Statement Regarding the Association of Political Prisoners


December 1984

We want the association of all revolutionary prisoners in large groups.

We can only achieve this by fighting. By resisting the whole escalated program of annihilation, we are defending ourselves and uniting in a new stage, something that they want to violently destroy.

When domination depends on separating, dividing and annihilating individuals, in order to strike all and to weaken the whole, then solidarity is a weapon. It is the first subjective political experience for everyone who begins to struggle here, the core of revolutionary morale, solidarity as a weapon, concretely, materially, action springing from one’s decision to fight in this war.

That’s what it’s about; it is both a condition of our struggle and a leap forward within it. It has a new quality for each of us and the prisoners from the resistance have this in common with everyone who struggles for their identity in prison, who struggles for counter-power – we are all imprisoned, isolated, and confronted with the total brutality of the system’s war against us – so it is both possible and necessary for us to struggle together.

It is in this struggle for collectivity, unity, morale and structure, that we resist the effects of the counter-revolutionary war.

We demand association as the practical condition of prisoner collectivity, because in a place where we are supposed to waste away in conditions of subjugation, association offers a living and material process, new ideas and experiences and opens new possibilities, new relations and new politics.

Collectivity provides practical protection against torture, against the permanent terror of these conditions, because when we are together the totality of the siege is broken by the collective process.

Collectivity is both the structure and the goal of the liberation war. It is the only space in which commitment, learning processes and self-determined and conscious relationships can develop between people. It is the actualization of a new reality between us and for us that can no longer be reached and controlled by the enemy.

This structure is both subjectively and objectively necessary, particularly in the metropoles. This is because of the absence of revolutionary mass struggles and the weakness of the broad legal opposition to fascism here, because it is clear how uncommitted these political structures remain, how they are only occasionally active, because one cannot be the subject of one’s own actions within structures controlled and manipulated by the State.

Collectivity is determined by the goal, which is to attack; not one isolated attack, but rather a continuous, common process of political determination and action. It exists only in struggle and is only developed against domination and oppression. It is not simply the negation of everything that the State and capital represents, but rather the social organization of free people, as is already possible here and now, wherever people struggle.

We want to unite all political prisoners in the struggle for liberation – in prison our perspective is not the same as in imperialist society generally, which offers no life perspective – and so we want to come together with all who have made the break with the system, who fight against prison, the State, imperialism and State thinking, and who take as their starting point the revolutionary struggles, initiatives and experiences of the last few years, and who now want to pass onto the next level by uniting in attack.

NATO is escalating its war in Western Europe against the guerrilla and against the resistance in prison as well. Against this we demand prison conditions as set down in the Geneva Convention as minimum guarantees for prisoners of war against torture and isolation: association of prisoners from the resistance and with all militant prisoners in large groups, the abolition of single and small group isolation and acoustic and visual observation and control, the lifting of the communication ban, visits, letters, books and unimpeded political discussion and information.

It is clear that a total confrontation will be necessary to achieve our goal. This war has no negotiations; they themselves removed that option long ago; they make no secret of this, as they not only want us destroyed, they want us destroyed quickly. For the longer we fight, the more their fascist project and the escalation that they are bent on become a disadvantage for them, the more this struggle develops a dialectic in our favour. The politics that they want to eliminate have taken root.

The escalation is clear to see: Rebmann [2] in December 83. The “Greetings to Political Prisoners” action [3] was an attempt to break through the communication ban, a new stage in an old program, which has been the reality of political prisoners in the FRG for thirteen years – nine dead prisoners, isolation torture, security wings, suspension of contact.

They have tried everything: brainwashing through dead wings [4], forced psychiatric testing, differentiated and constantly observed isolation in the so-called general population, beatings and physical attacks, forced anesthesia and mace, violent gynecological cavity searches, extended periods of handcuffing, transporting prisoners naked, force-feeding and water deprivation, stress manipulation, daily cell raids, frequent strip searches, the hole, day-long confinement to plank beds, sleep deprivation, denial of medical care, monitoring every expression of life, with the corresponding fine-tuning of the daily terror to each individual personality, deprivation of information and the means of orienting oneself to reality inside and outside of the prison walls, deprivation of daylight by covering the windows and of darkness by leaving the lights on at night, further deprivations in one’s surroundings for years on end, including fresh air, noises, daily changes, colours, the possibility of space for oneself, a radio, books, newspapers; prohibiting movement outside the isolation area, taking away everything that can possibly be taken away from a human being, even those things that differentiate him from an animal, such as the possibility for social interaction, by terminating all contact by the mail, raiding apartments and holding people for up to two weeks because they received a letter from one of us, terrorizing visitors in order to deter them from coming, the LKA and BKA [5], writing down every word at visits, a ban on all visits including those from the closest family members because of publicity work against the torture and annihilation (“supporting a terrorist organization”)[6], listening in on discussions with lawyers, raids on lawyers’ offices, arrests. Since 82, this has included the suspension of contact at the prison’s discretion and during BKA cell raids. And now there is the communication ban. Rebmann said, “We will combat association even more strongly in the future.” Plainly stated, against us, and at this point also against prisoners from the resistance, they will use airtight, hermetically sealed, solitary isolation in high security wings and cells.

After eight, ten, thirteen years of imprisonment, the long-term contact ban is now the fascist norm for us, so that (as in 77 [7]), any attack is deemed legitimate.

There is only one way to respond to their terrorist program; to fight and to attack them with our collective consciousness and our will to win. We do this even from the extremely defensive position of isolation, for the only way they can stop us is by killing us. It is a question of power – even in here this is the central issue for us – and the question of whether we manage to break this State Security offensive cannot be separated from the question of how we can do so For they fear that new conditions are established when we are united as revolutionary prisoners IN STRUGGLE, when we succeed in acting.

The imperialist states are molding West Europe around the FRG [8], turning it into a strategic zone of opposition to the worldwide liberation struggles. In this situation every breakthrough in building resistance, every advance towards the goal of the internal front, becomes a question of power. After the defeat of the US system in Vietnam there was a reconstruction phase, during which NATO was fascistically realigned as a strategic military alliance to support US policies internally and externally. Because NATO is meant to be involved in EVERY intervention, it has become a question of survival for the US to keep control of the West European metropoles. They are to form a bulwark against the liberation wars and their repercussions in the imperialist centres, against the young national States and the socialist States in the East, and against the emergence of the front in the center itself. Following more than ten years of armed politics in West Europe, these possibilities are beginning to materialize in strategic attacks and the development of an anti-imperialist front, through which any of the various revolutionary struggles here could develop into a flashpoint with an offensive function for the global front.

After Zimmermann [9] was attacked by the United Nations because of his fascist policy towards immigrants, but then was able to force them to swallow the human rights violations against refugees; after his permanent undersecretary traveled to Grenada following the US invasion to demonstrate what is meant by “world domestic policy”; after the new anti-torture convention was ignored by the FRG and other NATO states from the very beginning ; after the FRG continues to extradite Kurdish and Turkish comrades to its NATO ally, Turkey, because torture and murder have now been sanctioned as normal at the level of the EEC … after all of this, then of course Rebmann is allowed to demand that the public accept torture here as normal. Meaning that he can continue what he has been working towards for a long time, that which has been internationally outlawed by the UNO [10] as a form of torture: the communication ban. It’s the same with their overall aim to repressively establish another kind of normality: the militarization of politics, the State and society. This normality depends on getting people used to it, because such habits will create a state of calm, a calm that feels nothing, thinks nothing, understands nothing. The main thing, therefore, is not spreading information about torture, but creating a revolutionary counterforce that can act. There is only one thing that will block the complete arrogance of this imperialist display of power; strong, self-confident resistance, both illegal and legal, will establish its limits.

Since the FRG has pushed through the integration of the West European police as an openly military pre-emptive measure against armed antagonism within the imperialist centers, the new imperialist project is the transformation of the State Security bloc into the European pillar of NATO, whereby the military is supposed to enforce the “political unity” of these States with the US military doctrine because it didn’t work the other way around. It is a structure that is meant to function independently of the consensus of the national States, and in the interests of the strategic power bloc.

Against that, the millions who protested remained ineffectual. The resistance failed to correctly understand the FRG State, to understand its growing and developing power as being part of the US imperialist policy of extermination. In its confrontation with the total preventive mobilization, the resistance failed to become a factor in the international relationship of forces in which and from which we fight here.

Rebmann’s communication ban is now being used as a threat against us and all those who engage in discussion with us, all those with whom we wage a common struggle, with whom we are connected without ever having seen them or ever having communicated one word with them, because they know that a radical solution is necessary, that it is a concrete perspective for struggle. There are many who, on the basis of their experiences over the last few years, want to work towards a breakthrough with the prisoners from the armed struggle.

For that is what it’s all about now.

By breaking through the counterrevolutionary blockade, we give new meaning to a variety of oppositional initiatives, experiences and structures: against the logic of destruction, against the life sentence in the metropole, to liberate the frustrated possibilities, needs, hopes and goals and the narrowed political horizon from State control. To push the revolutionary war to a new level, to make the leap forward now, the leap forward that, for every one of us here in the prisons and in every sector of the confrontation, is meant to push through the revolutionary solution in the face the counterrevolutionary one, to destroy the global projects of reaction and the strategic pillars that they want to raise, that is to say:

  • preventive counterrevolution. The increasing police participation in the war. The organization of the metropoles as total, destructive and self-destructive relationships of violence penetrating all social sectors and relations. The campaigns of destruction against the liberation movements, the people and the revolutions in Asia, Latin America and Africa,
  • the organization of these societies into garrison states. The imposition of IMF [11] policies, culminating in the use of hunger as a weapon against millions of people so that even when they want to take back their stolen lives, they won’t pose any threat to imperialism’s plans for world domination,
  • the threats and provocations pursued on the basis of global superiority all around the world and especially against the socialist States in the East. The haste with which they are preparing for conventional and nuclear war. Trying to outrun the ripening conditions for developing a front in the liberation war within the imperialist centre. Trying to outrun the liberation struggles and social explosions on all continents.

The situation is such because the contradiction grips the whole social system of capital. The imperialists want to make the maximum security wings and concentration camps “factories for the annihilation of the class contradiction.” The prisoners of war in West Europe are confronted with the unified measures of the NATO states; political status was taken away from the Irish comrades by a decision of NATO, and in Spain and in Italy, the West German model of luggage locker prison wings and violent isolation is being applied. Now it is being used against the mass struggles of the Turkish and Kurdish prisoners; thirty-eight new high security and isolation prisons are meant to make collective resistance impossible.

They aim to attack revolutionary morale and all that is new, everything the prisoners of war from the anti-imperialist and communist guerilla, the people’s struggles and the movements have experienced, everything that they are and continue to struggle for.

The prisoners of war in West Europe are close to each other.

Their struggles are antagonistic to and an offensive against the system of capital and the NATO counterrevolution.

They disrupt the totalitarian claim of the imperialist project on the terrain where it has the most power.

If it is the project of the NATO States to wipe out the development of the front in this sector – that of the prisoners – then it is our task to confront them precisely here with the strategy and morale of the front that we desire.

The hunger strike of the Irish prisoners in 81 [12] shows us the way, as do the struggles of the Turkish and Kurdish prisoners. They have a particular international strength. They are struggles that prepare the victory.

Prisoners from the Red Army Faction
December 1984


N.B. All footnotes in this document were added by the translator and editor. None are originally from the RAF.

[1] This statement was released at the same time as the previous Hungerstrike Statement which can be read at [return to text]

[2] Rebmann – Attorney General, leading figure in counterinsurgency campaign.. [return to text]

[3] Greetings to the Political Prisoners – a letter-writing campaign, in which supporters flooded the prisons with letters to political prisoners, as an attack on the communication ban. [return to text]

[4] Dead wings — sensory deprivation wings. [return to text]

[5] LKA – State Criminal Bureau, one exists in each German state. BKA – Federal Criminal Bureau. [return to text]

[6] Paragraph 129a – a draconian law targeting and criminalizing virtually any sign of support for the underground or political prisoners.
[return to text]

[7] On October 18th 1977 Jan-Carl Raspe, Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin were killed in their cells. Irmgard Möller, was found seriously injured with stab wounds, survived the attack. This was the State’s response to the kidnapping of Hans-Martin Schleyer by the RAF and the hijacking of a Lufthansa airliner by the Palestinian “Commando Martyr Halimeh”. [return to text]

[8] FRG – Federal Republic of Germany, West Germany. [return to text]

[9] Zimmermann — Minister of the Interior. [return to text]

[10] UNO – United Nations Organization. [return to text]

[11]  IMF – International Monetary Fund, imperialist vehicle for controlling the economies of Third World countries. [return to text]

[12] In 1981, Irish political prisoners of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) engaged in a hunger strike for association and prisoner of war status. Ten prisoners died during the hunger strike. [return to text]