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+2 votes
Where does something cross into the realm of terrorism from that of being an act based in hate? I am wondering where people make distinctions and about the grey area. Do charges of terror and hate lose their meaning if they are applied to every action against or by specific groups?

What I am not trying to get at is attempts to defend specific groups against accusations of terrorism, or at condemnations of hate crimes legislation. The former is quick to get hung up on moralizing, the latter on something that I assume all contributors to a site like this are already in opposition to.

What triggers this is the dialogue I've seen regarding the discourse around acts of violence committed by Muslims as opposed to those committed by atheists or those of other religions. Here is one article (among many others) that particularly has me thinking about this right now:
by (22.1k points)
an additional comment: Anarchists have often painted as (and less often have been) bomb throwers and instigators of terror. Similarly, more and more of our enemies are protected by anti-terror legistlation and potentially (cops) hate crimes protections. Because of this and the activist impulse to appeal to popular sentiment, most energy goes in to talking about how these legal maneuvers are bad (worse than the other legal maneuvers) , as opposed to exploring our own positions about this stuff.
i don't make that distinction, but i also don't use the words "terrorism" or "hate crimes" in my speech. i've heard both terms used by the media, police/fbi, friends, etc., and i have a hard time determining when they think a certain act has crossed some sort of imaginary line.

i like the question because of the ambiguity of the dialogue i've heard surrounding these terms, but since i don't use them myself, i don't have much of an answer.
i like this question. though i don't have an answer.

i find little use in those terms, although it is difficult to avoid them when talking with... well, just about anybody. i find it hard to make a real distinction, other than the scale on which a particular act is carried out. a single gay man that is the target of a "hate crime" has unquestionably been terrorized. and an act of "terrorism" (as defined, by, say the us government) is undoubtedly rooted in some kind of hate. though what/who is the target of the hatred may not be exactly the target of the act. and sometimes the relationship between the two is not exactly clear to me.
It all boils down to the acceptance of rule by force.
If you think it is ok to point guns at people to get them to do what you want them to do then the one with the most willingness to kill will label all dissent in negative terms and supporters in heroic terms.

Until we as a whole, humanity, reject rule by force the terms will be defined by the winner.
Please re-read the previous stab at this one:

Now, i'm not going to really expand much beyond the previous commenters (regards to you all), but i'll try (and, hence, fuck you yoda).

In legal terms, 'hate crime' and 'terrorism' mean whatever the government of the day finds it convenient for them to mean.  Recall please, that in commonwealth countries, law constitutes whatever paper the  corrupt government can con the queen's representative into signing into law; in republican governments, a president stands in for her majesty's lacky.  The contemptible nature of its birth leaves the result no less fearsome - the emerging legal regime in canada is that anyone the state deems its enemy (say anyone that questions fraccing or tarsands or oil tankers in the treacherous inside passage or...) will be subject to warrantless surveillance, 'preventive detention' i.e. warrantless arrest and imprisonment, interference with communications, interference with banking accounts and transfers, (and whatever else the bastards addin...)  The wording of the law, is just one more aspect of the monopoly of violence that the state reserves to itself.

In popular terms, the phrases are twisted even further to suit the needs-of-the-day of the government-of-the-day;  parroted mindlessly by the mass corporate media, and borne up by the frothing punditry.  They are cast out in photo-ops, press conferences, and other nonsense; and uncritically spewed forth into the work-addled minds of the general populace.

Occasionally, you will stumble across some jaded soul who writes honestly that terrorism 'is the use of violence, or threat of violence, to influence political action, or influence other social aspects';  though anyone who dares consign that to print will immediately note that all governments indulge in acts that must be declared 'terrorist' far beyond the puny efforts of any insurgent.  (My first exposure to that was a review of the red brigades several decades ago, i don't recall the author of the piece now, but i bless her black little heart.)

When dealing with normal human beings*, i would suggest trying to edge them away from any knee-jerk reactionary terms (such as hate crime or...), and then finding sympathy with the tragedy (personification of the abstract), alternating with observations of how the state was indifferent/helpless/complicit in the tragedy and maybe how  a real community could have resulted in a different outcome (abstraction of the personal).
At its heart, this is a propaganda offensive;  whatever you have in your bag to counter that is worth considering here.

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