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… working on a RARA dossier … communiques, interview, analysis and statements from folks arrested / imprisoned for the actions of RARA … will include some material from sources like Resistance: Documents and Analysis From The Illegal Front and Frontline Info …
” …. Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action (RARA) is a clandestine group active in The Netherlands that has carried out attacks in support of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The main targets of these attacks have been multi-national corporations that have ties to, or are integral part of, the apartheid structure. More recently they have shifted their attention to the racist refugee and immigration policies of the Dutch government (as well as the rest of Europe) by attacking state agencies that are responsible for carrying out these policies … ” (from Arm The Spirit No. 9, August/September 1991) …
… what follows is RARA’s communique around their attack on Shell in April 1989 …
Last night we made a fire attack at the ‘Thermo Shell Centrum’ in Hilversum, using two jerry cans of petrol and incendiary devices.
The radical solidarity campaign with the struggle in South Africa hasn’t come to a standstill. In Holland this campaign has been continuous and also in other Western European countries (FRG, Denmark) the number of actions is increasing.
In spite of that we can state that as far as Holland is concerned this campaign is faltering and may reach a crisis. At the moment almost all the attention of the radical movement is aimed at the Shell blockade organized by SuZA. A course of action that has its own background but is threatening to backfire.
We support the call for action against Shell in general. But we think this blockade action has drastically conformed to the social democratic politics (of the committees) and thus turned out to be a strongly defensive position.
With this attack and communique we want to contribute to the discussion on strategy and perspective of radical revolutionary anti-apartheid struggle as a part of the struggle on all aspects of life.
First we want to clearly state that we are not opposed to the idea of a blockade, we also think that these actions can be spectacular. A blockade can be effective in that it is accessible for all people to take part in. Our criticism is not against this choice of action, a blockade is no better or worse than a firebomb. Setting different kinds of actions against each other is a false contradiction. What we are concerned about is the aim of building up and increasing our strength now and also in the long term.
SuZA says their aim is “to change the political climate a little bit.” In our view the struggle means more than developing a tactical concept that lasts just three days. The idea of just damaging the image of Shell is not enough to be effective. We think that everybody should know already what apartheid is. It is also known that the Dutch state has a strategic interest in maintaining the apartheid system or at most adjusting it a little bit. And that the same state creates the political and economic conditions for multinationals like Shell to be able to operate.
Shell’s collaboration with the apartheid regime has been known for a long time, so not much damage can be done to its image anymore. A large action against Shell now, should be the expression of the combined experiences of the long militant anti-apartheid struggle.
It should build on a history whereby the development of the political contents are central and the aim is to get, more and more, a better view on the perspective.
Of course the chosen object of the blockade is not without history. In the last few years Shell has been the target of many militant actions and campaigns with the aim of putting the stamp on Shell as one of the accomplices of the apartheid regime and to damage them as much as possible. Alongside these actions there have been discussions about what the resistance can mean for us and to develop more cohesion and continuity. SuZA doesn’t build on this necessary development.
An illustration of this took place during the first conference about the action when the SuZA explicitly refused to take over the demand “Free Rene”.
The discussion about this was neutralized with the remark that they also didn’t demand “Free Mandela”. Thus completely ignoring the fact that Rene had been convicted of taking part in/or organizing actions which are supported by large parts of the radical movement. He has been accused of membership in groups which have, in their publications/communiques, explicitly associated themselves as being part of that movement.
On the other hand, the SuZA itself, at the same conference, didn’t criticize the social democratic groups and organizations which also took part in the blockade.
Without any form of discussion they forced their non-violence on all other people, by threatening a possible social democratic withdrawal.
A choice for non-violence on this level, isn’t a choice which does justice to the necessity of anti-parliamentary politics on all levels.
It is served to us without discussion.
To state that a confrontation with the police should at all times be avoided, because “riots would hurt us more than they would Shell” (according to SuZA), denies the political character of the police.
The choice of Van Thijn (the Social Democratic mayor of Amsterdam) to make use of the police, if the blockade works out effectively, is not only a question of public order. It’s an attempt to force the blockade initiative within social-democratic margins, i.e., to make it ineffective. Because radical, revolutionary politics and so-called public order are incompatible.
One of the aims of SuZA is conscience raising and discussion.
A picture is given of Shell being the total enemy, the big monster.
For us it is not clear how this could lead to more consciousness.
The most important aspect for a useful discussion about the anti-apartheid struggle is missing. Neither Shell nor any other multi-national is exclusively responsible for the maintenance of apartheid and repression. Apartheid and repression still exist thanks to the support of the Western States, and even more than that:
“Apartheid isn’t some kind of civilization that differs from the Western kind, indeed it’s the rough, unpolished side of it. Apartheid isn’t a strain on Western civilization, it’s the very core of it. Apartheid is the lens through which one can see all of it, a micro cosmos, a revelation of what the Western civilization really is.” (According to Cedric Mayson, prisoner of the apartheid regime).
Thus anti-apartheid struggle should be pointed against the politics of the Dutch state.
It seems to be a conscious choice of SuZA that they do not want to involve the role of the Western European states within the substantial process of discussion. A choice to draw the line on attacking the politics of the Dutch state. The latter would mean the collapse of a broadening alliance with social democratic organizations and committees.
The expansion which the SuZA committee has been looking for doesn’t widen anti-parliamentary politics. Its a conscious move to the political right, heading towards social democracy, at the cost of the radical parts of the movement.
Both the AABN (the official anti-apartheid movement) and the SuZA, each in its own way, present the blockade as the right answer, respectively, to the people who cut the petrol hoses and/or the “arsonists”. We strongly doubt the political pertinence of this action; so many concessions without any view of what is left over in the end. The politics of coalitions of the SuZA committee has been looking for doesn’t develop itself on a basis of its own strength, but from the idea that “we need the social democrats more than they need us.” In this way expansion is rendered useless.
Within the anti-Shell campaign the blockade has too much the character of an end station. Perhaps not on purpose, but it’s the consequence of the choices that have been made. Choosing this object we consciously did not want to place ourselves outside the running campaign. But we do not want to leave it with that.
It can never be so, to call on groups: “to connect in one way or another, the blockade, as an action against racism there, with racism here.” This “indirect aim” (according to SuZA) denies the essence of anti-apartheid struggle. Anti-apartheid struggle is to act from the consciousness that the powers that maintain apartheid are the same powers that determine our reality. A reality which exists of growing contradictions: deterioration, isolation, deportations of “unwanted refugees”, sexism and racism and the actual writing off of groups of people. It’s necessary that the harshness of these contradictions be put back into the political process here, within our struggle, sometimes spectacular, but above all with a long breath, in order to build up structures which, on the basis of substantial solidarity, survive the success (or failure) of an action.
A political mobilization which puts aside, as an “indirect aim”, is a “still born.”
We are conscious of the fact that the practical development of that force will ask more and more from us in the next few years. both in building up a strong political infrastructure and organizational structure, and for instance, in the field of prison struggle. Not to be isolated, estranged from each other, but to fight for collectivity and to become more and more human within that struggle, that is what connects both inside and outside of prison walls.
And at the same time that is what the state wants to destroy at all costs.
As revolutionary politics gains strength, the state will increase repression, in keeping with the necessity of European unification and harmonization.
In the same way the operation of April 11, 1988 was a shot in the dark, with the intention to scare off and to intimidate.
There are important years ahead: either we take ourselves seriously and develop our-selves –within the complete social spectrum — to be a meaningful factor. To become a force which can, with right and reason, be called a counter-force; or we become a marginal “political phenomenon”.
We will have to formulate an answer to the advancing development of estrangement, international exploitation and repression. That answer has to be fought for step by step. Together with all whom it concerns and who want it, in discussion and practice with regards to the anti-patriarchal, anti-racist and anti-imperialist struggle. Within that process we will have to profile our own identity as a revolutionary movement. Increasing our own strength is an absolute condition for cooperation and the forming of tactical or strategic alliances, be it temporary or not.
Groups like RARA are sometimes accused of having politics without any perspective because such militant cores are thought to be inaccessible and therefore isolated. For sure the organization in illegal groups has its restrictions, and it can’t be the sole perspective, because that form of struggle alone can never become more massive. However, what it’s about is the cohesion between different fighting–groups, on all levels.
Thereby a militant can and must contribute to the development of the revolutionary political process here.
By setting limits, giving anger a voice, showing that resistance is possible.
When that is the basis, when the militant practice feeds the common discussion and the other way around, then there cannot be isolation.
Then we can come further.
We will do the utmost to achieve this.
– Support the revolution in Southern Africa, form the front in Western Europe
– Solidarity with the struggle of the hunger-strikers in West Germany
– Solidarity with all fighting prisoners
– Refugee policy is European Apartheid, stop the deportations
Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action
OBSERVATION COUNTER OBSERVATION
… script [originally] in Dutch (observatie contra observatie): Pieter Paul Pothoven in collaboration with activists of the Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action – RARA translation: Vincent W.J. van Gerven-Oei …
“Central to observatie contra observatie is a spoken monologue in Dutch: a dramatized account of events surrounding the first RARA attack, which took place on September 17, 1985, on a branch of the Makro in the town of Duivendrecht. This action, and the three others in the period from 1985 and 1987, forced the SHV, Makro’s parent company, to pull out of South Africa. Pothoven wrote the script for the character—who speaks from the perspective of several of the activists involved—and based it on interviews and historical documents. The monologue is broadcast using a radio transmitter built by someone who was involved in RARA. The script is made available on take-away posters that also feature a photo of the wood-burning stove that RARA used not only for heating, but also for burning evidence.”
Colonial history is not the past.
Every day I see it again.
That sense of white superiority.
Thinking that white is better than Black.
The ongoing justification of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
A blood-red line runs from then to now.
But apartheid is more than just a colonial remnant.
It is a system that’s alive and kicking, offering the white minority – the law in hand – every possibility to exploit the Black majority.
They’re making a fucking lot of money with it.
That’s why I find it dangerous to condemn apartheid solely on moral grounds, such as: apartheid is racism. Racism is bad. So stop doing it.
Do you really think that Black and white can obtain equal rights within a capitalist society?
I don’t consider apartheid to be some kind of civilization that’s different from the society in which we live here. Nor is it a stain that you can just wipe off. I see apartheid as the raw, uncut version of the West. Raw, but transparent at the same time. Hold it in front of your eyes, like a lens. When you look through it, you’ll see the core of that socalled Western civilization: an inhumane system.
And that system, which has huge economic interests in oppression and exploitation and sexism and racism and pollution, causing indescribable suffering around the world, that system I want to change.
Not simply by modifying it a little bit here and there.
And yes, it makes sense to start at biking distance.
I was asked to do something for the armed branch of the ANC in southern Africa.
I said no.
Don’t feel like becoming a tool over there.
I have to define my aims and strategies based on my responsibility here, in this country with historical ties to South Africa.
I don’t need permission for that.
From no one.
There is an international boycott of South Africa, but which company is actually forced to stop doing business?
What does the state do? Nothing. “We have to keep trade channels open to retain political leverage behind the scenes.” What do companies do? They shrug their shoulders and continue to fill their pockets. No matter the social consequences.
And what is the answer of the anti-apartheid committees? Boycotts. Name and shame campaigns. Information evenings.
Would you like a sticker?
It’s important. Really. I’m taking part in it, too. But all those actions amount to nothing more than polite requests.
Do you have any idea what’s happening in the townships
I’m sorry, but the time of polite requests has long passed.
We’re going to attack the Steenkolen Handels-Vereeniging. The S-H-V. A truly Dutch company owned by the Fentener van Vlissingen family, with I don’t know how many subsidiaries here and in South Africa.
The ties between SHV and South Africa have been made public.
They’re already under scrutiny.
How are we going to target SHV?
The Makro. It’s an easy pick, actually. Wholesalers are publicly accessible. Located in remote areas. Everyone is engaged in actions against Shell, but Shell has hundreds of gas stations. Say you attack one or two, what’s the actual result? How many Makro stores are there? About eight or ten? And those warehouses are huge. So yeah, every time you manage to hit one of them, they lose a substantial part of their revenue.
A travel agency covered in paint. A trashed wine store. I can still recall the sea of red and white wine on the floor.
The burned-down mansion of oil trader Deuss. It is easy to see the continuity from inside the activist scene. But from the outside it’s more difficult to discern a line in the mishmash of targets.
Anti-apartheid Action. Amsterdammers against Racism.
Pyromaniacs against Apartheid. It’s all too incidental.
Appearing from nothing then disappearing.
That’s no way to build up pressure. That’s why we choose for a campaign.
One name and one target. Whether it’s one, two, or three Makro warehouses. Or all of them.
We will continue until SHV leaves South Africa.
So, the Makro.
Who wants to join the group that will write the claim letter?
Who’s going to Waterlooplein to get a typewriter?
Text ready for consumption?
Fingerprints wiped from the keys?
Dump it in the canal.
Meanwhile you’re already checking out the place. Observation.
During the day at first. Outside. What’s happening around the building?
And then you go inside.
Who is getting the Makro loyalty cards?
You shave your legs.
Put on a suit.
Put on a wig.
Hi! I’m looking for this and that.
Really interested, you know. Like, very lovely and cute.
What do the doors look like?
What do the windows look like?
Is there an alarm?
You see the paint aisle. Cans with solvents: flammable.
How many steps from the paint isle to that side door over there?
You want to burn it down.
How’re you gonna do that?
Where’re you gonna try?
We’re biking on a dike next to the Ijsselmeer. In broad daylight.
There are two people on top of the dike. Is someone coming?
Down near the water you can do whatever you want.
Perfect place to rehearse a few things.
What’s happening at night?
Are there guards?
Do they make their rounds according to the same daily schedule?
No. Weekly? No.
For weeks you’re lying in the bushes with a walkie-talkie
Do you see something. Over.
No. You? Over.
Six nights a week. Only to discover that it there is no pattern at all.
How to get the stuff there?
How to get the stuff from the drop-off point to the right location on the site?
How long does that take you? How many people do you need?
When are you going to practice on site?
How do you set up the counter-surveillance around the object?
Where are the people on the lookout with walkie-talkies?
Who is scanning the police radio?
What do you do when two streets down the road there’s a burglary but you already got all your shit there?
Let’s just assume.
You don’t want any surprises, of course.
Step by step you go through the script. In person. Not by telephone. Never meet at the same place twice.
We’re gathering in the canteen of a university.
Coffee finished? Let’s go. You can always find a room to share some knowledge.
Where’s the point of departure?
Who’s taking care of the detonators, gasoline, and time delays?
What’s the gathering point?
Which route do you take?
You buy dark, comfortable, season-appropriate clothing that’s not too tight. And a pair of sneakers. At the army dump you get a balaclava.
It’s 10 pm. I get on my bike.
You have to make sure you get away clean. So without a tail.
That you’re not followed.
A car brings the stuff. Or two or three cars. Whatever, I don’t need to know everything.
The drop-off point is in a meadow. On the other side of the 5 ditch. It’s all there, covered with a tarp.
I pull the balaclava over my head and put on my gloves.
Are we finally fucking ready to go? Over.
They’re leaving now. Let’s get the party started. Over.
Through the meadow.
Along the wall to the first side door.
Watch your step!
Crouching. All clear? Over.
I kneel down and press the point of the drill into the wood.
[3x sound of a hand drill. grating noise: GRRR–GRRRGRRR]
[2x sound of a hand drill. grating noise: GRRR–GRRR] My god, I feel good here.
Are the stools steady?
Jerrycans on top of the stools?
I push a PVC pipe with detonators taped to it and wires through the hole.
Hose attached to jerrycan?
Time delay set?
Gasoline flowing inside?
Tonight we have attacked a part of the Dutch business empire in South Africa. You can’t effect change by endless sessions in Parliament. You have to fight for change by attacking all those economic, political, and military institutions here – in the heart of imperialism – that facilitate the oppression here and elsewhere. Therein lies the communality of our struggle, our only perspective and our unconditional solidarity with the militants in South Africa.
SUPPORT THE REVOLUTION IN SOUTH AFRICA AND CREATE THE FRONT IN EUROPE
At home I light my wood stove.
I take off my clothes.
I throw everything in the fire.
Exciting, isn’t it?
Summarized in three minutes it is. But it’s also just boring.
End-less-ly boring. All those preparations. Night after night after night in those bushes.
Really more than is good for me.
Sleeping during the day.
Another meeting. And every time you need to find a new place to meet.
You know, not all of it is fun. Months of work for a few hours of action.
And here I am. Naked. Staring at the flames.
You get up around noon. Say hi to your roommates as if nothing has happened. Looks are exchanged. But you’re not having a nice chat at the stairs. Not about this.
You just get the copy of the Volkskrant you buy every day. Not all other newspapers, because that’s suspicious behavior.
Of course you hear the news. And you review it as well. You’re not enemy of the state number one yet. But you’re certainly top five.
And of course they’ll call you a terrorist.
Terrorism is a tactic to sow fear. Splits society into two camps: either for or against. Removes all shades of grey.
We don’t spread that kind of fear.
It’s about goods. Not about people.
RARA sharpens the debate. Adds an element to the broad extraparliamentary anti-apartheid movement. But stays explicitly in that grey zone. At the far end of that spectrum.
Sure. In the dark grey area, so to say.
You hear it all the time.
They reject us, without having to deal with our message.
Impossible to talk to!
Whom or what are they serving actually? Why don’t they judge our action based on content?
What we do makes sense. The flood of criticism only confirms this. At least, that’s how I’m framing it.
I mean, there is really an incredible amount of fuss about SHV and its business in South Africa. And, more importantly: a considerable portion of its revenue has been affected.
You bet SHV is feeling this.
You know, we’re not so naive to think: we have dealt capitalism a big blow.
Still I feel some sort of pride. That we did it. That we did it well.
And no one got hurt.
You choose a remote location. You choose an incendiary device that develops slowly. You know what’s happening around the building. You know there’s no one there. You stay on site until the thing detonates, so that you’re able to intervene until the very last moment. But is it enough?
Wouldn’t it be problematic if we didn’t doubt ourselves? You’re in shock. 48 million in damages. Serious business. But anyway. What is a shitty little fire compared to the blood that is shed in the townships?
What is the state going to do? Will the beast be unleashed? Public opinion has long made up its mind about apartheid. And we really do everything to avoid casualties. And the state is already under mounting pressure from society because of its failing boycott policy. Added together, this should make it 8 difficult for the police and secret services to cut corners.
But you can’t be sure.
So for now it’s just laying low.
Staying beneath the radar.
Awaiting the response.
Saturday you’ll sing along with the anti-apartheid choir. Or you’ll join a protest. Isn’t there a house meeting this week?
But with every conversation you have with someone you put out your feelers.
You constantly have to watch what you’re saying. And how you’re saying it. And to whom you’re saying it.
You are about to meet someone to prepare the next action.
You walk out of the door.
You feel eyes in your back.
You’re almost there.
Did I get rid of them or not?
Probably better to return home.
Where and when?
You don’t know.
And if you’re not caught red-handed on the spot, then it’s by political pressure.
They cannot let this slide.
Sooner or later they’ll get you.
You do know that.
But it hasn’t gotten that far yet
Bring it on.
Come and find us.
… Mara Cagol Memorial Library …
As the Arm The Spirit Issuu Site does not allow for downloads any longer, I’m starting to put some material, old and new, up on the Internet Archive, as the IA does allow for downloading.
Here is what is up on the Internet Archive as of April 4, 2020:
“The Split Of The Weather Underground / Struggling Against White And Male Supremacy” .. 1977 … 44 pages
“The Tupamaro Guerrillas / The Structure and Strategy of the Urban Guerrilla Movement” … 1972 … 203 pages
“Action Directe / Ultra Left Terrorism In France 1979 – 1987” … 181 pages
“Build A Revolutionary Resistance Movement / Communiques From The North American Armed Clandestine Movement 1982 – 1985” … 1985 … 56 pages
“Terrorism In Germany / The Struggle For What?” … 1988 … 95 pages
“Burn It Down Anarchism Activism and the Vancouver Five 1967 – 1985” … 2016 … 278 pages
“Herstory Of Revolutionary Cells And Rote Zora” … 16 pages
“Writings Of The Vancouver Five” … 46 pages
“Towards People’s War For Independence And Socialism In Puerto Rico: In Defense of Armed Struggle” … 1979 … 100 pages
“Europe’s Red Terrorists: The Fighting Communist Organizations” … 1992 … 255 pages
Resistance Means Attack! A Selection Of Communiques 1992 – 1995 … 45 pages
Arm The Spirit / Autonomist / Anti-Imperialist Journal / No. 17 – Winter 1999 / 2000 … 64 pages
The Vancouver Five A Story Of Struggle To Protect The Earth … 1986 … 140 pages
Off The Pigs! The History And Literature Of The Black Panther Party … 1976 … 419 pages
Three Essays By Action Directe Prisoners … 2001 … 36 pages
Anti-Fascist Resistance In France / Solidarity With Imprisoned French Anti-Fascists / Documents From The Francs Tireurs Partisans … 1999 … 12 pages
Resistance: Documents And Analysis Of The Illegal Front, No. 9 … 1985 … 16 pages
De Pie Y En Lucha … Fall 1981 / Winter 1982 … 78 pages
Bulletin – Long Live FALN … 1980 … 16 pages
Endless Struggle, No. 12, Spring / Summer 1990 … 36 pages
Antifascism In Canada … 1996 … 48 pages
Devrimici Sol, No. 3, March 1994 … 40 pages
Arm The Spirit, No. 16, Fall 1993 … 36 pages
Reality Now, Number 8, Winter 1988 / Spring 1989 … 84 pages
La Lotta Di Classe E Il Motore Della Storia / Class Struggle Is The Motor Of History … 1989 … italian / english … 21 pages
Message To The Black Movement / A Political Statement From The Black Underground / Coordinating Committee – Black Liberation Army … 1975 … 36 pages
Osawatomie, Autumn 1975, No. 3 … Weather Underground Organization … 32 pages/
Political Statement Of The George Jackson Brigade … November 1977 … 28 pages
Front, No. 2, June 1992 … 124 pages
Ligne Rouge, No. 15, July 1985, 30 pages
The Heart Attacked: Terrorism And Conflict In The Italian State … 1989 … 306 pages
L’internationale, No 5, March 1984 … 16 pages
Textos para el DEBATE en el movimiento revolucionario europeo Seleccion y traducciones: PCE(r) Partido Comunista de Espana (reconstituido) … 1987 … 132 pages
On The Black Liberation Army … 28 pages
Enemies Of The State An Interview With Anti-Imperialist Prisoners David Gilbert, Laura Whitehorn, Marilyn Buck … 76 pages
500 Years Of Indigenous Resistance … 60 pages
SDS / WUO Students For A Democratic Society and the Weather Underground Organization … 44 pages
Arm The Spirit, August – December 1992, Number 14 / 15 … 36 pages
Resistance / Documents And Analysis Of The Illegal Front, Issue No. 7, Spring 1984 … 100 pages
From “Strike One To Educate One Hundred”:
On June 4, 1975 during a search for Chianti wine magnate Vittorio Gancia, kidnapped a few days earlier, a carabinieri patrol surprised Mara Cagol and other BR comrades in a farmhouse near Acqui. A brief firefight broke out in which Mara was badly wounded, captured, and then executed on the spot by the carabinieri. At first Mara’s identity was not known by police but BR quickly acknowledged that the Gancia kidnapping was their operation and that the woman comrade killed at Acqui was Mara.
On June 5, 1975, the BR published a brief message honoring the fallen Mara, who had been the political-military commander of the Turin BR column formed in early 1974 and co-founder of the BR. The full text of the BR message:
BR MESSAGE ON THE DEATH OF “MARA”
To the comrades of the organization, to sincerely revolutionary forces, to all proletarians. MARGHERITA CAGOL, “MARA,” communist leader and member of the executive committee of the Red Brigades, has fallen in combat. Her life and her death are an example that no fighter for liberty can ever forget. Founder of our organization, “MARA” gave an inestimable contribution of intelligence, self-denial and humanity to the birth and growth of workers autonomy and the armed struggle for communism. Political-military commander of a column, “MARA” was able to victoriously lead several of the most important operations of the organization.
The liberation of one of our commanders from the prison at Casale Monferrato speaks for all of them. We cannot permit ourselves to shed tears over our dead, but must learn from them the lesson of loyalty, consistency, courage and heroism!
War, in the last analysis, decides the question of power: revolutionary class war. And this war has a price: a high price certainly, but not so high as to make us prefer the slavery of wage labor, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in its fascist or social-democratic variants. It is not the vote that decides the question of power; freedom is not conquered with a ballot. Let all sincere revolutionaries honor the memory of “MARA,” reflecting on the political teaching which she was able to give through her choice, her work, her life. That a thousand arms may reach out to grasp her rifle! We, as a last salute, say to her: “Mara, a flower has bloomed, and the Red Brigades will continue to cultivate this flower of freedom until the final victory!”
ARMED STRUGGLE FOR COMMUNISM
June 5, 1975
AFTERBOLTXEBIKE / LEER / DEMO 2018
… footage: Red Dragon Print Collective … the clandestine publishing arm of the Weather Underground Organization … published “Prairie Fire: The Politics Of Anti-Imperialism” (1974) and “Osawatomie” (6 issues from 1974 to 1976) …
Leer para estudiar
Leer para aprender
Leer para liberar
Yo leo a Marx
Yo leo a Fidel
Yo leo al Che
Read to study
Read to learn
Read for liberation
I read Marx
I read Fidel
I read Che
This proposition must above all be assumed as an initiative of struggle. It is in effect an initiative of struggle against:
— the mystification which, in recent months, was carried out by the French media around the arrests of several revolutionary militants and the political histories which they represent;
— the tendency to isolate the communists from their global reality, which is the reality of the entire proletariat.
Mystification, repression, and isolation are the terrain on which recent months have seen the attempt to annihilate that which the imprisoned comrades represent: the revolutionary route for the liberation of the proletariat in the European metropolitan territory of western capitalism. This political annihilation takes place via the attempt to depoliticize our collective identity, by reducing it to an individual criminal identity. This is the attempt to depoliticize the instrument that characterizes our existence in a fundamental way: armed struggle for communism.
CONTENTS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STRUGGLE
The struggle against the effort towards the political annihilation of our revolutionary subjectivity and against the terrain on which this annihilation is achieved, that is to say, mystification, repression, and isolation, signifies struggling to appropriate social space and communication between ourselves and between ourselves and the outside. These are, in my opinion, the general contents and the base of our struggle.
The objectives around which these contents are concretized are the objectives which other comrades have already indicated, that is to say:
— regroupment of imprisoned revolutionaries;
—real freedom of postal communication, without seizure of letters or the sabotage of outgoing mail;
—no arbitrary limitations of authorizations for visits with parents, friends, and comrades;
— unsurveilled visiting rooms;
— the possibility and space for collective preparation of trials.
Only the achievement of these goals in their totality, without any being excluded, guarantees the minimum threshold of the general contents of social space and communication on which the struggle should be based.
The reason I propose this configuration in terms of general concrete objectives, where the first give a political value to the second, is the necessity to develop the struggle in a way coherent with our identity, without falling into the confusion which is always possible.
1. THE WESTERN BOURGEOISIE AND THE POLITICAL PRISONERS
a) On the status of political prisoners
Here we have a term which is part of the entire bourgeois baggage of the so-called question of Human Rights, civil rights, respect for the political identity of each individual, etc… The tendency of the bourgeoisie is always to dress itself in the clothes of bourgeois democracy, to give itself the appearance of neutrality with regards to the political choices of each subject, to mystify the reality of the repression it produces behind the respect for formal and false liberties. This is the language which we, revolutionaries, must not use because we objectively risk playing the game of the dominant class.
Each time that it speaks of all of this, the western bourgeoisie does so with another goal that has nothing to do with the word liberty. For example the bourgeoisie struggles through propaganda and action for the defense of the rights of political prisoners in the East. All of that stinks of filthy mystification: not only because the West European bourgeoisie is certainly no stranger to political repression in its own territory, but above all because this preoccupation of the European governments with regards to the various Sakarovs is nothing but a good chance to enrich the ideological propaganda campaign for the preparation of imperialist war against the Eastern territories. The bourgeoisie is totally indifferent to the real rights of the peoples of these territories.
On the Western side, that is to say at home, each time the bourgeoisie concedes improvements to the conditions of detention of the political prisoners, they do so because they have been forced to by struggles. They attempt to present their concessions as their capacity to respect subjective political identity, to control the defeat that flows from the fact that they have given in to a struggle. The bourgeoisie concedes rights when they are pushed up against the wall, then they brag about the concessions they have made, and the mystification continues ad infinitum.
As well, the bourgeoisie concedes more humane conditions of detention in exchange for the selling-out of the political identity of the detained subject. This blackmail produces a mystification which covers the blackmail itself. This is a widespread practice all over Europe, but it is in Italy that it has attained its most massive use. That which has been previously stated is, therefore, most comprehensive and most visible there: the Italian bourgeoisie bragged, in recent months, about the democratization of special prisons. But, on the contrary, what we are seeing is a diffuse policy of differenciation of conditions of detention: freer for those who actively dissociate from armed struggle, harder for those who don’t. The bourgeoisie spreads propaganda about the liberalization of conditions
of detention to hide the reality of torture and psycho-physical annihilation as instruments for the political annihilation of communist fighters.
We can therefore say that in Western Europe humane conditions of detention for political prisoners are only given by the bourgeoisie due to the force of the struggle or as a result of blackmail and the liquidation of political identity. Everything is managed by the bourgeoisie and propagated in public opinion with the rhetoric about respect for civil liberties, political liberties, etc..
B) The particularities of France
I don’t know the French situation in a developed way, but I think that certain factors are very clear. In France, more than in any other European country, the discussion around respect by the bourgeoisie for political subjectivity is widely diffused and praised by the French bourgeoisie, and this in a particular manner. This is due to the tradition of France as a country of political exile, as a country of social revolutions made in the name of liberty, etc.. This tradition was already an ideological of the bourgeoisie in the
proceeding phases. Today, the recycling of this tradition (for example, by conceding political amnesty, the status of political refugee, and that of political prisoner) is the way in which the historical mystification of the French bourgeoisie is represented, henceforth at the stage of Putrefaction.
The mystification produced by this tradition, in the metropolitan territories and in the multinational phase of imperialism, is, more than anything, publicity that the bourgeoisie make for themselves, a self-satisfaction by which the French bourgeoisie nourishes its intellectuals, as much those of the right as those of the left, from where come those who do the most to dirty the word liberty, and who attempt to implicate the population in their filthy game, and above all the proletarian section of the population. They therefore function as organic intellectuals of capital, as ineffective builders of its ideology. Ineffective because the current level of contradiction attained by capital in the metropole unveils the entire structure of bourgeois ideology which has been in irreversible crisis for decades.
It is thus, as in the rest of Europe, that in France, the bourgeoisie hides behind a discourse about respect for the political subjectivity of interest other than those that they claim to have. One could give many examples, such as that of the political refugees in France, who come from the four corners of the world, and who the bourgeoisie use for propaganda about their neutrality with regards to all totalitarian regimes. In reality it costs the French bourgeoisie nothing to shelter these subjects, who are used as an excellent workforce for the lowest and hardest jobs in which they are super—exploited (for example the Asian refugees) and, at the same time, are used for ideological propaganda.
The French behavior with regards to refugees from West European countries is different. They are, sometimes discreetly, sometimes not so discreetly, persecuted and provoked. This is the case for the Irish, the Italians, and the Basques. Clearly, those that actively and clearly announce their diassociation from the struggle in their own country are treated with kid gloves, and this treatment enters the French ideologicial propaganda of mystification about refugees. This is the case with the Italian dissociates (like Negri and Scalzone), flowers blooming from the supposed respect for political subjectivity on the part of the socialist government.
As in all other situations of repression and control, it is the policy of differentiation between those who consent to power and those who don’t that serves as an instrument to mask and mystify a desire for political annihilation.
Another example is the situation of the Basque refugees: on the one hand, there is the GAL, a secret Spanish anti-guerilla structure in agreement with their French collegues, on the other hand, there are the recent arrangements between the Spanish and French governments regarding the repression of the guerilla, a formalization of the annihilating content expressed by the GAL.
From all of the above, the importance and necessity of expressing in our struggle the maximum clarity in contents becomes evident. As revolutionary subjects in the metropole our struggle is against the mystification that this social and economic formation of advanced capitalism produces. Increasingly, I believe that, in France, there is a special mysification about the relationship between the bourgeoisie and political subjectivity. It is, therefore, more important to be clear because, more than in other European territories, we risk finding ourselves caught in mystification and ideological propaganda.
This is the primary reason why I’m called to refuse the discussion of political prisoner status and to outline the struggle in terms of the appropriation of social space and communication. These are the contents which refuse a judicial form (by this I’m referring to the current French situation), and which are, therefore, difficult to mystify because they develop from the concrete struggle against the disguised desire for the annihilation of our political and human identity.
2. The western bourgeoisie and the fighting subjectivity
a) Terrorism and the armed struggle
In the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the fighting subjects, that is to say, those who express their political practice with arms, the bourgeoisie acts in terms of the annihilation of political subjectivity. It is an annihilation which, as much as possible, is camouflaged and mystified by the political non-recognition of the militant and her/his actions, which are criminalized. The militant is thus considered as the wrong-doer par excellence, because s/he assumes responsibility for her/his behavior and choices. The repression that s/he suffers is presented by the bourgeoisie as repression necessary for particularly dangerous and deviant subjects. This is how the political annihilation which is realized by this “necessary repression” is mystified. When this level of mystification no …
… a few more GRAPO communiques / statements / interviews … some of this material was, admittedly, stolen from the book “Europe’s Red Terrorists” ( we typed it all into the computer back in the day hoping to use it down the road ) and some of it was translated by Arm The Spirit for inclusion in our magazine or on our list-serve …
… graphics are for the most part taken from Resistencia, magazine of the PCE(r) …
… see also GRAPO / PCE(r) Dossier for a history of GRAPO and lots more …
To all peoples oppressed by the fascist Spanish State:
In the early morning of 29 September, combat groups from our organization conducted sabotage operations in various cities in the State against the following official organs and capitalist enterprises:
• Alicante – electric transformer belonging to the Compania Hidroelectrica Espanola [Spanish Hydroelectric Company];
• Barcelona – offices of Standard Electric; warehouses of Lipidos Ibericos;
• Castellon – courthouse; electric transformer belonging to the Compaiiia Hidroelectrica Espanola;
• Cordoba – National Employment Institute office;
• Leon – local office of the Ministry of Public Works and City Planning; local office of the Ministry of Health;
• Madrid – National Identity Document offices; tax collection office on Calle Matilde Hernandez; local office of INSALUD; local office of the Ministry of Labor;
• Mataro – court building; office of the Urban Property Chamber;
• Oviedo – local office of the Ministry of Labor;
• Pontevedra – provincial local office building;
• Huelva – local office of the Ministry of Education and Science;
• Tarragona – Treasury tax collection offices;
– Employment office;
• Valencia – offices of the Compania Hidroelectrica Espanola; Police station;
• Vugi – Employment office; El Troncal electric substation belonging to FENOSA;
• Seville – local office of the Ministry of Finance; provincial office of the Junta Social Services.
All these operations, as well as those conducted in the last month by our organisations, are part of the struggle for victory of the Five Point Program:
1. Complete amnesty. Repeal of all repressive laws;
2. Purging of all fascist members of the repressive forces and other State institutions;
3. Bread and work for everyone. Down with unemployment and misery among the people.
4. Removal of NATO. Removal of Yankee bases from our country;
5. Full political and union rights. Dissolution of the fascist Parliament. New elections and the drafting of a truly democratic constitution. Right of self-determination for Galicia, Euskadi and Catalonia.
For four years, our organization has been reiterating this program as an alternative to the serious crisis being experienced by the people. Yet the government’s response has always been assassination and the cruelest repression against our guerrilla warriors, the communists and anti-fascists, and all the people, and the implementation by fire and sword of their plans of over-exploitation and misery.
This repression has reached the most savage levels in the past year and a half: many fighters have been murdered at police stations and barracks, in prison, or in ambushes planned by the police and the civil guard; worker and popular demonstrations have been savagely attacked and, on numerous occasions, shot at; unemployment and misery among the people have increased unceasingly, having reached 2.5 million unemployed and, with the new reorganization plans, hundreds of thousands of people are condemned to join the list; thousands of people have been indiscriminately arrested and savagely tortured. In the meantime, the government, with the consent and active support of the domesticated parties, spends many millions on weapons and on providing their repressive forces with more technical and human resources or, as now, on a propaganda campaign of poison to assist the new electoral charade.
Under these conditions of over-exploitation and terror, the objective of the electoral charade of 28 October is nothing more than to replace some names with others at the head of the government to create certain illusions and be able to continue with the same criminal plans as always, increasing even more their policy of terror and misery against the people. But, once again, the oligarchic classes are mistaken. The people demand a real change and, for this reason, any solution to the present situation is tolerated so that the government will agree to the just popular claims. Either that, or there will be open confrontation with the popular forces.
The government and its lackeys and supporters should pay attention: neither our organization nor the people oppressed by the exploiting and murdering State will allow our popular rights and freedoms to continue to be trampled. If there is no amnesty, if our country does not leave NATO, if the living conditions of the people are not improved, if the fascist members of the repressive forces, the Army, and the institutions of the State are not purged, if the right of self-determination of the nationalities is not granted … the popular resistance struggle will continue to increase every day and our organization will continue to strike relentlessly against the monopolies, the institutions of the State and its forces of repression, and all those who are part of it and support it.
We have chosen this moment to undertake an operation of such magnitude because it is the seventh anniversary of the execution of five revolutionaries and patriots, which occurred on 27 September 1975, and also because it is the seventh anniversary of the creation of GRAPO, and, finally, because the regime is beginning its campaign of poison in preparation for the electoral farce of 28 October, not only without changing anything, but by murdering the best children of the people, such as ETA(m) militant Fernando Barrio Olano, who was foully murdered in San Sebastian last 26 September.
Our organization is calling on all peoples oppressed by the fascist Spanish State, all democrats and anti-fascists, young people, women, intellectuals, to conduct a widespread boycott of the electoral farce of 28 October.
JOIN OUR STRUGGLE TO GAIN AUTHENTIC FREEDOMS!
NOT ONE VOTE BY THE PEOPLE FOR FASCISM AND ITS LACKEYS! ACTIVE BOYCOTT OF THE ELECTORAL FARCE!
LONG LIVE THE ARMED STRUGGLE!
WE SHALL BE VICTORIOUS!
Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista
Primero de Octobre (GRAPO)
[First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups.]
To the working class, to all peoples oppressed by the Spanish fascist state:
our armed people’s resistance organization takes responsibility for the following operations:
13 April: Bombing of the Valencia city administration building
19 April: Execution of Emilio Garcia Martinez, lieutenant in the National Police in Valencia
29 April: Execution of Placido Pedreira of the Guardia Civil in Corogna.
These operations were undertaken in response to the terrorist campaign by the Government of the PSOE [Socialist Party of Spain]. Within a single month, it has killed six persons in the town halls [prisons] of Sevilla and Valencia and has militarily occupied whole city districts and villages, terrorizing the population by their usual practices, operations which they have been conducting under the protection of the anti-terror law especially in Euskadi [Basque region] and Madrid.
Massive raids in the individual city districts and towns, innumerable murders, horrible torture, `PSOE style’, in the commissariats and barracks, the merciless hunting down of revolutionary men and women, encouragement of informers through offers of money, the law on penitents, the development of the most sophisticated methods of torture at the posts with the greatest responsibility for oppression, long prison terms for anti-fascists, democrats and revolutionaries, giving free rein to the fascist murderers and to the hysterical screams of Barrionuevo and company, praise for the mercenaries (paid oppressors) at wild demonstrations by the masses which participate in large demonstrations. This is, by and large, the ‘new’ terrorist policy of the government, this is the solution which the PSOE — like all its predecessors — wants to impose in order to silence all those voices which cry for freedom and social improvement for our people and proclaim exploitation as the greatest inhumanity.
In this whole campaign, we must stress the even more unlimited use of the mass media, which this government abuses to an even worse extent than its predeces¬sors; with few exceptions, they do not hesitate to spread the biggest lies and calumny about the revolutionary organizations; by their way of writing, they encourage the torturers and active co-operation with reactionaries by their false representation of the facts, and thus they are also enemies of our people. They speak of the collaboration of the citizenry and cover up the perversions of the forces of repression; they speak of freedom and democracy, while ignoring as best they can the fact that more than 700 political antifascist prisoners continue to be held and oppressed under inhuman conditions. They speak of the ‘dirty goals’ of the armed organizations of the people and keep silent on these organizations’ democratic and social concerns and the obviously anti-fascist character of their struggle.
But in spite of the demagoguery and blather of the Socialists and scribblers, they will not achieve anything. If the government continues to intensify its terrorist policy, if it continues to cause thousands to become unemployed every month, if it refuses the most minimal political freedoms, all that the government and its party, the PSOE, will achieve by that will be an even greater crisis and open revolutionary warfare in this country. And this is indeed what will happen, for the people will join the guerrilla en masse in order to fight the reactionary forces in the only possible way, and thus to gain real freedom.
When our organization declared a total cease-fire on the basis of the electoral promises of the PSOE, we showed our good faith for achieving a political solution of the acute crisis in the country. Since then, and after several tries in the course of these last six months, we have repeated that the only possible solution for the pacification of the country is AMNESTY AND POLITICAL FREEDOM FOR ALL, and, in spite of all the lies spread by the press, we have shown our determination and our willingness for dialog and have proved the populist nature of our goals.
As always, it is the government which, by answering our call with murder, torture and exploitation, has once more broken its electoral promises. Therefore, we, the GRAPO, repeat that we will continue to attack fiercely, because there will not be any real changes. Our targets will be the repressive apparatus of the state, the monopolies and their highest representatives. We repeat once more: Real change, the solution of the problems of our society lies in the concretization of the points of the KAS alternative for Euskadi and the five-point program for the rest of the state.
1. Total amnesty, lifting of all repressive laws.
2. Purge of the state institutions and the repressive forces of their fascist elements.
3. Bread and work for all. Down with unemployment and the misery of the people.
4. Getting out of NATO, no Yankee bases in our country.
5. Full political and union freedom. Dissolution of the fascist parliament. New elections and creation of a new, truly democratic constitution. The right for self-determination for Galicia, Euskadi, and Catalonia.
REVOLUTIONARY VIOLENCE AGAINST STATE TERRORISM!! LONG LIVE THE ARMED REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE!!
THERE WILL BE NO PEACE WITHOUT AMNESTY AND POLITICAL FREEDOM FOR ALL!!
FREEDOM OR DEATH!! WE SHALL BE VICTORIOUS!!
GRAPO May 1983
To the working class and all peoples oppressed by the Spanish fascist state:
Today, 16 February, some of our operational commandos executed a series of actions of a mainly propaganda character, i.e. flags of the People’s Republic were hoisted, and objects designed for the exploitation and repression of the masses of the people were bombed:
Madrid — bombing of an employment office and putting up flags and banners.
Seville — bombing of the city transportation authority which has just raised
Metro and bus fares; five buses were partially destroyed! Sabadell — bombing of a torturer of the cuerpo superior de policia [senior police officer corps]
La Coruna — putting up flags
Through these operations on this particular day, which has such great political significance for all the peoples of Spain, we want to denounce the continuity of the unchanged fascist and criminal regime, which by force of arms and terror has prevailed against the will of the people which had expressed itself on 16 February 1936 in the triumph of the FRENTE POPULAR. after the death of the murderer Franco, the ‘reforms’, ‘changes’, and other political maneuvers had no other purpose than to clean up the regime’s image and to cover it with a ‘democratic’ or ‘socialist’ mantle; and all that for the sole purpose of further increasing the exploitation of the masses.
… but the demagoguery could not deliver much. Thus, when their mask was torn off, they threw themselves without any scruples into this most exploitative, repressive, militaristic and reactionary policy, closing off any political way out which could initiate a period of peaceful struggle that might take place on the basis of the KAS program and the five-point program. On the contrary, the norm which has been established is that of arbitrary drastic changes, unemployment, taxes, NATO, torture, the dirty war …
Therefore we must see clearly from now on that any further insistence on democratic forms which [they] have already chucked aside is tantamount to encouraging false illusions and to leaving the initiative to them …
… Thus there is no other way out than the destruction of the fascist regime and the expropriation of the monopolies. Only then will the people be able to enjoy real freedom, and only in that way can the economic, political, social, cultural, national and other problems be solved. Only in that way will we be able to re-establish the REPUBLICA POPULAR and move in the direction towards socialism.
… our operations were intended to show that this is the only remaining alternative today because the reactionary forces have closed all doors.
… and we can’t even dream of achieving this through elections …
… instead, we must strengthen and develop the guerrilla until it transforms itself into the people’s army, which, together with the political resistance movement, will at last crush the reactionary forces like an iron fist forever, regardless of what disguise they are wearing.
Today more than ever, every worker, every working woman, every unemployed person and every young person must take up arms against the monopolistic police state and must support the guerrilla.
LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC!
ETERNAL HONOR TO THOSE WHO DIED IN THE ANTI-FASCIST STRUGGLE!
LONG LIVE THE ARMED REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE! WE SHALL BE VICTORIOUS!
16 February 1984
The militants from the (reconstituted) Communist Party of Spain (PCE-r) and the antifascist resistance groups First of October (GRAPO), as well as prisoners in various prisons of the Spanish fascist regime, in support of and in solidarity with the 41 fighters from the German Red Army Faction and the anti-imperialist resistance movement who have been on a hunger strike since December, which has even brought communist fighter Christian Klar to the brink of death, declare the following:
We denounce the extermination plans which the German monopolistic oligarchy has been pursuing for years with the support of the social-fascist parties, whose objectives go as far as the physical and moral annihilation of all political prisoners belonging to the revolutionary vanguard of the German people. These plans are part of a terrorist policy of the state aimed at suppressing any attempt at resistance to the interests of big capitalism and imperialism.
The revolutionary upswing of the European proletariat has developed within the framework of the deepest economic and political crisis which capitalism has experienced in all of its history. In order to slow down this openly revolutionary process, the European oligarchies have turned the territory of their states into veritable penitentiaries in which the political control of the population, the emergency laws, anti-terror laws, and the militarization of the entire society are reaching their culmination in the extermination prisons, the number of which has grown in all European countries. This whole international repressive strategy which is supported by Yankee imperialism, is being upheld in veritable police states and through the complete demolition of freedoms.
A reflection of this situation are the destructive conditions (isolation, torture, and inhuman harassment) to which the German prisoners are subjected, some of whom have died in the course of the last few years, murdered in their cells, while most of them have suffered massive damage to their health. Stammheim, Liibeck, Celle, and other prisons in which about 100 communists and revolutionaries are interned, have not been able to break their resistance.
The numerous hunger strikes and other forms of rejection which have been carried out in the last few years have created a movement of solidarity within the working class and other German democrats which has spread to different countries in Europe including Spain.
In our country, the resistance movements and the vanguard organizations have decided to support the struggle carried on by the German revolutionaries in the prisons, they have denounced the terrorist policy of the German police state and have come to approve all armed and other actions developed by the fighters of the Red Army Faction and other organizations against the monopolistic regime and against imperialism.
At the same time as we are encouraging the continuation of the hunger strike until humane conditions have been achieved, we express our internationalist solidarity with all German revolutionaries who are resisting inside and outside the prisons.
The memory of our comrade Crespo, who died during the hunger strike of 1981, combines with the memory of Holger Meins and Sigurd Debus, who died in the same struggle. And thus we also declare that neither the whole repressive machinery of the European states nor all the special legislation, the murders, tortures, and extermination prisons used against the nations and their revolutionary organizations can slow down the development of a broad-based resistance movement, nor can they prevent new decisive victories over monopolism and imperialism.
After all, we Spanish Communists are aware of the fact that the resurgence of proletarian internationalism in Europe will be possible only through promoting revolution in each country, and on that basis, any kind of support and assistance for the revolution of other peoples must be provided. Therefore it is necessary to achieve closer connections and exchanges of opinions between all European communists and revolutionaries.
Either pig or human being either survival at any cost or fighting to the death either problem or solution there is no in-between.
Holger Meins (murdered on 9 November 1974)
FOR ULTIMATE COMMUNISM!
LONG LIVE PROLETARIAN INTERNATIONALISM! WE SHALL BE VICTORIOUS!
In the prison of Soria, 12 January 1985
28 March 1990
On 27 March 1990, at Zaragoza, the Juan Jose Crespo Galende Combat Group of our organization executed one of the medical leaders who has been most involved in the application of force-feeding to political prisoners of the PCE-r and GRAPO, on hunger strike since 30 November 1989.
Since that date, the socio-fascist government swine have not shrunk from applying any means to undermine the prisoners’ will to resist, including force-feeding to make them abandon the struggle for their just demands. Dr. Jose Ramon Munoz Fernandez was one of the instruments used, not only in attempting to break the strike, but also in forcing other professionals to accept this criminal policy that, hypocritically, they have portrayed as ‘respect for life’.
Those who speak of respect for life are the very ones who have turned this hunger strike into the longest torture session in history. Those who say this are the ones who have crafted this sinister plan, designed to push the strikers to the limit, into a situation in which, having had their health broken, only the threat of certain death can be used to blackmail them, forcing them to yield and submit to isolation and dispersal. But when not even an atrocity of this kind has proven successful for them, faced with the resolve of men and women possessing a moral integrity that cannot compare with that professed by these axmen, they turn to force-feeding, with the ,obvious intent of smashing their will, prolonging their death struggle indefinitely in a macabre spiral that makes the medical experiments of the Nazis pale by comparison.
All those who have performed the torture of force-feeding under the pretext of special ethical codes were aware that they were actively and directly collaborating with the terroristic policy of the government against political prisoners and the revolutionary movement. We are not lumping these collaborationist elements together with the entire medical and professional community, some members of which have been targets of reprisals for having honestly opposed, in the true spirit of humanity, aberrant practices that violate their own Deontological Code, adopted by the International Medical Association, which, at its 29th World Medical Assembly, stated: When a prisoner rejects all nourishment and the doctor deems that he is capable of formulating a conscious and rational judgment as to the consequences involved in his refusal to feed himself, he shall not be fed artificially.’
In order to justify their repressive policy and not accede to the demands of our imprisoned comrades, government spokesmen have attempted to portray the hunger strike as a ‘political tug-of-war’ between the political and military organizations of the resistance. This is an extremely erroneous approach. Insofar as our organization is concerned, it is obvious and generally known that it has never `played politics’ with the suffering of prisoners or other victims of state repression. In all cases, insofar as circumstances have permitted, we have limited ourselves to denouncing and countering the assaults that the government has directed against us and other people’s organizations. This is particularly obvious with respect to the conditions to which all political prisoners are subjected. As is well known, at no time have we promoted in the prisons anything beyond preserving minimally acceptable living conditions. The prisoners of the PCE-r and GRAPO have never created situations that could be used by government officials and jailers to justify dispersal or any other type of reprisal against them.
Furthermore, we wish to state for the record that no one is better able than us to appreciate the value of the lives of these men and women prisoners, and that we empathize as much as anyone else with the plight to which they have been subjected by the torturers, who are following the orders of the government. Nevertheless, the pain does not dim our judgment or cloud our understanding. Consequently, we state that there is no alternative to this situation but to continue the strike to the end, until reunification is achieved. Otherwise, we would have to resign ourselves to seeing them die slowly, isolated in a filthy hole, murdered in silence. We do not believe that the latter alternative is acceptable to any honorable and sensible person.
Since the background of the strike, still under way, is familiar to all, we will not examine the details. This is not the first time that political prisoners have mounted such a strike. Indeed, one might say that the present strike is merely the continuation of the one that began at Almeria Prison last summer. On that occasion, too, everything possible was done to avoid aggravating the conflict. Nevertheless, this stance cannot be maintained for very long, owing to the overbearing and domineering attitude of the government. What was to be done, then? Were we simply to submit to the telltale atrocities of the new acts of savagery that are being committed?
It was obvious all along that the felipista’ [a derisive term for the government of Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez Marquez] clique was forcing the situation in order to divide the prisoners and, at the same time, to prevent the development of the organized resistance movement. They sought, by every means, to abort a genuine democratic — revolutionary alternative to their criminal and deceitful policy. It is obvious that they will not achieve it through any means. But what is certain is that they have managed to make the prisoners themselves bear most of the burden of this strike, so much so that, given the prevailing conditions, the people’s organized movement has been unable to re-occupy their position in this fierce fight. The essence of the criminal, socio-fascist policy of `felipismo’ is the use of political prisoners as actual hostages in the hands of the state, in order to weaken the people’s movement and attempt to blackmail it.
Insofar as our organization is concerned, this policy is reflected, among other things, in attempts to provoke us to the level of ‘immediate responses’, thereby distracting our forces, cornering them, and destroying them easily. But we shall not fall into this trap, and they are really quite stupid if they still harbor any hopes in that regard.
Consequently, during the strike, we are armed with patience, in the hope for a fair solution that might put an end to this painful conflict. But everyone has been able to note that good reasons are worthless to this government. They are so uncouth and so fascist that, as always, only guerrilla strikes make them stop to think.
In the face of every ethical principle and every popular interest, not only have they turned a deaf ear to the thousands of voices that have risen up to demand a fair settlement of the strike, but they have also continued to wallow in a pool of deceit and calumny. If it is a question of a humanitarian attitude, things are quite simple. They need only reunite the prisoners and respect their physical and moral integrity and their political identity. Is there any other solution that is more humane?
Furthermore, if, as they do not cease to repeat, they feel so much love for life and they truly wish to settle the problem ‘of violence’ as they call it, why do they not begin by releasing the prisoners who have suffered the most from the blows of institutional violence? Free those who have suffered serious and irreversible effects from torture and repeated hunger strikes. Release these men and women. This would demonstrate a true interest in settling the problem.
There is no other solution than this. They could continue on the same old course, one of torture and state terrorism. But, in that event, they should take into account that the struggle will be long and that although they may hide behind a wall of uniforms and machine-guns, we are going to go after them, we are going to confront them, and we are going to see to it that justice is served.
REUNIFICATION OR DEATH! DOWN WITH STATE TERRORISM! ARMED RESISTANCE!
WE SHALL BE VICTORIOUS!
An interview completely elaborated by GRAPO, with its own questions and answers, has reached various Basque media outlets. Its authenticity has been verified by various photographs which depict hooded persons carrying weapons habitually used by that organization. In the interview they set out various themes related to their political posture and diverse appraisals on their future intentions, as well as some comments on the general political situation.
The document has not been made public through the receiving political media means, but it can have a useful and interesting value to our readers which we want to leave to their discretion.
Why groups of resistance?
Because groups of resistance are necessary. The situation in the Spanish state makes the armed struggle necessary. You only need to look at our environment. The popular masses are oppressed by multiple problems. Each day unemployment, misery and corruption grows and nobody stops the abuse. On the other hand, the non-violent means of protest don’t work for anything, you are not allowed to organize to give a real solution to your problems, a little movement on your part and they put you in jail. What to do? The only avenue left is direct confrontation with the regime, and the armed struggle is the highest expression of this confrontation. That’s the way it is. Our rulers only see the light when they are hit. That is why the resistance is necessary. We say resistance because, naturally, we aren’t going to finish with them in a day. Our struggle is marked by a process of prolonged war. Which is defined by its offensive character, to resist the enemy’s blows. If everything were going well our struggle wouldn’t be justified, but unfortunately, it isn’t that way. Naturally we talk about the problems of the workers, the students… which for the bourgeoisie aren’t problems. What are we going to do?! Perhaps that’s why they don’t stop lamenting that there’s a few crazies dedicated to souring their existence, returning the blows they unleash on the people.
It may be a common question but why are there so many reappearances of GRAPO? Someone has compared you to the Guadiana River, you disappear and then reappear.
The comparison isn’t bad. We, like that river, are a living force within our society. We are in permanent combat against the enemy and some-times they are able to hit us and reduce our armed activity. When this happens, we go back to our roots , that is to say, to the most combative men and women of our people, we regroup and…
Pretty poetic isn’t it?
That’s how it is. That could explain our history. Since 1975 until around 1978 we formed a new type of armed organization, without experience and few means. In combat we acquired both. We had surprise in our favour: the state’s repressive forces knew nothing of our functioning and little about our militants. That made the organization’s activity easier in actions like the kidnapping of Oriol and Villaescuela and other operations carried out during that time period. But even though their repression wasn’t easy, the police relied extensively on their traditional methods: massive detentions, systematic torture… They accumulated information and little by little began detaining some combat groups and important leaders.
And that started the hardships of GRAPO?
We can’t say that. Suffering and defeat temper and harden the combatants. But it’s not about that. What happens is that around that time is when the regime’s political manoeuvre began to take on a clear shape. The “reform” operation so that nothing would change you could say. In that situation there was a recession of the revolutionary movement. Certain expectations were created in the masses in the sense that perhaps with democracy they could solve their problems, perhaps with autonomy… It is not about a particular problem with our organization, but of the entire popular movement. That notwithstanding and despite the setbacks suffered, there were some initial successes on the military level and the attempt to mask a fascist regime failed.
But the reforms were consolidated.
A: The fact that some political reforms were imposed within the state apparatus does not imply its consolidation. The democratic mask has neither legitimized the regime nor taken it out of the isolation it suffered before the reform. But any ways following the thread of what we were saying earlier, it is in that situation when the repressive forces accumulate sufficient in-formation on our movement, they go on the offensive and go on a real hunt against our combatants. It mattered little that the “democracy” would be forever stained with murder and torture, the important thing for them was to finish with our organization by any means. They murdered Collazo and Cerdan and other frontline combatants.
And then the PSOE arrives.
With the PSOE in government the state’s repressive machinery developed and perfected itself in the most beastly form. With this they took advantage of the confusion that their demagogic politics had created among the masses. Without the Felipistas in the government and the famous 10 million votes they got, the state powers would not have dared carry out the dirty war across the country. The PSOE gave them this option on a silver platter.
From another point of view, this assumes something very important: with the PSOE the regime was out of political responses. We don’t want to say that the dominant classes can’t stay in power much longer, what happens is that they no longer fool anyone and their room for manoeuvre is considerably reduced. They are on the defensive again. This is a favourable factor for the resistance and it will allow us to regroup our forces and develop our strategy.
What are GRAPO’s objectives? In one of your documents you set forth your theory of prolonged people’s war, but that doesn’t clarify anything. War is made for a purpose…
Evidently, war is made for a purpose. We make it to finish with the imperial political-economic system in Spain, to finish with all the yokes that this system generates. We know that this isn’t a one day thing. Our struggle, which is that of the working masses, for their liberation, will be long, and in the course of which we hope to convert ourselves into the people’s army. In the first phase of this war we defend ourselves, we resist the enemy’s blows, hitting them when it will benefit us the most politically and supporting the popular struggles. We consider this struggle to be essentially “defensive” which is to say that even though the state and Spanish dominant class present themselves as “victims of terrorist violence”, in reality, we are the victims along with the popular masses and they are the victimizers.
For our part, all we do is confront the diverse forms of violence which they exercise on the people. It is a resistance struggle and as such does not limit itself to stopping blows and returning them, but rather has as its main objective in this phase of the struggle to accumulate revolutionary forces to finish the system in the future. It is very clear that we by ourselves are not going to finish with it. From there, as we say in the Guerrilla’s Manual, which sums up the experiences and political-military theories of organization, the strategy of GRAPO continues to be “free the workers revolutionary energies” who will, ultimately, be the ones who make the revolution.
But your strategy is based on the PCE(r)- GRAPO complex…
That story about the complex! What we don’t have is any complex in showing our relationship with the PCE(r). We have stated many times that we are not the armed wing of any party nor of any force that is not that of the popular resistance movement, of all that movement of independent and radical struggle confronting the regime. Now too, we have always maintained that the PCE(r) is the party that expresses the best political strategy for the liberation of our people.
In Euskadi things appear in a different manner, because even if it’s just to make an example, why don’t you carry out any operations in their territory?
A: It is evident that Euskadi, Catalonia and Galicia have a very specific goal: gaining self-determination. We support the struggle for re-vindication without reservation. And those aren’t just words. On various occasions our operational commandos have carried out actions in support of the struggle of the Basque people and other nationalities for their national rights. But we must also take into account that Euskadi is immersed in a more advanced process. They have developed a powerful national liberation movement and armed organization. How could we hope to substitute it?
Then, do you think the ETA’s struggle is correct?
It’s an inadequate term, one thing is the justness of a cause, of a struggle, and another is the political or military theory chosen for its execution. We differ on this point.
As to the strategy for national liberation, as it is carried out in the developed countries, is it correct?
This struggle has acquired a term which defines its situation. This term is “ulsterization”. Or rather, a situation of strategic equilibrium: I can’t destroy you but you can’t destroy me either. Which results in the principal or dominant factor, which keeps this contradiction alive, will always dominate, regardless of the losses that it causes.
How do you break this equilibrium?
To finish with that situation, we believe that what is lacking is a unity of all the forces that oppose and resolutely struggle against the state, and in particular, the unity of the working class of all nationalities. Only the working class has within it the necessary strength to put an end to national oppression and to many other problems. Of course for that we would have to introduce other theories, a clear program of socialist resolution which would entail, as an essential point for the nationalities, the plain exercise of national rights.
Like in Lithuania more or less?
And why not like Lithuania? A referendum to decide union or separation sounds like a good solution to us, even though, naturally, there may be others. What happens first is that said referendum would be impossible in Spain as long as the state of the Spanish oligarchy is still standing. And secondly, well, in Lithuania the reactionary and pro-imperialist bourgeoisie is not interested in it because they know perfectly well it would lose. In other words, the Lithuania people would choose socialism and that’s why they don’t want it.
We’re going to talk about a subject that is very current: the hungerstrike by the PCE(r) and GRAPO prisoners for reunification. Lately you have carried out actions in support of them, such as the case of the doctor in Zaragoza.
At the hour of carrying out specific operations, our central command analyzes the situation in its entirety and chooses the most adequate objective for each moment. In the dynamic of the struggle against the oppressing state, people and classes take positions. Some are neutral, some oppose them and others put themselves at their service. We direct our arms against these latter. It is the real dynamic of the class struggle. Force feeding, torturing a person tied hand and foot like that, is to put yourself at the side of a government which has shown its executioners’ face. All the other discourses only try to justify the torturers. That’s our way of looking at things.
But that hunger-strike, doesn’t it look like an unequal struggle to you?
It is from a certain point of view. Evidently it is the prisoners who carry the suffering, the ones who undergo the turnscrew torture, but they are not the only ones who struggle. In reality all the healthy forces of our society have risen up against the government’s barbarism and intransigence. From corner to corner of our country voices have been raised seeking a just solution to the problem. As is well known, we have also supported them with our actions. But definitely, the most important thing is that this struggle which started with a handful of men and women has become a struggle that has moved the country and put the government against the ropes demonstrating weakness.
Man, they’ve been left with their ass in the air. All of its miseries and with it their true character have been left uncovered. What better thing than to solve a problem with such an easy solution? Only their attitude has impeded resolution of these things before they reached the magnitude they have acquired. If we were really facing a politically strong government, sustained by an ample social base, it can be reasoned that a solution to this conflict would have been relatively easy. With that they would have avoided the political unmasking they are now suffering. But it is clear that without their thugs and dirty war they have nothing to rest on, which evidently greatly limits any political initiative they may wish to take, no matter how small it may be.
How do you explain the measures against the political prisoners?
A: The political prisoners have become true hostages in the hands of the state, into a ball to taunt the revolutionary movement. The forms this taunting can take are very diverse, but the main thing is they try to obligate you to make the struggle depend solely on the problems the prisoners may have, or rather, to make you intervene militarily each time they launch a provocation. If you fall for this you are forced to abandon other forms of struggle, to abandon support for other popular sectors and the combat against other objectives that are of vital importance for the interests of the bourgeoisie or the state apparatus, and finally, when you notice you have lost the initiative, they isolate you, corner you and BAMM!
Falling into the trap also supposes deauthorizing (? – trans.) the very prisoners. They are not in prison for defending their own personal or group interests, but for struggling for a cause which transcends all personal interest and individual attitude. On the street we continue this struggle and set ourselves another goal: their liberation. But we insist on not entering a dynamic of “immediate response” to the government’s provocations. As much in this case as in others, because that is where we will have already lost the match. We have our plans and we will accomplish them independently of what they do.
Are these plans secret?
Not really. They are very simple, support the struggle of the workers and all the other popular sectors that confront the state and, of course, hit the bourgeoisie when and where we can cause damage. These plans are nothing new. They serve the objectives we have fixed for the actual stage: the accumulation of forces and the preparation of conditions which make possible the extension and strengthening of the organized revolutionary movement.
And if a possibility for negotiation comes up?
The questions of negotiation actually appears as an obligatory reference for every revolutionary movement. To put things like that, as if a solution to problems depends on a future negotiation is to choose a path that leads nowhere. But look, that doesn’t mean we reject negotiation as a political weapon to be used at the given time. We’ll see. We hope to finish with the reactionary state in the context of a prolonged struggle in which there can be complex situations which allow us to make propositions for a peaceful solution to determined problems. All wars have these situations. Now then, we look at that hypothetical negotiation in a manner which would serve the consolidation of our positions and favours the political education and organization of the masses. Never to get sidetracked from our final objective, which is to overthrow the regime. To do otherwise would leave the initiative in the enemy’s hands.
We desire that problems be resolved in a peaceful or negotiated manner. We have always desired that. It is they who have no such interest. They only seek surrender with nothing more, and the delivery of our weapons and do nothing on their part to end the problems which are the origin of the struggle.
And why don’t they want to solve the problem of violence?
A: In reality the crisis the system is going through impedes their taking any initiative in that direction. For that reason the struggle will continue. It is necessary and inevitable. But we don’t discard the possibility that some day there could be a real negotiation. At the moment it is clear that conditions have not matured nor is there light on the horizon that could take us to a situation of that type. But our posture towards this subject is very clear and in it is the proposition we have made many times. We have said: free the prisoners, make a gesture of that type and we’ll respond in kind.
From that point of view, how do you see the dynamic of the negotiations being planned in Euskadi between ETA and the government?
The government has never seen negotiation as the solution to the national problem in Euskadi. In every case all it has talked about is a solution to “the problem of violence”, that is to say, to the problem of eliminating ETA and the popular Basque movement. For this all they have offered, with a thousand and one conditions, is the liberation of the patriotic prisoners. It has never been willing to do more. Now they aren’t even willing to do that. Reinsertion, which has always come to be the rotten carrot that they offer, has come to land in the garbage. Corcuera and the heads of the institutional parties are talking about ending that offer. What does that mean? It means that on the one hand the government’s plans to plant some confusion and divide the Basque popular movement have failed, but it also supposes the breaking of the positions of those who bet on that route as a possible parting point for a solution to the national problem in Euskadi. Now there is no other alternative but to grab the revindications by force, arguing for the combative unity in all the popular movements in Spain. This is the only viable response to the state terrorism and dirty war. They want us to surrender? Well, we’ll have to answer like Sandino told the yanquis in his day: “let your father surrender!”
And the near future, how do you see it?
As a future of resistance and struggle. It goes without saying that in good measure that future will be conditioned to the political prisoners struggle, to the support movement they are generating and the government’s attitude before it. For our part during this strike we have been very patient in waiting for a just solution that would end this painful conflict. But the whole world has been able to prove that good reasons mean nothing to this government. They are so closed and so fascist that only the guerrilla’s blows can make them recant.
But they can only continue their usual path, that of torture and state terrorism. But, in that case, let them take into account that the struggle will be long and even though they hide behind walls of uniforms and machineguns we will go for them, we will find them and we will do justice.
Our operational groups have used powerful explosive charges to attack two strategic points along the Rota—Zaragoza oil pipeline, one along the Rota—Moron section and the other along the Moron—Torrejon de Ardoz section. Throughout the day on 21 February, these explosions paralysed the supply of fuel to the military bases of Moron, Torrejon de Ardoz and Zaragoza, where Yankee airplanes bombing Iraq refuel.
For more than a month, US imperialists, using the most sophisticated weapons of mass destruction, have been exterminating the Iraqi people, destroying the country’s industry and its army. They have tried to justify this cowardly aggression with a long series of pretexts, but it is increasingly clear what their true intentions are: they want to raze Iraq to the ground. This would be the first stage in the escalation of aggression they are undertaking to provoke another world war that would allow them to impose their hegemony over the rest of the world.
But the military might of the United States and the initial advantage obtained with this war will not be sufficient for the other states to submit to its designs. The existence of the heterogeneous allied bloc offers, in this regard, a misleading appearance. Actually, the contradictions and conflicts among its members are becoming more and more acute: on the one hand, because the Yankee plans are in open contradiction with the interests and security of a good number of capitalist countries and, on the other, because in the medium and long term, they assault the very existence of the Soviet Union, China and the other Socialist countries, the true objective of the imperialist ambition. This situation is already causing the disintegration of the bloc. New alliances and new combat fronts will open in a relatively short period of time, because the aggression of the Pentagon assassins is placing the world on the threshold of a war with consequences more devastating than ever before in the history of mankind.
In Spain, the fascist and militaristic regime of Felipe Gonzalez, in line with its despicable and servile spirit, has submitted to Yankee demands and has placed the country at their service to be used as a platform for the imperialist aggression throughout the entire Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa. Our actions are aimed against this type of lackey policy and against its imperialist mentors, and our groups will continue to fight against it.
Our organization calls upon workers, campesinos, intellectuals and students, and democratic and anti-fascist organizations to prepare themselves in all spheres to confront the imperialist war with the revolutionary war. It calls upon soldiers and sailors to turn their weapons against their commands, to desert and go over to the ranks of the anti-fascist and anti-imperialist guerrilla forces. It calls upon everyone to organize the resistance to the capitalist State in all possible ways, to practice civil disobedience, to sabotage the acts, plans and facilities of the fascist army. It urges the promotion of the guerrilla and revolutionary war. Only in this way will it be possible to stop the war and prevent the impending massacre.
ARMED SOLIDARITY WITH THE ARAB AND MUSLIM PEOPLES! REVOLUTIONARY WAR AGAINST IMPERIALIST WAR!
DOWN WITH CAPITALISM!
WE SHALL BE VICTORIOUS!
Central Command of the Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre (GRAPO) [First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups]
From Resistencia, Vol. VI, No. 16 (October 1991)
In recent times, there has been a consensus among a number of friends and supporters of the Party in pointing to ‘the radical difference’ between the armed actions conducted by GRAPO and ETA in recent months. In reality, this difference has always existed and can be inferred not so much from their actions and operations, but from the different political and strategic concepts that guide the activities of both organizations. This also determines their character. ETA, as is well-known, is a military organization that claims to be the ‘vanguard’ of the Basque people in their struggle for independence, while GRAPO considers itself only the ‘armed wing’ of working and popular resistance, dedicated solely to ridding itself of the yoke imposed on it by the fascist and monopolistic State of the Spanish oligarchy. As to the rest, it is certain that GRAPO is accustomed to ‘focus’ more on the pursuit of its military objectives. GRAPO also tries to choose the most favourable political climate to carry out its actions. ETA, however, seems to be guided by the motto that ‘anything goes’.
However, we will refrain from resorting to a facile attack on the ‘indiscriminate’ nature of ETA’s actions or on the hypocritical expressions of regret regarding the innocent victims that they have created.
With regard to this matter, the position of our Party is clear and unwavering: first and foremost, we think that the real responsibility for those or the other many deaths lies with the government, the repressive forces, and the political parties that support them. At no time can that loss of human life and other unfortunate incidents be separated from the policy of oppression and pillage by the Spanish imperialist and fascist State with respect to the people and nations subjected to its rule. Those deaths cannot be separated from the dirty war, the torture, the lies, and irrational inflexibility demonstrated time and time again by the successive Governments of Franco and the monarchy in their attempt to deny the legitimate rights and demands of those peoples and nations.
The fact that we hold this view does not prevent us from recognizing and criticizing (as we have done on different occasions) the insularity of its nationalistic policy and all actions by ETA that we consider erroneous. In any case, this is what we must continue to stress, since it has been that policy, spelled out in what has been called the ‘strategy of negotiation’, that has led to the dead end that it now faces. Ill-conceived and unplanned ‘indiscriminate’ armed actions result from that situation, which has led it to political blindness, together with the diversionary and terrorist strategy practiced by the government. Today, the failure of that approach can be fully appreciated, which has only proven self-destructive (in addition to making headlines in the newspapers almost every day). And of course, it is not by this method that the organization will end this impasse.
Rather, the opposite will occur: by persisting in that type of activity, ETA will lose its credibility even among its own supporters and will continue to do great harm to the just cause that it is championing. It is no coincidence that the repressive forces have decided, at this very moment, to engage systematically in the physical elimination of Basque militants. It is because ETA itself has provided them with a golden opportunity to do so. This tragic mistake will have to be corrected as soon as possible if the organization really does not wish to continue playing the game that suits the government best.
It is abundantly clear that this is a path of no-escape and that recognition of this would be good. However, apparently the nationalists find it quite difficult to recognize this. Would they prefer to knock their heads, time and time again, against the wall of ‘negotiations’? We hope not. In any case, we cannot overlook those who, taking advantage ofthis opportunity, repeatedly recommend surrender and rush forward to occupy seats in Parliament. Has so much blood been shed and sacrifices made to come to this? This is the eternal contradiction with which the most radical Basque nationalist movement is struggling, on account of the absence of a political and strategic approach that seriously considers the defeat of the State and other forces interested in that same objective.
Another element that is very different, even contradictory, is the type of activity being conducted by GRAPO. We pointed it out at the beginning of this commentary: everyone has been able to attest to the care exercised by this organization with respect to its targets, while it seeks to have its open armed actions coincide with the most favorable political climate. We had a clear example of this during the imperialist aggression against Iraq. As will be recalled, at the critical moment of this aggression, GRAPO used powerful explosives to blow up the pipelines supplying fuel to the planes flying from Spanish territory to bomb the cities and people of that country. Another example was the execution of the doctor and torturer, Jose MuCioz Fernandez, who force-fed prisoners during the hunger strike that lasted more than a year, or the blowing-up of the Chalet of Galavis, the former Director General of Penitentiary Institutions, who was responsible for the death of the militant from our Party, Juan Jose Crespo Galende, during another prolonged hunger strike. We could cite hundreds of other examples.
All this has helped the mass movement considerably and has undoubtedly contributed to the heightening of its political awareness. On other occasions, we have explained that this strategy is part of a general strategy aimed at condemning injustice, weakening the regime of the oligarchy, building revolutionary forces, and winning the support of the workers with a view to giving greater impetus to the struggle. This is what is defined as the ‘line of resistance’, which makes our Party appeal to workers and other sectors of the population. GRAPO follows that line. Therefore, at no time in its already long history of revolutionary armed struggle has it engaged in actions that could be considered harmful to the masses and their political movement. It has not carried out any action of that kind nor will it do so in the future, as long as a just political and military line is followed, in accordance with the interests of the people and the revolution.
Eva Alonso Arce was arrested May 26, 1979 at a Spanish Civil Guard police checkpoint near Valencia, During the ten days that she remained under arrest in Madrid she was brutally tortured. Today, she has been in prison over twenty years in the prisons of Yeserias, Carabanchel, and Sevilla 11, from which she will be released in June 1999.
Over the past 20 years, what have been the worst and best moments you have had to go through?
It is difficult to choose, but perhaps the hardest experiences that I have lived through have been the two hungerstrikes to the death that the prisoners of the PCE (r) (Spanish Communist Party – reconstituted) and GRAPO have had to carry out. The first was in 1981, against the extermination regime in the prison of Herrera de la Mancha and the second was in 1990 around the regroupment of the prisoners. The deaths of Kepa and Sevi were the worst moments inside a very hard situation, and still today, just the memory of it makes me tremble. . As for good moments, I would emphasize small, but very important, things, such as family visits, meeting comrades again after years of dispersion, or activities that I can do in the community.
Is the suffering greater for women in prison, or, as militants, are the attacks and responses the same?
The repression is maybe one of the few areas in which we reach true equality. The key is that we are not women or men, we are imprisoned militants. The repressive strategies are the same for everybody as are the targets that they are after with them. Of course, we confront this in a militant manner, and this depends on your commitment, not your gender.
Have there been, over the course of the past 20 years, many changes in the methods of repression in the prisons?
They have been perfecting them, overall, after building the maxi-prisons and the policy of dispersion. They have been exploiting all the possibilities of isolation and have been doing their utmost against our movement. All this, together with the standard searches, beatings and provocations, is doing in that the repression in the prisons is growing in vileness compared to what we had 20 years ago. The wardens, on the whole, also take part, but, individually, there are some that make your life hell, some that merely do their “job”, and, less often, those that try to make your life a bit sweeter.
How important is it to be grouped together in one prison?
Absolutely everything. It is important politically to be able to organize inside prison, to be able to increase your activities with your comrades, to defend yourself against repression and to undertake the struggle effectively. It is important on a personal level as well; because you have people that see the world as you do, with many things in common with which you can always support yourself. Prison is a hostile environment, the only things not hostile are your comrades. It has been proved that it is possible to survive years and years without them, as a person and as a militant, and that is a great victory, but it is infinitely harder.
What is the role of family and friends in giving support to the prisoners, and especially around their dispersion?
In prison, any amount of support, solidarity or consideration has an incredible value, and it is worth much more than on the streets. It is not what makes your want to resist, but it makes it easier to live in prison. To get some mail, to get a visit from somebody, these are things that can make you smile at a time when you are feeling sad or lonely.
How were the peace talks between the Spanish government and GRAPO viewed from prison?
With certain expectations, but little worry, because there were very important matters on the table. But beyond the expectations, I viewed it with distrust towards the State, it is obvious that its intentions to solve the problems peacefully are void. They trust in the repression and in force to exterminate any struggle or groups that faces them, and that fact makes this kind of process always unsuccessful. In our case this was clearly proved. There was never negotiation, only talks towards negotiation, and when the government had to put forward its intentions, it only tried to bring us to surrender.
What is the situation of the GRAPO prisoners, especially those who are ill and have already served 3/4 of their sentence?
We have four comrades who are trying to obtain their freedom due to the severity of their illnesses. Two have been imprisoned for 17 years and the other two for 14 years, so they are not going to be able to help the movement much when they get out. With regards to freedom for those who have served 3/4 of their sentence, there are quite a few of us who have exceeded that years ago. I accomplished that in June 1994. None of us in this situation have ever been released on parole.
What do you think of the support that the Basque people give to the prisoners?
The struggle to support the prisoners in the Basque country has always seemed admirable to me. I do not think that we can ask for more courage and initiative then what our people have with their prisoners. Nevertheless, I do not think that the time for struggle and sacrifice is over, and I fear that we will have to restart strongly all sorts of initiatives to approach the prisoners of the Basque country, or better yet, get them free. The Spanish state does not seem to have any intention of solving this politically, it leaves us with the struggle as the only way.
After these long years, you must have felt low at times when a personal way out of prison and suffering might have been a priority.
No, never. Of course, over these past 20 years I have had very tough moments, when I felt too weak to stick to my own commitment, but I always knew that there was a line I would not cross, a line that situates me alongside the people, and to cross that line would be to put myself in front of them. Loyalty to my ideas and to the people gave me the strength to resist, and now I will leave prison having a clear conscience.
How do you imagine your life outside of prison?
I entered prison when I was 17 years old, and I am leaving prison 20 years later. Mostly, I want to meet my people again, I have a lot to learn. After that, I will see.
… working on a second GRAPO dossier … here’s some bits and pieces that Arm The Spirit either published or distributed (or planned to) … some found online, some found on disc …
It has been a fascinating and moving experience for me to become familiar with the revolutionary struggle for socialism in Spain. This movement is important in that it is a unique and highly developed class struggle in Western Europe which threatens the fascist/monopolist oligarchies and the NATO alliance.
The Spanish State is a fascist dictatorship imposed by Franco and sustained today by Felipe Gonzalez as a representative of the revisionist/reformist Socialist Workers Party. In Spain, all the wealth is concentrated in the hands of the oligarchy. The peasants were forced to abandon their lands and move to the urban industrial areas, creating an increase in class consciousness among the workers and popular masses.
The workers are confronted with an unprecedented economic crisis, continued instability, exploitation and increased repression by a militarized police apparatus. Many workers, miners, students, peasants, etc. have been killed, seriously injured, tortured and/or incarcerated during the course of this struggle.
In response to this situation, a strong workers and mass movement, as well as an urban clandestine guerrilla struggle, has developed and grown quantitatively and qualitatively. It provides us with a refreshing revolutionary lesson in class warfare. It has in-dependently adopted, in accordance with its own economic and political reality, the combination of mass agitation/mobilization and the strategy of prolonged People’s War.
At the forefront of this struggle is the Spanish Communist Party (reconstituted), PCE(r), a Marxist/Leninist clandestine party which directs and organizes the workers and other oppressed classes for the seizure of power via the revolutionary road. The party openly advocates armed struggle and provides cadres for the October 1st Anti-Fascist Resistance Group, GRAPO, a Marxist Leninist armed clandestine formation. The GRAPO represents the continuity of the anti-fascist armed struggle initiated during the insurrection of Asturia in 1934, and a response to the fascist violence of today.
On September 27, 1975, in an attempt to destroy the mass movement, five Spanish patriots were assassinated. Four days later on October 1st, with the fascist forces intent on celebrating these assassinations, four policemen were killed in a courageous act of revolutionary war by armed commandos of the GRAPO, hence their name.
Due to the fascist and dictatorial nature of the Spanish State, no legal revolutionary organizations are allowed to function. But the PCE(r) and GRAPO have survived this permanent state of war and represent a force to be reckoned with. They have exposed and defeated all revisionist/ reformist schemes to deviate the revolution. The politics of non-capitulation have given rise to militant workers’ strikes, sabotage, the kidnapping of factory bosses to obtain workers’ demands, civil disobedience, electoral boycotts and continued armed actions.
The most vivid expression of this militancy took place on March 12, 1987, when workers of the Reinosa Steel Factory went on strike to protest the announced dismissal of 463 workers. In the ensuing confrontation between special units of the Civil Guard and workers, the workers disarmed 30 Civil Guardsmen and 15 were held prisoners until they were exchanged for photo identification cards taken from members of the factory committee. The so-called Socialist Workers Party and the Civil Guard immediately responded by establishing a state of siege at Reinosa with tanks, armored personnel carriers and mobilization of troops.
In order to terrorize the people into submission, searches of houses, hospitals, stores and churches were conducted. Many people were brutally beaten, detained and one worker was killed.
Another example is the combative spirit of women in Puerto Real, who demonstrate every week in support of workers’ demands for jobs and social change. In spite of police violence, the demonstrations continue.
As a result of increased mass and armed resistance the Spanish government, following the worldwide counter-insurgency strategy of US imperialism and using NATO as a springboard, has developed a special anti-terrorist unit and laws to destroy this revolution. The laws directed against the militants of the armed organizations and the outlawed Spanish Communist Party, PCE(r) apply with equal force to workers who set up barricades, defiant students, etc. Under the guise of combatting terrorism, citizens are rounded up, entire communities are put under military siege and many are incarcerated for being sympathetic to the PCE(r) and GRAPO.
The real socialists are the hundreds of courageous men and women incarcerated in Spanish extermination camps (prisons); Herrera de la Mancha, Caraban-chel, Acebuche, Ocalia, etc. under the most inhumane conditions imaginable.
The prisoners are subjected to twenty-four hour isolation, beatings, torture, 20 minute family visits, restrictions on correspondence and books, constant vigilance and harassment.
Even under these horrendous conditions, the political prisoners of the PCE(r) and GRAPO maintain a spirit of struggle and resistance. They have initiated hunger strikes protesting the conditions of confinement and Juan Jose Crespo-Galende even sacrificed his life. Collectively, they have written various theoretical works while in prison which advance Marxist/Leninist and Maoist thought; such as Problems in the Construction of Communism, Texts for Discussion Among the Revolutionary European Movement and Philosophical Problems of Modern Science, among others. These works and their example nourish the workers’ movement.
It is in this context that 18 political prisoners were recently transferred to various prisons throughout Spain. This is an attempt to destroy the growing solidarity movement in the streets and the unified resistance movement within the prison. These patriots continue the revolutionary tradition of the Spanish working and popular masses. They are representatives of the people’s consciousness in arms.
As revolutionary Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, New Afrikans, Native Americans, etc., it is our internationalist duty to unconditionally support the struggle for socialism in Spain and amnesty for all political prisoners. We can break the isolation of this movement by writing to the prisoners, sending letters of protest to the Spanish government, subscribing to the publications Amnesty, Area Critica, Resistance (PCE(r) and by purchasing books written by the prisoners.
The 50+ political prisoners of GRAPO and the PCE(r) represent a fraction of an estimated 1000 militants of revolutionary organizations in Spanish prisons. The majority of these political prisoners are from the Basque struggle (Euskadi) and its armed organization ETA. There are also many prisoners representing the Catalan and Galician nationalist movements.
The struggle for amnesty for all political prisoners has its roots in the Popular front that fought to defend the Second Republic from Franco and the fascist counter-revolution at the outset of WWII. The character and demands of this broad-based movement have changed with the ebb and flow of the national, working -class and popular struggles of the past 40 years. At the core, however, there is the mass demand for real democracy against fascist social and political structures institutionalized by Franco and continued in revised forms by his political successors into the current period.
The 1960’s in Spain saw a revival of the mass movements that paralleled similar developments in the rest of Europe and the US. By the mid-70’s the Franco government was facing a rapidly developing crisis born of this mass struggle and the increase of revolutionary armed resistance. The reaction was one of open terror: in the summer of 1975 seven people are murdered by the regime and 3000 more are arrested. Franco’s government declares the first “anti-terrorist laws” (which have remained intact and useful for each successive regime, including that of the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers Party – PSOE). These laws are used to conduct a series of summary trials which end in the
execution by firing squad of 5 anti-fascists on September 27, 1975. On October 1st, as Franco publically celebrated the executions, 4 of his henchmen were assassinated in four different places in Madrid. GRAPO – los Grupos Revolucionarios Anti-fascistas, Primero de Octubre – takes its name from this date. These actions put a brake on the remaining executions Franco had planned.
After Franco’s death and the coronation of King Juan Carlos, a “pardon” is granted to some political prisoners but it excludes the majority, particularly ETA combatants. Those who remain in prison are considered “criminals and terrorists.” This maneuver gives rise to the first “Gestoras Pro Amniztia” in Euskadi. These are independent mass organizations based on popular assemblies whose main objective is to struggle for the prisoners’ liberation. The underground organization Socorro Rojo (Red Aid) also comes into existence which grew to have an important role in the solidarity and support movement for all political prisoners in the Spanish state. The pro-amnesty demonstrations at the end of 1975 are the largest ever organized against the fascist regime.
July 18, 1976 On the anniversary of fascist rising against the Second Republic GRAPO bombs 30 different targets across the Spanish state, destroying government buildings and fascist monuments.
September 27, 1976 7 general strike takes place in Euskadi demanding Total Amnesty. From this moment on ,the struggle for amnesty is totally integral to the mass political movement and armed resistance.
December 11, 1976 GRAPO “arrests” State Council President Jose Maria de Oriol y Urquijo, demanding in return the liberation of 14 political prisoners. One month later Lt. General Emilio Villaescusa Quilis,President of the Military Justice High Council is also “arrested”. The regime that said that there were no political prisoners has to retreat and publically promise new measures of reform in the conditions of the political prisoners. Pro-amnesty demonstrations of tens of thousands take place; demonstrators are murdered by police.
March 1977 The government announces a new pardon which solves nothing as many fighters remain in prison. In one week in May, 7 people are murdered by police in Euskadi fighting for amnesty.
October 1977 Under popular pressure, a broader amnesty is granted by the regime. GRAPO and PCE (r) militants and guerrillas remain inside. Days after the last of the Basque patriots are released, others are re-arrested, others are murdered by the government’s clandestine death squad, the GAL operating in Spain and France.
1978 The government sets up special prisons for the political prisoners in reaction to their organizing social prisoners around their own demands for pardons and humane conditions. Inside the special prisons, the GRAPO and POE(r) militants collectivize themselves to achieve dignified conditions of life. They organize political study, education, crafts and work. The government seeks to eliminate this mode of living through various means including dispersal of the prisoners’ collectives and the use of isolation. Hungerstrikes become a weapon of protest and collective self-defense.
March 1978 A political prisoner is murdered following prolonged torture in Carabanchel prison in Madrid. Days later, GRAPO assassinates the General Director of Penitentiary Institutions.
August 1978 GRAPO/PCE(r) political prisoners go on hungerstrike at Soria against isolation. At the same time guerrilla organizations carry out armed actions in solidarity, including the execution of 2 policemen.The government temporarily reverses itself. In 1979 isolation is attempted again and met with hungerstrikes and resistance.
End of 1979-80 Following the escape of 5 GRAPO leaders from Zamora prison in 1979, the regime takes the opportunity to once again enforce dispersal and isolation of the political prisoners. Many are sent to the notorious prison at Herrera de la Mancha, built according to the “Stammheim model” of West Germany.
1981 Protests and struggle reach a climax in the Long hungerstrike that ended in the death of communist militant Juan Jose Crespo Galende. Guerrillas execute an army general and 3 policemen. The strike ends with an important victory for the prisoners in terms of their regained political status and radical improvements in their conditions including their return to collectives. During this period there were also numerous struggles by the Gestoras Pro-Amnistia in Euskadi on behalf of Basque militants in Spanish prisons and against the extradition of others from France. As the Gestoras proliferated in Euskadi, the supporters of the GRAPO/ PCE (r) prisoners consolidated the AFAPP-ACPG (Families and Friends of the Political Prisoners – and Galician AFAPP)
In recent years the Spanish PSOE government has followed the initiatives of other NATO states such as Italy and the FRG in escalating repression against the prisoners and their supporters while trying to induce defections from the rank of the political prisoners under a policy of “social reinsertion.” “Amnesty” is offered for those who renounce their politics and associations. All but a tiny minority of the political prisoners have refused these terms and their movements on the street reject the entire premise .
End of 1987 PSOE moves to break up collectives at Soria (the “Karl Marx Commune”) and Carabanchel prisons dispersing 18 prisoners to other prisons around the country. The prisoners respond with a hungerstrike. The government relents by agreeing to maintain some of the collective living conditions and improving other areas of prisoners’ existence.
October 1988 The government breaks its agreements. Gains from the ’87 hungerstrike are withdrawn at Almeria. Women prisoners are beaten at Castellon prison; conditions worsen at Carabanchel and Soria. The regime tries to pressure all political prisoners to accept their policy of ‘ “social reinsertion”.
August 21, 1989 GRAPO members Fernando Hierro Chomon and Antonio Pedrero Donoso at “El Acebuche” prison in Almeria begin a ‘chain’ hungerstrike against isolation and for collective living conditions for the political prisoners. Prisoners at Almeria had been held in isolation cells for over a year. Visiting was reduced to 10 minutes a week with family members only
GRAPO, PCE(r) and BMA political prisoners are dispersed to 83 out of a total 87 prisons in the Spanish State.
September 5, 1989 GRAPO / PCE(r) prisoners at Soria and other prisons join the hungerstrike in solidarity with their comrades at Almeria.
September 21,1989 PSOE government faced with elections, promises to allow the
hungerstriking prisoners to maintain collective living conditions.
November 9-10, 1989 Following elections the government denies the existence of any agreements. All 16 prisoners who participated in the 30-day hungerstrike are dispersed to other prisons. When Carmen Cayetano arrives at Seville II Jail she is tied to a bed and forcibly stripped by guards. Others are beaten.
THE CURRENT HUNGERSTRIKE
November 30, 1999 GRAPO / PCE(r) political prisoners at Soria prison declare themselves on hungerstrike demanding a return to dignified, collective living conditions.
December 1, 1989 All GRAPO/PCE(r) prisoners across the country join the hungerstrike except for those who are sick or infirm.
December 16, 1989 Basque political prisoners around the country declare themselves on hungerstrike, demanding reunification in one prison in South Euskadi.
December 17, 1989 70 – 80 former ETA political prisoners begin a solidarity fast in a Cathedral in Bilbao.
December 23, 1989 Mothers of 6 political prisoners sit in and occupy the offices of the Red Cross in Madrid to call attention to the situation of their children. At this time 16 of the prisoners are in critical condition. Controversy builds in the judiciary over the Ministry of Justice’s actions of ordering prison doctors to force-feed the prisoners. Two judges will not permit it so long as the prisoners are conscious. Many prison doctors
and technicians will not go along with the force-feeding.
December 29, 1989 GRAPO assassinates 2 Spanish Civil Guard in Gijon, demanding
that the political prisoners be returned to collective living conditions.
December 31,1989 In a demonstration called for by the Basque Gestoras Pro-Amnistia, 10,000-12,000 people march on the maximum security prison at Herrera de la Mancha near Real. They demand amnesty/reunification for the Basque political prisoners and declare solidarity with the GRAPO/ PCE(r) hungerstrikers.
January 10, 1990 Lawyers for the political prisoners file a petition with the European Parliament requesting that it intervene and mediate between the government and the prisoners. They specifically ask that the E.P. pressure the Spanish government to desist with force-feeding, calling it torture and an attack on one’s dignity and physical integrity.
In the FRG, the Relatives Committee (Family and Friends of the political prisoners of the RAF and Resistance) occupy the information office of the European Parliament in Bonn. They demand that the E.P. intervene on behalf of the GRAPO/PCE(r) and Basque political prisoners. This continues a solidarity campaigns initiated by the RAF prisoners themselves when 2 began a solidarity fast.
Many small demonstrations are organized and carried out by the Gestoras Pro-Amnistia and AFAPP in cities across the Spanish state during January and February. The Ministry of Justice explicitly asks the major Spanish newspapers and electronic media not to cover the strike or the solidarity activities. The press generally refuses and the request itself becomes a minor scandal. The PSOE regime is intransigent; they order force-feeding
of the prisoners which is carried out by strapping the prisoners to their beds, sedating them with drugs.
As of mid-January the mothers continue their occupation of the Red Cross’ offices in Madrid. The Director of the Prisons refuses to see them. The AFB- PP is accused in the media of instigating the political prisoners to continue the strike. Lawyers for some of the prisoners are prevented from seeing their clients because the debilitated prisoners
cannot walk to the visiting room under their own power.
February 12, 1990 Four prisoners are in a coma. All of the 58 prisoners on hungerstrike are in life-threatening condition with a very high likelihood of irreversible damage. They are being force-fed with liquids for 3 or 4 days and then the force-feeding is interrupted.
Many doctors and medical personnel are refusing to participate in this kind of torture.
Beginning of March 1990 After 92 days of hungerstrike, all of the prisoners have been force-fed, They are moved back and forth between the prisons and the hospitals according to their condition.
The PSOE regime maintains its hard- line stance: no negotiations. The Spanish “democracy” has no political prisoners.
The following interview has been taken from the July/August (1991) issue of the Spanish magazine Area Critica.
Monika Berberich, ex-RAF member, spent 17 years in Moabit prison in West Germany, accused of various armed actions. During this time she participated in 9 hungerstrikes with German political prisoners who have always struggled against isolation and for their regrouping.
Area Critica: What have the living conditions been like in the prisons you have been in?
Monika Barberich: Most of my time in prison I have been in isolation, totally isolated or in small groups. Only for a short period was I in normal prison conditions with common prisoners, but the last 8 years I spent completely isolated in a maximum security unit.
AC: What can you highlight of the German prison regimen?
MB: Isolation is the cruelest form of torture for the political prisoners. The German state tries to present an image of normal conditions but in reality, even though several prisoners may be in the same prison they can’t even see each other. All contact among them, even with the social prisoners, is cut off by the prison administration and moreso when there are guerrilla attacks on the outside, which shows that the political prisoners continue to be hostages of the state. As to our communications with the outside, all visits with our family members are monitored by prison officials as well as by the political police; our mail is censored as are all types of writings, be they books, newspapers or photocopies to the point that in Bruchal and Stammheim prison nothing gets in.
AC: You were in prison in 1977, during the so-called “suicides” of the leaders of the RAF (they were Gudrun Ensslin, Jan-Carl Raspe and Andreas Baader – ed.). What can you tell us about that?
MB: With these murders the German government wanted to paralyse the guerrilla on the outside because, as the very government said at the time, the Schleyer kidnapping and other actions that year were the greatest challenge to the German state since the end of WW2. The murders were a response to the guerrilla’s attacks, a response which the German state hoped would annihilate, once and for all, revolutionary politics, as the prisoners that they killed were very important cadres, for the development of resistance on the inside as well as for the comrades on the outside who, precisely with that kidnapping were trying to free them.
AC: After that was there any attempt by the government to finish off all the political prisoners by these means?
MB: They never did so in such a strong manner or in a confrontation like that. The only comparison is what they did in 1981 during the hungerstrike when they killed Sigurd Debug. With that they wanted to set the prisoners back from their resistance posture. But in the end, we saw they didn’t get what they wanted with the massacre of 1977, as they didn’t try it again in that manner. They changed their tactics. Their goal with RAF militants was no longer to arrest them but to kill them before and thus avoid the problems of resistance in prison.
AC: It is known that West Germany has “exported” its prison system. Here in Spain the conditions of political prisoners are very similar to those in West Germany. What do you think of this?
MB: I think it has its context in the economic restructuring of Western Europe before unification in 1992 and in the same measure that economic means are unified, so are repressive policies. The existence in Spain of collectives of political prisoners was very important for the German political prisoners because it was a living example of what was possible and how it was possible. And, on the other hand, for the German state, it’s very important that there be no visible resistance by prisoners either in their own country or elsewhere in the Common Market. For the 1992 project absolute passivity is needed on all parts and the prisoners’ struggle has always been very important for the development of the revolutionary movements outside. That’s how it is in Germany and think that’s how it is in Spain as well.
AC: What would you highlight of the struggle you maintained against the extermination policy?
MB: The hungerstrikes, because they have been and continue to be the only way to struggle together despite being separated. And even though they have not gained their basic objectives of regrouping, conditions always improved after hungerstrikes, for us as prisoners as well as on the outside, because in each hungerstrike there was an important mobilization, each one of our hunger-strikes has been a political offensive which has allowed us to advance the resistance movement.
AC: How have those positive results been seen?
MB: First, in gaining the solidarity and the support of different social groups for the strike’s objectives, but also the fact that with the hungerstrikes we have raised awareness that isolation is torture, that the government can no longer justify the application of isolation and that they are isolating the prisoners, which has been denied by the government for many years. This is clear now for various collectives and social groups, including many people who reject the armed struggle but who recognize the demand for regrouping as a necessary response and politically just response to the isolation policy.
AC: What do you think of the struggle that the prisoners of the PCE(r) and the GRAPO’s are realizing in Spain now?
MB: I think that the struggle that is carried out in one country, as it is in Spain now, has a great importance for the conditions in other countries and I would like to quote what a German political prisoner said, referring to the struggle of the Spanish prisoners: “If the German prisoners in the last strike had gained regrouping, the Spanish prisoners wouldn’t have to fight for it now.” From then the prisoners of the RAF and other resistance movements have supported the hungerstrike by the GRAPO and PCE(r) prisoners, with chain hungerstrikes of a week in duration and have actually restarted this initiative in view of the length of this struggle.
AC: Why are you in Madrid?
MB: Because since I got out of prison I have continued to struggle for the regrouping of the RAF prisoners and parting from the importance which the struggle here in Spain has for the situation in Germany, I have participated as part of an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist resistance group which in Germany has developed various activities several times in support of the struggle of the Spanish prisoners. And coming here is part of that activity.
AC: What message do you have for the resisting prisoners in Spain?
MB: I don’t have a “message” with chosen words because I know from experience that when you are in prison struggling with only your strength against so much adversity. Knowing that outside as well as inside there are people who support our struggle is the best message we can get. That is why we are here and I think that is how the prisoners on hungerstrike will understand it.
15) The death of Jose Manuel Sevillano
In the first week of January 1990 they took Jose Manuel Sevillano from Soria prison to the Prison Hospital because of his situation of extreme weakness. On the 25th of January they transferred him again from there to the Gregorio Maronon Hospital in Madrid, where Milagros Caballero, Carmen Munoz, Rosario Narvaez, Jose Antonio Ramon Teijelo, Buenaventura Garcia, Ramon Foncubierta and Antonio Lago were already. They stayed there until the 1st of March. And during all this time they were force fed. Teijelo had a grave general infections (septicaemia) and they had to remove liquid from his spinal column and treat him with anti-biotics. On the 1st of March the prisoners managed to tear the tubes out, and in reprisal they were all transferred once more to the Prison Hospital
The police gave the order, once more they were informed of the facts, since the doctors were obliged to inform them of all incidents. In the Gregorio Maranon Hospital they did not respect their privacy, and they had to be in their room with the doors open so that the police could constantly watch over them, and on occasion the police went in, despite the opposition of the doctors.
The police progressively took over the hospitals, and began to focus on Jose Manuel Sevillano almost from the start, because of his firmness in pursuing the hunger strike up to its ultimate consequences: instead of transferring him in an ambulance, they drove him in a Civil Guard van in the worst conditions imaginable. In the Prison Hospital once again they plugged the force feeding tubes into the prisoners towards the middle of March, although they managed to negotiate with the prison wardens about the way it was to be administered. In order to avoid keeping them permanently tied to their beds with a plastic tube through the nose, they agreed that the food could be administered orally: a prison orderly brought it to them in a plastic bottle filled with a serum called Pentaset; in the presence of the orderly, Jose Manuel Sevillano pretended to be taking it, and when he went off, he spat the contents into the toilet. In Zaragoza, food was also administered through the nose, which resulted in Olegario Sanchez Corrales suffering from a bad case of gastroenteritis. For this reason, together with his other comrades (Jose Balmon and Francisco Cela), he took off the tubes on March 13th in the hospital, and in reprisal they were transferred to Daroca and Torrero prisons. The return to the prisons led to numerous infections due to the extreme weakness of the prisoners combined with the dirtiness and the character of the prisons. Nonetheless, the media manipulation did not stop for a second, trying to minimise the gravity of the situation and to discredit the prisoners on hunger strike. For example, Diario 16 of Aragon presented the facts on the 23rd of March as if the prisoners had gone back on hunger strike after a break, eating a ‘stew’ on the day they left the Miguel Servet hospital. Events accelerated when the prison warders discovered the extreme weakness of Jose Manuel Sevillano in a medical report, and forcibly put a tube through his nose in order to feed him and reanimate his general condition. On April 18, together with the other prisoners, Jose Manuel Sevillano again refused force feeding and managed to tear out the tube. The management of the Prison Hospital, instead of sending them to the Gregorio Maranon Hospital, transferred Sevillano to Meco prison where he was put in the infirmary. It was a forcible measure aimed at pressurising him and exhausting all the possibilities for repression: despite the gravity of the situation, those who refused force feeding were not transferred to hospitals, but rather to prisons. Also, they transferred Buenaventura Garcia to Segovia, Juan Manuel Perez Hernandez to Ocana, Josefina Alarcon and others to Avila. A few hours after entering the infirmary at Meco, Jose Manuel Sevillano had his first heart attack, which the government tried to hush up so it would not get out; they urgently revived him and were obliged to transfer him once more to the Prison Hospital on April 25, where they force fed him through the nose. There he was put into a room together with Juan Manuel Perez Hernandez, Fernando Fernandez and Luis Cabezas Mato; the majority of the other prisoners were in the other rooms, but without the ability to communicate with each other. On May 12, Sevillano had a second heart attack, and the doctors declared him dead, but despite this they urgently transferred him to the Gregoria Maranon Hospital in order to revive him. He was in a coma and in the hospital they artificially kept him alive so the government could gain some time and prepare for the death, which could only happen when they considered it opportune. At the same time, they let out the news of his death in order to demoralise and disorient the movement on the outside. In Jose Manuel Sevillano’s village, Marchena, an Andalucian area of day labourers and agricultural workers, special troops from the Civil Guard took up positions and went into the homes of the most militant people in order to intimidate them in advance of what was about to happen, and to ensure there was a silent funeral attended only by the closest relatives. When Sevillano died the government could not prevent many people from gathering at the cemetery in Marchena in order to pay their homage to him, followed by demonstrations, meetings and other forms of protest in many cities and villages throughout Spain.
16) Political Summing Up of the Hunger Strike
After the death of Sevillano and the subsequent execution of an army Colonel in Valladolid by GRAPO, the government was able to impose a complete silence in all the media, and the solidarity movement, exhausted after so many months of struggle, also entered a period of ebb. The initiative was lost, tiredness and even demoralisation appeared in the face of the government’s intransigence and the lack of prospects. But the hunger strike still went on for many more months. The prisoners were continuing on the verge of death. Juan Manuel Perez Hernandez also had a heart attack and went into coma, with the doctors managing to revive him. Nonetheless, he suffered clinical death, and this paralysed the flow of blood to his brain, which remained seriously damaged. The facts were then carefully hushed up by the prison wardens. It was his own comrades who noticed the cerebral lesions which he began to suffer from. A prison medical report produced many years later in Tenerife prison described his situation as follows: “He remained in the intensive care unity in a state of coma and under parenteral nutrition. This parenteral nutrition was maintained until he returned to the Madrid II prison centre, and it was necessary to use mechanical means in order to maintain the parenteral nutrition. However, the feeding tube was withdrawn by the intern himself, as a result of which, given the poor food, there were biochemical and neurological problems. This situation lasted until March 1991.” Juan Manuel Perez suffered permanent consequences of this, and had to remain in prison because the General Directorate of Prisons, failing to implement its own laws, refused to set him free, despite the fact that his medical condition is progressive and gets worse just with the passage of time, the bad conditions in which he is kept in prison and the lack of medical treatment. He is suffering from Wernike-Korsakov encephalopatia because of a deficit in vitamin B1. Other prisoners who continued on hunger strike until the end are now in wheel-chairs with identical or similar medical conditions, as is the case with Milagros Caballero, Ramon Foncubierta, Luis Cabezas and Sebastian Rodrigues Veloso.
Faced with the extremely grave situation of all the prisoners, on the 8th of February the leadership of the PCE(r) order them to stop the hunger strike which they had been carrying out for the last 14 months. The final resolution of the hunger strike had to come from outside the prison. Because of the state they were in and because of their dispersion, the political prisoners could not take the decision themselves. The exhaustion of the solidarity movement also weight on the decision; the solidarity movement had to regain the initiative under other conditions which the continuation of the hunger strike itself could not open up. The government would only have given in if faced with many deaths among the political prisoners, which was “too high a price, which we are not in any way willing to pay,” said the PCE(r). But in addition, forced feeding would have kept them alive, even though they were really no more than corpses, permanently subject to the most grave physical suffering. “There is a limit,” the PCE(r) stated, “which we should not exceed: sacrifice must not be turned into something sterile and even contrary to the ends which were being pursued from the start of the hunger strike; it cannot lead to a death which was guaranteed in advance.”
In March the Central Committee published a communique concerning the hunger strike. The initial evaluation which the PCE(r) leadership made at that time was as follows:
“Nothing has been extracted from the government, we have lost comrade Sevi, and the health of the rest of the comrades is now considerably damaged. But the State and the reactionary forces which defend it have not been able to destroy us nor to force the imprisoned comrades into demoralisation, capitulation or repentance, as they had intended. Their political and moral defeat are more than evident. In contrast, the prisoners retain their morale and their combative spirit intact. Furthermore, through this struggle they have won the recognition and the support of a large section of the workers.
“However, we have to recognise that this support is not yet enough, since it has not been translated into a conscious and organised political struggle to impose the prisoners demands, amnesty and many other demands and rights on the State. This is the direction of our struggle; this is the path we are on, and we will continue fighting on it without tiring. The recently ended hunger strike represented an important step in this direction, and even if, momentarily, the class enemy may have imposed himself by force, he has not defeated us on any terrain. On the contrary, he has lost the battle for public opinion, his real character has been unmasked, he has found himself obliged to show his complete lack of morals and his impotence in the face of those who dare to struggle.”
Afterwards, a public debate opened up in the PCE(r) press in order to analyse the experience and make an evaluation. On October 1991, issue 16 of the publication “Resistencia” published an article entitled “A necessary debate” which summarised the discussions, which both the prisoners and the clandestine militants had participated, along with those who had been in solidarity with the hunger strike, including organisations and friends abroad. Thus, for example, the Editorial Board of “Il Bolletini” distributed a communique in which it concluded: “The Spanish political prisoners have succeeded in concluding this battle maintaining intact their class position politically and their revolutionary steadfastness, in this way contributing to unmasking the real character of the Spanish State.”
For its part, in its evaluation, the PCE(r) stated that the initial starting point of the hunger strike had not been deliberately chosen they them, but had been imposed as a result of the provocation by the government, which then took the initiative. In this way, the government tried to distract the PCE(r) from the plans they had drawn up to reorganise and accumulate forces. Once again the political prisoners were no more than hostages which they tried to use in order to enter into a struggle of “body for body”, in which the Party would find itself obliged to expend all its energies, and so the state would have the opportunity to eradicate them in an unequal battle.
But if the Party could not let itself fall into the trap, nor could it abandon the prisoners to their fate, because this would amount to leaving the government’s hands free to rid itself of them. But at the same time the brunt of the struggle had to fall on the shoulders of the prisoners themselves. The government’s plans went beyond the narrow limits of the prisons: it was a matter of a strategic project in which what was at stake was the whole counter-insurgency policy of massive extermination and reintegration. In order to tilt the balance in favour of the prisoners, it was necessary to build a broad movement of solidarity among the working class and other sectors of the people, a movement with an open character and with the perspective of getting the prisoners out of jail.
Given the character of the struggle itself, the government could not retreat, since that would have grave political repercussions for the whole system. In the first place, they would have been forced onto the defensive; the example of firmness and resistance on the part of the prisoners and the observation that it is possible to make the government retreat, would serve as an example and a stimulus for the working class and the other sectors of the people who are crushed by the exploitative and repressive policies of the State. This would have meant throwing overboard all that they had managed to achieve over ten years, in would have taken them back once again to 1977. What lay behind the government’s intransigence was not its strength, but rather its weakness and its crisis. But at the time, they would not come out of the crisis by backing off except as a last resort; before that, they would exhaust everything within their repressive arsenal. The result of this was that there was a complete closing of ranks by all parliamentary groups in opposition to the simplest and straightforward demands. They were prepared to pay any political price rather than concede the bare minimum to the political prisoners. The prisoners firmness was not enough, nor were the guerrilla actions: only a powerful movement with a mass political character would have been able to force them to do so.
The government tried to make the prisoners repent, and to divide them, but all its attempts in the end backfired against them. The failure of its repressive plans ended consensus and all the anti-terrorist pacts, with the PP (Partido Popular) and PSOE confronting each other, and these in turn confronting the nationalist parties. The dirty war also backfired against the people who sponsored it, who got caught up in numerous trials for assassination, membership of a terrorist group and misappropriation of public funds. The PSOE ended up drowning in a sea of corruption and scandals of all kinds.
On the 31st of March 1992, a number of failed attempts in Meco and Cartagena prisons, GRAPO militant Fernando Silva Sande escaped from Granada prison.
One of the last exploits of the social-fascists consisted in the reorganisation of the whole prison bureaucracy. They transferred the prisons from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of the Interior, thus bringing to an end the work they started in 1987 with the policy of dispersion. The police took control of the prisons in order to persecute the revolutionaries even within their dungeons. The prophesies of Garcia Valdes were this accomplished: if the prison reforms failed, they would have to put someone from the military, the Civil Guard or a lieutenant colonel from the police at the head of the General Directorate of Prisons. They also elevated the administrative rank of the General Directorate of Prisons, transforming it into a Secretary of State, which changed it into a department which was directly dependent on the government and subject to clear political direction, which was necessary for managing the role of the political prisoners as hostages with respect to the revolutionary organisations which they belonged to. Within the new prison organisational structure a “political cell” was formed to direct the repression, made up in part of policemen, Civil Guards and secret agents from CESID specialising in the anti-subversion struggle. This “political cell” was in constant contact with the subdirector of security in each prison, a post which had been newly created and which was the real political commissar of the prisons.
Immediately after the hunger strike, Antoni Asuncion created FIES (Internal Index of Special Investigation) in which each and every movement of the prisoners under his control was recorded: letters, visits, family situation, punishments, personal evolution, etc. All the prisoners subjected to this regime are held in total isolation, transferred periodically from cell to cell and from prison to prison, their possessions are registered frequently, etc. In one of the circulars he sent out during the hunger strike, Commander Masa ordered the following: “In relation to the oral communications of the GRAPO prisoners subject to intervention, it has been noted, when the tapes are transcribed, that they are passing written messages, preventing in this way the audio-technical control of the communication. In consequence, it would be advisable that they be prevented from bringing pieces of paper, ballpoint pens, pencils or any other instrument that could be used for such an end into the booths” (Cambio 16, no 958, 2nd of April 1990). These concrete instructions were then complemented by all the official Circulars of May 28 and September 13 1991, February 28 1995 and 21/96, in which the whole special regime of FIES was organised and regulated, which involved entry into special departments in the prisons, isolated and separated from the other prisoners, in cells which were changed periodically, with just two hours access to the courtyard, always in isolation, eating inside the cell itself, without having access to clothes other than that supplied by the warden, handcuffed each time that they went out of their cell, subject to systematic and humiliating searches and registrations, including by x-ray and strip searches etc.
The hunger strike also resulted in the PSOE drawing up a plan for the construction of 18 giant prisons, with a budget of 160 billion pesetas, capable of housing some 20,000 new prisoners. In order the fill up these new prisons, the social-fascists drew up a new Penal Code in 1995 which considerably raised punishments and established new types of crimes, especially directed against the people’s resistance movement: rebellion, occupations, nocturnal sabotage etc. PSOE also approved the “Corcuera Law” through which absolute control was established over the population, extending all the norms that they had been experimenting with for years in the anti-terrorist law. The Partido Popular then only had to finish this work with another two measures: the video surveillance law and the Police 2000 plan for repressive invasion of the streets and the working class districts. At the same time, on a European scale the Schengen Accords had been set in motion along with Europol. With all these measures, the total number of prisoners in jail rose to nearly 50,000, compared with the 10,000 that were in jail in the 60s while Franco was still in power. The number of prison wardens has also quadrupled since 1979 when the prison reform was launched.
Before they fell from office, PSOE had to face another hunger strike in January 1996, which lasted 15 days. The government found itself obliged to sit down and negotiate, although in addition to the two weeks, the hunger strike had to be renewed for 38 more days. Through this hunger strike, a partial regroupment of the prisoners was achieved, along with a certain improvement in the living conditions inside the prisons and the liberation of two of the prisoners who had become gravely ill during the hunger strike: Milagros Cabllero and Juan Manuel Perez.
The PSOE’s crisis helped bring about the electoral victory of the PP in March 1996. PP had expressed two fundamental keys to their strategy in their electoral programme: the rejection of any kind of negotiation and the full serving of sentences. The day after they took power, they were already going back on all their boasts.
Meanwhile, the GRAPO prisoners began to regain their freedom after more than 20 years in jail, with a track record of numerous struggles and hunger strikes. The entire enormous weight of the repressive apparatus in the prisons had not been able to beat them, and they are the best example of the fact that it is possible to resist and win against fascism. This has been recognised in the numerous popular homages that each one has received from their neighbours and work mates, in which thousands of people from different localities have expressed their sympathy and their recognition. Without doubt, they more than deserved it.
… here are a couple of pieces about Turkish guerrilla organization Devrimici Sol (Revolutionary Left), later renamed DKHP-C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army – Front) that pertain particularly to their 1996 hunger strike … the first piece was written by Arm The Spirit and the second piece, published in Arm The Spirit No. 17, was, I think, translated by Arm The Spirit … we did publish a fair bit of info by and about Devrimci Sol / DHKP-C, especially on our Kurd-L list … hoping to get more of it up on this blog shortly …
When Aygun Ugur, an imprisoned militant from the outlawed Turkish Communist Party/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML), died on the 63rd day of a hunger strike, Turkey was shocked. In a nation which is continually rocked by political crises and rebellion, this summer’s death fast by left-wing political prisoners posed the greatest threat to the Turkish government in recent years. Weeks of public denial and fierce repression could not stop the prisoners, and in the days after Ugur’s death, 11 more martyrs were to fall in Europe’s most serious political hunger strike since 10 Irish POW’s died in the 1981 IRA/INLA hunger strike.
This summer’s hunger strike, the climax of more than a year of continued prison resistance in Turkey and Kurdistan, began on May 19, 1996. At the outset, more than 1,500 political prisoners took part, most from militant communist organizations such as the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), the TKP/ML, and others. Kurdish political prisoners, mostly from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), soon joined in as well, and the resistance displayed a great deal of unity among Turkey’s fractured radical-left and leftist Kurdish groups as well.
The main impetus for this latest hunger strike was the order which was issued on May 6, 1996 by the new Turkish Justice Minister Mehmet Agar. Ever since inconclusive parliamentary elections in December 1995 had left Turkey in a state of political stalemate, a shaky coalition government was eventually formed by the two main secular conservative parties, the True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP). Mehmet Agar was well known to leftists in Turkey, especially the prisoners, and his career as a policeman and politician was one marked by torture, murder, and bloodshed. Agar had served as police chief in Ankara following the September 9, 1980 military coup, and his tenure there was marked by the death of scores of revolutionaries. In 1990, Agar became police chief in Istanbul, where he continued his reign of terror. According the the DHKC Information Office in Amsterdam, police raids directed by Agar resulted in the deaths of 124 left-wing militants with another 22 tortured to death. Agar was also responsible for the murder of 8 left-wing journalists and the imprisonment of 55 others.
Mehmet Agar’s May 6th order announced the establishment of several new special isolation prisons in Eskisehir and other cities, and the planned dispersal of political prisoners to remote areas far away from their families and lawyers. This order marked the highpoint of increased repression against political prisoners in Turkey and Kurdistan.
Turkey has a long history of militant left-wing struggle, especially since the 1970s, and prison resistance has always been an integral part of movement activity. Following the 1980 military coup, when thousands of militants were imprisoned and tortured, there were several waves of hunger strikes and prison resistance, organized mainly by the urban guerrilla organization Devrimci Sol (now known as the DHKP-C) and the PKK. But the return of “democracy” to Turkey in the 1980s did not mean that prison conditions became any better. Indeed, following the launching of the PKK’s armed struggle offensive in Kurdistan in 1984 and the hanging of martial law over all Kurdish provinces in 1987, the repression in the prisons became much worse as the number of political prisoners began to rise.
In the 1990s, prison resistance continued, and one of the largest hunger strikes in Turkish history began on July 14, 1995, when nearly 10,000 Kurdish political prisoners and prisoners of war began a hunger strike to demand better prison conditions and to call for an end to the dirty war in Kurdistan. [ PLN Oct. 1995] July 14th is a significant date in history for the PKK movement. It recalls the hunger strike launched on July 14, 1982 by PKK cadre Hayri Durmus, Kemal Pir, Ali Cicek, and Akif Yilmaz, all of whom fell as martyrs in their resistance. A wave of solidarity hunger strikes by Kurds across Europe and even in America, including clashes with riot police in London and several German cities, helped draw international attention to the war in Kurdistan and to the plight of political prisoners in Turkey. But this hunger strike ended without achieving any results after 35 days. Four people were martyred in this hunger strike: Fesih Beyazcicek, Remzi Altinas, Latifa Kaya, and Gulnaz Baghistani; Gulnaz died in Berlin, Germany following a police attack on Kurdish solidarity hunger strikers.
Prison resistance spread from Kurdistan during the summer of 1995, particularly following the dramatic escape from prison on July 17, 1995 of four DHKC prisoners. Their escape led to a wave of repression against other prisoners and prisoners’ families, and resistance to state terror in the prisons eventually took the form of a nationwide prison uprising on September 12, 1995. Both Kurdish and Turkish political prisoners from several left-wing organizations acted together during this resistance. The state responded with heavy force, however, attacking Buca prison in Izmir on September 21, 1995. A raid by soldiers and police on the prison left 3 DHKC prisoners dead and another 60 prisoners seriously wounded.
Resistance and repression continued, however, and soon Urmaniye prison in Istanbul became the focus. On December 13, 1995, the police and army attacked rebellious inmates, even using helicopters, leaving 1 dead and scores more wounded. But prisoners successfully barricaded themselves and held off the state forces until another, more deadly state attack on January 4, 1996 left yet another 3 DHKC prisoners dead. By this point, a rather large movement outside the prisons had formed and began taking to the streets to demand an end to torture and death in Turkish prisons. Following the January 4th massacre, Turkish targets across Germany were firebombed, and thousands of people in Turkey took to the streets in protest. At the funeral for two of the DHKC martyrs, riot police in Istanbul made some 4,000 arrests, injuring scores of people. World-wide attention became focused on the situation in Turkey’s prisons following this, largely due to the murder by police of Emin Goktepe. Emin, a journalist for the leftist daily “Evrensel,” was dragged away by police during the funeral procession in Istanbul. His battered corpse was found in a ditch a few days later. Turkish police at first denied they had any knowledge of Emin’s murder, but overwhelming evidence soon proved to the world that Emin was the latest in a series of “disappearances” and murders of leftist journalists in Turkey. Bowing to pressure from the European Parliament, several Istanbul police officers were indicted for Emin’s murder this spring.
It was against this background of continued intense repression that the May 19th hunger strike was launched. Prisoners demanded that the May 6th order be rescinded, that all special isolation prisons be closed down, and they also demanded an end to the attacks on family members and lawyers which have become so routine in Turkey and Kurdistan. The collapse of the DYP-ANAP right-wing coalition in May changed the situation slightly, however. A new coalition, made up of former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller’s DYP party and the Islamic Refah Party, removed Agar and named Refah member Sevket Kazan to be the new Justice Minister. At this point, PKK prisoners halted their hunger strike, apparently fooled by promises of reform. But the prisoners from the Turkish left continued and indeed escalated their resistance.
The analysis by the DHKC and others proved correct, as Kazan promised to continue with the state attacks on revolutionary prisoners and to push through the new restrictions and special prisons. The hunger strike became a death fast, with hundreds of prisoners vowing to perish before they would cease their resistance. State repression was heightened, and a media black-out was ordered by the Refah government, reminiscent of the German state’s repressive measures during the RAF hunger strike in the autumn of 1977. But Turkey’s political prisoners are very well-organized and resourceful, and they managed to smuggle a video tape of the prison conditions and the death fast to the outside. When these images were broadcast to Turkey and the world, the government could no longer deny the resistance which was underway. Rallies by prisoners’ families and supporters grew. Riots broke out in the Gazi district of Istanbul and other areas as well. The state vowed never to negotiate with “terrorists,” but when Aygun Ugur fell on July 21st, the situation changed. In the following days, more prisoners died, and yet the resistance continued. By now, the bourgeois left were shocked, and even pro-state media began to question the inhumane stance of the new regime. Sedat Ergin, a leading newspaper commentator in Ankara, noted that the fast had become a “direct challenge” to Prime Minister Erbakan’s new Islamic government. On July 25th, with 8 strikers already dead, the Kurdish PKK prisoners announced that they too would join the death fast. The Kurdistan Parliament in Exile in Europe issued a declaration in support of the hunger strikers. With social discontent and protest mounting, the media black-out having failed to keep a lid on the situation, famed author Yasar Kemal and other noted human rights activists attempted to mediate between the prisoners and the state. On Saturday, July 28, 1996, the prisoners announced that the death fast was over when the government gave in to all their demands.
The government stated it would close down the Eskisehir prison in central Anatolia, it would stop the dispersal of prisoners to remote locations, end the attacks on family members and lawyers, and seek to improve prison conditions. After 69 days of determined resistance and the death of 12 prisoners, the hunger strike by Turkish revolutionaries ended in victory. But Turkey is still a country in turmoil. As the urban underclasses continue to rise up in the cities in the west and the Kurdish liberation struggles gains in strength in the east, state repression will continue, and this summer’s hunger strike will certainly not be the last in the struggle for socialism and freedom in Turkey and Kurdistan.
For more information on the liberation struggle in Turkey and Kurdistan, visit the DHKP-C homepage on the Internet: http://www.xs4all.nl/~ozgurluk, or write to Arm The Spirit, P.O. Box 6326, Stn. A, Toronto, Ont., M5W 1P7 Canada. E-mail: email@example.com. Arm The Spirit’s homepage: http://burn.ucsd.edu/~ats.
The following martyrs fell during the 69-day hunger strike:
Aygun Ugur (TKP/ML),
Altan Berdan Kerimgiller (DHKP-C),
Olginc Ozkeskin (DHKP-C), Huseyin Demircioglu (MLKP),
Ali Ayata, (TKP/ML),
Mujdat Yanat (DHKP-C), Tahsin Yilmaz (TIKB),
Ayse Idil Erkmen (DHKP-C), Hicabi Kucuk (TIKB),
Yemliha Kaya (DHKP-C),
Osman Akgun (TIKB)
Hayati Can (TKP/ML)
from Arm The Spirit, No. 17
In the summer of 1996, a hungerstrike by political prisoners in Turkey kept the whole country in its grip for months, determining the political agenda.
Prisoners from ten revolutionary organisations participated in the hunger strike until death, which lasted for 69 days, and 12 prisoners died: Aygun Ugur (TKP(ML)), Altan Berdan Kerimgiller (DHKP-C), Ilginc Ozkeskin (DHKP-C), Huseyin Demircioglu (MLKP), All Ayata (TKP(ML)), Mujdat Yanat (DHKP-C), Tahsin Yilmaz (TIKB), Ayse Idil Erkmen (DHKP-C), Hicabi Kucuk (TIKB), Yemliha Kaya (DHKP-C), Osman Akgun (TIKB) and Hayati Can (TKP(ML)).
Last summer, co-workers from the “Rote Hilfe” (Red Aid) from Kiel (Germany) conducted an interview with DHKP-C prisoners in Turkey. Two years after the hunger strike until death, we want to hear from them about the present situation and how their struggle is going now.
How has the prison situation been since 1996?
Before answering this question, maybe we should explain what was the goal of the hunger strike of 1996 and what a victory this action was. Then the answer to your question is easier to understand. The hunger strike until death of 1996 was not held for the recognition of limited rights in prison. Because of its results, the hunger strike also has the character of a political victory, looking at the future of the revolutionary struggle, where the heart of the struggle is formed by the existential struggle of the revolutionaries against fascism.
In those days, fascism did everything to carry out its plan of beating back the revolutionary struggle and repressing the demands of the people for rights and justice. Their plan was directed against all segments of society. As their first level of attack, they chose the prisons and the revolutionary prisoners. It has been important to beat back fascism at its first step when it increased its attacks in prison in a deadly way. The hunger-strike until death then transformed into an existential struggle, destroying the core of the fascist plan, silencing the people and the revolution.
In short, we can say our action cannot be reduced to the demand of closing the isolation prison in Eskesehir and giving back the rights for defence and medical treatment. The action, besides pushing through the demands (albeit at the cost of 12 deaths), also brought a political victory which in a very short time revealed the true face of fascism in Turkey to all the people in the world. Furthermore, the attempt to take the revolutionary struggle hostage was stopped and beaten back.
The action found a lot of resonance, it developed new values and new possibilities for the revolutionary struggle and thus it reached its goal.
Turkey is a country which is ruled by fascism. Under the conditions of fascism, the existential struggle between fascism and the revolution continues, even though the intensity of the struggle might differ from time to time. The prisons also constitute one of the many places where the struggle is waged. From this view, the revolutionary prisoners thus are a favourite target of fascism. The prisoners try to gain their rights through several actions, fascism tries to curtail these rights and then the prisoners resist this and struggle again. Fascism takes a step back and prepares for new attacks. This law is in existence since the beginning of the revolutionary struggle and it will remain in existence for as long as fascism exists. So it’s no mistake to keep this aspect in mind in evaluating the phase after the hunger-strike until death of 1996.
As the first demand of our action, the isolation prison in Eskesehir was closed. The denial of our right of defence and medical treatment, the attacks against our families, arresting them, it all clearly decreased. However, after this period the attacks took another form and they occurred on several levels. For instance, they no longer talked about a central isolation prison as in Eskesehir, now isolation cells were built in the individual prisons instead. They also denied us the right of medical treatment. Because of that, we have had more deaths recently as a result of lacking medical care. We call this silent annihilation afterwards. The relatives and family members of the prisoners are being arrested again, their visits are being prevented by all kinds of pestering and nagging. And then there are always the provocations, or something is thought of to create provocations.
Severe attacks occur again and again. On March 30, 1998, for instance. In Buca, 10 DHKP-C prisoners were kidnapped from prison. But this attack as well was beaten back because of the determined resistance of the prisoners. Even though circumstances might differ in the individual prisons from time to time, most important is our determined resistance against the attacks and assaults of fascism, to beat back the attacks, making every sacrifice necessary. Because this will be a factor which will make fascism retreat permanently, creating a basis at the same time for a fertile ground for our achieved successes.
How do you organize your activities and your life?
The reason why fascism chooses prison as a permanent target for their attacks is on the one hand the fact that we have transformed it into a place of the revolution, into schools of our party, that we don’t give up our struggle in jail, that we do not lose our faith in the revolution, and that we succeeded in becoming a moral institution in the eyes of the people. Our lives and our activities must be seen and judged in that context. The question is who poses the question of power in prison, the revolutionaries or fascism.
However circumstances in prison might be, we determine reality and the issue of power in the prisons. What we do and how we live is determined by this alone. We do not allow fascism to enter here. We see our line of life as a part, as an ideological, political and practical support for the revolutionary struggle. In that sense we also have a written statute which determines our communal life, our political education, our relations with our relatives, our principles and rules in all details. This statute was discussed and approved by all members of the DHKP-C, it’s valid for all imprisoned members of the DHKP-C. In all prisons, these common principles form the basis for our lives and our activities, naturally considering local circumstances. The common frame of mind develops in real life the collectivity on the basis of revolutionary principles. On the other hand, the collectivity strengthens our mental and moral unity in real life. It’s fundamental in our life to permanently practice revolutionary discipline, collectivism, political education, productivity and an attitude which prevents the dissolving of the revolutionary struggle.
On that basis, we are living in a community, we participate in joint political education, and we also are active culturally and in sports. Besides that there are of course the individual activities which support the struggle in a positive way. For us, such a life constitutes a shield which protects us against the attempts of fascism to destroy us, to break our conscious¬ness. Our socialist conviction, our love for our people and our country, our responsibility for all our peoples, is reflected in our entire life and it strengthens our consciousness. That’s why fascism tries to isolate us, and if that doesn’t succeed, sabotage our lives. It’s not important whether we are with 300 people or alone, our lives and our activities stem from this consciousness.
It cannot be ignored that the people are organizing on all levels. Students, workers, civil servants, the people’s councils for instance. How do you see your place in that?
The struggle inside the prisons signified important phases of the revolutionary struggle in our country. We might even say that one of the special characteristics of the revolutionary struggle in our country is the role of the revolutionary struggle in the prisons. The practice of the revolutionaries in the prisons has time and again played a determining role. on the one hand for the future of the revolutionary struggle, but on the other for the future of the individual political prisoner as well. In our country, the revolutionary prisoners are influenced by the struggle of the people, and vice versa their struggle influences the people. Our struggle inside the prisons has become stronger and broader, not for realizing more agreeable conditions of life, but rather on the basis of the revolutionary struggle and the problems connected with that. In their 30 year history, the DHKP-C prisoners have always interpreted imprisonment from these aspects. It’s important that imprisonment, keeping the body within four walls, does not jail the mind.
Under those circumstances, prisoners with a free mind can overcome imprisonment and its consequences and they can become part of the struggle of the people. Then they are able to fulfil their given tasks in the struggle with success. In our country, there were times when the struggle inside the prisons was decisive for the struggle outside. For example during the period of the coup. The junta had tortured hundreds of thousands of people outside, thousands were arrested. All – revolutionaries, democrats and intellectuals – were driven together in prison and under those circumstances, every fight for rights, every struggle for freedoms, transformed into resistance against the terror of the junta against the people. A struggle which served as a barricade against all the repression and aggression could only develop inside the prisons. After the junta had silenced the unions, associations, even the bourgeois opposition, with repression and bans, it turned against the prisoners. If the revolutionaries and their consciousness could be broken inside the prison, the road would be paved for their system of exploitation.
Therefore they started with forcing the prisoners to wear prison clothing to destroy their individuality and dignity, but the prisoners did not allow that. In January 1984, three of our comrades and a comrade from the TIKB lost their lives during a 75 day long hungerstrike, but the junta’s plan was stopped. The political victory of 1984 has, besides gaining existential basic rights, made an impression upon the people and it became a propelling force in the struggle against fascism. As our example shows, prisons and revolutionary prisoners can become of strategic importance at certain times. In that sense it constitutes an important part of the struggle in our country. The level of importance can vary, increase or decrease, from time to time, but it is never without importance. That means that the prisoners have to resist under all circumstances, they must never surrender to fascism, they must be part of the struggle. As we have said after your first question, the prisons were attacked at a moment when hundreds of thousands of people on the outside took to the streets: the politicizing of the people, the increasing level of organizing and the political struggle as a whole had to be stopped. The barricade struggle in 1995 when three of our comrades fell in Buca, or January 4 when four comrades were murdered during an operation of the security troops and when we counteracted these attacks with barricades and taking security officers as prisoners, must be seen in that context.
Looking at the present situation, the role of the revolutionary prisoners and the prisons in the struggle hasn’t changed in itself. The prisoners are an active and inseparable part in the struggle and the organizing of the people. This role can come to the foreground from time to time depending on the attacks by fascism. But just as the students, the workers and the civil servants, they are organized and function as a part of the people’s struggle. The only difference is that the prisoners are within four walls. Nothing changed in their responsibility towards the people and the country in the struggle against fascism. That is to say that they are a part in the struggle for power.
The state tries to lock up the prisoners in isolation cells. What will be the reaction of the prisoners in such a situation?
Maybe we should start with clarifying why the state wants to implement such a policy. To begin with, it has to be clear that what the state wants to force upon the prisoners, whatever they call it, whatever the form, indifferent when, is to take them hostage. Taking them hostage means to separate them from their conviction, from their ideology they have fought for until now, where they have been tortured for, locked up in prison for years, lost their comrades… in short they are supposed to betray themselves and their people.
This hostage-taking is not something physical, and it’s not the giving up of the revolutionary struggle by an individual or by one hundred prisoners, it’s rather the effect of such a process, that is to say the effect of the persons, driven to betrayal, not wanting to know anymore of their ideology and conviction, this effect upon the people and upon their comrades. When you think about that it is perfectly clear that such an effect influences the struggle negatively and that these people are being misused to destroy the self-confidence of the people. For the state, the most important goals in this are to spread mistrust, the giving up of the conviction and the goal, the breaking of their own identity. Revolutionaries have become moral standards who, whatever the form of torture and repression, will not break their word to the people, who will not hesitate to die for their conviction, thus giving the people conviction and determination as well. This constitutes a danger to fascism, therefore one attack follows the other. The demand for building isolation cells, since 1977, time and again on the agenda, constitutes the continuation of these attacks.
As you know, an isolation prison was opened in Eskesehir in 1996. Present policy is to build isolation cells in all prisons so that they all become “Eskesehirs”. Spreading the attacks aims at splitting up a given resistance because simultaneous resistance in several prisons gives a stronger position of negotiation towards the state. With the decentralization of its isolation policy, that is to say with introducing isolation cells in all the local prisons, the state aims at breaking a centrally organized resistance, at the other hand they also want to win the public opinion for this policy by putting non-political prisoners in the isolation blocks as well. But the reality of fascism and the fascist policies are manifest.
That’s the state’s calculation. The policy of introducing isolation blocks, constantly reappearing, aims at separating the political prisoners, at weakening the resistance and, in course of time, making the political prisoners into collaborators. But introducing the separate isolation cells in the prison at different times will not change anything about our central co-ordination, that is to say the simultaneous coordinated resistance in all the prisons. Even when only one of our comrades is put into isolation, hundreds of prisoners will rise up in all the prisons. That was shown on March 30, in Buca. Our comrades were kidnapped gangster-style so their whereabouts would be unknown but all the DHKP-C prisoners reacted with actions like taking the guards hostage, building barricades or refusing to be counted. The state tried to test the reactions inside the prisons but when it became obvious they couldn’t act like they pleased, the state withdrew. As mentioned before, such a retreat is only temporary, of course, and when the preparations are finished, or when a suitable situation occurs, attacks will be launched again. But our reaction will be swift. None of us will disappear into a isolation cell. We will resist, if need be we’ll die. We will break down these cells with our hands and teeth. All the DHKP-C prisoners are that determined. Given such a situation, the full attention of the country will be on the prisons, the resistance of the revolutionaries, again.
There are several forms of repression in Turkey. Which is the most problematic?
Of course there are different forms of repression in our country. It’s not always possible, or even necessary, to differentiate according to their importance because they are all based on the same, fascism. Fascism is expressed in all its cruelty in our country. Exploitation and barbarism rule on all levels. This state is a contra-guerrilla state which wages a war against the people, using the methods of the contra-guerrilla. Oppression, tyranny, exploitation, disappearances and murders, the cruelties against the Kurdish people, the burning down of villages, forced deportations, torture, fascist terror attacks, etcetera. We could list a dozen other forms of repression, from mass lay-offs to provocations at demonstrations. To see the fascist tactics on all the levels of life isn’t difficult at all. The cruelties which occurred in the gas chambers of Hitler are reflected in our country in the collections of the cut-off ears of the revolutionaries. Is it possible to make a difference between Hitler-fascism and fascism in our country, at least in the way it is applied to individuals, when we look at the way our comrades are massacred? This is the naked truth we have to face. Turkey is ruled by fascism. Fascism is a way of government which is based on repression and that influences all the practices and policies which are applied. When we speak about the different forms of repression in Turkey, we speak about fascism in Turkey, nothing else. When we apply your question to the prisons in particular, we can see many parallels. What is implemented now is a fascist policy we call “silent destruction”. How is this done? Let us give a concrete answer. As you know, the survivors of the hunger strike until death of 1996 suffered serious physical and psychological damage. Already during the first phase, the justice department refused medical treatment in the Bayrampasa prison. The doctors were refused entrance in the other prisons as well. Even the treatment in hospital of the prisoners which were near death, shortly after the hunger strike until death was ended, was hindered. Although even official forensic-medical institutions regarded the continued imprisonment of severely handicapped prisoners as irresponsible – they are still incarcerated. Prisoners who are unable to move without help, who cannot carry out their daily activities, were given medical statements which said: there are no objections to continue imprisonment. This not only applies to the participants of the hunger strike until death, it applies to all prisoners. As a consequence of this policy of annihilation, several prisoners have died lately like Umit Dogan (…) in the prison of Aydin, Kalender Kayapinar in Canakkale, Yunus Yaman in Ankara, Kazim Tunc in Nevsehir and Polat lyit in Sagmalcilar.
Another dimension of this practice is that medical treatment of prisoners, for as far as they are brought to external hospitals, is prevented by soldiers on the spot. It even goes as far that prisoners who should be medically treated are being beaten and tortured.
In short, this policy of silent destruction can be regarded as another form of the policy of hostage-taking. Thus fascism states “when I cannot kill with bombs and bullets, I’ll do it by means of illnesses”. Prison conditions create the physical causes for diseases, epidemics, completing this policy. That fascism breaks its own laws is in its nature, but this policy creates conditions which makes all shiver.
How can the struggle of the political prisoners be supported by institutions in Europe What can we do?
To begin with, we want to emphasize that all have to make the anti-fascist struggle their own, apart from the fact that this is of course the task of the people which are governed by fascism. More than ever, it’s important that internationalist consciousness and internationalism are kept alive. On the one hand, this will give us the opportunity to keep alive our mutual relations, on the other hand we can make concrete our responsibility towards the other peoples of the world.
We as DHKP-C are and always were an internationalist movement and dozens of actions and activities resulted from that. Comrades fell during these actions. As prisoners as well, we have kept internationalism alive inside the prisons. We have realised resistance and action on an internationalist level. In the future as well, we keep high this consciousness which gives us strength and pride. Therefore every form of support from people in other countries, from revolutionaries, democratic groups or individuals, is important to us and really valuable. It’s clear that the more we are, the sooner we’ll achieve freedom, the sooner we’ll achieve a world in which we can lead a dignified life.
There are concrete ways in which institutions in western Europe can support our struggle. We have always considered these kinds of international actions to be of great value. At this moment there are comrades, also from other revolutionary organisations, who have survived the hunger strike until death but who can no longer survive under prison conditions. So there could be actions to demand the release of these prisoners. Besides that, material support is needed for the treatment of our comrades. There are so many comrades who cannot be operated on because the state will not cover the costs.
The people in Europe could also unmask fascism in Turkey.
Finally we want to emphasize again that we were very glad with your compassion and solidarity.
It’s of the greatest importance that you support our struggle, that you have chosen the side of the peoples in Turkey.
We thank you and wish you good luck with your work.
... In April 1992, the Red Army Faction (RAF) took the step of unilaterally calling off its campaign of assassinations of key members of the political and economic apparatus as a first step towards a negotiated settlement with the state, a settlement which they insisted must include the release of prisoners, particularly those, such as Bernd Roessner and Ali Jansen, who were in poor health and those who were amongst the longest held such as Irmgard Moeller, who after 21 years had spent close to half of her life in prison, as well as an agreement which would allow those who were underground to surface. The reactions both amongst the prisoners and within the broader anti-imperialist and autonomist movement was predictable. All hell broke loose. To some, if not most, the decision was treason. The decision was portrayed as a betrayal of 23 years of history. And in the spirit of the German left, a hot and heavy debate, much of which was immortalized on paper, has followed … ( from A Brief History Of The RAF ) …
… we did publish a fair amount of this debate in the last couple of issues of Arm The Spirit …
… what follows below is one critique of the RAF ceasefire, written by the comrades of the Italian political prisoners collective Wotta Sitta … “The Collectivo Communisti Prigionieri Wotta Sitta (Wotta Sitta Imprisoned Communists Collective) consists of comrades imprisoned in various special prisons and coming from the different Italian guerrilla experiences ( Red Brigades, NAP – Armed Proletarian Units, Red Brigades -Guerrilla Party, COLP – Communists Organized for Proletarian Liberation, Resistance) …
… translated by Arm The Spirit, but, to the best of my knowledge, not published …
The following remarks represent the position of our collective regarding the behavior of the RAF since April 1992, as well as our position on certain questions which are of relevance to the revolutionary initiative of communists in Europe.
These remarks are drawn up from notes whose fundamental ideas we have been reflecting on for some time now. We will now briefly explain the simple reasons why we are only now sharing our ideas with these comrades and calling on them to begin a discussion.
First, we would like to make it clear that the change which the RAF made was, from the beginning, an indication of a political crisis, behind which were lurking dangerous and destructive disintegrating processes. By making public their reasons for making a “pause”, the prisoners did not offer those members still living in illegality, namely those that still make up the RAF, any useful proposals for a new perspective, but rather they got stuck in a heavy, populist, Great German morass, and they displayed their willingness to play along with Kinkel’s game, imperialism pure and simple.
For us, it wasn’t really that important to either distance ourselves from this or to swear high and low because of holy principles being violated.
The RAF drove a wedge right through the middle of Europe’s militant resistance movement and worsened the already bad problem regarding a lack of perspective. The problem was and still is the need to strategically restore revolutionary politics, and this is achieved by advancing the struggle and by having discussions which deal with important matters. The RAF destroyed this opportunity, which had only been kept alive with great difficulty after the silence which followed the experiences with the Front up until 1988, in so far as they caused considerable portions of the movement (particularly in Germany) to focus their attention and energies on false and secondary questions and away from others, namely those people (particularly in Italy) most affected by the European dimension of the struggle.
The crisis first had to reach its peak. Many things had to first develop into a greater clarity.
In fact, the attack on Weiterstadt showed just how nebulous the decision “to take back the escalation, to begin a pause in order to think” really was, because all the thinking really resulted in was making public how terribly atrocious a high-technology prison is, a show of force to convince some of those in power in the new “Reich” to open up a new round in the game which Kinkel began. But the bourgeoisie always plays with a loaded deck, and the game is never really what it appears to be.
And so Wolfgang was murdered. Thanks to a dirty spy who came to life in the morass of false militant politics, which, as it presents itself, is without an offensive perspective. And when Kohl fired von Stahl, he did this because he wanted all of the RAF to be captured, so that they would beg for forgiveness and make a spectacle of the physical and political death of the resistance, thus enhancing Germany’s glory.
And after Bad Kleinen made all of this perfectly clear to all comrades in Germany and across Europe, then the last veil was dropped, which had concealed the last dead end where the illegal RAF-members could hide. Their silence – which amounted to approval, or at least an attempt to make it possible that the prisoners in Celle, who were prepared to negotiate, become. the spokesmen for the left during Kohl’s politics of pacification – violated the boundary which separates revolution from imperialism. It was a real stab in the back for those prisoners who had always made it clear that their lives could not be dealt with at a table with Kinkel or Schnarrenberger, but rather their fate would be decided by the advance of the revolution. But it’s not merely the RAF’s lack of political direction which has lead to communists becoming disoriented. When you think about the conditions under which many other comrades, at quite another level, have to try and overcome the objective difficulties of this phase of history, then you are left with a divided impression of experiences and discussions, and three different forms of conduct regarding the guerrilla and revolutionary strategy become visible.
There are those that stress the necessity of coming out of the social struggles – the movement -and who feel it is impossible to agitate at a complex political level if this does not come about as a natural development from the movement. But this only leads to one’s own horizons becoming specifically limited as well as characterized by a merely idealized reference to general political struggle.
There are those that place a priority on the consideration of the strategic decisions from which the guerrilla developed; a step backwards which only consists of demoralizing and disarming ideological revisionism, thereby moving away from an offensive attitude towards the struggle.
There are those who have followed the guerrilla over the past ten years, and who consider the continuity of this project to be the most important concern, and who feel it cannot be changed, and who think that both the defeats and the lack of initiative are simply organizational problems which can be immediately solved by once again carrying out attacks.
But the defeats always come about (although not exclusively) due to unqualified political assumptions, and when no clarification is found, then the mistakes get repeated and they have a negative effect on the general political situation, because the gap between the desire for revolutionary consciousness and the development of objective political confrontations simply increases.
But it would be short-sighted, given the actual situation of revolutionary experiences, to see only these boundaries to strategic initiatives, which underestimate communist subjectivity against the development of the confrontation, without taking other factors into account.
In any case, the necessity of a comprehensive political concept is made quite clear by this situation, as is the possibility of its formulation.
And not only this: Those things that become clear are also useful hints at what fundamental steps are necessary to reach the goal. In the eyes of everyone, the widening of the social struggles are an undisputed fact. Just as undisputed is that these make it necessary to establish the political terrain on which the development of the power relations are to be decided.
It is quite clear that the main obstacle which causes the mass struggles of workers and proletarians to be pushed back or to be forced into negotiations is the impossibility of these struggles immediately reaching an international, particularly a European, dimension, beyond the established borders and political terrains of individual states. Many comrades, who have worked for progress and politicization in the struggles, have concerned themselves, even if only to a limited degree, with the necessity of having these struggles break outside of their national surroundings.
The other fundamental fact is that those who are part of the most advanced sectors of the guerrilla and revolutionary movement, albeit with differing evaluations, make it clear that no strategic advances can be achieved these days without the class struggle reaching an international dimension. This consciousness is the basis for a united and constructive discussion.
From both of these facts, it is possible to overcome the difficulty of having a broad view while keeping an eye on the actual state of the struggle, which refers to one form of weakness which is closely connected to the identity and tasks of communists.
That which always characterizes the communists in the various phases of the confrontations between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is the ability “to bring forward the goals of the movement in their entirety” (Marx).
Therefore, communists, in their praxis, namely organization and struggle, deem it necessary to possess a consciousness and a comprehensive vision, a strategy which represents the interests of the proletariat and which weakens the bourgeoisie.
The task of communists is not to remind the workers of how destructive life in bourgeois society is, or how many massacres stem from the wealth of “big business”. They already know all that. The primary task is to take on the responsibility of saying how it’s possible to make changes, both big and small, given the current situation.
With respect to this point, it could seem useless to assess the RAF’s analysis on which their shift was based.
But that’s not true. This analysis involves the core of their experiences and concepts, and these are certainly not private matters for the RAF alone. While rejecting the RAF’s contradictory relationship to the state’s politics, many comrades today feel that the RAF’s analysis is a correct answer to the questions of initiative and perspective which affect the entire structure of European communism. In any case, this analysis represents the point at which they have arrived after 20 years of revolutionary experience. And all comrades need to concern themselves with this, if they wish to carry on with the RAF or something similar. And it is to those persons that we are directing this paper.
We will now begin with a critique of statements of general importance which have come out of the RAF’s discussion papers. This will allow us to focus on certain fundamental political points which affect the progress of the revolutionary process and also to correctly set forth some things which affect the foundations of the political consciousness propagated by the European guerrilla, things which must not be lost.
1. The RAF says: “Due to changes in the international balance of power, the idea of revolutionary development by means of a joint international struggle has failed.”
This analysis is as clear as it is superficial, because it lacks any analysis of the actual world-wide status of the confrontation.
According to the RAF’s position, there are at present no revolutionary struggles taking place in the world, nor are there any violent social conflicts taking place from Europe to Asia, nor in the USA, nor in the East, nor are there any internal contradictions within the bourgeoisie which get expressed in various forms of war, and finally, the USA is not waging a global war to defend its increasingly threatened global political and economic dominance.
The RAF only orients itself towards the past.
The most important conclusion to be drawn from this is that the RAF has never freed itself from a strategic evaluation of the struggle based on the contradiction between “socialist and imperialist camps”.
Each successive change in their project due to experiences in the international struggle – first with the Palestinian guerrilla, then with the European – came, in substance, from the same point of view regarding the contradiction between the subject and the possibilities for developing a global struggle.
And it is exactly this point of view which “is over”. But it didn’t just end today!
In other words, the possibility of opening free spaces for revolutionary perspectives which based themselves on the East-West conflict did not first come to end with the collapse of the USSR in 1989! After the Second World War, the “defence of the USSR” was the central theme by which the progress of the communist perspective was measured.
The concept which this assumption was the foundation of was that the development of a communist perspective was to be achieved by the (more or less mechanical) expansion of Soviet experiences throughout the entire world. In this sense, the struggle for socialism in one’s own country was tied to and strengthened by the anti-imperialist struggle on the side of the USSR.
This concept – even though it is based on a revisionist mistake, namely reducing the global movement and communist change to the mere expansion of Soviet experiences – nevertheless possessed a strategic importance during a particular phase of the international confrontation, because it drew the most important lines for the revolutionary development:
– The emancipation of the working class, for which the experiences of socialism and national liberation were of genuine material significance;
– The resistance to the counter-revolutionary anti-communism of the counter insurgency, which internally affected the revolutionary initiatives in the Western countries and in the Three Continents;
– The expansion of the political and ideological struggle against the bourgeoisie everywhere with the same global lines of development, which characterized themselves as the international communist movement and in advances of the communist perspective.
In increasing degrees, the splintering of the socialist camp as a united and homogenous formation (this began in the 1960s with the Maoist critique of the USSR), the impossibility of revolutionary changes in the Western economic formations according to the socialist model, and the changing nature of the contradictions between East and West as a confrontation – in a global sense – between two imperialist systems (although very different from one another), all of these factors completely eroded the socialist camp’s importance to the revolutionary development.
In this sense, the development of a communist perspective required a form of international expansion, one which reflected the interests of the workers for abolishing the capitalist exploitation of both labor and life in general, and this could be nothing else than the contradiction between the international proletariat and the imperialist bourgeoisie. The first experiences of a communist consciousness were the new movements and guerrilla experiences of the 1970s.
Of particular strategic importance is the contradiction international proletariat/imperialist bourgeoisie as a projection on the general political scene, in other words, the confrontation with the power apparatus of the imperialist bourgeoisie at all levels, as well as the similarity which all proletarian struggles in the world experience. That is where a historical alternative to capitalism can be found, where we can find its potential construction and development, now, at that point where the crisis is more acute than before.
The new dynamic of imperialist contradictions at the global level which was unleashed by the crisis in the 1970s has opened (in the 1980s) an – albeit limited – material basis for the political East-West model as the key to approaching an international confrontation.
The immense pressure to newly define the political and economic positions of power increasingly took place during phases of naked imperialist warfare, with the USA and the USSR as the most significant, but not the only, players (from the Falklands to the Gulf War), and it began to increasingly overlap with the international revolutionary struggle. What remained was one of the active factors in the development/outbreak of wars.
It follows from all of this that it was correct for the revolutionary forces to involve themselves with the USA/USSR confrontation in their political initiatives, in order to influence the international power relationships. But to be involved with a matter, today no less than back then, does not mean to get stuck in a dead end without any way out. Sticking to the old model of the social/imperialist camps as a strategic foundation meant using this model to analyze and reduce to the point of the eternal philo-Soviet position any new line of development which began to orient itself around the international proletariat/imperialist bourgeoisie. This lead to the guerrilla in the metropoles, along with other revisionist trains of thought, losing all of its political-strategic significance within the revolutionary consciousness of the metropolitan proletariat.
If we concern ourselves for such a long time with East/West problematics then it’s because it is equally false to formally declare its end without first examining the consequences which result from this. It’s like being weighed down by an anchor when the necessities of the struggle are taking a different direction.
The new global situation has pushed forward two important questions which concern the advance of communism: The first regarding the end of the socialist world system, and the second regarding imperialist war.
From out of the crisis of the USSR and the experiences of socialist control, one can either go forward with a greater consciousness and attempt to advance the communist perspective, or one can react with a disastrous retreat, one which will damage us for who knows how long. That depends on how we envision the consciousness for a new advance of the communist perspective. A perspective, not in the sense of a “program”, but rather a political core, around which will develop the consciousness for a global confrontation between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in this historical phase.
The more the crisis develops, as the capitalist society changes even more in its entirety and the living conditions become more polarized and the interests of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie become qualitatively strengthened – that is, sharpened – the more also the struggle will be supported by the ability to display a possibility for emancipation, liberation, and the defeat of capitalism. In other words, a visible general interest to make the revolutionary process possible and to unite the struggles and the special interests.
In the meantime, metropolitan capitalism has developed increasingly innovative and complex global forces; its crisis, however, is also characterized by major global contradictions.
The strong interlocking between economic and social conditions prevents further significant developments and changes, in so far as these are not carried out with an international basis.
These are processes which lead to the pressure to form international associations as well as which lead to the splintering among individual states.
This is happening, because we have reached a point where the power struggle between the general interests of the proletariat and the general interests of the bourgeoisie are beginning to show themselves and become undone directly at the international level. This also partially happened at other times, but it was at those times linked to a different economic and social development; that’s why the goal of the power struggle could not be the universal interest of the proletariat becoming like that of the bourgeoisie. In reality, at those times a consciousness arose and material as well as political progress and change came about at the national level.
Today, progress is primarily measured according to its international dimension. Not because this international dimension means the weakening/disappearing of the “national agreements”, but rather because it displays itself as a “general necessity” and thereby as an element which determines each progression. For the bourgeoisie just as for the proletariat. Because this fact has worked itself into the power structures of the proletariat (both states and organizations) in a frightening balance of strength at a purely national level, unlike the global power struggle between the classes, building up and maintaining such power structures at the national level has run into serious difficulties. The economic foundation and the balance of strength are directly linked to one another.
The Gulf War, under pressure from the crisis and strong dependency at the global level, introduced a new phase of the destructive conflict between the various bourgeois groups. A problem that is closely tied to the future.
In this phase, the proletariat needs to clarify its general claim to historical equality, because only in this way can it intervene (independently and actively) in the struggles between states and between various bourgeois groups and more or less prevent getting stuck in hidden forms of nationalism or the passive toleration of destructive social consequences.
War is always precipitated by capitalist crisis. That’s true, but today, at this point in history, it’s important to see what exactly this process of expansion is, this progression of the crisis (the spiral of global technological restructuring and destructive recessions), given the global effects of war in a world of dependencies. We have before us a development through which an increasing number of contradictions culminate in war; a development, whose center is the martial advance of the USA. After the end of the “Cold War”, which was, so to speak, a “crisis of war” followed by “detente”, today again, war rules everywhere, the “war of crisis”.
New wars start up here and there without the previous wars ever really having ended; the crisis of the form of the nation state (as the key point for capitalist development in a given region), which is getting torn apart by claims of internal autonomy – regional struggles – and increasing international struggles, is also displayed by this endemic repetition of local wars. No regional authority has the power to definitively end a war, but rather they can only initiate conflicts and renew them through general destabilization by means of the destruction of the material and social forces of production.
The advancing crisis of the economic and political domination of the USA is connected to various forms of contradiction:
– Those which arise from the continuing development of three continental blocs (USA, Europe, Japan);
– Those which arise from the necessity of building up regional centers of power, for example in the Near East;
– Those which come about through the massive pressure of the imposition of new accumulation on peoples and classes.
The USA always did and still does represent the general interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie (in its purest form as an international class); its crisis is leading to a crisis of the entire global system: One break can mean the collapse of the entire complex construction of contradictions.
The predominance of the USA will, in future, base itself less and less on economic power and more and more on military superiority. The former will in fact become dependent on the latter. This was already proven during the Gulf War.
This necessity is enough for the USA’s politics of “total security”. A concept of a model of war which can be easily adapted to all parts of the world. In this model, the “swift deployment of troops” has replaced “preventive defence”, and the war is no longer limited to the battlefield decided on by the enemy, because it follows the logic of the mass destruction of the entire region without distinctions between “military” and “civilian” populations. That’s why the number of casualties among the civilian population always exceeds the number among the military.
The spreading out of war will increasingly be on the political terrain where the proletariat at the end of this century will have to struggle in order to form itself as a class under the new economic and political conditions.
War only strengthens the revolution when a clear political perspective is at hand at the level of the visible contradictions. In so far as we propose a communist alternative to metropolitan capitalism, and in so far as we struggle against the USA’s war to maintain its predominance, we go well beyond the national boundaries of communist struggle. This demands a qualitative leap to the international level of the conflict. Progress will come through a new idea of revolutionary development and through a joint international struggle.
For those of us here in Europe, that means, first of all, a project and a concept, establishing a European line in the conflict, because today it’s impossible to talk of global unity if we haven’t first been able to overcome the economic and political contradictions here in Europe
2. The RAF is not taking a step forwards towards a new orientation, but rather a step backwards in order to come to terms with its own history, because since 1989 they have missed the perception and analysis of the changes in the imperialist realm, as well as regarding the changes in class relations in Germany.
A new politics can only arise from a discussion of these new problems, only from progress at a comprehensive level.
That what the RAF has failed to understand is that “Great Germany” can only exist within a “Great Europe”. Outside of Europe, there is war and the radicalization of the contradictions between bourgeois fractions, strengthened by nationalisms and reactionary movements and their inevitably violent discharge against the proletariat and the communists.
In some cases, there develops a struggle for the perception of the main interests of the proletariat separate from the vision of a joint class struggle in Europe. Because the problem isn’t the prevention of a certain “imperialist unification project”, but rather in reality just the opposite. The difficulty lies in obtaining a consciousness and the practical strength so as to reach the level which the economic, social, and political conditions have already reached, through which the bourgeoisie, in every part of Europe, from north to south, forces its interests upon the proletariat, and to measure the general interests of the proletariat, as they have arisen in their entirety from the struggles, according to this level.
In the 1980s, the necessity of establishing an international strategy of the European dimension in order to resist the central projects of imperialism – not a necessity which could be delayed, but one based on objective conditions under which the revolutionary project must develop – gave rise to the joint dialectic between the revolutionary forces under the slogan “struggle together”, as well as the idea of the necessity and possibility of organizing the European metropolitan proletariat.
A process of building which was planned and begun by the close cooperation and dialectic between the forces of the vanguard and the progressive sectors of the proletariat at the European level.
At the present time, the revolutionary communist identity finds itself in a dialectical relationship between the revolutionary communist organization and the proletarian mass movements in Europe, one with enormous possibilities for concrete development.
In this respect, the discussion and process which arose from the formation of the anti-imperialist front in the mid-80s were certainly great advances, for one thing because they spread the heritage of national experiences to the European level, and also because they took an important qualitative step at the level of internationalist and anti-imperialist projects. Despite its limitations, the front displayed itself historically as being at the point of no return. It made it clear that international struggle has much broader implications than mere solidarity or simple “alliance politics”. It created a link to the global liberation movements of the proletariat.
Nothing whatsoever in the analysis of the contradictions inherent in the development crisis of the capitalist and imperialist world tells us that we should reject this consciousness. On the contrary, it’s quite clear that the international revolutionary strategy must press forward the conflict at the European level under the new prevailing conditions. The possibilities of the guerrilla as a power strategy for the European metropolitan proletariat exist primarily in clearly defining where today the power relations between the classes are and by clarifying these through close connections between the national sphere and the international system. In this sense, we are dealing with maintaining and further developing the dialectical relationships between the attack on the strategic projects of the imperialist bourgeoisie and their instruments of control and the most advanced struggles of the metropolitan proletariat, those which exist in the confines of political consciousness and the autonomous organization of the classes and which come about through offensive struggle and the defence of free spaces and living conditions.
Ever since the increasing unification of the global market has continued to make more and more national economic forms irrelevant, the economic, political, and social control of nation states has sunk deeper into crisis, and this gives rise to possibilities for intervention, either to “occupy” these states or “help yourself’ to them. Each political or social force which seeks to revolutionize the prevailing conditions of domination and exploitation must, by necessity, clearly recognize the enemy power with which they are in conflict. Increasingly more revolutionary movements and communist organizations must realize that they are struggling for power with international subjects; the same economic, social, and political contradictions from which the conflict arises are developing more and more under pressure from international factors.
It is this material basis which, during the orientation of the revolutionary strategy towards the seizure of power, makes it necessary to place the international seizure of power before the national, because the national area and its political structures may seem independent, but in an international sense they are but an integrated part and expression of the actual situation of the unified world market.
The fundamental question isn’t really to figure out how much “power” an individual nation state still possesses; rather it’s more essential to figure out whether or not sticking to such fundamental assumptions will change/destroy capitalism.
Whether in this realm, despite the big and increasingly complicated and quickly advancing capitalist contradictions and given the destruction caused by the crisis and the increasingly sharpened situation, whether the general and direct political and economic interests of the proletariat can be protected.
This requires each communist subject to orient their perspective and the process of the vanguard towards the fundamentals of the contradiction international proletariat/imperialist bourgeoisie and to create an offensive line of struggle which possesses the strength and potential to weaken the imperialist system.
The crisis of the nation state is one component of the capitalist crisis; as such, its general validity can be seen in virtually all national contexts and therefore cannot be understood nor struggled against at a purely local level.
It is directed by the needs of the great bourgeoisie according to the political instruments to maintain and regulate the processes which are connected to accumulation, competition, and control, and which have already gone beyond the national level, and which have been multiplied and strengthened over the past fifteen years by international institutions and their power.
The form which the nation states of Europe will increasingly take on will be dependent on the advance of the dialectic between themselves and the new state structures being erected in Europe, a process of joint state building which is not the merely mechanical adaptation of the nation state model in a larger size, but rather a systematic unification of states and international institutions which will take over state functions at the European level.
To differing degrees and at different levels, each European state must deal with the crisis of its own political system, systems which are confronted with previously unknown wear and tear on the “political democracy” in the capitalist system and a substantial change in the power relations in the class struggle which fully involves the state apparatus.
In Italy – and the situation isn’t much different in Germany, France, and elsewhere – in the middle of a war between the apparatus and various bourgeois factions, which has already lasted for a year, an authoritarian restructuring of the “democracy” is taking place, in which the re-adaptation and “modernization” of the political state system is based on the fact that all of the “historical” political forces are being forced to accept a series of general political goals which are supposed to represent the “national interest”, and to thereby remain firmly on the path of European unification and to avoid the collapse of the state’s ruling political system.
The imposition of these “objective necessities” (“either European Union or war!”) is the model by which the bourgeoisie hopes to escape from its political crisis. The idea is to coopt into the confines of state control all those political forces (from the conservatives to the reformists to the trade unions) that manage to rule over the many tensions and social and class contradictions during this comprehensive process of re-founding the state.
A fatal embrace, one by which the imperialist bourgeoisie hopes to neutralize the class struggle which arises from the new social polarization which is presently taking place in all advanced capitalist nations. The revolutionary vanguards must unmask this and fight to create spaces for the struggle of the metropolitan proletariat.
The advancing European integration of the capitalist economy necessarily leads to a political structure of dominance which secures its existence and development according to two fundamental lines. Internally, this is achieved through new investment structures, new forms of competition, unequal development, control over and pressure against the proletariat (as a labor supply and a labor reserve); externally, through the functioning of the balance of power and confrontations with other regional economic blocs (North America and South East Asia), pressure against the weaker capitalist economies on the world market (the Three Continents and Eastern Europe), and finally, at the political level, to defend the general interests of the global system in the face of the USA’s crisis.
A political restructuring which takes on the form of a state, since it does not react to the conjunctural dynamics, but rather it follows the general interest of an imperialist bourgeois Europe in the organization and reproduction of the socio-economic relationships which get developed during a very contradictory long-term process.
On the other hand, this process has already left behind deep scars in the economy in Europe, as well as in the relationship between capital and labor and in the direct social relationships: To a large degree, the great bourgeoisie have already established all the fundamental processes of the development, accumulation, and concentration of wealth, a dynamic which necessarily requires a redefinition of the instruments of power which affect the entire national sphere.
This process, which is being driven by the big multi-national corporations and the strongest bourgeois factions, is aimed at creating a real European imperialist bourgeoisie, which is already in different ways the representative of global class interests against individual states. What began in the European power centers, from the exponents of the board of directors of the international finance trusts up to the new European system of power, is now a trans-national political personnel which largely represents the interests of the elite.
European union will neither eliminate the economic crisis nor the imbalanced development nor the competition within giant capital. In a phase of capitalism in which the multi-national is dominant on the global market, competition is no longer between individual firms, limited to individual products, but rather it encompasses the entire market. Unions which have since become economic in nature are now exploitable and they must be played off against one another. The dialectic between the formation of a common state and the nation states reflects itself in this new dimension in a progressing integration while at the same time not disappearing. This comes about as the result of the continuing dynamic connection between the various economies and states and continually functions independent of these. It limits these and forms them into a system of contradictions which are becoming increasingly pressing when given the current necessities.
A dialectic which is pushed through by the confrontations with the proletariat at all levels, and which is produced by the necessity of constantly redefining and broadening the exploitation of labor and knowledge as well as by the general dominance of capital over society.
This European construction, in its various phases of development, has an increasingly stronger effect on class relations. First of all in the factories, because the heart of capitalist restructuring is, now more than ever, the achievement of surplus.
The global dimension of the internationalization of capital relations, which is especially far advanced in Europe, and the specific and general strategies linked to this, which have led to the process of restructuring production and the social reordering in the situation of a capitalist development crisis, has led to the formation of a European metropolitan proletariat with generally similar living conditions.
The creation of European trust monopolies at the international level and the processes of concentration and centralization of various sectors of production have characterized the processes of restructuring, which have made possible a level of exploitation and an increasingly uniform manner of organizing labor, both of the working class and the white-collar workers and other sectors as well, including education models, the labor market, and the unlimited growth of an industrial reserve army, which stands available even outside the national borders for use as a massive labor force in the politics of the restructuring of production. This is happening all over Europe. In this way, capital is attempting to rid the labor market of its expensive restrictions and inflexibility.
It is a proven fact that in the last ten years, particularly in the last few, that the most significant struggles in each country had to do with restructuring measures dealing with “European projects” decided at the EC level, including changes in politics and the introduction of new norms in the service, administrative, and other sectors.
Another important dynamic is that created by migration towards Western Europe, particularly from Eastern Europe and the Three Continents.
The importance of migration, which has affected social conflicts in nearly all countries in Western Europe, can no longer be underestimated.
To name one example: To optimize the relationship between capital and labor, it is sufficient to enact restrictive measures to prevent “foreigners” from coming into Italy, or into Germany or into all European countries, according to the guidelines of the Schengen Agreement, thus creating a form of politics which has as its goal the regulation of the labor market according to strict EC guidelines, backed up by a huge supply of labor reserves. In reality, the masses of immigrants from the south and east who are pressing at Europe’s borders are actually the undeniable foundation of the development of the European economy, and the entire politics of the EC is designed to secure a plan for their exploitation and control.
In this sense, it is misleading to speak of a “two-thirds” society, because no one is “superfluous” under the social formulation of capitalism, albeit in the nations of the “center” or the “periphery”. The new international division of labor creates a new configuration of the working class, one in which the deaths from starvation in the Three Continents as well as the 10% “structural” unemployed persons in the wealthy nations of Europe are the result of the rationality of surplus and not the evil of the bourgeoisie. The sociological analyses of the “two-thirds society” describe the poverty of broad sectors of the proletariat, but they are not in a position to grasp the substance of capitalist dynamics from which they are created and increasingly expanded.
The phenomenon of the “new racism” which is presently breaking out in Europe, from Germany to England, from France to Spain, in Italy…, after a proletariat has come into being from several races and ethnic groups which continually distresses the European governments, is also especially an opportunity to introduce an ever more refined and repressive system of laws and police powers for social control all across Europe.
Today, the power struggle in Europe can only be defined with the following two subjects: the European imperialist bourgeoisie and the European metropolitan proletariat.
This struggle is already developing itself at the European level, as the simultaneous nature of the struggles of the metropolitan proletariat in all of Europe shows. The vast majority of the struggles are directed against an increasingly recognizable enemy: the imperialist bourgeoisie in Europe, its refined system of power, and the totality of the European strategies of the new capitalist order.
The simultaneous outbreak of social and labor struggles in Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, this should cause us to reflect on the homogeneity of the processes from which they came about, as well as to recognize the lack of a corresponding revolutionary political orientation point.
The process of European unification is the dynamic by which the revolutionary movement in Europe must measure the possibilities for concrete changes in the living conditions of the proletariat and the advancing of a communist perspective.
This is namely the field where the increasingly heavy present and future power struggles will most likely be concentrated. For the first time, the living conditions of the working masses are directly connected to the form and time schedule of European unification.
That means that considering the European dimension of the confrontation between class and state in each country on the one hand, and between the state power and the social formulation of the present changes on the other, must be re-evaluated in terms of what most general elements which can be observed in the most significant European states and what they indicate about the international dimension, as well as what is taking place in each individual country.
The confrontation with the state at the national level will nonetheless remain an element in the politicization and the reorganization of the local struggles. The state will retain and strengthen its function as the internal force of counter-revolution, the control over significant portions of the economic processes, and in the area of culture and ideology. It follows from that that the destruction/weakening of the state will always play an important role in the project and in the communist perspective of revolutionaries in Europe.
The creation of a European line of struggle is of fundamental importance, because only this can make it possible for the struggles to “break out of their confines”, by means of which the proletariat in all countries can react to the pressures of difficult living conditions which are at the heart of the European restructuring of capitalist production and the capitalist market.
Only in so far as we clearly define and push forward this line can we bring about a direction for the general struggle, in which the most significant forces of the revolutionary movement, which already – albeit to a limited degree – are active at the European level, will once again find themselves in relation to one another.
Today, the situation is ripe for working on the creation of a new European revolutionary project, especially since this is the historically most important arena for the reformulation of the communist perspective. From this, a process of the unification of the revolutionary forces at the global level can come about, one which is adapted to the realities of metropolitan capitalism.
A European revolutionary project, at the center of which is the conflict between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie at the European level, must not become dependent on or speculate about the process of European unification and its creation of an imperialist bloc.
Even when the European bloc in held back by the contradictions which it cannot solve and even when the march of nationalism in the EC countries continues to gain momentum, none of this will change the main focal points of proletarian politics at the strategic level.
The process of proletarian emancipation must not be limited by the conditions which happen to be predominant under the capitalist system, but rather it must be based on a universal internationalist vision of the communist perspective. That’s why the perception of the European conflict as part of the global struggle between imperialism and revolution must be the foundation of a European revolutionary project.
That is the basis for creating a new European form of revolution, one which is in a position to intervene in the war of the “new world order” by which the USA seeks to defend its dominance, and this can be a starting point for anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggles throughout the entire world.
3. The RAF says: The guerrilla cannot be the “center” of this new process, because it is so alienated from the class opposition that it loses its “social point of reference”.
It’s clear that, according to the RAF’s opinion, the guerrilla is only at the center because it can strike “at a higher level” than any other subject of the resistance. In so far as it places itself at the top, at an unreachable level, then it only becomes one isolated step in the confrontation for the movement. By doing so, one can win broad sympathy, but it’s not possible in this way to create new forms of organization or to arouse a new revolutionary consciousness among the proletariat.
If the guerrilla is viewed as a “military” act, whose “political” content is characterized by the chosen goal which is then supposed to automatically spell out the line for the revolutionary consciousness of the proletariat, then sooner or later the struggle will be abandoned.
The guerrilla is praxis lead by strategy. Its beating heart is the strategic content which it gives rise to.
The quality of the politics which get expressed by the European guerrilla cannot be reduced to a military level, which nonetheless has not been lacking. The metropolitan guerrilla is the embodiment of the revolutionary break which was made in Europe in the early-70s by those organizations which took up armed struggle in order to renew the class consciousness of the proletariat and to reopen the power struggle in the belly of the imperialist beast. The introduction of revolutionary struggle, even if it has since become partially contradictory, has not lost its essential form.
A struggle which has been set forth and whose qualitative development in the 70s and 80s the bourgeoisie was not been able to prevent, although today they are seeking to get rid of its strategic importance by removing it from the minds of the European proletariat.
Today, there can be no real development of a process of organization and revolutionary consciousness among the proletariat without a guerrilla strategy. Without a guerrilla strategy, there can be no qualitative advance at the level of perspective, nor can there be any concrete changes.
In the long-range war between the classes – at present, the content and historical form of the revolutionary process – it’s not so much the form in which the proletarian struggle and its qualitative expansion are expressed that matters, but rather much more the qualitative advance of the process of class organization. In fact, the guerrilla, even if it first characterizes itself as controlling a certain territory for the vanguard, can at the same time be politically generalized, on all levels, as increasing the autonomy and resistance of the entire proletarian movement. A strategy which can be used in every situation during the confrontation and which also can function as a means of revolutionary communication and for the reformation of the classes.
That’s why the guerrilla’s task in the metropoles is not solely to “strike blows against the enemy”, it never was, but rather at the same time it must also, in different phases, (re)establish the consciousness of the proletariat, beginning with the concrete struggles which it is waging, and following the lines of attack of the masses.
The strategy of the guerrilla as the existential form of the revolutionary vanguard in the metropoles then opens the way for the entire proletarian struggle and it once again gives the class its perspective for liberation from capitalist social relations. This strategy is then strengthened by formulations within the proletariat.
This is a fact revealed by revolutionary experiences in the metropoles, guided by the guerrilla, whose advances and organizational process, anchored in the increasingly intense proletarian struggles which have developed in the metropolitan centers. In this sense, this represents an advance from the model proposed by the Third International of the party which was supposed to function as the “external” bearer of the class consciousness of the proletariat.
In this sense, the organization of the vanguard cannot be seen as the only starting point for the development of the consciousness and organizational processes or the formation of the classes of the metropolitan proletariat.
Although the vanguard plays a special role in the context of the class struggle, it develops in relationship to the proletariat according to the notions of unity and diversity. Unity in terms of the general class interest; diversity in the sense that the vanguard of the revolutionary process, in comparison to other sectors of the revolutionary movement, plays a different role, beginning with the various levels of consciousness which are expressed by this orientation. In this sense, the vanguard is a party.
This principle has always been a part of the organizational processes of the proletariat; but that cannot mean, as history has often shown us, that it can possess only a purely ideological mandate over the class interests. During the progress of the confrontation, such a position leads to increasing alienation from the concrete process of class struggle and simply to the creation of one’s own role.
The existence, struggle, and development of the vanguard is legitimized by the political resonance which comes from the consideration of its general and proletarian-specific interests, which come out decisively during various phases of the class struggle.
The fact that the organization of the vanguard in its praxis must always keep its eyes on the general interests of the class, while staying active at the highest levels in the power struggle and by revealing the main contradictions, does not mean that it alone can represent the complexity and progress of the general interests of the proletariat. This can only be achieved by all the organs together which, phase by phase, in each situation, represent the system of proletarian power in its various forms, and which comprise part of the vanguard when it is at its most advanced point.
In so far as it is a projection on the influence of the entire class resistance, the guerrilla praxis always plays a central role in the vanguard and has over the years proven that the influence of the proletariat is at once a process, a relationship, and a system.
Only in so far as we continually bring to mind the general interests of the proletariat in the class/state struggle can the entire revolutionary process be pushed forward and advances be made in the building up of proletarian power and changes in the living conditions and self-organization of the metropolitan proletariat be made
4. Finally, we, as revolutionary prisoners and as communists, drawing on our experiences in the Italian guerrilla, would like to clarify some things regarding the problems of “political prisoners”.
Guerrilla prisoners are most certainly part of the revolutionary movement and they are involved in the actual confrontation; that’s why their contribution to discussion and to the creation of a revolutionary perspective requires a certain significance in the various phases of the struggle, especially in the difficult times we are experiencing today. That’s the very reason why the Italian state, as with the other states in Europe and the USA, wants to be rid of the prisoners as a political reality in order to prevent any form of continuity between the revolutionary experiences which the prisoners represent and the actual conditions of the confrontation.
The common interest of the revolutionary movement in general and the political prisoners, who jointly resist in their present situation, is not decided by the increased intensity of the counter-revolution at the European level – which is nonetheless an important factor – but rather by the fundamental necessity of a new perspective, one in which the “memory of past confrontations” is always an significant element.
The role of the guerrilla prisoners, who have maintained their revolutionary identity for all these years and who have contributed to the general advance of the revolutionary perspective, is an undeniable historical fact, as has been proven in Italy, Germany, Spain, France, England, the USA, and in many countries of the Three Continents (Peru, El Salvador, occupied Palestine, Turkey, the Philipines…). And from this, it’s no coincidence that the counter-revolution targets them for reprisals and seeks with any means of repression to break down and destroy their identity and their consciousness as political subjects.
In the last few years, in those countries where the experience of the guerrilla has qualitatively advanced the class struggle, we can see clearly that the counter-revolutionary strategy has reached a new level of aggression and is seeking via military means to compensate for its identity and planning crisis in order to break holes in the organizations of metropolitan guerrillas. The “political solution” which was introduced in Italy a few years ago, which was supported by many political prisoners who have since renounced their political identities, although it was actually an initiative of the imperialist bourgeoisie to press forward the war “from the inside”, has shown the way for the counter-revolution for all of Western Europe and has spelled out an effective model to deploy.
It’s clear that this model cannot be mechanically transplanted to all other countries, but despite differences in historical context and the specific conditions in each individual country, the content of this imperialist strategy is well-known, namely the destruction and the adaptation of the forces and subjects of subversion and social change, two different sides of the same politics whose goal is to win.
In this sense, the “Kinkel Initiative” of “social reconciliation” in Germany is not very different from the initiative of Italy’s governing parties. Above all, they have the same goal, namely to prevent any continuity from existing between the revolutionary experiences of the last 20 years of struggle and the actual conditions today. These initiatives, like the one proposed by Kinkel, which are supposedly aimed at finding “political solutions” to the question of political prisoners, in reality have a very different goal in mind: They seek to utilize the political prisoners as a “weak point” in the revolutionary movement and to use them as a means of pressuring the contemporary guerrilla in order to influence and control the development of the revolutionary confrontation in Western Europe.
That’s why from the beginning we felt it was dangerous and unrealistic to construct a flat and mechanical connection between the question of the political prisoners and the possibility of restoring some orientation for a new form of politics. That would mean giving the German state the possibility of pushing forward its hostage politics to its conclusion, using the prisoners as a means of forcing the development of the organizational processes of the proletariat to take place under new conditions. Above all, that means that the revolutionary perspective has been led into a dead end, one where there is no possibility for a political solution.
This displays a great lack of understanding for the international dimension which the revolutionary process as well as the question of political prisoners possesses.
The preventive counter-revolution in Europe – it seems appropriate to repeat this – has reached a historical threshold, one which is decided by the relationship between revolution and imperialism in all of Europe, and it is now the rule that the international level of the counter-revolution continues to rise and to manifest itself in each individual situation.
In this sense, Kinkel’s initiative of “social reconciliation” is nothing new, and it’s suicide to believe that the question of political prisoners is only decided at the national level and that the difficulties and contradictions of the German state can therefore be dealt with. All communists and revolutionary prisoners who wish to concretely work on the reestablishment of the perspective in Western Europe can learn a great deal from the example of what happened in Italy!
Wotta Sitta, communist prisoners collective
… Issue No. 11 of Zusammen Kampfen, ( “magazine for the anti-imperialist front in West Europe” published out of Germany ), published in March 1990, featured 4 communiques from Fighting Units … Arm The Spirit translated these communiques, however we never got around to publishing them … what follows are the 4 communiques with, first-off, a brief introduction to the Fighting Units from the book Art As Resistance …
“These militants saw themselves as part of the anti- imperialist front in Western Europe, and they acted in the context of the RAF’s politics. Their concept of developing “coordinated militant projects”, to open a new level in the confrontation, was in line with the course spelled out in the May Paper. These militants, like the RAF, viewed themselves as internationalists. That’s why they named their commandos after foreign martyred anti-imperialists. Starting in 1986, militants began signing their communiques as the “Fighting Unit”, with a corresponding commando name just like the RAF.
These underground activists mainly carried out explosives and arson attacks with a high degree of technical sophistication. For example, one “Fighting Unit” detonated a car bomb outside the headquarters of the ‘Verfassungsschutz’, the federal intelligence agency, in Cologne. These militants never carried out shooting attacks, nor did they direct their actions against persons.
Militants carried out nine attacks in 1986. This highpoint in their activity was followed by a wave of repression. In 1986, many people from the anti-imp spectrum were arrested and sentenced for Fighting Unit attacks. This temporarily halted attacks by the militants. But the paper ‘Zusammen Kämpfen’ was still published periodically until 1991. After the RAF’s attack on the head of the Deutsche Bank in November 1989, the Fighting Units carried out four attacks between December 1989 and February 1990. Two bombs were detected and disarmed. Then there were no more Fighting Unit actions.”
Today we attacked the research center of Bayer in Monheim.
At this location Bayer has built the biggest “center for the protection of plants” in the world. In this research center they tested this year 20,000 new pesticide compounds and they will be expanding this research discipline even further, from about 150 million to about 500 million a year. The plants that are raised here and the pesticides that tiamt are produced here form an important support for Bayer’s overwhelming market share in the world market for agricultural products. This represents a new understanding for a more effective production controlled exclusively by Bayer; and by extension they control the peoples and countries which depend on this research and production for their food.
This is one of the fundamental foundations of the power of the Bayer conglomerate which became prominent in the days of fascism and which today one of the largest chemical multi-nationals in the world.
Bio-chemical and gene technologies are both divisions of technology which are exclusively controlled by the imperialist states. These are sectors which allow them to protect their dominance and superiority over the countries in the Third World,as well as ordering the living patterns of people world-wide. At the same time they want to realize, in the strategic sectors of the economies of the imperialist countries, independence with
respect to the Third World.
The FRG has in the last few years risen up in protest against this, and this has caused a number of problems. The result of these protests has been that in growing measures the research and production of genetic technology was transferred to other West European countries and the U.S. To have realized the necessary conditions for this research in this country would have meant confrontations and resistance. Strenger, the C.E.O. of Bayer has demanded that there be further research in the FRG calling for as a minimum certain clear political and legal conditions” which are currently not available.
After the experiences during the hunger-strike and the two years previous to that we want to make a fresh start. We want to rise above the shortcomings of militant politics in the resistance. These shortcomings became clearly evident and visible during the hunger-strike when the situation ground to a halt and the state wanted to execute the prisoners, and the resistance failed to apply the necessary strength to break the unbending attitude of those responsible. Consequently the demands of the imprisoned were not granted.
We consider it our cause to carry on with this: to change the defensive situation of the militant resistance and thus to go on the offensive wherever the necessary conditions are to be found, in order that the demands of the revolutionary prisoners may gain acceptance.
1986 was a rupture point, subjective to us because our decision for militant politics was too weak and in general because in the mid 1980s a new situation had emerged around the fight in the FRG and outside of it. After 1986 we had to come to a decision again, we needed a clear concept of how we could continue so that the dimensions of our struggle against imperialism would be more concretely drawn for ourselves. That meant that we had to distance ourselves from the front model, not so much by discussing the question about the functioning of the mechanics of imperialism, but more about the question of how we are to view, in the coming days, our revolutionary process. The repression increased after the offensive and its goal was to force the retreat of the development towards the front and our structure and organization was not capable of meeting that challenge.
BUILDING THE REVOLUTIONARY FRONT
In order to clear away the obstacles of the last few years, we want to engage in discussion all who are fighters, including the guerilla and the resistance, with as our goal the joint organization of a counter-force. Our militant political practice finds its origins in these discussions and are part of them. The revolutionary battle must engage new perspectives with a view towards the growing strength of the FRG and Europe who in every aspect of society through their policy of modernization are going to oppress and alienate. The FRG, as member of the imperialistic organization of states has favored the integration of Western Europe and becomes more and more determined to act as a power for oppression. The strategic plans of the imperialist states whereby they have joined the economic, technological, political) and military powers is barely opposed. The penetration of the socialist countries both guarantees imperialism unknown profits for the next few years and ensures that an important opposition to world-wide imperialist aggression has been nullified. At the same time a situation has developed in the FRG, as a result of the entire dialectic of the anti-people and inhumane politics of those who govern, which gives us an opportunity to subject these imperialist policies and their consequences to discussion and resistance.
The WAA ( rapid nuclear accelerator in Wackersdorf) of which the construction could not be completed in the FRG and through the use of international organization and relations took refuge in France is an example of the fact that in this case at least they were forced to make concessions to the resistance, because it had already for some time become a national conflict.
By linking up with that means for us that we must find a way to build a counter-force with any and all who are of the same mind; a counter-force which will incorporate all who speak out against the system and which offers a revolutionary orientation.
BRINGING TOGETHER THE FIGHTING PRISONERS !
ORGANIZE THE ATTACK !
10 December 1989
Fighting Unit Sheban Atlouf/ Conny Wissman
(Sheban Atlouf is a Palestinian comrade who in 1986 was murdered
by zionist soldiers. Canny Wissman is an anti-fascist who was
murdered by the West German pigs)
(The Fighting Unit Sheban Atlouf was earlier responsible for the
bomb attack at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser technology in
Aken on 24 July 1986. )
Today, on the 4th of February 1990 we attacked the headquarters of RWA ( Rhoinisch Westfalischen Energiewerk – like Hydro) in Essen with two explosive charges.
RWE is the largest privately owned provider of energy and one of the largest corporations in Western Europe. RWE works exclusively for profit and while we must pay steadily more and more for the energy we consume, RWE supplys electricity at a special rate to industry and also destroys, in all areas of its energy business, the conditions necessary for life; for example the destruction of Ville, an area affected by the mining for brown coal, also the destruction of the forests as a result of the drilling for oil in the DEA (by the previously German Texaco which was bought by RWE), and also through the mining for uranium in Australia and Africa which robs people of their property and exploits their labour in the mines where they must work for starvation wages. It is in the area of nuclear technology and industry that RWE’s destructive policies most clearly emerge.
Without RWE nuclear industry in the Bondsrepubliek is unthinkable. They profit from the entire nuclear business chain:: from the mining for uranium, the construction of reactors and their management, the production of reactor rods, the start-up of these reactors, the transport of nuclear waste and its storage, the export of and participation in French and German nuclear industry.
Cities and communities in North-Rheine-Westfalen determine by their shares, of which they hold the majority, the management of this corporation and are therefore responsible for their nuclear policies . The community delegates from this area are nearly all from the SPD and therefore this shows clearly the deceitfulness of the SPD which continues on with a nuclear policy for industry while all the time thy speak out about nothing but stopping the nuclear industry.
RWE began to do business in the nuclear sector in the 1970’s in order that the metropoles could become more independent of the surrounding peripheral countryside and its raw material, and also as a response to 3rd world countries; more as a demand by 3rd world countries for more reasonable prices and the consequent oil crisis. After the sharp rise in the market for nuclear power stations, the pressures of the anti-nuclear movement made further unbridled expansion of nuclear development impossible. As a result they have become more careful, and they have become busy with the consolidation of their nuclear policies and with the reorganization of their essential sectors. In connection with that they have vested their hope in the protection of their profits by the governments and in the international marketing of their nuclear industry. Examples of this are the sale of French nuclear power the Bondsrepulik, for which RWL is running a new hydro net through Saarland. Another example is the intertwining of coal and atoms, for they want to use the heat of the fast breeder reactors for the gasification of coal in order to make electricity, and in this way also the fast breeder reactor will also be connected tm the hydro net.
THE GOAL OF POLITICS MUST BE THE BREAK WITH THE PREVAILING CONDITIONS.
We fight against a Europe of capitalism by attacking these corporations. We attack those who dictate the living conditions It is those who stand behind these projects and technologies who are creating a fascist and patriarchal society, degenerate and void of any humanitarianism where poverty is just as real as luxury for a few and where the over-regulated environment can only be made bearable through, for instance, the consumption of drugs.
If we are to halt the atomic program we need to have a perspective which is directed towards the entire system and therefore we need a well defined orientation of the revolutionary
movement and militants with the guerrilla must be well organized.
It is for us of fundamental importance that the militants become organized. Our action therefore is taken in association with the attacks by the Commando Wolfgang Beer and with the Fighting Unit Sheban Atlouf/Conny Wissman. Together we want to create the conditions for a new offensive phase which is necessary to give our fight societal relevance. Together with the prisoners, in this new phase, we want to give shape and substance to the composition of these conditions, and to the thoughts and processes which will lead to the realization of these conditions.
During the hunger-strike of 1989 the solidarity movement reached a scope and breadth which went beyond the boundaries of the resistance movement and which thus gave us a perspective on struggle with a more uniform and homogenous resistance thrust.
Solidarity with the hunger-strikers in Spain!!
At this moment the political prisoners in Spain are fighting the ‘adjustment’ of their imprisonment conditions to the BRD model. The outcome of this fight will also have consequences for the prisoners in the Bondsrepublik. Through solidarity with the political prisoners a more unified movement becomes possible which will make its influence felt on the entire revolutionary movement in Europe.
FOR THE GROUPING TOGETHER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY PRISONERS!
WE SEND GREETINGS TO THE SQUATTERS OF GORLEBEN!!
4 February 1990
Fighting Unit Crespo ‘Kepa’ Galende
(‘Kepa’ was one of the Spanish political prisoners who went on hunger-strike in 1981. He was murdered during this hunger-strike. We call ourselves by his name because of the situation whereby the hunger-strike in Spain is becoming more prominent, and also to strengthen our solidarity and increase the pressure.)
WE MUST BREAK THE POWER OF THE CORPORATIONS AND THE BANKS. WHAT MATTERS NOW IS TO LINK UP AT EVERY LEVEL THE ATTACKS OF THE COMMANDO WOLFGANG BEER AND THE OTHER FIGHTING UNITS TO FIGHT TOGETHER FOR THE RENEWED UNITY OF THE POLITICAL PRISONERS IN SPAIN AND AGAINST THE WEST GERMAN PROGRAM OF ISO-TORTURE.
On February 25, 1990, we attempted to carry out an attack on the headquarters of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt-Eschborn. We don’t know why the charges did not explode. In any case, we had set the time to 15 minutes and it is not possible that a pig patrol could have defused the bomb in that time. At this time it is very difficult for us to say anything about this action because it failed.
The Deutsche Bank is a concept for all who fight for a life outside the capitalist program of development. Everyone is confronted by it as a power which determines current politics. The Deutsche Bank was, and is here and worldwide a centre of corporate strategy, and it decides the managerial policy of governments throughout the Bundesrepublik. Also today, it is in the frontline now that the imperialists are determined to put under subjection the East European peoples. What the nazis were unable to complete in WW2, they will now achieve by means of capitalistic penetration.
The Deutsche Bank works behind the scenes with others around the arrangements being taken towards the restructurings which are being carried out to prepare the Bunderepublik for the West European high-tech society. In every way they are dictating the destruction of our living conditions in favour of their projects. It is the power of the banks and corporations which we must break.
For us, it was a decisive experience to see, during the hunger-strike of the prisoners in 1989, that the largest mobilization that there ever was during a hunger-strike could not result in a better coalition. This mobilization failed to demonstrate a politically explosive strength which, in a political unity with the prisoners and other people for whom this coalition had gone into the streets, could have brought pressure on those responsible so that they could have been forced into making concessions. This mobilization did achieve concession from several states and small groups of prisoners were brought together, but they refused to let go of their extinction-project against the prisoners.
That is also exactly the reason why the political prisoners in Spain, again at this moment, must fight for collectivization; because we were unable to defeat the West German program for iso-torture.
So, for us, the question has since become: how do we expand into a revolutionary movement capable of realizing our objectives against the prevailing powers.
We invite discussion with everyone who fights for a different life, irrespective of the area in which they are active, with everyone who is of the opinion that we want and need each other to defeat the concentrated power of the imperialists with success. We are for a revolutionary process in which the different initiatives of all comrades have their own place and importance and are related to each other and see their relatedness, because issues and questions are discussed among each other and solidarity is obtained concerning the political situation We would also like to discuss different ideas about the revolutionary process. That means, for us, building up the revolutionary front. Today that is still just as important as 8 years ago. This means taking an idea and bringing it to life. The hunger-strike made it clear to us that we need to develop a revolutionary process and that we need to fight for a political idea and by doing that we will have created for ourselves the opportunity for sharp political interventions, such as the militant attacks against central installations owned by banks and corporations, and through our discussion with comrades from the guerrilla and the other Fighting Units, which have become very important.
The attacks by Commando Wolfgang Beer and Fighting Unit SA/CW presented us with the opportunity to place our action in a concrete relationship with the Fighting Units CKP and HHE, and thus, together with them, we have created the initial beginnings of a revolutionary organization. This is the revolutionary basis on which we can now proceed from and on which we want to determine our future common path.
After our action we left behind a sheet of paper which has either never been found or was suppressed. It said:
“Fighting Unit Febe Elizabeth
Solidarity with the hunger-striking political prisoners in Spain!
25 February 1990”
That was our opportunity to focus our initiative on the fight of the political prisoners, which is still of importance here. It is our concern that the prisoners be put together in groups. We want them to be able to take part in discussions, which is important for us at this moment.
The Spanish prisoners are at this time fighting against the West German insistence on iso-torture, and this time they must win.
PUT THE FIGHTING PRISONERS TOGETHER
PUT CLAUDIA, BERND AND GUNTHER TOGETHER
FIGHT TOGETHER FOR SELF-DETERMINATION
HAFFENSTRASSE MUST STAY
Fighting Unit Febe Elizabeth
( note: Febe Elizabeth was an El Salvadoran union leader and outspoken government critic, a leftist and a member of the National Federation of Salvadoran Workers (FENASTRAS). She was killed in October 1989 when the FENASTRAS headquarters was bombed. The FMLN named their November 1989 offensive in her memory. )
On February 27, 1990 we attacked the Siemens School for Communications and Computer Technology. These new information and communication technologies represent a gigantic market for Siemens. They make it possible for capitalists to modify their entire production processes. The “office of the future” and the “factory of the future;” these subjects taught during management training will only lead to more profit and exploitation in the factories and offices. There is no room for creativity, for learning, for independent thought and meaningful work. Meanwhile, rationalization discards many people from the production process. There is no place for them in the society of tomorrows.
Siemens has played a prominent role in demanding exploitive working conditions: introduction of Sunday work, flex hours, the decline in safety procedures and regulations, an increase in short term labour contracts. Siemens earns good money through the exploitation of black labour in South Africa. Siemens is one of the largest corporations in Western Europe, and just so that it can make a profit, is prepared to engage in inhumane projects. During the period of Nazi fascism, Siemens profited from the merciless exploitation and murder of concentration camp prisoners who laboured in the production of weapons.
KWE, Interatom, RBU and Alkem, these have made Siemens one of the largest nuclear corporations in the world, and it, among others, sells nuclear reactors to France, Austria, and Argentina. Siemens has even sold a reactor to South Africa which can now make an atom bomb. Here and all over the world, Siemens sells computers to pigs and to Secret Services, as well as to reactionary and fascist governments in South America, Africa, and Asia. Today they support with their products the government of Cristiani in El Salvador; they are directly responsible for the mass murder of the people of El Salvador. The misdeeds of this corporation would be enough to fill several thick books!
The monopoly of technological advancement in the metropoles serves to extend world-wide repression into eternity. This system offers people no perspective; it offers no solution to any societal problems, problems which it has itself produced: unemployment, economic uncertainty, sexism, overt racism, destruction of the environment, daily starvation of peoples of the continents – South America, Africa, and Asia, and genocide
in several countries where people are fighting for their liberation. Mountains of paper are written about these developments, and anyone who has any sensitivity left is being
confronted by them everyday.
Our object is the development of resistance which is rooted is the deep contempt for this system, a resistance which attacks these destructive, projects and attempts to achieve political objectives, and thereby justifies the societal relevance of our
During the last hunger-strike it became clear that we were politically and practically incapable of changing the attitudes of those responsible. The rulers would have cooly
murdered prisoners instead of giving in to their demand for association together. For us, this is directly connected with our quest for a real perspective on life, i.e. how can we get, from a murderous, capitalist interest group, these demands granted: an end to isolation torture, an end to such inhumane projects as atom and gene technology, an end to the exploitation of the Tricontinents.
We now need a new phase, and after the hunger-strike we have decided to give further development to militant politics as a political factor. Militant politics is for us one means by which we can affect the current power relationships and blocs,. We consider it important that a communal discussion take place among those who are ready to do battle here. We go on the attack now because we want to continue the process that was initiated by the Commando Wolfgang Beer of the RAF, also the Fighting Unit Sheban
Atlouf/Conny Wissman, the attack with molotov cocktails against a branch of the Deutsche Bank in Hamburg, and the action by the Fighting Unit Crespo Kepa Gallende, all of which got our support.
On November 30, 1989the prisoners from GRAPO and PCE(r), as well as the libertarians started a hunger-strike for association. At this moment the situation for them has become a matter of life and death. A couple of them are already in a coma, and it is in this situation that the prisoners are tortured with methods developed in West Germany i.e. force feeding and “coma-resolution”. What in the past year was prevented at any cost i.e. the prisoner collective, must now be broken up also in Spain. The destruction-project against the prisoners has a uniform standard, after the West German model. Against this we can only fight together!
COLLECTIVIZATION OF THE. REVOLUTIONARY PRISONERS!
February 27, 1990
Fighting Unit Huseyin Husnu Eroglu