… in Germany, after the dissolution of the RAF and RZs, a number of clandestine organizations carried on with armed actions … groups such as Klasse Gegen Klasse, Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E. and Das K.O.L.L.E.C.T.I.V.E were all active during the mid-1990s as part of the clandestine militant branch of the revolutionary left and Arm The Spirit did translate communiques from all these groups … below are some of the communiques / critiques/ analysis from a few of these groups as well as info on the repression that followed …
… in response to the armed actions of these groups, in 1995 the German state conducted a series of raids aimed at left radical structures and aimed at the activists considered responsible for these actions.
… the clandestine magazine Radikal (a major source of information for Arm The Spirit, in fact, a fair bit of the material below came from Radikal) and it’s editors were particularly targeted. Radikal was, as ATS put it: a paper “by and for the autonomous left” which has bee consistently published in Germany since the 1970s. Since being banned under Germany’s repressive anti-leftist laws, the magazine has been published clandestinely. Topics in the magazine include political prisoners, communiques and discussions from and about armed struggle organizations, historical analyses of patriarchy and fascism, updates on anti-fascist activity in Germany, critiques of and solidarity with the PKK and the Kurdish national liberation struggle…and usually some “practical” tips, such as how to safely use computers for political work and what devices can best hinder the rail transport of nuclear waste, etc.”
… one of the clandestine organizations mentioned in the pieces below, the Anti-Imperialist Cells, will get their own blog entry shortly …
Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E / brief history
K.O.M.I.T.E.E Attack Foiled In Berlin / June 1995
Das K.O.L.L.E.K.T.I.V. Communique / June 1995
K.O.M.I.T.E.E Communique / November 1994
Das K.O.L.L.E.K.T.I.V. Communique / July 1995
“Close Doesn’t Count…” K.O.M.I.T.E.E. Communique Concerning The Failed Attack In Berlin- Gruenau / September 1995
Letter From K.O.M.I.T.E.E. / 1995
Klasse Gegen Klasse Communique / August 1995
Bombs In Support Of Demonstrations: “Klasse gegen Klasse” Claims Responsibility For Recent Arson And Bomb Attacks / March 1996
Stay Radikal / Summer 1995
Germany: Militant Actions For Mumia
Column #266 — Written 16 December 1995 – RE: RADIKAL, WHEN THE STATE SILENCES @1995 by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Interim Meets Radikal: Interview With Radikal And Interim
… a bit of a history of Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E … from a solidarity pamphlet put out by comrades in support of Bernhard Heidbreder who was arrested in Venezuela in 2014 for the armed actions of Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E …
The group ‘Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E.’ developed out of the radical left. Their first campaign was an arson attack on a building of the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) in Bad Freienwalde on October 27th, 1994. The context was the criticism of the German political position towards the Kurdish liberation struggles. Germany was supporting the Turkish war against the Kurds by exporting weapons and prohibiting the organization of the PKK within Germany. The campaign by ‘Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E.’ was aimed against the repressively biased position of the German state towards the Kurdish liberation struggles: Germany is “party to the genocide in Kurdistan (…) – in military, economic and
The intended attack on the building of the new deportation camp/prison Berlin-Grünau about six months later was part of a protest against the German isolation and deportation politics against refugees from all over the world. In the early 90ies the political climate was shaped by the so-called asylum-debate, which fostered and fueled racist attacks on refugees. In August 1992 these racist attacks reached a climax in a pogrom against refugees and Vietnamese contract workers in Rostock-Lichtenhagen, lasting several days.
In 1993 this social climate led to a change in the German constitution which undermined the fundamental right to asylum to a degree where it was basically abolished. For years resistance against these racist attacks and the German isolation and deportation politics has been carried out by a wide variety of political groups, from church congregations to militant resistance.
In April 1995 the K.O.M.I.T.E.E. wanted to do more than just undertake symbolic acts. Their aim was to destroy a building which was being reconstructed to become a deportation camp for refugees. Unfortunately the detonation of the building did not occur. Based on indications, Bernhard, Thomas and Peter have been accused of being members of the group K.O.M.I.T.E.E.
In September 1995 the group disbanded. The topics which were addressed by the group are still current: even though today the Kurds are the critical factor in the democratization process in the Middle East, the PKK is still illegal in Germany and the repressive politics against Kurdish people continue. According to the UNHCR the brutal isolation policies against refugees have caused an estimated 23.000 deaths and disappearances since the year 2000 along the EU external borders.
K.O.M.I.T.E.E. Attack Foiled In Berlin
On April 10/95, police foiled an attempted attack by four militants against a newly constructed deportation prison in the Grunau section of Berlin. A total of 120kg of explosives had been disguised as fire extinguishers and were designed to destroy the new prison before it could be opened. However, ever since the spectacular RAF commando attack which completely destroyed a new high-tech prison in Weiterstadt in March of 1993, German authorities have greatly increased their surveillance of prison construction sights.
Although police foiled the attack, all four persons were able to flee. Since then, however, one woman (Beate) has been arrested, but three men (Bernhard, Thomas, and Peter) are still on the run. All three were active in the autonomist scene in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin, according to police. During the foiled attack, police also claim to have found the communique for the action, signed by a group called “Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E.”. This group had previously carried out an attack on an abandoned army barracks in Bad Freienwalde in East Germany in November of 1994. This action, which caused 200,000 DM in damage, was done in solidarity with the Kurdish national liberation struggle and to protest German arms sales to Turkey.
Below is the communique from an action against the company responsible for building the deportation prison in Berlin-Grunau. If we receive any updates about the Grunau incident, we will publish them. In the meantime, however, we send greetings of solidarity to the three comrades still on the run.
– Arm The Spirit, June 95
Terrorists Are Those People Who Build Deportation Prisons, Not
Those That Blow Them Up!
Stop The German State’s Racist Asylum And Deportation Policies!
On the night of Wednesday/Thursday, June 7/8, 1995, we detonated several containers full of flammable mixtures under three vehicles belonging to the ALLROUND construction firm, because they are involved in the construction of the deportation prison in Grunau and therefore are partly responsible for the deportation of countless refugees and immigrants to regions of war, crisis, and poverty. This company earns money by constructing a place where people will be caged up for weeks, just for exercising their right to demand their fair share of the world’s wealth.
For refugees, deportation doesn’t just mean poverty and sorrow, but also torture, prison, and death.
On Monday, 22.5.95, a Kurdish woman named Havva Koc was deported from Berlin-Schonefeld to Istanbul, where she was immediately arrested by plainclothes police. Her present whereabouts are unknown.
As of June 12, the moratorium on the deportation of Kurds will be lifted. In Kurdistan, the Turkish military has been waging war for years, not just against armed ERNK units of the PKK, but also against the Kurdish civilian population and all those who strive for independence. According to the 1994 annual report of the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD), more than 2,000 villages have been destroyed, writers and journalists were sentenced to a total of some 500-600 years in prison, more than 100 unions, parties, associations, and organizations were banned, and more than 100 publications were confiscated or forced to close down (Ozgur Gundem, Ozgur Ulke, etc.).
Through its weapons sales to NATO partner Turkey, Germany is a party in this dirty war: first send in weapons to fight against the Kurds, earns lots of money in the process, and then send back all those who flee from this war. The German state is responsible or this cycle of death!
“Today, some two years after the right to asylum (Art. 16 GG) was practically abolished politicians celebrating the 50th anniversary of the defeat of fascism speak of peace and reconciliation. But such words are meaningless, as Roma peoples are being deported to Romania where today they still face persecution, discrimination, and pogroms. They speak of peace, and yet people are still being shipped back to the former Yugoslavia: deserters, who, through their decision to avoid military service, are actively resisting the war, raped women, elderly people, sick and mistreated children. (…) Threatened expansion and tightening of laws regulating asylum seekers, overflowing deportation prisons, the accompaniment of so- called security personnel from the refugee’s home country to assist in the deportation process, and the planned “chip card”, which would record an asylum seeker’s every move – all of this shows that the interior ministers’ racist repertoire is still replete.”
(from a leaflet for the demonstration against the Interior
Ministers’ Conference in Berlin, May 1995)
We demand that all refugees and immigrants be given the right to stay here. Not only because Germany, through its imperialist policies in the Three Continents (the so-called Third World), has created the root causes of flight (poverty, war, etc.), but also because we envision a society where it doesn’t matter in the least whether someone is green, black, white, or purple, whether they have a passport from this or that country, whether they speak one language or the other. We don’t give a shit about any of these things! Everyone has the right to live here. Period!
On 7.5.95, 2,000 people took part in a demonstration in the Westphalian city of Buren sponsored by more than 40 refugee groups and organizations against the deportation prison located in that city. “This prison in Buren, which holds 600 people, is exemplary of the legal, state practice of German racism”, according to one speaker at the demo.
On 18.5.95, another 2,000 people demonstrated against the Interior Ministers’ Conference in Berlin to protest the deportation of refugees.
Today, no one can claim that they weren’t aware of things. The division of labor is clear. Some people pass racist laws, others transport refugees like freight, and still others build deportation prisons – like the ALLROUND firm!
The prison in Grunau, when it’s finished, will hold 400 people. Unfortunately, the planned attack by K.O.M.I.T.E.E. was foiled by the cops at the last minute.
When right becomes wrong, resistance is a must! And when words go unheard, the language of violence must be spoken!
Open borders for all!
Solidarity with the Kurdish liberation struggle!
We wish Bernhard, Thomas, and Peter lots of fun, strength, and love as they run from the cops! You can live and struggle anywhere!
For the immediate release of Beate K.! And, of course, for Mumia Abu-Jamal!
Greetings of solidarity to Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E.!
Bye for now, until the next time,
Berlin, June 7/8, 1995
K.O.M.I.T.E.E. Statement Concerning The Attack In Bad Freienwalde
“I can’t really hold Turkey responsible; we all know about Turkey, the whole world knows about Turkey. One Kurdish proverb states: ‘Expect the worst from your enemy so that you won’t be disappointed.’ But the German authorities, who claim to be defender of human rights, these people I blame. They are just as guilty of murdering Mesut as the Turkish soldiers themselves are. What have we done to them? Why do they do such things to us? The Germans also murdered my son. They must be held responsible. I call on the public to see to it that my son’s death is punished. Please, tell the people there to stop them from sending weapons here, because we are being tortured and killed by these weapons.”
– statement from the mother of Mesut Dunder, who was killed on 23.9.92 by a German tank, to the German public
On 27.10.94, we destroyed the barracks of the Verteidigungskriegskommando 852 in Bad Freienwalde in Markisch Oberland with an incendiary device.
Germany Is A Partner In The Genocidal War In Kurdistan: Militarily, Economically, And Politically!
“Turkey, because of its strategic position on NATO’s southeastern flank, used to be the cornerstone of our security. Today, because of the developments in the southern regions of the former Soviet Union as well as in other countries in the Near and Middle East, Turkey is even more important. A democratic and stable Turkey can play an important role in this region’s relationship to Europe. (…) Our military aid is the continuation of agreements made by previous German governments and is of particular importance for the Atlantic Alliance.”
– Helmut Kohl during the parliamentary debate on 2.4.94, where a central issue was the lifting of the limited arms embargo against Turkey
The above statement clearly spells out Germany’s role in the war in Kurdistan. Turkey is the power charged with keeping regional stability, after having won for itself the reputation at the international level of being the only power in the area which can be trusted. Following a NATO meeting Brussels in January 1994, at a trilateral foreign ministers conference in Ankara between Germany, Great Britain, and Turkey, Foreign Minister Kinkel proclaimed Turkey’s “strategic importance” in Europe’s new security structure because of its proximity to Asia (taz, 21.1.94). In other words, what had previously been a bulwark against Bolshevik expansionism would now buffer the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the Near East, while at the same time preventing Russia from exerting excess pressure on the new republics in the Caucasus and Asia. Turkey’s final role has to do with the so-called “Turk states” (Azerbaijan, Kazakstan, Cirgesia Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan) which are granted to be “natural” spheres of influence for Turkey on account of the fact that they are all “brother states with common historical and cultural ties”. The first step towards realizing the hegemony of this region was the agreement signed with these Turk republics in Istanbul on 19.10.94 which foresees “increasing political and cultural relations”.
It is this geopolitical status which Turkey enjoys which is costing Kurds their lives every day. This function which Turkey exercises in the region is the reason why genocide can be carried out with impunity with the approval and support of Western states. Higher interests must take priority. Germany is the most significant pillar of support which Ankara enjoys. Turkey’s 3,000-man anti-terror unit, the “Black Beetles”, known for its killer mentality, is trained by the Germany’s own anti-terrorist elite, the GSG-9. Each year, Turkish “students” are educated at the Bundeswehr’s officers academy and at various police training facilities.
Turkey is the largest customer of the world’s second largest arms exporter, Germany. Arms exports from Germany to Turkey totalled 6.3 billion DM from 1964-94. The “NATO defence aid” which Turkey receives, enough to equip an entire army, is virtually free. And this doesn’t include the cheap credits for arms purchases and other “regular” deals which Turkey enters into. The “NATO defence aid” which Turkey was granted in a 1964 NATO decision will finally expire at the end of 1994. In addition to the deal for 68 million DM of arms from 1992-94, a report from the Foreign Ministry has noted that Turkey recently received an additional 1.5 billion DM in other materials from Bonn. This included the free delivery of former NVA army weapons from the former East Germany. The total amount of arms gifts given to Turkey since 1989 makes the real dimension of this transaction clear. Here are just a few examples: 30 fighter jets, 170 Leopard-1 battle tanks, 300 BTR-60PB (East German) armoured tanks, 537 M-113 armoured tanks, 1,000 air-to-air rockets, 5,000 tank shells, RPG-7s (East German) with 200,000 grenades, more than 300,000 Kalaschnikov machine pistols (East German), and 175,000 gas masks.
In addition to military aid to Turkey, the German government would also like to conclude a comprehensive private business deal: In a Finance Ministry report to Parliament, it was announced that talks were underway between the Turkish Defence Ministry and various German corporations. These talks concerned the “delivery of 115 trailers for transporting tanks” and 10 multi-use helicopters. Bonn is hoping to secure a deal worth 120.7 million DM. Negotiations with the Turkish Defence Ministry concern deliveries worth a total of 1.8 billion DM (ND, 21.9.94).
Just because the NATO program will expire in 1995 doesn’t mean that the arms shipments will cease. On the contrary, “private” deals between German multi-national arms corporations like Siemens, the Daimler-Benz firms AEG, Dornier, MBB, MTU, and others, deals which are easier to hide from the public, will continue. Dornier delivered Stinger air defence systems, DASA sold Phantom fighter jets. The Leopard-1 tanks were specially fitted for Turkey by the Kraus-Maffai corporation. German grenades fired from Leopard-1 tanks were discovered after the destruction of the Kurdish city of Sirnak in mid-August 1992. The Kurd Mesut Dunder was dragged to death in Lice behind a German BTR-60 tank. The ca. 40,000 “village guards”, lackeys in the service of the Turkish “security forces”, are usually armed with G3 guns made by the firm Heckler & Koch. The 300,000 Kalaschnikov machine pistols found their way into the hands of the secret police and the “special teams” operating in Kurdistan, men who are paid per kill. The Foreign Ministry lied for a long time about the deployment of German weapons against the Kurdish civilian population. Later, when the facts could no longer be denied, the government simply stated that no agreements had been violated. Evidence of the arms deployment led to a brief arms embargo this spring. But that was just a sham. According a NATO decision arrived at in Rome in 1991, the security of a member state could also be affected by terrorism and sabotage, thereby making the domestic deployment of NATO weaponry permissible.
According to this NATO doctrine: “The security of the Alliance must be viewed in a global context. The security interests of the Alliance can be affected by other risks…such as the disruption of necessary resources by means of terrorism or sabotage.” That’s how the Turkish government can justify its military actions in Turkish Kurdistan. The deployment of German weapons are just part of a “fight against terrorists”, in full accordance with NATO guidelines. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Hans Schumacher, the German government has “full understanding” for this argument. During his visit to Turkey in July 1993, the Bundeswehr’s General Inspector Klaus Naumann, after meetings with Turkish Chief of Staff Dogan Gures and Defence Minister Nevzat Ayaz, stated that the use of German weapons in Kurdistan was “fully legitimate given the present conditions”.
It is the massive amount of German arms shipments to Turkey which has made it possible for the Turkish army to massacre the Kurdish people. In the past two years, 1,500 Kurdish villages have been destroyed and 4 million Kurds have become refugees. In August 1994, it also become known that Kurdish refugees were being detained in concentration camps where they were tortured and sometimes murdered.
Without the political, economic, and military support of Germany, Turkey would not be able to carry out its genocide against the Kurds. Without exaggerating, it is fair to say that Germany is just as important for Turkey today as the USA used to be for Vietnam and Central America. In September, a new wave of destruction was launched by the Turkish military. In the last four weeks alone, 30 villages in the Dersim region were
depopulated and destroyed. The forests in the Dersim region have been continually bombarded from the air and set on fire since August. According to the newspaper ‘Ozgur Ulke’, this method of burning forests and villages has been dubbed “Operation Rome” by the Turkish military in reference to Emperor Nero’s destruction of Rome. As soldiers involved in the operation have told to the newspaper, this destruction is just the first phase of a plan designed to eliminate another 150 villages and settlements in the Dersim region.
Germany is the long-arm of Turkey’s counter-insurgency in Western Europe! Or, in the words of Klaus Kinkel, “We cannot abandon our friends in a difficult situation!”
The smear campaigns against Kurds living here has reached a new level of intensity. For years, Kurds have been criminalized here, subject to persecution, arrest, and deportation. Through trials against alleged PKK members under Article 129a in the Dusseldorf PKK Trial in 1986 and the banning of the PKK and 42 other Kurdish organizations in 1993, Germany has opened up a second front against the Kurdish liberation movement in Europe. Germany is the major power in the European Union and has taken a leading role in defeating Kurdish organizations (following Germany, other EU states like France have also banned Kurdish organizations). Germany, on its own territory as well, has become an essential partner of the Turkish military and the political system dependent on it.
In September 1993, during a state visit by Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller to Bonn, definite plans were made to ban the PKK in Germany. The armed actions by the PKK in Germany just a few weeks later were just an excuse for the ban, not its actual reason. Germany thereby took up Turkey’s call to “fight against terrorism”. Following the PKK ban, “Thank you, Helmut!” was the main headline in the Turkish press.
On 19.07.94, Turkish Chief of Staff Dogan Gures, main coordinator of the war against the Kurds, was received with full military honors and spent four days with Bundeswehr General Inspector Klaus Naumann. According to ministerial reports, several high-level meetings took place and Gures visited several military facilities in Germany. At the end of July 1994, Gures told the Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’ that the “necessary contacts” with European states had been made in order to stop the PKK. According to him, German Defence Minister Volker Ruhe said he was “confident” that criminals from the ranks of the PKK would be deported to Turkey.
Since the banning of the PKK and all Kurdish cultural organizations associated with it, all Kurdish gatherings and demonstrations are banned, even protests against actions by the Turkish “security forces” in Kurdistan are massively criminalized, and demonstrations which are held are brutally attacked by the police. State sponsored hate campaigns in the media have created the necessary pogrom mentality against the Kurds. The climax of this was the murder of Halim Dener, who was shot by a cop for hanging posters in Hannover.
Kurds living in Germany have practically no right to freedom of expression or freedom of assembly. This virtual state of emergency against one social group is also a warning to other oppositional forces in Germany which could experience the same in the future. Kurds who have been arrested during protests and demonstrations, some of whom are now on hungerstrike, are threatened with rejected asylum claims and possible deportation. “It is unacceptable that violent foreigners abuse our hospitality and make Germany a battlefield for their civil war”, stated one German politician after the Autobahn blockades. The deportation of Kurds to Turkey, especially if the individual was involved in the Kurdish liberation struggle, can mean torture and death.
We chose a Bundeswehr facility as a target for our action because it is representative of Germany’s active support for the Turkish “security forces”, and it is representative of Germany’s foreign and domestic policies with respect to the Kurdish liberation struggle. Especially now, when there is a debate going on concerning the possible deployment of Bundeswehr troops abroad as part of UN or other missions, the German military needs to be the focus of more attention. During the Gulf War, German soldiers were actually stationed in North Kurdistan in late-1990. Future deployments as part of NATO missions in Kurdistan cannot be ruled out. German foreign policy has created the necessary instruments for direct military engagement and these will be utilized. This development must be resisted.
Immediately stop all military, economic, and political cooperation with Turkey!
Boycott Turkish tourism!
Repeal the ban against Kurdish parties and associations!
A right to stay for all refugees!
Solidarity with the Kurdish political prisoners in German prisons who have been on hungerstrike since 10.8.94!
Support the Kurdish liberation struggle!
(Translated from Radikal 12/94)
Communique – July 1995
Terrorists are the ones who build deportation prisons, not the
people who blow them up
Stop the German state’s racist asylum and deportation policies!
On the night of Thursday/Friday, July 20/21, we tossed several containers full of flammable mixtures into the depot of the firm Kuthe Arnold Bauges mbH & Co. in Eisnerstrasse and we hope that lots of their equipment went up in flames. The firm Kuthe, just like the Allround corporation whom we visited last month, is involved in the construction of the new deportation prison in Berlin-Grunau and is therefore partially
responsible for the imprisonment of thousands of refugees and their eventual deportation back to war, torture, prison, poverty, and death.
The deportation prison in Grunau will, when it’s completed, have 400 beds. The only “crime” of the people to be detained there for weeks and months on end is the fact that they fled to Germany to seek refuge from hunger, war, torture, distress, rape, persecution, and so on. These facts are all well known by now. But still, KUTHE and ALLROUND have no scruples about being part of this murderous project. We hope that the material damage we have caused them will eat into the bloody profits they are making by helping to construct the prison in Grunau.
KUTHE and ALLROUND have several other depots in Berlin, just waiting for flaming visits. For information purposes only, here are their addresses:
KUTHE: Brunsbuttler Damm 120 and Egelpfuhl 44 in Spandau, as well
as the depot in the Eisnerstrasse.
ALLROUND: Grenzallee 44 in Neukolln and Niebuhrstrasse 72 in
Ideally, we’d love to see the deportation prison itself blown to bits, but sadly that plan was foiled. Once again, we extend our solidarity to the K.O.M.I.T.E.E.!!
Open borders for all!!!
Solidarity with the Kurdish liberation struggle!!!
Many greetings and good luck to Berhard, Thomas, and Peter!!! For the immediate release of Werner, Ralf, Rainer, Andreas, Ulf, and, of course, Mumia Abu-Jamal!!!
Read and be ‘Radikal’!!!
Goodbye, see you soon…
Berlin, July 1995
“Close Doesn’t Count…”
K.O.M.I.T.E.E. Communique Concerning The Failed Attack In Berlin-
After the failed attack on the newly-constructed deportation prison in Berlin-Gruenau on April 11, 1995, we weren’t sure if we’d release any more statements. Considering the charges being brought against some people and all the uncertainties surrounding
everything, we weren’t sure if words from us would just lead to the cops making more arrests. It seemed best to as at first to hold off from giving any account of what happened and to see how those affected would react given the situation. But now we have decided
that we cannot delay any longer and that we must release a statement to limit as far as possible the political damage. We won’t, however, give a detailed account of what happened that night, that’s up to the individuals themselves to comment on if they want to. We don’t think everyone out there needs to know all the details in order to discuss the politics of our action and act in solidarity with those accused.
The point of this text is to look at the serious errors we made, to point these out, and to reflect on them in a self-critical manner, especially so that others can learn from what we did wrong.
These errors made led to non-participants being brought into association with our action.
We have drawn the necessary lessons from our mistakes: We are ending our project called “Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E.”. The motivation for announcing this publicly stems from the political orientation of our project and our responsibility to left-radical politics in general.
But before we start, we would like to explain why we started our project of carrying out militant attacks and give a resume of our politics up to now.
Our Project: Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E.
Since the end of the 1980s and even more so in the 1990s, the radical-left lost more and more of its social relevance from year to year, as the praxis and content became increasingly distant from radical positions. As long as there was a common strength, at the militant level as well, we didn’t think it was necessary to always appear on the scene under the same name.
As the left began to retreat and the continuity of discussions began to lapse, and as the foundations of common action which had been worked out began to collapse, we decided it was necessary to constitute ourselves as a group in the context of having continuity and openly-stated politics.
We assumed that contributions and interventions by groups whose name has become associated with a certain praxis and political orientation were given greater attention within the left, their statements are read and studied more, more so than groups with no obvious continuity. We hoped over the course of time to have a positive influence within the leftist scene and to help establish certain points of orientation.
We were well aware of the fact that such an approach carries with it certain responsibilities and precision. False estimations of the political situation, a lack of clarity in political discussion, and reproducing out-dated or false political starting points were all things which we had to be careful to avoid, especially since we hoped to offer some sort of orientation for the left.
Why Militant Politics?
Considering the status of discussion within the radical left, the silence and refusal to take a stand, we think it’s necessary for us to explain why we decided upon militant politics in a period of relatively little movement. We’re always hearing the argument that, after the decline of the left-radical movement, just “keeping going” is pointless, but these people don’t seem to realize that revolutionary politics here as always been on the margins for the last few decades and never possessed a realistic strategy for overthrowing the conditions.
Effective militant praxis is not enough to break through the left’s external lack of credibility and internal adaptation and lack of courage. Radical critiques of the present conditions of hierarchy, oppression, and exploitation which do not seek out, utilize, and discover all forms of resistance will sooner or later lose faith in themselves. To stick with our example: A left which, correctly, states that it is a crime to construct and operate deportation prisons, but which does not seek out all possible ways of stopping such construction and operation, loses its perspective and has defeat in its own mind right from the beginning. Our method, if it had been successful, would not have been the only gesture and certainly wouldn’t have been the best, but it would have been a lot better than all the complaints about the impossibility of leftist politics in an increasingly right-wing society.
We don’t think that the left will develop a comprehensive perspective out of feelings of helplessness and the loss of its methods of struggle, rather it should try to draw strength from trying to close the gap between thoughts and deeds, even in bad times. With our name and our praxis, we wanted to make propaganda for the possibilities of direct intervention and attack, possibilities which are open to everyone who is not satisfied with injustice and oppression.
We aren’t saying militant politics is the only way to go in today’s society, but we definitely think it was wrong to put all praxis on ice until we could look for the exactly right strategy. We think further development can only take place in the context of a process of reflection and action. Learning by doing. And someday when the conditions are better, when fundamental critiques of the system are in a broader social acceptance, then it will be damn important to be able to look back on a history where we didn’t give
up the fight, even during times of adaptation to fundamental mainstream positions.
Last but not least, there is also a moral aspect to radical politics: Even if we can’t point out the magic solution to everything, we don’t want to just sit back and look around and try to sort out our own cozy place on dry land.
We didn’t want to limit our content to just one theme. We thought about carrying out actions in various sectors, like attacks on fascist organizations, the rise of fascism in the society, sexist roll-back, cutbacks on social spending, and so on.
Initially, we oriented our work towards the liberation struggle of the Kurdish people. The important thing was for us, a German leftist group, to act. We saw it as a sign of the bankruptcy of the left that so many radical groups did nothing at all. Some justified this with understandable critiques of the politics of the PKK. But criticisms of the PKK are no justification for a lack of solidarity as far as we’re concerned. We saw the German state as the most important partner in Turkey’s war of genocide against the Kurds, as we saw it as the duty of the German left to break through their lethargy and actively oppose German policy.
Germany is a party to the genocide in Kurdistan – militarily, economically, politically – and is the most trusted partner of the Turkish military, as well as the long arm of counter-insurgency against the Kurdish resistance in Europe.
This has not changed.
We wanted to push this theme within the left by carrying out a series of attacks on German institutions responsible for the war in Kurdistan.
The First Step: The Army Barracks In Bad Freienwalde
The first target of our campaign was the October 27, 1994 attack on the Defence Commando 852 barracks of the federal army in Bad Freienwalde in the Markische Oberland area of the former East Germany. We destroyed the barracks with a firebomb attack. In our communique, we wrote: “We chose this piece of army property because it is illustrative of the cooperation and active support which exists between the German army and the Turkish ‘security forces’, as well as of the foreign and domestic policies of Germany which are directed against the Kurdish liberation struggle.”
Our communique gave a detailed description of the cooperation which exists between the German state and the regime in Turkey. We don’t need to repeat all of that in this text. We also discussed the criminalization of Kurds in Germany and cited that as one
significant element of the cooperation between the two governments. Potentially, our action could have helped focus more attention on Germany’s own army. True, the development of Germany’s foreign policy has not been hard to predict. Particularly after the most development in the Balkans, the first Germany military deployment since the end of World War Two, the German armed forces need to be placed under greater scrutiny.
All in all, our first attack was a symbolic action, but there was a great deal of media attention given to it because of the context of solidarity with the Kurdish liberation struggle and the continuing smear-campaigns against the PKK. Therefore, one of our goals, to act as German leftists in solidarity with the Kurdish liberation struggle, was displayed widely in the open.
On The Way To Our Second Strike…
The German state will continue its attempts to break Kurdish resistance in Germany to the genocide in Kurdistan and to exert great repression.
Mass deportations are a guarantee of “domestic security” and are at the core of imperialist refugee policies!
The cynical, continuously repeating debates about lifting the ban on deporting Kurds, initially limited to those portrayed to the public as “criminals” who have abused their “guest rights” here in Germany, soon gets conveniently applied to all Kurds. Those who
have pushed this line the hardest are Minister Kanther (federal interior minister), Beckstein (Bunzlauerstrasse 23, 90473 Nuremberg, Bavaria), Eggert (Saxony), and Heckelmann (Berlin).
Deportation into misery, torture, and death, hanging over the heads of Kurds like Damocles’ sword, that should make the Kurds here peaceful. And that’s necessary to preserve the economic and hegemonic interests of the German state.
In addition to the Kurds, other refugee groups are affected as well. So the mass deportations of war refugees and deserters from ex-Yugoslavia has begun. The deportation agreement with Vietnam. The “return” of Vietnamese nationals as a precursor to economic assistance.
Large-scale deportations have to be planned. That requires an adequate capacity of deportation detention facilities, since most refugees don’t leave of their free will.
To serve this need, a former East German women’s prison in Berlin-Gruenau has been converted. With an extra 400 beds, Berlin’s deportation detention capacity will be more than doubled. The efficient concentration of the entire deportation process at Schoenefeld Airport and makes deportations as easy as an assembly- line and makes the entire process a lot cheaper.
This new deportation prison was a second attack point in our vision.
The capacity in the older deportation facilities in Kruppstrasse and in the police stations in Gothaer Strasse and Beimlerstrasse have been overflowing for some time now. Over-
crowding and inhumane conditions have often led to prisoner revolts and protests by humanitarian groups. But these protests usually focused on the poor conditions in the deportation detention centers, but they didn’t necessarily question deportation as such. Typically of such an mind-set is a certain Albert Eckert, a deputy of the Green Party, who stated in October 1994 that foreigners should only be arrested immediately prior to their deportation.
As a “temporary measure” to help solve the problem, the former U.S. army prison in the McNair barracks in Steglitz was filled with 30 deportees. According to press reports from the end of July 1994, the police station in Gallwitzallee in Lankwitz will soon have 80 deportation spaces. We don’t know what will come of these sites.
In order to head off possible protest, the interior ministry, as was the case with the high-tech prisons in Weiterstadt and Plotzensee, pointed to the many great features of the Gruenau facility: sufficient capacity, common rooms, small-group detention units, a medical ward, sports facilities, translators, social workers, hell, they are even going to expand the courtyard space for the detainees, so that “the deportees can stretch their legs a bit” (Norbert Schmidt, Berlin senate interior ministry spokesman). Refugees about to kicked out of the country should feel good in German deportation prisons, before deserters from Yugoslavia are sent back to sacrifice their lives for nationalist madness, before Kurds disappear in the torture chambers of the Turkish secret police MIT.
Finally, these measure not only represent more control to prevent revolts and break-outs, rather they also signify the increased rationalization of the deportation process. In the face of this, protests against poor conditions in the detention centers are mute.
We should not be concerning ourselves with more human deportation practices. We are out to abolish deportation detention altogether on the way towards a general right to stay for all refugees!
Our contribution to this was to have been blowing up the new prison in Gruenau. A successful attack would have had far more than a symbolic nature. It would have been an effective intervention in the deportation process, at least a temporary halt to the expansion of deportation machinery.
The Failed Attack In Gruenau
A lot of what the press wrote about that night of April 11 is, in fact, correct. It was merely an unfortunate coincidence that the two cars were discovered at the parking lot in Rabindranathstrasse. One was a stolen vehicle which contained the explosives and other
materials for the action, for example a locksmith device which we had with us in case we came across any doors that needed to be opened, and inside the other car were some ID cards and other personal effects. A cop car which just happened to be in the area saw the two vehicles and decided to investigate. The discovery of the two cars and the subsequent search for four individuals were not the result of some careful scheme, rather a major screw-up on our part for being careless about possibly involving non-participants. We won’t say any more about that, rather we’ll leave it up to those people who are on the run to go public and explain why they are being sought after if that’s what they want to do.
True, we did want to blow up the deportation prison. The media reported that the construction site was well-guarded. That’s not true. There was one guard post in a corner of the site, which was being manned. Despite careful and repeated surveillance missions, we never detected any patrols. A few days after our failed attack, some cops were stationed in a watch tower, but they hadn’t been there before. After using a ladder to get over the wall we were able to walk around the entire prison and check everything out. There were no locked doors.
For the explosives, we were utilizing 4 propane gas canisters filled with 30kg of an 80:20 ratio mixture of nitric chloride and powdered sugar. We placed the canisters in the cellar of the prison. This would have caused maximum damage to the facility, and according to our calculations, the entire thing would have to then be torn down.
Outside, we had painted signs warning of the blast to come and displaying our group’s name. These were to be placed at various entrances to the building in order to warn any eventual patrols of guards and to tell them to get to safety. But based on our surveillance, we didn’t think that would happen.
We had ruled out the possibility of any other persons being harmed by the blast.
Media claims that the bombs were armed and that we were walking around with the timers ticking are just ridiculous. Another stupid claim is that our homemade mixture would have had eight times the effect of the Oklahoma City explosion. (In Oklahoma, in the USA, a federal building which housed an office of the CIA, as well as a kindergarten, was destroyed by fascists.) The obvious intent here was to associate us with dead children in Oklahoma. The bomb in the USA was 95% ammonium nitrate (fertilizer) and 5% gasoline or diesel and was hence the “correct” way to make an ammonium explosive, one which is much more powerful than an explosive made of a nitric chloride mixture.
The press reports not only reflected the lack of knowledge and the absurd fantasies of journalists, but rather they also hid the interests of the intelligence agencies, from whom they may have originated. The goal was to create a horrible image, one in which anyone could have fallen victim to our action, and thereby to create great distortion. This would then prevent a discussion of the political context of our action and make solidarity impossible.
For carrying out the action in Gruenau, we had decided upon a fixed time schedule. As the day for the action approached, it became clearer to us that we hadn’t allotted any time for unforeseen problems or to deal with and collectively solve the latent fears of individual participants. We were missing something, which was nothing new for this group of men; it was left to each individual to his assigned task and thus we each lost sight of the broader task at hand. This was a mistake. All actions, especially one of this dimension, should allow time for intermediate collective decision-making. The goal of the action or some time schedule should not hide the actual situation of the individual
For the planned action in Gruenau, we were using the same sort of timing devices as during the attack on the barracks in Bad Freienwalde. We had also painted warning signs displaying our group’s name. Therefore, before this action was even carried out, we were already making ourselves complicit in a previous attack. Many people probably asked themselves, how could we possibly violate one of the ten commandments of autonome militancy, namely just doing things once in any given manner. Well, here’s our “reasoning” on that issue.
Long before we planned the Gruenau attack, we had perfected a certain type of timing device whose dependability we could count on. Of course, we could have come up with another method before Gruenau. But, the way we looked at it, if any of us was going to
get discovered and busted, then it would probably be on the grounds of the prison itself where the chances of getting away are slim – prisons are good at trapping people. Since we figured the charges for trying to blow up a prison would be pretty heavy, the added
stigma of the Freienwalde action would not be too severe. So, we stuck with our trusty old timing device.
And, according to this logic which made us already connected the Bad Freienwalde attack, there was no reason not to write our group’s name on the warning signs, Besides, a warning sign with a recognizable group name on it would be taken more seriously. What’s more, if the bombing had been a success, the press reports would naturally mention our first action and thereby publicize the political context of our attack.
It’s pretty clear from all of this that we were operating under a sort of “All or Nothing” logic. As the turn of events and the subsequent pig investigations show, we were very short-sighted. Those people who are now in the cops’ sight because of our mistakes now have to deal with problems like membership in a terrorist organization. Without the similar timing devices and the warning signs, that would not be the case.
Our approach also entailed unnecessary risks to ourselves as well. All actions should be planned in such a way that, in the event of an arrest before or during the action, no previous actions can be pinned on the person busted.
In contrast to the picture portrayed by the media, Berlin- Gruenau was not some sort of kamikaze stunt, rather it was a very realistic action. The fact is, though, we produced several serious mistakes during our planning. The biggest one, we think, was not giving ourselves enough time to have the option of bailing out if need be or to solve any sudden problems which might arise. Most of the other mistakes stemmed from this lack of time and the inability to come together and discuss the problems until the best possible solution had been found.
We must draw consequences from these mistakes. No amount of regret from us can change the fact that some people are in trouble with the authorities because of us. All we can do is try and limit the damage.
We did not live up to the responsibilities which we claimed at the beginning of this text. Our intention was to mobilize the radical-left, but now, just the opposite has happened because of our failure!
We will end our political work as the K.O.M.I.T.E.E. This decision is necessary because of the sum total of all the mistakes we made.
Continuing to be active politically under this name could potentially cause more harm for those who are already in trouble. We all well aware of the judicial vengeance of Germany’s 129a trials, and we know that those accused will be tried according to political opportunity, not evidence.
Our decision to disband is by no means a renunciation of militant politics, rather our personal consequences from a debacle.
Now, just as ever, we thinks it’s important and correct to intervene, with militant means, against the political and military plans of the ruling powers and to point out, prevent, and attack their projects wherever possible.
We are very pleased by the initiative of the K.O.L.L.E.K.T.I.V. who have taken up our theme and are carrying it forward.
September 6, 1995
(Translated by Arm The Spirit)
Letter From K.O.M.I.T.E.E.
The following is a letter from one of the three men sought by the German
police in conjunction with the failed K.O.M.I.T.E.E. attack on a new
deportation prison in Berlin in April 1995.
“In the deep of night, it’s really gloomy…”
I am one of the three people whom the cops are looking for in connection with the attempted action against the deportation prison in Grunau. As one of the people involved, I would like to address a few points, because I think people are very unclear as to how we should deal with all of this. Just as it looked, the cops’ success was the result of
pure chance as well mistakes made by us; it was not the result of police infiltration or some kind of evil counter-insurgency. The fact we are in deep shit because of this may be sad, but it’s not the end of the world. Life goes on. Our present situation is the day-to-day reality of thousands of refugees in Germany, in fact we’re probably better off than most of them. We have decided not to turn ourselves in, nor will we let the cops catch us. We won’t change our minds about this.
Perhaps you all are expecting me to explain why my ID card or license plates or my whatever else was in the immediate vicinity of a highly-armed vehicle, but it wouldn’t be wise for me at the present time to explain this, since the cops have several years to think about such things.
No statements to the cops – ever!
But it’s a mystery to me why I should keep my mouth completely shut when the cops are running around arresting people or making up all sorts of false accusations and constructions. Why aren’t such attacks being made public and exposed? It goes without saying that the cops and the justice system don’t play by their own rules if things are kept in the dark and they don’t face public scrutiny.
The defendants [in the Kaindl Trial] charged with the action in the Chinese restaurant weren’t given such “mild” sentences because Judge Eschenbach understood the need for anti-fascist resistance on the part of immigrants, rather because the murder charges could not be sustained when exposed to the public view and when the racist nature of the prosecution was exposed. For example, the cops put Beate in jail even though they
knew she wasn’t involved. Eventually they had to let her go because their “evidence” had seemingly been made up. The whole thing was like being “kidnapped”! Of course, the main responsibility for the fact that Beate and others could have gotten stuck with the blame lies in the fact that mistakes were made during the action itself. And since there is a real danger that the cops will take this same route once again, we can’t just leave them in peace. The nation-wide raids and house searchers on 13.6.1995 were intended to mix together the entire radical-left and intimidate people and bring about a few trials. If there is not an offensive response to this attack by many people, they will have reached their goal. Now more than ever it is more important not to be intimidated and to sit alone and wait for the cops to make their next move, rather we need to come together and move forward to expose the cops’ bullshit, to organize support for those affected persons, and to deal with the criminalized themes.
I’d like to say a few things about the politics of the AIZ, even though my comments are nothing new. The fact that this criticism comes after the massive wave of repression, which was justified with, among other things, an alleged search for AIZ members, may seem out of line. But I think that in a situation like this it’s more important to have a
discussion like this than to exchange a few polite words. First of all, it’s admirable to see people working so seriously and putting their asses on the line for a revolutionary perspective at a such a gloomy time.
Also, I largely agree with the analyses put forward in their communiques. But when I look at the group’s praxis, I get anxious. For one thing, it’s wrong to view militant politics exclusively as a “part of the front in the international struggle for liberation” without any sort of local point of reference, no matter how shitty the social conditions here are for that sort of thing. In practical terms, that means abandoning the tricky stuff to the anti-imps, who can’t really relate things to that many people and thus they also cannot lead more people to take up the ideas of liberation, so nothing changes in the long run. Other people realized this long ago. In a situation of heightened struggle, where the question of taking power is at hand, such concerns naturally become secondary, because the main task at hand is to cause material damage to the enemy. But we have not reached that stage yet.
Given the present situation, the purpose of our initiatives, in addition to pushing through concrete demands, should be propaganda, to show that resistance is possible. To motivate people to take action themselves.
Secondly, I think it’s really shitty to be so nonchalant when dealing with other people’s lives like the AIZ are. Perhaps your actions weren’t so carelessly done as the media have stated. But your call for “potentially deadly actions” seems to convey a real lack of responsibility. Either you decide to do something or you don’t, but either way you need good justifications. Whether you like it or not, you must see to it that nothing unintended happens. You can’t just stick a bomb on someone’s front porch and they say, we don’t care if they get killed, we just want to scare them. In general, I recommend that you all put your project on hold for the time being and think things through some more. Learn what your goals are!
The cops have put four comrades in jail and are now searching for others just because they allegedly helped publish Radikal. In the 12 years since it was outlawed, Radikal has brought people uncensored information, opinions, and practical tips. Despite lots of harassment against printing shops and infoshops, the cops have never been able to disrupt its production and distribution. This is the first periodical in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany which has been consistently published nation-wide with progressive content that is free from state censorship. Of course, it has never managed to get beyond its “autonomist” readers circle, but in addition to its practical use for many radical-leftists it is also living proof that it is possible to organize functioning structures outside of state control. We can’t just let them do this to us.
Let’s prevent them from locking these four people up! Under the theme of freedom of expression it must be possible to create a broad base of support, because the reasoning behind the house searches and arrests is not at all solid. The justice system has messed up in the past when it tried to shut down Radikal. If we are able to make their charges fall apart, that won’t just mean protection for the individuals concerned, but we would also have won ourselves a bit of freedom: the possibility to continue an open discussion of leftist strategies. To the producers of the paper: don’t stop publishing Radikal! “That which is true will continue to be said, to be written, and to be published!”
Warm greetings from somewhere.
Klasse Gegen Klasse Communique
Enough Is Enough! Freedom For Mumia Abu-Jamal!
Stop The Construction Of The Youth Prison In Berlin-Lichtenrade!
On the night of 13.8.95, we carried out simultaneous attacks on the corporate headquarters of Helit & Woerner in Charlottenberg (Badenallee) as well as their depot in Neukolln (Maybachufer) by firebombing trucks belonging to the firm and leaving behind leaflets.
We see our action as part of the international solidarity movement to save the life of ex-Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal and to win his freedom.
The firm Helit & Woerner is responsible for the planning, construction, and financing of the new prison for youths between the ages of 14-17 which is presently being built in the Lichtenrade section of Berlin. When the prison is built, it will be turned over to the state senate who will pay back the construction costs to the firm within 10 years. The youth prison in Lichtenrade will carry out supposedly liberal custody methods.
Here, as in the USA, prisons are full of people from the lower classes. This number also includes a high proportion of “foreigners” and non-white prisoners. This situation is an expression of capitalist society. People who are no longer needed in the “labor market” are pushed out by the ruling powers according to their class, gender, skin color, or nationality. The bosses and their lackeys in the unions, political parties, and the media condemn these people as “welfare bums” who “refuse to work”, sometimes even branding them as “potential criminals”.
Then the state can force people to work irregular hours at substandard pay. At the same time, the state balances its budget and the poor bear the brunt of all the cuts. A similar situation has been true for the past several years with all those people forced into “crime” by social conditions. Such people are made to work for next to nothing, behind
bars. There are already 7 million people out of work, and as the labor market becomes more international and increasingly technological, the ruling classes are planning on increasing this number. Before, people used to complain about the so-called “Third World”, but now its fashionable among German middle class careerists to speak of Germany becoming overpopulated.
Friends, let’s smack these shitheads right in the face! The fact that the proletarian class go around spouting racist crap is proof of what power capitalist/racist ideology has over the hearts and minds of large segments of the population. But it also points out the weaknesses of the politics of the predominantly middle class left, and it shows just how important it is that we turn our slogan “Borders don’t run between people, rather between the top and the bottom!” into reality.
So, a few words now about new “leftist” trends. It’s easy and cool to be in “solidarity” with Mexican natives who are struggling far away, or to debate about triple oppression theory while losing all practical intervention in the society around us, or the latest trend, to organize as animal rights activists, because animals have no consciousness so we don’t have to talk to them or argue with them, but still we have the feeling that we’re doing something noble. How pathetic!
The cry for “law and order” and the death penalty for “criminals” in the USA are slowly becoming acceptable here in Germany among the upper and middle classes (even within the Green Party). Behind this lies the knowledge that the worsening capitalist crisis can no longer get the same results from the system’s previous methods of integration. This is resulting in a great fear that increasing numbers of people from the proletarian class will themselves begin questioning capitalist conditions and stop being played off against one another and direct their hate and anger against capitalist injustice and once and for all bring an end to the egotistical lifestyles of the upper classes instead of just trying to imitate them.
There are more than 1 million (!) people in prison in the USA, and many millions more live in poor rural areas or city ghettos outside the realms of middle class life. Don’t imagine that similar tendencies aren’t recognizable here in Germany, as more and more prisons are being built as benefits to the unemployed and people on welfare keep getting cut. Proletarian youths, especially the “foreign” ones among us, are in an especially difficult situation. It starts with trying to find a spot in school and doesn’t end with trying to find a place to live. Youths are constantly bombarded with the “values” of capitalist death-culture by their parents, teachers, bosses, and the media: competition, the “rights” of the strong, self-satisfaction through performance and consumption, and so on. In our cities, its “every man for himself”, coupled with traces of social disadvantage and exclusion, which gets expressed in such things as proletarian neighbors breaking into each other’s cars and homes, or outbreaks of violence, often with a sexist or racist motive. Then there are the problems of drugs and the increasing influence of right-wing nationalists, or Islamic groups among youths from Turkey or Yugoslavia.
Against a background such as this, it’s very difficult to build up true friendships and social emancipatory relationships on a broader level which can be the basis for a new international fighting class. But, friends, enough of this talking!
To fight against the contemporary tendencies of powerlessness and resignation, we should orient ourselves towards people such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is sitting in a cell on death row, or Gulnaz Baghistani, the Kurdish comrade who died during the hunger strike. Their thoughts and actions, their determination and perseverance in the most difficult of circumstances, can give us strength and the inspiration to continue on the path we’re taking. Those people who aren’t being discouraged by the fact that the cops have arrested their friends in connection with the publication Radikal are also exhibiting great courage, or the Passau Youth Initiative, who are determined not to lapse into resignation following the “suicides” of four of their friends, rather they continue to struggle to create an autonomist youth center. There are plenty of positive examples both here in our country as well as internationally!
From Gaziomanpasa to Kreuzberg! From Panama City to South Central Los
For the War of Class Against Class!
KGK (Klasse gegen Klasse/Class Against Class)
Bombs In Support Of Demonstrations
“Klasse gegen Klasse” Claims Responsibility For Recent Arson And
According to police reports, there were several attacks on Monday – a bomb exploded outside the home of a Free University law professor and three high-priced automobiles parked in the area went up in flames.
The group “Klasse gegen Klasse” [Class Against Class – KGK] has since claimed responsibility for these attacks. There was no danger to human life, according the group’s communique. The nine-page text, which explained the motive and background to the actions, was entitled “The Sweet Dreams Of A Class Enemy And His Frightened Awakening”.
The professor had come into the group’s sights for evidently advocating an end to wage increases for workers. The action was linked to the Berlin Senate’s present budget reduction proposals and the accompanying protest demonstrations against cuts in
social spending. The fact that the automobiles, parked near to the area where the professor lived, all belonged to people involved in the construction industry seems to have been a coincidence, according to police.
The group “Klasse gegen Klasse” has claimed responsibility for a total of about 50 actions, although nothing had been heard from them in about a year. The group is believed to be based in Kreuzberg. Despite heavy investigations by police and the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV), the group remains a mystery. Since 1992, its mission has been to use various means to destroy property belogning to rich people, including fancy shops and bars.
In its annual report, the LfV has called “Klasse gegen Klasse” a “violent autonomist group with a revolutionary-Marxist outlook”. The goal of its actions, according to the report, is to stir worry amongst a certain middle class believed to profit from neighborhood restructuring, as well as to promote neighborhood resistance, much like they have done in Kreuzberg.
(Source: Neues Deutschland, March 30, 1996)
“It was never about illegality as such, rather the promotion of free communication and the conveyance of radical political content.”
– Interview With A Radikal Group, 1989
Statement From Radikal
On June 13, 1995, federal police in Germany carried out a major coup against left-radical structures. At six in the morning, around 50 homes and leftist projects all across Germany were stormed. The mainstream media praised the action as a “blow to terrorist groups”, spewing forth the cops’ line that the raids were directed against the Anti-Imperialist Cell (AIZ), the group K.O.M.I.T.E.E., and the illegal magazine ‘Radikal’. The usual stigma of “terrorist group” was attached, justified with Paragraphs 129 and 129a. Standard pig procedure. It’s a part of German reality to have homes being stormed, children rousted from their beds by masked cops with guns, weapons pointed at the heads of individuals whose “only” crime was their work on a left-radical newspaper. Even on the suspicion of simply distributing Radikal, people were terrorized all over the
country, from Berlin to Hamburg to Cologne. This was the biggest raid on the German left in years – the Kurds, of course, have been subjected to such treatment on several occasions recently.
That night on the TV, there was little mention any more about the AIZ or the K.O.M.I.T.E.E. Hell, we haven’t enjoyed so much publicity in a long time, as images were flashed of the cops’ Radikal archives, followed by a report of the arrest of 4 people for “membership in a criminal organization”, Radikal. Investigations are continuing against 21 other individuals on the same charge. So we felt this was reason enough for people to hear from us between issues. Sorry it took so long for this to happen, but these things take time, as anyone familiar with inter-regional structures knows.
We won’t try to make the intensity of this repression or our status in the left-radical scene seem any greater than it really is. We always knew such a raid would happen at some point. But it is surprising that such a hard action against a publishing project could be carried out without so much as a peep from the “left- liberal public”. It’s characteristic of the continuity of the repression against leftist structures, even in times when the radical-left is weak. The BAW [federal prosecutor’s office] had just finished in their failed attempt to criminalize Gottingen’s Autonome Antifa (M) under Paragraph 129, and let’s not forget the cop raids and the banning of the Kurdistan Information Bureau in Cologne because it published “pro-PKK” paper ‘Kurdistan Rundbrief’, so now they decided to go against other organized structures of the radical-left in Germany – on the same day as a Nazi letterbomb terror attack on an SPD politician in Lubeck. It’s clear that these raids weren’t just aimed at us. We were just a convenient excuse. “The action was an aimed preventive measure designed to deter the left-radical scene”, said interior minister and deportation specialist Kanther that same evening. While right-wing terror grows worse and the consensus of social democrats/greens/conservatives in Great Germany is ready to send the Bundeswehr on its first foreign mission, it seems clear that the real threat is still the left. The message being sent is clear, and by lumping together the AIZ, K.O.M.I.T.E.E., and Radikal, it is that much easier to criminalize the entire left.
Who We Are
We produce and distribute a magazine. A magazine which, in a time of state control and self-censorship, is a forum for a discussion of street militancy and armed struggle. Of course, we aren’t “neutral” in this discussion. We fundamentally reject the notion that the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. The existing social conditions can only be changed if left-radical groups and associations build up their abilities and structures so as to be able to counter some of these effects even today. This, of course, includes militant and armed intervention, but these would be empty gestures if there wasn’t also some sort of linkage or means of conveying their message. Of course, we are very happy when militant anti-fascist initiatives disrupt Nazi meetings. So we also see one of our functions as exposing fascist structures so as to make both old and new Nazis attackable, and we think this is one very important aspect of anti-fascist work.
Of course, it would have been awesome if the cover of our next issue had had a big picture of the new deportation prison in Berlin-Grunau reduced to rubble. All people who seek to intervene and oppose Germany’s refugee policies would have been overjoyed at this disruption of the state’s deportation machinery. A radical-left which takes the past 25 years of its history seriously must discuss the successes and failures of the various armed and militant groups, such as the RAF, the 2nd of June Movement, the Revolutionary Cells, and militant autonomist groups, and it must draw consequences for the future from this discussion.
In order that we don’t just keep looking back at our history, but rather so that we keep up to date with actual developments, it’s important that we be active in current anti-fascist initiatives or, for example, discuss the politics of the AIZ, of whom we are very critical. We must continually fight for the necessary space to carry out such discussions and defend ourselves from state attacks. Radikal tries to do jut that, no more, no less. We try to make it possible for various structures to have a means of being heard on a regular basis. It’s seem like we’re stating the obvious when we say that the cop attacks on Radikal are, at the same time, a criminalization of other leftist structures which provide this necessary space, like infoshops and magazines for example.
The present attacks on us, however, are qualitatively different than past repressive campaigns for two fundamental reasons. Firstly, we have now been declared a “criminal organization”, and secondly, it has now been stated that Radikal has “entirely criminal content”. A look back at the last few issues, therefore, will reveal what criminal means: new anti-racist street names in Braunschweig, articles on nationalism and the liberation struggle in Kurdistan, an analysis of the history of patriarchal gender divisions, an appeal from non-commercial radio stations, debates about leftist campaigns surrounding the May 8th commemorations…that’s criminal content?
Before, the authorities used to point out specific articles which “supported a terrorist organization” so as to criminalize them. Now the cops don’t want to go through all that trouble so they have just called the entire project a “criminal organization”, therefore the content must be criminal, too. But it’s the mixture of theory and actual attacks, discussion and practical tips, which makes Radikal so interesting to read for so many people.
And we value this mixture. Radikal aims to mobilize people to oppose Nazis and to stop the Castor nuclear waste shipments, while at the same time giving information about debates on anti-nationalism or the background of the origins of capitalist and patriarchal social structures. What’s more, it should offer space for people from even the most remote corners of Germany to discuss their actions or their difficulties, things which have been ignored for far too long by a jaded left fixated on the metropoles. The federal police have called this mixture criminal.
If you listen to what the cops say about all of this, it sounds like some sort of cheesy novel. We are supposedly organized in a “highly conspiratorial manner” with “fixed organizational structures”. It seems that really banal things are actually dangerous. Anyone who produces a magazine needs “fixed organizational structures”, they need to sit down together and talk about what should go into the next issue and how to distribute the magazine, mail out subscriptions, write articles, answer letters from readers, and so on and so forth. The only difference between us and normal, legal magazines is the fact that we have removed ourselves from state control, out of the reach of the censorship authorities. Over the years, we have built up an organizational structure which allows us to distribute a relatively high number of magazines nation-wide, by radical-left standards that is. As with other groups who seek to build up open or hidden structures, we are subject to state repression. From their point of view, the BAW had good reason to act now, since all their previous actions against us had been fruitless. Radikal kept being published, and there was nothing they could do about it.
In 1982, about 20 homes, bookstores, and printing shops were raided in an attempt to prosecute Radikal for “supporting a terrorist organization”. In 1984, 2 supposed editors of the paper were sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, but they avoided going to the slammer by getting elected to the European Parliament for the Greens. In 1991, the federal prosecutor exchanged the jail terms for a fine. The next step came in 1986, when Radikal was already organized underground. Now, 100 homes and shops were
raided by the cops. Nearly 200 court cases were opened, and in the end 5 people were given suspended sentences of 4-10 months.
The wave of repression in 1986 – in addition to the obvious aims of scaring people and just being repressive – had one major aim, namely to drive Radikal out of the public realm and to lessen its effectiveness. But that didn’t succeed. Despite the fact that
several book stores, most of which dated back to Radikal’s legal days, backed out on us and left us with heavy debts, work on Radikal and its distribution became much more decentralized. A network of groups and individuals took up responsibility for the magazine, based on their conditions. In 1989, the state authorities went into action one more time after ID-Verlag in Amsterdam published an interview with us as a brochure.
The latest moves by the BAW have again made it clear that claims by the mainstream media and left-liberals concerning armed roups – “Your attacks make it possible for the state to turn thescrews of repression even tighter!” – are total crap. Even the cease-fire from the guerrilla did not open up any “new levels of social debate”. The defenders of law and order are continuing to act against left-radical groups, who are all equally defined as dangerous, and these are attacked at the same high level.
4 people are now in prison! We can’t just forget that fact. In any case, that’s why we’d like to call for exchange and communication with the solidarity groups. The charges against the 4 are as follows: They produced and distributed Radikal. But who actually “produces” Radikal? Those people who send in reports of antifa actions, or is it those people that take 10 copies and give them to their friends to read, or maybe it’s those people that write a few articles and do some lay-out, or maybe it’s the people that see to it that a few copies get into the prisons? Or maybe the BAW thinks it’s those people that discuss for weeks on end which articles should go in the next issue of Radikal? Or is the ones who stand for long hours behind the printing presses?
We’re not really sure who exactly the cops are referring to when they talk about Radikal, but we know they really mean all of us! All people who see the continued need for radical-left structures for discussion and communication, away from state control and the apparatus of repression. And all people who recognize the need for women and men to become organized to avoid being swallowed up by capitalist and patriarchal reality. That’s why it’s the task for all of us to not accept this attack nor to let it go unanswered.
We need an uncontrollable resistance media!
Read, use, distribute, and stay Radikal!
Powerful greetings to Rainer, Ralf, Werner, and Andreas!
Free the prisoners!
The teeth will show whose mouth is open!
some Radikal groups – Summer 1995
(translated by Arm The Spirit)
Germany: Militant Actions For Mumia
On July 3, autonomist and women’s/lesbian groups sprayed slogans, smashed windows, glued locks, and damaged ATM machines at 7 branches of the American bank Citibank. Ten days later, the “Commando Assata Shakur” attacked a Chrystler dealer in Kassel.
These are just two actions out of many which have taken place in Germany over the past few months (demos, petitions, benefit concerts) as part of the global campaign to free Mumia. Since other groups are doing a good job of filling in Mumia supporters about the wide variety of solidarity work being done around the world, we’ll continue to provide information and translations from the segments of the movement which we usually cover. So, having said that, here are a few more communiques from comrades in Germany.
– ATS, September 28/95
Frankfurt – 3.8.1995
Stop The Execution Of Mumia Abu-Jamal!
Several locks glued shut, paint all over the walls of the offices of the U.S. airline company Delta (Lyonerstrasse 36), this should be a clear sign to all American firms and corporations that we will not allow Black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal to be executed!
In the event that the governor of Pennsylvania and the U.S. government decide to go through with their plans and carry out their racist death penalty, we will not hesitate to carry out further actions against American interests in Germany!!!
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!
Abolish The Racist Death Penalty!
M.T.V. (Mumias Tod Verhindern/Prevent Mumia’s Death)
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner and is on death row in Pennsylvania/USA. He is scheduled to be executed on August 17.
Mumia, we send you our warm greetings!
A fire unites us – in our hearts, and in the McDonald’s in Rostock. For Citibank in Rostock as well, today was not business as usual since their locks were glued shut and their windows were smashed.
Stop The Execution Of Mumia Abu-Jamal!!!!!!!!
autonomist group “Life and Freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal”
On the night of August 9-10, we set a Chrystler car on fire at the Chrystler dealership “Autosalon am Elsterwerdaer” at Kopenickerstrasse 78 in Berlin-Biesdorf.
Black journalist and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on death row in the American state of Pennsylvania for more than 13 years now, is scheduled to be executed on August 17. The death warrant was signed on June 1. The justification for this was a series of fabrications which the media accepted as proof. At the beginning of this week, it was announced that the execution was to be delayed. But this partial victory is no reason for the movement to stop and just sit back and watch the legal arguments develop. Rather we should gather together all of our strength and push forward to achieve our ultimate political goal: Mumia’s freedom.
For a racist judicial system, allowing and threatening the death penalty is a means of literally destroying all forms of opposition to the system; it is state-sponsored murder as a means of counter-insurgency. In several countries, campaigns to free Mumia have taken on many forms: Militant actions are and will always be a legitimate means of overstepping the “legal” boundaries of protest which limit us to appeals and collecting petition signatures. At decisive moments during current campaigns, we think it’s important to carry out militant actions to make it perfectly clear to people just how life-threatening the situation is. Only in this way can we bring the politics into the public consciousness and effect the necessary pressure.
Our action against an American corporation should not be viewed as simple “anti-Americanism”, which equates the USA as the “center of evil” controlling all political, military, and economic power and thereby overlooks the other imperialist power blocs (the European Union, the Japan-dominated Pacific Rim).
Our action is designed to make known the militant praxis in Germany against the still threatened execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal and to intervene in the continuing campaign for Mumia’s life and freedom.
Warm greetings to the “Autonomist Parcel Service” and the autonomist and women’s/lesbian groups “For the Life of Mumia Abu-Jamal” and the “Commando Assata Shakur”.
anti-imperialist group “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal”
Column #266 — Written 16 December 1995
RE: RADIKAL, WHEN THE STATE SILENCES
@1995 by Mumia Abu-Jamal
“Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.” — saying.
Isn’t it amazing that as the bourgeois democracies brag and bray to the world of their lofty “freedoms,” they are, at the same time, crushing their domestic dissidents?
The silencing of “Radikal,” a German independent left journal, the arrests of radical journalists, Werner Konnerth (of Berlin-Krenzberg), Rainer Paddenberg (of Munster,) Andreas Ehresmann (Rendsburg) and Ralf Milbrandt (Neumunster), all under the German state’s draconian 129/129a codes, puts the nails in the coffin of what remained of a so-called “free press.”
Where is the international outrage by the civil libertarians of the Empire?
Where are the howls of protest at the jailing of the “Radikal 4,” who committed the “crime” of writing what the government didn’t want written?
Of course, the assaults on radical journalists occur in a sociopolitical context. Where Western governments, masquerading as “liberal democracies,” are implementing their machinery of social repression of those on the margins, the militant left, national and social minorities, an increasingly unemployed working class, the poor.
The 13 June raids on “Radikal,” the group K.O.M.I.T.E.E., and AIZ (Anti-Imperialist Cells) by government troops is an intimidation tactic meant to spread fear, and silence, by
criminalization, all dissidence to the state.
The effect of such attacks is to also quiet the questioning of the official discourse.
The late, radical priest/psychologist, Ignacio Martin-Baro, of El Salvador wrote (shortly before his murder by a U.S.-trained death squad) that one of the most important phases of the revolutionary process was the arising of a *critical consciousness* among the people, when they questioned the fficial discourse. This would bring in a phase pregnant with revolutionary possibility.
What happens when the state silences those questions? When they seek to stop the rise of such a consciousness by overt state terrorism? Will they retard the process?
That is the question for the radicals there, and here; for the “Radikal 4 + 1” (Ulf Bundermann — in prison, for refusing to snitch on his friends in “Radikal”). That is also our challenge, to: Free the Radikal 5! For a free press, for a free people! Down with state censorship! Radical journalism is never a crime, but a duty!
Interim Meets Radikal
Interview With Radikal And Interim
Four years ago, on June 13, 1995, the German federal police, the BAW, launched a series of nationwide raids to defeat the organized structures of the clandestine autonomist publication ‘Radikal’. The BAW failed, however, and most of the criminal cases were eventually dropped. Since then, two brochures have been published, in which former Radikal members announced their retirement from the project. Last summer, the only issue of Radikal published by the “third generation” thus far appeared. Nothing has been heard of from the project since then. The following is a joint discussion with members of Radikal as well as some people involved in ‘Interim’, a semi-legal weekly autonomist publication based in Berlin.
Interim: Radikal only appears sporadically these days. What situation is the publication in at the moment?
Radikal: It wasn’t our intention to only appear once a year. One reason for that was that many people are no longer with the project, which is fallout from the wave of repression. The cops smashed some parts of our structure. The bad thing about appearing only once a year is that we cannot participate in current discussions. For example, we were well on our way towards planning the next issue when NATO started bombing Yugoslavia. We
should have tossed everything and started right away on something new. But, as a clandestine organization, it’s not that easy, and changing plans takes a lot of energy.
Interim: Is there any point in producing a magazine which only comes out once a year?
Radikal: If there wasn’t hope of coming out more frequently, no. Because discussions are much more suited to other publications, like your project, the Interim, for example.
Interim: But you all also had discussions about whether you should be a structure, a political-militant network, or just a radical magazine project. Where did these discussions lead?
Radikal: In the direction of being more than just a magazine. We see ourselves as an attempt to network from the local level to the nationwide level. The perspective is to use this network for more than just a publication. This controversial discussion is an old one within the project. Partly because it reveals how difficult it is to build a discussion on a structure of information exchange, one in which there is some degree of accountability.
Interim: In the early 1990s, the organization debate became reduced to two poles, the spontaneous-oriented autonomists, who reject inter-regional organizations, and the antifa-wing of the movement, which became organized in the AA/BO [Anti-Fascist
Action/Nationwide Organization]. You all are also a form of nationwide organization. In praxis, especially bearing in mind your conditions, does a nationwide organization make sense?
Radikal: There will be conditions again in the future, but they first must be created by the radical-left, in which a nationwide organization, a bigger association which is not isolated, will have a whole other significance. Some day there could be a situation when the question of power is posed again, a situation in which the radical-left can win back at least some of the influence which it has lost. We must more politically visible – this requires some form of structure, one which takes discussions and debates seriously. It all comes down to our own utopias.
Interim: In the discussions after the wave of repression, many former Radikal members claimed that the structure existed too much in and of itself. Was there too much structure and not enough content? Or was the structure not well enough organized?What lessons did you learn from this?
Radikal: In a recent issue of Interim, a paper from the “Group Y2K” was published, which raised the question: To what degree is/was this structure a social instrument? This question is answered by the paper itself, in so far as there’s nothing about that in it. A social structure was, for the most part, non-existent. So during the rebuilding phase, we will pay attention to that fact. Groups and small-groups often lost that, since they are overburdened with trying to do something from a position of clandestinity. We need structures which can start something like that. Failure is predetermined if you just keep
pushing on with something that’s no longer possible. We live in a society in which collective working and collective living projects – the Sprengel in Hannover, for example, or the Marchstrasse in Berlin [former squats – trans.] – in our movement are disbanding. It’s becoming harder to resist this trend, but we need to do something about that. And that goes well beyond just organizing a magazine.
Interim: The society has changed in the past few years, working conditions have changed, so have living conditions. The pressure to adapt to the social system and to function within it has increased at all levels, so the space for left-radical politics has declined. So, what you say sounds both up-to-date and anachronistic at the same time. What’s the relationship between improved political structures and the changed social conditions?
Radikal: So many attempts have been made to analyze why the radical left has lost its significance. On the one hand we hear the same thing over and over again: socialism, as an alternative, is dead. If that’s true then there’s no point even struggling anymore. It’s true that pressure has increased, fears also. But the reason for that is the loss of a social backup. That’s why we need to concentrate on ourselves, to live in our own Utopias. A
part of that is collectivity. So we don’t need to all retreat back into the factories. It’s also important to examine the non-functioning aspects of collectivity and to deal with these
politically. That’s true for our project, your project, and for all individuals.
Interim: But most attempts have been too shallow. In the past, the left-radical printer was part of a collective, but today it might be a multimedia professional, someone who usually works alone but is capable of helping out others who are informally active. In the past, things took a long time and were always done together, but today many people are excluded. Also, you all are ignoring the continued development of real-existing capitalism. In so far as real-existing socialism no longer exists as an external corrective, capitalism is presenting itself as the better model. And then there’s the dismantling of social security. The consequences of these are mirrored in the collective projects, and simply replying on increased collectivity seems false.
Radikal: Yes, but nothing is being done to resist the social dismantling. Capitalist restructuring is putting us under pressure. In the face of such a situation, we have to ask
ourselves, how can I survive and struggle, without giving in entirely to this pressure? It’s easier to do that in a social setting than alone. The Interim is of no meaning to people who have a forum for their discussions. But the meaning of it lies in the fact that the people involved feel a sense of satisfaction at producing something together, having discussions, debating things together, and speaking about changes. It only becomes frustrating when things collapse into arguments, splits begin to dominate, and people drop out, leaving just 10 individuals to meet every four weeks to make the organization’s decisions. In such a situation it’s not possible to resist the functioning of this shit system, because then you stop believing yourself in the aspects of the newspaper project which reflected your image of Utopia.
Interim: If you tell students in Berlin or Dresden, “join a collective, a political process, then we will be one step closer to a better society”, while it may be true, it doesn’t exactly
attract people. It’s too far removed from their daily experiences. Many people have dropped out of the radical left because it lost its former social atmosphere. Many people use that as an excuse to drop out of politics altogether, since the exciting days are over and its no longer “in” to be part of the radical left. That may be true, but it also says something about how attractive we are to people – or not. But what you all are saying is: Devote yourself to a collective, hang up posters in the afternoon, and go to a meeting at night, otherwise you’ll just drop out and end up discussing the latest war news at the kitchen table with your friends. As if there’s nothing in between.
Radikal: But there are many intermediary forms between nothing at all and the angst impression which you have described. It’s about understanding collectivity as a political value again. The average person in the scene works 30 to 40 hours a week, lives with a partner, meets old political buddies now and then in a bar, and so on. The trend is towards an isolated anti-collective lifestyle. And we need to ask ourselves: How can we do something about that? As for students in Berlin or Dresden, well, when we were that age, it was important to find something different, to feel affirmation, togetherness, alternatives. Nowadays, despite all the failed projects, we still want our project to show an attractive alternative. It’s too simplistic to simply say that the political conditions have become worse.
Interim: Agreed. But still you have to admit that young people these days aren’t exactly racing in masses to join collectives. There are reasons for that. Another question is, why are youth antifa groups growing in numbers, but collectives are not? The joint resistance to the social conditions, beginning with the struggle against fascism, seems to be more attractive. It’s something concrete instead of something utopian.
Radikal: It’s not about just continuing on without changing. But just because one thing doesn’t work does not mean that the opposite is right. The same is true with the anti-sexism discussion. That just turns everything over. That’s why the anti-patriarchal analyses weren’t wrong after all.
Interim: The realizations certainly aren’t false just because everything around them has changed. But the way of dealing with it, of transmitting it, has to change. It’s not the anti-patriarchal analysis which is false. But it doesn’t help much if you stay so stubborn and rigid while sexist language and conduct become routine once again. How can we reach other people? How do we convince them to adopt an anti-patriarchal position? Things in the scene are too often self-satisfied. But what sort of external influence does that have?
Radikal: Sure, we don’t wish to be like that. We want to have a positive influence. And many collectives still do. Political and personal togetherness, ideals.
Interim: According to what we’ve read about you, however, the situation within Radikal was quite the opposite. You all tore yourselves to bits to some extent. For a long time, there wasn’t sufficient openness to discuss apparent mistakes, many things were only revealed in the investigation files [after the wave of repression]. That has nothing to do with openness, as you all have written yourselves. What’s your opinion on that?
Radikal: In future, we think there will be groups in various cities, which don’t just consist of one or two or three people, and which will carry out joint political work. That means
preparing discussions, participating in discussions, and of course making the magazine. And in the future we will pay more attention to how hierarchies can come about. For example between bigger and smaller cities. Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Berlin seem to rank higher than cities like Bamberg, Bayreuth, Castrop-Rauxel, or Winsen on the Luhe. It’s easier in this country to organize in the big cities. But we need to make an effort to reduce such hierarchies. And not to repeat the same mistakes. Clandestine work is easier in the big cities, we didn’t consider that enough. There, exchange and support is easier, so are the social and political controls. Our future structure needs to have stable support and a social basis.
Interim: In their self-critique, some former Radikal members said that before passing on information was managed very broadly. Papers were distributed very widely, and that this fell at your feet. How will you manage this in the future? Division of labor, or specialists?
Radikal: Our base is not big enough to have specialists. At the moment, all of us are specialists. The opinion that papers went around too broadly has been voiced by some within the project. But that’s the opinion of a small faction. There were simply too many useless papers distributed. It’s manageable if one main theme is chosen and others know about this. Only in this way can you have a discussion. It’s not necessary to spread information about problems there are at the moment with printing, and so on. And you don’t need to discuss with 20 people what kind of paper to print on. Sure, on June 13, the cops got onto our structure due to mistakes, but it actually had more to do with just plain
bad luck. We don’t need a discussion about technology. We don’t need to discuss: How can I change our technology so that the cops can’t access it? The question rather is: How do we deal with increased stress at the time of actual production? Do we insult each other? Or do we just spend the meeting having fun and talking about soccer scores? This has to do with the quality of a project. In order to change something, you need the appropriate emotional background.
Interim: Following the repression, it wasn’t clear how the Radikal would continue. Then a new edition appeared – in line with leftist tradition, we could say: a new edition, Number 155, practically the “third generation”. What’s your reaction to this?
Radikal: Well, first came the surprise, “ah, it’s still around” and “we didn’t expect to see this” and so on. Most people said “great that you’re still around” and that made us glad. But for me personally, that edition was not satisfactory. It didn’t have enough content depth. It’s always frustrating how little the discussions from other publications, brochures, and diverse groups are taken up. For example, a text in the last issue about
militancy – it’s as if no one had paid any attention to the discussions over the past two or three years concerning ‘K.O.M.I.T.E.E.’ or the group ‘Kabelschnittkombo’ in Frankfurt. So it’s no wonder there’s isolation. Now we’re in the phase of rebuilding. We want the project to be on legs that it can stand on for a long time. Until now, the steps backwards have been greater than the advances.
Interim: Does that include the cops?
Radikal: No, not that, we don’t have any trouble right now. But in this phase we considered that maybe it’s better if no one hears from us for a long time? The effect, however, would be that it wouldn’t be so attractive for other groups to join in. Or do we tell people about our condition and come out with a small issue in the near future?
Interim: For a long time, people said that no one read Radikal anymore, and that the cops actually gave the publication a lot of free publicity. That’s a little polemic, but it’s partly true. That magazine hasn’t changed its face much since 1986/87. And we don’t just mean the layout. The content doesn’t reflect the changes which have taken place within the radical left, for example the dissolution of the RAF and the RZ…
Radikal: That’s true. That’s also written in the self-critique papers. There was a certain degree of numbness, both structural and in terms of content, which made things easier for the cops. That’s why we now want to have discussions in our uncensored structure. We want to give groups like the authors of the “Y2K” paper a forum. The magazine should pose questions like: How is it possible to rebuild a counter-power? We want to have debates which look to the future and which take into account the changed conditions. For example, unemployment and jobber-initiatives are back on the agenda these days, and the question of whether developments are really based on American conditions, and what collectivity and a social network mean against such a background.
Interim: In other words, more social system analyses? You all have usually closely reflected the scene, autonomist actions, many small antifa communiques, debates on militancy, and so on. Then at some time you opened something, for example the theme
“Against Forgetting” (“Gegen das Vergessen”) and computer discussions. In our opinions, these were the things which people found most interesting.
Radikal: Part of the structure wants to move in that direction. “Against Forgetting” gave us some direction. That was the last time that Radikal had any great relevance. In the late 1980s, there was a relatively large, homogenous movement which called itself the “autonome scene”. This scene, which the Radikal depended on so much, isn’t around anymore. The dissolution process within Radikal was part of the dissolution of the autonome scene. So such a direction would mean self-isolation, a step in the wrong direction.
Interim: Some people have the impression that you were somewhat removed from the antifa movement. You took up the AA/BO [Anti-Fascist Action/Nationwide Organization] debates and the question of organizing, but these remained theoretical discussions. You were actually much closer to the classic ‘Autonomen’. Is this a correct impression?
Radikal: Yes, that’s correct.
Interim: Your closeness to the autonomist scene meant that you reflected things of interest to the radical left, for example anti-atomic actions or debates about the RAF. For the past few years, however, things have shifted towards anti-fascism. And as was said above, that’s where the young people are who want to be active on the streets. That’s where actual social confrontations are taking place to a large degree. Do you want to be nearer to what is going on? Is the magazine changing?
Radikal: It can’t be ignored that the antifa movement still has the capacity for relatively large mobilizations. For many of us, anti-fascism is still inadequate as a theme, and we’d like to take up this discussion in the future. The development of the antifa struggles in many areas is a purely defensive strategy, and this should be commented on.
Interim: Shouldn’t it be the task of the Radikal to take up burning political issues, like the recent war, and to mobilize, to make use of the illegal space? Mobilizing for concrete actions, printing building instructions for carrying out militant actions, and so on? And, if possible, in a broad manner, even if it means the issues are a little small? Are you discussing a move in such a direction?
Radikal: As we said above, we have structural problems, and the fewer members we have makes it more difficult to react to current events. Our proposals are certainly moving in that direction, and we will certainly use our clandestine structure in the future to publish things which can’t find a place elsewhere. For example building instructions, making things simple so they don’t require specialists. That’s always been a part of Radikal and we’ll continue that tradition. The rest will depend on our personnel,
structural, social, and, of course, financial (!!) resources.
Interim: Will the next issue of Radikal be a number in which it’s still unclear how things will proceed, or will that be the main topic of the next issue? Hopefully we’ll see it in less that a year’s time…
Radikal: (laughing) It will be the issue for the situation that the base has become bigger.
Interim: So, the next issue will have as its aim the attempt to expand the project, and if that doesn’t work, then you won’t continue?
Radikal: If the base doesn’t expand, then there can’t be many more issues, but we’re not quite at that point yet. So, like we always say: Live, Read, And Buy ‘Radikal’!
Interim: We thank you for this discussion!!
(Source: Interim #477 – June 3, 1999; Translated by Arm The