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Terrorism and communism: on the events in Germany
In Germany, a «Holy Alliance» against terrorism
Today Baader, tomorrow the working class
Terrorism and communism
Today the revolt of Baader, tomorrow the revolt of the working class
In memory of Andreas Baader and his comrades

Terrorism and communism: on the events in Germany

In Germany, a «Holy Alliance» against terrorism
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(1) After the kidnapping of Schleyer - that boss of the bosses, director of Daimler-Benz, former SS officer and adviser to «socialist» Chancellor Brandt - the pack of guard dogs of capital has not ceased to howl for death.

On September 5th the German head of state addressed the nation on television, urging the people to cooperate with the police in the search for the «killers»:
The bloody provocation at Cologne is directed against all of us [...]. The state must respond to the provocations of terrorism with whatever severity necessary [...]. Terrorism does not have a chance because not only the state but the entire people is against it».

A «crisis headquarters» including the leading figures of politics, the judiciary and business was immediately set up. The chorus of hired ideologists of the ruling class joined in with the voice of their leader. The liberal journalists as well as those of the right-wing Springer group, social democratic intellectuals as well as apologists for nazism, Nobel prize theologians and humanists of all shades were unanimous: «Death to the gangsters, death to the common criminals».

In the first rank were the great democrats, as a man behind the president of the Socialist International, Willy Brandt:
The terrorists are murderers just like those who destroyed the Weimar Republic».
Death for the red fascists! Isolate them! Denounce their «dastardly and criminal» sympathisers! Dismiss all the lawyers that the prisoners trust, replace them by public defenders!

Public opinion, this idol of the democrats, docily echoes the ruling class: Enough weakness! Kill them one by one! Reestablish the death penalty!

Mirrored in the events in social democratic Germany, the democracy which emerged from World War II, from the «anti-Nazi» crusade, reveals itself in all its hideousness as the inheritor and continuator of fascism. This democracy is a hundred times more violent than fascism because the direct terrorism of the bourgeois state (which no democracy has ever hesitated to use) is reinforced by an ideological terrorism a hundred times more insidious. On one side there are the bunker-like court rooms, the tanks in the streets, the tremendous reinforcement of the police, the torture and «sensory isolation» of the political prisoners, the persecutions against their lawyers, and the witch hunt against civil employees. On the other side there are the opinion polls and Schmidt's public appeals for the «collaboration» of all citizens, i.e. decentralised repression based on «direct democracy».

If the Red Army Faction has brought down against it such a hysterical unanimity from all the defenders of the bourgeois state, this certainly is not because it represents such a present danger for the bourgeois order. There is an enormous disproportion between the assaults by a handful of terrorists and the incessant, omnipresent violence of the German democratic state. In this country which is not only in the heart of capitalism but at the epicentre of its world contradictions, such a fact did not prevent the RAF from taking up in words and in deeds the hatred and violence of the working class against the oppressor class. The present suffocating «social peace»in Germany had been paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of proletarians, the flower of the world working class, massacred by the «Weimar» social democracy after each of its several upsurges before being massacred by Nazism with the complicity of Stalinism. The crime committed by the RAF was of having denounced this iron dictatorship of capital that rests beneath the innocent cloak of democracy. It proclaimed through its actions the necessity of opposing force by force and terror by terror, attacking not only the representatives of German capitalism but also the outposts of the international American policeman (see the attempt in 1972 against the central computer controlling the bombing of Vietnam). It is for this reason that these militants merit, on the part of the international capitalist order, the worst hatred and punishment, and on our part, total solidarity against repression.

Our militant solidarity towards the rebels of the RAF (just as towards all those who stand up against the modern slavery of capitalism) does not exempt us from the duty of criticising the ideology of the organisations who channel their energies in a sterile way. To believe, as does the RAF, that through the «propaganda of the deed» the working class can be drawn out of the lethargy where it has been plunged for decades of counter-revolution, is in fact to repeat the old idealist and spontaneist errors of the working-class movement. Terrorism and armed actions of individuals or groups can neither raise the political consciousness of the masses nor unleash the class struggle. They are not a replacement for the maturation of the objective, material conditions of the revolution; neither are they a replacement for the subjective conditions, the preparation of the revolution by the party through all the complex forms of struggle (political, theoretical and economic) against the bourgeoisie and against the disastrous influence of democracy and opportunism over the proletariat, a struggle to win the largest possible layers of the proletariat to the principles of communism.

With this said, at the present moment when the RAF is confronted not only by the repression of the bourgeoisie but also by the condemnation of the whole gamut of opportunism, both from the right and the left, it is necessary for us to recall some points which are a question of principle for Marxists.

First of all, the call for violent revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat has no sense if it is not accompanied by the call for red terror as the indispensable means, not of course for «rousing» the proletariat, but for intimidating the enemy, for destroying its nerve centre and breaking its will. Secondly, in the violence and mass terror exercised by the proletariat in arms and directed by the revolutionary party, no form of violence can be excluded in principle including taking hostages, actions of reprisal or sabotage, and executions of the representatives of bourgeois reaction. It is solely a question of means to attain an aim; the only rules are the needs of revolutionary victory and later, its defence.

Finally, the proletarian revolution is not born through a process of raising the consciousness of the totality or even of the majority of the proletariat which develops according to schemas that are completely laid out in advance by the party.
It is born instead, as Lenin explained in 1916, as an outburst of mass struggle on the part of all and sundry oppressed and discontented elements» («The discussion on self-determination summed up», Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 356).
As such it cannot but be accompanied by the «inevitable participation» of sections of the petty bourgeoisie and backwards workers who bring into the movement «their prejudices, their reactionary fantasies, their weaknesses and errors», but who «objectively will attack capital». The actions, at first glance discordant, of this motley mass must not be denied (how can a material reality be denied!). Instead they must be «united and directed», centralised by the party in a comprehensive strategy, towards the victory of the revolution. Revolutions are not created, they are prepared and led.

The present upsurge of terrorism in the advanced capitalist countries, such as Germany and Italy, is the product of a despair faced with a situation of persistent social stagnation; it is an attempt to react, although inadequately, against the crushing pressure of capital and opportunism. At the same time it is the symptom of a deep crisis of the bourgeois order; it is a forewarning of future upheavals which will be all the more explosive as they are longer suppressed. The preparation for the proletarian solution to this crisis requires more than ever that communists intensify their struggle against the bourgeoisie and against all forms of opportunist capitulation. This is a preliminary condition for bringing together the individual reactions and even heroic deeds (which find their expression today in dead-end ideologies) and integrating them in an anti-bourgeois war that is directed by the party according to a systematic plan guided by communist principles.

Today Baader, tomorrow the working class
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(2) Andreas Baader and his comrades have been coldly assassinated in their prison cells by the ignoble «democratic» bourgeois order. These militants of the Red Army Faction had been condemned everywhere and by everyone: from the open bourgeois parties to those which still pretend to be proletarian, from official reformism (see the reactions of the European Communist parties) to the far-left (see the condemnations of Lutte Ouvrière and the German and French sections of the United Secretariat), all have participated in a disgusting «holy union» to denounce terrorism. What a tremendous victory for the imperialist order! All that then remained was for the executioner to crown this condemnation with the execution of the sentence. Only because of a last scruple of democratic hypocrisy did the German bourgeoisie officially present this massacre by its state terrorism as «suicides».

What was the crime of the martyrs of Stuttgart? They revolted arms in hand against the ignoble bourgeois order which exploits, pillages, oppresses and carries out its massacres every day throughout the world. It is for this reason that they were captured, imprisoned and killed, first one by one and then en masse, in front of the entire world so that their cadavers will serve as an example for all the exploited and oppressed who would be tempted to revolt.

The philistines of the left and far-left hypocritically shed tears:
These executions are horrible. But the methods of individual violence lead to nothing and play into the hands of the capitalists!».
Certainly Baader and his comrades were terribly deluded to hope by their courageous example to substitute themselves for the objective forces which do not depend on any individual action and to hope by these acts to open the way for a proletarian upsurge, and they paid for their error with their lives. Their action has only been a scratch on the enormous armour of bourgeois democracy. But faced with the always more suffocating decay and oppression of capitalist society, faced with the daily treachery of reformism and its submission to the established order, faced with the wishy-washiness of the supposed «revolutionaries» of the Trotskyist, Maoist or other varieties, and in the absence of a true class alternative, it is inevitable that these desperate acts will be more and more numerous in spite of the ruthless repression against their perpetrators. To say that they play into the hands of the bourgeoisie is to spit in the face and on the cadavers of all those who revolt against the imperialist order. As if the state had waited for the «terrorists» in order to perfect its immense arsenal of repression and death and to ceaselessly expand its police and military forces! As if the terrorists were the cause of the arming of oppression and not one of its products! Those who pretend that the terrorists serve the bourgeoisie are only hiding behind empty words their basic pacifism, their renunciation of all violence, and their present or future submission to the bourgeois order. If we were to listen to them, it is necessary to renounce all struggle because any struggle provokes reaction from the bourgeoisie and repression from its state! If this state is continually strengthening itself, it is because it feels the deepening crisis of capitalism and mounting social tensions and antagonisms (of which terrorism is only the expression), and because it is preparing to confront the only enemy which it really fears: the proletariat finally risen from its knees and no longer hesitating to use its own class violence.

Today's massacre is therefore a warning that the bourgeoisie gives to its proletarian adversary of tomorrow, once the reformist lies are no longer sufficient to drown the proletariat's energy in class collaboration or in electoral masquerades: «Workers, keep still or beware!» At the same time it is a lesson for all the exploited and oppressed: «Submit or you will die!» In other words there is no third choice, there is no peaceful solution, in short there is no alternative other than resignation or struggle to the death against the exploiters' order. For the mass of exploited to win this struggle they will have to ruthlessly use this same law against their masters of today, submitting the capitalists to the dictatorship and terror of the working class: «Submit capitalists, submit to the smashing of your state, to the ending of your privileges, to the abolition of classes, and to the destruction of your rotten commodity society, or you will die!»

This is the lesson, which the working class must draw from the Stuttgart massacre. Individual violence of despair is generous but impotent. This is no reason, however, to reject violence; on the contrary, the final confrontation will be inevitable. This is the reason to begin the preparation now, long in advance, for the exercise of working class violence, which alone will be able to destroy this infamous society of exploitation. The first task, therefore, is to ruthlessly combat pacifism and the spirit of resignation which the bourgeoisie and its «working class» accomplices (including certain so called «revolutionaries») methodically instil in the minds of the working class through incessant bludgeoning.

Today faced with the hysteria of the ruling class and the internationalisation of repression and with the aim of preparing for class battles to come, it is urgent to struggle in all the working class organisations of an open character:

• for the immediate and unconditional freedom for political prisoners
• against expulsions and extraditions
• for class solidarity with the victims of bourgeois repression
• for working class self-defence
• for the international solidarity of the working class!

International Communist Party, October 1977.

Terrorism and communism
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(3) «As long as human labour power, and, consequently, life itself, remain articles of sale and purchase, of exploitation and robbery, the principle of the «sacredness of human life» remains a shameful lie, uttered with the object of keeping the oppressed slaves in their chains» (Trotsky, Terrorism and Communism, 1921).

The entire bourgeois world, who supposedly holds dear the sacredness of human life, is rejoicing over the defeat of the terrorist action of these last days [the hijacking of the Lufthansa airliner] and the deaths of the militants of the Red Army Faction and their comrades in struggle, the latest victims of its inhuman social order.

The representatives and beneficiaries of capitalist society - a society responsible for two imperialist wars (more than 70 million victims), the extermination of entire peoples, countless colonial wars, a life without hope for the mass of exploited and the deaths silently caused daily by the violence of its production for profit - have been celebrating throughout the world following these events, and they do so for good reason. They are all the more overjoyed because they even have been able to temporarily re-direct the conscious and unconscious revolt, the dissatisfaction and bitterness caused by capitalism, so that it is directed against the very ones who have dared to fight this system with the only weapons this system knows and recognises: the weapons of violence.

Are the terrorists responsible for unemployment? For speedup? For the fall of real wages? For the rising rents? For the world economic crisis? For the progressive transformation of the entire world into a polluted zone? For the increasing antagonisms between states? For the arms build-up throughout the world in preparation for new massacres? In short are they responsible for the turbulence and growing insecurity which characterise capitalist society in the East as in the West? Of course not, this is obvious. Individual terrorism is a consequence and a symptom of the crisis of capitalist society. In the case we are dealing with today it is a particularly significant symptom since the terrorists try more or less directly to strike the state, that is to say the organ of coercion which protects this society of exploitation, insecurity and massacres, and which utilises for this purpose all possible means of repression, ideological manipulation and armed violence.

All the parties, all the institutions and personalities who support this state, point to the terrorist actions to justify the growing repression and make the terrorists into scapegoats. However this repression is not aimed just at the terrorists. Those who govern know perfectly well that a handful of terrorists cannot shake capitalist rule. However they also know that the terrorists today - as isolated and powerless as they are - give just the first taste of what the working class will inevitably do tomorrow as it is pushed by the increasing misery of its life. The terrorists are breaking the monopoly, which the capitalist state has over political violence; they are attacking the bourgeoisie with the means it has used itself for centuries in order to assure its privileges. The ruling class knows perfectly well that its social order will less and less be able to provide the essentials of life for its slaves. It knows perfectly well that individual violence is a symptom of the crisis of society and that this very crisis provokes the increasing danger of the collective violence of the proletariat directed by a communist party and conscious of its aims. Today the entire bourgeoisie is engaging in a class struggle from above on the international level, and moreover it is doing this with success. All violence not exercised by the capitalist state, its agents and its institutions is stigmatised as a crime and declared to be insane, reactionary and even «fascist». At the same time, the state shows in the most explicit way that any attempt against its social order will be met by pitiless repression. In short, it directs a widespread campaign of intimidation against the whole working class, against the only force, which can seriously threaten its state. Consequently it is only by utilising violence in its different forms - open or latent - that the working class can defend its immediate interests. Its is only through armed and organised violence that it can accomplish its historic task - the establishment of its own dictatorship to destroy this infamous society which is based only on violence and breeds only violence, and the opening of the way to a new social form without exploitation and thus without oppression. This is why the bourgeoisie does all it can to maintain intact the wall, which it has built between the working class and the weapon of violence. This is why it mobilises all its forces in order to cry «Down With the Terrorists!».

Just as any major symptom of the earthquakes, which are developing in the depths of this society, just as any serious and objective manifestation of the contradictions and the crisis of capitalism, present day terrorism has the merit of contributing to the clarification of fronts. In effect, such manifestations oblige each political organisation to show where it stands and where it is going.

Faced with the terrorist actions, the bourgeoisie must openly admit in its daily practice that democracy is not able to dispel the contradictions, which this society inevitably breeds, other than by using open violence. This is what frightens the «conscious democrats», but the bourgeoisie must require from its members as well as from its «clients» an unquestioned discipline and unequivocal words. Of course it obtains this. The liberal intellectuals even feel affronted to see the «right» doubt their loyalty. The «personalities» and organisations of the «left», who claim to represent the working class and the revolution, are no exceptions and reveal their true class colours. With more or less prudish airs they throw off the last fig leaf, revealing what side of the class line they are really on. The bourgeoisie tries to exploit the terrorist actions just as it does with each episode of rebellion against its order. It brazenly announces, «Because of the terrorists, I am obliged to oppress always more». The «left» servilely repeats, «The terrorist actions only serve the right». In fact it is the «left» who does the greatest work to justify the growing repression. As the constitutional state shows more and more what it really is, the more it is clear what the democratic rights are really worth, and the more the «left» tries to defend, and calls the workers to defend, the constitutional state and the democratic rights. In the «best» case this «left» tries to bridge the gulf opened up by the terrorist attacks and bourgeois repression, and to throw a hypocritical veil over this general class polarisation.

The revolutionary proletariat acts in a totally different way. Neither bourgeois reaction nor the desperate attempts to fight this reaction by commando actions can make it forget its principles. The class struggle is not conducted by means of legal rights and reforms but by all forms of violence; it does not lead to democracy but to the dictatorship of the proletariat which will utilise all forms of terror to break the resistance of the bourgeoisie. Proletarians have no rights to lose in this society; they have only rights to violate in the collective struggle, and finally to destroy all right which presides over exploitation and oppression. If the «personalities» and organisations have shown their true face, we must applaud this fact and not help them to put their mask back on. Far from erecting a bridge over the chasm which has opened up in society, it is necessary to deepen it and to aid the working masses to take their stand on the side to which history has summoned them, the side of revolutionary violence. This political cleavage is a condition for the awakening of the revolutionary class struggle, just as much as it is the play of objective forces which will push the working masses to rank themselves on their side of the class line.

The proletariat must not denounce individual violence which stands up against the bourgeois state, and it must not keep its distance from it. The bourgeoisie of course wishes that the proletariat would do so since any manifestation of solidarity of the workers with the bourgeois state enables it to repress and exploit still more. It is insane or criminal to enter in its game.

The working class instead must resolutely oppose this collaboration. This is the only way we can prepare the conditions for the political and material arming of the proletariat and prevent it from submitting to the logic of the enemy. Only in this way can we aid it to find once again its historical perspective defended by the communist party - the perspective of its collective class violence -and thereby enable it to accomplish its task. Only in this way can these heroic energies that are wasted today in individual violence be merged together and integrated as precious components of the collective class violence of the proletariat struggling for its emancipation. As Marx (nicknamed the «red terror doctor» by the bourgeoisie of the last century) proclaimed in his «Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League» in 1850:
Far from opposing so-called excesses - instances of popular revenge against hated individuals or public buildings that are associated only with hateful recollections - such instances must not only be tolerated but the leadership of them taken in hand».
As Communists we work for the return of the situation which will permit us to carry out this function.

Today the revolt of Baader, tomorrow the revolt of the working class
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(4) The bourgeoisie is triumphant. Even French chauvinism eased up on its anti-Germanism for once to applaud the victory of the German government as a victory for liberal and democratic society.

This triumph is the triumph of imperialism. The international established order saw the most unlikely pairs - Schmidt and Honnecker, Carter and Breznev, Begin and Arafat - forget their differences and join in a united front for the defence of their privileges, all concealed behind the flag of liberties, morality and other pious lies. In order to struggle against social disorder and to preserve social peace, the bourgeoisie abolished all the frontiers that it normally erects for protecting itself from foreign competition, for splitting the working class struggles and for tying the workers to the defence, whether economic or military, of their exploiters. Faced with the menace of subversion, however weak today, the bourgeoisie launched a tremendous manhunt on the international level and, as is natural, is preparing in these manoeuvres of today for the true battles it will engage in tomorrow.

«Blow for blow», headlined the French newspaper «Le Figaro» on October 20th. «Hans Martin Schleyer has fallen in a war... A war between the liberal states and terrorism. A war which is all the more cruel as we are on the verge of winning it».
Schmidt, followed by the conscious ideologues of the bourgeoisie, praised the «international solidarity» which was manifested, the reconciliation of differences among all governments and their collaboration in the hunt for terrorists. So how could the proletariat still listen to the petty bourgeois who dream of an impossible return to the tranquillity of the past and wish to contain the proletarian struggles within strictly national limits! Even our enemy shows us the way! Since the working class has the same interests throughout the world, our struggle for all the more reason must be international!

This triumph is the triumph of democracy. It is the triumph of the democratic method of the bourgeoisie, who has learned to use a tremendous arsenal of repression within the framework of constitutions and laws ratified by universal suffrage. The bourgeoisie has learned how the working masses, still stunned by the terrible defeats of the past, can be made to believe that it is also in their name and in their interest that it exercises its oppression. It justifies its legal and state terror by the defence of this so-called «common good» of all the classes which it calls «human rights and freedoms». This triumph is all the more great when the «revolutionaries» themselves rally behind these same bourgeois principles and call the workers to struggle against bourgeois terror in the name of these «democratic rights» which are supposedly above classes. How could the working class lead its own struggle under the banners of the bourgeoisie and in the name of the principles which are the basis of bourgeois domination?

Contrary to what is pretended by some philistines disguised as revolutionaries, this triumph of democracy is not due to the terrorist's action which supposedly provoked the holy alliance of all parties. If this were true it would be necessary to condemn all proletarian struggle and renounce it once and for all. The struggle of the proletariat on its own ground and for its own objectives has always provoked and will always provoke the union of all the god-fearing bourgeois conservators - much more so than a few attacks by a small terrorist group. This triumph of democracy was due to the practically universal denunciation of terrorism on the part of the parties which call themselves working-class (from official reformism to the far-left and even the ultra-left). This rallying to the positions of the bourgeoisie is all the more ignoble since it is hidden behind the pretension of protecting the working class struggles and organisations from the attacks by the state. Certainly the bourgeoisie takes advantage of this occasion in order to repress any social struggle. But those who pretend to defend the struggles and the organisations of the working class - which are being reborn so difficultly and painfully - by taking refuge behind the principles of the enemy, by disavowing the use of violence and terror, and by confining the class struggle to the democratic framework, are actually hindering the reawakening of the working class. The pretended antidote, «democracy», which they administer to the class movement, is in fact a terrible poison which, even if it does not check its growth today, will paralyse it tomorrow!

The bloody zeal with which the bourgeoisie assassinates the hostages detained in its model prisons and the tremendous demonstration of force which it parades once its victory is secured have precisely this aim: to attempt to delay the awakening of the proletarian struggle, the haunting memory of which has been rekindled in the mind of the working class by the tragic epic of Baader and his comrades.

It is not by chance that the terrorism reappearing in the imperialist countries has reached its heighth in Germany, a country twice crushed militarily, then divided and occupied by the victors through a fear of a revolutionary upsurge equivalent to that which followed the first imperialist war. It is in fact in Germany where the most tremendous means of intimidation and repression of the whole international order are concentrated. It is there where the hatred and revolt against the infamous world imperialist order erupts, although in an inadequate and impotent way. The courageous acts of the martyrs of today will not open the way to the proletarian upsurge as they had thought, but these acts do indicate the epicentre of this upsurge and they herald its approaching tempests.

It is not by chance either that Baader's terrorism has found an ally in Palestinian terrorism, that acute expression of the struggle of the impoverished masses of the backward continents submitted to the crushing yoke of the international order. The support of Palestinian terrorism was a response to the first acts of the German terrorists, which significantly were aimed at aiding the Indochinese revolution. These actions were directed, even if in a confused way, towards linking together the struggles of the proletariat in the imperialist nations with those of the oppressed peoples, a demand raised by the Communist International in 1920. However insufficient these actions and this alliance may be, they are a pledge for tomorrow: when the proletariat of the imperialist countries raises its head, the oppressed masses of the subjugated continents will no longer be alone in the fight against imperialism. The whole established order reacted with a tremendous fear to the foreboding signs of this powerful future alliance. It is a fear which it had been able to forget during these last horribly long decades but which now pushes it to react with a barbarous ferocity in an attempt to ward off the spectre of the awakening of the working class.

The proletariat, which produces all the wealth of the world, can become an enormous force if it succeeds in linking the consciousness of its great aim - its emancipation from a society in which it has nothing to defend - with its specific means of struggle and with the organisation and discipline which it is more capable of than any other class. Fifty years of counter-revolution, of war and economic boom, of social democracy, of fascism, and of Stalinism have destroyed the organisations of the working class, broken its traditions and obliterated its class politics. Today still, in spite of economic and social jolts, the workers respond to the direct attacks of capital only in an uncoordinated and sporadic way; their reactions are still largely checked and contained by the network of organisations and control of the pseudo-working class parties.

It is only by the proletariat's return into the fray, struggling for its immediate and historic class aims and using its class means -which are necessarily violent and anti-democratic - that the errors of terrorism such as Baader's can be overcome and surpassed. This will not come about by negating and rejecting violent and terroristic acts but by integrating them into the mass struggle, by gathering these energies which have been pushed to the struggle to the death against the bourgeois order and organising them in the collective struggle of the proletariat. As Marx (nicknamed the «red terror doctor» by the bourgeoisie of the last century) proclaimed in his «Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League» in 1850:
Far from opposing so-called excesses - instances of popular revenge against hated individuals or public buildings that are associated only with hateful recollections - such instances must not only be tolerated but the leadership of them taken in hand».

It is the crisis of capitalist society, which pushes the isolated elements to revolt; it is the crisis of capitalist society, which will push the masses into struggle. Our task is to prepare the political and organisational conditions, which will make this struggle effective. The proletarian revolution will avenge the death of all those who, even if they were wrong, have sought the way to communism.

The orgy of terror in which the bourgeoisie intoxicates itself, trying to forget its sombre destiny, was brought on by the enormous force which capitalism inevitably produces in spite of itself, a force whose foreboding signs can be clearly recognised in today's explosions of violence. All this confirms that the proletarian struggle can only be violent, anti-democratic and international. It calls for the reconstruction of the world party of the proletarian revolution and dictatorship! It calls for communism!

In memory of Andreas Baader and his comrades
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(5) Marxism has nothing in common with any kind of culturalist idealism. The latter supposes that the proletariat will be stirred into action as a result of inspiring preaching and work of consciousness raising. Marxism on the contrary sees the revolutionary struggle as the living unity between the real movement and the party. This fusion can only be realised through a long and difficult process, in the course of which the incomplete solutions offered to the struggle by the idealist, spontaneist and immediatist currents are overcome and surpassed on the whole. It is also through this process that the proletarian movement and its organ of leadership, the party, assimilate and organise the healthy elements (that is those who are open to the science of the revolution) who had believed these false solutions offered a response to the real needs of the struggle against bourgeois society.

Marxism is the theory of the proletariat because it is - and it has already proven this historically, experimentally - the science of the proletarian struggle. It is the science of the aims, the needs and the conditions for the victory of this struggle - in other words it is the science of its method and principles. Our small party calls itself a communist party because it is the only one which is able to give the class its own class doctrine and principles in their entirety after a long and terrible historical period (a period during which our party held true to the proletarian doctrine and principles and drew the historical balance sheet of the last revolutionary wave and above all of the counter-revolution) and because it acts on these firm bases.

Only the professors of Marxism (who underestimate the destructive effects of the counter-revolution because they are unable to understand that the party is the heart and brain of the class movement) are incapable of imagining how many misguided efforts and hopes, temporary setbacks, sacrifices and heroism are necessary for the reconstruction of the proletarian movement and, inseparably, for the rebirth of the unity which has temporarily been destroyed between communist theory and the action of the proletarian masses.

This painful reawakening of the proletarian movement requires a certain level and a certain continuity of working class struggles, which can push groups of proletarians to organise their fellow workers. It is entirely natural, however, that this awakening is manifested at first by outbursts from layers occupying the outermost fringes of the working class and even from layers intermediary between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, where the counter-revolutionary apparatus and its social shock absorbers are less absolute and less efficient.

The premises for the awakening of the class also necessarily include efforts by revolutionary groups, not exclusively composed of proletarians, thrust by the pressure of capitalism through the fissures, which the antagonisms of capitalism provoke in its protective shell. These groups can find certain Marxist positions in their trajectory; however, because they lack the tradition of revolutionary communism, they are fatally unable to link these positions together into a whole.

It is inevitable that these attempts will multiply, but it is also inevitable that from the start they will appear in the most extreme confusion and under the most diverse ideological expressions. We who have struggled hard to defend and preserve our theoretical class weapons know that only the action of the party can enable all these outbursts to fuse together. But this fusing is only possible by recognising the needs to which these actions respond while ridding them of the idealistic aspects under which they generally appear. This is only possible by integrating these outbursts in a co-ordinated action of the class, that is to say in an action which gives the true proportions to the different needs of the proletarian struggle and which is linked to the final objectives of communism.

What an error it would be if in the first quivering of life we see only the dung heap on which it appears! What an error it would be if in these repeated outbursts we see only the «ugliness» of the embryo without realising the promise that it holds! What an error it would be to imitate these «moralists» who want to reject it because it does not appear at once in its «ideal» form!

It is with this spirit that we have anxiously followed the tragic epic of Andreas Baader and his comrades who have participated in this movement, the movement of the slow accumulation of the premises for the proletarian awakening although accompanied by all sorts of inevitable confusions and aberrations.

We have in front of us a paper written by Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader in 1976, «Project for another trial», which appeared in the French newspaper «Libération», Nov. 26, 1976. It is sufficient to make piece meal of all the insults, which have been uttered against the Red Army Faction by philistines disguised as revolutionaries. These philistines had the gaol to place Schmidt and Baader on the same footing under the pretext that the «objectives» and the «methods» of the terrorists «too closely resemble» those of our exploiters and that the terrorists have «contempt» for the workers.

We will not respond here to the first slander because we already have done so sufficiently elsewhere - we demonstrated that such a position is simply a promise, made to the bourgeoisie, to paralyse the working class struggle tomorrow. As for the second slander, it comes from the fact that Baader and his comrades upheld the idea that the cause of the apathy of the European proletariat lies in its bourgeoisification. Certainly they have a moralistic and idealistic, and consequently non-Marxist, interpretation of the passivity of the working class in certain historical periods. But it would do well to recall that Marx, Engels and Lenin had already found the explanation for this phenomenon, as concerns the upper layers of the proletariat, the labour aristocracy, in the fact that they share in the crumbs which fall from the imperialist table. As for the passivity of the great masses of the working class, this is the result of a combination of factors among which we must not forget to include the long-term consequences of the defeats suffered by the class in the most terrible counter-revolution in history. But be that as it may, the action of the RAF was directed towards the awakening of the working class, which it recognised as the only true creator of a new history.

No one can deny that Baader and his comrades had the courage to declare war on imperialism and opportunism, even if this struggle was theoretically much too inept and practically much too unequal. Let us read some extracts from the article we mentioned:
Our line is: the main enemy is the USA. Therefore, in this perspective, the main line of demarcation, or better yet the front, is the North-South conflict - where the armed confrontations between the world proletariat and American imperialism take place. It is in the imperialist countries that the second line of demarcation unfolds [...]. It is necessary to transform these demarcations into a true front, that is to say, into a political-military confrontation».

The true crying need of the proletarian struggle which is expressed in this orientation in spite of its erroneous view of imperialism - and a demand which we Marxists can only take up - is the necessity of carrying the struggle waged by the proletarian and poor peasant masses of the «third world» into the very heart of imperialism. This necessity makes up a part of what could be called the «strategic perspective» of communism. This is the alliance between the proletarians in the imperialist countries and the exploited masses of the subjugated countries against a common enemy. In theory we have taken up this demand. However with the temporary break between theory and proletarian action resulting from the terrible sleep forced upon the proletariat, is there any possible way for this demand to be carried out by the real movement (especially in its petty-bourgeois fringes) other than in the form of heroic, but ineffectual, acts?

It is almost unnecessary to recall that the action of Baader and his comrades against the American logistical apparatus of the Vietnam War was one of the rare acts of practical solidarity with the anti-colonial struggles, one of the rare gusts of oxygen in a stifling atmosphere. It is therefore not astonishing that this action found a significant response not only in Indochina but also in Palestine, something which those who applauded this action yesterday forget in their shameless condemnation of the «objectives» and «methods» of terrorism today. This shows the abyss into which certain groups have fallen in the space of a few years.

Of course, with Baader and Meinhof the necessity of linking together the struggles in the imperialist countries with the anti-imperialist struggles is accompanied by a false theorisation or rather a theorisation of the period where the centre of gravity of the social struggle was located in the subjugated continents and where this struggle followed the road of national revolutions against the old classes and imperialism. It is undoubtedly correct to say that Baader and his comrades have not understood the capacity and tremendous potential of struggle represented by the proletariat of the imperialist countries whom we are expecting to return into the struggle in the historical period opened by the world crisis. This struggle will replace the centre of the revolutionary struggle once again in the imperialist countries and enable the blow delivered against imperialism to be fatal this time.

The Baader-Meinhof theory is the echo of a return of the proletariat of the imperialist countries into the struggle and, at all events, of the urgency of this return. This necessity however is transferred onto the idealist level of heroic actions. These actions are substituted not only for the objective forces, which could bring about this return but also for the subjective factor, the party, which alone can lead the objective forces towards the destruction of bourgeois society.

This incomprehension of the basic dialectic of history has also caused them to see the concentration of the bourgeois state and the internationalisation of repression (they call it the «new fascism») as existing without contradictions. And it is in this incomprehension that we must seek the reason for their burning hope of raising the proletariat from its stupor through the exemplary action, a notion which is the ultimate in idealism. The following is a significant quote:
The central point that must be brought to light is that from the time where it can be established that reaction is an organised process and scheme on the international level, revolutionary strategy must be internationalist. Thus if it can be said that the political-economic analysis of the situation today coincides with the Marxist conceptual scheme, this signifies concretely that the strategy of the Manifesto, «Workers of the World Unite!», has found a new ferment on the level of the organisation of the guerrilla which anticipates the international reconstruction of proletarian politics. The form of organisation of proletarian internationalism in the centres of capital will be the guerrilla in the metropolis».

In this way the strongly expressed necessities of internationalism and of violence against imperialism - although expressed in an idealist and moralistic form - are translated into the classic theory of excitative terrorism which replaces the political party by the organisation for armed struggle. The true communist party will be able to integrate the thrusts of the real movement only by taking up, not condemning, these thrusts and by showing that the only way to respond to these in a consistent and appropriate manner is to build the party which will be able to utilise violence and terrorism in a collective and international class action. This can only be done by combating all the spontaneist or terrorist romanticisms and idealism's.

The proletarian struggle will know other martyrs in the course of its long and difficult climb out of the abyss into which it has been thrown by the counter-revolution. But this struggle will be reborn if we know how to draw the lessons from the sacrifices of those who have fallen in their search for the way to communism.

Because Baader and his comrades fought and died in this search, they objectively have placed themselves on our side of the barricade in the struggle against capitalism.

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  1. (From «Le Prolétaire» no. 250, September 24, 1977.) [back]
  2. (Leaflet distributed by our comrades in France) [back]
  3. (Leaflet distributed by our comrades in Germany) [back]
  4. (From «Le Prolétaire» no. 253, November 5, 1977.) [back]
  5. (From «Le Prolétaire» no. 254, November 19. 1977.) [back]

Source: «Communist Program» No. 4, April 1978

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