Revolutionary Left and Police Repression

(2016) “Frames of Injustice across Borders: Revolutionary Left and Police Repression in Italy, France, and the United States,” in Alberto Martín Álvarez and Eduardo Rey, eds., Revolutionary Violence and the New Left: Transnational Perspectives, New York-London: Routledge, pp. 185-202  Full text: falciola_2016_revolutionary violence and the new left

The chapter argues that the Western revolutionary left developed moral indignation toward police repression and constructed a blame discourse, not only by directly experiencing ruthless policing, but also by elaborating and sharing transnational frames of injustice. To develop this proposition, the essay examines three historically significant cases: Italy, France, and the United States, in the period between 1968 and the early 1970s. In the first section, the chapter outlines the content of the injustice frames, by pointing out the main common interpretative schemata and narratives. By combining fabricated news, hyperbolic descriptions and truthful information, such frames shaped an imagined global system of repression, together with a transnational community of the oppressed. In the second section, the essay analyzes the seven key factors that contributed to construct, align and diffuse the frames: a) the reference to a set of archetypes of repression; b) the real or virtual participation in episodes of repression abroad; c) the internationalist Zeitgeist of the 1968 generation; d) the translation and the cross-border diffusion of propaganda materials; e) the circulation of visual repertoires; f) the engagement of internationally acclaimed intellectuals and celebrities who gave legitimacy to the leftist interpretative schemata; g) the reactivation of shared ideological references.

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