Ulrike Meinhof and the Red Army Faction: Performing by L. Passmore

By L. Passmore

Ulrike Meinhof's front into the West German terrorist underground used to be either a footnote to the waning scholar move of the overdue Nineteen Sixties, and a preamble to the bloodiest interval in Germany's post-war historical past. Meinhof fought to make herself heard as a high-profile journalist ahead of changing into a founding member of the purple military Faction (RAF) in 1970. She endured writing within the underground and from 1972, in legal, till she was once discovered lifeless in her phone in 1976. Leith Passmore strains Meinhof's fight to speak from her time as a journalist, via her get away to the underground, her legal years, and the Stammheim trial. He examines for the 1st time the performativity of terrorist acts of language, imagery, and actual violence to bare how Meinhof made and re-made RAF terrorism.

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6 The calculating and brazen terrorist and the passive, harried woman who was eventually arrested with vast quantities of sleeping tablets are not easily reconciled, but they are indicative of the RAF’s contradictory brand of terrorism. A glance through the list of objects collected by the group paints a picture of the group’s underground experience as an oddly homogeneous mix of its limited paramilitary training and a desperate absorption of knowledge from textbooks and popular culture. 9 The hardware was accompanied by books on Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism, as well as Carlos Marighella’s Mini-Manual of the Urban Guerilla.

This package is representative of the relationship between the RAF and the media during the first generation’s two years in the underground. Meinhof composed most of the texts that were produced in the name of the group and disseminated via existing communication networks. Texts were sent to mainstream media outlets, alternative publishers, as well as private mailing lists, and in each case the message was tailored to the particular forum and audience. In this context, Meinhof ’s words were integral to the underground interplay between language, image, and physical violence: they established what would become the RAF brand and its sharp sense of audience recognition, they played a central role in the bombings of May 1972 and the mainstream appropriation of the radical rhetoric of war, and they used ideology to perform distinctly nonideological discourses.

Working with this categorization, underground texts were produced or appeared as follows: Writing Underground Printed June 5, 1970 Printed June 15, 1970 Appeared April 1971 Printed February 1972 Appeared April 1972 Dated May 14, 1972 Dated May 16, 1972 Dated May 20, 1972 Dated May 20, 1972 Dated May 25, 1972 Dated May 28, 1972 Dated May 29, 1972 Printed May 31, 1972 Appeared November 1972 Never completed O 37 Statement: “Build up the Red Army” (Die Rote Armee aufbauen) Statement: “Of Course we can Shoot” (Natürlich kann geschossen werden) Treatise: The Urban Guerilla Concept Statement: “The Struggle has only just Begun” (Der Kampf hat erst begonnen) Treatise: Serve the People.

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