24 September 2015

Guerrilla Warfare

Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace, Part 3a

Guerrilla Warfare

Just after the first Russian Revolution of January, 1905, Lenin wrote “Guerrilla Warfare” (attached). Almost immediately in this work, Lenin plants his experienced revolutionary feet on solid revolutionary ground, thus:

“Marxism differs from all primitive forms of socialism by not binding the movement to any one particular form of struggle.

“It recognizes the most varied forms of struggle; and it does not "concoct" them, but only generalizes, organizes, gives conscious expression to those forms of struggle of the revolutionary classes which arise of themselves in the course of the movement.

“Absolutely hostile to all abstract formulas and to all doctrinaire recipes, Marxism demands an attentive attitude to the mass struggle in progress, which, as the movement develops, as the class consciousness of the masses grows, as economic and political crisis become acute, continually gives rise to new and more varied methods of defence and attack.

“Marxism, therefore, positively does not reject any form of struggle. Under no circumstances does Marxism confine itself to the forms of struggle possible and in existence at the given moment only, recognizing as it does that new forms of struggle, unknown to the participants of the given period, inevitably arise as the given social situation changes. In this respect Marxism learns, if we may so express it, from mass practice, and makes no claim whatever to teach the masses forms of struggle invented by ‘systematisers’ in the seclusion of their studies.”

Later in the same work, in which he defends the Latvian comrades who have taken up some forms of armed struggle, Lenin says:

“… such an objection would be a purely bourgeois-liberal and not a Marxist objection, because a Marxist cannot regard Civil War, or guerrilla warfare, which is one of its forms, as abnormal and demoralizing in general.

“A Marxist bases himself on the class struggle, and not social peace. In certain periods of acute economic and political crisis the class struggle ripens into a direct Civil War, i.e., into an armed struggle between two sections of the people. In such periods a Marxist is obliged to take the stand of Civil War. Any moral condemnation of Civil War would be absolutely impermissible from the standpoint of Marxism.”

Are you worrying about what form your struggle should take? Read this document, comrades.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Guerrilla Warfare, 1906, Lenin.


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