The Red Zora in the 90’s

In the first two or three years of the 1990’s, the RZ concentrated their actions on the issue of West German foreigner and refugee policies. Attacks such as the one on the Center for the Central Register in Cologne, or the kneecapping of Hollenburg — the Chief of Immigration Police in West Berlin — show the wide range of these militant politics. While those who were attacked were directly responsible for the racist refugee policies in Germany, the intentions of the attacks on the institutions involved in formulating these racist policies — whose documents, files and data were destroyed — was to procure a space which wasn’t controlled or regulated by the State.

Since the early 70’s, the RZ and Red Zora have carried out over 200 attacks against the infrastructure of patriarchal culture. Red Zora’s most comprehensive and successful attack campaign so far has been the planting of incendiary bombs in ten branches of the Adler Corporation, one of West Germany’s largest clothing manufacturers selling discount clothing in the FRG, produced by low paid wimmin in South Korean and Sri Lankan factories.

“The wimmin at Adler in South Korea struggle against the exploitation of their capacity for work and are putting up a fight against the daily sexism. They call for support from the FRG for their struggle. As a result, the shitty living and working conditions of wimmin in the vacuous production centers of the three continents and especially those of Adler in South Korea and Sri Lanka are becoming more widely known here through leaflets, events and actions at Adler’s retail centers. In these actions, anti-imperialism can be practical. So it was possible for the struggle there (by the wimmin in South Korea) and the struggle here (by Red Zora) are compatible: We aren’t fighting for the wimmin in the Third World, we’re fighting alongside them.”

— Quote from Red Zora, in their Adler statement

In 1987, when Red Zora and their sister group in West Berlin, the Amazonen, fire bombed ten Adler outlets throughout West Germany, they caused millions of dollars in damages. Because of this, Adler was forced to meet the demands of the textile workers, clearly proving that militant resistance can be very effective. Both the Revolutionary Cells and Red Zora have anti-authoritarian structures and a decentralized decision-making process for choosing targets. As well, they point out that militant direct actions are just one part of the revolutionary movement:

“Although we participate in far-reaching and extensive legal work campaigns and social movements through our militant actions, these actions aren’t of any more importance than handing out flyers or leaflets, going to demonstrations, having sit-ins, publishing newspapers, educating people, or squatting houses. We don’t have a hierarchical system for choosing actions. Thinking in hierarchical divisions puts actions in a perspective of privilege and makes it prone to a patriarchal way of thinking.”

— Quote by members of the RZ in an interview that appeared in Autonomie in 1980

One reason for the tactical successes of the Red Zora is that in their direct actions — militant as they are — they address issues that many people are already educated on and sympathetic to. For example, Red Zora has gained wide popular support because their actions appeal to the massive feminist movement that already exists in West Germany, where the anarchist and radical media had been doing much work for a long time to educate the public on issues involving sexism, wimmin’s oppression and exploitation, and wimmin’s rights to the control of their own bodies. While the RZ doesn’t claim as much support as Red Zora, in 1987, supporters of the Revolutionary Cells published the book Der Weg Zum Erfolg (The Way To Success), explaining their strategies, politics, and actions. Less than a week after the book hit the shelves of radical bookstores, the entire printing(around 3000) was sold out.

The high degree of effectiveness of many RZ and Red Zora actions wouldn’t be possible without popular support. By themselves, their actions might only serve to alienate them from the more long-term struggle. However, with the support of the mass movements, members of the RZ and Red Zora are able to work among the numbers of people active in the above-ground struggle without exposing their underground identities. In their herstory, only one womyn has been arrested for membership in Red Zora, but due to lack of evidence against her, charges were dropped.