The Red Army Faction, A Documentary History
Projectiles for the People

by André Moncourt and J. Smith

Kersplebedeb Publishing and PM Press 2009

This book about the Red Army Faction of American-occupied Germany is one that should be read by any serious student of anti-imperialist politics. “Volume 1: Projectiles for the People” provides a history of the RAF’s development through the words of its letters and communiqués. What makes the book especially important and relevant, however, is the careful research and documentation done by its editors. Their effort makes this work far more than a collection of communiqués. From this book you will learn the mistakes of a group that was both large and strong, but which (like our own home-grown attempts in this regard) was unable to successfully communicate with the working class of a “democratic” country on a level that met their needs. While the armed struggle can be the seed of something much larger, is also another means of reaching out and communicating with the people. Students interested in this historic era would do well to study this book and to internalize both the successes and failures of one of the largest organized armed anti-imperialists organizations operating in Western Europe since World War II.
—Ed Mead, former political prisoner, George Jackson Brigade


Projectiles for the People


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contents

Foreword By Bill Dunne............xiv

A word from Russell “Maroon” Shoats............xv

Acknowledgements............xvi

Translators’ Note............xviii

Preface............xxi

Acronym Key............xxv

German Terms............xxix

1. “Democracy” Comes to Deutschland: Postfascist Germany and the Continuing Appeal of Imperialism............3

2. The Re-Emergence of Revolutionary Politics in West Germany............19

3. Taking Up the Gun............45

Faced With This Justice System, We Can’t Be Bothered Defending Ourselves
(Thorwald Proll, October 1968)............66

Build the Red Army!
(June 5, 1970)............79

The Urban Guerilla Concept
(April 1971)............83

4. Building a Base and “Serving the People”............107

Andreas Baader: Letter to the Press
(January 24, 1972)............120

Serve the People: The Urban Guerilla and Class Struggle
(April 1972)............122

sidebar: on the treatment of traitors............160

This is Edelgard Graefer...
(March 27, 1972)............162

5. the may offensive: bringing the war home............163

For the Victory of the People of Vietnam
(May 14, 1972)............174

Attacks in Augsburg and Munich
(May 16, 1972)............175

Attack on Judge Buddenberg
(May 20, 1972)............176

Attack on the Springer Building
(May 20, 1972)............177

Attack on the Heidelberg Headquarters of the U.S. Army in Europe
(May 25, 1972)............178

To the News Editors of the West German Press
(May 28, 1972)............179

Regarding the Fascist Bomb Threats Against Stuttgart
(May 29, 1972)............181

Statement to the Red Aid Teach-In
(May 31, 1972)............183

6. black september: a statement from behind bars............187

The Black September Action in Munich: Regarding the Strategy for Anti-Imperialist Struggle
(November 1972)............205

7. staying alive: sensory deprivation, torture, and the struggle behind bars............237

Ulrike Meinhof on the Dead Wing
(1972–73, 1973–74)............271

Second Hunger Strike
(May 8, 1973)............274

Provisional Program of Struggle for the Political Rights of Imprisoned Workers
(September 1974)............279

Third Hunger Strike
(September 13, 1974)............285

The Expulsion of Horst Mahler
(Monika Berberich, September 27, 1974)............288

Holger Meins’ Report on Force-Feeding
(October 11, 1974)............292

Holger Meins’ Last Letter
(November 1, 1974)............296

Interview with Spiegel Magazine
(January 1975)............300

Andreas Baader Regarding Torture
(June 18, 1975)............319

8. a desperate bid to free the prisoners: the stockholm action............325

Letter from the RAF to the RAF Prisoners
(February 2, 1975)............338

Occupation of the West German Embassy in Stockholm
(April 24, 1975)............339

Defense Attorney Siegfried Haag Goes Underground
(May 11, 1975)............341

9. shadow boxing: countering psychological warfare............343

“We know why he’s saying it”
(Brigitte Mohnhaupt, July 22, 1976)............355

On the Liberation of Andreas Baader
(Ulrike Meinhof, September 13, 1974)............359

The Bombing of the Bremen Train Station
(December 9, 1974)............371

The Nature of the Stammheim Trial: The Prisoners Testify
(August 19, 1975)............372

No Bomb in Munich Central Station
(September 14, 1975)............376

The Bombing of the Hamburg Train Station
(September 23, 1975)............378

The Bombing of the Cologne Train Station
(November 1975)............380

10. the murder of ulrike meinhof............381

Jan-Carl Raspe: On the Murder of Ulrike Meinhof
(May 11, 1976)............395

Fragment Regarding Structure
(1976)............397

Two Letters to Hanna Krabbe
(March 19 & 23, 1976)............400

Letter to the Prisoners in Hamburg
(April 13, 1976)............405

Interview with Le Monde Diplomatique
(June 10, 1976)............408

11. meanwhile, elsewhere on the left… (an intermission of sorts)............433

12. & back to the raf… ............453

RZ Letter to the RAF Comrades
(December 1976)............457

Monika Berberich Responds to the Alleged RZ Letter
(January 10, 1977)............464

Andreas Baader: On the Geneva Convention
(June 2, 1977)............467

13. daring to struggle, failing to win............469

Fourth Hunger Strike
(March 29, 1977)............487

The Assassination of Attorney General Siegfried Buback
(April 7, 1977)............490

Statement Calling Off the Fourth Hunger Strike
(April 30, 1977)............493

The Assassination of Jürgen Ponto
(August 14, 1977)............494

Statement Breaking Off the Fifth Hunger Strike
(September 2, 1977)............495

The Attack on the BAW
(September 3, 1977)............496

The Schleyer Communiqués
(September–October, 1977)............498

Operation Kofr Kaddum
(SAWIO, October 13, 1977)............503

SAWIO Ultimatum
(October 13, 1977)............505

Final Schleyer Communiqué
(October 19, 1977)............507

14 the stammheim deaths............511

15 on the defensive............521

Appendices
appendix i: Excerpts from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung............544

appendix ii: The European Commission of Human Rights and the RAF Prisoners............548

appendix iii: The FRG and the State of Israel............550

appendix iv: The Geneva Convention: Excerpts............554

appendix v: Strange Stories: Peter Homann and Stefan Aust............557

appendix vi: The German Guerilla’s Palestinian Allies: Waddi Haddad’s PFLP(EO)............559

dramatis personae............563

armed struggle in west germany............579

note on sources and methodology............629

bibliography............632

index ............663

Starting in the Sixties, a new revolutionary strategy began to plague the capitalist metropolis—the urban guerilla. Warfare once waged by peasant armies in the countryside of a Cuba, a China, or a Guinea-Bisseau, was suddenly transfered to small cells of ex-students in the imperialist centers of Berlin, Rome and New York. No urban guerrillas became more famed or more demonized than West Germany’s Red Army Faction (RAF). We knew their signature bold actions in the headlines: from the damaging bombing of the u.s. army V Corps headquarters in Hamburg in 1972, in response to Washington’s mining of Hanoi’s harbor in an escalation of the Vietnam War, to the kidnapping and later execution of the head of the West German industrialists association, in an effort to negotiate for the release of revolutionary prisoners. But we never heard their political voices. Since the RAF’s political statements, debates and communiqués were untranslated and unavailable in English even within the left.
Now, at last, a significant documentary history of the RAF has come into the spotlight, complete with a readable account of the postwar German New Left from which it emerged. Even better, this work was done by editors/translators who reject the obedient capitalist media’s trivializing of the RAF as “pathological” death-wishing celebrities. In their hands, the words of the RAF are revealed as serious responses to the failure of parliamentary reformism, trade-unionism and pacifism, to stop the solidification of Germany’s own form of a neofascist capitalism (lightly cosmeticized with a layer of that numbing “consumer democracy”). The young RAF fighters hoped for liberation in their dangerous experiment but were willing to accept tragic consequences, and their story is emotionally difficult to read with eyes open. Controversial as the RAF was, their systematic torture in special “anti-terrorist” facilities stirred worldwide unease and even protest. In fact, those special prisons were the eagerly studied forerunners for the u.s. empire’s own latest human rights abuses, from Guantanamo to the domestic “maxi-maxi” prisons. We all and the RAF are much closer than the capitalist public wants to believe. It is all here, in this first volume of the Red Army Faction documentary histories, and we should thank all those who worked on this book.
—J. Sakai, author of Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat

 

Clear-headed and meticulously researched, this book deftly avoids many of the problems that plagued earlier attempts to tell the brief but enduring history of the RAF. It offers a remarkable wealth of source material in the form of statements and letters from the combatants, yet the authors manage to present it in a way that is both coherent and engaging. Evidence of brutal—and ultimately ineffective—attempts by the state to silence the voices of political prisoners serve as a timely and powerful reminder of the continued need for anti-imperialist prisoners as leaders in our movements today. At once informative and inspirational, this is a much-needed contribution to the analysis of armed struggle and the cycles of repression and resistance in Europe and around the world.
— Sara Falconer, Toronto Anarchist Black Cross Federation

 

Armed struggle was one of the most controversial yet widespread phenomena of the worldwide revolutionary upsurge in the 1960s and 1970s--and the Red Army Faction was a centerpiece of this strategy in the imperial West. This valuable documentary history gathers RAF primary documents with an impressive set of contextual essays, providing the raw material necessary to understand the strategies and consequences of attacking from within the belly of the beast.
—Dan Berger, author of Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity

 

Of all the revolutionary organizations to have been forged by the so-called sixties generation, the German Red Army Faction has been perhaps the most mythologized and maligned. Here at last is their story, told in their own words through “official” communications, comprehensively assembled and available for the first time in English translation. This is essential material for anyone wishing to know what they did, why they did it, and to draw consequent lessons from their experience.
—Ward Churchill
author of On the Justice of Roosting Chickens



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Product Details:
Edited by J. Smith and André Moncourt
Forewords by Russell "Maroon" Shoats and Bill Dunne
Published by Kersplebedeb and PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-029-0
Pub Date February 2009
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 736 pages
Size: 6 by 9
Subjects: Politics, Armed Struggle



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