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Red Brigades Fighting Communist Party

The Red Brigades Fighting Communist Party (BR-PCC) was one of three main groups that split from the Red Brigades (BR), Italy's largest left-wing terrorist organization, beginning in 1980.

AT A GLANCE

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Overview

Brief Summary of the Organization's History

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Organization

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

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Strategy

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

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Major Attacks

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

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Interactions

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

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Maps

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

Key Statistics

1981 First Recorded Activity
1981 First Attack
1988 Last Recorded Activity

Contact

MAPPINGMILITANTS@LISTS.STANFORD.EDU

How to Cite

“Red Brigades Fighting Communist Party.” Stanford University. Last modified June 2018. mappingmilitants.cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/profiles/red-brigades-fighting-communist-party

Overview

Brief History

    Overview
  • Overview
  • Narrative

Overview

Formed October 1981
Disbanded 1988
First Attack December 17, 1981: Members of the BR-PCC kidnapped a high-ranking NATO official and American Brigadier General James Lee Dozier. Italian police freed Dozier in a raid in January 1982. (No reported casualties) 
Last Attack April 16, 1988: Members of the BR-PCC assassinated an Italian Senator. (1 killed) 
Updated June 20, 2012

 

The Red Brigades Fighting Communist Party (BR-PCC) was one of three main groups that split from the Red Brigades (BR), Italy's largest left-wing terrorist organization, beginning in 1980. Like the BR and its other successors, it sought to overthrow the capitalist state in Italy and replace it with a dictatorship of the proletariat, and its specific demands included Italy's withdrawal from NATO. The BR-PCC inherited the core of the BR and was the most active and successful of the BR's successors. It lasted the longest and carried out the highest-profile attacks. Like the BR and its other successors, the BR-PCC declined due to arrests, and dissolved when some of its imprisoned leaders declared the armed struggle finished.

Narrative

The Red Brigades Fighting Communist Party (BR-PCC) was the main successor to the Red Brigades (BR), Italy's largest left-wing terrorist organization, after the BR began to split in 1980. Like the Red Brigades and its other successors, it sought the overthrow of the democratic and capitalist Italian state, but it differed with the BR's other successors over tactics and strategy. Similar to the Red Brigades and its other successors, it was dismantled by arrests and former militants' cooperation with police.

The BR-PCC, which inherited the core of the parent organization and retained much of its traditional leadership, was the most successful of the groups that split from the BR. The BR had faced a law enforcement crackdown in the wake of its most famous attack, the 1978 kidnapping and eventual murder of a former Prime Minister, and began to break apart into factions shortly afterward.[1] The BR-PCC formed a few months after the Red Brigades Guerrilla Party (BR-PG) split from the BR.[2]

The BR-PCC retained much of the traditional structure and ideology of the original Red Brigades. The BR's other offshoots criticized it for this, saying the BR-PCC was too militaristic and hierarchical and had lost touch with the workers.[3]

Departing from other BR branches, the BR-PCC had international political goals in addition to a desire to instigate local class warfare. It is best-known for two actions against American targets: the kidnapping of a U.S. and NATO general, and the killing of an American diplomat. These attacks differed from those of the BR and its other offshoots, whose targets were almost exclusively Italian and which were focused more narrowly on fomenting revolution in Italy.

The BR-PCC proposed a "strategic retreat" in the wake of a wave of arrests following its first kidnapping in 1982. The object was to reorganize the organization to better position itself for continuing its offensive against the state.[4] The BR's other offshoots opposed this, and the BR-PCC itself continued to stage attacks.[5] The BR-PCC likely formally dissolved in 1988, when the BR's traditional leaders issued a communiqué from jail, declaring the armed struggle finished.



[1] Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. pp. 69-71

[2] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

[3] Weinberg, Leonard, and William Lee Eubank. The Rise and Fall of Italian Terrorism. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987. p. 70

[4] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

[5] Segio, Sergio. Una Vita In Prima Linea. 1. ed. Milano: Rizzoli, 2006. p. 194.

 

Organizational Structure

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

    Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Antonio Savasta (October 1981 to 1982)
  • Mario Moretti (October 1981 to 1988)
  • Barbara Balzerani, alias "Sara" (December 1981 to June 19, 1985)

Leadership

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

The BR-PCC was led by some of the historic leaders of the Red Brigades, many of whom guided the organization from jail.

 

Antonio Savasta (October 1981 to 1982)

Savasta was the leader of the Venice branch of the Red Brigades. He was arrested for participation in the kidnapping of an American Brigadier General and high-ranking NATO official in 1982. His cooperation with authorities led to the arrest of hundreds more members.[1]



[1] National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2011). Global Terrorism Database [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd; Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate rosse -- PCC (1981-1988)." Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

 

Mario Moretti (October 1981 to 1988)

Moretti was a founding member of the Red Brigades and confessed to having personally fired the shots that killed Christian Democratic Leader Aldo Moro. He was arrested in 1981 and freed in 1998. He likely helped lead the BR-PCC from prison.[1]



[1] Singer, Daniel. "The Bloody Cul-de-Sac," "The Nation," October 24, 1994. Citing "Mario Moretti: Brigate Rosse. Una storia Italiana," Anabasi; National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2011). Global Terrorism Database [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd

 

Barbara Balzerani, alias "Sara" (December 1981 to June 19, 1985)

Balzerani had been a member of the student movement in Rome prior to joining the Red Brigades. She participated in some of the BR's and the BR-PCC's highest-profile attacks. She was arrested in 1985.[1]



[1] Brigaterosse.org, page on Barbara Balzerani. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/personaggi/BarbaraBalzerani.htm

 

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

Name Changes

High-profile attacks have been staged under the names "The New Red Brigades" and BR-PCC beginning again in 1999. It is unclear what if any connection these new groups have to the original groups.[1]

 


[1] Westcott, Kathryn. "Italy's History of Terror." BBC News Online. Last updated January 6, 2004. Available: http://newswww.bbc.net.uk/2/hi/europe/3372239.stm

 

Size Estimates

Year unknown: 93 people were charged with involvement in the BR- PCC (La Mappa Perduta)[1]



[1] Curcio, Renato (ed.). La Mappa Perduta. Roma: Sensibili alle foglie, 1994. p. 208.

 

Resources

Geographic Locations

There are no recorded geographical locations for this group.

 

 

 

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets, and Tactics

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

Ideology and Goals

Communist revolutionary

Left-wing

 

The Red Brigades Fighting Communist Party (BR-PCC), like the Red Brigades and all of its successors, sought to overthrow the Italian democratic capitalist state and replace it with a dictatorship of the proletariat. The BR-PCC differed with the BR's other successors over strategy, tactics, and organization, however. In particular, the BR-PCC was considered more strictly "Leninist" than the other groups in its embrace of strict hierarchy and centrally-planned, as opposed to spontaneous, attacks.[1]

 

Its specific demands included Italy's withdrawal from NATO, a halt to the construction of missile installations in Sicily, and the withdrawal of a multinational peacekeeping force from Lebanon.[2]



[1] Drake, Richard. The Aldo Moro Murder Case. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995. pp. 134-135.

[2] Pisano, Vittorfranco S. Terrorism In Italy : an Update Report, 1983-1985 : Report of the Subcommittee On Security and Terrorism for the Use of the Committee On the Judiciary, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1985. p. 3.

 

Political Activities

There are no recorded political activities for this group.

Targets and Tactics

The BR-PCC attacked traditional left-wing targets such as politicians. It appears not to have focused on law enforcement targets, though the group did kill two policemen, perhaps by accident, while robbing a bank.[1]

 

The BR-PCC emphasized America as a primary enemy and symbol of international capitalism and imperialism. It advocated the creation of a multinational Anti-Imperialist Fighting Front that would unite anti-American fighters, especially from Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, and Libya.[2] Domestically, the BR-PCC staged two high-profile attacks against Americans in Italy, kidnapping one and killing the other. Though other groups on the left had condemned the U.S. as a capitalist imperialist power and had demanded Italy's exit from NATO, the BR-PCC appears to be the only Italian left-wing terrorist group to have successfully attacked Americans in Italy.

 



[1] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

[2] Drake, Richard. The Aldo Moro Murder Case. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995. p. 150

 

Major Attacks

First Attacks, Largest Attacks, Notable Attacks
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Major Attacks

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. December 17, 1981: Members of the BR-PCC kidnapped a high-ranking NATO official and American Brigadier General James Lee Dozier. Italian police freed Dozier in a raid in January 1982. (0 killed)[1]
  2. May 3, 1983: Members of the BR-PCC wounded a member of the Italian Socialist Party in Rome. (0 killed)[2]
  3. February 15, 1984: Members of the BR-PCC killed U.S. diplomat Leamon Hunt in Rome. (1 killed)[3]
  4. February 10, 1986: Members of the BR-PCC killed a former mayor, citing his investments in the defense industry, in Florence. (1 killed)[4]
  5. February 14, 1987: Members of the BR-PCC killed two policemen in the course of a robbery in Rome. (2 killed)[5]
  6. April 16, 1988: Members of the BR-PCC killed an Italian senator. (1 killed)[6]

 



[1] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

[2] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

[3] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

[4] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

[5] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

[6] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm

 

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 Red Brigades Fighting Communist Party and the communities in which it resides is unknown.

Relationships with Other Groups

The BR-PCC was one of three main groups that split from the Red Brigades following its decline in the 1980s. The BR-PCC was a rival of the other main splinter groups, the Red Brigades-Walter Alasia and the Red Brigades-Guerilla Party.  Those groups criticized the BR-PCC for being too orthodox and too focused on militancy over other forms of political expression. The dispute between the groups was mostly rhetorical,[1] however, and they did not attack each other.

 

The BR-PCC split again beginning in 1985, leading to the formation of the Union of Communist Combatants (UdCC). The UdCC, like the BR's other offshoots, advocated a less militaristic approach to the revolution, and broader participation from the masses.[2]



[1] Drake, Richard. The Aldo Moro Murder Case. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995. p. 134

[2] Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate Rosse - PCC (1981-1988)." Last updated September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/pcc.htm and Karmon, Ely. "The Red Brigades: Cooperation with the Palestinian Terrorist Organization (1970–1990)." International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), 2001. Available: http://212.150.54.123/articles/articledet.cfm?articleid=365

 

State Sponsors and External Influences

There are no publicly available external influences for this group.

Maps

This 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.

Militant Interactions

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