- Helmut Pohl, August 1993
- Statement From Brigitte Mohnhaupt, 28.10.93
- Reply From The RAF, 2.11.93
- Reply From Karl-Heinz Dellwo, 29.10.93
- Karl-Heinz Dellwo To Brigitte Mohnhaupt, Early October 1993
- Christian Klar, 16.10.93
- Rolf Heissler To Birgit Hogefeld, 10.10.93
- Eva Haule, 23.10.93
Letter From Helmut Pohl, RAF Prisoner
Perhaps now is the time to say something again on our behalf.
In any case, we, a large number of the prisoners from the RAF, would like to make everything clear.
None of us, and none of our supporters, proposed the idea for a short-term regroupment, the idea now being tossed about by the media.
This is not our demand, and we reject it, because our demand is the same as ever: freedom now, and regroupment until that time.
If we were to be put together now for a few months or weeks, our theme would neither be “armed struggle”, nor ever our own freedom. In other words: not about making peace with the state and making the final unwinding of our history after the last two catastrophic years, but rather how we can reach a level of strength from the society against the state which can finally get us out of the prisons – because they comprehend the situation, their own, they comprehend its perspective and significance, to take the ability to decide about moving political forces away from the power-drunk political classes.
The current history is a new one in this stage-managed time of the so-called “Kinkel-Initiative”, about which nothing is real, but rather, people should see it for what it really is, a cover for exchange and disorientation and formulas such as “solution” and “conciliation”, a synonym from the apparatus for endless prison terms for a pre-determined section of the prisoners.
If the campaign around the “Kinkel-Initiative” only got the support of a few prisoners who went in for it, and those on the outside with the “new” politics of the RAF, with its “Steinmetz” unity, then they will come out with nothing. This is a clear fabrication by the security agencies, the politicians, and the media. They no longer need anyone for our “demands”, and thus our years-long prisoners’ project has been taken over by the state by means of its “Kinkel-Initiative” and those that support it.
Now we hear, something phenomenal for us, that this artistic creation (because this “meeting” could never actually become reality) has spawned discussions in social sectors which had for years no longer concerned themselves with the prisoners, because in their minds the matter had long since been taken care of.
You all are worried about a possible “new escalation in violence from the left”?
You all should spend more time worrying about the state.
That fat-ass Kohl only seems to do less and less as time goes on.
There will be no new dealing with us with anything like the “Kinkel-Initiative”, in whatever form it may take on today. If so, then it will clearly be directed against us.
That’s all I can say in consensus with Brigitte, Christian, Rolf (Heissler), Eva, Heidi, and Rolf (Wagner). That’s by no means all of the prisoners who think this way, but rather we are the prisoners from the RAF who will sit endlessly in prison as a result of the legacy of the “solution” which has been developed since ’92.
As for Ingrid and Sieglinde, I don’t want to even begin at this time.
Perhaps with a little contemplation, you all will understand that we cannot accept that, and perhaps it will even dawn on you that this present situation is well beyond the boundary of what the state can do to us, particularly because each of us has already experienced what they can do.
As for the anticipated repetition of the same old statements from the “hard-liners”, I think back once more upon how it was us that wanted for years to make a break, because we were fed up with the lies and the malicious tales which were forever being weaved, so I’d just like to point out that we were the ones that took the step of calling off “targeted deadly actions against the representatives of state and capital”. We did this at least one year prior, and we were greeted with a lack of understanding, and then Kinkel came onto the scene, and then the “break” faded into the background.
We prisoners did not start our course of “discussion” and “break” since the late-80s, and also the concurrent de-escalation in our confrontation with the state, based on any notion of “giving up the struggle”, rather we took this step based on our conviction that the events of the continued capitalist march needed to be looked at, now more than ever, because now a situation was becoming a reality, in anticipation of which we had struggled for 20 years to prevent.
We wanted this to be our specific prisoners’ contribution to a process of clarification and a re-establishment of a politics of change, one which today can reach out well beyond the left- radical, and even the general left-wing, spectrum. We knew that we would only have a certain limited amount of time in the period of change for this, because otherwise the effects of this change would be complete, and that then there would break out a new struggle for survival, both socially and politically, and a confrontation in a collapsed social fabric, as well as a great destruction of the global political living reality, and that this, in turn, would mean that the political possibility would be under pressure and it would be too late for a solution to our prisoners’ problem, because the state, in a period of crisis, would rather use us as an object for demonstrating their assertion and pushing-through of power and their escalation of power rather than let us go.
It was an attempt – on a not insignificant level, since the RAF-state confrontation had affected society for more than 20 years – to make a formulated anchoring for fundamental political processes against the foreseeable and increasingly chaotic and brutal contradictions, at both the micro- and the macro-level, of everyone being against everyone.
Things which are happening today could not be predicted 3 or 4 years ago. Not the rise in fascism, nor racism, nor the social collapse. Nothing. Everyone was so happy when the “New World Order” broke out.
Today, no one gets past the point of seeing the attempt as pointless.
If things today have come to the point with this state- creation, this short-term regroupment, so that they think that they can just plough under the harvests of the past 2 years and point a pistol at everyone’s chest and call on them to disavow “armed struggle”, then I can answer immediately: I will no longer take the political position that I have represented for the past few years. Today, it’s no longer even a position. The possibility which arose during the break [the cease-fire -trans.] seems to have been lost. Armed actions and militancy will simply be found in various political and social confrontations, in all possible forms. It doesn’t matter what the RAF and the prisoners say. And in many instances, I would see that as a good thing. Nonetheless, I’ll be damned if I’ll ever “swore off” armed struggle.
Statement From Brigitte Mohnhaupt, RAF Prisoner
We are now making one thing public, namely that there is a split among the prisoners regarding their political affinity to the RAF. The content of this affinity has collapsed, and there is no other alternative left but to make a split. We have reached an end to the political agony which began in 1992, namely that the foundations for our politics were being chipped away, and today we will stop having our life and our struggle developed behind our backs. Since May, the prisoners in Celle have started a process of liquidating the RAF and the prisoners, with the support of those members who are still underground.
We have only come to know of this very recently, and then only by coincidence. We did not expect this, because we were sure that the people in Celle, and the RAF, knew that none of us other prisoners would ever take such a route. Now we were supposed to accept certain accomplished facts, take it or leave it. In other words: Whoever does not “accept” this will stay in prison forever.
The disappointment did not just come over us, but rather over everyone who has been connected with the struggle of the RAF and the prisoners, everyone who has been in solidarity, and everyone who has wanted to struggle with us for the freedom of the prisoners. In one way or another, we were all just trump cards in a deal. We want no part in this. The situation should be clear to everyone, everything else represents political confusion and a lack of responsibility. Everyone should be able to see for themselves how things are and where she/he wants to go. And for us ourselves, we can’t go on in any other way, otherwise we would be trampling our lives and all of our experiences in our struggle into the dust.
First, I’d like to talk about the fundamental concept behind this development, and then I’ll put forward the facts as we know them.
The starting point was the assumption that Kohl had some interest being able to say, with elections approaching, that he had found a “political solution” to end the 23 years of confrontation. That’s why they were so punctual, acting before the election strategies had been set, signaling a willingness to Kohl on the part of the RAF and the prisoners to make a concrete offer.
Beyond this, people in significant societal positions were informed of this willingness, and they, for their part, discussed making the offer of such a solution to Kohl. The long-term reasoning behind this was – in case Kohl did not act – that these people would know that the RAF had, so to speak, been forced back into confrontation. It was to be made clear to them that the state would be to blame for the continuation of actions. The RAF was willing, but Kohl was not.
Now there is no more independent political orientation and concept coming from the RAF, but rather just a focus on “pressure”, to press for better conditions, as was the case with Weiterstadt.
In other words, the end of the politics which the RAF has stood for for more than 20 years, namely, revolutionary intervention in the metropoles. And that was never a question of the means alone, but rather more of the content of these politics. We can see where this content has lead today, because armed action is today defined as a product to be exchanged.
So much for the concept. This whole affair had a negotiator, one of our former lawyers. He thinks he’s doing something for us, supposedly our last chance of ever getting out of jail. Irmgard and I have spoken with him, and from him we learned the details.
Initially, Edward Reuter, former economics minister, was approached. That was in May. But Reuter didn’t want to hear anything, so the negotiator only got as far as the security chief. Only then did he go to “Benz” and his associates at the Office for the Defense of the Constitution, and they were informed of the matter and gave the green light for Reuter to get on the telephone.
Karl-Heinz Dellwo’s fixation on these talks was this, namely that Reuter would be someone who would see the end of the RAF/state conflict as being in the economic ministry’s interest, and then their central people would play major roles in the discussion. An end seemed possible, although the state had only sought a military solution, something which would only prolong the conflict. That’s why it was necessary for Reuter to use his influence to force a solution. Reuter is not in favor. He finally speaks with Schnarrenberger, and later with Kohl. Kohl’s answer is negative.
That was shortly before Bad Kleinen.
Wolfgang was shot, Birgit arrested, and Steinmetz, who was supposed to deliver the entire RAF into the hands of the state, disappeared.
The negotiator goes to Birgit to see if he still has her support and that of the people still living underground. Birgit thinks he should continue.
He calls Reuter once more, tells him that Bad Kleinen has not wrecked everything, but rather made it more urgent, but Reuter is no longer interested and refuses.
Next, the negotiator tries to win Ignatz Bubis’ [the head of a major Jewish organization in Germany -trans.] support, to thereby get some more support and influence behind the Celle-concept.
During another meeting, Bubis agrees to further talks along these lines in Bonn. His mind seems to have been won over by the reasoning that there is a need for political development in Germany because the danger from the far-right has grown so serious, therefore the state needs to focus all of its energies on that.
He speaks with Schnarrenberger, Kinkel, Kohl. His proposal, to visit Celle to hear everything from the prisoners themselves, is turned down by Kohl, who wants to wait and see what the Bad Kleinen investigations turn up, and to see how far they got with Steinmetz. Kohl’s interest is in turning up the heat, not backing off. And the economy folks see this as their interest as well. A meeting planned for the end of September, between Bubis and Kohl and Kanther, does not take place. That’s what we know at this point.
How things were to develop concretely from there, we only partially know, but one sign that the state was seriously considering the offer was to have been the release of the prisoners who have been in jail the longest, the transfer of Birgit to Frankfurt, and the regroupment of the remaining prisoners. Then there was to be the “entire solution”, which was to include those people still underground. We don’t know what they have in mind, probably legalization with some sort of exile or a short jail sentence, or what they were planning to do with the rest of the prisoners.
And we don’t care. They can continue, but they should do it openly. They should not try to use other people for their purposes, people whom they neither can nor should ignore.
There is no time right now to write much more, but I would just like to say something short.
We are not drowning in bitterness. The bitterness was last year, when it became clear that the “end” of the RAF was not leading to a new orientation of radical and revolutionary politics, and for searches and struggles for people’s own proposals, but rather a step towards adaptation and an empty de-politicization. This was unavoidable, not because they did not understand what we were talking about, but rather because they wanted something different. What’s certain, however, is that revolutionary politics can regain a foothold here, with a new determination, and with a conscious break from this legacy.
We all have a lot to say – that will follow – but the meaning and content of our politics are part of our lives, an inseparable existential unity, one which has been nurtured together, and that is what we struggle for.
on behalf of the prisoners of the RAF in Luebeck, Cologne, Frankfurt, Schwalmstadt, Frankenthal, Bruchsal, and Aichach
Red Army Faction Communiqué:
A Response To The 28.10.93 Declaration By Brigitte Mohnhaupt Regarding A Split Within The RAF
To the prisoners of the RAF who have supported this call.
Towards a discussion with everyone connected to the struggle of the RAF and the prisoners.
There have never been secret negotiations between ourselves and the state. In all of our retrospection, we never considered “making a deal” by exchanging armed struggle for the freedom of the prisoners. All notions which suggest the contrary are nothing more than garbage.
What is true, however, is that on 10.4.92, we decreased the escalation, because the global changes at the end of the 80s broke apart the central point of perspective for the revolutionary left and made the function of the armed left in Germany a strategic proposal from a past epoch. One expression of this development are the boundaries which we have found ourselves stuck at. This entire development made it clear to us that a critical reflection upon the struggles of the past epoch, and that means also the struggle of the RAF, was desperately needed. In fact, the most banal form of revolutionary self-understanding.
In this phase, during which the search for new paths and thoughts for a process of change were and still are most important, we also wanted to continue the struggle to free the political prisoners. As for this, we have always stated that this will only be possible from within a process of struggle.
This does not correspond to any responsibility on our part, after 23 years of struggle by the RAF, to preserve the RAF into the next millennium under all circumstances. We were open to all possible forms and thoughts regarding a transformation, whatever we and all those involved in redirecting revolutionary politics deemed to be the best way to direct the future process of change. And this orientation of means and organizational models is only possible from out of a newly-developed strategic proposal. That has nothing to do with giving up the option of armed struggle.
The joy of state and capital regarding the final nail in the coffin of the RAF, which your statement was supposed to be, is premature: We, as the RAF, will bear our responsibilities until such time as a new way is discovered. And we don’t really care whether that will still be called the RAF, or whether it will simply be a transformation of the RAF within a new formation within the revolutionary left. What’s of primary importance is the correspondence of the necessities and proposals for a process of change.
Something which also corresponds is that which we wrote in earnest in the Weiterstadt communiqué. (For reasons of space, the editors of Radikal #148, from which we at ATS translated this recent communique, left out these citations. -trans.)
We say with emphasis: The talks which the prisoners in Celle carried out with Stroebele, and those which they wished to have with Bubis – the content of which was made known by Karl-Heinz in the taz on 1.11.93 – were not, in fact, in contradiction with our proposals.
With your statement of 28.10, a point has been reached which forces us to publicly declare our stance regarding the history between the RAF and certain prisoners and regarding the ongoing distortions and the attempts to destroy solidarity with us.
After the attack on us (in Bad Kleinen -ed.) on 27.6.93, we wanted some more time before we came out with another public statement.
We had to discuss the bad mistakes which we made, such as our contact with a security agency spy. We will say more about this at a later date. We were especially affected by Birgit’s arrest and the murder of Wolfgang. From these came the realization that a state agent had made possible a military assault on us, thus we had incorrectly assessed the real development of the confrontation with the state. We were confronted with a situation, in which we were concerned with discovering how we could again play a positive role in the reorientation of revolutionary politics. An entirely new situation was created for us on 27.6. But we hoped that despite the contradictions between prisoners and RAF, and despite the entire break by some of you, that we could still come upon a proposal by which we could be part of political discussions. We wanted to do that in the new segment which is more or less ahead of us now. This attempt should have been a concern of ours.
We don’t want you all to split off from us, although some of you, after the attack on us, which should have been expected from the security apparatus, in fact turned the cops against us politically with all your talk of “the Steinmetz unit” and “the security agency’s ideological foot in the underground”, as well as the assertion that the Celle prisoners, Birgit, Wolfgang, and we ourselves wanted to find “a place in society”.
For quite some time now, the statements from some of you have been like experiments in a state security test-tube. Some of you accuse comrades who have content and political contradictions of collaborating with the state and you deny all of their moral integrity. The former head of the Hamburg security apparatus, chief Lochte, counted on just such a stance as this when he came out in support of the call for the regroupment back in ’89. He was convinced that you all were no longer in a position to deal with contradictions and differences, but rather that you all would instead tear each other limb from limb.
The years of continual accusations from some of you against our imprisoned comrades in Celle has lead to speculation at the international level that perhaps the comrades in Celle were working together with the security agencies. This continues today, with the lie in Brigitte’s statement which was made clear on 30.10 in an interview with Stroebele: namely, that Stroebele had discussed the matter with Benz.
Until 28.10, we had hoped that these prisoners, who need something like this, would be able to refrain from petty bourgeois competitiveness – an aspect of day-to-day German reality still seen in comrades who once decided to do something different with their whole lives. We had hoped that we would never come to a point where the RAF and the prisoners from the RAF would become a group fighting amongst themselves, as has happened so often in Germany, a group that only spreads its poison internally and thereby seeks to manoeuvre in the external political sphere. We are writing this statement with the full understanding that there are many other more important questions regarding the situation in Germany and elsewhere internationally, questions to which we are not providing any answers with this. But now, our boundary of pain has been overstepped.
Behind your statement lurks a rotten tactic, otherwise it would have been impossible for you all to now denounce an initiative from the prisoners as a deal with the state, although some of you once thought about a very similar initiative yourselves. Around the time of ’90, your texts like “Friends of Reason” were circulated, texts which also were aimed at figures in the economic establishment. At that time, we only heard of these much later, “by coincidence” if you will.
At that time, you all wanted nothing else but to set in motion a process which would bring about your freedom and new starting points for yourselves, for us, and for everyone searching for a reorientation. We should even abandon armed struggle to bring this about, even if you didn’t come out openly and say that that was a part of it.
We do not assume that you all were trying to make a deal with the state, or win a “place in society”. So you all should not assume the same of Birgit, Wolfgang, and the Celle prisoners.
As we now know today, you all refrained, on account of a faulty view of effectiveness, and also because it would not have been possible along with our political proposals. Your indignation is hypocritical. That which you today pass off as a deal, namely the aim to arrive at an entire solution – one which includes those still underground – at one time came from yourselves. Some of you damned us, cursed us, and hated us, because we did not want to view this as “correctly timed”. It goes without saying what you all had in mind: possibly exile, as a start.
Because of the proposal from some of you, we issued a communiqué: the RAF was discontinuing the armed struggle. Because at that time: without this, any thought of freedom for the prisoners is pure illusion. We were to back off, the state would say “thanks”, and nothing more – what was then to come, no one knew. That, at least, was never our proposal, because we always operated under the assumption that we can only push through new starting points by means of a process of struggle, which means making an armed intervention, in a time in which the strategic proposal has not yet been worked out, if a development from us is required.
You all state that our threat and our destroying of the Weiterstadt prison made armed action “a product for exchange”. Are your opinions of actions limited to the formation of a concept? Only abstract politics? Without any practical use? Since when did you find it objectionable to use actions to put pressure on the state? You all know just as well as we do that armed actions, by means of their content, must be able exert pressure on the state, so as to make a development that allows for something to struggle towards. The relationship which you all now ascribe to revolutionary politics and armed intervention is largely abstract and dead, something entirely alien to us, and something which struggling peoples all over the world have no concept of.
Even if you repeat your lies a thousands times, they will never be true. Anyone who does not see the Weiterstadt action in a political context needs a crack on the head. You all should try to give a basis of CONTENT to your assertion that nothing can be launched with an intervention that destroyed a prison, an attack that destroyed a real concrete example of the developments which are dictated and pushed through by the ruling powers; an attack against a project that pointed out contradictions in the state’s military approach and pushed them before the eyes of metropolitan society; an attack against a project that represents state racism and the economic destruction of human identity. Knowledge of this project, and the space for movement so as to destroy it, were inseparable, in our view, from exerting pressure on the state so as to work towards your freedom. But nonetheless, we realize that some of you criticized the action, apparently because of the fact that many people – even here – could make links with it. Because for you all that’s an expression of “depoliticization and adaptation”, since if many people can speak from their hearts, then something must be wrong!
Your cries of indignation against this exertion of pressure on state and capital, which has developed from 23 years of armed struggle in the confrontation between liberation and capital, are now merely superficial polemics. They have nothing to do with content, or with political dialogue and critique. Ever since ’77, there has been an exertion of pressure against state and capital, whereby only one aspect was the fact that the economic sector brought its influence to bear on account of Schleyer. Did everything fall to pieces at that time? Of course not.
So don’t now assume that the movement only ever had its correct justification when its central perspective was an orientation on the international revolutionary movement.
In a TV interview, you, Irmgard, said that you all at that time made offers to the state of not returning to Germany, but rather of struggling further while in exile. From others in your circle we have learned that this was to apply to the entire group, in other words, also to those still underground, namely that after the prisoners were freed, there would be a discussion of trying to rediscover how the struggle should develop further. That, even in the most recent past, would have been the best thing for the entire political association of RAF/prisoners. We know that most of you thought no differently about this. And what’s worse, you’re now trying to tell a different story, and you also talk garbage about deals.
“When, at the same time, there are attacks from the guerrilla, no mobilization can be grounded here to work towards the liberation of the prisoners…” (from a letter from Brigitte in the spring of ’93). If you all think that the existence of the RAF is preventing your freedom, and if your goal, as stated in the 28.10 statement, is to be completely rid of the RAF – then just come right out and say that. Don’t just act as if you are waiting for the keeper of the Holy Grail of armed struggle and revolutionary intervention in the metropoles; and then you could draw your line of division from the RAF so as to seem morally pure and the victims of traitorous persons like ourselves, Birgit, and the Celle prisoners.
If you want to talk openly and honestly, then don’t go through all the crap. And you can also spare us by not projecting an image of armed struggle onto us which reeks of horrific standards of capitalist value and by which THEY should free you all in your total political vision: “If they (the RAF) are signalling an end to the step taken in April ’92, based on our imprisoned situation – then we do not support this” (Eva). As if it had been our problem, that we wanted to HAVE/POSSESS something for ourselves. According to this style, the RAF – blood-thirsty as they are – needs the prisoners, because otherwise – unpolitical though this may be – there will be nothing to contribute to its development.
As for the history of our relationship, this content, according to you all, has collapsed: Your struggles, which you all carried out either as part of the RAF or later on as prisoners, mobilized us. For all of us here, they had a significance which was a part of our own histories. From this, a trust in you all, the comrades in prison, became a living trust. Also from this came a unity, making the same existential life-decision to opt for the struggle for liberation, and the proposal that this could also be a basis for coming upon a political understanding of a path from different directions and in an ever-changing external situation. But still, this is only possible as a living and contradictory process, one which presupposes openness and respect.
This trust, as far as some of you are concerned, was already lost long ago. Today, we think it was a political illusion on our part to imagine that we could remain together as a political association when the foundations had come apart, to face off against a power apparatus such as exists in Germany, and to make a new beginning. Our decision to everyone, which some of you all – as far as you were able – helped us work on, not to move into a public position, was wrong. We had false hopes that the contradictions could be resolved in the process of struggle. These hopes were based on a false assessment of you all as prisoners in isolation, and on the fact that we wanted to avoid sinking in a senseless mudbath. [...]
Last year, you all did not respond to our content initiatives with a corresponding CONTENT discussion, even though that would have led to contradictory discussions. Instead, you responded to all of our efforts with petty bourgeois competitive shit and you all lapsed into your possessive understanding of the RAF and revolutionary politics in Germany as a whole.
For some of you, it was enough just to keep expanding old truths, which might in general be true, but which actually give few answers to the questions being posed due to the deteriorating situation here and across the globe.
Even you all spoke of an end, but as to what this should actually mean, you all have not to this day given any substantial indication. For us, from out of our process, it was necessary to arrive at a productive relationship between critique and self- critique.
For struggling people across the globe, this is a life-line – for some of you, it’s like fire and water. Your break with us is tied to this and to the fact that we, like the prisoners in Celle, have made up our own minds in the discussions over the past years.
With fighting words like “depoliticized” and “adaptation”, you all have been shielding yourselves from a content discussion for more than a year and a half now. And that, in fact, causes depoliticization. [...]
We are sick of that method whereby the content of our texts are turned around in whatever way seems most opportune, like in one letter shortly before Weiterstadt. With appropriate word-play, the meaning comes out: everyone should “now wait and see which ‘fraction’ pushes itself through, like the RAF says”. Of course we said just the opposite in the communiqué: “No point can be backed down on (by the state), that’s why social pressure and struggle must always be applied”.
Your stupid power-struggle points to a narrow-minded fixation on the discussions around the “two factions in the apparatus”, although the Celle prisoners corrected our errors in the April communiqué in their interview in Konkret, and we elaborated on this critique in the August text. (Actually, this is only an imaginary power-struggle against the comrades in Celle, ourselves, and, at times, the comrades in Luebeck, otherwise everything else would have been necessary, because the enemy, like this question, is so big.) You all have to realize that you have made these mistakes of ours your central point of contention for more than a year now, meanwhile it has hardly interested anyone else.
While you all continue to demand the “situation debate” and the “RAF debate”, and then do the exact opposite, your vision of your own situation has been distorted by your orientation on us.
And finally, you all are sticking by your mistaken belief that the KGT [Terrorism Coordination Group - ed.] Initiative, from the very beginning, only intended to allow for certain prisoners to be freed. You all don’t seem to realize that they didn’t intend to free anyone. Everything was dependent on a political mobilization, namely, whether the prisoners group is the CORE OF SOLIDARITY and whether it is able to intervene in common in a discussion, and on the power relationship between the RAF and the state. You all could not realize the fact that after Guenter was released, no other RAF prisoner was set free, and not even the attack on us in Bad Kleinen made this any clearer to you. You all have lost your ability to reason clearly on account of the poison that has entered your hearts. Which is why you now have to circulate the story of a deal, so as to give your mistaken belief new life.
Since you all have even soiled Wolfang’s name with your denunciations – he, a man who was active in RAF politics for 9 years, who struggled in the RAF, a man who even struggled for, among other things, your own freedom, and who, because of his efforts, did not merely land himself in prison, but rather was murdered – this is a clear sign of the new depths to which you all have descended. Wolfgang was a human being who went through hell for his comrades.
Recently, there was a new beginning to the mobilization for your freedom by comrades with a new attitude, something which we found very empowering against the backdrop of an old history of factionalization and unclarity when dealing with content and political contradictions. That made possible a view to the fact that it is possible to arrive at a serious political discussion. We thought these comrades made the right decision by not lapsing into splits. Despite the contradictions in the political proposals from our side, they continued on. We think that this is a form of self-consciousness which is absolutely necessary in a process which is concerned with reorienting revolutionary politics. Your statement of 28.10 is directly against this sort of attitude. It is the expression of a gloomy power-struggle. It is the expression of maintaining a grip on old structures, in which it was deemed legitimate to accuse comrades with contradictions of collaborating with the system and to bury their moral legitimacy with filth. In the end, it is you all who are the ones who they lose because of this.
WE DEEM IT NECESSARY TO MAKE A CONSCIOUS BREAK WITH THIS LEGACY!
We say to you all, that this “entirely new decision”, of which you all speak, is built on lies, pressure, and your own dishonesty, and surely will never lead to “revolutionary politics regaining a foothold here”.
We are calling on you all – and we mean this very seriously – to hold back for just a moment. Come to your senses! Even if this means that you all have to jump over your shadows. We know that our letter will not make things easy for you, but surely you can understand that you all left us no choice but to say what the reality of the situation really is.
There exists a trust which no walls can break. Karl-Heinz, Lutz, Knut, Birgit, and we ourselves will accept this split, but we do not like it!
Perhaps this – why not? – is the last chance to start something new.
Now, it’s up to you.
The Simulation Of A Reality
The Celle prisoners reject the notion that they have planned on making a “deal with the state”
We have not made a deal with Reuter or with Kohl or with anyone else, nor have we initiated any form of “unwinding”, and certainly a “entire solution” was never suggested to anyone. The question was, whether a “third” position could be created, which could do something, although independent of us, but nevertheless in reference to us. Publicly as well as not in public. We set out in two directions:
To search for people who consider that which the RAF and the prisoners have been searching for over the past years to be sensible and who therefore want to support it: to exert political pressure from the ranks of the opposition.
That which we effectively did in the spring of this year, both in terms of political orientation, extent of content, and political background, can be read in the (excerpted) letter which I wrote to Brigitte Mohnhaupt at the beginning of October. The other prisoners also know of this letter.
The split in the prisoners’ group has a history, one that reaches far back into the past. We will say more of this another time. The time now is too short to explain this development with extensive clarity here and now. It is simply not true, and Brigitte knows this, when she states that her life and her struggle were to be sold away behind her back.
What Brigitte Mohnhaupt is saying is nothing more than the simulation of a reality. The scenario that she spelled out once again shows her need to excuse the political contradictions in the prisoners’ group with respect to the RAF and sectors of the radical-left by means of moralistic suspicions. In this process of division, everything negative is attributed to us and to the RAF, while she reclaims everything positive for herself. As for the insinuations made in that declaration, and in the reports subsequently spread about in the media, I can only say the following for now:
– It is nonsense to assume that the development in the political agony which began in 1992 will knock out the foundations of our politics. We state again: On 10.4.92, the RAF declared that they felt it was presently necessary to turn back the process of escalation. Irmgard Moeller correctly greeted the RAF’s communiqué in the name of all the prisoner and she gave it her support. It was never stated in public that Brigitte Mohnhaupt disagreed with either the statement by Irmgard Moeller or the RAF’s communiqué. Everyone knew and still knows that the old conception of the RAF is no longer applicable. Helmut Pohl wrote that he was always conscious of the fact that the disbanding of the RAF would come about at the end. Throughout 1992, there were several indications from prisoners “that the global and domestic social breaks are so deep that they make the simple setting-forth of the politics and praxis of the 70s and 80s impossible” (Irmgard Moeller, statement on behalf of the prisoners, 15.4.92).
– Brigitte says that we, together with the RAF, wanted to make a deal with the state. If you follow this logic through, then it means that Wolfgang Grams was shot as we were concluding a deal. Surely neither Brigitte Mohnhaupt nor anyone else can take that notion seriously.
The coldness, which Wolfgang Grams hit upon here, is still being exerted against Birgit Hogefeld.
– Stroebele neither negotiated nor took statements nor made any deal offers, but he, much more than anyone else who knows the entire history (of the RAF and the prisoners) from the beginning and who can estimate its dialectics, stated and pointed out that the government destroyed another development and had to take responsibility for everything which would result from that. Stroebele, as a politician for the Greens, spoke with Reuter, despite the obvious lack of activity from other politicians. He had our permission to do this.
– Ignatz Bubis had no negotiations mandate. He spoke with Stroebele with our permission, to see if he wanted to work for the demands of the prisoners. Unfortunately, this never resulted in a visit by Bubis to us, nor to a formulation of our position with regards to him.
– After Bad Kleinen, the situation changed. We made this definitely clear to Stroebele, namely, that everything which had been discussed before now had no basis. This did not affect our contact with Bubis, because that is simply the matter of communication with representatives of social groups concerned with our situation.
also on behalf of Lutz Taufer and Knut Folkerts, and in unity with Birgit Hogefeld
Excerpts From A Letter From Karl-Heinz Dellwo To Brigitte Mohnhaupt
It is probably pointless to argue against a subjective situation in which anger and rage are dominant. The only thing which can come from this is that that which is being discussed among the prisoners will bore society with a continued sectarian process of collapse. But I want to say something more to the matter itself, also on behalf of others. Then I will feel better.
I allowed Stroebele to visit for a period of months based on my conviction that we would get nowhere with those politicians and members of the state apparatus that had long since become accustomed to this conflict (which has often been used as a critique against us, namely that too many people are able to arrange themselves according to our political and practical reality). We spoke along two lines: To search for people who view what the RAF and the prisoners have sought for the past few years as reasonable, and therefore wish to offer public support; To exert pressure within the ranks of the other side.
First we came upon Bubis. He was approached, and this was productive. He stated that he would like to speak with us directly, to hear for himself what we wanted. We, of course, agreed (and we proposed to him that he visit other prisoners one by one). Nothing has come of this as yet, because Kohl took him aside when given a certain opportunity and stated that he was opposed to such a visit “as long as the Bad Kleinen case was not yet closed”. But he was to have a talk at the end of September with Kohl and Kanther where we wanted to address why they had not taken any steps.
The Reuter-affair is something entirely different. This was a matter of getting an assessment of the situation from someone on the “outside” (in other words, outside of our scene), someone who appreciates the seriousness of what will happen if the government does not alter its stance. To this end, I discussed the situation with Stroebele.
Also, because he cannot speak in our name, he cannot negotiate, he cannot make any statements or anything else, but rather, he is someone that knows the history from beginning to end and who can estimate from its dialectics that the government has systematically destroyed another development and therefore must be responsible for anything which may result from that fact.
This was in line with everything we had done for the past 1 and 3/4 years, and, despite everything, the consensus of the prisoners along with our demands was: political acceptance to struggle for our concerns and to exert pressure both openly and not in public.
It angers you, that you were not consulted, that something was done without you? That was a problem for us as well, and we would rather have done things differently. But what would have happened if I had proposed this to you or to Helmut, for example? You would have wrecked this opportunity, as you have wrecked everything originating from here! The absurdity behind this is the notion of ownership! You all are posing the question of who owns the RAF! Your means are the permanence of the discussion of the correct line. This doesn’t clarify anything, it only hides things. “To those that are right, every idea perishes” – and that will be the only result to come from Helmut’s statement: to destroy conditions. It didn’t contain much else, other than a few untruths.
You all always exclude everything, because somewhere your own subjectivity remains misunderstood. Your present claims about those on the outside are wrong. These are also not now made legitimate by the results of your own praxis, from which came out that they afterwards needed to start at the beginning.
The methodology and political orientation need to be corrected; skidding downwards into an objectivity that denies any politics that stands outside of us or is created on its own. We sensed this in you all, we have experienced this ourselves, and everyone today is still affected by this.
It’s true, you all also acknowledge that the old way cannot be pressed forward, but this realization remains a contradiction as long as you all think you can remain with the old way. It’s as if the politics of the past was only something external and had never worked its way into an “internal” subjectivity. It’s up to the individual to make a break with this. Instead of trying to see what those on the outside were doing and how this expressed itself in the August discussion paper, you all just threw stones in their path, in the only way you could, with insults, scorn, and denunciation. Not even Wolfgang’s death could stop you. That’s the saddest part.
I also support an entire solution, but I don’t support an “unwinding”. For me, something has come to an end, we have reached an impasse and we need to get past this. That means another aspect of “freedom”, because this isn’t just about freedom for the prisoners. Freedom means a new beginning and it also implies “freedom” for those comrades on the outside. It’s not about discarding our experiences or our history, but rather making these useful. It was never a question of “armed struggle: yes or no”. That is a pointless question which only comes to the fore when methods replace content.
You all, independently of my opinion, came to know for yourselves that the old conception of the RAF cannot be maintained. Helmut wrote that it was continually becoming clear to him that things were at an end. The dissolution of the RAF is at hand. And yet it seems to remain a paradox to you all, the concept of dissolution and maintaining the break from which armed struggle can arise again sooner or later. If conscience takes on another form and another orientation. If someone looks at the process, then they should be able to understand that we are in a process of transition. To these we shout: behind the next door, in order to stay in the picture, one might end up in freedom, or just in the next room. But no longer on the same foundations and in the same situation. The past 25 years have also been such a period of transition for us as individuals (but that is not so important), but especially a period of transition for left-wing orientation, in political conceptions, in morality, even culture, but especially praxis. This is also true for the RAF. Even the RAF is just one expression of the situation, not a timeless answer.
But I don’t think it’s true, what Helmut recently stated: “…that now a situation is becoming a reality, one which we struggled for 20 years to prevent”. No one, for example, could have predicted that the “East-West demarcation line” would have fallen, to the West’s advantage. We don’t have much to differentiate ourselves from others with respect to knowledge of the approaching systemic crisis. It is irrelevant to predict that the development will only become more threatening.
Even we were confronted with the notion of “socialism or barbarism”. But this could not have been the thing to hinder the development of the process of capital. Things like the loss of work or the crisis of value can’t be hindered, except through a revolution. But this was just a childish assumption, because to come to this, the process first has to go through all of that.
But what else did we have before us, what else could we measure ourselves according to? The decision to make a radical material break from society’s relationships. An apocalyptic consciousness during a historical period. The knowledge that we must find another manner of living and struggling, that we needed a new revolutionary proposal, an orientation to the subject, and also a break with the alienation of the orientations criteria of politics, that we need to start building up consciousness and counter-powers today, lest the approaching systemic crisis overwhelm us all. And other such things. But did we recognize the preceding crisis, theoretically analyze it, understand it, and anticipate the answer? The crisis of labor and the crisis of value – did we see these things, and if so, where are the answers? And I’m not even asking where we placed consciousness about these matters in the society, but rather I’m asking about consciousness amongst ourselves! And where was this in the praxis?
A social transformation will not come about unless it comes from the people themselves, because matters of daily life and society will bury any illusion of the usefulness of doing anything. So then you have to reconsider what you are doing. So that’s why the old path, which didn’t lead us to a dissolution, nor to any new beginnings, can no longer be followed. A solution which is reduced to the prisoners from a position of “radical change” or “political boundaries” is neither morally nor politically legitimate, quite apart from the fact that it is unrealistic, due to the power relations here which can in no way be ignored. But still, I doubt that we are in a defensive situation, both in respect to ourselves and society, where the state can force its posture, just as we were not able to force ours upon the state during the so-called “offensive periods”. I also no longer think that we can undergo a process of change, neither on the question of freedom, nor if we go on as we did before, although I once represented this position, and it would have been nice. This notion was far too simplistic. Perhaps there are traces of this to be found, but a change would require entirely different content, strengths, and forms. And certainly no freedom campaign will ever get underway as long as we keep setting neurotic goals for which everything is lacking, even with us, and as long as people feel that there is a gap between that which we want and that which we can hope to achieve, and then the doors close shut nonetheless, because they have experienced enough defeats already.
I once hoped that we could work together to get beyond this impasse. As a group, we are further separated from freedom than ever before. The split within the prisoners has thrown overboard everything which was incontestable for two decades. As if you all had solved any questions by doing this. There’s no point in demanding freedom. There’s also no point in threatening to press through a political perspective which no one believes in any more, neither we ourselves, nor the enemy, nor the left, nor the society. We should have talked about ourselves, not about others, and not against one another. Like those on the outside started doing. Only through this would we again recognize that only this can create a foundation for solidarity. And within that space, we could have struggled. But your understanding seems to always be that people must always bend over backwards just for you. I doubt that that’s a posture which characterizes revolutionaries.
Statement From Christian Klar
“Playing hide-and-seek with the question of power doesn’t however, advance anyone – except social democratic politicians.
“Using this aphoristic slogan, ‘Mammut’ warned Theodor W. Adorno [theoretician of the Critical Theory school of academic Marxism, a/k/a the Frankfurt School - trans.] years ago of the danger of ‘Jurassic Park’, a magical neo-mythical and complete artistic leisure place for all fantasies, where what is false can appear to be true.”
For the many who take the contradictions between prisoners to be the beginning of an ideological massacre, a few details are in order. The fact that the view mentioned has been expressed explains the reactions of recent days, in the context of which the tone has been set: in reality everything is, in fact, exactly as it previously was.
Since May of this year Karl-Heinz Dellwo and the Celle prisoners have been seeking a conclusion to the situation of the prisoners as well as of those living in illegality. In connection with the latter, since her arrest, they have received the support of Birgit Hogefeld. All of the other prisoners first learned about these things several weeks ago. A middle person was sent by Dellwo to Mercedes-Benz-Reuters and to Ignatz Bubis [head of the federal association of Jews in Germany - trans.], who were to carry a proposal for a deal to Scharrenberger, Kohl, and Schauble the following “overall solution” was proposed: Those living in illegality would be granted exile or a short prison sentence followed by life in legality – still to be clarified was what would become of the prisoners. Dellwo designed a “line of negotiations” in which the state’s concerns about order were laid to rest and the “repoliticization of the relationship to the state” was sketched out. The role of calling for a stronger initiative for an “overall solution” was assumed and enthusiastically advanced by the German business elite. Kohl was offered the opportunity to shine before the next election as the one who had successfully resolved “the problem.”
This is the case in summary. So far, so good.
What I am saying is that what was traded away in the house where human fortune is handed around like chips and playing cards was the right to choose. Sitting at the table is a state security apparatus, whose level of repressive sciences is more highly developed than the political consciousness of those sitting across the table. They reckon, at least in regard to those who now operate on the outside as the RAF, that their ideological self dissolution will rob them of the strategical clarity which is essential for revolutionary war.
There are fundamental things that must be said about this story. It is clear, in my estimation, without pointing a finger at specific people (prisoners), that there are those who seek refuge in a supposed mutual good sense shared by jailers and prisoners. The truth goes beyond this. This story is exemplary and concerns the entire left in the post-transition period, because it merely holds up a mirror. The actual issue is the overall large-scale transition that has taken place on German left, a left who during the Gulf War, during the annexation of the GDR [German Democratic Republic, the former East Germany - trans.], and during the collapse of the East Bloc found their cause in “humanitarian” interventionism and buried their subjective basis under a mountain of unspoken resignation, stupefaction, and dishonesty.
Might it perhaps be that one must begin with a clarification of the Gorbachev period, during which the “structure theme” dominated political discussion internationally?
It can’t be anything more than a minor nuisance. The necessity for one to struggle with the daily overall prison terror doesn’t leave the space to approach the material, which only sporadically makes it through the walls, in a focussed way, to extensively quote from it, etc. – and then to put it all in some intellectual order. Let me refer here to only a few images from the last 2 years. The heading would be reflections about capitalism in the minds of the left:
– regarding the image of being isolated and the loss of the capacity to attract people. The incorrect question posed, on which the self-delusion and corresponding newspeak is based concerns the “return to society.” In opposition to this, one must consciously choose the concept of a politic of the conscious minority and reroot it in the emancipation process of the masses of the world. As well, one of the central concepts of the “Marxist-Leninist” history of struggle is key: understanding the political (class consciousness) as “from the outside.” In Germany, the following quote (from H. Moller) is pertinent in this regard, “…one need only begin by thinking about minorities. One need only think of marginalized people. The movement issues only from those who are marginalized. One must (…) think from the point of view of those who have been selected.”
“… there is no rational argument against Auschwitz in the ruling structures. If that is not understood this civilization is finished. That is the basic question, and it can only be answered by the mobilization of marginalized people.” The language pertaining to being isolated, such as that in the RAF text released in April 92, is only apparently (self)critical. It only appears that way on the surface, and the verbose misconceptions about its essence and appearance can, in the meantime, be verified. A left Biedermeier period is presented as an additional factor in the growth of the right-wing youth movement. The attempt to attract people has since then been sought after within (!) the capitalist mentality, through political opportunism, by presenting revolutionaries as good people, by presenting lack of direction as a vanguard theme. Political criteria for attracting people have thus vanished. They have adapted themselves to the delusion that they must win approval for their existing isolation if they are to gain support. In this way they can, above all, develop nothing that is attractive to the oppressed, who have an entirely different objective. They want to be able to see beyond the manifestations of the ruling conditions so as to be able to break out of them, to confront capital with their own separate reality, to break out of their feelings of powerlessness through examples of collective organization and action, to make the unfolding of the inner potential of the oppressed possible.
– regarding the image of the soldiers of good crying out against unjust conditions. “Really,” and if the conditions were not thus, would one, given our current understanding, be looking at the beautiful things in life. In this presentation, the reality of the ruling conditions of violence are presented as an “evil” outer world, with the decision taken to attack them so as to alter them as a preliminary step to a higher moral order. Actions are as such “a lot of work.” It is the split between “world” and “subject,” which is consequently, in a way, reduced to a split between politicized combatants and private people. The conditions of oppression and violence are, however, not simply an outer world, they are, to a greater degree, the “conditions of life.” Even the life of the revolutionary is completely within these conditions, and her or his revolt against these conditions (with her or his organized action as its highest form) is the totality of her or his expression of life, the contents of which are formed on the basis of an alternative, that is, on the basis of a concept of a society free from domination and on the basis of an acquired historical experience. In the revolutionary process within which the revolutionary lives, she or he does not simply work on external issues, she or he summons up the strength to break out of old patterns.
It was under the conditions in the imperialist metropole that the attempt was first made to create the myth that illegality is a limitation on the development of life. The imperialist state immediately confronted the illegal movement with a state of emergency. This, however, didn’t work. The issue of liberated space wasn’t called into question.
– regarding the assumption of the colonial view, according to which the black and colored races are destined to be at the service of white men. Lutz Taufer exhibited this assumption in his Konkret report (8/92). There African people are the ones who are presented as responsible for sending the military of the imperialist countries, who are currently positioned and mobilized to protect the “new world order,” back in coffins, so as to help the people of the white centres develop their own revolutionary consciousness. However, it is part of the modernization of the imperialist military strategy that the number of human losses incurred in the countries of the three continents (Africa, Asia, Latin America – translator) for each occupier terminated is entirely glossed over.
– regarding the “the business world,” which contrary to the “exposed politicians” or the “apparatus of repression oriented only towards self-legitimation,” has the greatest interest in arriving at a non-police resolution with the internal enemy. Here we come to the subjective interests of the militants who recently discovered in themselves a need for a happy ending. And their political construct at its narrowest offers a basis for capitalism (see comments on attractiveness) to occupy a separate reality. This then is how they carried out their transformation from an antagonistic power to trading on their “political credibility,” to a vision of a legal opposition, and to the appeal for the “end of the relationship of eradication” with a state from which, given its nature, it is unwise to expect a positive response. In a construct in which the imperial expansion over “the economy”, other than during the Nazi phase of German imperialism, can be presented as non-military, the transformed oppositional self awareness can also be preserved at the same time as the super-profit of the continuing 500 year old white expansion of the economic base, which is necessary to finance to oppositional free space in the imperialist center, is conceded. As such, the logic of the appeals to the state for an “end to the relationship of eradication” is nothing other than an issue of respectability within the status quo, that is to say with a glance at the horizon of the European fortress.
In this overall tactical approach one can find the theme of increasing poverty within the imperialist center itself, the so-called priority of the “new politicians,” handled in the same way as it is handled in recent texts; the growing army of poor in the imperialist center are presented like characters in a feature film scenario. Yes, that is, in general, the focal point, life is a film.
Letter From Rolf Heissler To Birgit Hogefeld
I received your letter of 19/09. Your opening question as to whether you would hear from me again betrays, to say the least, a certain perception on your part of what you have written. The question truly indicates this.
During our time the prisoners were the people who were closest to us politically. When statements, texts, letters, and so on fell into our hands, we used them as the basis for discussion and in some cases, as a result of disagreements and differences, we attempted to use them to establish a basis for eliminating these disagreements and differences and, in this way, for advancing our struggle. We took them seriously, because we knew they addressed the issues and couldn’t simply be reduced to their emotions (bitterness, rage) nor could we pull back from the disagreements with cute statements like “one can live with a difference/contradiction as regards content.” Wolfgang couldn’t.
As if nothing had happened, you casually present something “new” and bring it to its conclusion, throwing aside our experiences of two decades of struggle (which we must thank for our survival). Allow me one example of putting forward the historical conclusion which you reject as a misrepresentation, “If we turn to a discussion of the actual varying points of view and different perceptions, whatever we can gain, we can’t achieve a consensus. I neither believe it is possible nor is it what I want. I believe that we can achieve a lot together on the basis of acknowledgment and acceptance of differences.”
If you really don’t feel you can arrive at a consensus with us (according to my “obsolete” way of looking at the situation, you are, as a prisoner, politically closest to us), with whom can you, in the final analysis, arrive at a consensus and what will you get from it? Do you want to allow the existing dissent, which is principally based on the developments of the last 20 months, to continue? Do you want to discuss for the sake of discussing, without a goal, without commitment, so that gradually “acknowledgement and acceptance” allows everyone to carry on as she or he individually sees fit? What will that gain you? I know, on the basis of my 14 years of prison experience, that had we conducted our communications with such a “quality,” we would never have constructed the conditions for any of our collective strikes and we would have been isolated in our efforts to resist the strategy of extermination. You can deny the self-evident truth of the struggle of each one of us to remain a functioning subject in spite of the conditions and/or you can respond in unity with us. And at the end you ask, “Will we do it together?” You must decide what you want. We aren’t interested in a unity devoid of content, such as that of the last 20 months, which blurs the purpose. Our unity was and is only a basis to push through our demand for “freedom now, and until then association.” But for the last year that has not been the case. Rather this period has been characterized by the negation of our history, of the conditions and experiences of the struggle here, and by the attempt to be reintegrated into the scene, instead of an attempt to break with your depoliticization and condescension. One can, of course, formulate that in a more pleasant way. Paper allows for patience. And now you say, we must begin a discussion, without any clarification about why you refused to have one for so long. You feign innocence and act as if you have received nothing. But from your last letter to me and the quotes from me, it is clear that you received some of the critiques, but had no interest in them. Whatever didn’t express your own sentiments was cast aside and treated as subordination. You didn’t want a debate, but rather you wanted to carry through the policy you knew to be “right” undisturbed and without resistance. For you “constructive criticism” is approval for the incorrect politics which led to the blow suffered in Bad Kleinen.
In your first letter, you still had an idea about your concrete situation. You said, “…and it was clear to me that I couldn’t make a single false move if I wanted to stay alive…” Have you forgotten that after only a quarter of a year? Had you by chance made a “false movement,” would you have been “accidentally” shot? From the very beginning the state chose the military solution with the blessings of the highest political authorities. They haven’t deviated from this in the last 20 years and wouldn’t do so in the next 20 years. The antagonistic opposition between the state and the fundamental opposition cannot be resolved, but lives on unaltered. It is only that many no longer want to admit that, yourself included when you say things like “they are effectively faced with a situation that isn’t following the normal course.” The only way in which the situation deviates from the normal course is in the use of a Verfassungsschutz [literally, protection of the constitution, the body responsible for the intelligence activities of counterinsurgency - trans.] infiltrator to gain information. Otherwise it followed the standard state of emergency policy used against us.
The qualitative difference from 78/79 is that then they at least observed propriety and distance and maintained putative self-defense. Then the policy was executed outside of public view. This time that was not the case. What then is all of this fuss about the witness? Immediately following the leak about the shooting, the Schweriner Staatsanwaltschaft [State Prosecutors Office - trans.] said that it must have been suicide and accordingly determined what the outcome would be. “They placed themselves in a situation that was not of their choosing,” underestimating this state and its procedures and methods for maintaining the existing relationship exactly as it is, allowing for the statement “the state is standing with its back to the wall,” against which Eva (correctly) spoke so eloquently. Kohl confirmed this for the public with his appearance with the GSG-9. They have a free hand. They can do what they want. For me this was established, and I accept the political responsibility.
What was the purpose of your letter about “yellow journalism” in the taz [social-democratic daily close to the left of the Green Party - trans.]? What did you want to achieve with it and who did you want to reach? Has the role of the taz in recent years completely passed you by? It is also alarming that it never occurred to you that the letters would be dragged through the press, as is your certainty that they wouldn’t bother your mother. Have you learned nothing from the psychological warfare of the last 25 years, from the thousands of examples, as to how and with what methods they have attempted to direct everything against us and our politics? And, furthermore, don’t you realize through what 129a [the law illegalizing membership in and support for a "terrorist" association - trans.] constructs people continue to find themselves in prison and that consistent attempts have been made to criminalize the relatives and their work? That is the rule not the exception.
One doesn’t need to look for it. What have you been thinking all these years? The central reality here was and is to no longer be aware of anything.
Statement From Eva Haule, RAF Prisoner
The prisoners in Celle, Birgit, and the RAF have, since at least May 93, been working behind our backs toward a deal with the state. It was clear to them that we wouldn’t participate. Now it is necessary that there be a split; an open split. They consciously destroyed collective solidarity, which for us has always been a central aspect of the struggle. And I want nothing to do with the politics that stand behind their actions.
When I first learned about the planned deal, I immediately formulated an open letter about it to the RAF. I wanted to ask them, to encourage them to break with these incorrect and dangerous politics and to think again. I wanted to continue the discussion and to work towards a common struggle involving us and all of those on the outside working for the radical alteration of society and concretely against the current developments in the state and society.
After the experiences of the last 2 or 3 years I have a simple question for them. Is that what you want?
We have seen where the process of political self-dissolution has led. The story of the Verfassungsschutz [literally protection of the constitution, the body responsible for the intelligence aspects of counterinsurgency - trans.] infiltrator [referring to state agent Klaus Steinmetz, who infiltrated the RAF - ed.] and the subsequent events was only the end-point [refers to the police ambush and murder of Wolfgang Grams in Bad Kleinen on June 27, 1993 - trans.]. And armed actions like Weiterstadt [refers to the RAF bombing, in March 1993, of a new high-tech prison - trans.] further cement this process. Their only function is to signal populism and “retaliation” – because the state hasn’t changed its policy towards the prisoners.
Now, this letter is unnecessary. The basis for a collective discussion no longer exists for me. The statements from the prisoners in Celle and Birgit further confirm this. The state and the “business community” were clearly told, “If the state doesn’t let us bring the struggle to its conclusion, there will be further armed actions.” As well, they threatened that the RAF’s step in April 1992 towards cessation of “deadly actions aimed at representatives of the state and the business community” would be reversed in the case that the state didn’t agree to a solution for the prisoners and those living in illegality. In this way the content and sense of our struggle was eliminated.
This no longer has anything to do with anything I think and want and it was and is not the politics of the prisoners’ group. We have repeatedly criticized the connecting of the question of the prisoners with the step taken by the RAF in “laying aside” the armed struggle, because it is politically incorrect and the tendency towards making a deal with the state is apparent therein. It was indicated in the RAF statement from 10-04-92 that as a quasi-“reward” for this step the state should allow a solution to the problem of the prisoners. Making this connection depoliticized the entire struggle of the RAF; both the step in and of itself and also its ramifications for the struggle of our prisoners.
Whether that was the goal in the beginning or not is not important, the facts speak for themselves… We have now arrived at the point where the decision as to whether the RAF does or does not carry out armed attacks, and even, beyond that, whether it continues to exist as an illegal armed organization has been placed in the hands of the state. It was not based on a political-strategical determination in favor of the process of social change, but subordinates such change to the state’s measures against the prisoners and the illegal movement.
Our history, the politics of the RAF, and our resistance in the prisons were made object of a deal. Armed action is, therefore, also a means to this end. That is where we bail out. That should be completely clear. If they continue these politics, then that is their business alone. They can’t expect to get anything else from us. All of this has long since had nothing to do with the political content and goals of the prisoners’ project. It is, on the contrary, concerned with completely other objectives. And even if they manage to manipulate the public presentation such that it is presented not as the closing chapter in our history, but of “the problems of the RAF and the prisoners”, that is their concern.
And even if they are now saying that the step from April 92 is in practice rescinded on the basis of our situation in prison, we aren’t working with them. We don’t want to be connected to actionism which is detached from any political direction. The armed struggle is, even in the current historical situation, an option for revolutionary power, but the decision to engage in armed struggle can only be based on a perception of the entire political process and the function of armed struggle within it.
Because it plays a role in the current situation, I understand and respect the intervention of people who, like Ignatz Bubis [head of Germany's Jewish citizens association - trans.], out of fear about the increase in fascist violence, turn to the state and demand decisive action “against the right,” reject the state’s treatment of “right and left extremism” as equivalent, and demand of the government a change in their policy in response to the step taken by the RAF and the initiative which we took as prisoners. These aren’t our politics, but they are legitimate and are based on a real political contradiction, given that it bases itself on an appeal for protection and demands that this state “defend democracy” from neo-fascism, anti-Semitism, and fascist attacks that are the end result of the history of Nazi fascism. In so doing it is directed against the politics of a government, which is responsible for the escalation in right-wing violence and, despite claims to the opposite, has only fought this escalation when it threatened to tarnish its international image. Meanwhile, the entire apparatus of persecution has been set in motion “against the left.”
But the increasing fascism won’t be stopped “from above,” won’t be stopped by the leaders of the state and the ruling political class. On the contrary, it is to the largest degree desired and advanced by them, because they can use it for their own reactionary projects. This was proven by the “asylum debate,” by the reaction of the politicians, the police, the justice system, and others to Rostock, as well as by the propaganda in connection with the plans to push forward the business interests of the “German position” using military means. They will only change their politics if there is a sufficiently powerful social opposition movement and these standards of political and social development are prevented. For us, the struggle for a new basis in society is the order of the day.
That is also something which directly affects us prisoners. On the state’s side, the decision is to continue by all means the strategy of annihilation for the “final victory” over the RAF and the prisoners. The actual development since last year speaks for itself and a look at our situation is sufficient to understand it. It is here an issue of a break with the history and reality of destructive prison conditions after 23 years – for all prisoners from the RAF and the resistance [the term used to define prisoners who support RAF theory and strategy, but are not RAF members - trans.].
It is, after all, also a question of the strength of progressive and anti-fascist movements in the society and where they stand in relationship to this. Whether they accept that this state has systematically violated human rights and that the “constitutional state” uses all its power to fight against us, which can actually be seen in the trial against Rolf Clemens Wagner [RAF prisoner in prison since 1979, who recently faced new charges - trans.] and the refusal to release even seriously ill prisoner, such as Ali Jansen [prisoner from the resistance in prisons since 1983. Seriously ill with pleurisy. Released on December 3, 1993 - trans.] and Bernd Roessner [RAF prisoner in prison since 1975, suffering from the side effects of long-term isolation - trans.]. There is also a question which lies behind this conflict, which has far-reaching consequences for Germany. What direction is being set for future political development?
A tactical relationship to human rights is, for me, unacceptable! This can be seen when the question of the treatment of political prisoners is tied to the existence and practice of radical left opposition on the outside. What is not stated is that the state, in this way, is given the right to hold the prisoners in isolation as hostages and detain them indefinitely. Should we expect the state to repudiate or even alter its policy, which is illegitimate and goes against international human rights conventions, when it is useful for the “protection of internal security?”
Our politics up until the “break” were accurate and correct. Over all those years our goal was, above all, to construct a counter-force precisely to prevent the development which is now occurring. And central to this is preventing through struggle the continuity of this state, which is the successor to the Nazi state, preventing Germany from again becoming a world power, preventing another “war that originates from German territory,” preventing racism and fascism from ever again being widespread here. The German state and its apparatus of persecution have, from the beginning put in place measures against our struggle that only have one goal, to destroy us and with us any thoughts about possibilities and perspectives for a break with this system. Basically, human rights conventions were and are for us only scrap paper when it comes to achieving this goal. We have been prisoners for 21 years now. Some of us are here for the second or third time for this struggle. And, after all of these years of isolation, we all must be free. We have the right to political discussion and association. By “solution,” we understand the achievement of these rights, and we will continue to struggle towards this end. At the same time, we trust in ourselves and in the forces in this society which won’t conform to the reactionary developments, but which will, in spite of different political histories and work, stand together with us in opposition to increasing fascism, the new imperialist war, racism, and sexist violence.
It is not that we are saying that under no conditions can there be discussions with the state about prison conditions and the release of prisoners. We ourselves and our lawyers and relatives have always conducted such discussions when, as a result of our struggle in prison and the resistance against isolation on the outside, an opening was created. Such discussions also occurred in the first half of 92 when, following the step taken by the RAF, a change in the situation occurred. We used the discussions to say what we wanted and to clarify how the government situated itself with regards to the political situation, to see whether, on their side, they were open substantial political changes. This wasn’t the case. For now that is the situation. And for us nothing more can be gained as regards real, material steps towards association and freedom. This confrontation will continue. Irmgard [Moeller, first generation and longest held RAF prisoner, in prison since 1972 - trans.] must be unconditionally released. What is there to discuss with Kohl [Helmut Kohl, Chancellor of Germany - trans.], Kanther, or the Ministry of Justice? We will struggle to free her and to free ourselves.
It is important that I also emphasize that our solidarity with all prisoners against the policy of extermination remains unchanged. It should, likewise, remain unchanged on the outside.