How are Guerrillas, Paramilitaries, Armed Groups, & Non-state Armies fueled by ideologies rising in the world?

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HorrorHiro
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Apr 12 2012 23:39
How are Guerrillas, Paramilitaries, Armed Groups, & Non-state Armies fueled by ideologies rising in the world?

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC, Marist-Lenist, Revolutionary Socialism)

The National Liberation Army of Columbia (ELN, Communist-Marxist-Libertarian)

The Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP, Far-Left, close ties to the FARC)

The various and sometimes warring groups that identify as the Irish Republican Army (IRA groups, Right to Far-Right)

The various "Eagles" groups associated with the title The Black Eagles (Black Eagles, Righ to Far-Right, Organized to combat the growing number of revolutionary groups in Latin America & trafficking drugs)

The Popular Liberation Army (EPL, Communist, Anti-Revisionist, Marxist-Lenist)

The various Gangs and Drug Cartels [Most of these criminal organizations are associated with some kind of political ideology because of their alliances to various paramilitary (right-wing) and guerrilla (left-wing) groups]

The various left-wing Guerrilla groups operating in India (The Naxalites, Communist, Maoist)

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, Zapatismo)

Are groups such as these rising in numbers and power as time goes on without any significant change to how the world as we know it works right now? Can the emergence of revolutionary groups and even their right-wing anti-revolution counterparts be looked at as a sign that people are losing trust in the various states and governments? Can the criminal organizations be seen as an example of peoples lost faith in the system(s)? I have many more questions but I don't exactly know how to ask them...

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Apr 13 2012 00:17

Depends on the group. Each one has unique circumstances.

And the IRA probably shouldn't be classified as "right to far right." Certainly not right wing in the beginning, and then there's a plethora of Republican, Republican socialist, and no-stated-political-aims today, none of which really fall under "right wing" given the situation in Ireland, and certainly don't fall under far right.

More often than not, paramilitaries tend to be the forces of national liberation (wikipedia is your friend) or the armed branch of a political party. Even the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) started as such, although I'd argue they're in a unique position in regard to their concept of nationalism since La Sexta and that they've done a pretty good job siphoning democratic duties to their communities and away from the military branch.

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Apr 13 2012 00:30
Birthday Pony wrote:
Depends on the group. Each one has unique circumstances.

And the IRA probably shouldn't be classified as "right to far right." Certainly not right wing in the beginning, and then there's a plethora of Republican, Republican socialist, and no-stated-political-aims today, none of which really fall under "right wing" given the situation in Ireland, and certainly don't fall under far right.

More often than not, paramilitaries tend to be the forces of national liberation (wikipedia is your friend) or the armed branch of a political party. Even the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) started as such, although I'd argue they're in a unique position in regard to their concept of nationalism since La Sexta and that they've done a pretty good job siphoning democratic duties to their communities and away from the military branch.

Trust me, I know better than most that Wikipedia is your friend. And I know that the term "paramilitary" has nothing to do with right-wing politics or any politics for that matter. I just associate the term with right-wing groups because here on the American continent When you hear the term "paramilitary" they are usually talking about right-wingers, the term Guerrilla is usually used when talking about groups like the Shining Path FARC and such (this is especially true when talking about the ongoing conflict in Columbia and other countries is South America.)

And sorry about associating the IRA groups with the right-wing. I don't know much about them, but I thought they identified with the right. Again sorry and thank you for correcting me.

And I was not aware that the EZLN was divided like a political party? You used the word "branch" so I'm assuming they have a designated armed-wing of sorts, is that how they are organized? I just figured they were just one group with no internal division, like all the EZLN's fighters are just regular people, activists, protestors, etc until they have a call to arms.

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Apr 13 2012 20:05
HorrorHiro wrote:
And sorry about associating the IRA groups with the right-wing. I don't know much about them, but I thought they identified with the right. Again sorry and thank you for correcting me.

Most Irish paramilitaries are some stripe of Republican, meaning they seek a 32 county Ireland, North and South united, with your basic Western republic style government. Certainly right of Anarchism, not right-wing in the grand scheme of things.

Quote:
And I was not aware that the EZLN was divided like a political party? You used the word "branch" so I'm assuming they have a designated armed-wing of sorts, is that how they are organized? I just figured they were just one group with no internal division, like all the EZLN's fighters are just regular people, activists, protestors, etc until they have a call to arms.

Some paramilitaries serve political parties. The INLA (although it technically no longer exists) was the armed branch of the IRSP (which is now just a normal political party in Ireland) for instance (and our UK friends might know whether or not that's correct, I think I've got it right, but I could be wrong).

Other paramilitaries act as military and political wings at once. The EZLN acted as such for the majority of their existence. What saved them from becoming simply another military junta in central America is probably the longstanding traditions of the Mayan people in Mexico. The comandantes were able to communicate with their communities throughout talks and struggles so they maintained a high level of democratic decision making despite being in a low intensity war.

EZLN denotes a very specific military organization, headed by subcomandante Marcos, that operates in typical guerilla fashion (which already has a higher degree of openness than typical state forces, but still has a degree of secrecy). Zapatista denotes the EZLN + the communities they fight to defend and that support them.

Sometime in the mid-2000's the EZLN decided that they were going to uphold the San Andres accords by themselves, so they began to establish Caracoles in each of the five Zapatista strongholds. These autonomous councils are the civilian centers of the Zapatistas and function democratically. The Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle explains much of this.

And more importantly, while the EZLN was fighting a low intensity war (and perhaps still is) many agricultural co-ops sprang up on newly liberated land. The Mut Vitz coffee co-op is the oldest Zapatista collective in existence. I believe it was founded in 1994, right after the uprising on January 1st. For a long time, the EZLN was the manager of all these collectivized lands, and despite being hands-off for the most part and maintaining openness and democracy within their ranks, there's only so much one group can do.

Read this if you're interested in the EZLN: http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/auto/selva6.html
The Sixth Declaration basically declared the EZLN to be a group who ideologically supports all oppressed people, and more or less set the groundwork for the autonomous communities in Chiapas. They're a paramilitary that did all this without one bank robbery or action before their uprising, and that didn't end up becoming a military dictatorship after holding power for over 10 years, all without any external funding and minimal support from like-minded paramilitaries, the rest coming strictly from activists and members of "civil society." They pretty much rewrote the book on armed resistance, and it's kind of a shame Anarchists aren't as excited about them as they were circa '96.

jameswalsh
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Apr 13 2012 23:29

We live in a world of war- class war- but it is unidentified and impossible for the class to fight in a military way at the moment. But people have the natural impulse to want to fight if under attack and expected to be over competitive. War needs an ideology, groups provide that ideology and also the bonding and communal purpose that people often feel the need of, it can be an escape from alienation.

War can be a psychological out let.

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Apr 13 2012 23:50
jameswalsh wrote:
We live in a world of war- class war- but it is unidentified and impossible for the class to fight in a military way at the moment. But people have the natural impulse to want to fight if under attack and expected to be over competitive. War needs an ideology, groups provide that ideology and also the bonding and communal purpose that people often feel the need of, it can be an escape from alienation.

War can be a psychological out let.

So do you think that the struggle that these groups partake in is ultimately useless? Not in the sense that oppressed people coming together to fight what oppresses them and people like them is futile, but in the sense that these conflicts against the system(s) are to sparse, people aren't united enough?

Columbia is a good example, the people are so heavily divided between the various armed groups that oppose the the government and the system as well as the state itself that (at this point in time) it would be extremely difficult for any one of these groups to try and organize a true class war, a true people's war to resist and oppose the government.

Even groups who should be on the same side openly fight one another. For instance the FARC and the ELN, the ELN is significantly smaller than the FARC and it identifies with Libertarian Communism, the FARC identifies as Marxist-Lenist. These two groups, two groups that in my mind at least should be united have in the past (and most likely will in the future) fight one another over things like "territory".

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Apr 14 2012 01:21
jameswalsh wrote:
We live in a world of war- class war- but it is unidentified and impossible for the class to fight in a military way at the moment. But people have the natural impulse to want to fight if under attack and expected to be over competitive. War needs an ideology, groups provide that ideology and also the bonding and communal purpose that people often feel the need of, it can be an escape from alienation.

War can be a psychological out let.

In some areas I'm sure it looks that way, but in many people already have the type of communities they need (such as the Mayans in Chiapas) and while their day-to-day existence could be more or less libertarian they find themselves actively suppressed by the state, landlords, bosses, etc.

The EZLN is actually the perfect group to make my case, as they only had one aggressive skirmish and that was the original rebellion in '94. Otherwise they acted almost entirely defensively, which is what they always meant to do: defend their communities. Even after horrible massacres like the one in Acteal, the EZLN never sought retribution or fought for the sake of fighting.

Yeah, I agree that if a defensive paramilitary, even like the EZLN, were created in most spots in the US or the UK all they would have to defend is capitalism. There is no vibrant community to defend (yet), but let's not say that the entire world is in the same place.

jameswalsh
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Apr 14 2012 17:37

'but in the sense that these conflicts against the system(s) are to sparse, people aren't united enough?'

Broadly in any sense of 'victory' yes. Capitalism wins though a process of alienation just as the Romans won my giving the ruling class nice Villas while the rest had to collect the wood etc. Capitalism is about social relationships and alienation, you can fight that in a reactionary turn the clock back way or in status quo sort of way-. Capitalism has rather proven it can't be beaten by traditional military means with the world balance as it is.

Though in life, victory can just be keeping what you have till the next generation can pick it up. But the forces they are up against are world forces and historic forces, looking at things too locally and not through enough generations.

What the societies of South America and the middle east (well the likes of Egypt and Turkey) need to go through is something similar (hopefully with out the fuck ups- but I see more on the way) of what we went through in the post World War 2 society and state planning. I think Latin America could be approaching that- the war on drugs is in many way their equivalent of world war 2.

In Europe we are in the belly of the beast. And in this sense I'm a Marxist- this is where victory can be achieved. Even Lenin agreed on that bit in theory.

'but in the sense that these conflicts against the system(s) are to sparse, people aren't united enough?'

Broadly in any sense of 'victory' yes. Capitalism wins though a process of alienation just as the Romans won my giving the ruling class nice Villas while the rest had to collect the wood etc. Capitalism is about social relationships and alienation, you can fight that in a reactionary turn the clock back way or in status quo sort of way-. Capitalism has rather proven it can't be beaten by traditional military means with the world balance as it is.

Though in life, victory can just be keeping what you have till the next generation can pick it up. But the forces they are up against are world forces and historic forces, looking at things too locally and not through enough generations.

What the societies of South America and the middle east (well the likes of Egypt and Turkey) need to go through is something similar (hopefully with out the fuck ups- but I see more on the way) of what we went through in the post World War 2 society and state planning. I think Latin America could be approaching that- the war on drugs is in many way their equivalent of world war 2.

In Europe we are in the belly of the beast. And in this sense I'm a Marxist- this is where victory can be achieved. Even Lenin agreed on that bit in theory.

I think it's a natural human mistake to view human struggle as all about fight etc and miss the psychological nature of the struggle, class society produces psychological manipulated and damaged people without addressing that we ain't even fit for the fight. Healthy mind healthy body and vis a versa as the ancients thought- and hat is what capitalism has taken from us, as a world, as a class and as individuals.

Hopefully I have waffled too much and made myself understandable?

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Apr 15 2012 15:20

That's a pretty Eurocentric view, and sounds like you're saying "since capitalism is winning here, it can't be losing anywhere else."

While I agree that you're right, that capitalism is winning broadly speaking, I think you've got a pretty dismissive view about just how much it has lost in places outside of Europe. Not to mention you originally said that nowhere in the world can a military campaign be effective, which is just straight up false, while the phrase "right now in Europe a military campaign wouldn't be effective," may be true.

And lastly, if you think the Zapatista movement is "all about fighting," you just don't know very much about the Zapatista movement. Everytime Marcos says something it's practically a poem. The potential analytical approaches to Zapatista literature are endless, and to read them as simply "all about fighting" is not to read them at all. If you don't think there's a pretty heavy intellectual battle going on, dare I say cultural revolution, in Chiapas then you're not paying attention.

jameswalsh
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Apr 15 2012 22:37

I certainly don't claim to knopw a great about the Zapatisa movemnt. What you seem to be saying is they are acting in such a manner that is about not being about fighting if it can be avoided- sounds like me and them are in agreement.

I picked out the discussion that was looking at milistric movements. It wasn't saying that there is nothing to be done in certain places. So in that sense it isn't a 'euro centric view' in the sense that I can't see it going beyond the contradictions of European society then may be it is- if you want to be hung up about it.

Not that I was going on about about Europes militry protential or ability- there are a lot of capitalists states with some pretty dangerious arsenals in China etc (if including the USA and Russia in Europe)

amanezca
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Apr 19 2012 13:20

The revolutionary movements in South Asia are growing for a number of reasons, including the horrible conditions of the masses in that region.

For instance, the Indian Maoists have recently fused with a section of the tribal adivasi peoples in rural central India and created a swath of revolutionary dual power in the countryside ranging from the southern coastal areas up to the border with Nepal. This is referred to as the "Compact Revolutionary Zone" (CRZ). Most recently, in the last few months they are reported as expanding into the more remote northeastern provinces like Assam and Manipur, where they seem to have linked up with already-existing national liberation groups that have been fighting for independence there and winning people over to their fight for revolution.

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) is the main organization, though there are other smaller groups as well. Recent reports have indicated that the CPI(M)-aligned People's Liberation Guerrilla Army has over 20,000 fighters.

One factor that contributes to their success, besides the above, is that there is also an independence movement in Kashmir that has been ruthlessly repressed by the Indian regime, using up a lot of military forces. They are forced to station troops at the Pakistani border because of the conflict between the two countries potentially erupting at any time.

The US is getting worried about all of this, and recently a high-ranking officer admitted that American military forces have been stationed not only in India, but also Nepal and other bordering countries, for some time now. There are also (as the OP mentions) right wing paramilitary style groups in India called the Salwa Judum, which recruit people in rural areas to brutally repress the Maoists - similar to the US-funded death squads in Latin America. The Indian government has called the Maoist revolution the biggest threat to the country's national security, and launched a few years ago something called "Operation Green Hunt" to suppress it. Basically, Operation Green Hunt is a huge military operation - involving 250,000 soldiers/cops/paramilitaries, think twice the size of the occupation of Iraq - responsible for the murder of hundreds of people who might be "suspected" of being Maoist sympathizers (though very few, if any, turn out to be Maoists).

The Indian regime is totally losing its legitimacy, even among middle class forces and major figures - people like Arundhati Roy have been shamelessly persecuted by the gov't for sympathizing with the Maoist revolution. The revolution there is building up its forces, and we may see big leaps forward depending on coming conjunctures.