From the Ballot to the Bullet: The Rise of Political Violence in the West — And How to Stop It

Dr Theo Zenou & Sam Bidwell

Democracy is under attack. The culprit: political violence.

In recent years, politicians in the UK and other Western democracies have been the target of acts of violence. These have ranged from assassination and death threats to stalking, intimidation and violent language on social media. This is what we call political violence.

No ideology has had a monopoly on the use of political violence. Extremists of all stripes—including but not limited to Islamists and the far-right—wield it. Their goal: to advance a political cause, shut down debate and divide society.

This report sounds the alarm about the rise of political violence. It explains how it works and why it poses such a threat to democracy.

This report is the first to analyse political violence as a pan-Western phenomenon. It examines cases from:

● the United Kingdom
● the European Union, especially France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands
● the United States of America.

To stop the rise of political violence, this report recommends a two-track policy approach:

● In the short term, we need to crack down on proponents of political violence. Policies include:
○ banning protests outside the homes of politicians
○ harsher punishments for those who seek to intimidate political figures
○ prosecuting groups and organisations which employ political violence.

● In the long term, we need to address the causes of political violence. Our political system must be:
○ more accessible
○ more responsive
○ more effective.

You can read the full report HERE


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