Political Ideologies: A Comparative Approach

By Mostafa Rejai | Go to book overview

6
Guerrilla Communism

It is a commonplace of the twentieth century that the communists have preempted guerrilla warfare as the chief method of revolutionary warfare, Afghanistan being a glaring exception.

Although guerrilla warfare is accorded a lengthy history in the annals of military affairs, both the name and the methods were formalized only in the Spanish resistance to the Napoleonic invasion of 1808-14. A derivative of guerra (the Spanish word for war), the term "guerrilla" means, literally, "little war." Such a war was waged in the Spanish countryside by partisan fighters who continued to harass the French army after the regular Spanish troops had been defeated.

Guerrilla (or "irregular," "unconventional," "insurgency," "partisan") warfare has since become a central concern of military theorists of every persuasion. Writing in the 1820s, for example, Karl von Clausewitz devoted a portion of his classic work On War to the analysis of this type of military operation (Book 5, chap. 26: "Arming the Nation"). Primary responsibility for developing the theory and practice of guerrilla warfare, however, must be assigned to Communist thinkers. As early as 1849, Karl Marx exhibited an acute understanding of the nature and potentialities of irregular warfare:

A nation fighting for its liberty ought not to adhere rigidly to the accepted rules of warfare. Mass uprisings, revolutionary methods, guerrilla bands everywhere--such are the only means by which a small

____________________
For research assistance on a larger project of which this chapter is a part, I am grateful to Candace C. Conrad, James A. Davis, and William J. Nealon.

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Political Ideologies: A Comparative Approach
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Part I Comparative Framework 1
  • 1: Comparative Analysis of Political Ideologies 18
  • Part II Selected Ideologies 21
  • 2: Nationalism 55
  • 4: Marxism 97
  • 5: Leninism 114
  • 6: Guerrilla Communism 115
  • 7: Democracy 169
  • Part III Recapitulation 173
  • 8: Comparing Political Ideologies 175
  • Appendixes 181
  • Selected Bibliography 193
  • Index 195
  • About the Author 202
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