Attack on Beckurts

Attack the current strategic projects of the political, economic and military structures of the imperialist system in Western Europe!

Today, with the Commando Mara Cagol [1], in an action against the Siemens Board of Directors of research and technology, we attacked the chairman of the “atomic energy board” of the BDI [2], Karl Heinz Beckurts.

Beckurts is a perfect example of the role of international capital in imperialism’s current political, economic and military strategy, and, at the same time, he drives it forward. By the 70s, he was already an important capitalist strategist; he was head of the atomic research centre at a time when the bourgeoisie – then with the SPD [3] in power – was realizing its atomic program to wage economic war against the new national states, against their demand for a new economic order and as a way of offsetting their control of the price of oil and the political power they enjoyed as the most important suppliers of oil at that time. The fact that the atomic program was pushed through in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and was exported to the Third World, despite all of the opposition and resistance here, was a key factor in the economic growth of the FRG and, as a consequence, its increased political power in the world system.

Today, capital is restructuring for imperialist war, and in the metropole this is being done by radically rearranging social production through the research, development and production of high technology, the goal of which is to produce maximum profits and an absolute increase in productivity, in order to stabilize imperialism’s structural and economic bases in the center and secure its position in the world market. The international military-industrial complex (MIC), which has become the political-economic foundation of the metropoles, monopolizes technology as a strategic lever to increase its profits, with which they intend to reinforce and increase the dependency of Third World countries and to achieve military superiority over the socialist states.

Siemens is the largest high-tech corporation in Western Europe, and, as KWU [4], the third largest atomic energy corporation worldwide. No other company in the FRG so clearly represents the concentrated power and aggression of the most reactionary factions of the bourgeoisie, which are organized as the military-industrial complex.

Beckurts is a central figure within Siemens. He directs research and technical organization in those areas of Siemens’ work which are strategically central to the restructuring:

  • military electronics, to make war for international capital winnable.
  • computerized communications, information and production systems for factories, offices, work at home, universities and schools, ranging from the areas of human thought and manual labor up to the pure function of machinery stripped of any human involvement, and tending towards its complete elimination.
  • perfected control and surveillance systems for military and police forces worldwide; Siemens computers from Wiesbaden, via Lisbon, to Guatemala, Honduras, from Cairo to Johannesburg.

The history of Siemens is the history of the continuity of Germany’s fascism and imperialism: the FRG.

Siemens helped to put Hitler into power – as, they said in 1930, a “bulwark against communism” – and built factories next to concentration camps here, in Poland, in Czechoslovakia…. After 1945, Siemens, with financial, technological and political support from the USA, again rose quickly to a top position among corporations in Europe, becoming a central pillar of the FRG’s power, which indicates its significance.

Today, Siemens is among the largest transnational corporations in the world and is responsible for the exploitation, destruction and misery of millions of people in the Third World and in the metropoles.

In the early 1970s, when defeat loomed for US imperialism in Vietnam and international capital was put in check politically by the offensive of the liberation struggles, it concentrated on expanding into the most developed Third World countries, so as to realize huge profits from cheap labour and raw materials and to open new markets. In the context of an “international division of labor,” these State-supported investments by conglomerates and banks were to form the economic basis for the political and economic stabilization of these countries along social democratic lines, thereby strengthening imperialist hegemony in the face of the liberation movements and securing imperialism’s control of natural resources.

As part of this strategy, Siemens expanded on all continents, especially in Latin America. For instance, KWU established contracts with Brazil in 1975 for the construction of eight nuclear reactors and Siemens produced civilian control technologies for puppet regimes. While in the FRG, between 1970 and 1977, over three hundred and fifty million DM [5] in social spending was saved through rationalization and Grohnde, Brokdorf and Biblis [6] were built.

When Siemens, with financial support of the SPD government, wanted to build a dam in Mozambique for the racist regime in South Africa, thereby destroying essential living conditions in an entire region, FRELIMO wrote to Brandt, “It is time that the German mark lost its taste for blood and suffering.” [7]

But the exact opposite has taken place.

This did not lead to political stability, industrialization, economic growth or new markets in the Third World, but rather it produced massive misery, deepening social and political contradictions, de-industrialization and debt crisis.

One hundred years of imperialist barbarism has destroyed the basis for this undertaking, and the people rose up against this new round of exploitation and oppression.

In combination with increasingly frequent and serious cyclical economic crises, the decline of industrial production, mass unemployment in the centers and the crises of the international financial system, this has lead to the greatest possible erosion of the capitalist system.

The collapse of the system of international economic relations is irreversible. The political realization that the rule of capital, caring only for expansion and profit, means greater and greater misery and exploitation for human beings has now become a source of antagonism against the imperialist system that is present in all confrontations.

Today, it is clear to see that international capital, under the leadership of the USA, is unable to stabilize the political and economic situation around the world. This is a consequence of its attempt to strategically reconstruct imperialist power at all levels.

In spite of pressure from the exploding social situation in the Third World and the growing political contradictions resulting from it; from the revolutionary struggles worldwide; from the breakdown of the world market system, the spiraling economic crisis for which there is no clear solution; and, from its inability to achieve the military superiority necessary for an attack on the international power relations on all fronts – in spite of these factors the chain of imperialist states is, in fact, still able to block revolutionary breakthroughs and self-determined developments by waging destructive economic and military war. But it can no longer do away with the causes of the contradictions that are exploding against the capitalist system around the world and, above all, politically, against the USA and its pack of hounds, or the massive misery and death produced by them. And it has forever lost the political power to extinguish, in the hearts and minds of people, the knowledge that a break with the system and the struggle for liberation are the only options for a life without exploitation and oppression.

The substantial crisis of the system is spreading faster than they can control it. Widespread misery and revolutionary struggles have developed faster than their plans for world domination.

This is the context in which one must view the violence the bourgeoisie is using to restructure society in the metropoles, and the pressure on them to unite and deal with the contradictions that are threatening their common interests and the totality of their power, despite growing competition and diverging political and economic interests. It is the external factor polarizing people in the metropoles that stands in the way of their restructuring offensive and their politics of war.

Their drive to establish a total system results from the simple fact that, in the context of the crisis of the system, no single imperialist power is able to surmount the political and economic problems that endanger its very existence.

Internationally, the development of the dialectic of class struggle and the growth of misery – from the resistance against genocide, hunger and the dehumanization which is inherent in the imperialist system – has reached the point where the strongest imperialist power, the USA, is increasingly losing its political and economic hegemony. International capital and the chain of imperialist states must direct all of their efforts towards combining their economic, technological and military capacities and uniting the competing factions of the bourgeoisie in a common strategy to maintain the power necessary for world domination.

The restructuring and preparations for imperialist war in Western Europe is being driven forward today along two necessary lines that outline the contradictory yet, in essence, unified course of capital and the (West European) States. The first line, determining strategy, is towards greater military, political and economic cooperation and unity between the West European nuclear States – the FRG, France, Great Britain and Italy, with the USA (and Japan) – as is the case with SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative -“Star Wars” [8]), which Beckurts helped to negotiate on behalf of Siemens. This is why the military-industrial complex is being restructured and research and development is being strategically reorganized, in order to achieve a technological monopoly, as part of the US military strategy to bring the socialist States to their knees. SDI is also the attempt of US capital, with millions of dollars from the Pentagon and the cooperation of West European high-tech corporations, to improve its position on the world market in relation to Japan and Western Europe, and, at the same time, to establish a role in military high-technology and access to US markets for West European capital.

The second line encompasses all of West Europe at a political-economic-military level, as in the case with Eureka [9], which plays the same role within the system’s military strategy as SDI, and in which all European States are integrated. Through Eureka, a leap in the process of corporate concentration and cooperation is being achieved in Western Europe, in order to make them more competitive on the world market and more commercially successful through the creation of a “European market” (which, among other things, means that, with State support, Siemens is building new factories and moving production to Portugal, and is paying workers there ¼ of the wages paid in the FRG). West European corporations and States are pooling their resources in order to strengthen their economic position within the world system and to secure the economic and military conditions for their restructuring in the metropole. Ideologically, Eureka is an attempt to camouflage the aggressive politics of the State structures, corporations and military forces in Western Europe with a “civilian-European” cover, thereby heading off contradictions and convincing people here that through this “technological revolution” all social problems – labour, ecology, economic growth, war – can be solved. While in truth, like all technical developments under capitalism, it is actually conceptualized as a weapon against the international proletariat.


For people in Western Europe, the course of international capital means the uniform intensification of exploitation, misery and oppression, the calculated exclusion of millions of people from production and from society altogether, the politics of war and the destruction of the necessities for life, the repressive pacification strategies and the fascist oppression of the resistance that stands against their plans. This is daily reality in the West European metropole, and for its total transformation, there can be only one strategy: revolutionary armed struggle and the construction of the politico-military front in Western Europe.

What was achieved under Nazi-fascism through bloody terror against the organized workers’ movement and the people is to be achieved again today in West Europe through the “information society” (the measures to be taken will differ according to the specific political and social conditions in each country, but will follow essentially identical lines determined by international capital).


The force necessary to aggressively accomplish this restructuring will be beyond the capacities of democracy’s political mediation, the welfare state, inner peace and work for all… these are the central ideological pillars of their rule in the metropole, pillars which are becoming dysfunctional in the substantial crisis of the system. In the face of all of the existing contradictions, the imperialist state must carry through the political, economic and military preparations required by the bourgeoisie’s strategic plan, by which it hopes to achieve world domination:

  • outfitting an aggressive and highly technologically developed army; the nuclear reactor project in Wackersdorf [10], which the FRG needs for its leap forward to the status of a nuclear power; and the terror directed at those who are resisting them;
  • attacks on the right to strike; the calculated mass unemployment and the programmes developed against those who are shut out, all of which are purely instruments of control and repression, to preventatively crush the resistance;
  • as Henry Ford said when he introduced the assembly line, “It is completely unthinkable that the people should be permitted to have what they want more than merely temporarily.” This is now extended to all areas of socialized production, to all social relations. Individualization of working conditions and wages, the mobility and flexibility in labour and education and the reactionary pact between the State, capital and the unions provide the material basis for restructuring in the metropole and prevent people from thinking in terms of a common fate or of organizing for their interests and needs;
  • the structuring of surrounding institutions – science, universities and schools – to make them direct agents of the corporations;
  • the campaigns of psychological warfare and Staatschutz [11] terror against the resistance to coerce, if not agreement, then powerless silence in the face of the total State.


Here in the FRG, they calculate that they can rush through the restructuring for imperialist aggression because the unions are social democratic, their leadership is bought off, the broad resistance movement is often still diffuse, petty-bourgeois and unorganized and the revolutionary forces are still weak. When the CDU/FDP/SPD [12] speak about “2/3 of society” or “the reconciliation society” and want to counter-pose this, in the European framework, to the growing antagonisms, it is their feeble attempt to depoliticize the fact that the gap that has opened between society and the State in this phase of imperialist reconstruction, with the aggression that exists on all political-economic-military levels, has grown so wide that it can no longer be bridged. It is an expression of the political fragility of the capitalist system, which in its crisis has lost the ability to provide a universally valid structure. The fascist response to this is to split society into two parts. One part is made up of those who serve the machines and profit from the war economy and fascism, alongside those who blind and submit themselves to power due to pressure and insecurity regarding survival. The other part is that against which they are perfecting their Staatschutz apparatus, bringing it in gradually and using it to address all aspects of life. These are the ones for whom profit-production has become superfluous, who have rejected it totally, and who, for the State, are beyond reach, because they struggle.

Against their plan to maintain the power relations here and internationally, there stands the increasing polarization against the State throughout metropolitan society, the politicization of the resistance, which acts on the basis of its experiences in the confrontation with the ruling apparatus and reformist cul-de-sacs, and the development of the revolutionary front, which acts on the basis of the ripening contradictions in the metropole and on a political understanding of the totality of the imperialist system, and thus has as its goal a revolutionary upheaval in the international class war. Through its attacks the revolutionary front links itself to the worldwide struggles for liberation against the imperialist system. These processes in the metropole directly concern the consciousness that is growing in the struggles of the exploited and oppressed around the world, the consciousness that the imperialist system is incapable of any development that will meet the needs of human beings – i.e. self-determined and shared living and working conditions – and that, so long as imperialism’s rule is not completely broken, every independent process of development will be disrupted.

According to Marx, as imperialism develops a level is reached at which it can only produce disastrous and destructive forces, at which it becomes the objective foundation for the process of polarization against the system, as is now occurring in both the Third World and the metropoles. Subjectively, and internationally, through this development, the unity of the proletariat and the revolutionary politico-military front, a common strategy and shared perspectives, is taking shape around the world, disrupting the imperialist system and its destructiveness by means of an international revolutionary process.

The bourgeoisie has no alternative but to violently complete the restructuring in the metropoles and to attack the resistance fascistically; there is no alternative but political and military escalation against the international liberation struggle and the attempt to achieve military superiority over the socialist States. They cannot retreat from a single point of their strategic plan, with which they hope to achieve world domination.

But they shall not succeed.

The contradictions are already too deep and the struggles too broad. The contradictions and the revolutionary struggles breaking out internationally with increasing political uniformity have surpassed their contingency plans and have dulled the effect of their war machine. The chasm between society and the State in the metropoles and the international contradiction between proletariat and bourgeoisie are growing sharper and deeper with every step, with every maneuver, of their all-encompassing aggression.

It is clear that whether their political power and material basis in the metropole will break down quickly or whether they will be able to realize their strategic plan depends decisively on the revolutionary struggle in West Europe. And in this context, everything is being done to prevent a qualitative leap forward in the development of the revolutionary process here.

The revolutionary movement in Western Europe must now transform its different struggles into one conscious and specific attack on imperialist power; which means attacking the current strategic projects for the political, economic and military structuring of the imperialist system in West Europe, and combining politics and practice in an overall revolutionary strategy to disrupt the system in the center in a way that encourages the unity of the metropolitan proletariat within the revolutionary front. The task is now to further develop this strategy into a practical process and to anchor it in the revolutionary movement and the entire spectrum of the antagonistic forces in West Europe.

Organize the revolutionary front in West Europe!

Commando Mara Cagol
Red Army Faction
July 9th 1986


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

[1] Mara (Margerita) Cagol was a leader of the Red Brigades in Italy. She was married to Renata Curcio, also a leader of the Red Brigades, and led a commando which successfully liberated him from prison in 1975. She herself was killed in a shootout with Italian police during the kidnapping of the industrialist Vittorio Vallarino Gancia in 1975. She became an important symbol of women’s militancy in the Italian women’s movement. (from the Rheinische Post, 7/10/86) [return to text]

[2] BDI – Bundesverband der deutschen Industrie: Federal Union of German Industry. [return to text]

[3] SPD – Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, Social Democratic Party of Germany. Mainstream party of the left; one of the two major parties. [return to text]

[4]  KWU – Kraftwerk-Union: Energy Union. [return to text]

[5] DM 350 million – approx. $140 million at the time. [return to text]

[6] Grohnde, Brokdorf, Biblis. – Grohnde and Biblis are sites of nuclear power plants of approximately 12-1300 Megawatts (2 such reactors alone at Biblis); new projects are planned for or under construction at Biblis and Brokdorf. [return to text]

[7]  One of the projects undertaken by the Portoguese colonial government in Mozambique in the 1950s was the Cabora Bassa dam on the Lower Zambesi River in Mozambique. Amongst other things, the colonialists hoped that dam would isolate a large portion of the frontier from the anti-colonial FRELIMO guerillas. This project wrought devastating effects on peasant communities inundated by the dam’s reservoir, on down-river communities and on the ecosystems of the Lower Zambesi. [return to text]

[8] The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), popularly known as “Star Wars”, was Ronald Reagan’s proposal to build a high-tech missile shield to protect the United States from nuclear attack. It was widely viewed as technically unfeasibly, and primarily a way of further bleeding the Soviet Union by forcing it to undertake similar costly research and military plans – the implication of the United States developing a missile shield if the Soviets did not have one being that it would be free to launch a nuclear first strike while being protected from any Soviet retaliation. [return to text]

[9] Eureka – A project to promote technological cooperation for military development undertaken in July 1985 by seventeen European States (EEC members plus Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden and Finland) in answer to the USA’s challenge to European States to participate in SDI. FRG Foreign Minister Genscher said, “Eureka is a necessity with or without SDI. Eureka is neither in its purpose nor goals a substitute nor an alternative to SDI.”   [return to text]

[10] Wackersdorf – Site of a major demonstration in April 1986, in which many militants from the resistance movement took part, fighting the police and attempting to sabotage the nuclear reactor. [return to text]

[11] Staatschutz – Literally “state protection,” it is unique to the FRG. It extends into all sectors of’ the West German State, including the police, the courts, the military, the prison system, etc., and gives the State extraordinary powers under the justification of “protecting the State.” [return to text]

[12] CDU – Christliche-Demokratische Union: Christian Democratic Union. FDP – Freie Demokratische Partei: Free Democratic Party. The CDU is the mainstream center right party. The FDP is a smaller party representing the interests of large capital, and has power through joining in coalition with either the SDP or the CPU. [return to text]