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A Terrorist Call for "Building a Red Army" (June 5, 1970)

After springing the petty crook Andreas Baader from prison, radical student protester Gudrun Ensslin rejected further compromise with the authorities. Here she denounces liberal democracy and rejects evolutionary socialism, and instead calls for armed resistance and the building of a Red Army to begin the revolutionary struggle against the state.

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Build Up the Red Army!

Comrades from 883* – there is no point in wanting to explain what is right to the wrong people. We have done that long enough. We don’t have to explain the action to free Baader to the intellectual windbags, the scaredy-pants, and know-it-alls, but rather to the potentially revolutionary segment of the population.

That means to those who can immediately understand the act because they themselves are prisoners. To those who think nothing of the prattle of the “leftists,” because it has remained without consequences or actions. To those who have had enough! You have to explain the Baader liberation action to the young people in the Märkischen Viertel [public housing district], the girls in the Eichenhof, in Ollenhauerstrasse, in Heiligensee, to the boys in the Youth Farm, in the Youth Aid Center, in the Grüne Haus, in Kieferngrund.** To the large families, the young laborers and apprentices, the older youths in the elementary schools, the families in the areas being modernized, the women working for Siemens and AEG-Telefunken, and SEL and Osram, the married women workers who in addition to taking care of the house and children are still doing piecework – damn it!

You have to speak of the action to all those who are being exploited but receive no compensation in the form of good living standards, consumption, savings contracts for building a house, small loans, mid-size automobiles. To all those who cannot afford all that stuff, who don’t care about it. To those who have exposed as lies all the future promises of their daycare workers and teachers, property managers and welfare workers, foremen and master craftsmen, union officials and district mayors, and still fear only the police. They are the ones you have to tell – and not the petty bourgeois intellectuals – that it’s enough already, that now is the time, that the liberation of Baader is just the beginning!

That the end of the rule of the pigs is in sight! To them you have to say that we are building the Red Army; it is their army. To them you have to say the time is now. They won’t ask dumb questions, like why right now? They have already gone through the thousand channels to authorities and offices – the dance with the courts – the waiting times and waiting rooms, the date when it was promised that something would certainly work out and then didn’t work out at all. And the conversation with the nice teacher who, in the end, didn’t prevent the transfer into special education, and the helpless daycare worker who had no space available after all. They don’t ask you why right now – damn it.

Of course they won’t believe a word you say, if you yourselves cannot manage to distribute the newspaper before it gets confiscated. Because it is not the lefty ass-kissers you have to agitate, but the objective left-wing; you have to build up a distribution network that the pigs can’t get to. Don’t blather that it is too hard. The action to liberate Baader wasn’t crocheting doilies either. [ . . . ]

* This refers to Agit883 (Magazine for Agitation and Social Practice), a West Berlin underground paper from 1968 to 1973. Most of the footnotes in this document were adapted from Rote Armee Fraktion: Texte und Materialien zur Geschichte der RAF [Red Army Faction: Texts and Materials on the History of the RAF]. Berlin, 1997, pp. 24-26 – trans.
** Children’s and adolescent homes in Berlin. Before going underground, some of the later RAF members worked with youth from state homes – trans.

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