We are glad that you have all come to this demonstration and to this congress, despite the massive numbers of police troops and the media’s smear-campaign, both of which attempted to beat down and defeat your organizing efforts and preparations.
Despite the varying levels in the development of the struggle and differing conditions, there remains the need for a common search for urgent solutions for peoples’ lives against the world-dominating policies of the G-7 states, whose capitalist power rules over people and destroys nature.
We think it’s correct that you all have chosen to oppose the 500-year festival of imperialism with this demonstration, the congress and the days of actions. You have showed that on our side – the side of the oppressed – history and the consciousness of struggle are alive. As long as this imperialist system, which values human lives and nature as mere tools of capitalism, exists, there will also exist a struggle for a society free from domination. The struggle for the liberation of spiritual values will be carried out wherever racist and sexist structures of oppression exist which deny the worth of human beings.
With this congress, you have made it possible to exchange experiences with one another and to learn from each other, to come to common evaluations and to begin working on common strategies.
Given the contemporary situation, we think it’s extremely important, both here as well as internationally, to arrive at concrete common goals and demands. We need to come up with proposals as to what steps need to be taken against the ruling powers’ grip over people and nature – whether in Munich, Rio, Los Angeles or Maputo, whether in Palestine or Kurdistan – and reverse the tide of global disaster.
A process of appropriation from below is created in concrete struggles and demands which confront the ruling powers with the peoples’ needs. For example, the struggle for living spaces, the struggle against destructive and pointless labour, the struggle against environmental destruction, the prison struggles, organizing help for refugees, anti-fascist mobilizations, and the demand for debt-cancellation and reparations from the imperialist states which have profited from colonizing peoples.
We in Germany bear a great deal of responsibility in this process, because we live under a state whose capacity for destruction is enormous. Domestically, the ruling powers have created a reactionary climate which has resulted in racist mobilizations and an almost daily war against refugees. The ruling powers need this reactionary climate to strengthen German patriarchal consciousness and to create a safety-valve against the increasingly desperate living conditions of millions of people here because they want to be given a free hand for their superpower politics: today, the German mark marches across Eastern Europe, tomorrow, German troops march across the globe. Next to Japan, Germany has the world’s strongest economy. The might of German capital is unbroken.
With this statement from us, we’d like to make some points from our April communiqué  (namely, our de-escalation) clear to the comrades from other countries who have traveled here for these protests.
This is part of particular steps we are taking within Germany. We don’t question the legitimacy of armed liberation struggles in other countries; our deepest solidarity goes out to all those struggling for liberation throughout the world.
It is up for those involved in the struggle to decide, based upon their specific conditions, which means and forms of struggle should be employed at a given point in time.
For you all, we’d like to briefly say something about our own history.
We, the RAF, came into existence in the early 70s out of the worldwide anti-Vietnam War movement. Our beginnings came during the 68-revolts, a time when many people became active; in this country, where, after Auschwitz, there was no broad social discussion of Germany’s Nazi past and where ex-Nazis held positions of power in all the major government and financial institutions, communists and anti-fascists were spied on, and all those who sought to break with Germany’s fascist past faced repression. Against this gloomy and suffocating imperialist reality in post-war Germany, an entire generation sought new liberating and anti-capitalist ways to live. For example, establishing basic democratic structures at schools and universities, living together in communes as opposed to nuclear families, organizing women against their traditional roles and against their oppression both within society and within the left.
During the Vietnam War, our country was the most important staging ground for the US genocide of the Vietnamese people. We linked ourselves to the worldwide resistance to US imperialism.
At that time, the existence of the Soviet Union made it easier to establish connections to the national liberation movements of the South. Under those global circumstances, we made our radical struggle here part of the international anti-imperialist liberation front. That was our determined objective, to carry out simultaneous international struggle to achieve freedom.
Even when imperialism was able to halt the advance of the liberation struggles at the end of the 70s, our politics were still primarily orientated in this way and remained such up to the mid-80s. We used our strength in the 80s to hinder the imperialist rollback which was intended to counter the history since the October Revolution; we hoped to reinforce our side.
In the various phases of our 22-year history, we have intervened in our role as an urban guerrilla against imperialist world politics, against US policies, against NATO, against the formation of a West European bloc, against the development of Greater Germany as a world power and against the “new world order”.
By the end of ‘89, when the annexation of the former GDR by West Germany was a reality, an entire phase of history which had begun with the October Revolution, had come to an end. Nevertheless, we failed to initiate a discussion of this and of the history of our own struggle – of its strengths and weaknesses – and to come up with a new orientation.
With our actions, we sought to create a counter-power from below and to start a discussion and re-orientation around this situation, which had greatly increased the social contradictions and given rise to new struggles. Nonetheless, we could not break through the feeling of powerlessness and the resignation to the victory of capitalism which had gripped the very people we sought to stir into motion.
It was precisely our last action which made this most clear to us, the attack on Rohwedder . With this action, we intervened in an entirely new social situation, one which arose after the annexation of the GDR. Its goal was to hinder the march of capitalism into the former GDR and to allow us to create ties with the people in struggle there. Now we realize that to come to a common struggle from out of two different realities and sets of experience takes a great deal of discussion and understanding, learning from one another’s different histories, and to then go forward together in creating a counter-power.
Of course there were plenty of people who supported our actions, but these actions hardly started any discussions or resulted in any organizational gains, nor did they push the ruling powers’ into any corners.
Because of all this, we need this break to come up with a new departure point.
We need an open discussion about new foundations and orientations in order to come up with new thoughts and proposals for developing a process of change. A break also means learning from our own history, so as not to repeat the same mistakes, but also to bring along all the positive experiences.
We know that there are comrades who find contradictions between our statement in April and the current situation, considering, for example, the escalating war against the Kurdish peoples, which the Turkish State is waging with German weapons and German money.
There is no question that resistance to the policies of Greater Germany, both from within and without, is extremely necessary and that this can’t simply be limited to a process of discussion. But we feel that armed actions won’t advance this process at this time.
To come up with a new point of departure, we need a common, deep, foundational discussion.
Since global changes have global ramifications, like the increasing number of people deemed redundant by capital, who no longer have any means of survival and no hope of escaping the depressing reality of their lives, we need to build entirely new foundations for a process of change.
For us, the main question is, how can we create a counter-power from below that can draw in more of the people who are being forced to the margins here in Greater Germany, people who are seeking a new social reality with humane criteria and who reject the values and ideology of capitalism.
The history of decades of social orientation towards capital has alienated people from their own lives. From this, and from the failure to create any alternatives, we can see why racist and sexist violence has increased here; it’s a way of dulling the brutality of day-to-day life. Having failed to create groups consisting of people with different skills able to work together to solve the common problems facing them daily, groups capable of taking these problems in hand and struggling against them, we have seen the rise of destructive and self-destructive forces and increased fascist mobilizations in our society.
It’s up to everyone who does not want to be crushed by the power of money to develop new social struggles which come from the people themselves. In this, we see the possibility of creating a relevant social counter-power.
Such a development is also a part of our responsibility to all those people around the world who are struggling for change and to all oppressed peoples, because it’s up to us here to see to it that Greater Germany’s international politics don’t go unchallenged at home, but rather that there is a social consciousness that expresses solidarity with other peoples and which resists the ruling powers. We have to start a new social movement in which people can find a genuine social perspective and recognize the futility of the capitalist system and its indifference to human life; a movement with fresh content and values, one which can make concrete changes – because these are not goals which can be put off until “after the revolution”.
With our communiqué of April 10, a very long phase of our history came to an end. We made this decision because we want to see a process of reflection and reorientation on our side – it had nothing to do with the State.
This State has sought to destroy the RAF and the prisoners from the RAF and the resistance for the last 22 years using all the means available to it. The State failed, and with this in mind, we entered this new phase. If the State chooses to disrupt this new phase, then it will be up to everyone to decide how to react, and we won’t take responsibility for the consequences.
We have said that an important component of this new rebuilding process must be the struggle to free our imprisoned comrades.
When we say their freedom can be achieved through a political solution, this is the result of years of struggle.
Freedom for all political prisoners within a foreseeable period of time can only be achieved through a process of struggle.
It should be everyone’s task to seize the initiative and struggle to end the torture and win freedom for the prisoners.
We seek an acceptable quality of life for our imprisoned comrades and for the prisoners from all liberation movements; we want this for everyone and share this goal with everyone who wants to struggle for justice and a humane existence for all the oppressed peoples of the world.
Red Army Faction
June 29th 1992
N.B. All footnotes in this document were added by the translator and editor. None are originally from the RAF.
 On April 10th 1992 the RAF released a document – 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 – in which they stated that they would no longer carry out attacks on representatives of the State or capital. This document can be read at http://www.germanguerilla.com/red-army-faction/documents/92_04_10.html. [return to text]
 On April 1st, 1991, the RAF’s Ulrich Wessel Commando assassinated the Detlev Korsten Rohwedder, who was president Berlin “Treuhandanstalt”, the agency that privatized the East German state owned enterprises – it oversaw the restructuring and selling of about 8.500 firms with over 4 million employees. The communiqué can be read at http://www.germanguerilla.om/red-army-faction/documents/91-04-04.html. [return to text]