[Marxism] Why the Red Army Faction Matters

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Mar 4 14:33:22 MST 2009

kersplebedeb wrote:
> The 1972 May Offensive, in which the RAF bombed two U.S. Army bases, the 
> offices of a right-wing newspaper chain, a judge's car and two police 
> buildings, was inspirational and helped pull sections of the 
> non-dogmatic left to adopt more radical positions and struggles.

Well, I reject the idea that bold actions serve to spark the rest of the 
left. This is not Leninism, but Blanquism. Furthermore, these armed 
attacks allowed the German government to escalate its attacks on the 
mass movement.

> By 
> establishing clandestine bombings as the "outer limit" of what the 
> movement was capable of, the RAF and other armed groups helped establish 
> a situation in which other forms of mass violence were easier to adopt 
> and defend. This ended up having a broad effect far beyond the ranks of 
> their supporters. Of course, some of these folks ended up engaging in 
> armed activities, so if like Louis one starts the discussion with the a 
> priori judgment that that's a dead end, then i guess this isn't a good 
> thing. But that's a point you've stated, but haven't proven.

What do you mean by "proven"? Do I need to explain how the bourgeois 
press made an amalgam between us and the Weatherman maniacs who would 
commandeer high school classes and browbeat students? That's all the 
proof I needed, to see the impact of this kind of idiocy on our movement.

  > Finally, even the 1977 campaign to free the prisoners, which is viewed
> by everyone as having been a catastrophe not only for the left, but also 
> for the RAF, was not an unmitigated defeat. By pushing Schmidt to lurch 
> to the right the tiny guerilla organizations managed to help lay the 
> basis for breaking leftists away from the SPD, which in turn contributed 
> to the breakthrough of the Greens.

The Greens didn't need adventurists to prepare their way. It was 
ordinary people's alarm over nuclear power that did the job.

> check out the book - its 500+ pages of their documents translated. or 
> keep on checking the www.germanguerilla.com website where many of these 
> documents will appear. i mean i could start copy pasting their documents 
> and sending them out over the list, but i think you'd be (rightly) 
> unsubbing me pretty quickly

Well, I took a brief look at their archives on www.germanguerilla.com 
and it strikes me as utterly devoid of the sort of thing that Lenin was 
up to when he wrote on the origins of capitalism in Russia, etc. It is 
mostly juvenile ranting like this:

 >>The media’s message in a nutshell is... Sell. Anything that can’t 
sell is considered pukeworthy: News and information become commodities 
for consumption and the most popular publications become commercially 
saturated. A ratings war ensues on television. All this is an attempt to 
avoid contradictions and antagonisms latent in public audiences, those 
contradictions that are highlighted are never of any real consequence. 
In order to achieve any position in the market you must attach yourself 
to huge media corporations, for example the dependency of smaller 
entities on the Springer Corporation grows in proportion to Springer’s 
expansion – it has now started swallowing up local newspapers. An Urban 
Guerilla can expect absolutely nothing but bitter hostility from these 
institutions. An Urban Guerilla can only orient himself by means of 
self-criticism and Marxist critique – nothing else: “Whoever is not 
afraid of execution dares to tear the king down from his horse.” (Mao)<<


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