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Violence and Militancy from ‘68 to the G20

violence militancy

9:30 - 17.00, Sep 14, 2017 Nihon Room, Pembroke College, Cambridge

‘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 riots in Hamburg after the July G20, 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 brings together international experts in the theory, history, psychology, and practice of Western militant violence, including: the 1970s and 80s anti-nuclear protests, the Black Panthers, the 1980s squatting wave in Germany and the Netherlands, and the urban terrorism of the Red Army Fraction, as well as the contributions of intellectuals across Europe who participated in this wider network.

The conversation will coalesce on the recent riots in Hamburg, and seek to apply this wide historical and theoretical background to understand the most recent shifts in political violence. The session will discuss the evolution of this striking form of political contestation, interrogating the idea of militancy as the uniting feature of leftwing violence. It traces the political genealogy of the G20 riots, situating them against approaches to leftwing violence and militancy since 1968 in both a German and a transnational context.

Speakers include:

Professor Kimberly Hutchings, Queen Mary University of London,
‘Does the Idea of Militant Non-Violence Make Sense?’

Dr Andrew Tompkins, Sheffield University,
‘'Peaceful but offensive' protest: Varieties of Violence in the 1970s Anti-Nuclear Movement’

Dr Bart van der Steen, Leiden University,
‘In the shadow of the Red Army Faction: Debating the boundaries of militant activism in the 1980s’

Mr Gert Levy, Gestalttherapeut, Köln,
‘Militant leftwing-movements in Germany since 1962: From the Stones Concert in Berlin’s Waldbühne to Hamburg’s 2017 G20’

The symposium takes place on 14 September 2017 in the Nihon Room, Pembroke College, Cambridge, 9:30-17:00 (directions:, and is free and open to the public.

Seating is limited to 50. To register please email Ms Ali Jones: