Red Brigades Walter Alasia

FormedNovember 12, 1980
DisbandedJanuary 1983
First AttackNovember 12, 1980: Two members of the BR-WA killed an industrial manager on a train in Milan. (1 killed) [1]
Last AttackJune 3, 1981: Members of the BR-WA kidnapped a manager of the Alfa Romeo car company in Milan. They released him July 23, 1981. (0 killed) [2]
UpdatedJune 27, 2012

Narrative Summary

The Red Brigades Walter Alasia (BR-WA) was the first of three main groups to break from the Red Brigades (BR), Italy's main terrorist organization, beginning in 1980. [3] The BR-WA had been the Milan column of the BR but split from its parent organization over ideological and personal disputes. It was named after a BR militant who had been killed in a shootout with police in 1976.

The BR-WA argued that the core organization had lost touch with the working class. This dispute had come to the surface in summer 1979, when the BR and its Milan branch issued competing strategic documents on the workers' struggle in the factories. [4] The BR central command tried and failed to resolve the groups' differences at a meeting in Rome the following summer. [5]

The BR-WA in essence declared its independence with the killing of an industrial manager on a train in Milan in November 1980 without the approval of the BR's national leaders. [6] The BR formally expelled the Walter Alasia column in response shortly afterward. The split was the first of several stemming from ideological disputes over the core mission of the BR as many of its historic leaders were arrested.

The BR-WA may have intended to take over the national leadership of the entire BR, but it did not expand beyond Milan or stage more than a handful of successful attacks. [7] It survived independently only three years. Like the BR and its other successors, the group disintegrated due to arrests, the violent deaths of some members, and other members' cooperation with authorities. [8]

Leadership

Ideology & Goals

The Red Brigades Walter Alasia (BR-WA), like all of Italy's left-wing terrorist groups including the Red Brigades and its other successors, generally sought to overthrow the Italian state and replace it with a dictatorship of the proletariat. The group argued that the historic core of the Red Brigades had lost touch with the working class and was too hierarchical. In this regard, the BR-WA ideologically resembled BR rival Prima Linea (PL), whose founders had split from the Red Brigades in the mid-1970s over similar disagreements.

Size Estimates

Targets & Tactics

The BR-WA targeted factory managers almost exclusively, killing two and kidnapping one. The group staged only a handful of successful attacks over its three-year lifespan, however. Unlike the BR's other offshoots, it did not focus on politicians, magistrates, law enforcement, or prisons.

Major Attacks

  1. November 12, 1980: Two members of the BR-WA killed an industrial manager on a train in Milan. (1 killed).[10]
  2. November 28, 1980: Members of the BR-WA killed an engineer near his home in Milan. (1 killed).[11]
  3. February 17, 1981: Four members of the BR-WA killed a hospital director as he was getting out of his car in Milan. The victim had previously attempted to curb the BR's influence among his patients. (1 killed).[12]
  4. June 2, 1981: Members of the BR-WA kidnapped the director of production of the Alfa Romeo car factory in Milan. They released him July 23. (0 killed).[13]

Relationships with Other Groups

The BR-WA was one of three main groups that split from the Red Brigades, Italy's largest left-wing terrorist group, beginning in 1980. The others were the Red Brigades Fighting Communist Party (BR-PCC) and the Red Brigades Guerrilla Party (BR-PG). BR-WA was previously known as the Milan wing of the BR prior to the split.

The BR-WA and the BR were ideological rivals. The BR-WA may have wanted to take over the main organization but never spread beyond its original base in Milan before it was rapidly dismantled by law enforcement. [14]

The BR-WA was ideologically aligned with the Red Brigades Guerrilla Party (BR-PG) and with Prima Linea (PL), the second-largest left-wing terrorist group in Italy.   Members of the BR-WA, the BR-PG, and the PL discussed collaborating on a prison break but cancelled the operation because it was too difficult. [15]

References

  1. ^ Brigaterosse.org. "Breve storia delle Brigate rosse (1970-1987) Parte III." June 4, 2006. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/storia3.htm and Associazione Italiana per Vittime del Terrorismo, Schede/1980/BRIANO, available: http://www.vittimeterrorismo.it/memorie/schede/briano.htm
  2. ^ Segio, Sergio. Una Vita In Prima Linea. 1. ed. Milano: Rizzoli, 2006. p. 373.
  3. ^ Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate rosse – Colonna "Walter Alasia" (1980-1983)." September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/alasia.htm
  4. ^ Brigaterosse.org."Le Brigate rosse – Colonna "Walter Alasia" (1980-1983)." September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/alasia.htm
  5. ^ Fenzi, Enrico (Deposition) in Moran, Sue Ellen (ed.). Inside a Terrorist Group: The Red Brigades of Italy. Diane Publishing, 1987. pp. 199-201.
  6. ^ Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate rosse – Colonna "Walter Alasia" (1980-1983)." September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/alasia.htm
  7. ^ Brigaterosse.org. "Le Brigate rosse – Colonna "Walter Alasia" (1980-1983)." September 11, 2005. Available: http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/alasia.htm
  8. ^ Friday, Carolyn. "Why Italy Got Tough on Red Brigades Prisoners." The Christian Science Monitor, March 3, 1982. Available: http://www.csmonitor.com/1982/0303/030362.html
  9. ^ Curcio, Renato (ed). La Mappa Perduta. Roma: Sensibili alle foglie, 1994. p. 187. Also available via Brigaterosse.org."Le Brigate rosse – Colonna "Walter Alasia" (1980-1983)." September 11, 2005. Retrieved April 16, 2012, from: http://www.brigaterosse.org
  10. ^ {{http://www.brigaterosse.org/brigaterosse/storia/storia3.htm and Associazione Italiana per Vittime del Terrorismo, Schede/1980/BRIANO, available: http://www.vittimeterrorismo.it/memorie/schede/briano.htm}}
  11. ^ Segio, Sergio. Una Vita In Prima Linea. 1. ed. Milano: Rizzoli, 2006. p. 372.
  12. ^ Segio, Sergio. Una Vita In Prima Linea. 1. ed. Milano: Rizzoli, 2006. p. 372, and Associazione Italiana Vittime del Terrorismo. Schede/1981/MARANGONI. Available: http://www.vittimeterrorismo.it/memorie/schede/marangoni.htm
  13. ^ Segio, Sergio. Una Vita In Prima Linea. 1. ed. Milano: Rizzoli, 2006. p. 373.
  14. ^ Fenzi, Enrico (Deposition) in Moran, Sue Ellen (ed.). Inside a Terrorist Group: The Red Brigades of Italy. Diane Publishing, 1987. pp. 199-201.
  15. ^ Segio, Sergio. Una Vita In Prima Linea. 1. ed. Milano: Rizzoli, 2006. p. 201.