Guerrilla warfare has been successful in many Third World countries. In Western countries it has to be slightly adapted. Safe base areas where the guerrilla can recuperate and plan new actions are not possible. Guerrilla is the extension of politics by putting direct pressure on the most powerful people, the 1%. (Pressure on politicians, the puppets of the 1% is counter-productive). Most action principles are still valid, I name only a few:
Care for a long series of small victories
Have the initiative, we act so they have to react and not we react on what they do.
Use deception when possible
Surprise the enemy
Minimise damage to the 99%
Simple ideas but they have worked!
The first Occupy action – the occupation of thousands of squares in the world – was excellent. Surprise and initiative! Most further actions did not comply with guerrilla principles. Without daring and surprising actions in which the damage to the 99% is minimal and the pressure on the 1% maximal, there are no lasting successes. The beginning will be slow but suddenly a next spark can start a prairie fire (Mao Tse-tung).
Most guerrilla principles were already 2000 years ago written down in ”The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Not weapons stand central but the strategy. Guerrilla is a political struggle, an action method that can be used by common citizens without any specialisation. Weapons are hardly necessary because a guerrilla in our kind of countries is not a war of a weak army against a strong army. It is a war of attrition against the centres of power, the 1%.
“The guerrilla fighter is primarily a propagandist, an agitator, a disseminator of the revolutionary idea who uses the struggle itself – the actual physical conflict – as an instrument of agitation. His primarily goal is to raise the level of revolutionary anticipation and then of popular anticipation, to the crisis point at which the revolution becomes general throughout the country and the people in their masses carry out the final task – the destruction of the existing order”. (The War of the Flea, Ronald Taber).
War is too much connected with centralised armies, weapons and lots of violence. A guerrilla is a protracted, dynamic and diffuse War of the Flea by independent Autonomous Clubs undermining the stability of the exclusive eliteworld of the 1%, the highest power in the country. There are no safe base areas in the country side. Activists must be like a fish in the water (Mao Tse-tung) because they are common citizens who can not be distinguished from other common citizens.
The present activities of Occupy are not sufficient to achieve even small changes, the highest power is not pressured and there is not a long series of small successes. Time to use different action methods.
Joost van Steenis