To All Who Are Looking For Ways to Organize and to Push Through a Human Life in Dignity Here and Worldwide On Really Concrete Issues

This is what we are looking for as well.

There are thousands of questions on the table that scream for a solution, if these problems are not soon faced and solved they will lead humanity into the catastrophe. They are caused by the capitalistic principle that only profit and power have a value and that people and nature are subservient to it.

Since 1989 we, the RAF, have started thinking and speaking more intensively about the fact that it can’t go on as before for us and for everybody who has a history of resistance in the FRG. We have come to the conclusion that it is a question of finding new definitions for a policy able to push through real changes for the life of people today and to tear away the definition of real life from the rulers completely in the long run. To this aim it is necessary to see one’s own and the common history of everybody in the resistance, to think about what we have done wrong and what important experiences we or others made, and what meaning these experiences could have for the future.

The starting point was:

1. The fact that we all faced a completely changed situation in the relations of power world-wide – the disintegration of the system of socialist states, the end of the “Cold War”.

We were confronted with the fact that the idea of a break through for liberation in the common international fight did not materialize.

The liberation struggles were all too weak to beat an imperialism expanding it’s warfare on all levels.

The collapse of the socialist states which was caused basically by unresolved internal contradictions has had catastrophic effects for millions of people throughout the world. It has thrown back all people fighting for liberation onto themselves.

However through it the necessity has become clear for everybody once again that the liberation struggles can only be developed out of the awareness of the people for their own special history out of the authentic conditions and aims. And only out of this a new international force can grow.

A lot of comrades from the Third World have brought this into discussions and there they have found the beginnings of a completely new politics and they have put it into practice. We will also do this here, by this we are connected to them.

2. We ourselves have been confronted by the fact, that, by the way we practiced our politics in the years before 1989, we became politically weaker instead of getting stronger. For various reasons we have less and less been able to develop any attraction for the people here, attraction that would have made common activity possible.

We recognize it as a central failure that we have made too few steps towards the people who also stood up here. And we didn’t make steps at all toward those who hadn’t stood up yet.

We recognized that we have to look for the people and that it can’t go on as it was before that we as guerillas take all the decisions by ourselves and that the others take their bearings from us. We often formulated this in a different way, but that was the reality. We have very much reduced our politics to attacking imperialist strategies. The search for immediate positive aims and for a way, how a social alternative can begin to exist here and today, was missing. The experiences, that others obtained by fighting, showed us that it is possible that such a thing can be started here.

But our relations to those people who were closed to us, were first of all determined by the aim to attack together. Therefore there was no room in this definition for them to develop and to live out their own social values in their everyday-lives together with lots of others. Only by that could we have come to a common politics, which could have shown more people, including those who live outside the various scene-ghettos, that the coldness and powerlessness within imperialism are neither destiny nor natural laws, but end where people put their needs and their solidarity into practice starting to live this here and today.

Two years ago we drew the consequences from that and have since tried a parallel process of a new orientation and practical intervention.

We thought we could create a new relationship by ourselves by the way we chose our actions and by the way we talked, and so create the necessary requirements for a common discussion and by that the possibility for a common perspective together with a lot more people and groups.

It was a mistake that we didn’t mediate our process clearly, but only fragmentary in our communiqués and letters as a result of our discussion.

And this is only a start and soon we will talk about everything more thoroughly.

After these two years we understood that this wasn’t enough and that in this way we couldn’t make room for what we consider as most important now and in the immediate future:

The common discussions and the forging of links between different groups and people, which has been necessary for so long, starting from the point, where the people live, from the daily lives of the people in society which drives many to take their situation into their own hands and search for solutions together with other people.

We think such links may become a basis of the power, which we called counter-power from below and which doesn’t yet exist in this way. As long as such an alternative to destruction and desperation within the system can’t be experienced, the number of those excluded and standing alone without any perspective, dying of heroine or driven into suicide etc. will increase. And more and more people will follow the fascists.

Out of our experiences and our discussions with comrades concerning all these issues we are now sure that the guerilla can’t be in the centre of this building process.

At the moment lethal actions targeting on the leaders of the state and economy can’t promote the process that is necessary now because they lead the whole situation to escalate for everything, which has just started to grow and for all who are searching.

The quality of such attacks presupposes clarity about what concrete changes they can set into motion. There can’t be this clarity now, at a time when for everybody it’s all about finding a new basis for themselves. In this way we also understand the criticism of some, that by these actions we presume the result of the process.


This process of discussion and building the counter-power from below includes the struggle for the freedom of the political prisoners as a vital part.

After 20 years of state of emergency against the prisoners, torture and annihilation it is now time to enforce their right to live – to obtain their freedom by fighting!

In january, the minister of justice, Kinkel, announced the release of some of the prisoners who are unfit for imprisonment and of some who have been imprisoned for the longest time. This was the first time they have admitted that there are factions in the establishment who have understood that they cannot gain a grip on social contradictions and resistance by means of police-and military repression.

They have wanted to annihilate the prisoners for more than 20 years. Kinkel’s announcement poses the questions whether the state is willing to give up its annihilation-strategy against everybody who is fighting for a self-determined life. The strategy against those who don’t capitulate in the face of the power of money, those who formulate and live out their own interests and aims against the interest of profit.

This Kinkel-initiative poses the question whether the state grants room for political solutions (and if there are representatives of economy putting the government under pressure to that effect, this can only be good).

We will look closely to see how serious the Kinkel-initiative is. As yet not much has happened except from Claudia Wannersdorfer being released just a few months before her official release. The others who are unfit for imprisonment – Günter Sonnenberg, Bernd Rössner, Isabel Jacob, Ali Jansen – are still imprisoned. Also Irmgard Moeller is still imprisoned after more than 20 years. Up to now the conditions in prison didn’t become any better.

The hearings of Norbert Hofmeier, Baerbel Perau and Thomas Thoene, after they were in prison 2/3 of the time of their sentences, were like inquisitions. Angelika Goder is threatened with being sent to prison although she is ill. The announcement of new trials against some prisoners following statements by state-wittnesses expresses the ice-cold need of the state for revenge. It reveals their aim to bury the prisoners forever in jail.
Referring to the ministry of justice in Stuttgart, the newspaper Welt formulated the unbroken will of annihilation: If they were to decide (the ministry of justice and Welt) Günter Sonnenberg, who is unfit for imprisonment for more than 15 years, would only be released if he submits to the repressive harassments in prison without resistance. He is called a “recalcitrant prisoner”, because he shows solidarity and keeps contact with his friends. In this way they make propaganda against his release. All this stands in direct contradiction to a really different position that’s beginning to emerge on the part of the state.


It is an important turning point if something moves in this direction in the near future; everybody will be able to see in which direction the train will run; whether the faction in the establishment gets its way that accepts the need to make concessions for a political solution, or the one of the concrete-heads and iron-eaters

This will not only become obvious from the states behaviour towards the political prisoners. There are other focuses, where this turning point will be immediately apparent. There where fights have already been able to win room it will be quickly obvious to what extent they will accept political solutions or want to wage war.

For example: whether they still want to wage war against people from Hafenstrasse, Hamburg, after 10 years of fighting.

However in the long term a lot of other things are important:

  • There are the fights of social prisoners against special prison-conditions and in general against the inhuman conditions in prisons. It must not happen that the political prisoners get out of the extermination blocks and others take their place.
    All isolation blocks must be closed!
  • There are the fights for centres, for room to live and for housing for many, who don’t have this here and now.
  • It will become apparent from the extent to which the people of the former GDR continue to be squeezed as objects into the capitalist system or whether they can win ground by fighting to determine their own development.
  • It is an important question how long the state will be able to whip up the racism against refugees and treat them as “sub-humans”, to deny the responsibility of itself and the economy for unemployment, the housing disaster, starving of the elderly etc. And how long it will be able to continue to send these people back to the misery that it is itself producing all the time.
  • For a long time now it is reality that the cops protect the fascists and beat up the antifascists, that they chase demonstrators to the death, for example Canny Wissmann [1] and that they shoot at demonstrators, for example a few month ago in Frankfurt, and torture refugees with electro-shocks etc.
  • It is the question whether german soldiers will march again against other peoples and how long fascist regimes can go on massacring the populace with the weapons and support from here.

Above all it will be decided mainly by the way struggles can be developed for all these questions in the society – and of course this is not a complete list – whether and to which extent room for political solutions here can be won by fighting.

At no point will they retreat of their own accord. For this social pressure and fighting for our demands will always be necessary to achieve this.

With our withdrawal of the escalation we have made a step to open up this political space.

Now it is up to the state to react. And because today nobody knows how they are going to react, we want to protect the process of discussion and construction.

If they now mow down the people with their machine of destruction and repression, who are taking this process in hand and continue to wage war against the people below, then the period of our withdrawal of escalation is over – should this happen we will not watch from the side lines.

If they will not let us live, i.e. all the people who struggle for a humane society, they have to know that their elites cannot live either.

Even if it is not in our interest:
War can only be answered with war

Red Army Faction
April, the 10th, 1992


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

[1] Conny Wissman was an anti-fascist activist woman who was chased into a car by the police in Göttingen in 1989. [return to text]