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(2020) Peacebuilding Beyond Terrorism? Revisiting the Narratives of the Basque Conflict



Taking stock of critical peace research and agonistic politics, this article revisits the Basque conflict to examine the role of the state's counter-terrorist narrative and that of the Basque civil society in the elimination of violence. It argues that violence could have ended sooner if Spanish governments had sought to engage with the non- and anti-violent independentist discourse of broad sectors of the Basque society, rather than criminalising it as they rightly did with the radical/extremist nationalists. Had they done so, they could have capitalised on Basque civil society's strong anti-violent and anti-ETA discourse to marginalise the terrorist organisation and its networks of support. The article presents a framework that makes possible the marginalisation of militancy and extremism in cases where the state accepts to negotiate the legitimacy of the demands of non- and/or anti-violent nationalists.
Peacebuilding beyond Terrorism? Revisiting the Narratives of the Basque
Forthcoming in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2018.1452794
Ioannis Tellidis
College of International Studies, Kyung Hee University, Yongin-si, 17104, South Korea.
Taking stock of critical peace research and agonistic politics, this article revisits the Basque
conflict to examine the role of the state’s counter-terrorist narrative and that of the Basque civil
society in the elimination of violence. It argues that violence could have ended sooner if Spanish
governments had sought to engage with the non- and anti-violent independentist discourse of broad
sectors of the Basque society, rather than criminalising it as they rightly did with the
radical/extremist nationalists. Had they done so, they could have capitalised on Basque civil
society's strong anti-violent and anti-ETA discourse to marginalise the terrorist organisation and
its networks of support. The article presents a framework that makes possible the marginalisation
of militancy and extremism in cases where the state accepts to negotiate the legitimacy of the
demands of non- and/or anti-violent nationalists.
Basque Country, terrorism, critical peace research, agonism, civil society.
Peacebuilding beyond Terrorism? Revisiting the Narratives of the Basque
After more than 40 years of violence and 829 people dead, the Basque terrorist organisation
Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) declared the definitive cessation of its armed activity
on October
20, 2011, while a few months before that, in January, it had declared a permanent and
internationally verifiable ceasefire. This article revisits the narratives of the conflict’s actors in
order to evaluate their role in the protraction of violence as well as in the impediment of the
conflict’s end. These actors are identified as ETA, with its narrative of, and identification with,
and the perception that its violence will capitulate the state to concede to the Basque
Country’s independence; the state, with its counter-nationalist, rather than counter-terrorist
discourse; and the Basque civil society, with its strong anti-violence narrative after Spain’s
transition to democracy. Such a reductionist and monolithic analysis may seem inappropriate since
all three comprise diverse forces ideologically but also temporally. Nonetheless, as the article aims
to show, said forces exhibit sufficient similarities in their reproductions of the respective narratives
and discourses that permits such analytical simplification. For instance, despite its various schisms
and divisions through the years, or the emergence of new leadership following the arrest or death
of incumbent leaders, ETA was always referred to as such, without any other distinctions between
its fractions and/or commands.
Similarly, although the state throughout the years of the conflict
consisted of governments with distinct political and ideological orientations, the constant narrative
invariably focused on the elimination of ETA and its violence without, however, entertaining the
idea that independentist claims brought forward by anti- or non-violent actors should be
negotiated. This was true even during Zapatero’s days in government who took extreme political
risks to reach a settlement with ETA. Lastly, Basque civil society as a narrative actor consists of
various groups with equally diverse interests (for example, from non- or anti-violent nationalists,
to organisations of victims, to committees for the imprisoned terrorists). All of them, however,
converged in their efforts to marginalise ETA in particular and violence in general. This placed
civil society between a rock and a hard place, since it always found itself in the midst of a war of
between ETA and the state authorities.
Spurred on by the Basque civil society’s reaction against the strategies of both the terrorist
organisation and the state, the paper aims to investigate whether transforming rigid narratives of
territoriality, sovereignty and the security that they accord (as perceived by both the state and the
terrorist organisation that seeks independence) can lead to more emancipatory, everyday and self-
regulatory ways of peace, where the state will be its facilitator, rather than director. As such, it
takes stock from recent research that tries to “re-centre ‘ordinary’, ‘everyday’ experiences”
terrorism and the war on terrorism, and “to decentre the traditional prioritisation of the state and
national security therein”.
The side-lining of civil society (particularly by the state, since terrorists
almost invariably claim to speak and act on society’s behalf, irrespective of its wants and/or needs)
is not a characteristic that is exclusive to the Basque case. During the last two decades, scholars
have identified a number of instances where peacebuilding praxis is executed top-down and
operates inside exclusionary normative frameworks.
Particularly in cases where terrorist violence
is utilised, peacebuilding frameworks seem to favour institutional and national interests, and a kind
of security that is more statist than human.
Yet, the end result is often the opposite of these approaches’ agenda: the reinforcement of
the state’s securitisation that provokes or causes an even greater resistance by terrorist actors and
their circles of support, which in turn leads to the undermining of institutional and national
interests. Furthermore, political liberalism seems to be misinterpreted in order to reinvigorate the
securitisation agenda and thus lead to states that are only virtually liberal. In the case of nationalist
terrorist conflicts, for example, there is little attempt to genuinely negotiate claims of/for secession
and independence, and aim for a compromise with the resisting actors, even when such claims are
made by moderate, non-violent groupings and/or platforms, and through constitutionally and
institutionally accepted means. Instead, the established practice even by liberal democratic states
like Spain focuses on subverting, co-opting or suppressing said discourses, in order to maintain
‘docility’ and control.
In the Spanish case, the narrative of central governments (as opposed to
local or autonomous ones) was that “everything is ETA”,
thus seeking to delegitimise the entire
nationalist movement, rather than isolate only its extremist circles. Such discourses targeted even
the United Nations Special Rapporteur for raising the issue of torture by security agencies,
well as moderate nationalists who were targets of ETA because they aimed at achieving
independence in a non-violent fashion.
As a result, the conditions of conflict are replicated and
the achievement of security through emancipation is distanced even further, as is, by extrapolation,
the establishment of an inclusionary peace.
Taking into consideration the endless debates on its definition, ‘terrorism’ can be defined
as the incitement of, or threat to incite, terror in an attempt to maximise gains in a conflicting
political relationship. Despite the consensus that ‘terrorism’ is a method and/or a strategy to
conduct conflict,
there still exists a tendency to detach the phenomenon from its contextual bases,
despite the cautionary advice given.
More recently, certain frameworks have revisited terrorism
as a form of violence that can be called terrorism and which can only be understood as part of
a particular socio-political context”.
Anthropological studies have long held this view,
Social Movement Theorists
have re-conceptualised terrorism as “part of a wider, evolving
spectrum of movement tactics.
The implication of this is that if peace processes are to lead to non-violent frameworks of
normative, institutional, legal and socioeconomic acceptance, then they and their discourse(s) must
be as inclusionary as possible and not seek to marginalise actors whose aim is to unmask and
rectify grievances that emanate from identity issues. Particularly those with a non- or anti-violent
agenda are the actors that the state needs in order to marginalise the extremist factions that employ
the same grand narrative (in this instance, independence). On the contrary, the central state’s
narrative in Spain was not only that ETA’s violence was a threat to the people, but that Basque
nationalism’s aspirations were a threat to the state.
Narrative is understood here as a compelling storyline “which can explain events
convincingly and from which inferences can be drawn”.
According to Bamber, “narratives are
employed to make claims about ourselves and our identities”,
but as he notes, “master or
dominant narratives are not automatically hegemonic and complicity with them does not
automatically result in being complicit or supportive of hegemonic power-knowledge
This is of significant value because Basque civil society did not wholly side either
with ETA’s discourse of struggle or with the state’s narrative according to which nationalism is
as much a security problem as terrorism. This is key for the operability of the article’s framework
whereby a state can address independentist claims in a politically liberal fashion. That is, a) without
neglecting its responsibilities for the protection and security of its citizens, but also b) without
criminalising the entire discourse that highlights material and/or identity grievances from which
extremist violence emanates but is not the discourse’s sole representative. Such attempts to
criminalise moderate, non-violent nationalist discourse along with (or with the occasion of) its
more extremist manifestation(s) is precisely the object of critique of agonistic frameworks. Liberal
democracy’s prerequisite of unanimity and homogenisation as a precondition for politics equates
politics to administration
or, as Rancière put it, “consensus consists […] in the reduction of
politics to the police”.
In the remainder of the paper I first examine the potential that agonism and critical research
on peace can have in their analyses of how narrative discourses frame the agendas of actors that
are parties to ethno-terrorist conflicts. This is then followed by a brief historical background of the
Basque conflict that will contextualise the emergence of ETA and its dominance of the nationalist
narrative discourse,
and will help situate the reasons behind the rise of the Basque civil society
and its response towards the violence of the organisation as well as that of the state. The last section
presents the theoretical framework that seeks to highlight the circumstances under which a liberal
democratic state can intervene in a manner that does not deny legitimacy or continuity to claims
that seemingly contradict and contravene conceptual rigidities like institutional, constitutional and
territorial unity and sovereignty, and their practical applications under the pretext of the rule of
Narratives, Critical Peace Research and Agonism
The power of narrative to offer “a concrete story of some aspect of the world, complete with
characters, settings, outcomes or projected outcomes and plot”
means that “discourse – talk and
texts is the primary medium for social action”.
Most analyses of terrorist conflicts tend to
examine the discourses and narratives of the main antagonists of power and legitimacy (that is, the
state and the terrorists) and/or their respective elites. The local and narrative turns in peace and
conflict studies, however, have shifted the focus on the agency and significance of sub-state actors
whose role in conflicts has not always been accounted for. As Mac Ginty and Firchow state, “[t]he
broad story of insecurity and precariousness is there in both the top-bottom and bottom-up
versions, but the ‘stories’ are told differently. They contain different emphases, inflections and
The war of attrition between ETA and the state can be seen as an antagonism (that is,
competition) to impose their respective narrative discourse on the Basque populace which,
besides the anti-violent non-nationalists and the pro-nationalists that do not oppose violence, also
includes anti-independentist nationalists and pro-independentist but anti-violent nationalists. It is
for this reason that this paper recognises the state’s and the organisation’s discourses as
hegemonic, and the diverse Basque civil society actors as those involved in bottom-up attempts to
transform the contexts, the identities and the dynamics of the conflict. Indeed, as Bamberg affirms
“[i]t is within the space of everyday talk in interaction with others that narration plays its
constitutive role in the formation and navigation of identities as part of everyday practices and that
the potential for orientation toward human values takes form”.
Despite early calls by scholars for peace research to adopt a more critical stand that would
not be “identical with those of existing international institutions and […] of the rich and powerful
or “persons, groups and institutions perceived as powerful”,
but rather one that would
focus on “the power and competence of the allegedly powerless”,
it was not until recently that a
critical peace research agenda took shape and solidified. It was the realisation that the aim of liberal
uses and praxes of the concept of ‘peace’ was that of a disciplinary order through the replication
of hegemonic structures of cultural and political domination, exclusion and marginalisation
has resuscitated the necessity for a more critical agenda one that would recognise and uphold the
need for pluralist ontologies, epistemologies and methods that “should be broadly representative
of all actors at multiple levels, public and private, […] and of multiple identities”.
The aim is to
generate an emancipatory peace that is based on empathetic practices and discursive ethics that do
not exclude anyone. It envisages an ‘agonistic peace’ that sheds the dichotomies imposed by the
‘liberal-realist’ paradigm and allows us instead to “re-envision peace as a cacophonic and cluttered
terrain of political struggle, denoted by multi-layered and discontinuous sites of emergence”.
Agonism is defined here as “a range of contestational political strategies through which
exclusions, marginalisations and states of domination can be problematised, resisted and possibly
Unlike liberalism that seeks to overcome antagonisms through democracy,
views conflict as a permanent feature of politics but substitutes antagonistic enmity with
adversarial positionality”.
Agonistic politics value pluralism whereas liberalist accounts merely
acknowledge it as a fact.
This is because, “while liberalism tolerates plurality of voices […], it
does not permit or value these voices to the extent that it allow[s] for an emergence of an
emancipatory approach to human security”.
Hence, agonism and critical peace research have the
potential to subvert “statist agendas that often concentrate on institutions and traditional views of
security and peace”
and, thus, they can provide a framework whereby ‘peace’ and ‘security’ are
not equated with the victory of either the state or the terrorists over one another. Some recent
findings verify that the transformation of narrative discourses may generate transformations of the
conflict itself. For example, human rights issues can constitute fundamental pillars of
reconciliation and, to a certain extent, lead to the marginalisation of violence.
In the Basque case,
as is explained further below, this is verified by the increasing role played by the associations of
victims of terrorism, and the recognition by politicians (nation-wide, but also local) that their
invisibility constituted an injustice.
Moreover, supra-national organisations like the European
Union have transformed the rigidities of territorial integrity, national unity and indivisible
sovereignty into looser concepts,
thus providing both states and civil societies in ethno-national
conflicts with an impetus for resolution that was only imaginable in decades past.
Historical Background
The narrative discourse of ETA and the broader Basque nationalist movement derives from the
history of the Basques as a separate entity from Spain with its own customary laws,
administration and taxation systems. But confrontations and wars with the Spanish state meant
that territorial annexation during the Carlist wars,
and cultural assimilation and political
centralisation as a result of these, led to a gradual dissipation of the Basques’ ethnic identity and
culture. This is what led Sabino Arana to immerse himself in a historicist effort to revive language,
customs and traditions, and to found the Basque Nationalist Party (Partido Nacionalista Vasco
PNV) in 1895. While it is beyond this paper’s aims to provide a full account of the early revival
of Basqueness’,
the establishment of a collective identity and the emotional mechanisms of
that emanate from it became the main narrative for contemporary independentist
drives. As Northrup has explained, when a group perceives a threat to its identity, a powerful
distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’ begins to form,
and the distinction is cemented by “chosen
that is, the shared image of an event that causes a large group to feel victimised. This
narrative of victimisation is transmitted trans-generationally and is imprinted in the very identity
of said group. From Arana’s writings about the oppressed Basque nation to ETA’s more
contemporary ‘patriotism’, radical Basque nationalism’s narrative is one of a genealogy of
resistance to oppression.
The consolidation of the Francoist regime brought with it a general ban of anything that
highlighted the ethnic diversity of Spain’s communities (particularly so in the Basque Country),
which generated a spirit of apathy and inaction amongst the Basques. Two youth organisations, a
magazine founded by a group of upper middle class students and PNV’s youth, asked for support
and recognition from the exiled PNV, but the latter’s rejection was received as yet another sign of
political weakness and degeneration.
Their immediate response was the formation of ETA in
1959, thus stealing from PNV the exclusivity of legitimate representation.
ETA’s aims during its
early years, when it was influenced by the anti-colonial struggles and the violent strategies
developed during those, were for its violence to function as a wake-up call to the masses that the
Francoist regime was not as invincible as it had made it seem.
Its narrative of struggle (and fight)
was reflected in the language used about its operations: its members were the gudaris, which is
the name for the Basque soldiers that fought Franco’s forces in the Civil War, and its attacks were
known as ekintzas, from the verb ekin which means to do. As such, and aided by the fact that its
targets were representatives of the regime, it enjoyed broad support within the Spanish populace.
However, neither the transition to democracy nor the amnesty offered by the government in 1982
(accepted by the vast majority of activists) managed to eliminate the radical and extremist factions
of the Basque nationalist movement (MLNV) and the abertzale (patriotic) Left. Following the
transition to democracy, ETA saw in violence the possibility of putting pressure on the state to
participate in negotiations and concede politically that the creation of a Basque state is
unavoidable. This alienated the Spanish public and a small sector of the Basque society.
During those years, ETA still counted with the support of a significant segment of the
Basque population. Yet, from the mid-1990s and until the turn of the century, public opinion both
in the Basque Country and the rest of Spain overwhelmingly and vocally rejected ETA’s terrorist
practices. In the Basque Country in particular, the broadening of ETA’s targets that now included
any individual (academics, journalists, local councillors, entrepreneurs) that dared publicly oppose
or criticise ETA, led to political and social asphyxiation, whose externalisation came in the form
of civil society initiatives that included mass protests, roundtables and dialogue workshops. On
the other hand, non- and anti-violent, moderate, nationalist circles also felt victimised and targeted
by the central authorities simply because their calls for a public consultation on the process of
independence contravened the constitutional and territorial unity of Spain. Thus, a large part of the
civil society in the Basque Country found itself in a situation where criticising the terrorists would
have them targeted by ETA, while expressing their independentist aspirations would have them
targeted by the state.
The following section describes those circumstances that led the local civil society to
assume an increasingly active role in the marginalisation of both ETA’s terrorist and Spain’s
aggressively defensive discourse and policies. While it may appear simplistic to present the
tensions and the complexities of the conflict in a binary conceptualisation (civil society vs.
terrorism and civil society vs. the state), it is nonetheless useful in contextualising the criticisms
directed towards the liberal peace paradigm and how its limited focus on state security (through
the safeguarding of territoriality and sovereignty) restricts its ability to generate a more inclusive
security-by-peace. Furthermore, what allows civil society to be the space where actors translate
concerns into priorities for change is its dual ontology, at once connected to and differentiated
from the state.
From a narrative perspective, this dichotomisation also allows for the analytic
distinction between the three main groups: ETA and the abertzale Left, with their discourse on
violence being the catalyst for independence; the state and its discourse that the only problem is
that of violence, since recognition of historical grievances is granted by the implementation of
constitutional autonomy; and the diverse Basque civil society actors, all of whom, nonetheless,
converge in the elimination of violence from both ETA and the State.
Civil Society: Reclaiming Politics from the Terrorists and the State
Civil Society vs. ETA
During the transition to democracy ETA intensified its campaign: more than 200 attacks took place
every year between 1978 and 1982, with 1980 recorded as the bloodiest year in the country’s
contemporary history.
ETA’s continued activity following the end of the dictatorship shook the
broader Spanish public that now viewed the organisation not as dictatorship-fighters but, rather,
as ruthless criminals with no regard neither for human life nor for democratic politics. The Basque
public, on the other hand, did not react in a similar fashion, as it was experiencing a type of violence
that was three-dimensional: a) the violence of the extreme-right that supported the former Francoist
dictatorship and targeted nationalists and non-nationalists alike; b) ETA’s vanguardist strategies;
and c) the violence emanating from the overall lack of democracy and lack of self-government.
During the 1990s, ETA brought much of its campaign to the Basque Country. Its target selection
broadened to include journalists, academics and moderate nationalists as well as state-party
councillors and politicians. In 1997, two of its kidnappings had an important repercussion in the
public’s perception of and stand against ETA. In the first case, the victim (a prison worker) was
held for 532 days and the plan was to starve him to death unless the central authorities agreed to
the transfer of Basque prisoners into Basque prisons. The image of a skinny and extremely
debilitated young man that emerged from a cellar brought memories of Nazi concentration camps
and generated great antipathy, even among the organisation’s followers.
A week after his release,
the organisation kidnapped Miguel Ángel Blanco, a young town-councillor belonging to the
Popular Party (Partido Popular PP), and gave the authorities 48 hours for all ETA prisoners to
be moved to Basque prisons. The short period of time given to the government to complete the
task made the victim’s execution certain. His death provoked massive, multiple and, most
importantly, spontaneous demonstrations with the message directed simultaneously towards ETA,
to put an end to its attacks, as well as “to the policy makers to start working seriously on a solution
to the conflict”.
The instances of attacks and arson on the party offices of Herri Batasuna (HB -
political arm of ETA, later renamed to Batasuna) throughout the Basque Country were the most
vivid trace of the popular sentiment towards nationalist extremism.
Despite the unpopular
environment they found themselves in, HB officials blamed the central government’s inaction and
the moderate nationalists’ stand for Blanco’s execution. The result was the identification of the
party by the public as nothing more than ETA itself,
a stance whose repercussions reverberate
until the present.
ETA’s extremism transformed the Basque public’s attitude and narrative of what it means
to be Basque, bringing with it an end to the ‘years of silence’.
This change in narrative began
with the emergence of civil society organisations that allowed ordinary people to raise their voices
against ETA. Among the first such organisations was Co-ordination of a Gesture for Peace in the
Basque Country (Coordinadora Gesto por la Paz en Euskal Herria) in 1987, consisting of various
small pacifist groups whose aim was to instigate and sustain a pacifist social response to terrorist
violence, including among others silent manifestations in the immediate aftermath of terrorist
attacks, and support of individuals and groups affected by political violence.
organisation, Lokarri (previously known as Elkarri), sought to emphasise the political character
of the conflict through its activities that included workshops and dialogue sessions between the
members of the local society as well as rapprochement and meetings between local and state-wide
Such an attitude was imperative because nationalist sentiments did not die out during
ceasefires. This confirms that, for the state, the root cause of the conflict in the Basque country
was the demand for independence and not just the violence perpetrated by an extremist group.
The political character of some of these organisations and their call for an end to all types of
political violence, including the counter-terrorist policies of the state, have been criticised for not
being sufficiently anti-terrorist,
even though it is recognised that they have contributed to the
draining of “human and material resources from the area of influence of ETA”.
This draining of
resources was perceived of by ETA as a threat because, while it recognised the utility and
profitability of the absence of violence for the broader movement’s aim of independence, its
narrative as the legitimate mouthpiece of an oppressed nation did not lead to an abandonment of
The result of this change in Basque society’s narrative of justification of violence and the
support it aggregated through the years led Batasuna to declare in 2010 that it would pursue
independence solely through political means,
thus rupturing its close ties with ETA and
questioning the latter’s supremacy in the discourse of independence.
Batasuna did not manage
to avoid illegalisation, but the formation and electoral success of new separatist, non-extremist
political parties (like Aralar, Bildu and Sortu, among others) verify the potency of pacifist and/or
anti-violent movements. In true agonistic form, one reaction that summarises the change in both
the narrative about and the attitude against ETA is that of the protests that followed the
organisation’s attacks in 2009: taking advantage of social media’s contribution to quick
mobilisation, Basque civil society reacted with the slogan “Seceding does not mean blood-
spilling” (“separar no es llenar de sangre”).
Furthermore, associations that were previously
closely linked to ETA’s circles formed civic organisations that copied the moves and actions of
the first civic platforms that emerged in the Basque country, like Gesto and Lokarri, in an attempt
to remain visible and not be wiped off the political map. For instance, organisations like Gestoras
pro Amnistía that deal with the issue of prisoners and their relatives (Sanideak), and whose
counter-manifestations used to be intimidating and/or leading to street violence, have also
transformed their militant character into a more civic one. The opposition they faced from
mainstream platforms that represented the vast majority of the local anti-violent society and ETA’s
ceasefire meant that this was an opportunity
for their ontological context to change.
Civil Society vs. the State
Collaboration between state structures and non- or anti-violent civil society actors in ethno-
nationalist conflicts is a rare occurrence when it comes to the marginalisation and elimination of
violence. There are two reasons for this, which usually complement each other. On the one hand,
civil society actors particularly those of the anti-violent nationalist circles find it difficult to
offer their loyalty and ascribe legitimacy to a structure that has been discriminating against them,
persecuting them or refusing to satisfy their grievances. On the other hand, the Westphalian
understandings of the state and its rigidity when it comes to national security and sovereignty, and
protection of territorial integrity and unity, are not conducive to the formulations of frameworks
whereby non- or anti-violent circles are more favourable to the state’s ontology than the
elimination of an entire discourse that will, in turn, generate further narratives of victimisation,
opposition and resistance. This argument is in line with findings that show that the state’s
application of power has failed to eliminate socio-political and socio-economic conflicts,
or that
terrorism cannot be fought with solely punitive
and potentially counterproductive
measures. With regards to the reactions of the nationalist sector of Basque civil society, its
historical memories consisted largely of the Francoist repression and the experiences of the
aforementioned three-dimensional violence. The transition to democracy did not ameliorate this
situation to a level that would have been acceptable to the overall majority of the local society.
Indeed, such was the mistrust of the local population towards the state that the transition itself was
perceived as yet another instance whereby the state was trying to ‘trick’ the Basques into more
discrimination and oppression.
In practical terms, this meant that the same security forces that
operated during the Franco regime had now been transformed into the police officers of the
democratic state. But changing uniforms does not necessarily generate a change of practices and
The Spanish state did not succeed in exploiting the alienation that the terrorist violence had
caused in those circles that rejected extremism but still justified ETA’s violence. Instead, there
have been instances where the Basque perceptions of victimisation have been reinforced by the
state’s counter-terrorist behaviour, because they were received as anti-nationalist, rather than anti-
terrorist. The Almeria incident in 1981, where three young men were arrested, tortured and finally
shot dead by the Civil Guard, the national police force, who mistook them for etarras (ETA
members) even though they were not even Basques, is indicative of the state’s brutality and lack
of its accountability.
The Anti-terrorist Liberation Groups (GAL Grupos Antiterroristas de
Liberación) of the mid-1980s were formed with the objective of targeting suspected etarras.
However, the end result was the death of 27 people (half of them unrelated to ETA and the other
half only suspected to have links to the organisation) and the confirmation that the orthodox
understanding of solving terrorist conflicts lies in the use of power in order to a) eliminate the
power demands presented by terrorism, and b) demotivate others from doing so again. Particularly
in the context of a liberal democratic state, this discourse seeks to leave undisputed the legitimacy
and ontology of the central state through the use of institutionalised channels that are already in
place and seek to rectify grievances and give voice to minorities.
This argument, however, is
problematic because it centres on the fact that the interests and agendas of a ‘permanent’ minority
will always clash with those of a ‘permanent’ majority, leaving no room for resolution.
Furthermore, even in instances where negotiations or mediations take place (as was the case in the
Basque Country), the end result is a negotiation of power between the two main parties (often as
part of a war of attrition) which leaves the vast majority of society outside any frameworks of
peace formation and peace building.
During the 1990s, the first government of José Maria Aznar declared that appeasement was
not going to provide a sustainable solution.
‘Appeasement’, however, is one side of the coin,
with the other one being ‘opportunities for peace’. Taking risks for peace was what motivated
PNV’s government at the time to engage in talks with other parties and associations. Successive
Basque governments went as far as to publish plans for increased autonomy and even
independence, in an effort to sideline ETA. Nonetheless, said initiatives would always clash with
the governmental narrative’s rigidity and unidimensional focus on sovereignty and territoriality.
This became even more evident when Aznar’s government rejected the Pact of Lizarra an
agreement reached by all nationalist parties in the Basque Country in 1998 that brought the first
indefinite and unilateral ceasefire by ETA in its history.
Aznar’s reaction was to criminalise the
entire nationalist movement because the document included a clause that recognised the
sovereignty of the Basque people.
Even more importantly, Aznar’s government leaked the names
of the negotiators that were taking part in negotiation rounds in Zurich in 1999, resulting in the
arrest of one of the two interlocutors.
If anything, such attitudes do not demonstrate a
commitment to ceasefire attempts, but rather reconfirm that restoration of power is the only
objective. In 2003, after having secured an absolute majority, Aznar’s government closed down
Egunkaria (the only newspaper at the time published in euskara) and had its staff arrested. The
social reaction was much stronger than it had been when Batasuna was banned a year earlier by
the same government, because the former was perceived as an attack on the freedom of speech,
whereas the latter had long been viewed as nothing more than ETA’s mouthpiece, with minimal
commitment to peace efforts. As Conversi observed, the very Francoist roots of PP were now laid
bare to see and were rediscovered as an argument of popular polemics”.
The vilifying aspect of this narrative manifested itself again in 2004 after Al Qaeda’s train
bombings in Madrid: Aznar’s government reaction was to blame ETA and the Basque nationalist
movement. In 2011, following the formation of a new separatist party (Sortu)
that explicitly
rejected violent and extremist politics as a means to achieve independence, Spain’s Supreme Court
banned it on the grounds that it emerged from the circles of Batasuna therefore its non-violent
rhetoric was not sufficiently credible, despite the fact that local politicians welcomed its rejection
of the terrorist organisation.
The Spanish government refused to even recognise the work of the
International Verification Commission (IVC) on ETA’s disarmament, with the Interior minister
claiming that ETA’s defeat will not be the result of the work put in by verifiers but by the Spanish
Police and the Civil Guard.
Soon after the first inspection and decommissioning meeting, the
Spanish High Court summoned and questioned the two IVC members about the identity and
whereabouts of ETA members.
This narrative of territorial integrity and institutional pre-eminence in the face of non-
violent demands verifies the agonistic critique of liberalism’s intolerance of plurality and the
supremacy of consensus. In the Spanish case, the governmental (narrative’s) definition of
‘consensus’ (the rejection of demands for independence) contradicts the definition of the
nationalist narrative (condemnation and rejection of violence). To that extent, there is even
disagreement as to whether a ‘conflict’ exists. Some scholars, for example, have argued that the
‘Basque conflict is a “rhetorical device that legitimises or explains the practice of political
violence”, “by identifying Basque history with the history of the ‘conflict’”.
What is more, the
narrative of the ‘Basque conflict’ has undergone a scientific normalisation
that has cemented the
“somewhat misleading” perception that “a conflict between the Basque Country and Spain as
distinct territorial entities” exists.
Such claims allude to every nation’s historicist effort to
connect memory and history in order to create the ‘nation’,
virtually always through the use of
As explained earlier in this article, narratives (particularly of the nationalist kind) may
not reflect historical reality, yet their constructs dictate action that has very real effects. This,
however, is equally true of the narratives of the state (which is also based on and propagates a
national narrative). The fact that territoriality, sovereignty and the different ways of governance
and governability are socially constructed, indicates that there are possibilities for alternative
In that sense, then, any state that seeks security-by-peace should refrain from
readily applying the ‘terrorist’ tag to groups, communities or movements that seek to alter its
institutional and conceptual rigidities, particularly when said demands are formulated with the
explicit and unequivocal rejection of violence.
An Agonistic Framework of Peace in Ethno-terrorist Conflicts
Nationalisms are neither bad, nor good.
Rather, they are the products of their own social, political
and economic environments, as well as their historical trajectory. This has become increasingly
evident in the Basque Country, where civil society has for years rejected violent and extremist
manifestations. Yet, its requests for political progress on the nationalist front have been at best
and at worst criminalised by the state. Thus, Basque civil society has developed a
political culture that allowed it to bypass and substitute the lack of state-wide and local parties’
political will to initiate a process of inclusionary resolution of the conflict. The emergence of civil
society initiatives across the political spectrum (from anti-nationalist and anti-extremist, to pro-
amnesty and pro-independence platforms) has circumvented the hegemonic narratives according
to which peace can only be achieved once either the state or the terrorist organisation have admitted
defeat. It is important for any peacebuilding effort to have an accurately contextualised picture of
the broader movement that it faces, and which includes extremist fractions. This is because the
very objectives espoused by the extremist circles (independence) are also shared by a larger section
of the population the difference is in how they aim to achieve their objectives. By focusing
strategically on the prevention of violence and conflict and unencumbered by certain policy and
related definitional constraints, peacebuilders can work with the ambiguity that comes in situations
in which lawmakers and enforcers may be part of the problem”.
The ethnosymbolic paradigm
has explained how myths and symbols are the driving
motor of nationalist narratives. It is they who make up nationalism as a whole and, more
importantly, it is they who create belief structures that are strong enough to turn individuals into
agents of violence: “It is this remembered history, invariably oversimplified, with heroes and
villains overdrawn, that mobilises and motivates the next generation”.
Political violence, then, is
legitimised by the nationalist narrative that connects past, present and future,
“as it is [the only
method] that will ultimately restore the nation’s original purity”.
In a schematic way this could
be expressed as nationalism leading to terrorism, when a powerful, action-oriented narrative
shapes nationalist discourse:
Nationalism Terrorism
Figure 1
The Spanish authorities have accepted the nationalist dimension of the problem, but only
insofar as autonomy is concerned. Claims for independence are perceived as a nationalist threat
and equated to terrorism, as evidenced by reactions following the collaboration of moderate
nationalist forces with the nationalist left in 1998,
or Aznar’s request to non-nationalist
politicians who participated in peace conferences to decide whether they side with the victims or
the perpetrators of terrorism.
This counter-narrative has inhibited an inclusionary, legitimate
and everyday peace, because the state has been unsuccessful in identifying the instance(s) and/or
process(es) whereby the narrative that gives rise to nationalism, transforms itself into the motor of
legitimacy for the utilisation of political violence. While it has been shown that participation in
radical actions acts as a self-reinforcing mechanism of further radicalisation,
it has also been
shown that the existence of structural as well as psychological factors affect and influence not only
the interactions between radicals but also their predisposition towards violence as a non-useful,
non-viable political strategy.
Narrative {CT} Nationalism Terrorism
Figure 2
Figure 2 shows how counter-terrorist (CT) measures are applied to the narrative of cultural
difference (which the state accepts), yet targeting this difference as the cause of terrorism. The
article’s argument, as shown in Figure 3, is that an agonistic, peace-oriented approach would
involve not only measured and accurate responses to terrorist violence but also an agonistic
engagement with the equally agonistic peaceful/non-violent nationalist demands that emanate
from the same narrative. The aim of such attitudes, if and when reflected in policies, is not solely
the elimination of extremism and provocations by a range of actors. Rather, it involves an
understanding of peace that is broader and more substantial than the absence of violence. As such,
the transformation of the statist narrative from one of rejection and delegitimization of non- and
anti-violent nationalist discourses to an agonist engagement with them could have potentially
attracted similar agonist perceptions, as well as make evident violence’s pointlessness.
Narrative Nationalism Terrorism
Counter-terrorism Agonism
Figure 3
Of course, the cessation of terrorist violence is not solely dependent on civil society’s reactions or
the state’s counter-terrorism policies, but is also contingent on the internal dynamics of the terrorist
organisation itself, as well as the international context of the time. Nonetheless, civil society and
state reactions are equally important factors in the marginalisation of extremism. The reactions of
the local society have shown that members of a nationalist movement may diverge in how they
aim to achieve the movement’s objectives. More than that, however, its calls for the disappearance
of ETA and, at the same time, the advancement of a political resolution to the conflict by the state
and the actors associated with it, have shown that peace is a more important priority than
independence itself. Peace, in other words, is not simply the absence of violence from the extremist
circles which is, incidentally, the statist interpretation. Nor is it the absence of violence and
provocations from the state who wants to impose its realities and agenda(s) on the local population.
An agonistic framework of policy in ethno-nationalist conflicts, therefore, is one that does not deal
with non-violent nationalist calls in an exclusionary fashion because it assumes they will result in
diminished sovereignty and reduced territorial integrity. Rather, it engages with them in the same
fashion as it does with any other manifestation of politics by bargaining, dialogue and
Based on studies that have shown the mechanisms by which ethno-terrorist practices usurp the
broader ethno-nationalist discourse,
this paper has argued that an agonistic, “post-terrorist”
framework of peace can constitute a tool of conflict transformation. More concretely, it has
suggested a way in which the transition from ethno-nationalism to ethno-terrorism can be disrupted
if the cultural and ethno-symbolic mechanisms that operate behind that transition are intervened
upon. Such a framework allows the state to isolate the extremist and militant elements from the
broader (often non- or even anti-violent) nationalist discourse they claim to represent. Two
parameters need to be considered here: First, the state must recognise that, in terms of capabilities
and legitimation, it is itself the most important actor in the alleviation of the grievances as projected
by broader nationalist narratives. The latter should be approached through the prisms of territorial
integrity and the supremacy of sovereignty. This is of great significance when it comes to the
exercise of decision-making power with regards to the identification of ‘extremists’ as well as of
‘violence’. The Spanish government, for example, sought to broaden the definition of terrorism by
including acts that tried to “subvert the constitutional order” and “alter the public peace” (for which
it was criticised by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of human rights while countering
Similarly, non-nationalist/anti-independentist discourses would argue that the
pursuit of independence even by strictly political means is extremist and a form of violence against
them. The relativity of these concepts,
however, does not mean that agonistic politics is all-
inclusive. As Peterson argues, “[p]ositions and actors can still be excluded if they do not contribute
to the debate regarding how peace can be furthered, if they have no interest in furthering human
The second parameter is that the state can only be successful in promoting its narrative that
a non-violent, political process is preferable for the ethno-nationalist circles, if it is seen to be
engaging with the latter in a way that generates confidence rather than alienation. Conversely,
further alienation is more probable if it decides to radicalise or harden its anti-terrorist policies and
practices to include the targeting of non-violent nationalist elements. The battle of narratives, even
six years after the abandonment of violence, is still ongoing. According to Murua, a faction of
the PP, the main association of ETA’s victims and some Spanish media outlets have claimed that
ETA has obtained a political victory” simply because the Nationalist Left and the legalisation of
Bildu “enabled an electoral victory of ‘ETA’”.
From a peacebuilding perspective, such delegitimising and exclusionary discourses only
reinforce the dichotomies generated by conflictive narratives and they ignore the potential that
dialogue, deliberation and negotiation have for the resolution of terrorist conflicts. In the case of
Spain, successive governments (including Aznar’s) have manifested double standards when it
came to their proactive conflict resolution efforts elsewhere and their attitude with regards to the
conflict in the Basque Country. Whitfield notes that photographs of PP officials welcoming Raúl
Reyes, the FARC’s leading negotiator, in February 2000 openly contradicted Aznar’s statements
regarding the need to defeat, not enter into dialogue with, terrorists”.
Basque society’s re-
emergence from the ‘years of silence’ is a direct result of the polarisation of the terrorist and statist
discourses. This is evident from the records of citizen fora and civic meetings that included
Basques of various political leanings. In those meetings, demands for ETA’s cessation of violence
were accompanied by calls (even by non-nationalists) to the Spanish government to modify aspects
of its penitentiary policy that are said to violate human rights, including an end to the controversial
dispersal policy.
This alternative, peace-seeking narrative that judged state and non-state actors
“on the basis of whether they contribute[d] to the security and freedom of human beings and their
was picked up only by non-governmental organisations, citizen’s initiatives and civil
society platforms. The findings of a recent survey in the Basque Country are quite telling: new
social movements and NGOs such as those that contributed to the capitulation of ETA enjoy
significant levels of support (82% and 77% respectively) while 85% of respondents disapprove of
the central Spanish Government. Furthermore, out of all major institutions, only the Basque
government and the Basque Parliament enjoy majoritarian support (66% and 62% respectively).
Had these signals been picked up earlier by the only actors able to translate popular tendencies and
demands, that is, the state authorities and political parties, then perhaps ETA’s ceasefire would
have come much earlier than 2011.
This article was supported by a Kyung Hee University Grant (KHU-20160594).
Notes on Contributor
Ioannis Tellidis is Associate Professor of International Relations at the College of International Studies,
Kyung Hee University. He is also Associate Editor of the journal Peacebuilding. His interests lie in
terrorism and political violence, peace and conflict studies, and the emergence of new actors in International
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Jacques Rancière, Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics, transl. by Steven Corcoran (London: Continuum, 2010), p.
“A discourse that is an account of events, usually in the past, that employs verbs of speech, motion, and action to
describe a series of events that are contingent on one another, and that typically focuses on one or more performers of
actions”. Susan Anderson, Dwight Day, Paul C. Jordan, Eugene E. Loos and J. Douglas Wingate, eds., Glossary of
Linguistic Terms (Dallas, TX: SIL International Digital Resources, 2003), available at (accessed 18 September 2016).
Mona Baker, “Narratives of terrorism and security: ‘accurate’ translations, suspicious frames,Critical Studies on
Terrorism 3(3) (2010), pp. 347-364 (p. 349).
Jonathan Potter and Alexa Hepburn, “Discursive Psychology: Mind, and reality in practice,in Ann Weatherall,
Bernadette M. Watson and Cindy Galois, eds., Language, Discourse and Social Psychology (Basingstoke: Palgrave,
2007), pp. 160-181 (p. 160).
Roger Mac Ginty and Pamina Firchow, “Top-down and bottom-up narratives of peace and conflict,Politics 36(3)
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Michael Bamberg, "Identity and Narration", in Peter Hühn et al., eds., The Living Handbook of Narratology
(Hamburg: Hamburg University Press, 2012), available at
(accessed 14 September 2016)
Herman Schmid, “Peace Research and Politics,Journal of Peace Research 5(3) (1968), pp. 217-232 (p. 221).
Berenice A. Caroll, “Peace Research: The Cult of Power,Journal of Conflict Resolution 16(4) (1972), pp. 585-616
(p. 605).
Herbert G. Reid and Ernest J. Yanarella, “Toward a Theory of Critical Peace Research in the United States: The
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Rosemary E. Shinko, “Agonistic Peace: A Postmodern Reading,Millennium 36(3) (2008), pp. 473-491.
Oliver P. Richmond, “Reclaiming Peace in International Relations,Millennium 36(3) (2008), pp. 439-470 (p. 462)
my emphasis.
Shinko, “Agonistic Peace: A Postmodern Reading,p. 490.
Ibid., p. 477.
Eva Erman, ‘What is wrong with agonistic pluralism? Reflections on conflict in democratic theory’, Philosophy and
Social Criticism 35(9) (2009), pp. 1039-1062.
Shinko, “Agonistic Peace: A Postmodern Reading,p. 477.
Chantal Mouffe, The Democratic Paradox (London: Verso, 2000), p.19.
Jenny H. Peterson, Creating space for emancipatory human security: Liberal obstructions and the potential of
agonism,” International Studies Quarterly 57(2) (2013), pp. 318-328.
Mac Ginty and Firchow, “Top-down and bottom-up narratives of peace and conflict,” p. 309.
Iosif Kovras, “De-Linkage processes and grassroots movements in transitional justice,Co-operation and Conflict
47(1) (2012), pp. 88-105.
Whitfield, Endgame for ETA, p.110; Rogelio Alonso, “Victims of ETA’s terrorism as an interest group: Evolution,
influence and impact on the political agenda of Spain,Terrorism and Political Violence 29(6) (2017), pp. 985-1005.
Richmond and Tellidis, “The complex relationship between peacebuilding and terrorism approaches”; Cathal McCall,
“Culture and the Irish border: Spaces for conflict transformation”, Co-operation and Conflict 46(2) (2011), pp. 201-221.
The wars (1833-39 and 1872-76) were named ‘Carlist’ because of a controversy between King Ferdinand VII and his
brother, Don Carlos. Whereas the King wished to be succeeded by his daughter Isabel, his brother denied the validity of
the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830 that abolished the Salian law (according to which succession could only take place by a
male heir to the throne). Don Carlos had the support of the traditionalists whereas Isabel counted with the support of the
liberals as well as that of France and Britain. The Basque country experienced the bulk of the violence, leading several
authors to term them “Basque Civil Wars”. See Marianne Heiberg, The Making of Basque Nation (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 37; Cameron J. Watson, Basque Nationalism and Political Violence: The
Ideological and Intelectual Origins of ETA (Reno: University of Nevada, 2007), p. 37.
For a detailed account of the early phases of Basque Nationalism, see Heiberg, The Making of Basque Nation;
Conversi, The Basques, the Catalans and Spain; Watson, Basque Nationalism and Political Violence; Ludger Mees,
Nationalism, Violence and Democracy (Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave, 2003).
Donatella della Porta, “On Violence and Repression: A Relational Approach,Government and Opposition 49(2)
(2014), pp. 159-187.
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Vamik Volkan, Bloodlines: From Ethnic Pride to Ethnic Terrorism (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997).
Diego Muro, “The politics of war memory in radical Basque nationalism,Ethnic and Racial Studies 32(4) (2009),
pp. 659-678 (p. 670).
Heiberg, The Making of Basque Nation, p. 106
Conversi, The Basques, the Catalans and Spain, p. 89
Juen Zabalo and Mike Saratxo, “ETA ceasefire: Armed struggle vs. political practice in Basque nationalism,
Ethnicities 15(3) (2015), pp. 362-384 (p. 367).
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Mees, Nationalism, Violence and Democracy, p. 34.
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(Madrid: Alianza, 1998)
Mees, Nationalism, Violence and Democracy, pp. 74-75.
¡Basta Ya! Iniciativa Ciudadana, Euskadi: Del Sueño a la Vergüenza (Barcelona: Ediciones B, 2004), p. 260.
Mees, Nationalism, Violence and Democracy, p. 80
On 17 August 2016, the Collective of the Victims of Terrorism asked the Spanish National Court to forbid the
candidature for prime-ministership of recently-released-from-prison and former leader of Batasuna, Arnaldo Otegi. The
petition was approved by Spain’s Constitutional Court in September 2016. See Manuel Marraco, “El Constitucional
cierra a Otegi la posibilidad de ser candidato en estas elecciones y las siguientes”, El Mundo (7 September 2016),
available at (accessed 7 September
In the early years of the transition, local society considered ETA to be a sort of ‘punisher’ and its victims’ deaths
were usually shrugged off with the assumption that they must have done something that merited their targeting by ETA.
See Florencio Domínguez Irribarren, De la Negociación a la Tregua ¿El final de ETA? (Madrid: Taurus, 1998), pp. 240
and 253-254.
Coordinadora Gesto por la Paz en Euskal Herria, “Lineas de Fondo” (November 1989), p. 3.
Lokarri, “Founding Document” (March 2006), p. 2.
Interview with the director of Elkarri at the time, Gorka Espiau, Bilbao, 22 November 2004.
Alonso, “Victims of ETA’s terrorism as an interest group,” p. 4; Martín Alonso and Fernando Molina, “Historical
narratives, violence and nation: Reconsidering ‘the Basque Conflict’,” in Rafael Leonisio, Fernando Molina and Deigo
Muro, eds., ETA’s Terrorist Campaign: From Violence to Politics, 1968-2015 (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017), pp. 165-
Maria José Funes, “Social Responses to Political Violence in the Basque Country: Peace Movements and their
Audience,Journal of Conflict Resolution 42(4) (1998), pp. 493-510 (p. 508).
André Lecours, “Violence as politics: ETA and Basque nationalism,” in Stephen M. Saideman and Marie-Joelle
Zahar, eds., Intra-State Conflict, Governments and Security: Dilemmas of Deterrence and Assurance (New York:
Routledge, 2008), pp.120-137 (pp. 133-134).
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Luis R. Aizpeolea, “Intención política y posibilidades jurídicas,El País (28 April 2011), available at: (accessed 30 September 2016).
A. Ciriza, “‘Separatistas, no: terroristas’,El País (31 July 2009), available at: (accessed 30 September
Doug McAdam, Sidney Tarrow and Charles Tilly, Dynamics of Contention (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
John Burton, Deviance, Terrorism and War (Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1979).
Martha Crenshaw, “The logic of terrorism: Terrorist behaviour as a product of strategic choice,” in Walter Reich, ed.,
Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind (Washington D.C.: Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars; Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 7-24 (p.17).
Javier Argomaníz and Alberto Vidal-Díez, “Examining Deterrence and Backlash Effects in Counter-Terrorism: The
Case of ETA,Terrorism and Political Violence 27(1) (2015), pp. 160-181 (p. 176).
Conversi, The Basques, the Catalans and Spain, pp. 148-149.
Mees, Nationalism, Violence and Democracy, p. 35.
John Bew, Martyn Frampton and Iñigo Gurruchaga, Talking to terrorists: Making peace in Northern Ireland and the
Basque Country (London: Hurst & Co., 2009), p. 192.
Conor Cruise O’Brien, “Terrorism under democratic conditions: the case of the IRA,” in Martha Crenshaw, ed.,
Terrorism, Legitimacy and Power: The Consequences of Political Violence (Scranton: Wesleyan University Press,
1983), pp. 91-104 (p. 93); Paul Wilkinson, “Some observations on the relationship between terrorism and freedom,” in
Martin Warner and Roger Crisp, eds., Terrorism, Protest and Power (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1990), pp. 44-53.
Aznar, quoted in Mees, Nationalism, Violence and Democracy, p. 116.
Although useful, a detailed analysis of the role of both the Basque Government(s) and the Basque Parliament(s) is
outside of the scope of this article.
The document called for the continuation of negotiations without the exclusion of any of the implicated parties, even
though direct mention of ETA was avoided. Furthermore, the agreement defined the Basque conflict as a purely
political one, calling for the continuation of agenda-less negotiations for the resolution of the conflict and, more
crucially, recognising the sovereignty of the citizens of the Basque Country. See Mees, Nationalism, Violence and
Democracy, pp. 139-141.
Daniele Conversi, “Why do peace processes collapse? The Basque conflict and the three-spoilers perspective,” in
Edward Newman and Oliver P. Richmond, eds., Challenges to Peacebuilding: Managing Spoilers During Conflict
Resolution (New York; Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2006), pp. 173-199 (p.182).
Mees, Nationalism, Violence and Democracy, p. 139.
Conversi, “Why do peace processes collapse?”, p. 185.
Bildu, another coalition consisting mainly of two legal parties (social-democratic Eusko Alkartasuna and
Alternatiba), was also initially banned by the Supreme Court. However, on May 5th 2011, the day the election campaign
began, the Court overturned its decision and allowed Bildu to participate with full legal status.
Stephen Burgen, “‘New’ ETA Political Wing Rejects Violence,The Guardian (7 February 2011), available at (accessed 2 April 2012).
“Basque ETA militants ‘put some arms beyond use’”, BBC News (21 February 2014), available at: (accessed 13 March 2014).
“ETA mediators quizzed in Spanish High Court”, BBC News (23 February 2014), available at: (accessed 13 March 2014).
Alonso and Molina, “Historical narratives, violence and nation”, pp. 171-172.
Ibid., p. 169.
Sanjay Jeram and Daniele Conversi, “Deliberation and Democracy at the End of Armed Conflict: Postconflict
Opportunities in the Basque Country,” in Jun E. Ugarriza and Didier Caluwaerts, eds., Democratic Deliberation in
Deeply Divided Societies: From Conflict to Common Ground (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 53-72, (p.
Pierre Nora, “Between memory and history: Les lieux de memoire,Representations 26 (1989), pp. 7-24.
Anthony D. Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986); Anthony D. Smith, Nationalism and
Modernism (London; N.Y.: Routledge, 1998); Anthony D. Smith, Myths and Memories of the Nation (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1999).
Alberto Melucci, “Getting Involved: Identity and Mobilization in Social Movements”, International Social Movement
Research 1 (1988), pp. 329-348.
Peter Alter, Nationalism (London: Arnold, 1992), p. 2.
Jeram and Conversi, “Deliberation and Democracy”, p. 63.
Georgia Holmer, “Countering Violent Extremism: A Peacebuilding Perspective,Special Report 336 (Washington
D.C.: United Institutes of Peace, September 2013), p. 5.
See note 93.
Louise Richardson, What Terrorists Want (London: John Murray, 2006), p. 4.
Matthew Levinger and Paula Franklin Lyttle, “Myth and mobilisation: the triadic structure of nationalist rhetoric,
Nations and Nationalism 7(2) (2001), pp. 175-194.
Diego Muro, “Nationalism and nostalgia: the case of radical Basque nationalism”, Nations and Nationalism 11(4)
(2005), pp. 571-589 (p. 586).
Whitfield, Endgame for ETA, pp. 85-86.
Ibid., p.112.
della Porta, Social Movements, Political Violence and the State.
Remy Cross and David A. Snow, “Radicalism within the Context of Social Movements: Processes and Types,
Journal of Strategic Security 4(4) (2011), pp. 115-130.
Levinger and Lyttle, “Myth and mobilisation”; Muro, “Nationalism and nostalgia”.
Richmond and Tellidis, “The complex relationship between peacebuilding and terrorism approaches”.
UN Human Right Council, ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur’ Martin Scheinin, Addendum: Mission to Spain, 16
December 2008, A/HRC/10/3/Add.2, paras. 8, 9, 10. *double-check reference of legal document
Mark Sedgwick, “The concept of radicalization as a source of confusion”, Terrorism and Political Violence 22(4)
(2010), pp. 479-494.
Peterson, ‘Creating space for emancipatory human security’, p. 326.
Imanol Murua, “No more bullets for ETA: the loss of internal support as a key factor in the end of the Basque
group’s campaign”, Critical Studies on Terrorism 10(1) (2017), pp. 93-114 (p. 107).
Whitfield, Endgame for ETA, p. 125.
Jeram and Conversi, “Deliberation and Democracy”, p. 67.
Toros and Gunning, “Exploring a Critical Theory Approach to Terrorism Studies”, p. 94.
“Confianza y valoración de las principales instituciones”, Euskobarómetro: Estudio periódico de la opinion pública
Vasca (Bilbao: University of the Basque Country, January 2016), p. 22.
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... In many cases, these forms of associations, albeit linked often quite openly to insurgent movements, enjoy widespread legitimacy and credibility. In the Basque country, prisoners support groups Gestoras Pro-Amnestia and subsequently Senideak are extremely prominent in the broader Basque movement (Ward et al. 2010;Tellidis 2018). These associations are constantly replenished by released prisoners themselves and the families of newly imprisoned activists. ...
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