Baltimore: J. Smith on the RAF (Mar 29)

Come hear J. Smith, co-editor of the Red Army Faction Documentary Histories volumes 1 and 2 (Projectiles for the People and Dancing with Imperialism), talking about Europe’s most famous and controversial urban guerilla organization from the 1970s and 80s, West Germay’s Red Army Faction. Smith will also go over the history of the other main West German guerillas from this period, the Revolutionary Cells and the 2nd of June Movement.

Smith will be talking about the RAF from its prehistory in the firebombing of two department stores in Frankfurt in 1968, its inception breaking member Andreas Baader out of prison in 1970, the May 1972 Offensive, subsequent attempts to free prisoners, its reorientation in the 1980s with the rise and fall of the Front concept, and more.

Topics addressed will include:

the similarities and differences between the West German armed experience and similar phenomenon in Europe and North America

the rise and fall of a certain kind of “anti-imperialism”, and its ramifications in terms of the RAF’s practice

the ways in which the RAF’s line evolved over time, from solidarity with the struggle in Vietnam to an orientation around freeing political prisoners, to opposition to NATO’s war plans under Reagan and Thatcher, and beyond

the group’s relationship to the prison struggle and the movement against solitary confinement

the primarily political character of urban guerilla organizations

the consequences of these facts in terms of strategy and survival, and why all of this matters today.

Attention will be paid to the political nature of the guerilla struggle, its evolving context, and what challenges and opportunities this presented to those determined to fight imperialism with pen and paper, and guns and bombs too.

When: Saturday, March 29th 7:30pm

Where: Red Emma’s Coffeehouse Bookstore, 30 W North Avenue. Baltimore, Ma.