“Urban guerrillas” and armed struggle

During the 1970s, armed groups in Western Europe looked to the armed struggle taking place in Latin American cities and attempted to transfer it to Western European countries. They based their views on those of the Brazilian “guerrilla theorist” Carlos Marighella who took part in armed action against the Brazilian military dictatorship from 1964, and who was partly the role model behind the Uruguayan Tupamaros. A similar step was taken by a small group of Japanese New Left, partly under explicit rejection of Marxist theory.

In Germany in the late 1960s, the Tupamaros West-Berlin emerged from a rather loose, informal context alongside the “2 June Movement”. The founding of the Red Army Faction in 1970 also took place within this environment; however, the RAF was based more on the ideas put forward in Mao Zedong’s book On guerrilla warfare. Moreover, groups involved in armed struggle were far more likely to be linked to the anti-imperialism of the time than the tradition of Marxism and the labour movement.