Terrorism as a Factor of Production in a Coup D'état
By Peter Clark
Terror campaigns are perceived as a “.. weapon of the weak..” (Leiden & Schmitt, 1968), a refuge for actors lacking the political capital for a full coup d’état. Concentrated acts of terror could provide subversive political factions with clout, consensus, and supporters for a government takeover. Terrorist organizations utilize various mediums to gain followers by disseminating propaganda glorifying the ideological objectives of the group (Nacos,2009). Terrorism also operates as a coercive mechanism (Olson, 1965), persuading the citizenry to accept the regime change. Analogous to an extortion racket, offering protection from the group’s violent acts if the citizenry supports the movement (Tomes, 2004).
Since acts of terrorism are a common antecedent (Blomberg, Hess, & Weerapana, 2004) to political coups, we might be to view terror campaigns as a factor of production in the orchestration of a takeover. Much as labor, raw materials, and other resources are factors of production for consumer goods; terrorism does the same for facilitating abrupt political change. The actions of terrorist organizations musters support out of either fear or notoriety, providing majoritarian support for the new regime.