Red Army Faction

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The Red Army Faction (RAF; German: Rote Armee Fraktion), also known as the Baader–Meinhof Group or Baader–Meinhof Gang (German: Baader-Meinhof-Gruppe, Baader-Meinhof-Bande), was a West German far-left militant organization founded in 1970.


  • Springer would rather risk his workers and staff being injured by a bomb than risk losing a couple of hours of work time, and therefore profit, as a result of a false alarm. For capitalists, profit is everything, and the people who make it for them are dirt. We regret that workers and staff were injured.
    • "Attack on the Springer Building" (May 20, 1972)
  • Some people say robbing banks is not political. Since when is the question of financing a political organization not a political question? The urban guerrilla in Lain America calls bank robberies "expropriation actions." Nobody is claiming that robbing banks will be all it takes to change the oppressive social order. For revolutionary organizations, it mainly represents the solution o their financial problems. It makes logical sense, because is no other solution to the financial problem. It makes political sense , because it is an expropriation action. It makes tactical sense, because it is a proletarian action. It makes strategic sense, because it finances the guerrilla.
    • "Serve the People" (April, 1972)
  • Dare to struggle; dare to win! Attack and smash the power of imperialism! It is the duty of every revolutionary to make the revolution!We call on all militants in the Federal Republic to make all American establishments targets of their attacks in their struggle against US imperialism!
    Long live the RAF!
  • The political-military actions of the urban guerrilla are never directed against the people. The RAF's attacks target the imperialist apparatus, its military, political, economic, and cultural institutions and its functionaries in the repressive and ideological state structures.
    • "The Bombing of the Hamburg Train Station" (September 1976)
  • In its offensive against the state, the urban guerilla cannot resort to terrorism as a weapon. The urban guerilla operates in the rift between the state and the masses, working to widen it and to develop political consciousness, revolutionary solidarity, and the proletarian power against the state.
    • "The Bombing of the Hamburg Train Station" (September 1976)
  • Life in the penal institution is one in which work time, free tie, and quiet time are carefully divided, and the prisoner is bound to this division. Life in the penal institution is life in barracks. It consists of sitting around. Life in the penal institution is divided into time for oppression, time for bondage, and time of dead silence. The time of unconsciousness are over. The time for realism has begun.
  • Either a human or pig
    Either to survive at any price or
    to struggle until death
    Either part of the problem or part of the solution
    Between the two there is nothing.
    • Holger Meins last letter

"Build the Red Army!" (1970)[edit]

  • It is pointless to explain the right thing to the wrong people. We’ve done enough of that. We don’t want to explain the action to free Baader to babbling intellectuals, to those who are freaked out, to know-it-alls, but rather to the potentially revolutionary section of the people. That is to say, to those who can immediately understand this action, because they are themselves prisoners. Those who want nothing to do with the blather of the “left,” because it remains without meaning or consequence. Those who are fed up!
  • They are the ones who must understand the action; those who receive no compensation for the exploitation they must suffer. Not in their standard of living, not in their consumption, not in the form of mortgages, not in the form of even limited credit, not in the form of midsize cars.
    Those who cannot even hope for these baubles, who are not seduced by all of that. Those who have realized that the future promised to them by their teachers and professors and landlords and social workers and supervisors and foremen and union representatives and city councilors is nothing more than an empty lie, but who nonetheless fear the police. It is only necessary that they—and not the petit bourgeois intellectuals— understand that all of that is over now, that this is a start, that the liberation of Baader is only the beginning!
  • If the red army is not simultaneously built, then all conflict, all the political work carried out in the factories and in Wedding and in the Märkisch neighborhood6 and at Plötze and in the courtrooms is reduced to reformism; which is to say, you end up with improved discipline, improved intimidation, and improved exploitation. That destroys the people, rather than destroying what destroys the people! If we don’t build the red army, the pigs can do what they want, the pigs can continue to incarcerate, lay off, impound, seize children, intimidate, shoot, and dominate. To bring the conflict to a head means that they are no longer able to do what they want, but rather must do what we want them to do.
  • Forget about the cowardly shits, the bootlickers, the social workers, those who only attempt to curry favor, they are a lumpen mob. Figure out where the asylums are and the large families and the subproletariat and the women workers, those who are only waiting to give a kick in the teeth to those who deserve it. They will take the lead. And don’t let yourselves get caught. Learn from them how one avoids getting caught—they know more about that than you.

The Urban Guerilla Concept (1971)[edit]

  • Some comrades have already made up their minds about us. For them, it is the “demagoguery of the bourgeois press” that links these “anarchist groups” with the socialist movement. In their incorrect and pejorative use of the term anarchism, they are no different than the Springer Press. We don’t want to engage anyone in dialogue on such a shabby basis.
  • Almost everything the newspapers have written about us—and the way they write it—has clearly been a lie.
  • Using the smokescreen of “the common good,” the government has established state control and curbed the union bureaucracy with its wage guidelines and its notion of concerted action.
  • To dismiss the student movement as a petit bourgeois revolt is to reduce it to the grandiose claims that accompanied it, to deny its roots in the contradiction between bourgeois society and bourgeois ideology; it means recognizing its obvious shortcomings while ignoring the theoretical level that this anticapitalist protest managed to achieve.
  • The student revolt in the Federal Republic and West Berlin—with its street fighting, its arsons, its use of counterviolence, its pathos, as well as its exaggerations and ignorance… in short, with its practice—has the merit of having reconstructed Marxism-Leninism, at least in the consciousness of the intelligentsia, as that political theory without which the political, economic, and ideological factors and their outward manifestations cannot be combined into an overall analytical perspective. Without this, internal and external relationships cannot be described.
  • The student movement was based on the contradiction between the theory of academic freedom and the reality of monopoly capitalism’s control of the universities. Precisely because it was based on this, and not merely on ideology, it didn’t run out of steam before it had established the relationship between the crisis in the universities and the crisis of capitalism, if only in theory.
  • Unlike the proletarian organizations of the New Left, the Red Army Faction doesn’t deny its roots in the history of the student movement, a movement that reshaped Marxism-Leninism into a weapon of class struggle and established the international basis for revolutionary struggle in the metropole.
  • We believe that without a revolutionary initiative, without the practical revolutionary intervention of the vanguard, the socialist workers and intellectuals, and without concrete anti-imperialist struggle, there will be no unifying process. Unity can only be created through the common struggle of the conscious section of the working class and the intellectuals, one which they do not stage-manage, but which they model, or else it will not happen at all.
  • There will be no leadership role for Marxist-Leninists in future class struggles if the vanguard doesn’t hold up the red banner of proletarian internationalism, if the vanguard can’t answer the question of how to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, of how to develop the power of the proletariat, of how to break the power of the bourgeoisie, if it isn’t prepared to do anything to answer these questions. The class analysis we require cannot be developed without revolutionary practice or revolutionary initiative.
  • It is clear that the massive hunt for us is really directed against the entire socialist left in the Federal Republic and West Berlin. This circus cannot be justified by the small amount of money or the few cars and documents we are alleged to have stolen, or by the attempted murder they’re trying to pin on us. The ruling class has been scared out of its skin. They thought that they had this state and all of its inhabitants, classes, and contradictions under control, right down to the last detail: the intellectuals reduced to their magazines, the left isolated in its own circles, Marxism-Leninism disarmed, and internationalism demoralized. However fragile it may pretend to be, the power structure is not so easily damaged. One should not be tricked by this hue and cry into contributing to all this noise.
    • Red Army Faction: A Documentary History, p. 86
  • Legality is a question of power. The relationship between legality and illegality has to be determined by examining the contradiction between reformist and fascist domination, whose representatives in Bonn are, on the one hand, the Social-Liberal coalition, and on the other, Barzel and Strauß.
    • ibid, 101
  • The concentration of violent power in the hands of the few can occur unopposed if it is done quietly, if unnecessary provocation, which can set a process of solidarity in motion, is avoided—that is something that was learned as a result of the student movement and the Paris May.
    • ibid, 102
  • Legality is the ideology of parliamentarianism, of social partnership, and of a pluralistic society. Legality becomes a fetish when those who insist upon it ignore the fact that phones are legally tapped, mail is legally monitored, neighbors are legally interrogated, and informants are legally paid. The organization of political work, if it is not to be under constant observation by the political police, must be simultaneously conducted both legally and illegally.

The Black September Action in Munich: Regarding the Strategy for Anti-Imperialist Struggle[edit]

  • The Black September action in Munich has simultaneously clarified both the nature of the imperialist ruling class and of the anti-imperialist struggle, in a way that no revolutionary action in West Germany or West Berlin has. It was simultaneously anti-imperialist, antifascist and internationalist. It indicated an understanding of historical and political connections, that are always the province of the people - that is to say, those from whom profit is sucked, those who are free from complicity with the system, those who have no reason to believe the illusions fostered by their oppressors, no reason to accept the fantasy illusions fostered by their oppressors, no reason to accept the fantasy their oppressors pass off as history, no reason to pay the slightest attention to their version of reality. It revealed the rage and the strength that these revolutionaries get from their close connection to the Palestinian people, a connection resulting in a class consciousness that makes their historical mission to act as a vanguard perfectly clear. Their humanity is firmly based in their knowledge that they must resist this ruling class, a class which as the historical end point of this system of class rule is also the most cunning and the most bloodthirsty that has ever existed. It is based in the knowledge that they must resist this system's character and its tendency towards total imperialist fascism - a form which has many fine representatives: Nixon and Brandt, Moshe Dayan and Genscher, Golda Meir and McGovern.
  • The multinational corporations control everything in the countries that imperialism has deprived of the opportunity to develop. They use this control against them. At one and the same time, capital creates divisions, skims profits, and then uses these same projects, investments, and profits to play the countries dependent on them off against each other - they use the very raw materials they rely upon the Third World for to oppress the people of the Third World.
  • This idiotic automobile production will be reduced to create a situation suitable to corporate interests: the wiping out of the liberation movements in the Third World. In this way the obstacle presented by the people of the Third World will be eliminated.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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