many of whom are not armed and lack the training and expertise possessed by those on the far-right fringe.
The only connection between the two is that they both ascribe to the strategy of “accelerationism.” First articulated by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in their 1848 pamphlet, “Manifesto Of The Communist Party,” accelerationism today is embraced by both ends of the ideological spectrum who believe that the modern Western, liberal state is so corrupt and inept that it is beyond redemption and must be destroyed in order to create a new society and way of governance.
 
JP&N: What are the strategies for combating far-right terrorism?
BH: The book argues that the United States needs a comprehensive, wide-ranging, institutionalized strategy to effectively counter the threat to our democracy from violent, far-right extremism. Measures are required to strengthen American civil society more generally as well as to specifically target violent extremist groups, their activists and supporters, their propagandists and sympathizers, and their recruiters and financiers.
 The policy recommendations we propose fall into three categories: short-term measures to create a stronger regulatory framework, with relatively immediate effects; medium-term measures to strengthen civil society, with impacts over the next five to ten years; and, long-term measures to build national unity and strengthen resilience that will benefit future generations and inoculate them against the allure of extremist ideologies.
This comprehensive counterterrorism strategy will require measures to combat extremists’ free reign online, efforts to build and support longer-term initiatives to prevent new radicalization, and the establishment of new laws to counteract the challenges in prosecuting perpetrators of far-right terrorist plots.

“God, Guns, and Sedition: Far-Right Terrorism in America”
(Columbia University Press $28.95 USD)


 
 

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