Urban guerrilla warfare
Theory and history of the urban guerrilla
The urban guerrilla phenomenon is essentially one of industrialised society, resting both on the presence of large urban agglomerations where hideouts are easy to find and on a theory of alienation proper to the modern society of mass consumption.
Michael Collins, a commander of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) is often considered to be the father of modern urban guerrilla warfare. In April 1919 an elite assassination unit, known as The Squad or Twelve Apostles was created in Dublin. The unit was tasked with hunting down and executing British Intelligence operatives in the city, they can be considered one of the first true urban guerrilla units.
Historically guerrilla warfare was a rural phenomenon, it was not until the 1960s that the limitations of this form were clearly demonstrated. The technique was almost entirely ineffective when used outside of the later colonial environment, as was shown by the Cuban sponsored efforts in Latin America during the 1960s culminating in the hopeless foco campaign headed by Che Guevara in Bolivia that culminated in his death. The need for the target government to be simultaneously incompetent, iniquitous, and politically isolated was rarely met.
The failure of rural insurgency forced the discontented to find new avenues for action, essentially random terrorism aimed at creating maximum publicity, provoking the targeted regimes into excessive repression and so inciting the general population to join a wider revolutionary struggle. This movement found its mentor in the leader of the ephemeral Ação Libertadora Nacional, Carlos Marighela. Before his death in 1969 he wrote the Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla which, between the polemics, gave clear advice on strategy and was quickly adopted by others around the world.
- Cellules Communistes Combattantes (CCC)
- Front Revolutionaire d' Action Prolétarienne (FRAP)
- National Liberation Action (ALN)
- Popular Liberation Movement (Molipo)
- Revolutionary Movement 8th October (MR-8)
- Armed Revolutionary Vanguard Palmares (VAR-Palmares)
- Popular Revolutionary Vanguard (VPR)
- 19th of April Movement (M-19)
- Revolutionary Organization 17 November
- Revolutionary Struggle
- Revolutionary Nuclei
- Sect of Revolutionaries
- Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei
- Naxalite movement.
- Organization of Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas (OIPFG) (formed 1970)
- People's Mujahedin of Iran (formed 1970)
- Provisional Irish Republican Army (formed 1969)
- Official Irish Republican Army (formed 1969)
- Irish National Liberation Army (formed 1974)
- Irish People's Liberation Organisation (formed 1986)
- Continuity Irish Republican Army (active since 1994)
- Real Irish Republican Army (active since 1997)
- Óglaigh na hÉireann (splinter group)
- Red Brigades (BR)
- Gruppi d'Azione Partigiana (GAP)
- XVIII March Brigade (XVIII March)
- XII October Group (XII October)
- Red Patrol
- Armed Proletarian Cells
- Prima Linea
- Armed Revolutionary Cells
- Sudtirol Liberatio Committee
- Black Order
- Third Position
- Revolutionary Action Fascists
- Japan Revolutionary Communist League, National Committee (Middle Core Faction)
- Japan Revolutionary Communist League (Revolutionary Marxist Faction)
- Fourth International Japan
- Red Army Faction
- East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front
- Malayan Communist Party (PKM)
- Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB)
- Red Scorpion Group
- Light A Fire Movement (LAFM)
- Sandigan Army
- Terra Lliure
- MPAIAC, Canary Islands Independence Movement
- Resistência Galega
- Comandos Autónomos Anticapitalistas
- Exèrcit Popular Català
- Escamots Autònoms d´Alliberament
- Hermanos Quero
- Front d'Alliberament de Catalunya
- Organització de la Lluita Armada
- Exército Guerrilheiro do Povo Galego Ceive
- Liga Armada Galega
- Loita Armada Revolucionaria
- Fuerzas Armadas Guanches
- Andecha Obrera
- Revolutionary People's Liberation Party–Front
- Marxist–Leninist Communist Party (Turkey)
- Devrimci Yol
- Turkish Revolutionary Youth Federation
- Devrimci Karargâh
- Group of Communities in Kurdistan
- Black Liberation Army
- Earth Liberation Front
- May 19th Communist Movement
- Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA)
However, not all urban political violence can be labeled as urban guerrilla. The Black Panther Party might not qualify, due to its public nature, although its policy of "self-defense" was interchangeable with a policy of armed struggle in militarily occupied African American communities. Similarly the Italian Autonomia movement, and the German Autonomen engaged in urban political violence, but not as urban guerrillas due to their policies of public, mass and non-deadly violence.
In the 1970s BBC comedy "Citizen Smith" Wolfie Smith, the leader of the fictional "Tooting Popular Front" described himself as an Urban Guerrilla.
- Guerrilla warfare and unconventional warfare
- Insurgency and Counterinsurgency
- Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and anti-terrorist legislation
- Propaganda of the deed
- Strategy of tension
- State of exception
- False flag attacks
- Molotov cocktail
- Greene, T.N. (ed) The Guerrilla—and How to Fight Him: Selections From the Marine Corps Gazette. Frederick A. Praeger, 1964.
- Molnar et al., Undergrounds in Insurgent, Revolutionary, and Resistance Warfare. Special Operations Research Office, American University, 1963.
- Oppenheimer, Martin. The Urban Guerrilla. Quadrangle, 1969.
- The Black Bloc Papers: An Anthology of Primary Texts From The North American Anarchist Black Bloc 1988-2005, by Xavier Massot & David Van Deusen of the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (NEFAC-VT), Breaking Glass Press, 2010.
- A Communiqué on Tactics and Organization to the Black Bloc, from within the Black Bloc, by The Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (NEFAC-VT) & Columbus Anti-Racist Action, Black Clover Press, 2001.