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I wouldn't say they never recovered from bad publicity. It's just the anti-state immigrants that made up their ranks, and those communities, after the new deal became assimilated into American nationalism. The publicity that was supposedly bad came from nationalist and liberal elements of American society, more privileged sects, who supported capital, the state,and above all the American nationalism who had an inherent xenophobia, and were colonial forces by nature.
For instance,one could say, "the black panthers got bad publicity after deadly shootouts" and you would be correct, but from whom? Reactionary,and liberal elements of society. I feel like things are never as simple as "the masses waiting to awaken" when the reality is, in history, we see that society is filled with forces and sects who reinforce and support dominance in different ways, from openly, to subconsciously; these forces can never be expected to suddenly support insurrections.
Another example, would be slave revolts,and abolitionists. They were,shunned,and hated by many. Workers, or middle class patriots weren't gasping in awe at their bravery. They were constantly getting bad publicity through their actions, whether it be passive, or the mass amounts of insurrections they engaged in long before the civil war. It was by no means, pretty, or widely accepted, but people who had the flame of freedom burning within their hearts felt the need to act against slavery regardless of the wider public's perception.
In Italy, during the years of lead, I'd say for this reason it wasn't some abstract loss of public support that, briefly, slowed Anarchism in southern Europe down. It was the adaption of repressive forces, to certain problems the state faced, certain methods that changed. Even there, where the RAF fell, anarchist networks in southern Europe remained strong, and are just as strong today.
Another thing, Spain, considered one of the largest Anarchist risings in history, was predated, by small acts of insurrection, that weren't accepted by most, until franco, and even then the liberal public eventually spat on the anarchists,who basically fought with no compromise until they died in imprisonment long after the civil war. durruti for example, was in a group called the avengers,before the civil war began. they engaged in many individualistic acts, including raids of barracks, and jailbreaks. he eventually had to flea to latin america. anarchist militants were the ones who basically called for everyone to "not just destroy fascism, but all forms of oppression now" during franco's rising, it wasn't the syndicalist unions that called for this from the start.
as for italy, here's an excerpt from a participant in the 70s, which touches on what you said about the people in Germany at the time going beyond what is considered immediately defensive
>>it is not the technical instrument we use which qualifies an action as violent or not, but rather its perspective in the confrontation with the class enemy. To employ armed struggle means essentially to be ready to respond to State violence and exploitation blow for blow at every level. It means passing from the purely defensive phase to one of attack in order to strike the enemy’s centres of organisation and repression. At the same time it must be capable of indicating to all the exploited where the true enemy is concealed, and that it is possible to strike it, it is not indistinguishable nor invulnerable. The latter is all the more important in an advanced phase of social democracy. Here the State is trying to draw the proletariat into its own logic to have them identify with the adversary through the mechanism of consensus and the co-management of exploitation, and at the same time use terror by exhibiting a strong apparatus of criminalisation and repression. This situation can be seen today not only in the German Federal Republic, but also in Italy and all the other areas of advanced capitalism.
>>Different methods and choices can obviously exist within the revolutionary struggle, not all of which can be shared from an anarchist viewpoint
I'm also not disagreeing with anything you said, or the pacifism (not passivity, but the actual pacifist movements,ie; bobby sands was involved in both passive resistance and the complete opposite,before his second prison term) and am just responding for historical purposes. I mostly like everything you have to say tbh. also the guy who did McKinley was considered mentally unstable,and a creep even by other anarchists who were just as militant. it's not like he was Alexandra berkman or malatesta lol.