Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Romanticizing Germany's urban guerillas

Interesting article via the Boston Review on the German guerrilla organizations of the 70's. Here is a snippit:

"The ideology of the 1970s underground, as well as its goals and means, is so discredited today that there aren’t even any tiny splinter groups willing to imitate them, as there had been throughout the 1980s and even into the 1990s ... So why all the public attention? Most obviously, the topic is sexy, sensationalist, and commercially attractive: Germany is not that different from the United States, and on-the-run revolutionaries in leather jackets with pistols tucked into their jeans is good business for film, magazine features, and fashion. The darkly romantic, against-all-odds, ultra-authentic, everything-or-nothing guerrilla ethic remains alluring, and doesn’t require identification with armed struggle or Marxism of any sort. Some of these cultural products are worthwhile, like Volker Schl��ndorff’s fine film, The Legend of Rita, which explores the RAF’s affinity to Eastern Bloc communism, and Christian Petzold’s (unfortunately untranslated) Die innere Sicherheit, about life in the underground for the teenage daughter of a couple wanted by the law. Also, many of the new books constitute serious scholarship, like the prodigious work of Hamburg social historian Wolfgang Kraushaar. But while there are legitimate artistic and scholarly issues here, it is surprising how much attention the popular culture is paying to the events of the German Autumn and that it continues to fascinate."

(Found via Baudrillard's Bastards)

Edit: Dan of Tdaxp left a prescient link that relates to this I had seen mentioned a while back on Kent's Imperative. Key quote from Dan: "If history repeats itself, or at least rhymes, within a generation of 9/11 active support of al Qaeda inspired movements should be fashionable on college campuses."

2nd Edit: Adam Elkus also has a great response to the article.


Dan tdaxp said...

Counting down to the day when al Qaeda will be fashionable on college campuses...

The Red Son said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Red Son said...

I wrote my thesis on urban guerrilla movements, but the RAF was not one of my case studies, although it interested me greatly. They were influenced by some of the South American urban guerrilla groups that I looked at. As for Dan tdaxp's comment, it/they already are

G said...

Dan: Thanks, I had seen your post mentioned on Kent's Imperative. Very prescient. I edited the blog post to include it.

Red Son: Which groups were in your case study? And most importantly, I'm interested that you think Al Qaeda already are fashionable. Do you have any links or stories to share?

Jay@Soob said...

"As for Dan tdaxp's comment, it/they already are."

Like Munz that claim peaks my interest. Are you referring to a personal experience?

Adrian said...

If Al Qaeda is ever "fashionable" on college campuses, I'll eat my foot.

The Red Son said...

M├╝zenberg: The FLQ, the Tupamaros, the BPP and FLN of Algeria/post-revolutionary algerian government, and the PFLP, were the main ones, but there were many more minor organizations that I looked at.

Well at least on my old school, the "islamo-fascist" aesthetic was enjoyed by many, including myself. For, any others, again including myself are support anti-zionism, anti-american imperialism and Islamic/Arab militancy in many situations. If they made pro-al-queda shirts, I would stop wearing my five che shirts, at least for a week. Also I want a ribbon magnet that reads "support al-queda."

Jay@Soob said...

"Also I want a ribbon magnet that reads "support al-queda."

WTF?!! To what end?

The Red Son said...

to the end of the fall of the last super power and the system of global capitalism

Jay@Soob said...

Red Son, allow me to reiterate an excellent bit of advise passed on to me from a fellow most proficient in the ways of the world.

"Be careful who you date, you might have to marry them."

If you think the essence of AQ and your own hopes for the downfall of imperialism and global capitalism are some how in line with each other, think again.

The Red Son said...

My friend, you misunderstand me. the magnet idea was meant as political satire, not a statement of actual support, soldiarity, or affinity with "AQ." That said, do you find the actions of Al-Queda any less moral than those of the US in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Middle East, especially with regards to the current situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Samolia, etc.? I, for one, do not.
Support Our Troops magnets, American and Confederate Flag, God Bless America Signs, Shirt, Bumperstickers and "if you don't love america you deserve deportation and/or execution" mentality is all too common in this country and jingoism at it's worse. It is accepted and celebrated, and yet when I express ambiguous support for Al-Queda, an organization which our policies, action and CIA secret wars created, an organization which seeks to liberate a colonized region from the grips of savage imperialism, you call me crazy.

Jay@Soob said...

Red Son, my friend, I'm going to wish you a happy new year and save my reaction ('cos it won't be conducive to you're message, I'm afraid...) for a later day. Best wishes to you and yours.

The Red Son said...

and to you as well, hope vermont is treating you well.

G said...

Red Son, whilst the topic of the morality of Al Qaeda might raise my ire I'll leave it alone as Soob as, but on another topic you brought up:

"and "if you don't love america you deserve deportation and/or execution" mentality is all too common in this country and jingoism at it's worse."

I think you'll find this incorrect red son. Whilst the political classes are polarized, but not deeply polarized, the average american is not (the media portrays it as otherwise, because conflict, be it war or social, is great news). Two books, with plenty of data, that support this view are "Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America" by Morris P. Fiorina and "America's Crisis of Values: Reality and Perception"
by Wayne E. Baker (who by the way is a GREAT social network theorist). The baker book is even better and states:

"The evidence shows overwhelmingly that America has not lost its traditional values, that the nation compares favorably with most other societies, and that the culture war is largely a myth."

Again, all supported by some excellent data. But don't believe me, you can go read some of Fiorina's essay here (twas an essay before a book) and Baker has the first chapter here. Also check out the reviews on the Amazon links by Todd I. Stark, they are quite good.

Whilst some within this network of the blogosphere might disagree with the conclusions of those two authors - that the culture war is overblown - those two books, and their conclusions cannot be ignored.

The Red Son said...

and i quote "all socialists & communists should be given 24 hrs to leave this country. After that they'd be free game, to be hunted and eradicated."

Jay@Soob said...

Red Son,

There are very few exceptions to my own rule that forums are rarely hosts to intelligent debate. As often as not they host vapid and generally meaningless hot air spouted forth by internet "tough guys."

For a brief history lesson on how the CIA did not create AQ go here.

The actions of AQ are driven by and support a nihilistic and violent ideology. There is nothing inherently productive about the salafist fringe. Quite the contrary it's had a hearty hand in driving what was once the cradle of civilization into the backwater and backward mess that it is today.

Contrarily the imperial standards of the US (and I'm comfortable with that charge even if I don't necessarily entirely agree with it) and our western brethren have resulted in the most advanced, well fed, and secure societies the planet has ever seen.

Meanwhile, Kenya tears itself apart over what "passes" for an election in a state long abandoned by western "Imperial Designs."

We've earned jingoism, however shallow and completely foolish it often is. You and I both sit, comfortable, fed and literate behind our computer screens tapping away. All the while the "Imperial" machinery that's built our little havens chugs away.

The Red Son said...

Jesus, this flame war is gonna be going for a while, and we are now completely off topic. Al-Queda may not be the Black Panthers or the FLQ, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend. To be sure they have not helped anything in the region, but as they say "you can't polish shit." however I am by no means a scholar of middle eastern history, so I can't really speak to this.

Imperialism has simultaneous created the best standard of living for the first world, while raping, pillaging, and poisoning the third world. JUST LOOK AT IRAQ! JUST LOOK AT THE ENTIRE POST-WAR PERIOD UNTIL TODAY! I mean, come on man, how can you defend the actions of a clearly criminal government? I realize that I have benefited from the actions of imperialists, but do not wish to continue to live such a life of comparative luxury. how can you defend a lifestyle that is a result of immeasurable pain and suffering on the part of the down trodden and oppressed people of the world.

As for Kenya, the colonial wound runs deep and the third world is still enslaved by multiple systems of economic and political repression by the first world.

Compare the total number of bombing by Al-Queda since their inception, including number of attacks, causalities, repercussions, etc. to those of the US armed forces during that same period. And then tell me that Imperialism is a good thing.

Jay@Soob said...

Bah! Not a "flame war" at all. Just an ideological disagreement. Which neither of us is likely to prod the other from.

You adhere to a rather radical political vision and prefer ethical practice over ethical goals and have justified in your own mind that the two are mutually inclusive.

"Compare the total number of bombing by Al-Queda since their inception, including number of attacks, causalities, repercussions, etc. to those of the US armed forces during that same period. And then tell me that Imperialism is a good thing."

As long as we look good doing it who cares what the greater goal entails? You see no division of principles only the "sameness" of the means. They kill, we kill and therefore there's an equal amount of moral inequity.

The Red Son said...

Well this makes comment number 19, none of which have much to do with the original post, so it is some kind of war... I enjoy a spirited discussion as much as the next man, maybe even more so let's continue with our heated but not enflamed war of words.

killing is not always the same in my book. the violence of our government and that of AQ is obviously very different. but human life is absolute. what principals does are government kill for? what our are goals? the spread of democracy? BS! taking out Sadam? BS! our armed forces are and always have been the stooges of capitalism and the bourgeois.

Do you think we should be in Iraq? I think that it has been clear since before the war that the situation would be FUBAR, that our pretenses for invading were false, that we were being lied to.

if you don't like AQ, fine, but I ask you again, how can you defend out government and it's use of military force through out the world?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

To go off on yet another topic that has nothing at all to do with the original post....Is that a Cultural Revolution poster you're using as an Icon/Avatar?


The Red Son said...

I am not sure what period it is from, but i found it on, a great website for mao propaganda posters.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Thanks for the reply
Any reason you picked one from Chairman Mao instead of Hitler or Stalin? Or anyone else with a lower body count?


The Red Son said...

I am not a maoist, nor do I pretend to know enough about Mao and his actions to make a judgement on him. I enjoy his writings on guerrilla warfare and appreciate the art that his regime produced for propaganda purposes. if taken out of context, the posters are quite beautiful and contain messages that I can agree with. for example, the text in my profile picture reads something to the effect of "the red son rises, the people of the world are united against imperialism." I hope that clears things up a little. Soviet propaganda art is interesting in it's own right, as is Cuban but I prefer Maoist propaganda art.

The Red Son said...

also, i didn't use any hitler related picture for the simple reason that I AM NOT A NAZI! i hope that you are only equating their murderous policies, not their ideologies, as socialism/marxism and national socialism are not at all similar.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I did not mean to imply that you were a National Socialist, or a Socialist of the Maoist or Stalinist persuasion.
However, aren't policies typically a reflection of ideologies?

The Red Son said...

Sometimes, yes. At least in Stalin's case, I consider Stalinism to be a gross perversion of Marxism/ Marxism-Leninism. Maoism, again I cannot speak to, as I am not well versed in the history or the ideolofy. But the atrocities committed in their regimes were not carried out because that is what Marx advocated or wrote about.