Cultural Backwash: CI Does the RAF

Cops stand in rubble after
American Workers Army bombing –
Law & Order Revolution

No doubt hoping to cash in on the brouhaha around the crappy Baader Meinhof Complex film currently opening in theaters across America, Law and Order’s Criminal Intent franchise devoted its season finale to the unbelievable story of a fugitive RAF member trying to set up shop in New York City.

RAF member Axel, his daughter Birgit, and their none-too-skillful recruit Mel set out to bring back the good old days by targeting CEOs who received bailout funds during the current recession, all as part of the American Workers Army.

What is amazing is how many RAF in-references could be made in forty minutes of television aimed at a North American audience. We have the baby-stroller used to stop the target’s car (as was done with Schleyer), the millionaire kidnap victim shot when he tried to break free (as happened with Ponto), the suicide in prison (Alex’s ex-wife, a RAF prisoner in the FRG)…

…and of course we also get a slathering of references to the kind of stories one tells about the real RAF, truth be damned: Alex had served time in prison for a phantom RAF murder of a banker and his family, the bad childraising strategy that sees him bringing up his daughter to be more fanatical than he is, the murders of American Workers Army members (early on Alex kills Mel in order to “clean up loose ends”, and Birgit later kills his girlfriend, ostensibly for the same reason).

Stories like these were told about the real RAF, planted in the media by the German secret services (the “Verfassunsschutz”, or “Guardians of the Constitution”), and came to be known by the term “psychological warfare” on the left. That they’re regurgitated here on an American prime time cop show doesn’t really mean anything politically, it’s just cultural backwash from the last cycle of struggle.

Remember: after gargling, spit don’t swallow.

(For more about the real Red Army Faction, including a compilation of their communiques and texts translated into english, see the German Guerilla website.)


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