"Nothing Radicalises like Pigs in the Park"
A democracy can only be produced if a majority movement is built. The guerrilla strategy depends on a collapse of will in the ruling class to produce the social crisis out of which revolution occurs, whether the majority favours it or not. Any reading of guerrilla strategists reveals that it is a philosophy of impatience. While a collapse of will in the ruling class is surely a vital element in any revolution, unless a mass movement with democratic structures for running the country exists, then an elite will take power. Always lurking in the background and sometimes boldly stated is the idea that guerrilla warfare or terrorism aims to produce a fascistic reaction which would radicalise the people. The Provisionals (IRA) quite obviously followed this strategy. But groups like the RAF and June 2nd also shuffled this idea with their third-worldism, especially as the third world stabilised into dictatorships and state capitalism and Western collapse appeared a receding prospect.
Of the state apparatus, Bommi Baumann says, "We knew that if it was touched anywhere, it would show its fascistic face again." As horrible as many aspects of the West German state are, it is not fascist. A clearer understanding of the situation would reveal that it is yet another example of the fact that dictatorial methods have always been and will continue to be part of the arsenal of social control in a capitalist parliamentary democracy. Such methods will be used with abandon in a social crisis. More important still is the revelation that these guerrillas are completely unable to understand in a social-psychological sense that oppression is maintained by consent, and that violence is a secondary phenomenon.
In general it can be seen that these groups are unembarrassed by any awareness of how major events have changed leftist thought on a whole range of issues (or confirmed elements of libertarian thought which had been suppressed by the dominance of Marxism). For example, an interpretation of France 1968 or of Hungary 1956 seems to have passed them by entirely.
In March 1972 the Tupamaros stated that they wanted to "create an undeniable state of revolutionary war in Uruguay, polarising politics between guerrillas and the regime." There is even some suggestion that they discussed the possibility of carrying out actions designed to prompt an invasion by Brazil in the belief that this would galvanise the total population into action.
The RAF put it this way,
"We don't count on a spontaneous anti-fascist mobilisation as a result of terror and fascism itself .....
And we know that our work produces even more pretexts for repression, because we're communists - and whether communists will organise and struggle, whether terror and repression will produce only fear and resignation, or whether it will produce resistance, class hatred and solidarity . . . depends on the response to repression. Whether communists are so stupid as to tolerate such treatment ... depends on this response."
What is revealed completely in this quote is the absolute arrogance of these groups - "Sure we're hoping for a radical response to the state repression we bring down on your heads, but if that doesn't occur, well, that will go to prove you are all stupid." They ignore the actual conditions, like all guerrillas, demanding that everyone else miraculously achieve their "advanced" consciousness, when, as has already been shown, their ideas are superficial and without value and merely a rallying cry for a massacre.
The reason for the occurrence of this ugly strategy derives from the limitations of urban guerrilla warfare. Since they depend on armed action for their existence, all guerrillas can only develop their struggle by escalating their engagements. If they do not they will be forgotten. Dynamism is everything. But rural guerrillas can do this by establishing and expanding their territory of action - liberated zones. They can choose to take on army formations according to their situation. But urban guerrillas can hold no territory, for to attempt to hold a neighbourhood or building is to take on the entire armed might of the city. In any engagement the size of army forces cannot be ascertained since they can arrive in minutes.
Urban guerrilla warfare must become terrorism in order to develop. There is no other avenue for escalating the struggle. Furthermore the warfare cannot stretch out indefinitely without withering away. This is the appeal of the polarisation and militarisation of society strategy. It is the ultimate in manipulation - an intentional attempt to create suffering among the people for the ends of the guerrillas who assume that they know best and that the people will be better off in the long run. Of course the strategy usually results only in repression.
The Tupamaros came to prominence in 1968. In 1967 the democratic government had begun responding to Uruguay's first major economic crisis since the war by attacking the working class and introducing repressive legislation. So they entered the right social situation. They had also spent all the sixties preparing. They were always efficient and planned well. they had links in unions and other legal movements that were not only maintained but grew. They had elan, imagination and humanity. But by 1971, the year of elections, the paucity of their strategy was becoming apparent and even they were indecisive. How could they go one step further without losing support? They depended on transitory support that was impressed with their seeming invincibility and their restrained use of violence. Inevitably they would prove beatable, inevitably much blood would flow. Then it would be revealed that they had no mass base. After the elections the army was let loose and soon up to 40 Tupamaros were being tried every day. They were defeated before the military junta came to power in 1973. Just because they were so good within the limits of the urban guerrilla strategy they prove the basically flawed nature of the theory. It was quite clear that the ruling class of Uruguay was going to respond to the economic crisis by gravitation to dictatorship. But if the energy expended by the Tupamaros had gone into the spreading of ideas encouraging people to organise, the resistance would have been larger and more profound and therefore had more chance of success.