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The Dynamics of RadicalizationA Relational and Comparative Perspective$
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Eitan Y. Alimi, Lorenzo Bosi, and Chares Demetriou

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199937707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937707.001.0001

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The Italian Extra-Parliamentary Left Movement and Brigate Rosse (1969–1978)

The Italian Extra-Parliamentary Left Movement and Brigate Rosse (1969–1978)

(p.59) Chapter 3 The Italian Extra-Parliamentary Left Movement and Brigate Rosse (1969–1978)
The Dynamics of Radicalization

Eitan Y. Alimi

Chares Demetriou

Lorenzo Bosi

Oxford University Press

The chapter analyzes the episode of contention of the extra-parliamentary left movement in Italy, particularly the emergence of the Red Brigades during the 1970s. The most active and potent of the militant leftist groups of the period, the Red Brigades developed its armed propaganda strategy gradually, incrementally shifting from material targets to selective political violence. The chapter demonstrates how and when the Red Brigades radicalized, explicating in particular how contextual relational changes drove the organization’s strategy and helped reframe its Marxist-Leninist ideology. Crucial in this radicalization process were early dynamics of outbidding between movement activists and security forces, on the one hand, and growing instances of paramilitary violence between movement and counter-movement activists, on the other. Subsequently, upward spirals of political threat were of great consequence in the radicalization process.

Keywords:   Marxisism-Leninism, armed propaganda, paramilitarism, selective violence, counter-movement

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