Presentation on theme: "Lecture 11: Left-Wing Groups"— Presentation transcript:
1 Lecture 11: Left-Wing Groups Left-Wing (often Marxist/Communist) Terrorist Groups
2 Historical Context/Events Cold War, Soviet commitment to spread of CommunismDe-colonization conflicts, including:French in Southeast Asia, AlgeriaU.S. in Southeast AsiaBritish in East AfricaSuccessful revolutionary movements in Asia, Latin America, etc.Mao Tse-tung and China in the 1940sHo Chi Minh and Vietnam in the 1950s, 1960s, & 1970sFidel Castro and Cuba in the late 1950s/early 1960sLatin American civil warsSouth Africa, Palestinian territories, Northern Ireland conflictsModern European terrorism emerged in the 1960s as an extreme reflection of left-wing activismMao Tse-Tung
3 Frantz FanonWretched of the Earth (1961): Western powers have dehumanized non-Western people by destroying their cultures and replacing them with Western valuesThe masses suffer a perpetual identity crisis, forced to deny their heritage. They can follow only one course of action: guerilla warfare revolution (achieving freedom is inherently violent)Terrorism had a specific purpose: to terrorize Westerners and their followers into submissionUrban terror was to create mayhem, and all terrorism was to be excessively brutal to communicate fear.Fanon’s guerrilla model thus uses terrorism as a strategy and deviates from typical guerrillas who try to build a military force
4 Ernesto “Che” GuevaraArgentine Marxist; traveled throughout Latin America and became convinced that the region’s economic problems were caused by capitalism, neo-colonialism and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution.Published his lessons learned from success in Cuba (w/Castro) of ousting the Batista regimeFoco theory of revolution:“Vanguardism” by cadres of small, fast-moving paramilitary groups can provide a focus for popular discontent against a sitting regime, and thereby lead a general insurrection.Popular forces can win a war against the armyImmediate Action: It is not necessary to wait until all conditions for making revolution exist; the insurrection can create themThe countryside is the basic area for armed fighting; must mobilize and launch attacks from rural areas
5 Carlos MarighellaAuthored Liberation of Brazil, and Mini-Manual of the Urban GuerillaPractical guides for terrorismThe basis of revolution is violenceAll violence could be urban-based and controlled by a small group of urban guerillasTwo phases of Urban Guerilla model: 1) violence, and 2) give that violence meaningThe terror campaign must be accompanied by a mass movement of revolutionary sympathizers, to provide peripheral support for terroristsA campaign of revolutionary terrorism in an urban setting can be used to destabilize government powerA terrorist campaign will force the government to reveal that repressive nature, thereby alienating the publicGovernmental repression is the goal of terrorism at this stage.
6 Common Strategy & Tactics Strategy: Armed violence against the capitalist state; Provoke government into repressive response, antagonize populationCommon TargetsSymbolic targetsPolicemenLawyersJudgesUniversity professorsPoliticiansUnion leadersIndustrialistsMilitary/security facilitiesCommon TacticsArmed robberiesOperations against the military (snipers, planting mines, etc.)Kidnapping (for attention and coercive bargaining)Selective assassination (snipers, letter bombs, etc.)Indiscriminate attacks in public placesLots o’ bombings . . .
7 Other Common Themes Prominent role of academics, intellectual elites Sendero Luminoso: University of San Cristobal de Huamanga (Abimael Guzman)Red Brigades: University of Trento (Renato Curcio, Mara Cagol)Red Army Faction: Free University of Berlin (Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof)17 November: Athens Polytechnic
8 Other Common ThemesCommon reasons for the decline of left-wing terror groups:Intellectual elites who controlled the movement got older and lost their ability to connect with increasingly younger student activist audiences.Impatient leaders, members led to mistakes, counterproductive violenceAlienation of target audiences (instead of mobilization) undermined political objectivesLeft-wing movements became more specific, focusing not only on certain political behavior, but on particular causes (e.g., ELF, ALF, Monkey Wrench Gang – spiking trees, arson attacks, lumber mills, etc.)Government actions and improved police tactics certainly contributed to the decline of left-wing terrorism in the U.S. and Europe
9 Focused on fundamental, systemic change SummaryFocused on fundamental, systemic changeGroups influenced by revolutionaries in other countriesDomestic, Marxist, some state supportArmed violence against the capitalist state; provoke over-reactionMao Tse-TungFrantz FanonCarlos MarighellaErnesto “Che” GeuvaraMao: the guerilla should be likened to a fish in the sea - People’s WarChe: a small dedicated cadre of fighters can create the conditions for popular revolution (cult of martyrs?)Fanon: political violence is a necessary instrument of liberationMarighella: urban violence will “systematically inflict damage on the authorities… (and)…the people who dominate …and exercise power”
10 Left-Wing Terrorist Groups Action Directe (France)Sendero Luminoso (Peru)17 November (Greece)Weather Underground (United States)Tupamaros (Uruguay)Japanese Red ArmyRed Army Faction (Germany)Red Brigades (Italy)Mujahedin-e-Khalq (Iran)Popular Revolutionary Army (Mexico)Nepal Insurgents (Maoists)United Freedom Front (United States)25 April Movement (Portugal)Revolutionary Movement of Tupac Amaru (Peru)Irish Nationalist Liberation Army (IRSP militants)Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Colombia)May 19 Communist Organization (United States)Evan Mecham Eco-Terrorist International Conspiracy (United States)Others . . .
11 Red Army Faction/Baader Meinhof West German leftist group founded in 1968 and active until 1998; most core members were university students, led by Andreas Baader and Ulrike MeinhofLots of bombings and armed assaults against police, U.S. military personnel and journalistsAssassinated several important individuals, including Germany’s Supreme Court President Gunter von Drenkman (1974)Airplane Hijackings and Kidnappings (e.g., Hans Martin Schleyer) not for ransom but to coerce release of group members from prison
12 Red Brigades (Brigade Rosse) Italian Marxist-Leninist terrorist group founded in Milan in 1970 and active until the late 1980sMuch larger than RAF (up to 1,500 by the end of 1970s)Centralized structure with at least 6 local “columns” (cells or branches)Mostly bombings, kidnappings to demand ransoms and the release of its comrades from prisonAldo Moro, former Prime MinisterU.S. General James Dozier, Deputy Chief of Staff at NATO’s Southern European land forces
13 Action DirecteFrench group, established in 1979; active less than 10 yearsMajor bombings,1982 attack on the World Bank European Headquarters1984 attack on the European Space Agency1985 attack at the officers’ club at the Rhein-Main U.S. Air Force BaseAssassinationsFrench General Rene Audran (1985)George Besse, the Chairman of Reneault (1986)
14 Weather UndergroundU.S. group; extreme militant splinter of Students for a Democratic Society (anti-Vietnam War movement on college & university campuses)Originally called “Weathermen” but later changed their name to The Weather Underground Organization (WUO)Robberies, jailbreaks and nearly two dozen bombings throughout the early and mid-1970sNew York City Police (1970)National Guard Armory (1970)U.S. Senate buiding (1971)Pentagon (1972)U.S. State Department (1975)
15 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia La Violencia, the Colombian civil war1964, FARC launched as armed wing of Colombian Communist Party1960s and 1970s, collected revolutionary taxes from landowners and peasants to raise moneyImposed taxes on narco-traffickers in exchange for the use of land for cultivation, labs, landing stripsManufactured own military equipment and weapons, including mortars and landminesToday its violent activities revolve much more around the fight to maintain control over part of Colombia’s drug trade
16 Sendero LuminosoMaoist group established in 1969 as militant outgrowth of the Peruvian Communist movementOccupied villages, established revolutionary governments, and trained members in guerilla strategy and the use of firearms and explosivesCar bombings, kidnappings and political assassinations; attacked the U.S. Embassy, Peruvian political officials, schools, police stations, middle class neighborhoods, and Lima’s banking centerImposed “taxes” on businesses and individuals in occupied villages; Became increasingly involved in the Peruvian cocaine trade in the Upper Huallaga Valley
17 Communist Party of India-Maoist aka “Naxalites”, established 2004Seeks complete overhaul of the Indian government in order to establish a Communist societyImposition of “taxes” on villages and village officialsEstimated over 10,000 fightersWorld’s #1 kidnapping group in 2010Ideological resonance among poor, rural indigenous communities in northeast India
18 Other Left-Wing Groups Communist Party of NepalPurbo Banglar Communist Party of Bangladesh (PBCP)Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN)Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN)Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN)Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)Japanese Red ArmyIrish National Liberation Army
19 Conclusion For more, see: Global Terrorism Database ProfilesNational Counterterrorism Center ProfilesMost left-wing groups failed to achieve their objectivesSome transformed into legitimate participants in the official political processes of their countriesOthers moved away from emphasis on left-wing Marxist ideology and more toward criminal objectives