‘Peaceful but Offensive’ Protest: Varieties of Violence in the 1970s Anti-Nuclear Movement

Presented at the Violence and Militancy from ‘68 to the G20 symposium organised by Ali Jones at Pembroke College, Cambridge on 14 September 2017. 

Symposium description:

‘Gewalt’ and ‘Militanz’ have long played a critical role in the theory and practice of violence and counterviolence on the radical German Left. From the politics of the personal put forward by the 68ers to the recent events in Hamburg, leftists have for decades grappled with political violence and the militant politics of identity in terms of their own self-formation, practice and political resistance.

This symposium, the final event in a DAAD-funded series entitled Herrschaft and Gewalt from the Kaiserreich to the Berlin Republic, brings together international experts in the history, theory and practice of militant violence, including: the Black Panthers, the 1970s and 80s anti-nuclear protests, the 1980s squatting wave in Germany and the Netherlands, the urban terrorism of the Red Army Fraction, and the role of intellectuals across Europe who participated in this wider network. This session will apply history and theory to understand recent shifts in political violence, opening a space to discuss the evolution of this striking form of political contestation and interrogating the idea of militancy as the uniting feature of leftwing violence since 1968 in both a German and a transnational context.

Symposium Programme