October 22 Circle

The October 22 Circle was one of the first of several Italian leftist terrorist groups.

AT A GLANCE

Overview

Brief Summary of the Organization's History.

Organization

How does a group organize? Who leads it? How does it finance operations?

Strategy

How does a group fight? What are its aims and ideologies? What are some of its major attacks?

Major Attacks

What are the group's most famous attacks? What are some key attacks in the group's evolution?

Interactions

What is the group's relationship with the community? How does it interact with other groups?

Maps

What is the group's relationship with other militants over time?

Key Statistics

1969 First Recorded Activity
1970 First Attack
1971 Last Attack

Contact

MAPPINGMILITANTS@LISTS.STANFORD.EDU

How to Cite:

Mapping Militant Organizations. “October 22 Circle.” Stanford University. Last modified June 2018. mappingmilitants.cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/profiles/october-22-circle

Overview

Brief History

    Overview
  • Overview
  • Narrative

Overview

Formed1969
Disbanded1971
First AttackApril 12, 1970: The October 22 Circle unsuccessfully attempted to bomb the US consulate in Genoa. (0 killed) 
Last AttackMarch 26, 1971: Two October 22 Circle members attempted to rob an affordable housing organization in Genoa, accidentally killing an employee. (1 killed) 
UpdatedJune 20, 2012

The October 22 Circle was one of the first left-wing terrorist groups in Italy. It was based in Genoa beginning in 1969 and never expanded geographically and never attracted more than a few dozen followers. It was absorbed by Partisan Action Groups (GAP) after most of its members were arrested; GAP was in turn absorbed by the Red Brigades.

 

Narrative

The October 22 Circle was one of the first of several Italian leftist terrorist groups. The group was small and short-lived, never attracting more than a few dozen followers and never expanding beyond its original base in Genoa. It was active for only two years before most of its members were arrested.

 

The original core of the group consisted of six Genovese friends. Their leader, Mario Rossi, had become concerned with the workers' struggle after working in a factory in Milan, where student and worker protests were becoming more frequent and violent through the late 1960s.[i] Rossi returned to his hometown of Genoa and began discussing the need to organize the workers with a group of like-minded friends.

 

In 1969, they decided to take up arms to defend the worker movement and to prevent a fascist takeover. The friends' decision to mobilize was reinforced by the December 1969 bombing in Milan's Piazza Fontana by right-wing groups with suspected links to the state.[ii] The Circle focused its attacks on symbolic targets, aiming to avoid civilian casualties. It targeted mostly state and corporate property, with the selection often tailored to specific grievances, such as when the group bombed an oil refinery to protest high gas prices.[iii]

 

The group rapidly disintegrated after Rossi accidentally shot a man dead during an attempted armed robbery. Rossi was apprehended fleeing the scene; his arrest led to the discovery of the warehouse the stored the Circle's weapons and revolutionary writings.[iv]

 

The group did not use the name October 22 Circle itself. The media named the group after the date on a train ticket found in leader Rossi's pocket after his arrest.[v]



[i] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 71.

[ii] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 80.

[iii] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 80.

[iv] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 145.

[v] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 73.

 

Organizational Structure

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

    Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Mario Rossi (1969 to 1971)

Leadership

This section describes various leaders, their deputies, and other important officials in the militant organization.

Mario Rossi (1969 to 1971)

Founded the October 22 Circle. He was a Genoa taxidermist and former Communist. He was arrested and put on trial after accidentally shooting and killing a man during a robbery attempt in 1971.[i]



[i] Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 59; Marino, Antonio. "La banda ‘XXII ottobre’ a Genova e la malavita come terrorismo." Gnosis Rivista Italiana di Intelligence. n. 1/2006.

 

    Name Changes
  • Name Changes
  • Size Estimates
  • Resources
  • Geographic Locations

Name Changes

There are no recorded name changes for this group.

Size Estimates

Year unknown: The October 22 Circle had at most 25 members. (Gnosis Rivista Italiana di Intelligence.)[i]



[i] Marino, Antonio. "La banda ‘XXII ottobre’ a Genova e la malavita come terrorismo." Gnosis Rivista Italiana di Intelligence. n. 1/2006. Available: http://www.sisde.it/gnosis%5CRivista6.nsf/servnavig/11?Open&Highlight=2,xxii+ottobre

 

Resources

The October 22 Circle sought financial self-sufficiency. At first it supported itself with members' own money but soon began raising funds with robberies, kidnapping for ransom, and donations of arms from the owner of a gun store.[i] It stored its arms and documents in a rented warehouse in central Genoa, which authorities discovered in 1971.[ii]



[i] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 90. and Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 59.

[ii] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. pp. 90.

 

Geographic Locations

Disclaimer: This is a partial list of where the militant organization has bases and where it operates. This does not include information on where the group conducts major attacks or has external influences.

The October 22 Circle operated in Genoa.

 

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets, and Tactics

    Ideology and Goals
  • Ideology and Goals
  • Political Activities
  • Targets and Tactics

Ideology and Goals

Neo-fascist

Left wing

Maoist

 

The October 22 Circle sought to organize the proletariat to defend against a feared fascist coup but had no clear proactive goal.[i] Most members of the group were disaffected former members of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) who viewed the party as ineffective and insufficiently revolutionary.[ii] The Circle did not explicitly seek to overthrow the state, unlike later groups of the Italian militant left.[iii]



[i] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 80.

[ii] Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 13 and Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 79.

[iii] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 12.

 

Political Activities

Paste information from the political activities section of the group profile here. Reformat bulleted/numbered lists with the bullet tool in the Body toolbar if necessary.

Targets and Tactics

The October 22 Circle at first discussed conducting guerilla warfare from the mountains north of Genoa, but soon embraced urban guerilla warfare. They used a manual written by Brazilian revolutionary Carlos Marighella as their guide.[i] They also spread propaganda through hijacked state radio and television waves.[ii]

 

The Circle attempted to bomb symbols of state power and capitalism, including an oil refinery and police barracks. The choice of such targets was tied to specific grievances such as rising gas prices.[iii] The group was also accused of two failed bombing attempts, one against a socialist political party and one against the US Embassy, but members later denied involvement.[iv] The group planted bombs at night, both to avoid detection and to minimize the likelihood of civilian casualties.[v]

 

The group carried out no targeted assassinations, unlike later leftist terrorist groups; its one killing was an accidental result of a failed robbery attempt.[vi]

 

The group committed one kidnapping to raise funds through ransom.[vii]



[i] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 87.

[ii] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 145.

[iii] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 80.

[iv] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. pp. 91, 145.

[v] Marino, Antonio. "La banda ‘XXII ottobre’ a Genova e la malavita come terrorismo." Gnosis Rivista Italiana di Intelligence. n. 1/2006. Available: http://www.sisde.it/gnosis%5CRivista6.nsf/servnavig/11?Open&Highlight=2,...

[vi] Marino, Antonio. "La banda ‘XXII ottobre’ a Genova e la malavita come terrorismo." Gnosis Rivista Italiana di Intelligence. n. 1/2006. Available: http://www.sisde.it/gnosis%5CRivista6.nsf/servnavig/11?Open&Highlight=2,...

[vii] Marino, Antonio. "La banda ‘XXII ottobre’ a Genova e la malavita come terrorismo." Gnosis Rivista Italiana di Intelligence. n. 1/2006. Available: http://www.sisde.it/gnosis%5CRivista6.nsf/servnavig/11?Open&Highlight=2,...

 

Major Attacks

Major Attacks

Disclaimer: These are some selected major attacks in the militant organization's history. It is not a comprehensive listing, but captures some of the most famous attacks or turning points during the campaign.

  1. April 12, 1970: October 22 Circle members were accused of a failed attempted bombing of the US consulate in Genoa (0 killed).[i]
  2. October 5, 1970: Three October 22 Circle members kidnapped the son of a wealthy industrialist for ransom in Genoa. It was the first kidnapping perpetrated by the Italian terrorist left. They released him in exchange for a ransom payment on October 11. (0 killed).[ii]
  3. February 18, 1971: October 22 Circle members bombed an oil refinery. (0 killed).[iii]
  4. March 26, 1971: Two October 22 Circle members attempted to rob an affordable housing organization in Genoa and accidentally killed an employee. (1 killed).[iv]


[i] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 145.

[ii] Marino, Antonio. "La banda ‘XXII ottobre’ a Genova e la malavita come terrorismo." Gnosis Rivista Italiana di Intelligence. n. 1/2006. Available: http://www.sisde.it/gnosis%5CRivista6.nsf/servnavig/11?Open&Highlight=2,xxii+ottobre; Pisano, Vittorfranco S.

[iii] Marino, Antonio. "La banda ‘XXII ottobre’ a Genova e la malavita come terrorismo." Gnosis Rivista Italiana di Intelligence. n. 1/2006. Available: http://www.sisde.it/gnosis%5CRivista6.nsf/servnavig/11?Open&Highlight=2,xxii+ottobre

[iv] Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 77.

 

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

    Designated/Listed
  • Designated/Listed
  • Community Relations
  • Relationships with Other Groups
  • State Sponsors and External Influences

Designated/Listed

This group has not been designated as a terrorist organization by any major national government or international body.

Community Relations

The relationship between this group and the communities in which it resides is unknown.

Relationships with Other Groups

The October 22 Circle collaborated with the Genoa branch of the larger left-wing terrorist organization Partisan Action Groups (GAP), beginning in 1970. GAP supported the October 22 Circle by facilitating its illegal propaganda broadcasts over state airwaves and may have assisted it financially as well. GAP helped hide one member of the October 22 Circle who fled capture after mistakenly killing a man during an armed robbery. It is not clear whether the two groups coordinated attacks.[i] However, GAP tended to limit its contacts with the October 22 Group out of concern about the group's discipline.

 

GAP absorbed the remainder of the October 22 Circle after most of the Circle's members were jailed.[ii] GAP was itself later absorbed by the BR.[iii]

 

The October 22 Circle disintegrated by 1971, but its members' imprisonment became a famous cause for other terrorist leftist groups. The BR kidnapped the Genoa magistrate who had prosecuted October 22 Circle members, and demanded their release in exchange for the magistrate's freedom.[iv] A court at first granted and then blocked the exchange, and the magistrate was released while the eight former October 22 Circle members remained behind bars.[v]



[i] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. pp. 101 - 104.

[ii] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 104.

[iii] Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism and Security : the Italian Experience : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1984. p. 13.

[iv] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 142.

[v] Paul J. Smith, "The Italian Red Brigades (1969-1984): Political Revolution and Threats to the State," Armed Groups: Studies in National Security, Counterterrorism, and Counterinsurgency, 2008. p. 1. Retrieved April 23, 2012 from http://jeffnorwitz.com/Documents/2%20The%20Italian%20Red%20Brigades.pdf

 

State Sponsors and External Influences

The October 22 Circle was influenced by 1960s leftist guerrilla movements worldwide, especially Latin American revolutionaries in Cuba, Brazil, Bolivia, and Uruguay, as well as the Viet Cong.[i]



[i] Piano, Paolo. "22 Ottobre" : Un Progetto Di Lotta Armata a Genova (1969-1971). Genova: Annexia, 2005. p. 81.

 

Maps

The project develops a series of interactive diagrams that “map” relationships among groups and show how those relationships change over time. The user can change map settings to display different features (e.g., leadership changes), adjust the time scale, and trace individual groups.

Evolving Militant Interactions

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