The Red Army Faction: A Documentary History, Volume 1: Projectiles for the People
J. Smith, André Moncourt
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The first in a two-volume series, this is by far the most in-depth political history of the Red Army Faction ever made available in English.
Projectiles for the People starts its story in the days following World War II, showing how American imperialism worked hand in glove with the old pro-Nazi ruling class, shaping West Germany into an authoritarian anti-communist bulwark and launching pad for its aggression against Third World nations. The volume also recounts the opposition that emerged from intellectuals, communists, independent leftists, and then—explosively—the radical student movement and countercultural revolt of the 1960s.
It was from this revolt that the Red Army Faction emerged, an underground organization devoted to carrying out armed attacks within the Federal Republic of Germany, in the view of establishing a tradition of illegal, guerilla resistance to imperialism and state repression. Through its bombs and manifestos the RAF confronted the state with opposition at a level many activists today might find difficult to imagine.
For the first time ever in English, this volume presents all of the manifestos and communiqués issued by the RAF between 1970 and 1977, from Andreas Baader’s prison break, through the 1972 May Offensive and the 1975 hostage-taking in Stockholm, to the desperate, and tragic, events of the “German Autumn” of 1977. The RAF’s three main manifestos—The Urban Guerilla Concept, Serve the People, and Black September—are included, as are important interviews with Spiegel and le Monde Diplomatique, and a number of communiqués and court statements explaining their actions.
Providing the background information that readers will require to understand the context in which these events occurred, separate thematic sections deal with the 1976 murder of Ulrike Meinhof in prison, the 1977 Stammheim murders, the extensive use of psychological operations and false-flag attacks to discredit the guerilla, the state’s use of sensory deprivation torture and isolation wings, and the prisoners’ resistance to this, through which they inspired their own supporters and others on the left to take the plunge into revolutionary action.
Drawing on both mainstream and movement sources, this book is intended as a contribution to the comrades of today—and to the comrades of tomorrow—both as testimony to those who struggled before and as an explanation as to how they saw the world, why they made the choices they made, and the price they were made to pay for having done so.
This book about the Red Army Faction of American-occupied Germany is one that should be read by any serious student of anti-imperialist politics. “Volume 1: Projectiles for the People” provides a history of the RAF’s development through the words of its letters and communiqués. What makes the book especially important and relevant, however, is the careful research and documentation done by its editors. From this book you will learn the mistakes of a group that was both large and strong, but which
affecting me—it was my duty to fight my way out of it. By whatever means there are of doing that in prison: daubing the walls, coming to blows with a cop, wrecking the fitments, hunger strike. I wanted to make them at least put me under arrest, because then you get to hear something—you don’t have a radio babbling away, only the bible to read, maybe no mattress, no window, etc.—but that’s a different kind of torture from not hearing anything. And obviously it would have been a relief to me…3
libertarian, deeply concerned about the rule of law. He had befriended Rudi Dutschke while studying in West Berlin, and had been active in circles around the SDS.3 Probably the only one of the lawyers to take pride in referring to himself as “bourgeois,” Schily would join Ströbele in the Green Party in the 1980s, before crossing over to the Social Democrats in 1989. In 1998, years after he had left our story, Schily was appointed Minister of the Interior, the former civil libertarian now in
new West German establishment, twenty-two former SS-men and one Kapo were tried for murder or complicity in murder. Regardless of the hypocritical aspect of the trial, the fact that for two and a half years almost three hundred witnesses came and testified, and had their testimony reported in the media, gave an inkling of what Auschwitz meant to a generation of German youth, who—quite understandably—now saw their teachers, civic leaders, and even their parents in a horrible new light. These
spontaneity and ability to make contacts, depression (especially noted by Dr. Rasch). In April 1977: 20. The decline in both physical and mental health is very pronounced in Ensslin (concurring opinion by Dr. Rasch, Dr. Müller, and Dr. Schröder): loss of weight, very low blood pressure, premature aging, severe difficulties of expression and lack of concentration, motor disturbances. The deterioration in the condition of Baader and Raspe is perceptible, though less spectacular: decrease in