Interview with Alex Macartney

Photograph of Alex Macartney

Political Violence: Right to Violence & the Japanese Left

Perhaps you remember or have seen pictures of the waves of political protest and activism that rose around the world in the 1960s. As countries in the Third World threw off systems of colonialism and capitalism, activists on the Left in more established countries gained inspiration to work for similar change in their regions as well. Many came to see violence as a tool to achieve the changes they sought.

In Episode 2 of our Series on Political Violence, Sam Timinsky and Joy Block talk with Alex Macartney, a teaching fellow in Japanese & German History at Georgetown University, and share excerpts of a talk he gave about two “Red Army” movements that helped define international Left-wing violence in the 1970s – one in Japan and the other in West Germany. Macartney discusses the logic that made both groups choose to practice political violence, drawing attention to the national and global situations to which they responded. He also highlights the gender politics involved in female leadership and participation in the Japanese and German Red Armies, due to the incongruity many felt between women’s activities and the type of political violence both groups practiced.

Stream or download our conversation here.

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