By Bruce Allen
A reply is in order to the letter from David
Beam in your latest issue. In it he classifies the Red
Brigades, the Bader-Meinhoff urban guerillas and the SLA with anarchism.
This is an inexusable and apparently conscious distortion of the
truth. Both the Red Brigades and the Bader-Meinhoff group are Marxist
Leninist. They make no pretentions to being anarchist. Nor did the
SLA when it emerged so dramatically in 1974. The adoption of situationist
and anarchist beliefs by Bill and Emily Harris took place only after
His parroting of the bourgeois media in referring to the Bader-Meinhoff
guerillas as a "gang" places him squarely on the other
side of the class struggle. While the Marxist-Leninist ideology,
the urban guerilla strategy and the ruthless use of violence by
the members of the Bader-Meinhoff group must be condemned, one is
objectively placing oneself on the side of the West German state
by not simultaneously attacking its own terrorist practices. If
any group deserves the term "gang" in this respect it
should be the people responsible for the "suicides" in
With regard to the general question of terrorism and anarchism,
I suggest that people read a new pamphlet from Australia entitled
Can't Blow Up a Social Relationship: The Anarchist Case Against
Terrorism". It gives an excellent analysis of why
terrorism should be rejected while maintaining a revolutionary perspective.
It also is indicative of the views of a very large segment of the
anarchist movement which unfortunately does not get the attention
it deserves in respect to this critical question. In North America,
this pamphlet is available from the newspaper Fifth
Estate, 4403 Second Ave., Detroit, Michigan 48201
for one dollar.
On another matter, it should be stated that Ulli's
admission that his critiques of Bakunin and Anarchism were one-sided
was badly needed. It's unfortunate that he felt a one-side critique
was necessary in response to what he perceives as the one-sided
way anarchists view Marx and Marxism. A balanced critique would
have been much more convincing. It would also have helped make the
presentations of the different views on this question more constructive.
Published in The
Red Menace, Number 5, Summer 1980.