The Red Army Faction: The Urban Guerrillas of West Germany
For my friend and comrade Luci Frank aka @JustFightX
The Red Army Faction aka The Baader Meinhoff Group or The Badder Meinhoff Gang as the Tabloids called them are not well known in America. This is not surprising as their is an intentional news and historical black out of revolutionary history in general for obvious reasons. However in Germany they are still the object of controversy and were once the objects of tabloid hysteria. I should mention that this article is in part a thank you to all my german readers who surprisingly are my second largest audience after the US. I first came across the Red Army Faction back in 2009 quite by accident I was looking for a movie to watch and ran across the Baader Meinhoff Complex and thus received quite a dramatic introduction to the group. After nearly 8 years of endless war it was quite a thrill to watch them take up arms to directly attack the imperialists of their day. Back then it was Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, that were the scene of apocalyptic destruction although of course this was also the same period that saw the occupation of the west bank and Gaza during the 67 war. Of course in the end the struggle of the Red Army Faction ended in failure it's members killed and imprisoned in a quite similar fashion to what befell the Black Panther Party in the US. Yet their tragic fate only made them more compelling and as you'll see only inspired further resistance. For almost thirty years new members would be inspired by their story and carry on the war against capitalists, fascists, and imperialists in west Germany. However their lasting impact on me would be not their tactics which I wouldn't advise adopting but their ideas, their spirit. In that sense they helped inspire this blog they were above all anti-imperialists. They saw through the lies of bourgeoisie democracy which portrayed itself as civilized and peaceful and saw the bloodthirsty monster beneath. It must be remembered that it was only a little more then 20 years since the defeat of the third reich and they correctly saw that many of the Fascist forces in German Society had merely changed their guise to serve their new american masters.(See my June 2014 Article Nazis and the CIA) They knew all the odds were stacked against them but they hoped their example might inspire a revolution in Germany. Above all they were unwilling to stand by and do nothing when millions were being slaughtered by the empire all over the world. They lived in revolutionary times they were inspired both by radical movements in America and Europe but above all the worldwide revolutionary struggle in the third world. They were inspired by Mao, Che, and the Tupamaros. They took up Che's demand that there must be 2, 3, many Vietnam's if the empire is to be defeated. They managed to cause a lot of trouble carrying out bank robberies, bombings, assassinations, and kidnapping. They catapulted to both fame and infamy vilified in the right wing media while admired by many in radical circles.
Now let me introduce the three Red Army Faction Leaders which will be my primary focus. First there was Andreas Baader smart and a rebel from childhood. He became involved in both small time crime and radical politics. He was a loud foul mouthed defiant character which could often get him into trouble. He was also extremely brave and generous. For example when he and Gudrun were working with juvenile delinquents attempting to turn them into revolutionaries one of them Peter Jurgen Boock remarked that they liked his leather jacket. Baader immediately took it off and gave it to the youth as a gift. Boock would go on to be a co-leader in the "2nd generation RAF(Red Army Faction). Next there was his Co-Leader Gudrun Ensslin daughter of a progressive pastor she was an idealist with an unshakeable sense of integrity. She was also a brilliant theorist. It was her meeting with Baader after at a party celebrating her and 6 others Iconic illegal protest that would set events in motion. The two met smoked some hashish together and fell in love. It was the memorable year of 1968. They would form an unbreakable bond lovers and revolutionaries. Both were anti-war activists. before moving to Berlin Baader had been involved in the "Schwabing Riots when a police attempt to arrest 2 hippies had lead to a youth uprising in which for the first time instead of the police beating the youth up as was their custom the youth managed to turn the tables on them and beat the police. Gudrun had helped radicalize a generation when after the famous June 2nd demonstrations in 1967 when protesters against the Shah were mercilessly beaten by the shahs thugs as the police looked on. Then the police decided to join in beating the demonstrators as was their custom. In the chaos a policeman shot a protestor. Gudrun on hearing the news at a large gathering of protestors declared that they were dealing with the Auschwitz Generation(The Older Generation who had carried out Genocide during WW2) and that the government would kill them all. With these words she no doubt helped give birth to the June 2nd movement another group that would wage armed struggle against the government. It was in this climate of violent police repression that the parts of the student movement began to turn to violent resistance. Another event that radicalized the student movement was the attempted assassination of the anti-imperialist student leader Rudi Dutschke by a fascist who had been reading the Right Wing CIA sponsored Springer Press. The Springer Press is The german equivalent of Fox news and has long since been exposed as being funded in part by the CIA in order to spread anti-communist right wing propaganda. Fortunately Dutschke survived although he was badly wounded. This lead to further riots outside the springer press during which an undercover agent handed out molotov cocktails to the protestors.
This was the climate out of which the RAF were born West Germany was in turmoil. America was reigning death and destruction on Vietnam. Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and Che Guevara were all assassinated that year. The final spark came from Kommune 1 some of who's members would later found the June 2nd movement. They had issued a satirical pamphlet calling for the burning of department stores as a new form of protest against the Vietnam War. They were inspired by an accidental fire in belgium they jokingly issued a pamphlet claiming that the fire had been a new form of anti-war protest and predicting further fires. However despite the fact they were joking the government put them on trial for terrorism although all they really planned was a custard pie attack on american official. However the idea appealed to Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader. While the Vietnamese were being incinerated by american bombs the average german was caught up with consumerism completely oblivious. Of course things are far worse today as back then at least there was a radical mass anti-war movement. For 500 years the west has largely completely ignored the horrors it has inflicted on the planet. Thus Gudrun and Andreas decided that the only way to bring the publics attention to the war in Vietnam was to bring the war to Germany and they decided to target department stores as symbols of mindless consumerism. However they and a couple of others who carried out the attack did not just decide to toss some molotov cocktails. Instead they built time bombs set to go off when the stores were closed to avoid killing anyone. On the same night two department stores went up in flames causing hundreds of thousands in damage. Unfortunately for them the same undercover agent who had been handing out molotov cocktails at the springer protest had already infiltrated the inner circles of the student movement and so they were quickly arrested along with their accomplices.
Now I should mention the third leader of the RAF Ulrike Meinhof.The trial for arson was what brought Ulrike Meinhof into their circle. Her upbringing was ahead of it's time as her father died soon after her birth and her mother instead became involved with a female art student. They were both socialists and after her birth mothers death her other mother continued to raise her. Ulrike was a talented writer and political thinker. She was a bit older then the other RAF members and had risen to prominence in the anti-nuclear weapons movement. She became a famous journalist, a film maker, and political figure but she felt a burning desire to do more. She was there at the Springer Riots attempting to block the newspaper distribution trucks. She wrote of the Riot "If you throw a stone, it's a crime. If a thousand stones are thrown that's political. If you set fire to a car it's a crime; if a hundred cars are set afire that's political." After interviewing Gudrun Ensslin she became enormously impressed with her. Actually she never published the interview since if people knew what Gudrun had told her they would never get out of prison. Ulrike longed to move from words to action. Gudrun had already turned her back long ago on her husband and child for the sake of the revolution. Ulrike still had a career and a family. To skip ahead a little she met Gudrun again along with Andreas this time when they had already been forced underground after the trial and the three of them would spend the night on LSD talking further radicalizing Ulrike. The trial itself made Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin into a cause Celebre many supported the spirit of what they had done if not their action itself. Gudrun's parents actually endorsed their action saying that they had seen an enormous transformation in Gudrun that she was fully self realized. The 60's It was a very different time a fact my generation loved to pretend to hate and secretly envied. Initially the proto-RAF (then only a few people) claimed innocence but during the trial Gudrun read a statement in which she and Andreas assumed full responsibility and admitted that while the attacks themselves had been a mistake they did not regret their choice to take action. They were sentenced to three years but let out on appeal. For community service they worked with Juvenile delinquents who had suffered incredible abuse in state institutions and had already turned to violent resistance in the form of an uprising that was brutally crushed. They loved Andreas Baader a former juvenile delinquent himself and the earlier anecdote shows why. I should mention that at the same time a radical doctor was organizing the patients in a mental hospital along the idea that it was a sick society that was the root of their problem only a revolution could cure them. The patients called themselves the Socialist Patients collective or SPK many of them would go on to join the second generation RAF. These attempts to organize the most marginalized parts of society along revolutionary lines are instructive and in the case of the RAF would allow them to carry on the fight even after their eventual capture.
Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader had no intention of going back to prison they had a revolution to organize. When their appeal was rejected they fled the country. In France they met with Regis Debray Che's old comrade. Eventually were enticed back to West Germany when they learned that back in Germany others were also intent on armed resistance and had already made contacts with the PLO. It was back in Germany that they spent the night with Ulrike Meinhof that I mentioned earlier. However Andreas was arrested due to the same agent as before who had still not been discovered. As an example of Gudrun's courage she actually managed to visit Baader in prison several despite being a fugitive using a disguise and a fake name. Ulrike agreed to help Gudrun break him out of prison. She would pretend to co-write a book with Andreas Baader she even got a contract from a publisher. Andreas was allowed to meet with her at the social research institute to work on the book. They were supervised by armed guards. Gudrun recruited a team consisting mostly of women since they couldn't find men brave enough to join and had to hire help from a petty criminal. Ulrike was supposed to pretend not to be involved. However when they launched the breakout attempt a cop was shot by the petty criminal who panicked during the fight when the cops fought back. Ulrike decided to escape with them. They had a friend with an apartment only blocks away and they managed to hide out there for days under the nose of the police while outside they conducted their massive dragnet. The Media branded them the Baader Meinhof Gang and made up a ridiculous story that Ulrike had done it all for love. The escape became a media sensation and the press churned out reams of nonsense about the group. They were particularly shocked to see such a high proportion of women among the membership. Police posted wanted posters of 19 suspected members.
However the group used it's PLO contacts to sneak into East Germany where the Stasi would prove surprisingly sympathetic over the years. Actually there is a great movie about this topic Legend of Rita if your interested. From East Germany they flew to Lebanon and from there they went to a PLO training camp. There was a bit of a culture clash at the camp and Andreas Baader's rebellious attitude caused friction with their hosts and eventually got him into trouble. However while in Jordan the group were trained with weapons and explosives even learning to fire artillery. When they returned to W. Germany they along with their allies in the June 2nd movement managed to carry out three bank robberies at once on January 15 1971 all within ten minutes in order to finance their future activities. Ulrike wrote up the groups manifesto the Urban Guerrilla Concept which I recommend you read for yourself. Here is the essence in a few a lines:
Without political practice, Marx’s Kapital is just another bourgeois text. Without political practice, making programmatic statements is just twaddle. Without political practice, proletarian internationalism remains just bragging. Accepting the theoretical basis for the proletarian revolution means accepting its practice.
The Red Army Faction is about the primacy of political practice. Whether it is right to organize armed resistance at this moment is dependent on whether it is possible – and it can only be made possible by actually doing it.
The Red Army Faction relied on a network of sympathizers and former friends to hide them and developed a clever system of duplicate license plates to avoid capture. They had to steal materials from government offices to make fake identities. Many members were captured in the manhunt and some were killed. German intelligence supervised a massive operation to capture them no doubt with CIA advice. They set up a massive computer system to engage in what we call today data mining in order to capture them. The police clearly had orders to shoot on sight.
However the leaders were still on the loose and they were determined to launch attacks on their enemies the American Army, the CIA, German capitalists and the W. German government. Half the group was already dead or in jail. Using the funds from the bank robbery they set up a home made bomb factory. Their first target was the army base in Frankfurt which they had discovered was where a secret CIA base was located. On 11 May 1972 Three pipe bombs exploded 13 people were injured and 1 killed. They issued this statement in the name of the Petra Schelm Commando (named for a murdered comrade)
"West Germany and West Berlin will no longer be a safe hinterland for the strategists of extermination in Vietnam. They must know that their crimes against the Vietnamese people have made them new and bitter enemies, that there will be nowhere in the world left where they can be safe from the attacks of revolutionary guerrilla units."
Next they targeted both the Augsburg police headquarters and 2 hours later the Munich regional criminal investigation unit on 12 May 1972. 5 police were injured in the first attack while the second demolished 60 cars in the parking lot and blew the glass out of 6 floors of the building. On 15 May they tried to kill a judge with a car bomb but instead his wife was accidentally killed instead. On 19 May they phoned a warning to the Springer Press to evacuate their building as a bomb was about to go off. The Springer Press ignored the warning as a result 15 people were injured. Finally on 24th May they bombed the US army base in Heidelberg killing 3 soldiers and injuring 5. In response the police launched an even more massive manhunt using helicopters. Every young person in the country was under suspicion as a potential RAF member. It was so out of hand that bumper stickers stating I am not in the "Baader Meinhof Group" became bestsellers. At the same time a poll during the years of the manhunt showed that 25% of the young claimed that they would be willing to help the fugitives.
Unfortunately the leaders luck was about to run out they had been on the run since Baader's escape in 1970. One by one the leaders were captured along with other members. Since this is only a short article I have focused on the 3 leaders so as not to burden the reader with a constantly shifting cast of around 40 characters. However the you should not get the impression that there were not many other important members. I've left out many dramatic tales of capture and escape and shootouts with police. However now within weeks all the leaders were captured. First Andreas Baader was captured June 1st 1972 after a siege and a shootout with police along with another of his comrades. Then on June 7th 1972 Gudrun Ensslin was arrested at a clothing store grabbed before she could reach her gun she managed two knock both the cops to the ground before they were able to subdue her. Finally Ulrike Meinhof was captured on June 15 1972.
However if german intelligence thought the capture of the leaders would put an end to the guerrilla campaign they were sadly mistaken. Their influence had already spread. Members of the socialist patients collective or SPK joined the RAF. Broock the Former juvenile delinquent was also organizing a group. Meanwhile their imprisonment and the trial itself became a political scandal that riveted the publics attention. The kangaroo court trial inspired a movement to battle on behalf of the RAF prisoners rights and some of them would also join the RAF. A second generation RAF was forming on the outside that was determined to free the RAF prisoners by any means necessary. The trial exposed the fact that the prisoners had been held in solitary confinement for years a form of psychological torture still all to common in prisons today in the US. The government was forced to build them a special wing. A very strange part of the story their conditions of imprisonment books have been written about it. A special wing was built at Stammheim Prison just for them which included both male and female members. They were kept under constant illegal surveillance even when they met with their lawyers. They attempted to expose this fact during the trial but were dismissed as paranoids although the government later was forced to admit the truth. Strangely they were also allowed all sorts of dangerous books technical manuals on weaponry, electronics, explosives, as well as huge libraries of revolutionary works. They devised their own codes even their own electronic cell to cell communication system. They maintained secret contact with the 2nd gen RAF forces outside through their legal team. Of course all this was only after the outcry when it was discovered that they had been initially been denied all contact for years. They were able to argue that the psychological damage might make them unfit to stand trial. They were able to turn the trial itself into a political theater that dramatized the illusory character of West German Democracy which like all democracies threw out all concept of due process and civil rights as soon as crisis threatened. They staged dramatic hunger strikes that claimed the life of one of their members Holger Meins during a 140 day hunger strike. In retaliation for Meins death the June 2nd movement killed a judge during a failed kidnap attempt. 200 communists shouted "Revenge" at Meins funeral and Rudi Dutschke spoke. The climate in West Germany at the time was similar to that after 9/11 in the US. There was a massive expansion of surveillance and of the police state. Paranoia reigned and many were afraid to speak the truth for fear of being branded terrorist sympathizers. Actually the RAF remain a polarizing topic in Germany to this day.
The June 2nd movement struck again kidnapping Peter Lorenz and demanding the release of their leaders who unlike the RAF hadn't actually killed anyone. The government actually agreed to release them and paid a huge ransom as well. They were flown to South Yemen then a socialist country. This inspired the second generation of the RAF to launch their own operations aimed freeing the leaders. A group of 2nd gen RAF members who had been in the SPK (Socialist Patients Collective) seized the west german embassy in Stockholm Sweden on April 25th 1975 calling themselves the Holger Meins Commando. They rigged the place with explosives and threatened to execute the hostages unless the RAF members in prison were released. They demanded the police withdraw and shot a military attache when they refused. Back in Germany this time the west german government flatly refused all their demands it was the personal decision of Chancellor helmut Schmidt. They shot the economic attache in retaliation. That night the explosives were accidentally triggered somehow killing one of the RAF members while the others were badly injured in the blast and easily captured. another of them later died from their injuries.
This was to be only the first of a dramatic series of operations by the second generation Red Army Faction members. Like their predecessors they had already made contact with the Palestinian resistance. First they met with the PLO but they had abandoned plans for more attacks and so instead directed them to the PFLP. In South Yemen then an any ally of the Socialist Bloc they made contact with the PFLP and were in fact welcomed with the respect a foreign leader might receive. Back in West Germany a shocking event took place. Ulrike Meinhof was found dead in her cell hanged on 8 May 1976. The Government claimed it was suicide even though this famous writer neglected to leave a note. That fact alone is enough to suspect that she was in fact murdered by the government or perhaps even an allied intelligence agency like the CIA. The RAF prisoners demanded a full investigation but the state wouldn't even consider the possibility of foul play. For the RAF and it's sympathizers it was clear that she had been murdered. Another important development in West Germany was that the prisoners manipulated the state into sending one of their members Brigitte Monhaupt who due to be released in a matter of months to their group prison at Stammheim. There they were able to Carefully groom her to lead the 2nd Gen RAF upon her release. Once free she would continue the RAF tradition of having the group lead by a couple as she immediately began a relationship with Jurgen Peter Boock and the two would co-lead the group. Boock was the Juvenile delinquent who Baader had given his leather jacket to years before.
Their next target was Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback on April 7th 1977 he along with his driver and the head of the motor transport pool were assassinated all by two RAF members on a motorcycle who sprayed them with an automatic weapon. This was in retaliation for the murder of Ulrike Meinhof and so the next day the "Ulrike Meinhof Commando" took responsibility for the attack. On April 28 1977 the surviving RAF leaders were found guilty of murder and attempted murder. The 2nd Gen decided to launch another plan to free them. The next operation was a an attempt to kidnap a rich banker Jurgen Pronto it took place on July 30 1977. He foolishly fought back and was shot during the fight. One of the RAF members involved was a young family friend who had managed to get her RAF comrades invited into the house. This should demonstrate how divided west german society was at the time. The RAF planned to launch an attack on the Federal Prosecutors office using a homemade rocket launcher modeled on the famous Soviet Katusya's during world 2. However Boock who had built the weapon himself changed his mind and secretly sabotaged it so the attack couldn't be carried out Although they had taken control of an apartment across the street temporarily holding the couple inside captive while they set up the rocket launcher and aimed it at the prosecutors office.
Now to turn to the final series of events of that autumn of 77 so infamous in Germany. First there was the kidnapping of Hans Martin Schleyer the president of the German Employers association a wealthy capitalist who worked closely with the Government a powerful and influential man. The government already knew he was a target so he was heavily guarded. On September 3 1977 launched their attempt. The RAF had some sympathizers spying on the employers association building to phone them when he left. Then the 2nd Gen RAF ambushed him near his home they pushed an empty baby carriage into the road. Schleyer's driver slammed on the brakes and their police escort which was following them crashed into the back of his car. The RAF got into a gun battle with his police escort. They were armed with assault rifles and nearly killed schleyer himself in all the chaos but somehow he survived unharmed they drugged him and escaped switched cars in a parking garage leaving their demands in the abandoned vehicle and took Schleyer to an apartment they had rented under a false name. They had demanded the release of the RAF prisoners to an Ant-Imperialist country. The West German Government decided to pretend to go along in the hopes that they could drag matters out and capture the kidnappers. They engaged in a number of delaying tactics and tried to get them to agree on a third party mediator they hoped might lead them to the kidnappers. Meanwhile Schleyer issued pathetic appeals for the government to grant the RAF demands and save his life.
In prison the RAF leaders were consulted on where they might wish to go if released. In the middle east where the 2nd gen leaders Monhaupt and Broock were the PFLP came up with a surprising offer. They were willing to carry out their own attack to put pressure on the stalling west German government and they already had two possible plans. They could capture the West German Embassy in Kuwait or they could Hijack a plane. Although Hijackings went against the RAF philosophy which preferred attacks solely against Imperialists, government officials and capitalists they agreed in desperation. The RAF leaders strongly suspected they were about to be killed and had warned their sympathizers of this fact. Thus they agreed to the plan of the PFLP to Hijack a plane on their behalf to put further pressure for their release. On October 13 1977 the PFLP launched their hijacking seizing a Lufthansa flight LH 181 full of german tourists returning from vacation in Mallorca. It was called operation Kofre Kaddum and was carried out by the martyr Halimeh commando composed of two men and two women from the PFLP. Their leader "Captain Mahmud" Real name Zohair Youssif Akache had assassinated North Yemen's ex prime minister in a previous operation. They seized the plane and demanded the release of the 11 RAF prisoners. The Hostage Crisis would last for 4 days. The plane was allowed to land and refuel and the plan was that it would arrive at south Yemen where a prisoner exchange would take place. Again the german government pretended to agree to their demands. In reality they phoned East Germany which was in charge of training South Yemen's security forces and demanded they intervene. They agreed and suddenly South Yemen refused to allow the plane to land only agreeing when the pilot at gunpoint was forced to land anyway and south Yemen hurriedly moved the fire trucks it was blocking the runway with to avoid killing everyone. The germans meanwhile had sent their rescue team to the airport they got the pilot killed when they grabbed him while he was checking out the condition of the runway. Captain Mahmud Panicked and when the pilot returned before he could explain the delay he was shot. He had earlier been spared after he was caught sending secret messages to the authorities. The plane took off for Somalia which had already been bought off by west Germany with the false promise of aid. In Somalia they claimed they were about to release the prisoners and that they were already on their way while instead their special forces were preparing to storm the plane. West German Special forces managed to recapture the plane shooting all the PFLP members killing 3 of them while none of the hostages were harmed.
On the night of October 17-18 1977 all the remaining RAF leaders along with Jean Carle Raspe and Imrgard Muller were found dead or dying. Muller survived and claimed that they had been attacked and that there had been no plans for a mass suicide. The government claimed it was suicide made to look like murder. While RAF sympathizers claimed that it was murder made to look like a suicide. It remains a controversial topic to this day. However given all the mayhem that been caused in the attempts to free them it is clear the government had a motive to simply kill them to prevent any more attempts to free them. In fact government officials are on record considering the possibility of killing them. Many in Germany suspect that the CIA or Mossad may have been the actual killers. What we do know is that the official report was full of glaring inconsistencies and the West German Government which probably has the whole thing on tape is engaged in a blatant coverup as even mainstream german journalists admit. Thus we will never know what exactly happened but their is cause for suspicion. However getting into this question would involve a whole new article. I suspect murder not suicide but unfortunately the material arguing for this is mostly in german so I can't really research it in depth. Supposedly they had smuggled two pistols into the prison but instead of staging one final showdown the two men shot themselves in the back of the head. Gudrun Ensslin was strangled or hung herself while Muller was stabbed or stabbed herself. People are still trying to discover what actually happened all these years later.
What is certain is that if the West German Government thought killing the prisoners would cause the RAF to give up their struggle they were wrong. In Retaliation for the prisoners death they killed their hostage Schleyer and left his body in a car trunk calling to inform the police of his fate. Their war would continue for another 20 years the RAF was finally disbanded April, 20 1998. Until then they would continue to carry out attacks. They nearly killed infamous deep state operative Alexander Haig who lead the invasion of Cambodia and later was deeply involved in america's ugly covert wars in central america. The attack on Haig was Carried out by "The Andreas Baader Commando" they came very close to killing him. They also launched an attack on those profiteering from the end of socialism in East Germany. Basically this whole period could fill an article or a book in it's own right. They continued to assassinate top capitalists and government officials. They continued to attack American military bases. There were always new generations of recruits inspired by the story of the RAF who joined their doomed war. Thus it is amazing that this group is so little known outside of Germany.
I myself happened to be born during that infamous Autumn of 77 only weeks after the lives of Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader came to a tragic end. Although I wouldn't advise conducting a terror campaign in their memory their example of resolute Anti-Imperialism did help to shape my thinking and I hope will help to inspire you. Side with the enemies of empire and with it's victims not with the smiling hypocrites who rule us and who needless to say have only gotten worse. Also let their story serve as a reminder of all the political prisoners held by the western democracies. Germany should release it's political prisoners. So Should the US which regularly lectures other countries on the subject. In the United States many people are still being held prisoner for their activities in the 60's and 70's. Many more have been locked up since then (most famously Mumia Abu Jamal) and are still being locked up. Hugo "Yogi" Pinell one of George Jackson's comrades Was murdered last month in august for example(Black August named in part For George Jackson's failed prison uprising). George Jackson was also mysteriously killed back in the 70's. Of what really goes on in prisons no outsider can know the sheer brutality. Thus we should also remember all those other millions of non-political prisoners locked up on petty offenses to make fortunes for the prison industrial complex. Solidarity with prisoners everywhere! And Long live the anti-imperialist spirit of the RAF. They resisted the murder of millions in their time. In our time millions are still being killed by the american empire of chaos. We must celebrate those resisting the empire today Whether in Venezuela, Eritrea, Syria, Novorossia to name a few examples. It is in this spirit that I have decided to tell the story of the RAF and their struggle against fascism at home and imperialism abroad. Long live the memory of Gudrun Ensslin, Andreas Baader, and Ulrike Meinhof and their many comrades! Long live the memory of the Red Army Faction!
I relied mainly on Stefan Aust's book "Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F." unfortunately Aust is not only a mainstream journalist which would be bad enough he also has a personal axe to grind with the RAF knowing some of them personally. Thus he began to annoy me during my re-reading of his book starting at the preface where to sell more books he compared them to Al-Qaeda with which they had little in common. I bet the RAF would have hated his book. Instead let me recommend books I wish I'd read (someday) but couldn't afford. J Smith And Andre Moncourt are doing a 3 volume history the first two volumes are already out It's called "The Red Army Faction a Documentary History" Volume 1 is subtitled "Projectiles for the People" Volume 2 is "Dancing With Imperialism." Ulrike Meinhof's writings are also available in english. Also there is a whole sub genre of movies about the RAF. I've already mentioned "Baader Meinhof Complex" and "Legend of Rita" there is also the "Third Generation" and others on a related note there is the inaccurate but excellent "Carlos-The miniseries" 3 Films which I also recommend.
You can Read Ulrike Meinhof's Urban Guerrilla concept yourself for an inside perspective on the origins of the RAF here
There is a website dedicated to studying them here
There used to be a podcast dedicated to studying the RAF and other similar groups here is the archive
Here are some resources in German