36. Guerrilla tactics (1). Guerrilleros should not confront armies but directly attack the 1%

Guerrilla tactics have proven their worth in fights against a seemingly very powerful and superior armed opponent. The principles written down by Sun Tzu in “The Art of War” about 500 BC can still be used and only need some minor changes.
Wikipedia defines guerrilla as “a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants such as armed civilians use military tactics including ambushes, sabotages, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics and extraordinary mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional army”.

The Wikipedia description of a guerrilla is based on Sun Tzu and many other military strategists who see guerrilla as part of a struggle between two armies. Guerrilla introduces new action methods in an orthodox war by undermining the strength of an army. The central command gives the orders. It is not a fight of small independent groups from the 99% against small groups or individuals from the 1%. A guerrilla based on the same status paradigm pinpoints leaders who think they have a higher status than common citizens and avoids contact with security forces that protect these leaders. In both forms of guerrilla the general ideas of Sun Tzu may be used.

For a new kind of society we need an individual guerrilla that is not controlled by a central command but gives power to individual 99%. Small groups of individuals with the same status hit what is best and easiest to hit. It is the forebode of how power is used in a future society in which basic ideas are not forced upon the 99% by a 1% but in which the 99% decide how to apply the rules. It is a society in which the 99% have the power to affirm and defend the same status. To achieve that we  must use individual guerrilla tactics during the revolution and also when the revolution has succeeded.

Mao Tse-tung also avoided the enemy army’s offensive power. He proposed to attack supply lines of the hostile army. In a people’s guerrilla direct confrontations with security forces should be avoided and actions should concentrate on supply lines to the 1%, on the veins that bring the necessary blood to the eliteworld, on the veins that are needed to sustain and extend their exclusive world. Guerrilla tactics can be used to disturb and confuse the eliteworld so that the elite cannot anymore harass common citizens.

Many small disturbances of supply lines force the 1% to strengthen their defence and spread security troops over a big area. Attacking veins undermines the power of the 1% to control the world because they have to defend their own existence. It is demoralising when there are continuous attacks on places that are hardly defended. Sun Tzu said already: ”You can be sure in your attacks when you only attack places that are undefended”. We have to look for holes in the defence. “So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak”.

Present actions hardly comply with these ideas. Revolts in the Ukraine and in Egypt have become fights between demonstrators and security forces that have been withdrawn from other duties. Thefts of artefacts from Egyptian museums show that withdrawal of security forces from traditional tasks boosts crime. Street fights are attacks on strong points of the defence of the 1%, the world of the 1% remains mostly untouched. Such mass demonstrations are in contradiction to guerrilla tactics. They are harmful for the 99% and violate the Golden Rule for Actions. The ruling 1% remains out of range.

Sun Tzu said also: “Rouse him and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots”. “A victorious army opposed to a routed one is a pound’s weight placed in the scale against a single grain”. The goal of the struggle is not do defeat the army but to make it impossible that leaders can use the army because it is spread too thinly to defend the 1% and the centre of power. Small Autonomous Clubs hitting then here and then there are superior to mass actions in which all strength is concentrated. There should not be fights between concentrated security forces and concentrated activists. The army of the 1% is avoided when volatile units of the 99% (Autonomous Clubs) attack elsewhere.

Standing armies need bases, supplies, contacts with the centre of power etc. Guerrilla  forces are like a fish in the water, they feed on their surroundings, they move from one place to another, they are elusive. Just as Lawrence had concluded in Arabia, Mao saw that his best strategy was to defend nothing. This allowed his forces to conceal their weakness in lack of hitting power and exploit their strength: the capacity to move fast at the time and place of their choosing, surprising the enemy.

Guerrilla has the intention to undermine the enemy’s strength. The enemy is forced to fight the war on our way. Do not become a sitting duck as in mass actions. Gaining space, occupying buildings and the use of specialised weapons that are better than the weapons of the enemy change a guerrilla war in a regular war, a fight between two armies in which the strongest army wins, a war between two centralised power instruments. Guerrilla tactics adapt to changing situations, wars demand organisation, leaders and a power pyramid. That is in contradiction to a Humane World in which all people have the same status and the possibility to exert power.

According to Mao Tse-tung orthodox war fare takes only place during the final stage just prior to victory after the enemy had been weakened and demoralised. Regarding guerrilla he says: The people’s guerrilla and the main forces of the Red Army complement each other like a man’s right and left arm, when we had only a Red Army we would be like a warrior with only one arm”.

The ultimate goal is not to topple the old regime by clashes between standing armies. The ultimate goal is another kind society with different power relations and in clashes between two armies old power relations are reintroduced. Armies are the prime example of being ruled by a power pyramid with generals who order and die in bed and soldiers who fight and die on the battlefield. By relying in the last phase on armies the possibility of any citizen to interfere when he finds it necessary becomes after the revolution a vague goal. The guerrilla is in this traditional model only a small phase in the struggle and not one of the principles on which the new society is built.

Guerrilleros use different weapons than armies. When guerrilla forces concentrate to face a standing army the guerrilla is forced to exchange its former effective weapons in mass destruction weapons that are used in wars. Guerrilleros become part of a power pyramid and are again powerless. The guerrilla is disarmed and after the revolution it is not anymore a force that can defend  the interests of the 99%.
Autonomous Clubs safeguard the freedom, privacy and the well-being of common citizens by punishing in small guerrilla-like actions faulty leaders and preventing that ever a new 1% arrives.

Joost van Steenis


About Joost van Steenis

My latest book "How to make Revolution, developing the Fourth People's Power", can be downloaded for free from my site http://members.chello.nl/jsteenis. It contains new ideas how to take the money and power away from the most powerful people, the elite. It strives to get a new society in which not money is the pivotal point of all discussions but the idea that all people have the same status. New action means are introduced to reach this paradigm shift (a revolution) that concentrate on direct actions in the living sphere of the elite.
This entry was posted in 1%, Action, Autonomous Clubs, guerrilla, War of the Flea and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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