2 Following


Currently reading

Middlemarch: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Reviews and Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)
Bert G. Hornback, George Eliot
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
Guerrilla Warfare - Ernesto Guevara, Marc Becker Similar to Mao's treatise on guerrilla warfare, this one provides more pragmatic considerations than something like Sun Tzu (but, then again, there's nothing quite like Master Sun).

This text includes a somewhat sympathetic introductory essay by a guy who advances a lukewarm critique of Guevara's foco theory of warfare, which is discredited by the mere fact of Guevara's death while enacting same in Bolivia. Fair enough.

The text itself of the *Guerrilla Warfare* is likewise accompanied by two essays, not of doctrinal, but of historical value, "Guerrilla Warfare: A Method" and "Message to the Tricontinental."

The main essay extracts three basic propositions from the Cuban Revolution and seeks to generalize them: guerrillas can defeat regular militaries; the guerrillas can create marxism's objective revolutionary conditions; and rural areas are the principal theatre of armed operations, all enunciated on page one, and developed thereafter with some rigor.

The text carries out polemics, mostly sub rosa to the non-leftist, with various schools of leftwing thought, including both ultraleftists and proto-reformist liberal types.

Douchebags like to accuse Guevara of being a murderer. Maybe so--but not on the basis of this text, which intones: "Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted." My own position is that fraudulent elections authorize a violent response by the electorate against the state (or the authors of the fraud, anyway, if distinct from the state), but I suppose Mr. Guevara is a pacifist in comparison to reckless losers like me.

There is little concern with Clauswitzian analysis here--no center of gravity; rather, the guerrilla objective is to completely destroy the state's military power. The end goal is always the assumption of political power on behalf of the working peoples (here, the rural proletariat and the peasants, who are the principal audience of Guevara's ideas).

For topical interest only, there's a nice set of distinctions regarding sabotage & terrorism; the former is unequivocally valuable when the target is correct ("ridiculous to carry out sabotage against a soft drink factory"--which, incidentally, some maoists actually did a few years back in Nepal--WTF? YOU DIDNT NOT REDES GAVARA!!!), whereas the latter is valueless in its indiscriminate forms, and possesses value only to the extent that "it is used to put to death some noted leader of the oppressing forces well known for his cruelty, his efficiency in repression, or some other quality." I one-up Mr. Guevara by noting that his sole example of approved "terrorism" is actually assassination, which is quite a bit diffierent.

There's a more conceptually, plus much detailed discussion of being part of a guerrilla group. I liked the "suburban warfare" section, and it's nice to see his cutesy diagrams of how to make a molotov cocktain gun.

Recommended highly for leftists, peasants, and college students suffering from ennui.