Gerd Albartus is dead.

A text that discusses international solidarity in the context of Palestine and the revolutionary cells. The revolutionary cells were a militant group active from the mid 70s, to the mid 90s with a strong social-revolutionary tendency. It was first published in Dezember 1991, among others, in the newspaper taz.
We translated it from this source , everyone else is welcome to copy and improve the translation as they wish.

December 1991

„Bad news in a piece of newspaper
Nowadays, as my friends die,
only their names die.
How can one hope, from this violent pit,
to capture more than the letters, a glimmer of tender darkness, arrows into familiar memories?
Only who lives outside the prisons, can honor the dead,
cleanse themselves of the pain over their dead‘s with hugs, scratching the tombstones with nail and tear.
Prisoners do not: We only whistle so the echo soothes the message.“
Roque Dalton [1]

He was already shot in December 1987 after being tried and sentenced to death by a group that self-affiliated itself with the Palestinian resistance, for which he [Gerd Albartus] had worked. We received the message much later. Until then, we had assumed that Gerd had not returned from a trip to the group because he knew about the raids, manhunts, and arrests in December 1987 [2] and feared being arrested as well upon entry into the Federal Republic of Germany. Attempts to find out about his whereabouts either went unanswered or confirmed our assumptions. Like most of his friends who were concerned about him, we were increasingly convinced that he had taken the opportunity to evade the intensified police surveillance and harassment since his time in prison. We were convinced that he had gone underground, not within our framework, but to a secure place and in a political context that he was close to.

It took us another while to gather the courage to make our knowledge of his death public. The search for an answer that would have been even remotely adequate to the monstrosity of this event, where the desire for revenge would have it’s place without harming the wrong, ended in nothing.

Efforts to find a form that would do justice to our horror and grief beyond the mere publication of news in a piece of newspaper have failed. The path of publication is also a capitulation to further aspirations.

Of course, there are and were also controversies about who would benefit from such a publication. The accusation was made that we were merely paying tribute to the zeitgeist and making a clean sweep at a time when settling scores with leftist history is almost a matter of good taste. The text would backfire on us, as it would only reinforce the well-known clichés about the spiral of violence within armed fighting groups. Furthermore, a weakening of solidarity with Palestine was warned against. Such news, no matter how nuanced it might be presented, would inevitably be reflected on the entire Palestinian resistance, as hardly anyone is capable of understanding the complex web of Palestinian organizations and factions, and we ourselves could not provide detailed information about the specific connections. With the background of the Gulf War and a political debate that had been reduced to the absurd alternative of „Israel yes or no“, this would be a signal in the wrong direction. Finally, it had to be clear to us that such a publication would trigger a wave of reactions whose full extent we could neither foresee nor bear responsibility for.

We have disregarded all these objections, even though they made us hesitate for a long time. The legitimate concern of playing into the wrong hands should not become a convenient excuse to sweep any dirt under the rug. It has been used too often as a mere pretext to legitimize one’s own silence. Perhaps we need to rethink, to learn that deception and self-deception contribute far more to our failure than openly discussing our internal contradictions, even at the risk of the enemy exploiting them. Those who dream of liberation but refuse to acknowledge the dark side of the struggle for liberation cling to naive revolutionary ideals that cannot withstand the reality. We do not want to hold on to legends and images that are owed less to our experiences than to naive projections or suppressions of thought. Who benefits from it when we pretend to offer a false unity under the banner of internationalism while contradictions clash behind the scenes? Only when we confront the actual political and ideological contradictions without illusions will we know how to deal with them when confronted with them.

Our goal is also neither revelation or denunciation, even though we cannot prevent the text from being used in a way that disgusts us already. We do not share the fear that this publication might provide ammunition to the wrong side. This side has been well-equipped, especially in recent times, and where it ran out of ammunition, it could freely draw from the Stasi [3, German Democratic Republic‘s Ministry of State Security] archives. Anyone who wants to attack us does not need to wait for our lead but can decide for themselves when the opportunity is right – whether it is true or not. And if we do indeed reveal new information to the cops, it may at most result in the dissolution of a manhunt.

The purpose of this publication is quite simple: We want to prevent that a comrade who is important to us, can disappear without a trace. We want to resist the impression that one of our own can be killed without objection, even if we lack the means to retaliate. We want to extinguish any doubt that there is any justification for this decision [to kill him] that aligns with our own standards. We want to finally put an end to the grotesque and gruesome situation where his relatives, friends, and loved ones continue to live in the false belief that he is, although gone and untraceable, safe.

For us, Gerd’s personal integrity is beyond question. We have only vague information about the accusations made against him by the group, but even more details could not shake our certainty that there is no argument that justifies his execution. Whatever the motives of those who killed him may have been, they lie beyond his person.

On the contrary – it is one of the macabre parodies of this story that Gerd, for whom supporting the Palestinian resistance in a practical way was always a focus point of his political biography, fell victim to one of the groups that sees itself as part of this resistance. Our knowledge of the group and its relationship with Gerd is limited. The connections date back to a period of our history that we‘ve closed chapter for political reasons many years ago. We do not have an overview of whether and to what extent the circumstances have changed there in the meantime.

With period we refer to the time after the failed prisoner liberation operation at the end of June 1976. At that time, a four-member commando, which included two Palestinians and two members of the RZ, Brigitte Kuhlmann and Wilfried „Bonni“ Böse, had taken control of an Air France plane and demanded the release of more than 50 comrades, most of whom were held in Israeli and West German prisons. On board the plane, which had taken off in Tel Aviv and made a stopover in Athens before being redirected to Entebbe, there were over 250 passengers, including about 100 Israeli citizens or Jews of other nationalities. After the non-Jewish passengers were released within a few days, the commando extended its ultimatum to allow for further negotiations. During this period, the Israeli government prepared a military solution. In the night of July 4, 1976, a special unit raided the Entebbe airport and brought the hostage situation to a bloody end. The commando lost their lives in the process, and not a single one of the prisoners whose release had been demanded was set free.

It took years for us to cope with this setback. In the aftermath of losing our friends, we were initially incapable of grasping the political dimensions of the Entebbe catastrophe for us. Instead of acknowledging what was being pointed out to us – that as an organization, we had been involved in an operation during which Israeli citizens and Jewish passengers of other nationalities were singled out and taken as hostages – we primarily focused on the military aspects of the action and its violent conclusion. We couldn’t allow the regime’s aims to succeed. To at least keep open the possibility of freeing other comrades, we had to take action and not let the alarming reports about the course of the hostage situation and the role of our comrades in this, hinder us. We regarded the claim that they [the jews] had been singled out as a product of psychological warfare, just as we did the assertion that the German members of the command had come to the forefront in this selection. We knew Brigitte and Bonni as anti-fascists and were aware of their motivations for participating in the operation. Our concept of solidarity forbade criticism of our comrades, and we resisted discussing their mistakes, as if solidarity didn’t inherently encompass the idea that individual comrades could make mistakes.

The discussion about the reasons for the failure of the operation remained similiarly superficial. We were only capable of criticising certain moves. We lamented that the original plans and agreements had not been followed, and that the actual course of events had turned upside down from what was originally intended. We criticized that the action, from our perspective solely aiming for the immediate release of the prisoners, had gradually changed their character to a propaganda campaign, which got exploited especially by Idi Amin [4]. We criticized that the command had been stripped of its authority during the operation, and our comrades, after landing in Entebbe, just had to follow instructions given elsewhere and far from the actual events. We eventually accepted the explanation referring to the unique dynamics of military operations, even though our trust in direct international cooperation as a distinctive feature of practical anti-imperialism hit its limits.

We failed to see that the boundaries of this cooperation were not technical or tactical but political in nature, despite direction and course of the operation speaking a clear language. The command had taken hostages, whose only commonality was that they were Jewish. Social characteristics like origin or function, questions of social status or personal responsibility, criteria that we usually applied to our practices, did not matter in this case. The selection was made along ethnic lines. That the only hostage who did not survive the plane hijacking happened to be a former concentration camp inmate, while not immediately in responsibility of the command, nonetheless followed the logic of the action. What would trigger a wave of criticism among left-wing radicals one year later, in the case of Mogadishu [5], when an arbitrary group of German vacationers became a bargaining chip, we disregarded in the case of Entebbe, even though the course of the operation had turned the most basic principles of revolutionary moral and politics, which we otherwise claimed for ourselves, upside down. The terrifying threat that anyone entering Israeli territory must know the risks and take the responsibilty for it, had become a bloody reality.

Entebbe was not an isolated incident but the culmination of a development that led us further and further away from what we originally stood for. Forgotten were the words Ulrike Meinhof [6] had written almost a decade earlier on the occasion of the Six-Day War [7]: „There is no reason for the European left to abandon its solidarity with the persecuted; it extends into the present and includes the state of Israel.“ The Black September of the Palestinians [8], Israeli airstrikes on refugee camps, the mass suffering in the occupied territories, the reign of terror imposed by the occupying power, and the reports from Israeli prisons provided us with reasons and excuses to push our knowledge of Auschwitz into the background. We adopted the slogans of the Palestinian liberation struggle and ignored that our history ruled out unconditional partisanship. We interpreted the conflict through the categories of an anti-imperialism schooled in Vietnam [9], which were not appropriate for understanding it. We no longer saw Israel from the perspective of the Nazi extermination program but only from the viewpoint of its settlement history. Israel was seen by us as an agent and outpost of Western imperialism in the heart of the Arab world, rather than a refuge for survivors and escapees, which is a necessity as long as a new mass annihilation cannot be excluded by anyone, as long as anti-Semitism continues to live on as a historical and social fact. The dramatic fact that this need for security of the Jews seemingly can only be realized against the Palestinians did not throw us into an insoluble dilemma; rather, it provided us with a reason to unconditionally support those whom we considered the weaker party. Where, under different circumstances, we insisted on the distinction between the upper and lower classes, in the Middle East, we primarily saw good and bad nations. We also criticized the patriotism of the Palestinians for this schism, although, last but not least, the history of Israel should have been a warning example that the realization of Palestinian maximal demands would not mean the end of exploitation and oppression but only their perpetuation under different subsigns. Suffering and endured persecution do not protect against people becoming monsters as soon as they come together as a nation-state. Where two ethnic communities claim the same piece of land, there are no revolutionary solutions. However understandable the conclusions drawn by the Palestinians from their experiences of expulsion and persecution, we could not share them without falling into an irresolvable contradiction with our history and our political self-understanding. The legitimate and necessary criticism of Israeli occupation policies and the natural solidarity with the resistance of the Palestinians had turned into a willingness to hold Jewish passengers of any nationality accountable for the terrorism and cruelty of the Israeli regime, thus trading social-revolutionary standards for those of collective punishment. The extent of historical amnesia [10] and moral disintegration expressed in this willingness is the heaviest loan that our history carries.

There are several reasons that explain this fateful development. Factors such as mistrust and doubt in ourselves, coming from the affluent North, opportunism in the face of the opportunities that cooperation with Palestinian organizations offered, certainly played a role, as well as the pressure to act due to the isolation conditions in West German prisons. Additionally, the fact that our concept of anti-Zionism was only part of the historical trend that had gripped almost all factions of the left at that time. But, as plausible as all these reasons may be, they do not excuse the fact that we made significant mistakes during this time, mistakes that should not have happened.

We cannot claim that we concluded all of this back then, in the first months after Entebbe. Instead of subjecting the logic, sequence, and outcome of the action to a thorough analysis and drawing conclusions for our future practice through a candid discussion, we settled for half-hearted criticism. The obvious consequence, returning to what our politics in the Federal Republic of Germany stood for, namely the orientation towards the social and political movements in the country, was only adopted by a few.

Nevertheless, it is also true that the experience of Entebbe has left deep traces. The bold statement about the caravan moving on while the dogs bark was more a saying than an accurate description of our reality. The knowledge of the catastrophe acted like a perpetually smoldering propellant, demanding self-critical discussions in which we could not avoid the truth. The more subtle than open confrontation not only led to ruptures in personal friendships but also shook the foundations of our political concept. Even if we cannot distinguish in detail where the experience played a causal role or where it merely provided the background for completely different discussions and decisions, it is beyond doubt that it had a central role in shaping the positions that have characterized our politics in the following years. So, as justified as it is to accuse us of a lack of awareness, it would be wrong to deny that Entebbe, even if it is only in the form of the insidious poison of a lie, has permanently influenced our political self-understanding.

It only became apparent to us much later that we had not taken any action targeting Israeli institutions since then. When the issue was on the agenda, we looked for West German entities that benefited from Israeli policies. We followed the treatment of Palestinian refugees by German asylum authorities more closely than the drama of counterinsurgency in the occupied territories. Instead of potentially misunderstood actions, we didn’t take any actions at all if we had concerns that they might be perceived as anti-Jewish or at least open to such interpretation. We had every reason for restraint when dealing with the motives and political content of anti-Zionism. The certainty that we, as leftists, were not immune to anti-Semitic resentments, which were thinly veiled with national-revolutionary definitions, practically paralyzed us. The dilemma of political abstention that resulted from this seemed to some of us to be more resolvable in the sense that we took the concept of Nazi continuity and our lives in this country as an opportunity to search for traces of Jewish resistance against the National Socialist takeover and to relate to it, rather than drawing politically fatal analogies for the sake of legitimacy and to satisfy our own need for action, as happens in some documents of left-wing anti-Zionism.

Another consequence was the gradual withdrawal from international contacts. Gradual, because there were old, even emotional connections, and because we found it difficult to break with those concepts and ideological constructions that had made an operation like in Entebbe possible at all. In this process, a political understanding articulated and formed itself, fundamentally different from that of the group [the palestinian group that they’ve worked with for Entebbe action] we had worked with up to that point.

Differences that we had ignored for a long time or attributed to differing conditions or our status as a coming from the Metropolis now proved to be stark contradictions for which no common ground could be found. The aspiration to act in solidarity from different positions reached its limits.

The collaboration with that group was based on a concept of anti-imperialism that immediately linked social liberation to the attainment of state sovereignty. We thought that the end of foreign rule was synonymous with the beginning of the social revolution. As the liberation organizations represented [to us] the people fighting for their independence, they were the first address for international solidarity. The fact that the seizure of power in almost all cases destroyed rather than unfolded the social content of the revolution, that the leaders of the liberation movements, once they had taken command posts in the young nation-states, styled themselves as protagonists of brutal development dictatorships, that the newly gained independence benefited mainly the old cadres while the ongoing mass misery required a new explanation, that, in short, the entire dialectic of national and social liberation mainly paid off for the new rulers, and that this was not a matter of betrayal or corrupt morals, but corresponded to the essence of statehood itself – all of this did not fit into our image of a homogeneous liberation process and was therefore ignored. Only to the extent that new struggles erupted after nation-building, as various forms of social counterpower articulated themselves, whose antagonistic opponent was the complex of violence and exploitation embodied by that state, were we able to relativize the myth of national independence and the inherently homogenizing concept of the nation [nation here as a homogenous group along ethnic lines] within it. We had to acknowledge that the spectrum of social needs and interests did not merge into the liberation organizations and that the dimensions of gender and class struggle did not lose their significance for a second in the process of anti-imperialist liberation struggle.

We could not come to terms with the nationalist and ethnic slogans upon which the unarticulated coexistence of fighters and commanders was based. It was these very individuals who, as cadres under the conditions of war, established the institutions and forms of future exploitation and subjugation. We could no longer ignore that it was once again the men who, in the guise of the liberated nation-state, seized the key positions of exploitation, thereby making a renewed attempt to regain control over women and reproduction. We had to question the myth of the people’s war with respect to its revolutionary qualities and understand it in its duality as a moment of liberation and as a form of destructive rationalization – a rationalization in which the refugees, women, and children in the refugee camps at the borders of the contested areas were the first victims. In short, we had to break away from all facets of the Leninist-Stalinist understanding of national liberation, which had determined the policies of the Comintern [11] from the very beginning and which we had adopted during the reception of Marxism-Leninism in the early seventies.

This is not an accusation or denunciation of those with whom we fought back then, but rather a very generalized summary of an experience. It is a critique of false ideas of harmony that we had for a long time, and that are still nurtured, especially on the part of anti-imperialist groups. The ease with which every revolutionary group or movement proclaims international solidarity is at odds with the difficulties of realizing it. The existence and violence of a common enemy are not enough to contain the contradictions and conflicts in our own ranks. Again and again, antagonisms break out here, rooted in differences in interests and objectives or in self-imposed ideological barriers. There comes a moment when what one group considers absolutely right and necessary is viewed as harmful and wrong by another. Out of this, despite the aspiration of unity in action and solidarity against the enemy, intense confrontations arise, sometimes escalating to self-destruction. The outcome of such controversies within the revolutionary camp, however, is not determined by good intentions and better motives, but -as always- by power relations.

Gerd had been in prison in the period following Entebbe. He had been observed by a surveillance team while attempting to set a cinema on fire, where a film about the airplane hijacking was being screened, and was arrested one day later, in January 1977. He was sentenced to five years in prison for attempted arson and membership in the RZ [12]. When he was released at the end of 1981, he encountered a completely changed situation within our group. He never accepted for himself the rupture we had made with that part of our history.

He shared the criticisms of other comrades with whom we had severe disputes due to our decision to disconnect from international connections, some of which even led to separations. He perceived the reduction to our own context as a weakening, and the emphasis on political differences as division. He believed that the price we paid for asserting our autonomy was our descent into insignificance. Voluntarily giving up the realization of a practical anti-imperialism not only turned our revolutionary claim into a farce but was also seen as a capitulation to very practical requirements, such as to keep the option for prisoner liberation, securing hiding possibilities, or maintaining a certain level of action. It was a fiction to think that the RZ could, by their own strength, fulfill the tasks we had set for ourselves. Furthermore, he predicted that the rupture would result in a loss of subjective radicalism. It was already rooted more in our faintheartedness rather than a real necessity. By aiming for a „clean slate,“ we had lowered the RZ to the level of small leftwing affinity-group militancy and abandoned the guerrilla aspiration. He claimed that our „self-critique“ regarding Entebbe and the subsequent events was a testament to hypocritical double standards, which only persisted because we completely ignored other realities from our perception. It was an inverted ideal and, at the same time, cynical towards real suffering when we wanted to be revolutionary and at the same time, above all, keep our hands clean. Politics does not operate by the standards of interpersonal morality. He predicted that the rupture would lead to the swift end of the RZ.

In contrast to our decision, Gerd remained steadfast in his idea of a direct connection to Palestinian resistance, especially because he was drawn to the solidarity and subjective radicalism experienced there. That this radicalism was imbued with deeply macho practices was aware to him in all contradictions, which prevented him from definitively choosing to live within those structures. He attempted to reconcile the differences in goals and requirements within his own person. Despite the contradictions that arose between him and us, we also saw it as a strength that he could think in terms of contradictions and withstand tensions, arising from the ambivalence and brokenness of metropolitan subjectivity. Where we had withdrawn to the seemingly secure terrain of a political practice we considered manageable, he sought more comprehensive solutions. Where we were held back by doubt, questions, and uncertainties, he pushed forward with the motto: „Screw it, it has to work.“ He maintained old contacts because he wanted to and because he felt a responsibility to the comrades there, perhaps even with the unspoken expectation that one day we would come to our senses and he could re-establish the severed connections. If we tried to nail him down to a definitive decision, he resisted. He insisted on his own path – against totalitarian group claims, against all attempts of usurpation, from any side. He resisted where the narrow line from commitment to regulation was crossed. We had difficulties with this, yet we loved him precisely because of it. The way he lived his conviction always fascinated us because it was foreign to us in this way.

He could not be absolutely committed to any single cause, even if it seemed absolutely right to him. Those who knew him are aware of the thousands of stories he engaged with, without ever allowing himself to be reduced to just one. He deeply distrusted the puritanism and rigorism of some leftists, who at some point would lament that they sacrificed a part of their life for the revolution. What may have appeared as inconsistency on the surface was the joy of living with contradictions, born from the certainty that the straightforward path, while mathematically the shortest distance between two points, was politically certainly not the quickest or best way to success. What falls by the wayside on both the left and the right could later prove to be indispensable and irreplaceable. The reconciliation of apparent opposites and self-assertion against anything that excludes others and otherness was his answer to the question of how life in antagonism to the prevailing conditions is possible under metropolitan circumstances.

It can be imagined that with this viewpoint, which he didn’t promote but lived by, rubbed on everywhere. Especially when one considers the full range of his activities that defined his life after prison. He worked as a Green Party employee in the European Parliament and wrote reports for WDR [a public/state TV network for western Germany), addressing issues ranging from security detention [13] to illegal gambling or triathlon. He was involved in the prison support group, wrote to and visited imprisoned comrades, participated in the founding of the newspaper „Bruchstücke,“ and well-maintained his contacts with former fellow prisoners who were now free. He lived open as a gay man, organized events related to AIDS, and enjoyed the gay scene in Ibiza. He published texts about Israeli politics [14] and took on tasks that arose from his international connections. He lived in the midst of the Düsseldorf political scene and withdrew from it when the possibilities of legality became too restrictive. He criticized the half-heartedness of the RZ and unreservedly helped us where he could. He raised many expectations and inevitably only fulfilled a part of them. Anyone who wanted him entirely was always somewhat disappointed.

When Gerd went to a meeting with the group in November 1987, he did so in his own spirit. The fact that he was put on trial immediately after his arrival must have caught him completely off guard. He was not aware of any mistakes or derelections. Otherwise, he would have embarked on the trip with greater reservations because he could have had no illusions about the code and rules within the group, and he accepted them.

We do not wish to speculate on the motivations of those responsible for his death. The only thing clear here is that criteria clash that come from two different worlds. In conditions dictated by the logic of war, unconditional obedience and readiness to subordinate oneself are all that matter. There, views and behaviors that do not conform to the usual patterns are met with suspicion and rejection. In a life where everyday existence is determined by military attacks, a state of permanent emergency, curfews, arrests, and torture, the lines are clear. There is little room for the ambivalences that result from a metropolitan background; there, the question of one’s own person must almost sound ridiculous. What is seen here as a search, as experimentation, as a struggle for new impulses, not only has its legitimacy but is absolutely necessary. There, it quickly falls under the suspicion of indecision, hesitation, or deviation. Doubt about loyalty can easily lead to accusations of betrayal, along with the murderous consequences associated with it.

However, we consider such an explanation to be wrong, superficial, and short-sighted. It justifies a deliberate decision with the constraints of circumstances and explains those who have committed it as victims of their actions. The experience of the cruelty of the enemy does not free anyone of the obligation to provide an account at every moment of the means and methods they employ. The careless statement about the devaluation of life under the conditions of war, which we use to seek explanations for events that are incomprehensible to us, is a cynicism that is refuted by the images of those who suffer. Furthermore, it suggests, in this specific case, that what falls under the responsibility of an individual group applies to the entire Palestinian resistance. However, we have no reason for any generalizations, and we believe it is wrong to conclude from the rules and methods of one group to the overall nature of an entire movement.

No, the willingness to murder a comrade cannot be excused by the severity of the conditions. It is an expression of a political program whose sole content is the attainment of power and whose language is that of future despots. History is full of examples of revolutionary organizations or movements that had to fight under similarly brutal conditions without them, using this as an excuse, resorting to the same methods as the opponent. That these examples are the minority and that most Bolshevik parties and national liberation organizations have operated on the principle that the end justifies the means, that everything is allowed against the enemy if it serves the cause, is not a counter-argument. It is a political debate with historical references to the Paris Commune, the October Revolution, and the Spanish Civil War. Where victory becomes the goal of all things, not only the best but also the worst forces are unleashed.

Anyone who seeks to gain power at any cost and defend it at all costs undermines it [the power] at the same moment. The perversion of the revolution, as Rosa Luxemburg wrote to the Bolsheviks [15], is worse than its defeat. The argument of success that orthodox communists have insisted on for decades against the „romantic losers“ from the libertarian groups reveals its inadequacy especially these days. The fact that a world of men found its playground here, that it is always about protecting obsolete power bases and spheres of influence against each other as well as against the claims from below, and that in such a world, a gay identity is met with suspicion by default, we can no longer ignore. Because we have learned this and because we prefer to see ourselves in the tradition of the Spanish anarchists rather than that of the Comintern, we reject all the euphemistic speeches that appeal to the laws of war. Certain rules may be explainable elsewhere, but they gain validity because a conscious political decision precedes them. We cannot embrace them, not only because we are fighting under different conditions but also because they are diametrically opposed to our own aspirations and utopias. The death of Gerd once again makes it clear that there are worlds between this and our way of thinking, and there is no possible mediation between them.
The fact that we have so far tabooed violence within our own ranks and are only now horrified by it when it affects us is a criticism that we must accept. We have no excuse for it. Only Gerd’s death has made us sensitive to the extent of the tragedy, which means that even within revolutionary organizations, political questions are answered with military means. It prompted us to remember all the thousands of known and nameless comrades who have lost their lives or suffered because they were accused of betrayal or simply got caught in the crossfire of an intra-organizational power struggle.

However, his death is not an objection to revolutionary practice itself. The knowledge of violence within our ranks gives us cause to pause, to mourn, to despair, but it is not a welcome opportunity to throw in the towel and make peace with the existing conditions. Anyone who understands us in this way and believes that now, when one of our own has been hit, we will blow the horn of those for whom terrorism has always been a normal political tool is mistaken. We are merely repelled by the self-satisfaction and hypocrisy of those citizens who now joyfully pull into the wounds of revolutionary movements and outbid each other to find traces of their [revolutionary movements] moral decay while conveniently overlooking the fact that the western prosperity they admire and the system of democracy that has come back into honor are built on piles of corpses.

The debate sparked by Gerd’s murder is taking place on this side of the barricade. It will have to address the relationship between politics and morality, the contrast between national sovereignty and social liberation, and the difference between revolutionary violence and terrorism. What is at stake is Leninist legacy that has entrenched itself in our minds and often shapes our political thinking more than we realize. Appeals to history cannot resolve the difficulties we face here, just as emphatic [16] references to global struggles cannot. Precisely because revolutionary politics in a country like Germany is so isolated, it must continually ground itself in a social context, in order to be more than just the expression of the subjective state of its actors or the weak reflection of ideological constructs. The quick transformation of all the beautiful words and good intentions into a mere farce when we no longer refer to a concrete reality but rather to demands originating in different conditions is evident in this chapter of our history.

In 1973, some comrades of the RZ stated in an interview [17]: „However, there is also a part of our politics that many comrades do not understand and do not accept, and the masses do not understand, and, for the time being, it does not interest them. Nevertheless, we believe it is right. This part of the struggle refers to internationalism, where it is primarily about solidarity with the comrades of foreign guerrilla movements and solidarity with the fighting peoples of other countries.“ What was formulated there as an attempt to find an answer to the worldwide asynchrony of revolutionary developments was, in fact, also the decoupling from the local social process. It was a carte blanche for a practice that did not even have to make the aspiration to achieve political conveying. The fact that we remained silent about Entebbe for years was just the logical consequence of that argument. However, this silence was also a tacit admission that we had maneuvered ourselves into a dead end: what we were doing on the international level was not the anti-imperialist dimension of what we were fighting for in Germany but was in stark contrast to it. We had to make a choice. Those who followed our practice in the 1980s know how that decision turned out.

1. Roque Dalton
Writer and activist of the Salvadoran ERP (Revolutionary People’s Army); after nine years in exile and two years in illegal status in El Salvador, he was denounced by the ERP as a CIA agent and conspirator, leading to his murder in 1975. Dalton became a victim of power struggles within the ERP over different military concepts of the revolutionary process. Dalton, like the majority of the ERP, advocated for the expansion and rooting of the party among the people („mass line“), while the other position promoted a „quick people’s uprising.“ After two more murders, the majority withdrew from the organization and founded the FARN (Armed Forces of National Resistance). The ERP, discredited by its actions, initially sank into insignificance. These and other murders within the revolutionary left (Jovel 1980/Montes 1983) had a traumatizing and paralyzing effect.
2. 18.12.1987
Nationwide raid with 33 searches and the arrest of Ingrid Strobl and Ulla Penselin; due to the raids, several people went underground. The Federal Criminal Police define „attack-relevant topics“ as genetic technology, refugee policy, and population policy.
3. Stasi
Ministry for State Security; former East German secret service.
4. Idi Amin
After a military coup in 1971, Idi Amin assumed dictatorial power in Uganda; repression and terror cost hundreds of thousands of lives. A border war with Tanzania and the ensuing civil war ended Amin’s regime, and he initially fled to Libya and then to France in 1979.
5. Mogadishu
The capital of Somalia. In Mogadishu on October 17-18, 1977, the Lufthansa plane, which had been hijacked by a Palestinian commando and was standing on the airport runway, was stormed by the GSG 9 of the Federal Border Guard. The hostages were freed, and three hijackers were killed.
6. Meinhof, Ulrike
1934-1976; spokesperson for the movement against nuclear weapons; from 1959 to 1968, she was an editor and columnist for the magazine „Konkret.“ Ulrike Meinhof was involved in the Baader-Meinhof Group, also known as the Red Army Faction (RAF), from 1970. She was arrested on June 15, 1972, and sentenced to eight years in prison on November 29, 1974. She was found hanged in her cell on May 9, 1976.
7. Six-Day War
June 1967; Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula, parts of Jordan, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.
8. Black September
Black September refers to the massacre carried out by the Jordanian army against Palestinians living in Jordan in 1970.
9. Vietnam
National liberation struggle until 1975 against various occupying forces (France, Japan, USA). In 1945/46, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) was established under Ho Chi Minh, but it was only with their victory at Dien Bien Phu, led by General Vo Nguyen Giap, that they succeeded against the French. From 1955 onwards, there was increasing U.S. intervention, with up to 400,000 U.S. soldiers sent to South Vietnam to support the corrupt South Vietnamese government. The resistance of the NLF/Vietcong, the U.S. anti-war movement, and rising war costs led to the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 1973. The fall of Saigon in April 1975 marked the beginning of attempts to reunite Vietnam.
10. Amnesia
Memory loss.
11. Comintern
The Communist International (1919-1943); initially conceived as a coordination center for international revolutionary movements with its headquarters in Berlin. However, it evolved into a hub for Soviet power politics with its headquarters in Moscow. Leading members of European communist parties were marginalized, and orientation toward the Soviet Union was enforced, with Stalin’s later thesis of „building socialism in one country“ as a central guideline. The Executive Committee (ECCI) of the CI developed and enforced theories like social fascism, united front, and popular front.
12. Entebbe Film Trial
Literature: „Die Legalisierung der Rechtlosigkeit.“ Brochure on the trial of Gerd Albartus and Enno Schwall. Self-published, 1977.
13. Security Detention
In Germany, courts can order security detention after punishment. This legalizes the continued imprisonment of a prisoner beyond their official sentence.
14. Texts on the Politics of Israel
Gerd Albartus translated, among other things, the book: Literature: Livia Rokach: „Israel’s Sacred Terrorism.“ A study based on Moshe Sharett’s personal diary and other documents of his time. Pfungstadt: Minotaurus Projekt, 1982.
15. Rosa Luxemburg
Together with others, they founded the Communist Party of Germany on December 30, 1918. Rosa Luxemburg advocated a libertarian socialism with a corresponding party organization. Both of them were murdered by members of the Freikorps on January 15, 1919, during the „Spartacist Uprising“ in Berlin.
16. Emphatic
Forceful or passionately expressed.

passiert am 01.12.1991