… preview of a CCC blog entry that will include communiques, interviews, statements and articles from the media …
Fighting Communist Cells:
Belgian Guerrillas Target NATO
from Resistance, No. 9, 1985
Ittre, December 11, 1984: A violent explosion shatters the calm of a cold winter dawn in the Belgian countryside. Minutes later, a wall of flames 150 metres high reaches into the sky from the twisted wreckage of an isolated pumping station in NATO’s military pipeline. Though firefighters arrive almost immediately, the intense heat keeps them at a distance from the blaze and renders their tools useless.
Even as reinforcements pour in from the firefighting units of neighbouring towns, a second explosion is reported, near the town of Gastuche-Archennes. Then a third explosion, this one near Ensival. It is 6:30 AM, only an hour since the Ittre explosion.
And the fire is still raging a Ittre three hours later, when two more explosions, in the region of Glons, destroy more of the pipeline. Five separate explosions, all strategically placed within pumping stations and sluice gates have paralyzed the immense Central European Pipeline system. Affected by the action are military bases in Belgium, W. Germany, Luxemberg, and Holland. Also dependent on the system are the military forces of Canada, Britain and the United States. Kerosene for airplanes at 54 bases as well gasoline and diesel fuel are carried by the pipeline, designed to keep NATO forces fueled at the front in the event of war.
At 11:15, a statement claiming responsibility for the explosions is found in the mailbox of the Brussels newspaper La Cite. No one is surprised at the identity of the group: the Cellules Communistes Combattantes, or, Fight Communist Cells. This is their seventh attack on NATO in less than three months, and the extensive damage, the use of explosives, the symbolic value of the target as well as the lack of any injury to human life are virtually trademarks of the new urban guerrilla organization.
But the statement claims credit for six bombings, and so police rush out to the unharmed pumping station at Gages Gibecq, arriving there at 12:20 precisely the moment when the final explosion rock the pipeline. Baffling the Belgian police is another famous CCC trait.
As in previous CCC actions, the statement says little about the target itself beyond a perfunctory “This morning of 11 December 1984, the Fighting Communist Cells have destroyed … “, precisely describing the targets, in this case even including the serial numbers of the sections destroyed. Most of the text is devoted to a Marxist critique of NATO and of Belgium’s key role, a critique based largely on Lenin’s writings on imperialism and statements from the guerrilla movements in Italy and West Germany. Supporting their critique are the hard facts of recent history, from NATO’s 40 per cent control of the Belgian military and the Autumn Forge manouevers that used Belgium as a launching pad for a European ‘war’ to a list of foreign intervention by the Belgian military: Algeria, the Congo, Pakistan …
“The war against the NATO system is the principal axis in the class war,” the statement says. NATO, the very first CCC statement said, is an instrument of imperialist war which in itself is a response to crises in the capitalist system. Subsequent statements would further develop that analysis and revolutionary practice that the CCC would strive to implement.
By evening, Belgian newspapers are giving the action rave reviews, even while expressing predictable disapproval. Said the Brussels’s daily Le Soir: “The terrorists have delivered a stupefying display of force that has given NATO and the Belgian army a solid thrashing.
The October Campaign
The Fighting Communist Cells were unheard of before October 2, 1984, when a severe explosion demolished part of the Belgian headquarters of Litton Business, an American electronics corporation with many military connections.
Police said the explosion had been caused by a powerful bomb, equivalent to 5-10 kg of TNT, and though the entire front of the building collapsed, no one was injured.
An anonymous phone call to a news agency revealed the hiding place of a statement regarding the action. Heading the document was the soon-to-be familiar red star triple-C logo and the name Cellules Communistes Combatantes. The statement said the bombing was in response to Litton’s role as a major supplier of weapons to NATO, whose headquarters were a mere half mile from Litton.
“Above all, and especially with its Canadian subsidiary,” the statement said, “Litton Industries is the designer, manufacturer and producer of the Cruise missile.” Preparations to install those missiles were already underway at the Florennes military base. The purpose of the attack was to stop Litton’s Belgian activities, the statement explained, but attacks would not be limited to just one band of capitalists.
The Litton bombing came at a time when NATO had encountered years of determined and widespread opposition throughout Europe, partly as a result of American plans to increase its nuclear arsenal in NATO countries. Mass demonstrations in many European cities greeted these plans, which called for the prompt deployment of 572 medium range missiles, including 48 Cruise missiles in Belgium alone. In response to the public opposition, many social democratic parties opposed the scheme, and some governments, including Belgium’s, wavered, but legal protests were insufficient to stop NATO missile deployment, slated to begin in March 1985.
But it was this very missile deployment, the CCC stated, that had provoked Europeans into realizing NATO’s imperialist role and was now leading to the emergence of an underground resistance movement. This was inevitably also a revolutionary movement, since one cannot fight against imperialism without fighting against capitalism, the statement said.
The statement’s most important declaration, however, emerged from the CCC’s prediction that the police and media would try to portray them as terrorists and enemies of the people. In accordance with the fundamental communist principle that guerrilla actions are never directed against the people, the CCC vowed to take all possible measures to avoid injuring people, even if their precautions jeopardized the success of their actions.
They quickly proved as good as their word. In the next fifteen days, four additional bombings – two more against military contractors, two against political parties – caused extensive damage but not the slightest of injuries. Even the NATO pipeline action three months later, despite its immense scale and spectacular results, harmed no one – the explosions occurred in areas so remote, many of the firefighters had no idea a military pipeline ran through their region.
Less than 24 hours after the Litton bombing, incendiary bombs exploded in the parking lot of the German corporation MAN, near Brussels. Of the five bombs, only four exploded, causing minor damage to trucks stored on the lot.
A statement found in the mailbox of the Brussels newspaper Le Soir explained that the CCC had attacked MAN because it produced the trailers used to store and transport the Pershing II nuclear missiles. “It is the duty of revolutionaries to put an end to these activities,” the statement declared, listing a number of other MAN projects: military trucks for the Belgian Army and engines for armoured cars and warships. The super-profits reaped by companies like Litton and MAN from war industries not only proved that imperialist war arose from capitalist production, they continued, it exposed the corporations as the real protagonists of war.
On October 8, a bomb wrecked the entrance hall of the offices of US computer firm Honeywell International, only a few hundred feet from NATO.
“On all levels we are approaching the heart of the beast,” said the CCC statement, found in the private mailbox of a Belgian journalist.
The statement cited Honeywell for the production of Cruise and MX ‘Peacekeeper’ missiles, production of guidance systems for the B-52 bomber, torpedos, radars and fragmentation bombs. Placing the CCC’s activities in an international context, the statement listed previous actions against Litton, MAN and Honeywell by Canada’s Direct Action, the American United Freedom Front and the Revolutionary Cells in W. Germany.
Even the high security guarding as obvious a target as Honeywell had been insufficient protection from the CCC. Now newspapers announced the country was slowly sliding into a state of crisis. Gendarmes and city police reinforced the extra security measures taken to protect public buildings and the offices of corporations with connections, direct or indirect, to military production.
From the beginning of the CCC campaign, Belgian authorities had stressed that the actions were obviously committed by foreigners, France’s Action Directe being the standard suspect. Despite total lack of evidence, the media played up the Action Directe theory, making it sound as though the police were always only one step away from cracking the case.
But the official line began to wear thin after the Honeywell bombing. For a week, the CCC had been able to bomb apparently at will, yet police could offer no leads. To make matters worse, the CCC issued an unconditional, flat-out denial of the charge that they were Action Direct by another name. the state’s motivation for the charge, the statement said, was simply to deny the existence of an independent Belgian guerrilla movement. The concept that concrete conditions for the development of an underground revolutionary movement existed within Belgium itself was far too dangerous for public consumption.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Gol slapped a media ban on the investigation and announced the formation of an ‘inter-force anti-terrorist group’, the GIA. They were soon joined by a new anti-terrorist squadron of the gendarmerie, and an anti-terrorist unit and a ‘Group To Repress Terrorism’ of the Brussels police. A special task force to coordinate the new anti-terrorist forces had to be convened.
But the proliferation of anti-terrorist forces did little to advance the investigation of even to shore up the sagging reputation of the police force. And on October 15 and 17, the CCC struck again, this time against the two governing political parties. “Investigation powerless,” blared the Le Sou headline announcing the bomb ing of the right-wing Liberals’ Centre Jean Rey and the Christian Democrat’s office in Gand. The targets were selected for the CCC’s ‘October anti-imperialist campaign,’ their statement said, because of the parties’ role in the coalition government. The action was dedicated to the rail workers of Charletoi, who had launched a major strike campaign the previous year.
Even as the debris settled from the Gand bombing, the state experts sifted the rubble for bomb fragments, Prime Minister Wilfried Martens, roused from his nearby home, told reporters to expect a more coordinated police offensive and further government measures-after another special anti-terrorist group delivered its report in the next few days.
At weeks end, Friday, October 22,5 a.m., the police make their move. As many as a thousand police and gendarmes raid houses and offices of leftist organizations of every description: communists, anarchists, environmentalists, peace activists, even the parliamentary left-wing parties. Roadblocks are set up all over the country. At least 18 activists are held, photographed and interrogated. Typewriters, mailing lists, leftist publications and address books are confiscated by police wielding warrants authorizing seizure of “any element or object useful to the investigation.” Dubbed “Operation Mammoth,” the venture is the largest police dragnet Belgium has ever seen.
The results however, are miniscule, and even the newspapers question Mammoth’s true purpose. No arrests are made. A cache of munitions discovered at Courcelles turns out to be related to a private dispute. Many of the victims are obviously not linked to the CCC. A variety of people, from a socialist senator to anarchist publishers, denounce the police operation as anti-democratic. The state proved it can react vigorously when
attacked, said a newspaper summarizing the effects of Mammoth, but “above all, its effect was to update police documentation about the extreme left-wing movements.”
Officials admitted they had learned virtually nothing about the CCC. As Mammoth drew to an ignominous close, police were hurriedly pulled’ off the operation and dispatched to the homes of judges And other officials in case of a CCC reprisal. Police and military paranoia about an immediate CCC response was running so high that explosives experts used robot to ‘detonate’ a box of pacifist literature thrown over a fence into a military base. The CCC had quickly succeeded, commentators agreed, in raising the political tension of the nation,
But the final proof that Mammoth had failed to paralyse the CCC came one month later, early in the morning of November 25. That’s when explosions destroyed two military telecommunications pylons outside the Bierset airforce base, home of a Mirage bomber squadron under direct NATO command. The CCC statement, before resuming the continuing critique of NATO an imperialism, acclaimed W. Germany’s Red Army Fraction for an earlier attack on the same NATO force at Ramstein in August 1981. No mention was made of the recent wave of police repression; most of the statement consisted of a scathing attack on the peace movement leadership for refusing to acknowledge that the threat of nuclear war was more than just a potentially apocalyptic blunder by misguided world leaders. Even the model W. German peace movement was in shambles, the statement said, because its militants realized that years of pacifist struggle had produced nothing.
The December 11 attack on the NATO pipeline system remains the CCC’s most dramatic action to date. Its timing, only a few days before ‘defense’ ministers from NATO countries met in Brussels, focused world attention on the growing anti-NATO underground. Having established itself as an autonomous Belgian guerilla movement, the CCC stressed in their pipeline statement the international nature of the illegal front.
Already the events of the new year are demonstrating the formidable strength of that international movement. After a car bomb exploded outside NATO headquarters in Brussels .January 15, the CCC issued a statement dedicating the action to the militants of the Red Army Fraction. The same day, the RAF and Action Directe announced they would work together, “forming a joint political-military front in Western Europe” with NATO as its main target. The deaths of two major international arms dealers, the French General Rene Audran and the German industrialist Dr. Ernst Zimmerman, followed soon after, responsibility for the killings being claimed by Action Directe and the RAF, respectively. In Portugal, the Popular Forces of April 25, FP-25, have claimed responsibility for at least three actions: the shelling of the American embassy in Lisbon in November,the shelling of a squadron of NATO ships in January, and, in February, the bombing of 14 cars at the Beja airbase in southern Portugal.
Meanwhile, Belgian police have spent half of their annual budget in January alone,
but are no closer to stopping the CCC. Officials admit their heavy-handed measures have become something of a grim joke among Belgians. “Our failure ‘will simply bring recruits to the CCC,” an official confesses. Foreign correspondents compare Brussels to a city beseiged. Since the year began, the number of police in the streets has tripled, parked trucks seal off embassies and public buildings from the threat of car bombs. Random roadblocks are an everyday event. Yet another anti-terrorist strike force has been formed, this one to spy on travellers and watch airports.
The political turmoil in Belgium has also stalled the NATO deployment schedule, which called for 16 cruise missiles to arrive in Belgium by mid-March. In W. Germany, Portugal and France, where police recently claimed to have broken the underground resistance, the anti-NATO movements are as strong as ever. Will 1985 be the year the NATO conspiracy is broken? As the CCC put it in their pipeline statement: “From Portugal to W. Germany, from Italy to Ireland, ‘from Greece to Spain … a wind of hope and struggle is rising that unites all people in the struggle against imperialism.”
INTERVIEW WITH 4 MILITANTS OF THE C.C.C. APRIL 1987
(an interview that Arm The Spirit translated but never published … originally published in Belgian magazine Le Peuple, 25/04/1987)
What is your system of detention at the present time?
A destructive system: complete isolation, a prison within a prison. Last year, because of the hunger strike and the mobilization that occurred around it, we gained certain improvements necessary for political tasks/work (information, lectures, correspondence). But after some time, the situation is once again degrading considerably. But those that wish to discuss with us can still write directly to us.
Are you satisfied with the way in which the investigation regarding the rights of the defence is possible?
It is impossible for us to answer a question of this nature for two reasons:
First, since justice (the judicial machine and the Right) is a product of the current social system, it adopts the nature of the class system. This justice, it is the interests of the bourgeoisie instituted as law. In this situation we don’t grant these laws any legitimacy, and our only relation to them is through confrontation, through the continuation of the class struggle; our goal is the liberation of, not the oppression of, working people.
Second, and as a consequence, because we don’t have to “defend” ourselves from justice such as this, we stand firm in our belief that the bourgeoisie has no right to accuse us.
Revolutionary action is impossible! When the hearing comes it will be the bourgeoisie who will have to answer for their crimes, capitalism will have to answer for its invalidity, and imperialism will have to answer for its barbarity.
Did you or did you not plant bombs?
We are militants of a revolutionary communist organization who, within the framework of armed struggle, carried out explosive attacks against political, economic, and military centers of bourgeois power. We individually and collectively, claim and assume the whole of the work of our organization.
Have you committed any acts of terrorism?
The CCC has never committed the least act of terrorism!
Terrorism consists of paralysing the enemy through fear and this has nothing to do with communist propaganda. The political line and practice of the CCC contains the elements of theory, politics, and strategy necessary to anti-austerity and anti-war struggles if they are to overcome their current ineffectiveness. We are the furthest thing from terrorism.
Now, it is possible to see the struggle to liberate ourselves from shackles and to embark on the road to Revolution as fruitless because of the collaboration of class and legalism, to be frightened of the bourgeoisie … but our goal is not to frighten the bourgeoisie; our goal is to uproot its power, to remove all possibilities to exploit the proletariat, and to put a definite end to its filthy dealings.
What objectives are you pursuing?
In the end, the building up of a communist society, that is to say, a society where exploitation of man by man is banished, a society where production is put to the service of humanity and not the opposite, a society without class and without the state, a society where everybody contributes according to his or her means and where everyone receives according to his or her needs.
The only alternative to capitalism rests on embarking on the path to this society, that is to say, working towards the communist revolution. The latter,with its logic of profit reveals itself to be incapable of managing the productive forces and riches stemming from social work, in its dying logic the material possibility from now on open assures all inhabitants of the planet a decent life and better everyday, and is interpreted as crisis, welfare, exploitation, war, famine, etc.
For working people the choice is clear: either continue to be subjected to the convulsions of this system in agony, or work towards its overtaking through socialism. Between submission and the revolution, there’s nothing left …
Therefore it’s in a revolutionary perspective that the Cells found their politics. It consists (in brief) to contribute to the measure of their means to the emergence and the the development of necessary elements for the success of the revolutionary process
What are these elements?
Above all else, a “rearming” theory, politic, and ideology of the proletariat. We must break off with the collaborationist and/or defeatist logics in order to develop a reliable general strategy, an audacious and precise political .line, lucid and courageous analysis, adaptable and offensive tactics, etc. This “rearming” will bring a return to Marxist/Leninist principles.
Afterwards, at a practical level, the main objective is the foundation in the struggle of the communist combatant party.
Do you have the impression that the inquest is being dragged on, whither is be before the arrests or afterwards?
Not at all.
In judicial circles it is said that you were linked with other branches of “international terrorism” (A.D., R.A.F.) … is this true?
The CCC has numerous contacts with groups, organizations, as well as with militants and lone workers. As soon as political convergence (even weak) appears in the struggle, every effort is made to establish contact. This contact consists, above all, of confronting the political lines and options, exchanging critiques and discussions, and clearing up possible incomprehensions, etc.
Take the example of Action Directe. Considering the evolution of its discourse, we estimated in 1983 that a possibility of political encounter existed . The debate proved to us that this was not the case, and that too large a gap separated our Marxist-Leninist line and the anarchist line of A.D. The contacts were then suspended.
What was the nature of these links?
That varied according to the degree of political unity estimated during the discussions and demonstrated in practice. Once unity appeared sufficient (or brought adequate progress) practical cooperation could be contemplated.
Was it a question of an exchange of information or of materials?
Yes, but unity can be carried much further. Let’s recall most notably the attack against the NATO network of pipelines in December 1985″ during our “Pierre Akkerman” campaign: this attack was undertaken simultaneously in Belgium by the Cells, and in France by a group of international militant communists (it’s no longer a question of A.D.)
There are other points to make.
It is political unity which, above all, will determine practical unity, never the opposite.
Communists are devoted to the “count on your own strength” principle, and in that sense,we can’t allow the struggle to depend on outside contributions.
Were you tied to other organizations (P.L.O., I.R.A.)?
You mention the PLO and the IRA. Why would we be tied to these organizations? We are communists, we only have links with comrades in other countries and with workers of our country. We have discussions with comrades engaged in the proletarian strugle even if thev don’t think that armed struggle should be undertaken today !We tell them why we think otherwise, and why we think this struggle is necessary, and we try to make progress together.
But why would we link up with people or organizations that don’t have the same goals or principles as us, organizations which do not fight for the proletarian revolution (or who are sometimes directed by bourgeois factions)? Because they are engaged in armed struggle?’ That would be absurd!
Unity is founded on common goals and principles, and not on this or that form of struggle. There is no more a coaliton or union of bomb throwers (of “international terrorists”) than there is a union of pamphlet distributors, or a union of those who post flyers.
The confusion between political line and type of struggle is not innocent. Rather it is often provoked and upheld by the bourgeoisie; this allows them to depoliticise and defame armed struggle for communism and to associate armed struggle with matters which are foreign to it.
Certain journalists have evoked possible links with other “terrorists” called “Killers Of Brabant Wallon.” Are there any contacts?
Here is an example of what we have just talked about. Having stuck the CCC with the generic label of “terrorists”, most ignoble and absurd combinations are made. Since gangsterism of killers is a product of the bourgeois ideology practice (massacre and pile up the populace), and since this constitutes the opposite of our practice, they try to defame our struggle by associating us with it.
A little after your arrests, a daily newspaper received a letter saying that “the struggle continues.” Is the struggle continuing?
Of course. The CCC were products of the economic and social conditions of Belgium in the 1980’s and these conditions don’t change because of some arrests: when a hundred men are hungry, it’s not by putting the first one who complains in prison that the other ninety-nine are satisfied! The interests of the proletariat are objective, and necessitate the reclamation of the offensive, the liberation of legalism, reformism, parliamentarianism, etc., and the organization of an open revolutionary process for the seizure of power. As long as the same problem remains, the same solutions will impose themselves. This said, the letter of which you speak, did not come from our organization .
Do you accept the theory of the Red Brigades: the state must be destabilized through terrorist actions to create the conditions of a strong power which will, by itself, give rise to the “proletarian revolution”?
This theory; fanciful’ as it is, comes from the police services. NEVER have the red Brigades envisioned such a theory and all those who have read or studied BR texts know this ..
Once a revolutionary organization follow a lines so clear, so just, and so adapted to the needs and wishes of the masses that it is useless for the boureoisie to try an open attack, the bourgeoisie must then invent out of all the pieces another line, and trumpet to all who want to listen that it’s the “real” line of the revolutionary organization. It’s a process as old as it is, pathetic.
This said, it is true that the revolutionary offensive does provoke inflexibility and harshness on the part of the bourgeoisie. This is normal, the bourgeoisie is attacked, the bourgeoisie defends itself. We know that the bourgeoisie organizes its domination democratically when the populace cowers, but when the populace decides to lift its head and take its future in its hand, the rose-colored candy of social peace gives way to the khaki of blatant domination. We have already experienced this in our country. ‘
The only real question which the proletariat faces is to be stronger than the bourgeoisie and to finally and definately shatter its reins.
Of course, the proper understanding of your question is made difficult by the clique of moaners who run in between the legs of the working class advocating submission and whining, in advance, the loss of their privileges; the privileges the bourgeoisie gives to its servants. But this mob has less and less credibility with the workers.
One last thing, this “theory” is also absurd since it presumes that something else (a “strong power”) would be needed for a mass revolutionary process to emerge. That is ridiculous: as if capitalist exploitation aggravated even by crisis and contention does not amply suffice to impose such a process!
The actions of the CCC were generally more cautious, less flagrant, than those of other movements of the same type. Was this the fruit of an analysis of the results obtained by these movements? If yes, which ones? If no, what is a good explanation?
First off, these actions were not flagrant at all. Each was aimed at an precise cog in the bourgeois machinery of exploitation and domination.
As for the fact that everything has been organized and planned so that the masses are not endangered by revolutionary actions; its simply the most basic communist moral: serve the people!
It is evident that we carefully study the experiences of armed struggle for communism elsewhere in Europe: and we mainly focus our attention on two struggles, which like our own, rigorously follow Marxist-Leninist principles; the Red Brigades in Italy, and the PCE(r) and GRAPO in Spain. The analyses and experiences of these struggles have played a major role in the building of our political line; at for us they are a major reference point, as rich in lessons as the Paris Commune, the Revolution of October 17, the Komintern, or the cultural proletarian revolution in China, for example. That’s why we never stop advising our comrades; all those for whom the proletarian revolution is not just a hollow word, to read texts of these organizations.
To return to your initial question, we will add that these organizations have a vigilance at least the equal of ours, to ensure that the masses are not endangered during guerilla
Has the action of the Sols A Bruxelles Road marked a turning point in your connection with public opinion?
Yes and No. The attack against the seat of the Belgian employers on May 1st was well received. How could it have been otherwise? For the first time in a long time the 1st of May regained all of its meaning. But there was also the death of two firemen and the bourgeois manoeuvre to transfer onto the CCC the overwhelming responsibility of the police in this matter. This morbid manoeuvre (noteworthy of its author) had as its goal to
cynically exploit the legitimate indignation of the masses, and to transform it into a rejection of revolutionary politics. Following this manoevure, those who know the direction of our struggle, those who know the extreme vigilance of the Cells to the safety of the masses, or more simply, all +ho s’e who haverriore faith’ in revolutionaries than in bourgeois propaganda: all these made a blockade around the CCC to counter this repugnent manoeuvre. However it is true that other workers, more vulnerable to the
propaganda of the “makers of public opinion” of the bourgeoisie were troubled by this manouvere.
Did you get the impression, at the beginning of your actions – I think notably of the action against the NATO pipelines – that there was a wave of sympathy in public opinion?
For sure: alot of people found this funny! The downcast expression of the ministers, the empty-handed police, the ridicule of operation mammoth,etc …. it was very amusing. But this is of very little interest. As time went on, those who only saw an exciting remake of the David and Goliath became bored. However, those who were directly effected by, or concerned with, the struggle against austerity and militarism began thinking about the credibility, the rationality, the seriousness, and the potential for victory.
You claim to be communists … communists say your are mixed up. How do you respond?
Very simply. Look at who is communist in etiquette, and who is communist in combat! In other words, look at who betrays Marxism-Leninism and at who applies it: look at who sells out the workers for a minor parliamentary role and who struggles for the conquest of power for the workers; look at who collaborates in the domination of the bourgeoisie and supports this noxious democracy, and who fights for the disappearance of this parasitic class; or, finally, look at who pokes a hole in the soft nest of the capitalist regime and who struggles for communism, no matter what the consequences might be for the combattants.
This is the most serious way of looking at it, and we are composed regarding the the verdict of the workers once they have had their examination!