Redlands Ln, Itchenor,
West Wittering, Chichester
PO20 8QE, United Kingdom
Rainy Day Women #12&35 played on the stereo and Marianne Faithful was wrapped in
fur when Chichester police broke down the eight-panel cottage door of the Redlands
farmhouse. Faithful was busted alongside her boyfriend Mick Jagger and Keith
Richards. Before the raid, there had been a desire among the British press for some kind
of retribution for the Stones’ libertine utopia. After the bust, the public opinion turned
in favor of the Stones and Faithful, and both the raid and subsequent prosecution was
seen as overly extreme and punitive. In the Times, William Rees-Mogg invoked the
words of 18th century English poet Alexander Pope when he asked ‘who breaks a
butterfly on a wheel’? in response to the incarceration of the rebellious but harmless
kids. The Redlands occupants had been set up by an acid-dealing informant within their
group who brokered his own freedom from prosecution for a prior drug bust in exchange
for the Stones. Mick and Keith went to trial and Faithful was released. She exited
utopia and walked toward exile. The two Stones spent a day in the hoosegow and
Faithful spent a decade on the street. In 1979, she returned with Broken English, a long
playing album released by Island Records, with the title track dedicated to Ulrike
Meinhof, who died in Stammheim Prison in Stuttgart three years prior and whose death
preceded those of her Rote Armee Fraktion colleagues on the ‘Todesnacht von
Stammheim’ by five months. 1
The same year, Rainer Werner Fassbinder staged his own sort of tribute to Meinhof
when his film Die Dritte Generation was first screened. Fassbinder’s ode to Ulrike
portrayed the decay and atrophication of the radical European left. The film follows a
terrorist cell in the wake of the Red Army Faction, as it plans the kidnapping of P.J.
Lurz, played by Eddie Constantine, the CEO of a computer security systems
corporation. The kidnapping plot is willingly progressed by Lurz himself in order to
increase demand for his security products from the West German state. The
dysfunctional group is disorganized, and rife with infighting. The cell, comprised of
young bourgeois Berliners, use a code phrase to communicate: Die Welt als Wille und
Vorstellung. The World as Will and Representation – the title of Arthur Schopenhauer’s
The group fumbles their plans, engage in petty inter-organizational disputes, and
members are struck down by police, who were privy to the organization’s plot from the
start, after being tipped off by P.J. Lurz and August, the de facto leader of the
organization, played by Volker Spengler. They traffic in the revolutionary language of
the recent generations of struggle – the students of ’68 and the RAF, but they are a
mere afterimage. The utopia they communicate is less a world reimagined but a method
of relating to the images of the past. They occupy the chairs and floors of spacious
Berlin apartments as they bicker, sometimes over tactics, but mostly over relationships.
They appear as spectators while the police and the corporation work in concert to move
the plot along. The film concludes during Karneval as we find the remaining members of
the group in costume and behind a camera, arranging a ransom video starring P.J. Lurz
to be sent to the West German media. They frame the shot, give Lurz notes on his
reading of the script, and experiment with extraneous text and sound effects for stylistic
effect. The film ends before its protagonists realize it is all too late and that they were
never really in command of the scene.
But intrinsically, representation lags in its temporal relation to its objects of address. A
new era of commercial liberalism had already been cemented by ’73. Through the
catalyst of US aid, Christian democracy took hold, decimating the last hopes, not just
for communist cells within western Europe, but of a broadly inclusive labour movement.
In the States, capital migrated from industrial cities like Cleveland and Newark, to the
suburbs of Dallas and San Diego. 2 AK Steel, a company founded in the merging of 2
Armco Steel and Kawasaki Steel Corporation, operated ten plants in the midwest of the
United States, with its headquarters in Middletown, Ohio. After the North American
Free Trade Agreement had worked its way through the veins of the Midwest and East
Coast, the remaining vestiges of unionism were ill-equipped to uphold the minimum
base force guarantee agreed upon by Armco and the Armco Employees Independent
Federation labor union of AK Steel in Middletown, Ohio. New negotiations between the
company and union led to proposals by AK Steel to cut the company's pension plan,
remove the base force guarantee at the plant and increase employees' share of health
care expenses. What followed was a one year lockout of AK Steel employees.
By the conclusion of the lockout, AK Steel had replaced its hourly employees with
temporary workers. There was no returning to the circumstances that preceded the dispute and the lockout had altered the composition of the town. Like countless towns and cities in the midwest, a deindustrial landscape remained, and a countercultural vision set its focus on the past rather than the future. The terrain on which the cultural underground at the end of the 20th century emerged had long been blighted. A left-behind youth sought to rest utopia from a carceral reality in which the prospects of the left had been foreclosed on in generations prior. Constant acts of re-imaging were performed as hippy or punk cycled past the cultural lens. In the middle regions of the States, artifacts of resistance took form as representations of desire. The conditions of the beginning of the 21st century provoked a melancholic look backward at the last half of the 20th and the counter culture surveyed a vista of conclusions cascading from decades prior – a funereal march through the left’s longue durée.
Associated Press Media Archive
Masked mourners for West German urban guerrilla leader Ulrike Meinhof carried
banners claiming she was murdered, to her West Berlin funeral on Saturday. Marchers
with red flags handed out leaflets also claiming she was murdered.
1. ms coffin onto cart, people follow
2. ms mourners with masks and banners
3. mcu Red Army Faction sign
4. ms people handing out leaflets
Film: Rev - Sound: Mag Sof - Colour - NYFilm: c0055177 - LN Number: LN72738
1. The “death night” in Stammheim Prison included Red Army Faction members Andreas Baader, Jan-Carl Raspe, and Gudrun Ensslin. RAF member Irmgard Möller survived four knife wounds to the chest.
2. Mike Davis, Prisoners of the American Dream: Politics and Economy in the History of the US 2 Working Class (London: Verso, 2018), p. 201-202.