The guerrilla way of life. The success of the guerrilla depends on transforming anthropology into a weapon unto itself – “in revolutionary war the human is always superior to military hardware” (Philosophy of the Urban Guerrilla, 279; modified). Guerrilla theorists depict this transformation in various mixtures of conservative and progressive forces. On the one hand, there are the conservative theorists, such as Mao, who imagine the guerrilla to spring from souls of an oppressed people like a natural reactive force to an exterior threat when a nation “inferior in army and military equipment” turns their “conditions of terrain, climate, and society in general” against an imperialist oppressor as “obstacles to his progress” and used “to advantage by those who oppose him” (On Guerrilla Warfare, 42). On on the other, there are progressivists, such as Che, who see the guerrilla as an agent not of solidarity but creative evolution in the human condition where the guerrilla is a “guiding angel” whose shared “longing of the people for liberation” directs their conversion into an “ascetic” soldier and “social reformer” that fights for a revolutionary new humanity (Guerrilla Warfare). But regardless of the origin of power – whether from conserving life or liberating it – the theory puts forth the guerrilla as the effect of discipline. Furthermore, the theory proposes that it is discipline alone that separates the guerrilla from the mere criminal. The criminal selfishly preys on oppressors and the oppressed alike without the only goal being their own profit. And alternatively, the guerrilla lives simply and expropriates from the rich and powerful in order to build up the forces that distract, demoralized, and drive away the enemy (Mini-Manual of the Urban Guerrilla, 4). The guerrilla thus shares the fruits of expropriation with allies, which teaches those not directly engaged in the struggle to enjoy it nonetheless.
Yet in the Metropolis, it is difficult to maintain the hardness necessary to remain a guerrilla. (more…)