How (not) to “Hollaback”: towards a transnational debate on the “Red Zora” and militant tactics in the feminist struggle against gender based violence

Katharina Karcher

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Abstract

The Red Zora was formed in the mid-1970s as a subgroup within the militant leftist network Revolutionary Cells. Like other militant leftist groups in West Germany, the Red Zora deemed the use of physical force against property, and in some cases people, to be a necessary part of national and international political interventions. But the group had a radical feminist philosophy. Between 1977 and 1995, the Red Zora carried out dozens of attacks with an explicitly feminist agenda. This paper gives a brief overview of the activities of the Red Zora and of feminist responses to the group. Against the background of Germany’s fascist past and political violence in the FRG, feminist activists in Germany were understandably reluctant to discuss ideas and activities that could associate the women’s movement with left-wing “terrorism”. This article shows that “Hollaback!”, #aufschrei and other recent campaigns by feminist activists in Germany have reinforced rather than challenged the feminist silence on the Red Zora. While German feminists have only begun to document the history of the group, activists in other countries show that one does not have to agree with the tactics of the Red Zora to productively engage with the activities of this group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-85
Number of pages16
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Volume16
Issue number1
Early online date16 Aug 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Red Zora
  • Hollaback
  • West German feminism
  • sexualised violence
  • political violence

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