[Marxism] Why the Red Army Faction Matters

kersplebedeb info at kersplebedeb.com
Wed Mar 4 15:33:11 MST 2009

i find it surprising that anyone could think of getting involved in 
radical politics without wanting to be familiar with military and 
paramilitary realities - i mean take a look at Marxmail threads, and 
you'll see these are often discussed. Military theory does not mean 
military technique - i.e. understanding the effects (political and 
otherwise) of a military or paramilitary event doesn't require knowing 
how to participate in said events. And being familiar with something 
does not mean engaging in it - but making a fetish out of one's 
unfamiliarity with military science just strikes me as weird.

As Ward Churchill put it in his back-cover blurb on the book we're 
discussing, the point of studying the RAF is not only to set the 
historical record straight, but also to know why these leftists did what 
they did, and to draw consequent lessons from their experience. There is 
no assumption that these lessons will lead in mimicry, in fact that is 
very far from the argument put forward.

As to the Clausewitz quote, the point is not that one should get 
military training or exercise more often (though that may not be a bad 
idea), but that one should learn about things prior to "the time being 
ripe". If you wait until "the time is ripe" to learn about something, 
then you're bound to be unprepared, to become demoralized, to make 
unnecessary errors. As the RAF put it in their 1972 document Serve the 
People: "We believe that the guerilla will develop, will gain a 
foothold, that the development of the class struggle will itself 
establish the idea of armed struggle only if there is already an 
organization in existence conducting guerilla warfare, an organization 
that is not easily demoralized, that does not simply lie down and give up."

Of course, some people's politics seems based on the assumption that the 
time never will be ripe. Oh well...

Mark Lause wrote:
> The implication could not be more clear...that readers should be made
> familiar with military and paramilitary activities and their effects
> if we're going to be involved in radical politics.  It is, of course,
> utterly absurd....
> People should have gotten playing war out of their system before they
> reach adulthood....
> ML

More information about the Marxism mailing list