BAADER-MEINHOF SYNDROME IN DTLA, AND WHY WE DON’T TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER
Written by Bil Brown and Lydia Lunch – the underground no wave singer, poet, actor, visual artist, and spoken word performer
Protest is when I say this does not please me. Resistance is when I ensure what does not please me occurs no more.”
– Ulrike Marie Meinhof
In the late 1960s and early 1970s there was an awakening of the liberal left during a time when protests and political confrontations all over the world were in the thousands. A time when Europe, Asia, and America were dealing with unyielding socio-political changes in civil rights, gender rights, sexual freedoms and the infancy of cultural change.
We did not need an election.
We needed an insurrection.
Protest is the start of any movement, of any change. In the ’60s and ’70s in the US there was the Black Panthers, or the Weather Underground, or in Europe the SPK, the German Revolutionary Cells, and the Red Army Faction (RAF) – AKA the Baader-Meinhof Group – that constituted a Left extremist point of view. Many of these radicals were women, which was a virtual first in history. One of these women, Margrit Schiller, a member of the so-called Baader-Meinhof gang and the militant SPK, a patients’ collective that took over an asylum, said this of the time: “We were saying, ‘The social system is sick.’ The basic idea is (mental) illness is a person’s reaction to a system that makes people ill, and the solution is to destroy this system.”
An absolute overthrow of a corrupt cabal, a klepto-cratic corporate cock-ocracy, that pisses on the poor, wages endless wars, bankrupts entire nations, and has an incarceration rate that in itself is criminal: 4.4% of the world’s population, 22% of the world’s prisoners… 65 million Americans with criminal records, most commonly for petty drug charges… 2.2 million in correction facilities, 4.7 million on parole… and you wanted me to fucking vote. You’re joking right?
The women involved in the left cataclysmic paranoia were not just patients in some asylum gone AWOL. Some were respected members of society. Ulrike Meinhof was a celebrated journalist, writer and artist. She had a family, children, and a good middle-class life. For Ulrike her politics were personal. The RAF, of which she is cited as being a co-founder, saw the West German government of the day being run by former Nazis or Nazi sympathizers. Ulrike took her protest further, “We are the offspring of metropolitan annihilation and destruction, of the war of all against all, of the conflict of each individual with every other individual, of a system governed by fear, of the compulsion to produce, of the profit of one to the detriment of others, of the division of people into men and women, young and old, sick and healthy, foreigners and Germans, and of the struggle for prestige.”
There was nobody to vote for. If the only options were a bigoted tantrum throwing misogynist sexual predator who brags about filing for bankruptcy six times over, knowing he could get away with it; or the Matron Saint of the military industrial complex to the tune of 21 million dollars for 92 speeches to big banks in the last 3 years alone, whose mantra consists of peace is not profitable but war is big business, then I guess you’re screwed if you do and screwed if you don’t. Vote that is. And even if you did, do you really think it mattered when there was no real candidate for the people?
Ulrike was not alone. The subsequent violence and resistance to policies that lawmakers couldn’t quite combat with legislation, given that a fair number of legislators with radical right fascist agendas were part of the ruling class, created a class of mothers and daughters of the Kommune 1. These were the children and grandchildren of far right politics, including what the far left radicals assumed were actual Nazis still in positions of power. This new woman is one that could not and would not take it anymore.
And although millions of women, men and children took to the streets on January 21st, 2017 in an unprecedented demonstration against the erosion of reason and hard fought rights, I can’t help but feel it was just too little too late.
For thousands of years now madmen, maniacs and would-be-messiahs have been pillaging, plundering and raping the entire planet. We inhabit a vast potential Utopia, confounded by liberalism that gave us HOPE, which is being destroyed by its abusers.
And there are a lot of them.
These women were not what was expected. Most of the world still expected mothers and housewives, not intelligent, opinionated women ready to do more than just protest. Women that were ready to fight, kill, and die for their causes. Sexual liberation became a freedom to act, a freedom to choose where your political alliances lay. “I bleed for my country every month.” They weren’t just fighting for themselves, but were protecting their children, advising new generations. Bringing new faces to the fore. But this was a rift between not only generations, but the ruling class.
Men. Man as pariah, piranha, a parasite, an all-consuming ravenous beast who devours every other creature, wreaking havoc upon a female planet who bears the scars of his insatiable hunger, her body pitted by deep wounds gauged into her flesh, as he leeches from her the natural elements which power his infernal machines.
Man has turned the world into a ghetto, a whorehouse, an orphanage, a refugee camp, a sweatshop, a slaughterhouse, a bomb factory, a landmine, a butcher shop, a shooting gallery, an insane asylum, a gas chamber, a toxic dump.
And the way I see it Mother Nature is getting pretty pissed off. But let’s not talk about the weather, we don’t talk about the weather… Earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, tsunamis, monsoons, droughts, famines, floods, mudslides, hurricanes. Maybe She’s trying to tell us something. Like you reap what you fucking sow. Like you get what you deserve. Maybe she’s sick of being butchered by dictators and torn to shreds by tyrants.
Nature Herself is becoming increasingly more violent against the men who have been causing her violence.
The popularity of the insurrectionists, the left terrorists, the thinkers, the doers in the ’70s all the way until the last one took the last heist, or bomb, or threat in the ’90s was intentional. Underground, counter-cultural, but accepted. The Weather Underground in America put it best by writing, “Guerrillas must choose targets carefully. These must meet with the approval of the mass of the people as fitting and just. A guerrilla army utilizes the supplies and arms of the enemy, but since it depends upon popular support, it respects the property, the interests, and the lives of the people.” Makes us wonder how the counter-culture dissipated under Reagan, Bush, Clinton, then W. Bush and 9/11, then eight years of HOPE during the first black POTUS of the US and the liberal governments of Europe. Maybe we don’t have to wonder. Maybe we know. It was fear and complacency and very little public support. A focus on “Hip” pleasures and the old-skool. Only our rising climate, our rising temperatures and storms showed us something was still terribly wrong.
And to some of us violence is as natural as breathing. Life is a sexually transmitted incurable disease.
Violence was the first act of creation.
Where is today’s Patti Hearst or Angela Davis, Ulrike Meinhof, or Gundrun Esslin? Where is the militant voice that won’t run for office but will seize an office and commit to letting us all know this can’t go any further? Proud and defiant alongside the men, or on their own. We all want a peaceful march with millions, but where are the few that want to take it a little further?
And I admit it. The American Way of Life has turned me into a death-defying murder junkie. Where all the Killers are heroes. All the heroes are killers. And I myself am filled with a murderous rage. Gang Warfare waged under my skin. A battle of bitches boxing their way out. I have become the rapist whose impotence at annihilating the real killers is manifested into violence against myself and anyone else who gets in my fucking way.
And if you think I’m hostile… you have no fucking clue.
We became critical of radicalism, all of us, even the radicals who at once were against a fascist state wanted to be part of it. In a pamphlet entitled: The Split of the Weather Underground Organization: Struggling against White and Male Supremacy, many of the new radicals tried to pull away from the older. Some may have thought it was because they grew up, got over it. Thought that being community organizers, going back to being parents, husbands, members of society was a good idea. Some didn’t.
I’m a passion killer with criminal urges. A sadist incarcerated in her own torture chamber. I’ve gotten inside the enemy’s head he’s sleeping in my fucking bed. My womb a tomb a sacrificial cunt, the more they kill the more I fuck.
Because I could become their next target at any moment. WE COULD BECOME THEIR NEXT TARGET. And when, not if, but when they decide to drop a drone on my head, I plan on dying with a smile on my face laughing in delight, smoking a fat joint.
And some of these extreme women are still with us, and were here waiting for the golden boy, the white guy, the supremist, the bully, the abuser to stop hiding behind the curtains. Waiting for them to come out and play.
Pleasure is the ultimate rebellion.
The only true rebellion is pleasure. Pleasure at the brink of the apocalypse. Ecstasy at the mouth of the volcano. Pleasure at the brink of disaster.
It’s going to get worse before it gets any better. To quote Orwell: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
Photographer: Bil Brown
Stylist: Jules Wood
Models: Athena For Freedom Models, Bleu Archbold And Tiger Kaufman For MSA Talent Agency, Abby Brothers, Amy Hixson, Ema Mckie, Michelle Vawer, and Lauren Wasser For Vision LA, Courtlyn Cannan, Cameron Newbill For Next Model Management, And Drew Pluta
Hair: Elaina Karras and James Price
Makeup: Mikayla Gottlieb, Alexa N Hernandez, And Mynxii White using Burberry Beauty
Producer: Bil Brown
Co-Producer: Mynxii White
Styling Assistants: Haylei Jarosz And Nereida Villarreal