Trial statement of the “historic nucleus” of the BR: Turin-June 19 1978

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1) When, in May 1976, this trial began, you had a precise and ambitious political project. We can sum it up like this: annihilate our political identity and thus confirm the defeat of a handful of “criminals” as rich in illusions and deluded revolutionary ambitions as they were poor in understandable motivations and historical intelligence. Caselli’s “masterpiece” of remittal to trial lies entirely in this: to try to give body and substance to this outline of reasoning.

Caselli affirmed:

“The development of a new and widespread form of organised criminality which, today, is the object of analyses as frequent as they are “fearful”, finds significant and almost emblematic expression in the activities of the BR. One can admit that the violence of the BR (as well as other forms of rebellion against the law) may have roots inextricably tangled in the snarl which Italian society is developing. Too often, however, the roots of violence are sublimated to “causes”, when they don’t go as far as being “justified” crimes. In reality even recent experiences have shown that it is possible to react efficaciously by legal means to distortions in the Italian “system”. Violence is the reply of those who (despite their illusions) are incapable of thorough analyses and are impatient for a realistic evaluation of the facts, and thus subject to conditioning by a hazardous impatience”.

It is all too evident that, according to Caselli, for opposition to the state to be “political”, and hence legitimate and tolerated, it must not manifest itself as active antagonism. That is to say it must accept operating entirely within the magic circle drawn by the laws, the conventions and the rules of “normal” behavior established by the dominant classes. The alternative, any alternative, is a CRIME!

Given this premise one can then understand why your fundamental preoccupation has always been, since the beginning of the trial, to hold a “normal trial” against us. Only in this way, in fact, could you distort the revolutionary action into criminal activity and, in so doing, liquidate our political identity.

If the trial, in fact, had assumed, even in part, a special form, it would have inevitably become clear that we were at least “special criminals”. And that would have meant, if only modestly, a de facto political recognition. That is why we have always maintained the “most normal” trial is also the “most revolutionary” one.

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2) The only thing that a fighting Communist cannot renounce is his political identity. For the militant revolutionary, political identity means above all the PARTY.

It is in the principles, the strategy, the program, and the discipline of the party that he freely and independently finds himself. And it is the affirmation of this proletarian heritage through fighting the class war that he is recognized by the people, because the revolutionary party is the expression of the highest maturity, of the conscience, of the organization of the class. In the collective activity of the party the fighting Communist affirms his identity; in the negation of this factor the imperialist state tries to destroy him. For this reason we could not accept the “normal trial” that you tried to impose on us: we could not kill our own political identity. There could only be, as in fact there was, a single reply on our part: the guerrilla trial. With communique no.1 of May 17, 1976 our action took on form. At that time we declared:

“This court has a much more ambitious goal than simply to make criminals of a few militants and their organization. It intends to strike at a historical tendency, a strategic program: the armed struggle for Communism…

“We publicly proclaim ourselves to be militants of the Communist Organization RED BRIGADES and as Communist fighters we collectively assume the entire responsibility of all its actions, past, present, and future.

“Having affirmed this much, one of the legal presuppositions of this trial is removed: the defendants have nothing against which to defend themselves, whereas the accusers, on the contrary, must defend the criminal anti-proletarian practices of the infamous regime that they represent.

“If, therefore, defense attorneys are needed, you are the ones who need them, esteemed excellencies. To remove all doubt we thus revoke the mandate that entrusts the defense to our lawyers, and we urge them, if they should be appointed by the court, to reject all collaboration with the [government] powers. With this action we intend to put the clash back on to the terrain of reality and so launch the slogan to the revolutionary vanguard: ATTACK THE HEART OF THE STATE!”.

Our refusal to assume the role of “defendants” and the consequent dismissal of our lawyers has put quite out of joint the plans you intended to actuate.

You reacted by trying to impose court-appointed lawyers on us who have become real and true lawyers of the regime, and by trying to distort the political meaning of our action, insinuating that it was our intention to paralyze the trial.

In “communique no.4” of May 24, 1976, we therefore affirmed:

“It is important to clarify further our decision to refuse to be defended in any way by any kind of lawyers. With this choice we have wanted to affirm an extremely clear principle: in any trial the lawyer functions as a mediator between the defendant and the judge. He is “the other face” of the judge. In a political trial this function becomes even more evident, because in this case it is a matter of establishing a terrain for mediation between the revolution and the counter-revolution. With our declaration of May 17 we have put the terms upside down: we, the defendants, have become the accusers; you, the judges, have become defendants. For this reason, from that moment, every lawyer has become your lawyer… “For this reason, from now on, anyone who accepts the role of court-appointed lawyer must go much further than collaboration and become, de facto, a part of the counter-revolution. Besides the lawyer of the defendant’s choice, besides the court-appointed defense lawyer, there is now necessarily the defense lawyer of the regime…

“Whoever thought that they saw in our political declaration of May 17 a tactical announcement of ours to derail or at least defer this trial has not understood a fundamental question: we are not the one’s who are afraid of the truth! On the contrary, we have firmly decided, as militant fighting Communists, to continue the proletarian trial against the regime which you represent, its crimes and its criminals!”.

On June 8, 1976, in devising the slogan ATTACK THE HEART OF THE STATE, the RED BRIGADES executed the Genoese Attorney General Coco, thus proceeding with the “campaign” that began with the capture and trial of the judge SOSSI, the goal of which was to expose the ferocious counter-revolutionary actions of the imperialist state that was hiding behind the mask of democracy.

With this action the power relations in the courtroom also shift distinctly in our favor. Furthermore, with this action is realized the strategic bond between a revolutionary vanguard, which, despite its being jailed, has the political force to put a regime court on trial, and the whole of the revolutionary movement.

In these conditions, the presiding judge and the power centers of which he is an expression, consider it tactically favorable to postpone the trial for several months in the hope of better times.

The suspension of the trial is the first political defeat for the counter-revolutionary plan that you intended to pursue. The essential aspect of this defeat lies in the fact that with our refusal to accept the role of defendants, that with the executors of the COCO action in the courtroom, the “special” nature of the trial begins to be manifested. Nevertheless, you still hope to come out of this defeat maintaining the unaltered form of the “normal trial”.

During the months of suspension, in fact, all of your efforts are directed at setting up beforehand a group of lawyers disposed to accept and sustain to the end the role of “regime lawyers”.

But the offensive and preventive attack made by the RED BRIGADES against the president of the lawyers guild, Fulvio CROCE, on which your maneuver hinged, has made this last attempt of yours fail too. At this point, it becomes clear that this is certainly not a “normal trial”, but that, despite the words, it is a POLITICAL TRIAL. The impossibility of forming a jury is the first sensational confirmation of this.

Thus the Executive is also obliged to enter the lists directly by emanating the decree of “preventive detention” in the record time of one night. And once again you try to hide the truth by insinuating that our intention is to sabotage the trial in order to allow a few comrades to be freed from prison. “Communique no. 7” clarifies all these problems. In it we affirm that:

“The trial of the proletarian revolution is not possible. You yourselves in these last months have taken on the job of proving this by casually stamping on every appearance of legality: you have turned your “halls of justice” into real and true military fortresses; you have claimed the right to impose lawyers of the regime on us, pitiful puppets in your hands; you have issued special laws which in a twinkling have made vain every trace of your much-touted “constitutional state”.

“In thus doing you have shown the proletariat the facts of what we have always affirmed: that behind the democratic forms the imperialist state hides the true nature of a ferocious counter-revolutionary bourgeois dictatorship. And this is a victory of the Communist revolution! (…).

“The CROCE action, contrary to what you try to make people think, was not an intended to obtain a postponement of the trial. It is certainly not from you that we expect to obtain our liberty (…) Rather it reached its objective of putting out of joint your preventive plan, of neutralizing your action. And at the same time it gave us back the offensive.

“When it [the trial] begins again, in March of 1978, no deception is any longer possible. The political character of the trial by now is dominant. Everything shows this: the political mobilization “against terrorism” organized by the PCI; the spectacular militarization of Turin desired by the Executive; the court lodged in a former barracks; the second special law regarding “the people’s justice” to which a third will soon be added which, if on the one hand it should have allowed us to keep our mouths shut to your satisfaction, on the other hand it constituted another “interference” by the Executive that destroys the last illusions concerning the independence of the magistracy so dear to some people in this courtroom; and, for last, the regime lawyers who, explicitly recognizing this as their role, take to the sidelines and reduce their presence in the courtroom to a matter of pure scenery. When it begins again, in March 1978, it is clear that this is no longer a trial but a political matter of th
e class war, an episode of the more general clash that opposes in an irreversible struggle, the forces of the revolution to the imperialist counter-revolution. And it is precisely on this general ground, in fact, that the battle now takes shape. During these months the revolutionary movement unleashes its hardest and widest offensive that finds its highest expression in the trial of Aldo MORO.

“Thus it is natural that the holding in collusion of the hearings should put into relief, day after day, the existence of a dual power, the reflection in the courtroom of the more general fight for power that is going on throughout the country. It is the new balance among all the class powers, between the revolutionary and the counter-revolutionary camp, and not the presumed tolerance of the judge, that allows us to gain that space, that permit us to develop our political attack, considering that even in May 1976, when the balance of forces was quite different, not only were we systematically kept from talking, but we were even denounced for contempt.

“In here we have never had to defend ourselves. Everything which has been charged against the Communist Organization of the RED BRIGADES of which we are a part, is, for us, a badge of merit. And, in fact, we have taken on full collective political responsibility. Therefore, to affirm, as do the lawyers of the defense in their summing up which they have tried to impose on us, that we have had any recourse to self-defense, is only a macroscopic and deceitful justification of their purely decorative presence in this courtroom, but which certainly does not correspond to the facts. The “proofs” that they advance, in fact, which means the quotations of excerpts or phrases taken from our declarations, are so obviously manipulated that even the blind can see the base intentions of the operation to exploit them.

“The attack on the structures of control and domination in the large factories (actions against the slave-driving foremen, the spies, the Fascists…); the searches of the hide-outs where coup plans were being woven in regard to the problems represented by the labor-force (CRD, Centri Sturzo, UCID…); the capture of strategic information for the further advancement of the struggle for liberation from wage labor (Labate, Amerio…); the trials of the revolution against the officials of the imperialist counter-revolution (Sossi…); together with the daily political work to reconstruct in the class context the organized awareness of the need and the possibility of implementing a revolutionary solution to the problem of power – for what reason should these have been motivations for a defense before you who represent, who have always been our enemies? On the contrary, it was up to you, to the representatives of your class, from Labate to Amerio, from Sogno to Sossi, from Girotti to Beria d’Argentine – all of them involved in more or less shady dealings against the proletariat – to play the miserable part that the history of these last years has assigned to them and to make an impossible try to defend themselves. We have seen them lie, seen them mark the cards on the table, entrench themselves behind obscure silences. We have attentively observed the representation of your disintegration and we will not forget.

“It is certain that that which originally was to be the “trial of the Communist revolution” has been distorted along the way into its exact opposite; that is, it has become an element of the more general trial which the Communist revolutionary forces have and are conducting throughout the country against the imperialist state and its politico-military personnel.

“Therefore it’s progress, like its sentence too, do not demonstrate, – as the most stupid think they can make people believe – a “victory for the state and a defeat for the BR”. In fact, this trial, and you should never forget it, has been held due to a precise political choice and action of the revolutionary forces. And this is not something we say today, now that the thing is done, since it is true that already on May 19, in “communique no.1” the RED BRIGADES specified:

“We have already said that the trial, by means of which the special court wants to liquidate the Communist revolution, cannot be anything but a farce. Quite a different kind of trial is going on in the country, the one that is expressed in the struggle of the proletariat against the imperialist enemy, which in the development of the civil war for the construction of a Communist society, accuses the bourgeoisie and its servants. Therefore let, by all means, the farce set up in Turin take place; we confirm what the militants of our organization in prison have already amply and effectively said: The relationship existing between the fighting Communists and the special courts is one and one alone: WAR!

“That having been said, you will perhaps be able to understand too the deep significance of a recurring declaration in our communiques:

“The trial of the proletarian revolution is not possible. The only trial possible is that of the proletariat against the imperialist state.”

“There exist two powers in our country today: the imperialist state is opposed by the offensive and antagonistic presence of the movement for proletarian resistance. But there is no symmetry between these two powers that confront each other. They are the expression of antagonistic classes, interests, needs, and irreconcilable aspirations.

“Thus it is false to say what in substance bourgeois law affirms, which is the pretended formal equality of individual citizens. It is false because under the abstraction “citizens”, precise historical and real individuals act who are not in the least equal but, rather, are located in antagonistic social classes. For example, citizen Agnelli and citizen Basone who was a worker in the former’s factory, what do they have to share? Capitalistic society is not based, as you claim, on individual citizens equal before the law and united in their interests by the state. This is sheer ideology. Precisely the ideology of a dominating class: yours! The basis of capitalistic society is the confrontation of specific social classes that have an antagonistic relationship of exploitation – expropriation, domination – subordination, counter-revolution – revolution.

“The state, its juridical ideology, its laws, are nothing but instruments used by the bourgeoisie to exercise its dictatorship over the proletariat. Laws are not above the sphere of real men, they do not come down to us from heaven, but much more earthly they are arms in the hands of a class for the affirmation of its material interests and to combat anyone whose struggle jeopardizes these interests. You say: “Everyone is equal before the law”. This is false. What is true is that you use force to impose your laws, with violence, on all of society.

“But we who in this barracks do not recognize your laws, your codes, your authority, we demonstrate that what you would like to make appear to be the natural order of things is rather a “historical order”, transitory, destined to change and to vanish.

“The essential characteristic of the state is its “concentrated and organized violence”. But all that must be covered up, masked, by a continuous capillary action of ideological mystification and propaganda.

“The simulation operates on all levels of counter-revolutionary action and in this trial as well, naturally, where the players – judges, public prosecutor, lawyers, jury – exhibit themselves in a desolating game: the attempt to save appearances at all costs! A desolating but necessary game, because in the so-called “constitutional state” only ideological simulation, which operates within the fundamental concept of “popular sovereignty”, can allow the imperialist bourgeoisie to keep the naked truth hidden from the masses. What is the source of the law? You will answer us: democracy. And what is the source of democracy? You will answer: the law. And now we will ask you: what is the source of both of them?

“To this question we will provide the answer: they come from the dominant class. Democracy and law are the politico-juridical formalization of the interests of this class. An so, what you call the “constitutional state” is only a specific, historical form of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

“Proletarian power, on the contrary, has no need of disguising and simulating its bases. These bases are in the working class, in the productive workers, in the metropolitan proletariat, and in its general interests, which is to say its goal of transforming the capitalistic production relationships, of creating a Communist society.

“Proletarian power knows that is an organized and concentrated force, and it openly aspires to becoming a dictatorship. Therefore that it is exercised by the fighting Communist vanguard, by the offensive proletarian resistance movement and the mass struggle, is not something to be referred to an abstract idea of justice but is the product of a real relationship of forces in the process of liberation. If then all forms of law are the codification of a power relationship between the classes, it follows that, in this courtroom too, there are neither guilty or innocent, but only those who are in the right and those who are in the wrong. And here we are the ones who are in the right! We are in the right because we are the expression of the emerging and revolutionary class that alone, with its movement, can resolve the contradictions, that have by now become explosive, between the forces of production and the relations of production.

“You, however, will have to find us guilty. You will have to do this because the class you represent must block and annihilate the real historical movement that has no respect for your gowns, laughs at the hypocrisy of your rituals, does not recognize your laws and is not afraid of your weapons. You will have to do it, even if in this epoch of social revolution it is no use condemning individual militants in order to stop a process that is the result of a deep class conflict.

“In order to do this, you are obliged to base your sentence – even though lacking what you call “certain proof” – on the indeterminate concept of the “historic nucleus”.

“It would be, as the P.P. explained, membership in this “historic nucleus” to “nail down” some of us; to demonstrate, that is, the participation in all the organization’s actions! Because, one knows, in the BR, “everyone does every job”.

“The P.P. is what he is, and it is a lot if he has managed to develop even such an elementary line of reasoning. But aside from the P.P., even simpletons understand without overworking their brains that this is a line of reasoning with no basis. Because what has been called a “historic nucleus” is nothing but the first nucleus of comrades that you happened to arrest. It was the Carabinieri and Caselli (which is, after all, the same thing) who transformed these captive comrades first into “colonels” and then into the “historic nucleus”. But who and how many were the comrades who been active in the BR? The truth is this: you have never been able to understand and thus to reconstruct the genesis and the history of the RED BRIGADES, neither politically (as we will show later) nor, even less, with regard to its organization.

3) “What then gave birth to the BR? It is an obsessive question to which the bourgeoisie and its various “egg heads”, the examining magistrate himself and even the P.P. himself have not been able to find an answer. This answer, however, is of decisive importance and so we must clarify it. Where, then, do the BR come from? Are they an emanation of the national and international secret services of the left or the right?

“Are they the product of the fanatical voluntarism of a few intellectuals, and thus a senile and armed prolongation of a handful (3) of 1968 die-hards? Are the Stalin’s last orphans, betrayed by the historic compromise (4) and nostalgic for an impossible revolution? Are they an aggregation of social deviants and misfits with distinct criminal tendencies? Are they the abnormal and monstrous product of the most devastating economic crisis that has struck the capitalist system in the last thirty years? No!

“The RED BRIGADES was not created in the Office of Confidential Affairs, nor in Moscow or Washington, and not even at the University of Trent or the PCI Federation of Reggio Emilia.

“The RED BRIGADES, much more simply, was generated at the beginning of the ’70s by the more advanced sections of the working class as an embryonic solution to the STRATEGIC NEED of the maintaining the offensive in the new political conditions characterized by the violent and bloody counter-attack that the bourgeoisie was organizing.

“In particular, the RED BRIGADES were generated in the Milan factories of Pirelli. This was no accident since the Pirelli workers at the time were the most politically conscious and independent, matured in the ‘68-‘69 two-year mass struggle, and because, precisely in ‘70 this working class, determined to maintain the offensive, was obliged to work out new lines of combat and new organizational forms. In a document of March ‘71, in which a balance of the Pirelli fight was drawn up, we wrote:

“The phase that the class struggle is now going through we consider to be that of the conquest of organizational tools and the accumulation of revolutionary forces capable of holding their own and of preparing, in the face of a growing reactionary movement, an offensive up to the limits of the armed counter-revolution; and, that is, the necessary passage from a spontaneous mass reaction, even if violent, to an organized attack that chooses its moment, calculates its intensity, chooses its terrain, and imposes its power”.

“The workers offensive, culminating in the cycle of battles ‘68-‘70, had substantially modified its power relationships between the classes, thus creating a crisis in the political and institutional structures that, in the post war period, had characterized the form of the state.

“Among the consequences of this cycle of battles, the most devastating has been the POLITICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL CRISIS that marked the ’70s and has still not been resolved.

“Thus the workers’ struggle had to come to terms with the project of restructuring that the bourgeoisie was working out in the attempt to resolve this crisis. These projects implicated the organization of work in the factories with the object of at least partially regaining lost ground as well as the form of the state which had been put into question by the masses demand for power. The world economic crisis, that beginning in ‘74 shook the totality of the imperialist sphere, grafting itself onto the unresolved contradictions in our country, functions as the multiplier of the political crisis already going on. And the social effects of the economic crisis – which is to say, the reduction of the productive base, the lowering of real salaries, unemployment, marginalization, only deepen the objective conditions and develop the subjective conditions that favor a further leap in quality of the revolutionary process. The RED BRIGADES are therefore not a product of the economic crisis. They are not generated, that is, from a tactical and defensive hypothesis, but as a political expression and prolongation of the proletarian offensive, they represent, within the crisis, a strategic element of coagulation for all those forces and class sectors which can only resolve their condition by finding a revolutionary outlet for the crisis.

“At this point it is necessary to give thought to a general kind of consideration. Social revolutionary theories and revolutionary organizations are generated and affirm themselves only when they express a deep need of the social classes which produce them. This is a scientific law of historical development.

“As comrade Stalin said: “New ideas and social theories only arise when the development of the material life of the societies gives the societies new tasks. If new social theories arise, it is because they are necessary to the societies, because without their organizing, transforming, and mobilizing action, the solution of urgent problems posed by the development of material life are impossible”.

That the RED BRIGADES are the organized expression of this historical necessity is clearly proved by the fact that, notwithstanding the initial weakness of our forces, their subjective limitations, the errors we made and the global attack made on us by the state, by the revisionist and neo-revisionist organizations and, more generally by the counter-revolutionary international, not only on the military level but on the ideological and political ones as well, we have developed, we have extended our presence in the major proletarian centers of the country, our political and military capacity has matured.

4) “The RED BRIGADES are not an “armed gang”. Ever since they arouse they have had the character of a politico-military organization, the first element around which the proletariat vanguard aggregated for the building of the Fighting Communist Party.

“All of their work in the eight years of their history shows this amply. And this is also very clearly reflected in political documents. In the March ‘71 interview it was stated:

“The BR are not “military organisms” and it is completely foreign to our style to separate “political organisms” from “military organisms”. The principle formulated by others that politics must guide the rifles we understand and practice in a precise way, which is, requesting of each comrade and each nucleus of comrades thoroughly thought-out political guidelines, as the basis and the choice of their own revolutionary behavior, if necessary also military”.

“In the interview of September ‘71, we affirmed:

“The BR are the first points of aggregation for the formation of the armed proletarian party. This is what profoundly connects us to Communist revolutionary tradition of the workers’ movement”.

“This is a tradition, we want to remind you, that has always sustained the scientific thesis according to which military affairs are only politics in particular circumstances. War is an extension of politics. In this sense war is politics. Politics, in other words, is war without the shedding of blood. The two terms, war and politics, in the real movement of class conflict, are inextricably connected and cannot ever be separated. In the objective conditions that define the imperialism of the multinationals, this thesis assumes a strategic and central importance inasmuch as class conflict tends progressively to assume the character of class war. Even the process of constructing the party cannot escape from these precise determining factors, for which reason it must from its very beginnings take on the form of a politico-military organization.

“In the interview of January ‘73, in developing this thesis, it is affirmed that:

“We believe that action is only the culminating moment of a vast political effort by means of which the proletarian vanguard, the resistance movement, organizes itself directly with respect to its real and immediate needs. In other words, for the BR armed action is the high point of a deep class effort: it is its prospect of power”.

And further on:

“The problem that we must resolve is that of being a power source for the revolutionary impulses that come from the resistance movement. This requires an organizational development on the class level that will know how to respect the levels of consciousness that operate there, but at the same time to unify them and help them to evolve in the strategic perspective of the armed struggle for Communism. The RED BRIGADES are the first nucleus of guerrillas that work in this direction. Therefore the militant Communists are organizing themselves around them who are thinking of the construction of the Armed Party of the Proletariat.”

The same things were taken up and developed in the Strategic Resolution of April ‘75:

“Organized urban guerrillas are the “strategic nucleus” of the class movement, not its “armed force”. Urban guerrillas know no contradiction between military thinking and action and giving the prime place to politics. It pursues its revolutionary action along a politico-military mass line.

“At the moment, the fundamental aspect of the question is the construction of the Fighting Party as the real interpreter of the political and military needs of the objectively revolutionary part of the class and the subdivision of the fighting organisms on a class level on the various fronts of the revolutionary war”.

And lastly, in the Strategic Resolution of February ‘78:

“To transform the process of creeping civil war, still dispersed and disorganized, into a general offensive directed towards a unified plan, it is necessary to develop and unify the proletarian offensive resistance movement by building the Fighting Communist Party. The Movement and the Party should, however, not be confused with each other: a dialectical relationship exists between them, but they are not identical. This means that it is from the class that come the impulses, the indications, the stimuli, the needs that the Communist vanguard must receive, centralize, synthesize and turn into a theory and a stable organization; and in the end return to the class in the form of a strategic fighting line, a program and mass structure of political power.

This means that the correct process we must follow takes the class as a point of departure to arrive at the Party and from the Party returns again to the class in a more mature form. The Fighting Communist Party, before being an organizing structure, is a politico-military vanguard, which really is ahead of the rest, that beats the path to be followed by the whole movement, that is able to make itself recognizable by the more advanced part of the proletariat through its revolutionary action.

To act as a Party means to locate its own politico-military action within and at the highest point of the proletarian offensive, that is to say, at the principal contradiction and its dominant aspect in each juncture and thus to be, de facto, the unifying point of the proletarian offensive resistance movement and of its prospects for power. For this purpose to conduct in the proletarian offensive resistance movement an ideological and political battle against the economistic-spontaneous tendencies which end in armed minoritarianism and, paradoxically, in militarism. And at the same time against the bureaucratic-minoritarian tendencies that conceive of the building of the Fighting Communist Party as a process of pure organizational growth which takes place outside the class movement and separately from it.

“To act as a Party also means to give a double character to the armed action. It must be aimed at dismantling and rendering non-functional the machinery of the state and, at the same time, it must introduce itself into the mass movement. To be a politico-military indication for orienting, mobilizing, directing and organizing the proletarian offensive resistance movement towards an anti-imperialist civil war.

“Strategically it is just as important to destroy the central organs of the state as it is to destroy its particular subdivisions which permeate all the social body.

Strategically, it is just as important to build an organized and centralized capacity to exercise proletarian power as it is to construct its subdivisions within the working class and the proletariat in the factories, the neighborhoods and everywhere else.

That is why there is no contradiction between the mass line and the role of the vanguard, there is no dichotomy between the politics of the movement and its armed action. The BR are not the Fighting Communist Party but an armed vanguard that works within the metropolitan proletariat to build it.

While we affirm that the BR and the Fighting Party are not identical, we affirm with equal clarity that the armed vanguard must act as a party from its very inception.

The process of constructing the policies and program of the Fighting Communist Party and of fabricating its organization is a discontinuous and dialectical one, a conscious product of of a politico-military vanguard that, in the complex phenomenon of the class war, affirms the the validity of the strategic prospective and the Communist program that it sustains, and the adequacy of the organizational instrument necessary to realize it. Thus it offers itself as an essential point of reference, as a “strategic nucleus” of the Fighting Communist Party in the process of formation ever since its inception.

“These necessary clarifications having been made, one understands why the RED BRIGADES have NEVER been an “armed gang”. On the contrary, the they have always conducted within the proletarian movement, an ideological political fight against all the militarist tendencies which inevitably tend to degenerate into terrorism. The essence of terrorism in fact is precisely in the mechanical separation of the political and the military, in reducing the practical intelligence of the vanguard to military action which is conferred with magical powers and whose exemplary aspects are exalted.

“As a result, the terrorist group, just because it voluntarily ignores the fundamental tasks of directing, mobilizing and organizing the proletariat, presents itself as “instrumental”, which is to say it adapts itself to taking a necessarily subordinate role to any political plan whatsoever.

“But what, in that case, do the RED BRIGADES have in common with a terrorist group? Nothing. Absolutely nothing! Then why does the bourgeoisie try to attach this image to us? Why, that is, does it use every tool – from the mass media to your indictments – to camouflage our true political identity? From all the evidence the principle objective of your campaign of psychological warfare is to cut off the guerrillas from the mass, giving them and disseminating a tailor-made profile for your convenience which makes them look like a product of the private initiative, obscure in its motivations and goals, of a group of “terrorists”.

“The dominating class knows well, however, that when it speaks of “terrorism” – referring to the BR – it is really confronting a true revolutionary movement with deep and inextricable class roots. In fact, it knows this so well that it always binds indissolubly to its propaganda, employed according to the techniques of psychological war, a much more robust military action – this really is terrorism – against the forward divisions of the metropolitan proletariat.

“And it is just this articulated strategy of the counter-revolutionary response that is the most explicit de facto recognition that the RED BRIGADES is not a “terrorist group”, an “armed gang” – as the propaganda of the regime wants people to think – but a politico-military vanguard of the metropolitan proletariat that moves in the perspective of the construction of the Fighting Communist Party, of the conquest of power and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

1) “Your principal objective in this trial, we once again point out, was the destruction of our political identity. You have not succeeded; your objective has been missed and, in any case, the game is not over. Because the sentence is not the last word and the battle continues on new ground: the special security prisons.

“That result which you did not manage to obtain in this barracks will now be pursued at Asinara, Fossombrone, Trani, Cuneo, Messina, [all the names of prisons, ed.] and so on.

“You are passing the action to another division which will continue with the disassembling of the Communist forces in this great factory of counter-revolution which is the imperialist state.

“But on this road, even in the new division, you will find Communist revolutionaries, an entire class section; you will find, that is, thousands of proletarians who have gained awareness in prison and whose struggles have created a crisis in the prison system. The revolutionary struggle will also continue along its course, esteemed excellencies, and even while facing the present with ever greater decision, it will not forget the past. Count on it!

2) “It is a year by now since the “special security” prisons have come into existence. A year in which, after the initial disorientation, the proletarian prisoners together with the fighting Communist organizations have learned to live, move and fight on this terrain as well.

“In July ‘77, with the mass transfer into these concentration camps of thousands of the avant-garde, a period of political disorientation begins within the prisons. The restructuring cancels out the room that had been won by in preceding years for the fight and the response of the proletarian prisoners was entangled in the general search, initially confused, for adequate contents and forms of struggle that allow for taking up again of the resistance movement. The first manifestations of spontaneous protest are born, which express themselves principally in collective hunger strikes.

“If these strikes testify, on the one hand, to a general desire to give battle, they also indicate the serious political limits in which the prisoners move: that is, the lack of a thorough analysis of the “special security” prisons and of their function in the new phase of the class war; the incapacity to define an offensive program, an adequate line of combat, opportune forms of struggle.

“The weakness inside the movement is worsened by the attempt of some democratic and neo-revisionist forces to direct the protest movement into defensive, pacifist, and legalistic channels. These attempts, however, have a short life. The proletarian prisoners quickly understand the uselessness and inadequacy of these forms of struggle, they criticize them for themselves, and begin to place the problems in their true terms.

“The analyses in the prison camps are deepened and lead to these fundamental conclusions:

– The “internal” struggle cannot be detached from the “external” action of the fighting Communist organizations, since the problem of the prison camps involves all the revolutionary movement and is not a particular and specific problem of those who are imprisoned there;

– the resistance to annihilation must have an offensive character, which is to say it must tend to create new power balances by way of the organizing and mobilizing of the proletarian prisoners, to confound and sabotage these structures with increasing incisiveness, moving along the strategic line of attacking the vital centers of the imperialist state.

“These are important acquisitions that allow for a decisive leap in quality. A proof of this is the attempted jail break from Favignana which marks the turning point from a defensive policy to the prospective of the offensive. This clever trick, organized by a nucleus of comrades with the collaboration of the large mass of prisoners, while it indicates and underlines the importance of attacks that open and divide the political contradictions latent in the enemy camp, is even more important for showing that the elephantine apparatus of the “maximum security” prisons is grounded on the fragile premise that no one would dare a hard military attack, a war action!

“Another important episode in this faith is the fight of the prisoners of the Nuoro camp, which for the first time is joined to mass political action on the “outside” and finds its most mature completion in systematic armed attacks on the surveillance structures and the person of the guards.

“The greater awareness achieved by the proletarian prisoners, furthermore, is also projected outside in the proletarian offensive resistance movement. The slogan “attack prison power” inasmuch as it is a declaration of war against the imperialist state, becomes a qualifying point in the process of unification going on among the fighting vanguards, and it is transformed into objectives at which the armed attacks and mass movement are beginning to strike.

This second phase as well, however, is traversed by a basic political contradiction that stops the development of the fighting movement of the proletarian prisoners. It is a matter of the lack of a “program”, a tactical void, even while there is a progressively clearer awareness of the essential strategic moves. This lack of a program manifests itself, in the first place, in the episodic and fragmentary nature of the inner initiative and is reflected in the generic nature and the dispersion of the objectives the movement attacks on the outside. The most serious risk that is run in this phase is that of a purely quantitative development that doesn’t know how to take advantage of the necessary tactical situations leading to a qualitative leap.

The Palma action concludes this phase and opens a new one. The positive aspect of this attack consists, in the first place, in the Red Brigades taking over this terrain of battle and unifying it within a unified strategic plan.

In the second place, the political quality and the military level which is attacked are such as to allow for an effective shifting – if only for starters – of the power balances in a way that opens new possibilities for the qualitative growth of the proletarian prisoners’ fighting movement. The battle we have begun in the “special wing” of the Nuove (5) here in Turin in the month of March, is in its way emblematic of this new phase. In fact, around it is being rebuilt the unity of the prisoners and other proletarians, and it is articulated in a program for this juncture which in “communique no.14” is described thus:

“The strategic program of the Communist Fighting Organization Red Brigades in the prisons is precise: the liberation of all the proletarians and the destruction of all the prisons. That, however, does not mean an absence of initiatives on immediate problems. The most urgent task is the abolition of differentiated treatment for prisoners in the camps. This includes:

The elimination of individual and group isolation, which means: making room for socializing on the inside; the struggle against all attempts at the destruction of political and personal identity of the prisoners; self-determination of the composition of persons sharing cells, hours for free-air activity and collective life, etc.

The abolition of isolation from the outside world, which is to say eliminating the glass partitions during visits and the blocking of information and correspondence, etc.

This is the immediate program to be fought for proposed by the Red Brigades to all proletarians for the “special security” prisons.

The entire organization advances an articulation, on the prison front, of its own strategic line of attack against the state. Full clarity is necessary on this point: that which we propose is not negotiating terrain, not union demands, but the concrete realization by means of struggle of the balance of power which has already been attained on a general level […].

“We, the revolutionary Communists of the Red Brigades, will be in the front lines of the new cycle of struggles against the organization of the penitentiaries of the state power. We will be in the front line inside and outside the “Special security” and the “normal” prisons. Inside, for the political growth of the proletarian prisoners through struggle; to organize and develop the revolutionary actions in the infinite number of forms that proletarian creativity is capable of planning: for the acquisition of immediate programs; to establish the most solid bases for the affirmation of the strategic program; for the unity of the metropolitan proletariat with the proletarian offensive resistance movement and of the Communists in the Fighting Communist Party. Outside, to attack first their vital ganglia and the fundamental divisions of of prison power with the purpose of creating dysfunctions in this apparatus of counter-revolutionary war, to jam it and at the same time to demoralize the class enemy
and inspire the fighting movement with confidence.

“We, the revolutionary Communists of the Red Brigades will fight until victory for the destruction of all the prisons and the liberation of all proletarians, The new situation created after March 16 has given new tasks to the fighting Communist organizations in the process of building the Party.

“March 16, in the intentions of the imperialist bourgeoisie, was to mark the beginning of a new political regime in our country. On that day, in fact, there ended an unprecedented political crisis with the project of a “common program” among the five major constitutional parties (6) built around the DC’s inter-class embrace with the revisionist Party. (7)

“The program was that of dealing with, in the framework of the imperialist strategy and on behalf of the multi-nationals, the devastating social effects of the most tremendous economic crisis of the last decade and of managing the behavior of the working class during the crisis, in the sense of making it functional to the interests of monopolistic capital. In other words, the imperialist bourgeoisie proposed involving the revisionist party directly in a vast operation aimed at blocking the growth of the proletarian struggle and as a consequence the development of the revolutionary process in our country.

“This plan, plausible and realistic on paper, given the PCI’s desire without reserve of “participating in the state”, is nevertheless destined to fail for the fundamental reason that there is no real identification between the PCI and the [working] class so that the neo-corporative integration of the revisionists in the political heavens does not mean at the same time to capture the behavior of the working class, the struggles, and the revolutionary initiative.

“The “campaign” unleashed on March 16 with the capture of Aldo MORO had the great merit of making it clear to everyone that hard days had begun for our regime.

“March 16 did not establish a new regime capable of stabilizing the economic-political-social situation in a short time as was intended, but instead the existence was manifested of those opposing powers, the expression of irreconcilable and antagonistic classes, interests, needs and aspirations between the imperialist state and armed proletarian power.

“Not only this, but the contradiction of the “regime of mutual understanding” and the opposition of the armed class has become the principal political contradiction. And this has taken place against all the expectations of either the DC or the revisionists in the sense that if, on the one hand, there was admittedly a margin of endemic antagonistic behavior that was considered, on the whole, controllable, on the other hand it was excluded that this area of antagonism had the capacity to organize itself on such a level of political maturity as to represent a new strategic contradiction of uncontrollable potential.

“March 16 meant a true leap in quality for the proletarian offensive resistance movement’s increase in size, territorial extension, growth in quality of the armed attacks, and the growing political accord between the “offensive campaigns” unleashed by the fighting Communist organizations and the particular actions of the advanced class sectors. Thanks to all this it reaches the threshold and potentiality of a true revolutionary mass movement.

“This is the new and principal characteristic that the fighting Communist organizations must understand in all its many aspects, because it is the basis for a further leap in quality in the process of building the Fighting Party.

“Whoever does not understand that in this phase the mass revolutionary movement presents itself in the specific form of extreme fragmentation, of an apparent lack of homogeneity in the anti-imperialist and anti-revisionist politico-military behavior, does not understand that every mass revolutionary movement is the point of arrival of a Party action and not the point of departure.

“Not by chance, after March 16, we witness a clear split between the offensive action of the advanced proletarian sections and the total bankruptcy of the “Organized Autonomy” groups. While the former have developed and articulated their presence, winning new areas of influence in the general class framework, the latter have been entirely incapable of effecting any offensive action in the new situation.

“What has suffered a crisis after March 16 is not, as some have said, the offensive action of “Organised Autonomy”, which some want stubbornly to maintain at all costs and which represents a brake on the growth of the revolutionary movement.

The contradiction is not between the attack of the fighting Communist organizations and the backwardness of the mass actions, but between a revolutionary line advanced in various yet substantially homogeneous forms by the fighting Communist organizations and the movement on the one hand, and the Organized Autonomy groups on the other.

“In conclusion, if in the preceding phase the principle task of the fighting Communist organisations has been that of firmly rooting the organization of armed struggle and the political consciousness of its historical necessity in the class movement, now the problem begins of concretely organising the the mass movement on the terrain of the armed struggle for Communism. The present juncture, characterized by the transition from the phase of “armed propaganda” to “civil war”, requires the fighting Communist organizations to redefine their role in relation to the new tasks, to the new levels of combat by the masses and the new forms of organization generated in their movement by the most advanced sectors of the proletariat. In particular it is necessary to avoid two errors:

“The first consists in inventing for oneself “mass organisms” in which to try to bottle up the real movement instead of taking note of the historical forms produced by the dialectic between revolution and counter-revolution produces. The second consists in wanting to lead all the forms of organization of the masses back to party organizations, thus negating once again, the real movement in its concreteness and originality.

“The growth of proletarian power implies, as a consequence, the strengthening of the capacity to direct and organize the party towards the proletarian offensive resistance movement and, at the same time, the consolidation of the capacity to mobilize and to fight of the “mass organisms” generated by the advanced sectors of the metropolitan proletariat.

“Hence the principle task of the fighting Communist organizations in the new situation, with respect to the revolutionary movement in toto, must be to increase its potentiality, help it to organize itself in its own, original forms of combat and to direct it strategically inserting tensions into it within the framework of a unified political design and unified with the Communist elements of the Party.”

BASONE Angelo, BASSI Pietro, BERTOLAZZI Pietro, BUONAVITA Alfredo, CURCIO Renato, FERRARI Maurizio, FRANCESCHINI Alberto, GUAGLIARDO Vincenzo, ISA Giugliano, LINTRAMI Arialdo, MANTOVANI Nadia, OGNIBENE Roberto, PARODI Tonino, PELLI Fabrizio, SEMERIA Giorgio.

Turin, June 19, 1978

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