This was Thorwald Proll’s closing statement in the Frankfurt Department Store Firebombing Trial. (M. & S.)
The trial for conspiracy to commit arson followed the trial for committing arson. But that’s obviously another question. Justice is the justice of the ruling class. Faced with a justice system that speaks in the name of the ruling class—and speaks dishonestly—we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system that forced a student couple underground by using laws regarding breach of the public peace and causing a disturbance from the year 1870/71 to sentence them to 12 months without parole, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves (breachers of the public peace, torch their ramshackle peace).
Faced with a justice system that uses laws from 1870/71 and then talks about what’s right—and speaks dishonestly—we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system that gave Daniel Cohn-Bendit (lex Benda, lex Bendit) an 8-month suspended sentence for jumping over a security fence, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system that, on the other hand, only pursued most Nazi trials in order to ease their own guilty right-wing conscience, trials in which they charge anyone that swore the Führer Oath as a criminal, an act which the entire justice system quite willingly engaged in itself in 1933; faced with a justice system like that, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
Faced with a justice system that prosecutes the minor murderers of Jews and lets the major murderers of Jews run around free, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system that in 1933 shamelessly plunged into fascism and in 1945 just as shamelessly deserted it, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Furthermore, faced with a justice system that already in the Weimar Republic always sentenced leftists more heavily (Ernst Niekisch, Ernst Toller) than right wingers (Adolf Hitler), that rewarded the murderers of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht (and in so doing became complicit in their deaths), we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Comrades, we want to take a moment to remember Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht—stand up!—the eye of the law sits in this court.
Faced with a justice system that never dismantled its authoritarian structure, but constantly renews it, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system that says might makes right and might comes before right (might is always right), we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. All power to freedom! Faced with a justice system that defends property and possessions better than it does human beings, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system that is an instrument of social order, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
Faced with a justice system that makes laws against the people rather than for them, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Human rights only for the right humans (the state that leans to the right). Right is what the state does, and it’s always right. The state is the only criminal activity allowed. In a capitalist democracy such as this, in an indirect democracy such as this, it is possible for anyone to end up ruling over anyone, and that’s how it should stay, and don’t ask for how much longer. The ruling morality is bourgeois morality, and bourgeois morality is immoral. Bourgeois morality is and will remain immoral. If it is reformed, it will only result in a new form of immorality (and nothing more). Faced with a justice system that undermines the ethical underpinnings of the people (whatever they may be), we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. This state prosecutor is nothing more than a piece of the criminal justice system. He requested 6 years of prison time.
Furthermore, faced with a justice system that says it represents the people, but means that it represents the ruling class, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system that works to assure the ongoing reproduction of existing relationships, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system for which the (so-called) criminal class is and will remain the criminal class, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. What does return to society mean? Back to which society? Back to the capitalist society where you will have the opportunity to re-offend? Back to the bourgeois, capitalist society that is itself a prison, which amounts to going from one hole to another.
Every reform to criminal law only reforms the existing criminal injustice; criminal law is criminal injustice; the sentence is the injustice. I wouldn’t again offend against society, if they didn’t give me another reason to do so. How am I supposed to return changed to an unchanged society, and so on, and so forth. It is not the laws that need to be changed; it’s the society that must be changed. We want a socialist society. Faced with a justice system that plays homage to an abstract concept of law (Roman law is Bohemian law) and does not see individuals as the result of their society, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system that treats defendants as second-class citizens, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
Furthermore, faced with a justice system that is a system of the ruling class, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. (And furthermore) faced with a justice system that doesn’t reduce delinquency, but creates ever more of it (guilty verdicts and acquittals), we can’t be bothered defending ourselves (the outcome can only serve their interests). In an authoritarian democracy like this one, it can never amount to more than an assessment of guilt or innocence. The judge sentences the individual, not the society and not himself. What’s the magic word? The magic word is power, and it means the death of freedom! What do we have here that does not come from Nietzsche, that sociopath? For example, the will to power. You should think about power, but do not think that power thinks about disempowering itself at some point; ergo: destroy power (the question of power, the power of the question). Faced with a justice system that wants power and not freedom, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves (what freedom do you mean—bourgeois freedom is servitude, and socialist freedom is a long way off).
Furthermore, faced with a justice system that seeks to criminalize Kommune 1 and has persecuted them with an endless series of trials, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Such a justice system should itself be put on trial. Faced with a justice system that seeks to criminalize a section of the sds, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. How can the public peace of 1870/71 be broken in 1967/68? Yet again: torch this ramshackle peace!
Furthermore, faced with a justice system with a concept of law—a deceitful concept—that is shaped by the opinions of the ruling class (already the case with Franz von Liszt in 1882) we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Furthermore, faced with a justice system that doesn’t see crime as a social phenomenon and which passes sentences that serve no social function (Franz von Liszt), we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system that speaks of punishment—meaning oppression, meaning repression—helping the offender, while in fact defending bourgeois society, always defending it, defending it to the end; faced with such a justice system, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
Quotes from the first draft of the reforms to the criminal code: “The bitter necessity of punishment.” “Responsibility lies with the law breakers” (and not the representatives of the law), “given the flawed nature of people” (and so it will remain in a capitalist society such as this, in which antiauthoritarian structures that promote perfection don’t exist and there are no examples of moral perfection—the principle of guilt, which guarantees the continuation of the principle of punishment, lives on, spelling the death of freedom and assuring the integrity of power). Another quote from the first draft of the criminal law reforms (this will be the last one): “(W)hat the principle of punishment presupposes is a virtually unchallenged standard of criminal law, etc., etc.” When will this stop?
Faced with a justice system that holds that the irrational standards of criminal law and criminology are appropriate, that denies the reality of the capitalist social order, that denies and suppresses psychology and the study of crime in a particularly nauseating way, constantly impeding them, that treats criminology as a science of social relationships; faced with such a justice system, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Furthermore, faced with a justice system that represents the law of the ruling class—represents duplicity—we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
Furthermore, bourgeois morality is and remains immoral, and if reformed, it is only as a new immorality. All attempts at reform are pointless, because they are inherent to the system. We demand the resignation of Minister of Justice Heinemann (also a pointless demand). Where is the judge who will turn his back on this crap and join the general strike, instead of remaining eternally stuck up to his armpits in this shit? Where are the antiauthoritarian judges? I can’t see them. This is your chance, Herr Zoebe, to be the first. I wrote that before I knew you. Later, you responded to the word democracy like it was leprosy, which is to say, you shrunk away from the concept. And for you, resocialization sends you into a rage; it’s the final blow. And for you it should be the final blow. Always: the final blow.
Faced with a justice system that has completely authoritarian judges, like the judge Schwalbe, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves (but one Schwalbe doesn’t make for an authoritarian summer). Faced with a justice system that has judges like the judge in Hamburg, who on August15 of this year, following a 2½ minute hearing, sentenced a young worker to 4 months with the possibility of parole, beginning at Easter, with the comment that the young worker should be happy —in spite of the brevity of the hearing—that he was given a chance to clarify his political motivations, and then went on to tell this young worker that he should stop worrying about things that don’t concern him; faced with a justice system that is made up of such judges, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Yet again: torch this ramshackle peace.
Faced with a justice system that has judges like those that presided over the Timo Rinnelt trial, once more extending the reach of the German billy club, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
And finally, faced with a justice system that has judges like the judge presiding in the case against Jürgen Bartsch, who was sentenced to life imprisonment on the grounds that if he had wanted to he could have struggled to control his abnormal appetites (whatever that means), with the judge saying in conclusion, “And may God help you to learn to control you appetites”—so God and not society—and for such a judge it would be preferable if he had never been born or had died long ago; faced with such a justice system, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
It has been said that the trial of Jürgen Bartsch was the trial of the century. It was actually a trial against this century, and the sentence spoke for this century, which is to say, it spoke for the morality of the preceding century (it will only get worse), which in this trial was celebrated as a barbaric triumph. When the judgment was read, the spectators, a petit bourgeois gathering, clapped and cheered. Nobody forbid that. The teeth of justice were chattering, but nobody heard that. Child murderers are useful. They eliminate all consciousness that criminals were once themselves children (the authoritarian upbringing). A hundred children of West German families are beaten to death every year. Beaten to death. Child murderers work to ease our conscience about this slaughter. And what of the daily murder of children in Vietnam (with its breathtaking body-count)? What do respectable people pray for? Today we get our daily ration of murder (The Springer papers are the centerpiece of every breakfast).
Furthermore, bourgeois morality is the ruling morality, and bourgeois morality is immoral. Faced with a justice system that has state prosecutors like state prosecutor Griebel, who told me “under four eyes” that he holds Marx’s teachings in the highest regard (but what does he do about it?), that he is as much a prisoner of a labyrinthine bureaucracy as I (but what does he do against it?). He accuses the left here of only wanting to change superficial things, but nothing beyond that (but he bears the mark of Cain of repression on his forehead), and he had the effrontery to bare his broken bourgeois heart to me, saying that on the one hand he is troubled by the rigidity of the ruling conditions, while on the other—how grotesque—he continued to speak of the legitimacy of the laws of 1870/71—speaking deceptively—faced with such a justice system, I can’t be bothered defending myself, and we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Imprison the state prosecutors. Where is the state prosecutor who will indict the state?
Faced with a justice system that is charging us with life-threatening arson, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Faced with a justice system, in the eyes of which, we have every reason to believe, we are politically tainted from the outset, we cannot defend ourselves (all the charged are arsonists and all judges are honest men). Yet again: torch this ramshackle peace.
And furthermore, faced with a justice system that speaks for the ruling class—and speaks deceptively—we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
Faced with a justice system with custodial judges as authoritarian as judge Kappel, who gave every impression of being convinced of the guilt (whatever that is) of all of the accused before the trial even started. Amongst other things, his macho aggressiveness is such that he said to me, “Take your hand out of your pocket.” When I put my other hand in my pocket (obviously not the same one), he didn’t say anything, he just laughed, and my laughter caught in my throat at the thought that he and I could ever laugh at the same thing for the same reason—a question of consciousness. Faced with such a justice system, I can’t be bothered defending myself, and we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
Faced with such a decadent justice system, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves (a legal right is only what is right legally). Faced with a justice system that grotesquely misuses detention, I can’t be bothered defending myself. If you have a fixed address, the justice system holds on to you until you lose it, which is to say, until you’re tossed out. Then the justice system says, “Ah, you don’t have one. In any event, if you’re released you will no longer have one. That essentially makes you a flight risk.” Faced with a justice system that grotesquely abuses preventive detention, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. In this way they reveal the abyss that is the justice system. If you have a fixed address, the police make sure you lose it, so they can take you into custody. It happened to August Klee, who like me has been held in detention for some months now. While all of this has not been enough to convince me that life is a theatrical drama, I do believe that the remand centre can be. When Klee was detained in this way, the police assured him that it was not the first time they had done this; making the criminal police potential criminals.
Risk of flight always offers the necessary excuse. For instance, August Klee is also classified a flight risk because his closest relatives, first and foremost among them his wife, live outside of Germany. He must divorce her (what’s that about?) if he wants to get out. On the other hand, if you live in Germany, but do not live with your wife (what’s that about?), if you have no family ties (because you’re not chained to that structure), then you’re a flight risk. If you lived outside the country 40 years ago, you’re a flight risk. If you’ve recently come back from a trip (and not from some crappy tourist trip), in that case you’re a flight risk. If you’re a foreigner, then you’re a flight risk. (I can recite all of this by heart). If there is a mix-up of some sort in your arrest, as occurred recently on Hammelsgasse (bourgeois freedom is a Hammelsgasse), there’s no need for concern, phony paperwork will be prepared. Here the danger is that one will be silenced.
Following conviction, it may be the case that you will be released for good behavior. He, however, has been refused this, because he has behaved so well that he has become institutionalized, and will surely be unable to find his bearings on the outside. He must remain inside until the end. This is an example of the risk of unadorned reconstruction. If you happen to be an arsonist, there is the danger of evidence being suppressed, etc.; faced with such a justice system, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
Faced with a justice system that supports a prison system that attacks and violates the personal freedom and dignity of 365 people every second—first the attack, then the violation—we can’t be bothered defending ourselves.
What is permissible and what is not permissible in remand: prisoners in remand are permitted to do what the justice system—acting as administrators—permits them to do. You are not permitted to be afraid. You are not permitted to lie around in bed, but you can lie under the bed. You are not permitted to play ping-pong with multiple balls; you are only permitted one ball. You are not permitted to refuse dinner; you are not permitted to show any kind of defiance. As a revolutionary socialist, you can never show defiance.
A rate of 1.23dm per day is designated for meals (what a fantastic amount). You are not permitted to throw your dinner in the guard’s face, or he’s not responsible for what happens next. The guards are prisoners just like you, and most of them know it. The guards are only the little warlords.
You are not permitted to smoke outside of your cell, only in it. You are permitted to experience the hell of it all inside your cell. You are not permitted to light fires, because you can’t use the fire alarm, because you can’t reach it, because you can’t leave your cell, because the door is locked.
You are not permitted to take the opportunity to engage in discussion with the other prisoners, the so-called criminals, whatever might come out of it. Let’s be perfectly clear, they are staple products of the capitalist social order. You need to be clear about this.
Furthermore, you are not permitted to hang anything on the walls, but you are permitted to hang up the memo that tells you that you are not permitted to hang anything on the walls. You are not permitted to loiter. You are not permitted to lean against the wall. You are not permitted to just hang around. You should spend every day formulating a more thorough understanding of the justice system.
If you go to see the minister, don’t forget it’s just a crutch. Don’t go to church; God is dead, but Che lives. Study the rudiments of socialism, and you will have everything you need.
You are only permitted a half-hour a day to walk. You are not permitted to yell out the window. You are not permitted to have as many comrades as you like. You are permitted to spend 35dm per week. That’s how it goes in Hessen. And don’t forget, Hessen has the most liberal penal system. You are not permitted to drink as much coffee as you wish. You are not permitted to drink any alcohol. You are not permitted to smoke hash. You are not permitted to consume in the way you wish, and you are not permitted to consume what you wish, and all of that in a society based on consumption. Note that in prison consumption becomes a treat.
Correspondence is monitored. Sexual intercourse is not monitored, but then there’s not much of it. Adultery is not permitted (what’s that about?), but it is not permitted to consummate a marriage (what’s that about?). All of those in the hole who still cling onto bourgeois existence (woe be it to those who see no alternative), and that’s most of them, will be driven crazy by the bourgeois social order. That’s how it is. How, for instance, are they to maintain their marriages? They will all fail, and that’s good.
Every citizen should go to prison to gain a real understanding of the situation.
Every socialist should go to prison to gain a real understanding of the situation.
Every citizen should go to prison so that he develops a correct relationship to socialism.
Yet every individual capitalist or socialist has the opportunity to be the first to blow up a prison. Don’t read any of the Springer papers; burn them. Then blow Springer up.
You are not permitted to beat off or masturbate if that’s what you want to do. You can do what you want with your body. The duality of homosexuality exists. If new sexual laws are passed, will you still be permitted to fuck chicks; not to speak of other prisoners. In Butzbach penitentiary there was a flourishing trade in bras. Forced sodomy (what’s that all about?). Rape the guards that torment you.
You aren’t permitted to commit a break-in, but you are permitted to break out. Out of prison I mean. Attempted escape is not an indictable offense. You are not permitted to receive photos 1-3 from the Kommune 1 book, Klau Mich, because their obscene content is a threat to the moral order of the remand centre.
The way Glojne, alias Globne, the Regional Court Judge explained it to me in a letter—who asked?—you are not permitted to hang anything in your cell or hang yourself in the cell. You are not permitted to hide in your cell. Try it some time. You are not permitted to take anything from the library. You are not permitted to lose your mind. You are permitted to buy food and specialty items, as well as other items you require in keeping with a reasonable lifestyle. You are not permitted to violate these conditions. The administrators decide what reasonable means (each individual administrator in this mental asylum).
If for reasons of order they want to reduce the number of newspapers and magazines you receive, you must attempt to have them delivered to you by means of disorder—in the sense of antiauthoritarian order. You must pull them out of the guard’s hands, just as he pulled them out of yours. You have to try. You can’t give up without trying. If the warden addresses you with du, you must also address him with du. You mustn’t work—for 80 pfennig a day. You can’t let yourself be exploited. The justice system practices the most secretive, most efficient and most disgraceful exploitation possible. It fattens itself by using primitive capitalist techniques in a modern capitalist system. Grievances are pointless, particularly as you are not permitted to file common grievances. Grievances are suppressed at will. Grievances are pointless, because you must submit them to the ruling structure. Common dispositions are common dispositions, and solitary dispositions are solitary dispositions. You can’t give in to loneliness. You can’t lose the dialogue. You can’t lose the socialist dialogue. In prison you have nothing to lose and lose nothing. You have everything to win.
Note that the rights and responsibilities of remand prisoners mentioned here are an introduction to inequality and bondage; you’re a first class citizen, you’re a second class citizen, you’re a fourth class citizen, you’re a fifth class citizen, etc., and that’s what you’ll remain. You’re a criminal and that’s what you will remain. Conduct regarding the attendants: the prisoner must immediately disengage himself from the attendants; he must immediately disengage.
Life in the penal institution is one in which work time, free time, 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 is over. The time for realism has begun. Bourgeois life is its own kind of remand. If you didn’t already know that, now you do. You are not permitted to live and you are not permitted to die; you are not permitted to die and you are not permitted to live. Exactly. You are not permitted to run amok in the house. You are not permitted, of your own free will, to leave your assigned place. You are not permitted to break out. You are not permitted to scream, yell, or speak out the window. You aren’t allowed to speak to your cellmates (what’s that about?). You are not permitted to threaten the security of the institution. You are not permitted to withhold, store, or use anything. You are not permitted to retain anything, etc.
You must do everything that you are not permitted to do, and you must not let your guard down. Always think about it. Send every state prosecutor to prison. You are not permitted to defend yourself. Never. Those who defend themselves incriminate themselves. Do forget that. You are not permitted to have unauthorized telephone contact. Your correspondence is monitored. Letters you send from prison cannot be sealed. You are not permitted to seal them yourself. You are not permitted to… You are not permitted to…
You cannot give in to fatigue. You cannot, at risk of retribution, pass parliamentary representative Güde in the street without pushing him around. He brings out the best in you. But beforehand you must paint your hand red. The left one, obviously.
Yet again (in the hole), you cannot give in to fatigue. Concentrate. You’re sitting in bourgeois capitalism’s concentration camp. Beyond that, the prisoner has a cell to keep clean. The most oppressive power in prison is the power of cleanliness. Cleaning is the major form of torture. You are not permitted to get dirty while cleaning things. Only clean up when it suits you. Otherwise you aren’t in prison; prison is in you. Keep in mind: the cleaner the cell, the more complete the hell. Furthermore, the prisoner and his seven suitcases and his cell can be searched at any time. When you are searched, ask them if they’re looking for new people, etc., etc.
I can’t continue talking about this. Faced with a justice system that has such an indescribable prison system, we can’t be bothered defending ourselves. Such a justice system must itself be indicted. Such a justice system must be exposed by the revolutionary process. It is the responsibility of every antiauthoritarian judge to take legal action against this justice system. We encourage the antiauthoritarian segment of the justice system to use its strength to call a general strike. We particularly encourage antiauthoritarian interns to call a general strike.
I declare my solidarity with Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader, although they have chosen to defend themselves here, which was obviously a decision that no one really understood. This solidarity will continue through the next period while they are in prison and the penitentiary. I have, in any event, every reason to do so. I declare my solidarity with Horst Söhnlein. And if I do so, although he chose not to defend himself, it is as much prollidarisch as it is in solidarity. And with that, I stop.
We declare our solidarity with all of the actions that the sds has undertaken in response to the recent attempts to undermine their public support. We demand the abolition of judicial unaccountability, because they use their power to assure the rule of some people over other people.
We demand the abolition of the power of some people over other people.
Workers of the world unite!
 Earlier that summer, Daniel Cohn-Bendit had received an eight-month suspended sentence for getting through security at a protest against the German Book Trade’s “Peace Prize” being bestowed upon President Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal.
 An oath of fealty to Hitler and the nsdap that all people working in the public sector were obliged to swear. Millions of people swore this oath for no other reason than to retain their employment.
 Ernst Niekisch, briefly involved in the Bavarian Soviet Republic of 1919, went on to become a leader of German chauvinist “National Bolshevism”—it is unclear why Proll singles him out as an example of the Weimar regime persecuting leftists, although under the Nazis he would be sentenced to life imprisonment for “literary high treason” in 1937.
 Ernst Toller was a Bavarian Jew and an anarchist who was imprisoned for his role on the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic of 1919. (He subsequently went into exile, eventually committing suicide in his hotel room in New York City in 1939.)
 On April1, 1924, Hitler was sentenced to five years for his November8, 1923, attempted fascist coup, known as the Beer Hall Putsch. He was pardoned and released in December of 1924, having served less than a year of his sentence.
 Luxemburg and Liebknecht were leading figures in the failed 1918 German communist uprising. They were both captured, tortured, and murdered by right-wing militias, the Freikorps.
 Franz von Liszt (not to be confused with his cousin, the composer Franz Liszt) was a Prussian law professor whose work heavily influenced the 1882 Marburger Program, a conservative document that influenced the 1933 Nazi German Prevention of Crime Act.
Gerhard Zoebe was the judge in this case.
 A judge in Frankfurt who often presided over trials against left-wing defendants.
 In 1964, seven year-old Timo Rinnelt of Wiesbaden was kidnapped and murdered. Some years later, his neighbour, a twenty-seven year-old man, was arrested for the crime. In 1968, he received a life sentence.
 Jürgen Bartsch, a German serial killer, who as a child suffered both emotional and sexual abuse, was responsible for four brutal child murders in the 60s.
Walter Griebel was the prosecutor in the case at hand.
 In German “unter vier Augen”; this is an obvious reference to the Nazi term for a meetings involving only Hitler and one of his close associates. The content of these discussions was meant to stay between the two men.
Hammelsgasse, a street in an upper class neighbourhood in Frankfurt, could be translated literally as Mutton Alley; a play on words referencing sheeps being led to the slaughter is intended.
 Roughly forty cents.
 Roughly $11.20.
 Steal Me.
 German has two forms of the singular you; du, which is used with social inferiors, younger people, and very close friends, and Sie, which is the polite form of address. What the writer is saying is that patronizing behaviour should be answered with patronizing behaviour.
 Roughly thirty cents.
 Max Güde, a former Nazi, and at the time a member of parliament for the cdu.
 A reference to a poem by Soviet poet Samuel Marschak about a woman bringing her valued possessions with her to the train station, the title of which in German is Die Sieben Sachen (which would translate as “Seven Suitcases” in English).
 A neologism combining the author Thorwald Proll’s last name and solidarisch, the German word for solidarity.
 The version of this text on Ronald Augustin’s website is dated March1968, however we believe this is an error, as the arson in question was only committed in April1968.