< 3.7 Psychic Pressure/Group Pressure | AnalyseIndex | Notes >
Unlike more consistently left- or right-oriented extremist groups, the LO has had no firm or lasting political or ideological direction, the only constants being its extreme missionary consciousness and sense of exclusiveness (as the only embodiment of the true Christian/Humanist tradition). These beliefs are bizarre and incoherent. The Group acts like a chameleon in its dealings with perceived enemies and with supposed or real allies. Earlier strongly-defended positions are unceremoniously dropped and the new positions adopted may completely contradict the former ones. Characterizing the LO as either “leftist” or “rightist” would therefore be inadequate.
The LO is effective at taking up topics and fields for agitation based on its keen ability to sniff out insufficiently covered topics or crisis situations, political mistakes or negligence or other problems of insecure and vulnerable potential clients. This approach can forge ever new circles of interests, even if only temporarily. The LO is not fussy in its choice of methods. The fantasizing about “enemies” is pronounced. The breadth of its contacts and propaganda allows the LO to act as a provider of propaganda services (often at no cost), which can, in certain circumstances, produce concrete results. Despite these activities, repeated speculations about the LO’s ties to intelligence agencies have never been seriously substantiated. To what extent the LO has managed to establish real ties, beyond its usual propaganda services, with radical Islamic groups remains to be seen.
Classical features of extremist doctrine like absolutist claims, friend/enemy stereotypes and conspiracy theories are more pronounced in the LO than in other groups on the extreme political spectrum. This is more a reflection of a group dynamic strongly conditioned by the leaders with their pathological traits than it is a stable or strategic direction. The extent to which the individual members are subsumed in the Group only has parallels in cults. Despite these qualitative traits, the Group’s small membership and almost imperceptible influence should limit the damage it can do in the future, at least in Germany, only to its existing members, a few potential recruits and some financial donors.
The LO can therefore be seen as a borderline case. It incorporates characteristics of both extremist groups and sects that are rarely combined in such a concentrated way. The LO is a unique case in the landscape of political extremism and cults.