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Anatomy of the Red BrigadesThe Religious Mind-set of Modern Terrorists$
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Alessandro Orsini

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449864

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449864.001.0001

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Toward the Bloodshed

Toward the Bloodshed

Chapter 3 Toward the Bloodshed
Anatomy of the Red Brigades

Alessandro Orsini

Cornell University Press

This chapter describes the life of a revolutionary. Discipline is essential in the Red Brigades, with every moment of the brigadist's life subjected to a series of rigorous rules. The Red Brigades do not possess anything, not even their own thoughts, and are completely subject to the rules of the group. The place in which they live is like a barracks. They are forbidden to have children, nor are they allowed to create ties of friendship or love with people outside the group. They have given up everything: friendship, human relations, habits, and amusements; they spend their days with the nightmare of being discovered and recognized or running into an informer. Their path towards bloodshed involves a complex process of interaction that can be divided into four stages. These include: (1) social marginality (disintegration of social identity stage); (2) acquisition of “binary code” mentality (reconstruction of social identity stage); (3) entry into a political–religious group or “community of absolute revolution” (integration in the revolutionary sect stage); and (4) detachment from reality (alienation from the surrounding world stage). The aim of this model is to reconstruct the “marginal” individual's route toward revolutionary behavior, of which the most intense expression is the willingness to give and receive death.

Keywords:   Red Brigades, revolutionaries, revolutionary life, social marginality, binary code, alienation, revolutionary behavior

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