The Red Brigades (BR) was a radical leftist group in Italy who made a name for themselves in the 1970s and 1980s with a number of high profile kidnappings and assassinations. They were finally brought down after they kidnapped NATO General James Dozier and his wife in 1981. They are best known for their kidnapping and killing of Aldo Moro in 1978.

The Red Brigades origins are thought to stem from the steady movement towards mainstream politics that Italy's Communist Party (PCI) made between WWII and the present day. As they moved away from the Eastern Bloc (one of the first western European Communist Parties to do so), more radical members lost faith in their party and began adopted what they considered a "pure" form of Marxist-Leninism. This required an armed uprising (with a vanguard of followers) who would instigate revolution amongst the working class of Italy. Clearly, the PCI, who was trying to form coalitions with the center-right Christian Democrats (DC) and the Socialist Party of Italy (PSI), had decided to take a different path than that, so the BR was born.

The 1970s in Italy was a particularly bloody time in its history, as groups from the Left and Right attempted to instigate change through violence. It was during this decade that the BR made a name for itself and also shot itself in the foot. Their kidnapping and assassination of Aldo Moro was high profile and bold. They kidnapped him in Rome and kept him hidden in this capitol city for 2 months. This created a level of fear in Italy. Worse yet, through all the violence, the police were unable to contain the situation or catch anyone involved.

Finally, the kidnapping of General Dozier in 1981 spelled the end for the BR. Not only did they kidnap an American general, but they took his wife as well. The police, for the first time, were successful in rescuing one of these kidnapping victims. This rescue also meant the capture of members of the Red Brigades. They used these and other members they caught to give over information which eventually led to their downfall and peace in Italy.

Recently, the Red Brigades have reappeared (March 20, 2002) on the scene with the killing of an economist and advisor to the government, Marco Biagi. He was an advisor to the Labor Minister and was one of the main advocates of some controversial labor law which make it easier to fire employees and have led to massive waves to protests (2 million people). This was similar to a 1999 killing of a man in a similar position as Biagi which the Red Brigades also took credit for. This latest killing was followed by a 28 page manifesto of sorts although most people believe that this is the work a small group of individuals and not the rebirth of the Red Brigades.

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