RABL was founded by members of the Back Room Anarchist Books collective who wanted to develop a more militant, explicitly revolutionary and pro-organizational anarchist politics. The group published an irregular newsletter/newspaper, "RABL Rouser" and participated in a variety of political and social struggles in the Twin Cities. RABL's first action was participation in an occupation of an abandoned house with homeless activists and members of the poor people's organization, Up and Out of Poverty. But RABL's most important work was in the movement against U.S. intervention in Central America. In March 1988, RABL emerged as a leading force among Twin Cities youth who responded militantly to the mobilization of thousands of U.S. troops to the border of Honduras and Nicaragua in apparent preparation for an invasion of Nicaragua. RABL's role in a series of confrontational anti-war demonstrations (including the attack on the military recruiting station) won it many new members and made it a significant force within the Twin Cities progressive scene. Some of the members of Anti-Racist Action and the Baldies were involved with RABL and successfully sought to bring anarchist politics into ARA's program.
In 1991 RABL formally dissolved itself into the Twin Cities local of Love and Rage (which also included members of The Blast and AWOL, two other Twin Cities anarchist groups affiliated with Love and Rage.
RABL's politics were explicitly pro-working class, feminist, anti-racist and anti-imperialist and the group sought to develop a distinct trend witin the North American anarchist scene that it defined as "revolutionary anarchism." RABL played the leading role in organizing Love and Rage and was often accused of harboring semi-Marxist or Leninist politics expressed most clearly in the group's support for national liberation struggles and its organizational vision which shared certain characteristics with the Leninist concept of a cadre organization.
A tongue-in-cheek Internet video We're getting ready! RNC Welcoming Committee trailer posted online in August 2007 features masked Black bloc-style activists preparing for the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN. In one scene, an activist carrying a bowling ball emblazoned with a large "RABL" sticker knocks down a set of pins in front of a U.S. Navy Officer Recruiting office.