Martin Kettle in the Guardian makes a comparison between the activities of the Baader–Meinhof group (also known as the Red Army Faction) in Germany in the late 1970s and the activities of militant Islamists in Britain today.
Kettle points out that there have been claims in the days since the London bombings that the use of terror tactics with no coherent or explicitly stated aim is something new. It isn’t. He also shows that just as the German government of the 1970s used the Baader–Meinhof attacks as an excuse to introduce more repressive laws so the British government is doing today.
Baader–Meinhof was largely a grouping of comfortably off, middle class young people. They enjoyed unusually high support from middle class Germans while being largely rejected by the working class. The German interior minister at the time lost one of his friends after he admitted his God-daughter’s sister into his house. Those who appear to have commited the London bombings, while they probably can’t be descibed as middle class, were also reasonably comfortably off. They too were trusted members of their communities.
The Baader–Meinhof group ultimately failed. After they commited suicide in prison their largely middle-class supporters and apologists tried to find other, more peaceful, ways to rectify the injustices in their society.
Posted 19 July 2005, 02:55 BST