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

Proletarian Revolutions… are constantly self-critical, repeatedly come to a standstill, return to past undertakings to begin them anew, pitilessly and thoroughly mocking their own half-measures, and the weakness and shabbiness of their own preliminary efforts. They seem to throw down their adversary only in order that he may draw new strength from the earth and rise again, more gigantic, before them. They shrink time and again from the unimaginable enormity of their own goals, until they reach a time which makes all turning back impossible, and the conditions themselves call out: hic rhodus, hic salta.[1]

Karl Marx

The stones you have thrown at us
will fall at your own feet.

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 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 endpoint 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 West German left can reclaim their political identity—antifascism—antiauthoritarianism—anti-imperialist action—if they cease to embrace the Springer Press and opportunism, if they begin to once again address Auschwitz, Vietnam, and the systemic indifference of the masses here.

Black September’s strategy is the revolutionary strategy for anti-imperialist struggle, both in the Third World and in the metropole, given the imperialist conditions created by multinational corporations.

1. imperialism

Anti Imperialist Struggle

The action was anti-imperialist.

The comrades from Black September, who had their own Black September in 1970 when the Jordanian army massacred 20,000 Palestinians,[2] went back to the place that is the origin of this massacre: West Germany—formerly Nazi Germany—now at the centre of imperialism. Back to the site of the power that forced the Jews of both West and East Europe to emigrate to Israel. Back to those who had hoped to profit from the theft of Palestinian land. Back to where Israel got its reparation payments and, until 1965, officially, its weapons. Back to where the Springer Corporation celebrated Israel’s 1967 Blitzkrieg in an anticommunist orgy. Back to the supplier who provided Hussein’s army with panzers, assault rifles, machine-pistols, and munitions. Back to where everything possible was done—using development aid, oil deals, investments, weapons, and diplomatic relationships—to pit Arab regimes against each other, and to turn all of them against the Palestinian liberation movement. Back to the place from which imperialism launches its bombers when other means of repressing the Arab liberation movement fail: West Germany—Munich—the nato airport at Fürstenfeldbruck.


Do people think Vietnam is a joke? Guatemala, Santo Domingo, Indonesia, Angola are all just jokes? Vietnam is an atrocious example for the people of the Third World, an example of how determined imperialism is to commit genocide against them if nothing else achieves the desired results—if they don’t agree to being markets, military bases, sources of raw materials and cheap labor.

And the opportunistic left in the metropole behaves idiotically—being the labor aristocracy of imperialism (Lenin) who benefit from this theft, they sit on their arses. They only take to the streets if something affects them, if the war escalates, if some of them are shot—like during Easter 1968 in Berlin or May1970 at Kent State.[3] If the system does something against them like what is always being done in the Third World, all of a sudden they get upset, they run to the police, they chase after that rat-catcher McGovern, they run for a post on the labor council and they write a bunch of poems against the war.

The Imperialist Centre

Black September has brought its war from the Arab periphery of imperialism into the centre. The centre means: central to the multinational corporations, the market’s command centre, where they determine the laws of economic, political, military, cultural, and technological development for all countries within their market. The centre is the U.S.A., Japan, and West Europe under the leadership of the frg. The volume of business, the numbers employed by the corporations, these are only the formal, quantitative data—their weapons production is only one of the sectors of their productive capacity that is directed against the liberation movements, their price controls for raw materials constitute just one of the many ways they ensure their rule over the Third World.

The Aggressive Character of Imperialist Investment Policy

Marx analyzed machinery as a weapon that led workers in the 19th century to destroy machines. Marx:

Machinery is the most powerful weapon for repressing strikes, those periodical revolts of the working class against the autocracy of capital. It would be possible to write quite a history of the inventions made since 1880[4] for the sole purpose of supplying capital with weapons against the revolts of the working class.

This was the machinery that created unemployment for the working class, that created the wageworker, at the same time offering the proletariat no choice but starvation or overthrowing the dictatorship of capital.

It is now time for someone to write a history of the imperialist investment strategy and in their analysis to demonstrate that it was “made for the sole purpose” of eliminating the liberation movements in the Third World.

Multinational Corporations

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.


Their weapons consist of the potential of capital, technology, the means of communication and information control, and the means of transportation. Their strategy for conquest is based on investments, transfer of profits, information policy, diversification, marketing, sales planning, and stockpiling. Their occupier or colonial ideology means controlling currency and creating work. Their goal is to assimilate, repress, and rob—the alternative offered is starvation and extermination.

Oil Investments

Oil is the primary issue in the states that support the Palestinian liberation movement. 70% of Western Europe’s oil imports come from there. Western Europe’s demand for oil will double by 1985 (1970: 647 million tons). The corporations and their governments are determining their oil policy based on the spectre of revolutionary Arab regimes using this demand for oil to carry through their own industrialization. This would mark the end of oil corporations making profits of more than 100%.

Algeria’s Natural Gas

American corporations are investing millions of dollars in profit liquefying Algerian natural gas and shipping it by sea, so as to play Algerian natural gas off against that of Libya and against Arab oil: Kuwait, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia.


West European consortiums (Bayerngas—Saarferngas—Gasversorgung Süddeutschland) invest billion-dm sums to build pipelines (1 km costs between 1 and 2 million dm)[5] to transport Algerian natural gas so as to partially reduce their dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

North Sea Oil

Oil companies and governments invest billions in oil and natural gas extraction in the North Sea. With regards to development costs, North Sea oil is ten times as expensive as oil from the Persian Gulf—only every sixth drill point is successful, construction and installation expenses for platforms, underwater pipelines. (North Sea oil makes up an estimated 1% of the world reserves; reserves in the Middle East make up 60%.) This is considered preferable to having a flexible approach to the Middle East. According to the European Economic Community (eec) Europe Committee, “The increasing pressure on Western societies from some oil countries could lead to supply problems in the case of a political crisis”—meaning the problems that corporations will have maintaining their current high rates of profit.

Australia and Canada

Regarding raw materials available in Australia and Canada, the economic edition of faz wrote with cynical, capitalist bluntness, “The developing countries’ position has deteriorated as a result of the discovery of enormous natural resource reserves in Canada and Australia. The geologically favorable sites in these countries, with their stable governments, lower taxes, and developed industry, have attracted the attention of multinationals from all over the world.”

The Conference in Santiago de Chile

In April and May1972, at the conference in Santiago de Chile, the “developing countries” attempted to establish fixed prices for raw materials. In response to their powerlessness, the faz writes, with the condescension and consciousness of a corporate bulletin, “The developing countries overlook the fact that natural resource reserves alone do not constitute wealth. In the final analysis, development, transport, and technical research are more important, and we control an ample share of the world’s reserves of those. It is no accident that the powerful multinational corporations, with their restrictive policies, exercise substantial restraint in their investments in the developing countries.”

Overexploitation and Stockpiling

For one thing, the corporations over-exploit the raw materials of the Third World. In Kuwait, for example, the fear is that in 16 years—the oil boom in Kuwait began in 1934—the oil could be exhausted. 95% of Kuwait’s income comes from oil—800 million dollars per year for 740,000 residents. Kuwait, with 12.8% of the world’s annual oil income, has built up the royal treasury—a sort of nest egg. What will they do when the oil and the money is all used up, return to herding sheep? Libya and Venezuela have already reduced their oil production to safeguard their reserves.

At the same time, a policy of stockpiling has been developed in the eec and the frg, increasing stocks from 85 to 90 days—Iran’s portion of that is 10 million tons—the frg needs approximately 133 million tons of oil per year.

The U.S.A. has undertaken a massive conservation program—by 1980, 365 million tons of oil will have been saved—however 770 million tons will still be required. The conservation measures will include shifting commercial transportation from trucks to the railroad, passenger traffic from the air to the ground, and city traffic from automobiles to mass transit.

Oil and Traffic-Related Deaths

In the frg, to give one example, the automobile industry has demanded a tribute of 170,000 traffic-related deaths over the past ten years—in the U.S.A., 56,000 deaths are projected for 1972, in the frg it’s 20,000—all in the service of greater profits for oil and automobile corporations.

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.

The fear and the circular logic of consumption—the anarchy of capitalist commodity production, which is governed by the market and not the needs of the people—can exceed the limits of the human psyche, especially with the drivel about “quality of life,” for instance. In a situation where everything has been reduced to consumption—“shitty products”—the decline of the masses’ loyalty has already begun. The mass mortality in the streets through the alienation and brutalization of the people is hitting the system in the pocketbook in a way they don’t like.


The goal is another oil boycott like that of the early 50s against Mossadegh’s[6] nationalization of Persian oil, which cleared the way for the Shah, that puppet of U.S. imperialism. In response to the nationalization measures in Iraq at that time, Iran quickly stated its willingness to increase annual production from 271 million tons to 400 million tons. This is the kind of government that suits imperialism.

In the 60s, it was hoped that atomic energy would allow for the gradual reduction of dependence on oil as the most important source of energy. By that time—or so it was hoped—high temperature ovens with which coal could be converted to oil would also exist—which was the basis for the talk of the comeback of coal.

The objective of imperialist energy policy is not only to guarantee the continuing theft of oil from the oil-producing nations for all time to come, but also to prevent them from industrializing and establishing their political independence.

Encirclement Policy

Regarding the rest of the Middle East, imperialism is hoping its policy of quiet encirclement will succeed.

In the West, they are thoroughly implanted in the Maghreb—Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. West German corporations have invested in mining (raw materials), in the clothing industry (cheap labor), in dam projects (electrical power), and in the automobile industry. Tunisia and Morocco are the main recipients of West German development aid among the Arab states—both countries also receive West German military aid.

In the East and the North, it’s Turkey and Iran. Both countries are also the sites of American military bases. In the context of nato, the frg supplies weapons to Turkey. In the context of the free market economy, Siemens has recently been supplying television relay stations, with which the government’s message—“This is the criminal police speaking”—can reach Eastern Turkey.[7] The German enclave in Tehran is well known—the quantity of weapons being provided by West Germany is not.

Military Bases

There should be no illusions about the desire to transform the Maghreb in the West and Turkey and Iran in the East from markets into military bases.

And there should certainly be no illusions about what conditions will be like in Algeria in three years if natural gas development by American corporations—that is to say, by big money—has begun and Algeria still attempts to maintain its principled solidarity with the other Arab states. It could only end in disaster.

Imperialism is the Weapon

Imperialism is the weapon that the multinational corporations use to address the contradictions between developed countries and the desire for development in the countries they plunder, between states with elected governments and states with cia-backed governments, between rich and poor countries. Imperialism unifies North and South as the centre and the periphery of a single system.

It is a system that allows the constitutional state to function in much the same way as fascism. It doesn’t eliminate the contradictions, it simply coordinates them, plays them off against one another, integrates them as various interrelated profit-making conditions for their various subsidiaries.

“Slaves of the System”

Outwardly, they adjust to the existing conditions—making use of them where possible—creating domestic capital reserves, surrendering middle management to the local population, learning the local language, respecting local laws, all the time using their normative power to establish their control of the market.

The faz condescendingly informs “developing countries” that are attempting to protect their mineral resources by reducing mining that they misjudge the marketplace. It informs them that they are actually establishing themselves as slaves of the system if they fail to take note of the “dilemma” created by their own foreign currency needs, on the one hand, and the necessity to protect their natural resources, on the other: “The developing countries, in implementing policies against international natural resource companies, are tying their own hands.”

This imperialism avoids provocation. Where possible, they absorb Third World governments into the facade of their system. They operate within the “confines of their means”—and they have more means at their disposal than any ruling class before them.

The Means at Their Disposal

They use illiteracy and hunger to control the people of the Third World; in the metropole, people are made stupid and alienated and are brutalized by television, Springer, and automobile accidents. they saw to the liquidation of the McGovern left. They use torture against the Persian, Turkish, and Palestinian comrades; against the anti-
imperialist left in West Germany and West Berlin, they use the baw. In November, following on the heels of the September massacre of Palestinian freedom fighters, they will hold free elections here, having used the spectacle of the Olympic Games to divert attention away from the horror.

This imperialism only reveals its fascist character when it encounters resistance—it has no need for a late capitalist seizure of power. Its historical tendency is towards fascism, towards exploitation and oppression, annihilation, waste, defoliation, the destruction of people, and the plundering of natural resources. It has a greater potential for destruction than any ruling class in history, the potential to leave a wasteland in its wake—wherever there is nothing more to be gained, where everything is devastated, the country and the people—shattered and crippled—Vietnam.

Black September’s Strategy

The bomb attack on the Strüver Corporation in Hamburg was an attack on one of Israel’s military suppliers.

With their action at the Olympic Village, they brought the conflict between the imperialist metropole of Israel and the Palestinians from the periphery of the system into its centre—they tore off the frg’s “constitutional” mask and revealed the true objective nature of imperialism’s facade: that they are waging war against the liberation movements of the Third World and that their final objective is strategic extermination and fascism.

Through this action, the Arab people were mobilized for anti-imperialist struggle. They celebrated the revolutionaries as heroes, and their will to struggle received an enormous boost.

That it would have been better to take Genscher hostage is something that Black September itself knows full well.[8] Functioning as it does at a very high level of Marxist theory combined with revolutionary practice, Black September doesn’t need to be told this. The fact is that it would have been better to exchange the Israeli athletes for people who make up the facade of the Social-Liberal Coalition, as this would have destroyed the complicity between Israeli and West German imperialism and isolated Israel. It would have forced the contradiction between the fascism of the developing imperialist system and Israeli Nazi fascism (see the chapter on National Socialism) into the open. It would have made use of the system’s contradictions to split the imperialist forces!

These observations are not meant as a criticism of the action, but rather as an expression of our appreciation of the action. These observations are an excellent example of how practice leads to theoretical development and how theory leads to developments in practice—of the dialectic of theory and practice.

2. opportunism

Opportunism in the Metropole

The Marxist bible thumper—equipped with quotes and not thinking any further—will argue that Marx himself said that smashing machines was “stupid.” Marx:

Machinery, considered alone, shortens the hours of labor, but, when in the service of capital, lengthens them; since in itself it lightens labor, but when employed by capital, heightens the intensity of labor; since in itself it is a victory of man over the forces of Nature, but in the hands of capital, makes man the slave of those forces; since in itself it increases the wealth of the producers, but in the hands of capital, makes them paupers…[9]

So it is not machinery that should be resisted, but its capitalist application.

On the face of it, it is not clear that everything about imperialist investment policy is intended to eliminate of the Third World liberation movements. “Considered alone” and not as a waste of raw materials and labor power, or as a means of war, one might even speak of military production as being a part of the civilian sector. However, it is meant to reinforce the unequal development between the imperialist centre and the countries of the Third World, which is to say, to reinforce the ongoing rule of the imperialist system.


The rejection of sabotage in the metropole, based on the argument that it would be better to take things over instead of destroying them, is based on the dictum: the people of the Third World should wait for their revolution until the masses in the metropole catch up.

This ignores the problem of the labor aristocracy within imperialism, first addressed by Lenin. Furthermore, this demands that the people of the Third World allow all sectors of the world proletariat—most of whom form part of the backbone of the imperialist system—to ride on their coattails. It is the rallying cry of opportunism.

The Opportunistic Concept of Solidarity

It’s no surprise that the opportunists no longer know what to do with the concept of solidarity—they betray their claim to leadership with an incorrect analysis of imperialism. They must exclude a section of the disempowered from their concept of solidarity. This is the section that rejects their leadership, and instead turns to the people of the Third World. They must exclude anyone who by “serve the people” doesn’t mean sucking up to the people disempowered by imperialism, but rather means by this that one must struggle against the imperialism which is disempowering people.

Negt—The Pig

Negt, who in Frankfurt resurrected Noske’s[10] axiom “One must be a bloodhound,” thereby formulated the opportunistic position, with all the jargon, all the contempt for the masses, all the appeals to “the politicians,” and all the pleas for sound, common sense that are fundamental to it. However—like Bernstein[11]—without the slightest hint of an economic analysis.

Given, however, that the problem of opportunism is not objectively a question of the theoretical level he has expressed, it is necessary to engage him in debate. Objectively, it is the result of unequal development within the system, of the inequality in forms of oppression employed by the system and of the inequality of experiences of exploitation under this system.

That Negt has generally been applauded, in spite of the feeble theoretical level of his work, is an objective indication of the pressure that exists here for people to take an opportunistic position. We are dealing with Negt in the hope that his supporters will see what a crock of shit they’re being fed.

Negt on Solidarity

Negt: “Mechanical solidarity will destroy socialist politics. It is the worst aspect of the legacy of the protest movement.”

People like to “mechanically” paw for their wallets if they come across someone playing harmonica on the Hauptwache,[12] and Bertold Beitz[13] feels good about writing a cheque for the Bodelschwinghschen Anstalten in Bethel.[14] Solidarity is not a reflex action, as anyone who has ever acted in solidarity knows. Or does Negt, with his concept of “mechanics,” also intend to address in a backhanded way the concept of spontaneity?—“spontaneous solidarity”…?

One cannot surpass Negt when it comes to dragging the concept of solidarity through the mud, while at the same time expressing solidarity for all of those who, lacking the necessary courage and psychological stamina, out of fear for themselves, fail to act in solidarity.

Negt’s Fairy Tale

“Unbidden and often anonymous” they stood at the door—a total lie, nobody ever stood at Negt’s door, at least not without having sent their business card in advance or having used the phone to fill a Verfassungsschutz tape with babble. There they stood completely unshaven, and then they came in and made a mess of the bathroom. Is that what being revolutionary means? Where do we fit in?

Opportunistic Arrogance

Instead of offering an analysis of the connection between wealth here and poverty there—that is to say, an analysis of the system as a unitary whole—Negt renders a judgment based on the alleged power structure, in which he proclaims: “…that political morality is indivisible”—oh, you don’t say—“that those who tolerate or condone the genocide in Vietnam lose the right to speak in the name of democracy”—the Federal Constitutional Court read him the riot act for that one—that should clear that up for him.

The Principle of Separation

Negt makes it his primary task to prevent any awareness of the connection between poverty here and poverty there—to prevent solidarity based on an awareness of this connection. Localizing conflicts is an objective that the system pursues in every way it can.

Negt: “The politicized masses that make up the solidarity movement, the university students, the high school students, and the young workers who have broken with family drudgery and the enforced discipline of the work world and the educational institutions”—(not are emancipated, not are in the process of breaking free, not are going forward, not of wanting more, but “have broken with”)—“gradually lose the ability to have their own experiences”—(the gall of a social worker)—“always putting themselves in a position to be in touch with the most radical positions, thereby establishing a fragile and superficial identity”—(where does he get off attacking those he is talking about with socio-psychological, Youth Authority jargon?)— “based on a shameless identification with the experiences of others.”

So, the people at Bild Zeitung should only report on what they themselves feel, and only the Viet Cong should celebrate Viet Cong victories. The validity of bombs against the U.S. Headquarters depends on who lays them—or what?

“The Self-Proclaimed Vanguard”

Negt: “Self-proclaimed vanguards”—(not appointed by the Minister of Culture, not a legitimate market niche—or what?)—“lay claim to social and historical experiences”—(so the anti-imperialist struggle is not in fact occurring)—“that individual high school students, workers, apprentices, and university students can neither reconcile with their own work environments nor use as the basis for political decisions.”

How then are they supposed to develop an identity? Does Negt believe that ideas develop on their own within the mind? Apparently.

Dialectical Materialism


Dialectical materialism regards external reality as the condition for change and internal reality as its basis—and in this way external reality conditions internal activity.

Meaning: Negt—as external reality—gained applause for his idiotic blather in Frankfurt, because opportunism has deep roots in the metropole. People want “Freedom for Angela Davis”—but they don’t carry out the struggle as relentlessly as the Viet Cong, or as Black September—never that—so great is their despair about the system, so uncertain are they about their cause, that they abandon the cause and embrace hopelessness. Enter Negt, saying that none of that is necessary; we’re already doing what needs to be done—they are relieved, they applaud.

In opposition to this stands the raf—as sure of our cause as the people of the Third World, because they accept their leadership role, because they know that the struggle must be carried out relentlessly, and that is how they carry it out.

The raf—as external reality—has found increasing support among high school students, university students, and apprentices. Negt has seen this, even biased “polls” have noted it; the leaflets, slogans, demonstrations, teach-ins, etc.

How could this occur, other than through “internal reality”? If not their own everyday working and living conditions, what else could make them see that only with this perseverance, the same perseverance with which the people of the Third World conduct their struggle, can they achieve the goal—their freedom?

Negt’s scolding proves the opposite of what he asserts; precisely because their experience of living and working conditions—internal reality—leads high school students, apprentices, and university students to begin to understand the situation of the people of the Third World, they identify with the struggle the raf has conducted in the metropole on their behalf—as external reality.

Were it otherwise, one would not have heard a peep about the raf, not from Genscher or Ruhnau,[15] and Negt would have had to be satisfied in Frankfurt with taking a cheap shot out of the side of his mouth at the raf—or being and consciousness have nothing to do with each other and dialectical materialism is a pipe dream.

We know that it will be an extremely slow, difficult and exhausting process to get things underway in even a few places. That they are, however, in motion indicates that the situation is “ripe” to take up the anti-imperialist struggle in the metropole—not “ripe” for revolution, but “ripe” for the anti-imperialist offensive.

Already, at this early stage of “ripeness,” there are comrades who disgrace themselves by losing sight of the realities of their lives and their liberation. Seeing this process at work, we see the system’s continuing appeal in the metropole. That there are comrades who cannot see any purpose to life outside of the liberation struggle attests to how great the appeal of revolution is. Insofar as there is not a single idea, not a thought that does not have its origin in life and in society—positive thoughts, ideas, and people have been thoroughly locked away, cast aside, excluded and treated as insane.

The metropolitan left is beginning to split into a revolutionary, anti-imperialist wing and an opportunistic wing. This is not because opportunism has won the struggle on the ground, but because they’ve lost it. They still hope to win this struggle on the ground, even as the left wing gains in strength. Negt’s attacks were a rearguard action. Given that the argument he mounted can only be described as disgraceful, he has helped to unmask opportunism. He has made our work easier.

Negt as Alexander the Great

“The knots” of “mechanical solidarity,” “inferiority complexes,” “fear of isolation,” “overblown perceptions of reality,” and “self-delusion” “must be cut” (he’s right about that)—and can no longer be resolved “through polite engagement.”

Which means: allowing the fascists to liquidate the growing left wing of the socialist movement. Which means: Marxist theory and serious discussions constitute “polite engagement”—one is spared socialist discussion with Negt’s fatherly advice and his seminar pedagogy.

Marx and Freud could only say in response to all this: Pardon me?

A complete nut, a truculent, self-confessed petit bourgeois—this Negt. If one did not know that being determines consciousness, one might begin to think that through these thoroughly corrupted rats “corruption has claimed the day.”

The Objective Role of the Opportunists

Regarding his own profession, Negt—bluntly—stated: “One should beware of attempts to push left professors and teachers out of the high schools and universities” they being the only ones who, “through routine overtime and small organized groups,” keep this catastrophic institution “running.” The students of the Berliner Gegenuniversität[16] fought tooth and nail against exactly this system-stabilizing integration of their work as “overtime”—in this way the opportunistic cat comes out of the seminar Marxist bag.

The Core: Scholarship for the Bourgeoisie

Bourgeois scholarship still remains the practical core: “If a fraction of the money spent fighting crime was used to fight the causes of crime, one could count on a long-term impact; a society that cannot guarantee this minimum has lost its authority”—(leave it to Negt and everything will soon be running smoothly).

The investment strategy of multinational corporations is based on this kind of long-term use of money rather than on military adventures.

And to finally accomplish his true goal, Negt tosses the entirety of Marxism-Leninism overboard: “There is no clear and objective criteria for the distinction between right and left.” Why is this stupid pig still called a “socialist”?

Rosa Luxemburg on Bernstein:

What? Is that all you have to say? Not the shadow of an original thought! Not a single idea that was not refuted, crushed, reduced into dust by Marxism several decades ago! It was enough for opportunism to speak out to prove it had nothing to say.[17]

Negt need only come out into the open for all to see that he is in bed with the fascists—his “qualification,” most probably an “unqualified tool.” (R.L.)


The most dangerous people are those who do not want to understand that the struggle against imperialism is empty and meaningless if it is not unreservedly connected to the struggle against opportunism.

Just as the oppressed themselves could smash this entire “catastrophic institution,” the system could well collapse under the weight of its own contradictions. The consciousness that says we’re all in the same boat, ties opportunism and the system together. They prattle on about socialism, but they mean the system. They ask no questions; they miss the answers. Setbacks for revolutionaries fill them with glee; once again they’ve backed the right horse.

The Revolutionary Subject

The problem with opportunism is that by making use of it Negt reveals things about himself, but nothing about the world. Having analyzed the system, the revolutionary subject bases his identity on the knowledge that the people of the Third World are the vanguard, and on an acceptance that Lenin’s concept of the “labor aristocracy” regarding the masses in the metropole cannot be discounted or dismissed. On the contrary: everything starts from that point.

The exploitation of the masses in the metropole has nothing to do with Marx’s concept of wage labourers from whom surplus value is extracted.

It is a fact that with the increasing division of labor, there has been a tremendous intensification and spread of exploitation in the area of production, and work has become a greater burden, both physically and psychologically.

It is also a fact that with the introduction of the 8-hour workday—the precondition for increasing the intensity of work—the system usurped all of the free time people had. To physical exploitation in the factory was added the exploitation of their feelings and thoughts, wishes, and utopian dreams—to capitalist despotism in the factory was added capitalist despotism in all areas of life, through mass consumption and the mass media.

With the introduction of the 8-hour workday, the system’s 24-hour-a-day domination of the working class began its triumphal march—with the establishment of mass purchasing power and “peak income” the system began its triumphal march over the plans, desires, alternatives, fantasies, and spontaneity of the people; in short, over the people themselves!

The system in the metropole has managed to drag the masses so far down into their own dirt that they seem to have largely lost any sense of the oppressive and exploitative nature of their situation, of their situation as objects of the imperialist system. So that for a car, a pair of jeans, life insurance, and a loan, they will easily accept any outrage on the part of the system. In fact, they can no longer imagine or wish for anything beyond a car, a vacation, and a tiled bathroom.

It follows, however, that the revolutionary subject is anyone that breaks free from these compulsions and refuses to take part in this system’s crimes. All those who find their identity in the liberation struggles of the people of the Third World, all those who refuse, all those who no longer participate; these are all revolutionary subjects—comrades.

This is the reason we have analyzed the 24-hour-a-day imperialist system, why we have addressed all of the living and working conditions in this society, the role that the production of surplus value plays in each of them and the connection to factory exploitation, which in any case is really the point. With the supposition: the revolutionary subject in the imperialist metropole is the person who recognizes that a life under the mandatory 24-hour-day is a life under the system’s control—here we have only sketched the outline of the parameters necessary for a class analysis—we are not claiming that this supposition constitutes such an analysis.

The fact is that neither Marx nor Lenin nor Rosa Luxemburg nor Mao had to deal with Bild readers, television viewers, car drivers, the psychological conditioning of young students, high school reforms, advertising, the radio, mail order sales, loan contracts, “quality of life,” etc. The fact is that the system in the metropole reproduces itself through an ongoing offensive against the people’s psyche, not in an openly fascist way, but rather through the market.

Therefore, to write off entire sections of the population as an impediment to anti-imperialist struggle, simply because they don’t fit into Marx’s analysis of capitalism, is as insane and sectarian as it is un-Marxist.

Only by integrating the 24-hour workday into our understanding of imperialism and anti-imperialism can we get a picture of the actual problems facing the people, so that they will not only understand our actions—and thereby understand the raf—but also our propaganda, our speech, our words. Serve the people!

If the people of the Third World are the vanguard of the anti-imperialist revolution, then that means that they objectively represent the greatest hope for people in the metropole to achieve their own freedom. If this is the case, then it is our duty to establish a connection between the liberation struggle of the peoples of the Third World and the longing for freedom in the metropole wherever it emerges. This means in grade schools, in high schools, in factories, in families, in prisons, in office cubicles, in hospitals, in head offices, in political parties, in unions—wherever. Against everything that openly negates, suppresses, and destroys this connection: consumerism, the media, co-management, opportunism, dogmatism, authority, paternalism, brutality, and alienation.

“This means us!” We are revolutionary subjects.

Whoever begins to struggle and to resist is one of us.

The answer to the question of how and at what level to struggle against the system, where best to apply pressure when one is at one’s weakest point—we’ve answered this question—is not to be found in a stream of slogans, but rather in the dialectic of theory and practice.

3. fascism

The Black September action was antifascist.

They established the connection between Nazi fascism and the direction in which imperialism is developing.

The Olympic Games

They clearly established this connection by attacking the Olympic Games, from which all reminders of 1936, Auschwitz, and Kristallnacht[18] were to be excluded. The games were meant to serve as a spectacle distracting attention from what is currently going on in Vietnam, in Palestine, in Israel’s prisons, in Turkey, in Uruguay, in Brazil, in Greece, and in Persia. Insofar as these grueling contests have only winners and losers, they are the opposite of liberation struggles, of acts of solidarity. Instead they are competitions/struggles to reinforce imperialist consciousness in the industrialized nations—games of aggression.


gold-gold-gold,” Bild panted, badgered, wheezed, and nagged during the first days of the Olympic Games. “I saw you fade away at 11:00 pm—how will the games continue,” was Bild’s headline on September7.

Do you want total victory—Yesssss!

The Athletes

This is not directed against the athletes. Those who hope to win the competitions have trained for years. They are not the ones who give the Olympic Games the character of an imperialist event. They are connected to the games like a wage laborer to capitalism—without them nothing happens, but they are objects in a spectacle, objects of
Neckermann’s Sporthilfe.[19] That the athletes enjoy what they’re doing changes nothing.

National Socialism

National Socialism was nothing other than the political and military precursor to the imperialist system of the multinational corporations.

The ruling class—and especially the German ruling class—is so rapacious that, lead by the Flick, Thyssen, Krupp, and ig Farben corporations,[20] it hoped to achieve, in conditions that were not yet ripe, that which they managed to achieve later anyway. They formed an uneasy alliance with the old, declining petit bourgeoisie, and they bought into the irrational and deadly antisemitism. Instead of relying on their shareholders, as should have been the case, they developed the imperialist middle class to meet the corporations’ extreme demand for capital—they formed an alliance with the retrograde and ideologically backwards Nazi Party. Instead of waiting to grow strong enough to subjugate peoples and countries without military adventures, they started the Second World War. Antisemitism and war compromised German fascism in the long run, once again completely unmasking the ruling class in the eyes of the masses—and making possible an antifascist alliance between communists and a section of the bourgeoisie.


It was this domestic and foreign antifascism that effectively prevented the expansion of West German imperialism. It is antifascist sensitivity to injustice, transgression, state brutality and executive arrogance that has forced this state to maintain a constitutional form.

Just as imperialism has a fascist tendency, antifascism has an anti-imperialist tendency.

For a section of antifascist sympathizers, the raf has brought the anti-imperialist struggle up to date. The §129 trials at the beginning of the 50s and the ban on the kpd had the effect of separating the kp from their own antifascism and of dismantling their alliance with a section of the bourgeoisie. Liquidating what remained of antifascism in the spd and amongst the intelligentsia was a significant challenge for the Brandt/Scheel/Heinemann administration. Antifascism was still a part of the 19671968apo, and was supported by the student movement, in the Republican Clubs, at Vietnam demonstrations, and in the movement against the Emergency Powers legislation and police terror.

The Antiauthoritarian Position

That the leaders of the student movement are themselves shying away from their anti-imperialist consciousness is a reflection of their revisionism. The positions of the antiauthoritarian movement were clearly anti-imperialist: June2, Vietnam, Springer, and opposition to the development of West German imperialism, of which the final step in the postwar frg was the formation of the Grand Coalition.

This movement proved itself to be primarily petit bourgeois when it stripped its political theory of anti-imperialist consciousness, as soon as the first shots were fired. Shots which were not just fired by a single private fascist (Kurras), but rather were the result of systematic imperialist terror—directed at Dutschke, cheered on by Springer.[21]

They began to compensate for their obvious powerlessness through organizational fetishism—their decline into a dogmatic and pathologically competitive closed circle that only reproduced the structures of the ruling system, alienation, a know-it-all attitude, and indifference to oppression. They express a hatred of spontaneity equal to that of the system itself, and with their “party chairmen”—Marxism’s guardians of the grail—they turn the proletariat into an object of their leadership aspirations. They see in the masses nothing but what the system has made them: Bild readers, television viewers, car nuts, tourists, spd voters, Germans—as the squares (already a classic) always ask: “What do the people say?”

The narrow-minded nation-state perspective of the opportunist left is petit bourgeois. It fails to recognize or acknowledge that the people of the Third World are the vanguard and that the struggle in the metropole is the struggle of international brigades of the people’s war in Quang Tri and Hue,[22] Palestine, Lebanon, Angola, Mozambique, and Turkey, without which no advances will be made. It is also petit bourgeois and un-Marxist to not recognize that the masses here will eventually find their political identity on the side of the liberation struggles, and will eventually free themselves from the grip of the system, with its lies, its glitziness, its election promises, and its lotteries.

Petit bourgeois impatience led to them giving up their anti-imperialist position after one disappointing year in which the student movement failed to win the support of the proletariat and discovered that Springer could not be expropriated quickly and without further ado.

Anarchism—A Reproach

Some dismiss the antiauthoritarian movement as anarchist and the international anti-imperialist struggle as anarchist internationalism. In so doing the system’s only objective is denunciation—when people mount this sort of dogmatic argument, they are not drawing their conclusions from an analysis of the system and its process of development, but from a chemical analysis of explosives—from historical analogies based on nothing—a case in point: Harich.[23]

Neither the actual socio-economic conditions nor the conception of the state held by earlier anarchists—from Blanqui to Kropotkin—(the Makhno movement[24] and Spanish anarcho-syndicalism are not targeted as such in this critique) have the slightest thing to do with the objective conditions or subjective positions of the antiauthoritarian movement or the raf. And this is equally true in the case of comrades who refer to themselves as anarchists. They are clearly anti-imperialist—overflowing with distrust for all the “Marxists” who patronize them and hope to subjugate them on the basis of nothing more than bourgeois educational advantages. Their antiauthoritarian characteristics allow them to keep their distance from this paternalism.

The old anarchist concepts are no longer useful—not in the form they had when Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Rosa Luxemburg purged them from the Social Democratic movement—and correctly so. Not in the form that Blanqui, Bakunin, Most, and Kropotkin developed them—immature ideas in an unripe situation.

The legal left completely lacks any critical self-awareness if it compares its tiny mass base to the mass base behind the anti-imperialist struggle. No progress can be made this way. They hope to force us into a discussion by raising the issue of anarchism, but with the problems we have before us, this is just a distraction.

Whether the old anarchists’ understanding of the authority structure anticipated capital’s rule over the people that first developed with imperialism—their understanding of work certainly anticipated the concept of freedom put forward in the anti-imperialist struggle—should be subject to analysis—it could be the case.


To integrate the kp, it was necessary only to ban them, and for the integration of the bourgeois antifascists, the Moscow and Warsaw Treaties sufficed—the student movement required only an amnesty—a cheap bribe.

The Foolishness of the Left

The petit bourgeois, spiteful, nit-picking blather that comrades are engaging in about Munich is an example of this foolishness, and Genscher will turn it against them. So it goes. What is expressed here is not the political consciousness of Marxists, but rather the pique of bit players—“It’s all about me!”

Fürstenfeldbruck and the Moscow and Warsaw Treaties

The Fürstenfeldbruck massacre would not have been possible without the Moscow and Warsaw Treaties, without the complete demoralization of the old antifascists and extreme opportunism in those sections of the New Left that let themselves be sidetracked by the ml and ao[25] deviation—completely blind now, as compared to their terrible clarity in 1967/68.

Not even Strauß, but only Schmidt,[26] could have committed the crimes at Fürstenfeldbruck: sending the fire brigade of West German imperialism onto an American nato base to offer Israel support—for their torture, their murders, the oppression, the napalm, the land stolen from the Palestinian people.

Not even Dregger, but only Scheel’s party comrade Genscher,[27] could arrange for the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the frg; Palestinians who are here because of the nationalist extermination policy, which has become the Israeli extermination policy. A public policy couldn’t be more clearly morally bankrupt, devoid as it is of historical content, acquiescing without once reflecting upon how extreme the hate will be on the part of those who once again must suffer the retaliation.

The Social-Liberal Coalition and Strauß

Since the spd entered the government coalition in 1966, more elements of “democracy” have been eliminated than under all of the cdu governments of the previous 17 years; the Emergency Powers Act, the Hand Grenade Law, the Verfassungsschutzgesetz,[28] the Presidential Decree,[29] Federal Labor Court rulings against strikes, and the Federal Border Patrol Law.

Disoriented by their fear of Strauß, a section of the left will only realize that they have already had their vocal cords—which they require for whining—ripped out should Strauß take over these instruments which have in fact been crafted by the Social-Liberal coalition.

But Strauß couldn’t knock off more people than the comrades[30] have: McLeod’s liquidation, the deportation of Arabs, Prinzregentenstraße,[31] Löwenthal, Bild, show trials, police operations. The policies of the Social-Liberal Coalition are the policies of the corporations; their opinion is the opinion of the Springer corporation; their foreign policy is the foreign policy of Wolff von Amerongen, Beitz, Messerschmidt, Bölkow-Blohm, Siemens, Hochtief, Schickedanz, and Gelsenberg ag; their domestic policy is the domestic policy of Daimler-Benz, Glanzstoff, Klöckner, Bayer in Leverkusen; their high school education policy comes from basf.[32]

It’s not a question of parliamentary democracy (Brandt) on one side and fascism (Strauß) on the other, but rather it is a question of the imperialist centre on one side and on the other side the revolutionary liberation struggle of the people of the Third World along with the anti-imperialist struggle in the metropole—not to give this or any other government a kick in the ass, but rather to serve the people.

Acceptable Imperialism

The Social-Liberal Coalition has made West German imperialism acceptable for the bourgeois left, with its obsession with form—they see the application of imperialist policy as responding to the people’s wishes—they work within “reasonable parameters,” they speak the national language, they make use of parliamentary debate in the same way that they make use of bgs terror troops—they use constitutional means in the same way that they use fascism.

The anti-imperialist left had it easier with Strauß. He at least wore the disconcerting garb of colonial and Nazi imperialism, not the friendly mask of the corporate manager. He had the fucked relationship to power of Thyssen, Flick, and Krupp in 1933,[33] not the evolved self-consciousness of a multinational corporation. He would have been heckled had he entered the factories. He not only sowed hatred, he reaped it.

the right-wing takeover

The “right-wing takeover” is a bugaboo created out of thin air by the left of the spd, the chant of brainless opportunists devoid of theory, directed against the anti-imperialist left—their way of covering up the fact that Brandt and Strauß are simply two different masks on the same imperialist system.

The flipside of this is the ideology that considers the masses to be hopeless and stupid—the best example being the filthy journalism of the Springer corporation and the organization of the newsstands, which is to say, the concentration of the media.

4. anti-imperialist action

The Massacre

Brandt, Genscher, Merck, Schreiber, Vogel, Daume, Brundage,[34] and all the others who make up imperialism’s cast of characters didn’t pause for a moment to consider agreeing to the revolutionaries’ demand for the release of prisoners. Even before Golda Meir was informed and had taken a position, they had already on their own considered how best to massacre the revolutionaries—with gas or storm troopers or a precision strike or whatever else.[35]

All delays to the ultimatum, reached through lies and false promises, served to allow them to reach their sole objective, to win time to plan the massacre. They had only one goal, not to prove in any way inferior to the fascism of Moshe Dayan—Israel’s Himmler.

The September7 reports from the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior—the first reports were less clear than what followed—consisted of nothing but rhetoric and assertions that it is in fact possible to be a pig just like Moshe Dayan, that everything was planned to resemble his underhanded action against the hijackers in Tel Aviv,[36] that everything had been done to spring the same kind of brutal trap on the revolutionaries—truly tragic, tragic…

That Genscher went so far as to guarantee the exchange of hostages on September6 at 8 in the morning in Cairo is concealed in the West German reports—this was first made public by the leader of the Egyptian Olympic delegation.

Foreign imperialist countries were horrified by the Germans’ incompetence. Once again they had failed to liquidate the communists without also liquidating the Jews.

Israel cried crocodile tears. Isreal burned their own athletes just as the Nazis had burned the Jews—kindling for the imperialist policy of extermination. They won’t even bother to use Munich as a pretext if they now bomb Palestinian villages—they will do what the imperialist system always does: they will bomb the liberation movement. They bomb because the Arab people have embraced the Black September action, because the masses understand the action; their enemy is not only Israel, their enemy is imperialism. It is not only Israel that is bloodthirsty, nor is it only the U.S. in the case of Vietnam, but rather it is all of imperialism against all of the liberation movements. They understand that without an anti-imperialist struggle there can be no victory for the people’s war.

The Establishment Unmasked

The West German establishment has unmasked itself—the more they assert themselves, the more the system’s inherent contradictions have proven what this means in the context of developing imperialism: phony campaigns, the social substance of which is a lot of blah blah blah.

The Rundschau demands the immediate dissolution of all Palestinian organizations in the frg and the expulsion of all members, again making liberal use of old Bild arguments from the days of the student movement—“our taxes.” The formulation from the faz references to Habash[37]—frothing at the mouth—in the style of the Mainzer Baader Meinhof Report[38]—he is obviously a cynical man suffering from an inferiority complex. Wischnewski[39] wants to expel “all Arabs” whose governments support the Palestinians. Augstein[40] demands painful “sanctions.” Nannen[41] presents Stern readers with the order of the day: immediate expulsion, a Lufthansa boycott of Arab airports, “not a penny” of development aid or trade credit. Scheel speaks for the “civilized section” of humanity. Heinemann demands that Arab governments act as representatives of the World Court.

In the long run, this overblown outburst in the Springer Press will prove to be as useless as the authorities’ information strategy before and in the first hours following the massacre.[42] When Brandt telephoned Sidki, the Egyptian President, he still believed he could screw around with the revolutionaries in the same way he does with the West German left. He didn’t understand what they wanted. He claimed he didn’t need to know, as everyone must surely agree that they were criminals, anarchists, subhumans, sick, or whatever else. They would be disposed of with no questions asked. Sidki hung up.[43]

Genscher, Merck, Schreiber did not think they would have to admit the embarrassing truth, that they themselves caused the death of the hostages. They thought they would have time to make up a story and people would quickly lose interest, as was ultimately the case with the self-defense version of the assassinations of Petra Schelm, Georg von Rauch, and Thomas Weissbecker.

Right from the start, Genscher thought he could shift the blame to the Bavarians, repeating the approach used to shift the blame for McLeod’s death onto the Stuttgart cops.

The Munich Prosecutors Office thought they would be able to raise a smokescreen to block investigations and deny journalists information. They intended to draw upon the counterpropaganda they’ve been using against the raf for two years, claiming that there really is no anti-imperialist struggle, that it is only an illusion—to the left of the Social-Liberal Coalition, there is nothing but crackpots, anarchists, criminals, and sick people.


The tactically appropriate position, the position required to serve the immediate interests of the frg, was developed by Eppler: no blanket judgment, no sanctions, continuing development aid, though only in the Maghreb in keeping with the imperialist policy of encirclement, undermining through investments, etc. Those who are prepared to allow the theft of their oil, their mineral resources, and their labor force, will benefit from friendship between nations and partnership.

Their Unmasking

Black September stripped the mask off of the Social-Liberal Coalition and their propagandists by forcing the system’s real, rather than the purported, contradiction out into the open. The contradiction between imperialism and the people of the Third World forced them at a certain point to abandon their original goals and intentions, because they could clearly no longer be achieved. The cops wouldn’t play along, refusing to carry out the massacre on the plane.[45] The news media wouldn’t play along. Foreign powers wouldn’t play along. The West German masses weren’t consulted. The Arab people for the most part grasped what West Germany represented: the imperialist policy of extermination.

Unmasking them means forcing them to take the step after next before they have time to take the next one, forcing them to abandon their goals, so that everyone can see what has been going on for a long time now. Pressure must be brought to bear while the revolutionary left is still able to mount a counterstrategy, not after everyone has been banned and fired and is sitting in prison. Unmasking them means forcing the contradictions out into the open, clarifying laws governing trade, seizing the initiative while it’s still possible, not waiting until it becomes impossible.

It is childish to imagine or to assert that the system can once again use ruling class control of the press and the fundamental unity of the establishment to hide behind a smokescreen, and that lacking a smokescreen it might actually collapse, and that therefore whoever contributes to the smokescreen contributes to the system’s preservation. The anti-imperialist struggle doesn’t take place at the level of election campaigns and detergent ads.

Anti-Imperialist Consciousness

The propaganda target of anti-imperialist action is the dialectical relationship between being and consciousness, because the masses’ loyalty to the system is based on their accepting its pretty exterior, its promises, and its lies. Their loyalty to the system is based on its capacity to discourage all spontaneity in its quest to completely assimilate the masses into the “the silent bondage of the relationship” (Marx), which it forces the masses to accept as if it were only natural. Anti-imperialist action rips apart the system’s facade and manipulation, along with the loyalty of the masses, and forces it to admit the truth, about which the masses say, as always, “This is not what we wanted.” That they would then act to put an end to the horror of the system, which has long been apparent, is not the madness the opportunists make it out to be.

Who wanted the Fürstenfeldbruck massacre? The athletes who were dragged away from the Olympics didn’t want it. The aggrieved and frightened people who experienced the aftermath and who felt the enormous cold-bloodedness of the ioc and the Springer Press didn’t want it. It would be idiotic to believe that the revolutionaries wanted it. They wanted the release of the prisoners. They wanted what millions in this country still want: not to be tortured—just as political prisoners here don’t want to be tortured—and an end to the theft of land, the murder, the napalming and the bombing terror Israel carries out against the Palestinian refugees. And that is why they were massacred. Because success would have meant an unimaginably higher level of identification with them and their revolution—with their “humanity,” their rage, their solidarity—which would have been a setback.

Anti-imperialist consciousness attempts to prevent the perfection of imperialist rule from being firmly established. The masses are assaulted by Bild everyday. They are swamped on every side with prefabricated positions and postulations, making it difficult for them to express their actual pain and suffering.


The raf’s actions are directed towards developing anti-imperialist consciousness. The system’s cast of characters understand that. They have understood that this form of struggle gradually builds a mass base, because resistance that grows slowly more powerful and more courageous cannot easily be defeated.

With the tactic of phony bomb threats—used against Stuttgart—they have turned their full attention to addressing this problem. They do this after failing to achieve any breakthroughs, even though they have raided hundreds of houses, scoured thousands of kilometres of streets, and released a million media appeals directed at raf sympathizers. With the tactic of phony bomb threats and the simultaneous banning of statements from raf prisoners from the media, the cops themselves are trying to create chaos, which is intended to lead to calls for greater law and order. The socialist left proved incapable of telling the difference between genuine and false bomb threats, although all of the genuine ones were directed against the ruling class and aimed to clear buildings and disrupt the ruling class’s establishments, cultural venues, communication structures, and media outlets—only the Stuttgart threat was directed against the people and was openly fascist and hostile to the masses.

The anti-imperialist war turns the system’s weapons against the system itself—the counterrevolutionary terrorizes the people. The legal left—confused by the police actions—has ceded the issue to the opportunists (Negt).

(What needs to be said in detail about the June and July arrests, the imprisoned comrades must say themselves.)

Black September

The Black September action in Munich leaves no room for misunderstanding. They took hostages from a people who are carrying out an extermination policy against them. They put their lives on the line to free their comrades. They didn’t want to die. They put off their ultimatum. In the face of the uncompromising attitude advocated by Israel, they held the Israeli hostages prisoner. The Israeli hostages understood that this was a last resort. They were betrayed by the German authorities just as the revolutionaries were. The German police massacred the hostages and the revolutionaries.

The Black September action in Munich will live on in the memory of the anti-imperialist struggle.

The death of the Arab comrades weighs as heavily as Mount Tai.

The stones that these beasts threw at Fürstenfeldbruck will fall at their own feet!

Solidarity with the liberation struggle
of the Palestinian people!

Solidarity with the Vietnamese revolution!

Revolutionaries of all countries unite!

[2] In the wake of the 1967 Six Day War, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had fled to Jordan, where they lived in ramshackle refugee camps. On September16, 1970, alarmed at the growing power of Palestinian revolutionaries, King Hussein declared martial law, and the Jordanian armed forces attacked suspected militant strongholds: according to most sources, between four and ten thousand Palestinians, including many non-combatants, were slaughtered. This is the source of the group’s name.

[3] On May4, 1970, the National Guard opened fire on students demonstrating at Kent State University in Ohio against the escalation of the war in Vietnam. Four students were killed and nine others were wounded. Of the wounded, one was permanently paralyzed, and several were seriously maimed.

[4] In the correct version of this quote (Capital Volume I, chapter 15, volume 5), this year is 1830. An error was made either as this document was being written by the raf or when it was transcribed by supporters, and the year became 1880.

[5] Roughly between $364,000 and $728,000.

[6]Mohammed Mossadegh was elected Prime Minister of Iran in 1951. He quickly began to nationalize Iranian assets including oil. In 1953, he was removed from power by the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in a cia-backed coup. He died in prison in 1967.

[7] Turkey’s East is home to the oppressed Kurdish minority, and also bordered on the Soviet Union.

[8] During negotiations with the Palestinian commando, Minister of the Interior Hans-Dietrich Genscher is reported to have offered himself as a hostage in exchange for the Israeli athletes. The commando is said to have refused this offer. Given Horst Mahler’s comments at his October1972 trial (see page 188), it seems likely that the raf was attempting an oblique criticism of this decision.

[9] Karl Marx, Capital Volume I, chapter 15, volume 5.

[10]Gustav Noske, the spd Minister responsible for the military during bloody suppression of the November Revolution of 1918, during which communist leaders Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were killed.

[11]Eduard Bernstein, a leader of the German Social Democratic Party, who helped instigate that party’s rejection of revolutionary Marxism in the late 19th century.

[12] The Hauptwache is a popular pedestrian mall in Frankfurt.

[13]Bertold Beitz, Krupp manager and a member of the National and International Olympic Committee.

[14]Bodelschwinghschen Anstalten in Bethel is a large Bielefeld-based charity.

[15]Heinz Runau, spd Senator for Internal Affairs in Hamburg at the time.

[16]Berliner Gegenunivesitaät, literally Berlin Counter-University, refers to presentations organized by students independent of formal lectures.

[17] This quote is from Rosa Luxemburg’s 1900 text, Reform or Revolution, Chapter X: Opportunism and Theory in Practice, available from

[18] Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, was an enormous pogrom against German Jews on the part of the Nazis and their supporters on the night of November9/10, 1938.

[19]Josef Neckermann was a successful Frankfurt-based businessman and horse trainer and founder of the Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe (German Benevolent Sports Association).

[20] All are major corporations that participated in and profited from National Socialism’s reign in Germany. All of them continue to flourish.

[21] This is a retort to Negt, who at the Angela Davis Congress in Frankfurt had referred to Kurras as a lone gun-nut, and to the June2, 1967, shooting as an isolated tragedy that did not represent state policy.

[22] Refers to areas in the far North of the former Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) that became important staging points for communist guerillas from the North during the Vietnam War.

[23]Wolfgang Harich, an academic from the gdr, who for a time in the late 70s lived in Austria and the frg, where he worked with the Green Party before returning to the gdr.

[24] An early twentieth century anti-Soviet, anarchist guerilla army active in Ukraine.

[25]ao is an acronym for AusBildung Organisation, roughly translating as “formation organization,” and was used by Marxist-Leninist organizations in Germany that did not yet consider themselves to be parties, but held the goal of eventually forming a party. In North America, such groups were called pre-party formations.

[26] Franz Josef Strauß was head of the right-wing csu in Bavaria, where the Munich events took place. Helmut Schmidt, who would become Chancellor in 1974, was at this point the spd Minister of Defense.

[27]Alfred Dregger was a cdu politician from the conservative and nationalist section of the party. At the time, Genscher was the Minister of the Interior from the small liberal fdp.

[28] The Verfassungsschutzgesetz was a law passed by the spdfdp coalition in 1972; it extended the purview of the Verfassungsschutz, the police organization central to the struggle against the guerilla.

[29] The Presidential Decree here referred to here is the statute that established the Berufsverbot.

[30] A sarcastic reference to the spd, which was the leading government in parliament when each of the events listed occurred.

[31] In 1971, police opened fire on bank robbers holding hostages at a bank on Prinzegerntenstraße in Munich. Two hostages were killed. Strauß was personally present when this occurred.

[32] All the companies mentioned in this paragraph are major German corporations.

[33] Major German corporations that supported the Nazi rise to power.

[34] Leading politicians and police representatives who participated in the decisions that led to the massacre at the Fürstenfeldbruck airport.

[35]Genscher in consultation with police chief Schreiber had considered sending in tear gas through the Olympic Village air conditioning, and also storming the Israeli dorms with regular police officers. Both plans were rejected as unlikely to succeed.

[36] A reference to the fact that the paratroopers Dayan had led in May at Lod airport had been disguised as maintenance workers, whereas the assault team which had been ordered to take out the commando at Fürstenfeldbruck (see page 234, fn 1) were to be disguised as flight attendants.

[37]George Habash, Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (pflp) at the time.

[38] A farcically hysterical “study” of the raf produced in 1972 by the bka, the Bonn Security Group, and the Baader-Meinhof Special Commission. The Allgemeinen Zeitung Mainz, a German regional newspaper based in Mainz, serialized it in its pages.

[39]Hans Jürgen Wischnewski was a long-time spd politician, known for his good relations with many Arab leaders, one result of his having firmly supported the Algerian National Liberation Front at a time when Adenauer had firmly supported the French.

[40]Rudolph Augstein, founder and editor of Spiegel magazine.

[41]Henri Nannen, editor of the German newsweekly Stern.

[42] Immediately following the Fürstenfeldbruck showdown, the government announced that all of the Israeli athletes had been rescued unharmed. This news was then broadcast around the world. The rationale for this escapes our comprehension.

[43] Sidki had been contacted to see if the Egyptian government would agree to receive the hostages and the Palestinian commando, the frg’s goal being to get them out of the country. Sadat’s government later explained that to do so would have done nothing to resolve the crisis, and would have meant simply making it Egypt’s problem.

[44]Erhard Eppler, spd member and left-leaning Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation from 1968 until 1974.

[45] Twenty minutes before the Palestinian commando arrived at Fürstenfeldbruck, police abandoned their posts inside the Boeing plane, claiming that the mission they had been given was suicidal.