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A Radical Rethinks Terrorist Violence after the Murder of Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback (April 25, 1977)

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That might be my own personal impression. I did not have any ideas or strength to intervene in this scandal. But what I want to criticize might be easier to illustrate through the example of the Roth and Otto trial in Cologne.* In this trial, the strategy of the Bubacks was to convict the leftists, who were proven not to have taken a shot, as police murderers. Revolutionary leftists are killers; their attitudes, their practices predestine them to be killers who do not shy away from any means – according to the equation made by the prosecutors and (evidently) the judges.

In painstaking, detailed work the comrades involved succeeded at least partially in thwarting this strategy, and thwarting it in such a way that even the conformist media was forced to report on the scandals, inhuman prison conditions, procedural errors, etc. That is how the little Stammheim in Cologne was able to spotlight the real Stammheim. Last Wednesday, the lawyers of Roth and Otto filed a petition for them to be released from custody because the body of evidence could no longer support a charge of the joint murder of the police officer Pauli. The equation “leftists equal killers” was foiled. But I still fear that the attack on Buback took the good cards out of the comrades’ hands, that this did an unintentional service for the judiciary that might even have a negative effect on the verdict.

The blindness of those whose political world is reduced to Stammheim and who fight and choose their means totally irrespective of the current “political situation” could thereby disarm other comrades and serve as an involuntary contribution to doing them in. “Counterinsurgency” the other way around….

These thoughts alone were enough to stop any internal hand-wringing. But it gets worse. For a certain time (like so many of us), I also appreciated the action of the armed fighters. I, who as a civilian never had a weapon in my hand, let a bomb go off. I even got off on it a little when something else exploded and the whole capitalist in-crowd along with its henchmen was thrown into turmoil. These were things that I had wanted to do in daydreams but never had the nerve to do.

Now I just imagined again what it would be like if I were with the armed fighters, were being sought, hunted, living somewhere in a conspiratorial context of just a few people, having to be careful that my everyday activities (shopping, emptying the trash, watching a movie) would not be my undoing.

* Karl-Heinz Roth and Roland Otto faced trial in 1975 as “psychological accomplices” in a police murder in Cologne – trans.

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