Questions of strategic realignment
The very violent attacks of the enemy against us, which are developing rapidly, and systematically, are clearly indicative of a crucial juncture in the history of the Proletarian Left. How did we get here?
Essentially, the very harsh struggle, which we have waged against the liquadators of the mass movement, the struggle of the hope born in May 68′ (in the new popular resistance), this struggle which has shaped and forged us, has began to bear fruit starting with the proletarian comeback in 69′.
A “new mindset” is spreading among the people: that of direct struggle against the oppressors; a new practice is imposed by the masses: the violent, partisan, popular struggle. To recall earlier times: we were encircled, we were slandered, we were a small handful.
We have grown up, because we are fighting, because we have faith in the intelligence of the proletariat, because we firmly adhere to the great truth of our times: power grows out of the barrel of a gun. And today we are stronger and see more clearly.
We don’t hesitate to step into the world where we suffer and fighting is a necessity, where we fight for a just peace, the peace of freedom for the vast majority, for the people. That is the first result of the politics which emerged in October. And we are better organized: our journal, the journal of the enraged workers, is sharper, its proletarian character has been affirmed, and its mass diffusion initiated.
A clear reduction of non-proletarian positions in the domain of modes of thought, language, work and life is incontestable. These are the other successes of October. These are the victories over the course of the reform movement launched in October.
Our presence among the masses has increased, popular support has grown, and in some large factories the ground has started to shake the feet of the bosses and the union police. In a word the first proletarian sharpshooters of the class war have begun to strike. This is why the enemy has begun to attack us with great force. As our great leader teaches: “”It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work.”
The intrigues and attacks of our enemies, the fear-mongering on dissension between ourselves and the masses are numerous, diverse and quickly growing: the silence on the major actions of the partisans in the mines and the metro: just like the loaming provocations in Dunkirk, in Bezons, or in Strasbourg; the arrests intended not only to intimidate us and reinforce liquadationist ideology in our ranks, but to put us “out of action” in the interest of the exploiters; the financial asphyxiation by the attacks on our newspaper and the fines.
These are the exemplary types of the campaigns of the enemy aimed at the encirclement and annihilation of the left and most of all of what it represents: the new resistance of the future.
But the key point to remember, is the vile lies, the filth, in particular that of the social fascists. The lies, are the means by which they attempt to isolate us; it is of the utmost importance for the enemy to paint us in the darkest colors.
The most important for them, is to dirty the image of the new resistance being born, to reverse black and white, to make the builders of the light, into thugs, a destructive mob, the “asocials”.
The Chairman has taught “the truth is defined in the color of a flag”. We must ensure the color of our flag to the eyes of the masses; that is why we say “the truth will conquer”. And in our lives, this means a political work among the masses that is unprecedented for us. Going further, so that all can clearly see what we are, breaking the net of the enemies first campaign of encirclement and annihilation.
Lets face the facts without any disguise: if the enemy can still paint us as “marginal”, we have not yet properly built on a national scale the partisan regions which are the rear or the solid support bases of the factory. When the struggle of the proletarian sharpshooters generalizes into class war, they will certainly treat us as terrorists, as bandits like the reactionaries treated the Chinese partisans, but there is no denying we have created a climate of generalized insecurity for the boss’s order in the factories and the factory districts.
We will not say of ourselves that we are the “marginals” or the “asocials”. We should not make a tactical underestimate of the enemy. As long as the violent struggle of the partisans does not create bases of support for the factory proletariat, the lie “they are the asocials” threatens to fool certain elements of the people.
Therefore, we say: in order to break the enemies current campaign of encirclement and annihilation, we must respond with an energetic application of our central slogan:
THE FACTORY REGIONS OR THE MASSES ARE FOR US THE FOREST OR JUNGLE WHERE WE HIDE WE MUST CARRY OUT THE WORK OF POLITICAL PROPAGANDA EVERYTHING FOR THE GUERRILLA
Adhering firmly to that slogan is not only the sure way to break the attack of the enemy, but also a step forward in our linkage with the basic masses. To break the attack of the enemy and to reinforce our links with the masses are one and the same thing.
And in fact the plan of strategic readjustment stated in the following report, opens another phase of reform. As we have seen, the first reform was marked by a certain number of successes, but we have yet to win a decisive victory of the reform, in the construction of the proletarian Party.
There should be an influx of fresh proletarian blood, a influx of the masses, who become the substantial life of the strategy of construction of the support bases of the factories. In other words: The strategic decision for concentration in the factory regions, to carry out the violent, partisan, popular struggle, this decision is crucial for the foundation of the Party. In order to apply this decision, we need an ideology as strong as that which we had when we created the Left under the worst conditions.
And we rely practically upon the pioneers of the struggle, those who have never accepted liquidation in practice, that is to say in every stage we have traversed, we have relied upon the militants and cadres who have led the long march into the factory regions. We rely principally upon the worker-militants who have enabled the Left to reach this turning point in its history.
They bear the responsibility of laying the first bricks today, of the foundation of the Party, which embedded in the factory districts, will unite the people in the partisan struggle. Lenin said: the revolution does not move straight along the Nevsky Prospect, a sort of Russian Champs Elysées .
There are many detours, many ups and downs in the course of the struggle. In order to conquer, we must eliminate the defeatist mentality, that erupts when everything does not work as we would like it to.
“ELIMINATE THE DEFEATIST MENTALITY”
If we correctly apply our policy, we will shatter the attack of the enemy, and the hope of the people will bear a name.
THE NEW RESISTANCE
1: IN ORDER TO SEIZE POWER OUR PEOPLE MUST WAGE A PROTRACTED ARMED STRUGGLE
All classes struggle for power, because without power, you have nothing, with power you have everything. The bosses need power to continue to make profit; the people need power in order to have freedom and happiness. And as Chairmen Mao teaches us “political power comes from the barrel of a gun”.
Which is to say, that it is with weapons, with war, that classes seize and hold power. Today the bosses hold power, because they have the weapons. And it is through open war on the people, that they struggle desperately to hold on to their power when it is threatened with death. Likewise, the people are oppressed today because they are disarmed and it is through taking up arms and waging war on the bosses that the people will take power. Therefore, every class force, whether they admit it or not, respond in their own way to the question “who will have the weapons tomorrow?”, “who will have the power tomorrow?”.
The bourgeois responds without any dissimulation, tomorrow as today they want to maintain their power. They will hold on to it by waging war on the people, that is why they occupy the cities with their cops. That is why they prepare their army for civil war.
The revisionists and the union police also respond to this question. They respond in their own way; that of a cop in plain clothes, who appears to be on the side of the people. They are in reality on the side of their enemies. In appearance and in words, they want the people to have power in the future.
But in reality, they want the bosses to keep it. And therefore, they don’t prepare the people for war, they want to force them to remain at peace, which is in fact, to remain obedient to the law, and to the weapons of the bosses.
And when the people decide on their own, to prepare for war, to directly strike their enemies, to shatter the boss’s law, they are the first to intervene to try to reestablish order.
We the Maoists, we are the third organized political force which responds to the question “who will have the weapons tomorrow?”, “who will have the power tomorrow?”.
We say the third political force, because we don’t count all the bourgeois who say the same thing in different forms; all the parasitic grouplets who say essentially the same thing as the plainclothes cops in the PCF and the unions.
We want the people to hold power tomorrow, we understand that it can only seized by a prolonged armed struggle; the strategic concept which guides our work is therefore “to prepare, to prepare the people in anticipation of war”; the political struggle which we wage today, must prepare the armed political struggle which we will wage tomorrow.
Particularly in the factories, this must be the principle link in our political work, we must smash the pacifist, legalist ideology of submission nurtured by the unions.
II-THE VIOLENT STRUGGLE OF THE PARTISANS, PREPERATION FOR PROTRACTED WAR
The political struggle which prepares the armed struggle, is the violent struggle of the partisans.
A) The violent struggle of the partisans creates the political conditions for the armed struggle. The most general definition of the violent partisan struggle is the following. It enforces the law of the poor in the field against the law of the exploiters. The law and the right of the poor, all the pseudo-revolutionaries call for it. But the partisans impose it in the field, which is to say necessarily against the law of the exploiters and its enforcers. Therefore the partisan struggle is not simply a vague call for protracted armed struggle, but a prefiguration, a first step in the struggle of red power against white power.
When we torch the boss’s car, or the main office in the mines, when we sabotage a crane in reprisal for the murder of workers, it’s not much in comparison to the real war, the one we will wage when the entire people are rising up armed, but it is still the beginning of the class war: with the violent struggle of the partisans, a state of war is introduced between the people and their oppressors, the social peace is shattered, because the bosses and cops know they don’t have to fear petitions and protests, but they do fear for themselves, their assets and equipment.
How is the state of war brought about? It is essential to construct the three weapons of the revolution: the revolutionary proletarian party, the people’s army, the unity of all strata of the people around the proletariat.
a) historical experience, particularly since May, shows us that the state of peace, which is to say the peaceful oppression of the boss, is the terrain of the unions and the revisionists; however the state of war, that is to say the illegal direct struggle, against the bosses and their lackeys, is the terrain upon which develops the autonomous proletarian force in relation to the unions and the revisionists, the proletarian revolutionary force.
It is not difficult to understand why: the law is made to perpetuate exploitation and oppression; therefore the workers who are in revolt against exploitation and oppression, necessarily act against the law of the bosses, whereas the revisionists who want to maintain slavery, seek by all means to keep the rage of the masses within the legal framework.
The law is of the boss, and therefore he knows it; it’s like if we wanted to attack an enemy position:
there are many points of access known to the enemy and controlled by him; the traitors try to entice the combatants to attack there; if they listen, they are defeated.
But the partisans, they attack elsewhere, where they are not expected, by surprise.
For us, its the same; if we attack the boss where he expects it, within the limits provided for by the law, we are the ones who are surprised and wiped out, we must therefore attack where we are not expected, outside of the law, by surprise.
The breaking of work rhythms, direct reprisal against large and small tyrants, sequestration, the expropriation and distribution to the people of the goods which the boss has stolen, sabotage, violent demonstrations, all of these forms of the worker’s and people’s revolt are illegal forms, forms of war, of partisan action.
These are the forms, which enable revolutionary workers to come together, to develop their initiative, and capacity for action. They are what enables the construction of the revolutionary worker’s party, the revolutionary proletarian communist party. Therefore the violent struggle of the partisans and the process of construction of the party are two processes which are tightly interconnected.
b) the first political weapon for waging the protracted armed struggle is the party. The second is the people’s army.
How does the violent struggle of the partisans, prepare the construction of the people’s army? The Indian journal Liberation said the following with regards to the peasant armed struggle
“the slogan blow for blow has been launched in a direct struggle against the landlords and the usurers. Their struggle enables them to understand that they must oppose the armed counter revolution with armed struggle.”
The report adds the following details: the education of the masses on the question of armed struggle, is a precondition for the creation of the people’s army, it is done progressively in stages: first there was the “heroic struggle of the peasants of Naxalbari” which has stimulated a new attitude in the masses that of the struggle to seize power.”
Then under the leadership of the party, the peasants in Gangapur took up arms in April 1968 and have harvested the fields of the landlords in broad daylight and forced out all their henchmen. This action has raised an immense enthusiasm among the peasants of Musahari.”
“The peasants under the leadership of the party, have carried out many other partisan actions, for example attacking the armed gangs of the most hated land lord in the region, and the armed seizure of the crops of several local landowners. It is in the course of these partisan actions, that the mass of the peasants are convinced of the necessity of taking up arms: the choice is between the guerrilla army and capitulation.” (Peking Review no.5 1970).
This is true for us as well, it is in the blow for blow struggle, in the direct struggle that our people are instructed in the necessity of the armed struggle against the armed counter revolution. It is in the course of the direct struggle against the bosses and their armed gangs, what we call the violent partisan struggle, that the people assimilate profoundly that there are only two ways, capitulation or the protracted armed struggle. Thus the violent struggle of the partisans creates the political conditions for the arming of the people, which is to say the people’s army.
There remains the third weapon, the unity of all strata of the people around the proletariat. What do the whole of the people expect from the proletariat? They expect it to show them the way to their liberation. But the people expect nothing from peace, collaboration with their oppressors. The strikes of the CGT type do not unite with the people surrounding the workers, far from it. The people want war against the bosses: it is when the workers are capable of a direct struggle against the bosses, which drives back the bosses and the cops that the people unite around them: that is when they represent their hopes.
In Belgium all the popular strata were united around the miners of Limbourg, because they made the bosses tremble, because they repelled the violence of the police and torched their cars. In France all the partisan actions we have carried out, have been met with the approval and active support of the popular masses, as in Saint-Lazare, because they see the way to their liberation and not continued survival under slavery.
It is the violent struggle of the partisans, which unites the people around the proletariat, because it is what gives hope and certainty of eventual triumph. We have seen that the violent struggle of the partisans allows the forging of the three political weapons of the protracted people’s war.
What allows the assemblage of the ideological preconditions of protracted war?
The violent partisan struggle creates the ideological conditions for protracted armed struggle. Chairmen Mao teaches us that “”Revolutionary war is an antitoxin that not only eliminates the enemy’s poison but also purges us of our own filth.“. This is also true for the violent partisan struggle. It is this aspect of war which is a substantial and victorious method of waging the ideological struggle against defeatism, pacifism and liquidation. It is in this aspect of war, that the spirit of serving the people is tempered and experienced. Only those truly animated by this are ready to sacrifice everything, without fear of hardship, nor of “torture and death” one day. Today it is only those who are determined to go into battle against the cops and the fascist militias of the PCF as at Argenteuil and Aubervilliers, those willing to risk their liberty at the very least in partisan action, and not those who limit political work to writing hollow articles, tracts and proclemations, who give real evidence of their attachment to the interests of the people.
The violent struggle of the partisans creates the military conditions for the transition to protracted armed struggle. One must wage war in order to learn how to wage it; to learn the laws of partisan warfare, we must wage violent partisan struggle. It is not war properly so called, the armed struggle, but it is all the same a violent illegal struggle against an enemy with much more military strength then ourselves.
We are therefore compelled to pose the problems of the struggle in military terms, those of the strategy and tactics of partisan warfare. Posing the problem in terms of strategy, one can for example visualize the construction of our organization by distinguishing between the support bases and the guerrilla zones: we need bases of support, which is to say the partisan rear areas, because the violent partisan struggle is waged there.
If for example, you wanted to build a trade union, you would have no need for support bases. Posing the problems in tactical terms, you can for example visualize a partisan action from the point of view of the military forces involved. Transforming the military superiority of the enemy into inferiority by attacking the weak point, by the use of surprise, the concentration of superior forces, the practice of diversionary maneuvers etc…
All these problems must be considered in order to wage the violent partisan struggle; it is are the apprenticeship in the world of partisan war. This apprenticeship is hardly useless, as we can see for example, from the incredible poverty in which the first resistance fighters found themselves at the beginning of the armed struggle, with the exception of those who had fought in Spain. For them the problems of war were really something radically new.
Thus a group which had to take down a Nazi officer in Gare de Lyon made no provisions for retreat. A group attacking a supply depot made no provision to ensure completion, and ended up locked in the factory. The violent partisan struggle is the apprenticeship in the strategy and tactics of partisan war.
III-WITH WHOM DO WE WAGE PARTISAN WAR?
“The richest source of power to wage war lies in the masses of the people.” says Chairman Mao. The violent partisan struggle to prepare the protracted war, must assemble the richest source of power to wage war, which is to say to mobilize and organize the popular masses around the proletariat. This is a point we have mentioned but which we must now consider in more detail.
In order to wage protracted war, the proletariat must unite all strata of the people around itself. If this condition is not fulfilled, the uprisings which must fire the first shots of the armed struggle will be encircled and annihilated by the enemy; they will be new communes. That is to say armed uprisings of the proletariat, isolated from the rest of the people, inevitably hopeless, crushed.
This question is therefore a strategic question of primary importance: who will be encircled and in the final analysis annihilated; if the totality of the people are mobilized and organized around the proletariat the enemy will be like a “wild buffalo before a wall of flame” and his military superiority will do him no good in sustaining the war. He will ultimately be annihilated, following a protracted war.
On the contrary, if the proletariat is alone, it is the one encircled and then it will be annihilated by the military superiority of the enemy following a brief campaign. To get to the point, there are two strategic errors to avoid at all costs: the first consists in waging the struggle without rear areas, that is to say popular struggles without the proletarian support bases which form the rear area for the partisans and the center of unity for the people; then the enemy is not encircled, because in order to carry out encirclement, the masses must be mobilized and organized by the proletariat.
The second, is the ossified conception, first we organize the proletariat, then the people: first we construct and consolidate the factory bases, then we figure how to unite around that base, the peasants, the shopkeepers, the students. The common characteristic of these views is that they do not see the future from a military point of view, that of uprisings launching a protracted war.
The solution is a correct strategy of establishing and developing bases of support and partisan zones.
What is a support base in partisan war? Let us return to “strategic problems of guerrilla warfare”
“What, then, are these base areas? They are the strategic bases on which the guerrilla forces rely in performing their strategic tasks and achieving the object of preserving and expanding themselves and destroying and driving out the enemy. Without such strategic bases, there will be nothing to depend on in carrying out any of our strategic tasks or achieving the aim of the war. It is a characteristic of guerrilla warfare behind the enemy lines that it is fought without a rear, for the guerrilla forces are severed from the country’s general rear. But guerrilla warfare could not last long or grow without base areas. The base areas, indeed, are its rear.”
(Strategic Problems of Guerrilla War)
There is the scientific definition of bases of support in partisan war. Now what is the difference between that and the guerrilla zones?
“In guerrilla warfare behind the enemy lines, there is a difference between guerrilla zones and base areas…Areas which are surrounded by the enemy but whose central parts are not occupied or have been recovered..are ready-made bases..But elsewhere in these areas the situation is different..they are areas which are held by the guerrillas when they are there and by the puppet regime when they are gone, and are therefore not yet guerrilla bases but only what may be called guerrilla zones.”
(Strategic Problems of Guerrilla War)
Now what is a base area in the violent partisan struggle? What is the meaning for us of the concepts: base area, guerrilla zone?
It is obvious that they do not mean exactly the same thing that they do in the stage of partisan warfare, for the good reason that between that stage and the one we are currently in, there is the difference of weapons: we do not liberate areas in the unarmed struggle. Our base areas in the violent partisan struggle cannot be liberated zones.
Thus, they will only be base areas only in the following sense: “”They are the strategic bases on which the guerrilla forces rely in performing their strategic tasks and achieving the object of preserving and expanding themselves and destroying and driving out the enemy… guerrilla warfare could not last long or grow without base areas. The base areas, indeed, are its rear.”
And what are our strategic tasks?
Unify the people around the proletariat in the violent partisan struggle, construct the Party which leads the protracted war: it is in relation to these strategic tasks, that our base areas must be constituted as a rear.
“Base area” must therefore be given the following definition: It is a rear area for the partisan struggle, that is to say a base where the partisans deploy from and where they are protected; it is a rear area for the unity of the people, which is to say it constitutes the proletarian hard core of the people’s unity: It is around the groups of worker partisans of the factory base area, that one forms the popular groups, of workers, farmers, shopkeepers and students.
That is the definition of a base area in the violent partisan struggle: that is to say it is a base which we can employ to build the unity of the people around the proletariat in the partisan struggles: that is to say a base where we construct stable organizations to carry out guerrilla struggle and unify the people.
Thus, one can see immediately that a train station like St Lazare, a supermarket or a popular market, even if the partisans regularly operate there and are among the masses like fish in water, cannot be a base area in the same way. High schools or universities cannot be constituted as provisional bases of support to the same extent, though they can serve for a time as a rear area for the guerrilla, however they are not a rear area for popular unity, for the good reason that they unify the people around the students.
That is why our policy in relation to the universities is and will be the formation of provisional base areas, by inducing the revolutionary students to persistently intervene in the popular struggles, to carryout in conjunction, guerrilla struggle against the enemies of the people, cops and revisionists political propaganda among the masses.
However, these provisional base areas, should be employed to construct real base areas, by deploying the majority of forces to establish themselves en mass in the worker’s and popular concentrations. The bases of support for the violent partisan struggle are essentially the factories, the factory support bases.
It is the factories which can be constituted as the political and military rear areas for the violent partisan struggle; military rear areas, this means that the autonomous proletarian organizations, which are developing in the factories are necessarily the partisan organizations, for the reasons we have seen, and that these organizations must be at the same time the base of deployment and of mass protection for the partisan struggle: political rear areas, this means that the factory groups form the basic nuclei around which to coalesce the people, they have the strategic task of grouping the popular partisan groups around themselves.
Now, if the factory forms the rear area, the base of support, for the politico-military tasks of the partisans, we must examine what is meant by guerrilla zone; that is to say what are the zones for which the factory is a rear area?
The guerrilla zones are the zones which are somehow organized around the factory: the factory towns like Sochaux around Peugeot, or the factory districts like Mantes-Ecquevilly-Les Mureaux around Renault-Flins. In these zones, the partisans on the basis of the rear area formed by the factory, participate in the violent partisan struggle for the unification of the people, to coalesce around themselves the popular partisan groups; these groups are built in combat on the various fronts: housing, leisure, transportation, struggles around the cost of living..
It is important to be clear that these fronts cannot be lastingly occupied without reliance upon a factory rear area: the base area is in a strict sense, a politico-military rear area for the violent partisan struggle. The second consideration for avoiding a mechanistic approach in the theory of establishment of base areas, is taking into account the uneven development of ideological revolution among the masses.
Our central task, on the national scale is to organize the resistance of the people in the base areas and in the guerrilla zones which surround them, it is therefore to establish, to construct the base areas and unify the guerrilla zones around them.
This central task is imposed on us, because the ideological revolution, that is to say the spirit of resistance which has developed considerably in the masses since May, since the partisan actions carried out by the masses alone or with the Maoists.
But this function of focus for the ideological revolution, which certain partisan struggles have had, is no longer useless day to day, because 90% of the people have not yet been won over by the ideological revolution, particularly as it is unequally developed: in certain regions for example those where May did not occur and where there are no partisan struggles, it is very important to ignite fires of this kind.
An example: the battle in the shantytown and market of Argenteuil, which was not able to establish a base of support, since it did not establish any stable organizational work, had the key function of spreading the flames of the ideological revolution not only to all the immigrant workers in the Parisian region but also to some factories outside the region, for example some Renault workshops.
Therefore, today the central task in the North West of Paris is to organize the resistance, which is to say build the Renault base areas, especially in UNIC and the factories in Bezons, and to radiate throughout the guerrilla zones which surround the factories.
However in many other regions, there is a need to wage struggles like those of Argenteuil or Ivry which play the role of Naxalbari: “since the heroic struggle of the peasants of Naxalbari a new mentality has emerged, that of fighting to seize power.”
It is from this perspective that we must consider waging struggles in the homes of the immigrant workers, or in the popular cities which serve as fires of the ideological revolution. There are therefore twists and turns which are an advance in the revolution, which lead to the formation of base areas.
And there are the twists and turns which constitute stagnation, or even regression, these which diverge away from the base areas.
Now it is possible to precisely formulate our strategy in the violent partisan struggle:
CONSTRUCT IN THE FACTORIES THE PARTISAN GROUPS WHICH WAGE DIRECT STRUGGLE AGAINST THE BOSSES. BY RELIANCE ON THE REAR AREA, AND SIMULTANEOUSLY UNITE THE PEOPLE IN THE GUERRILLA ZONE OF THE FACTORY
IV-TAKING OUR STRATEGY INTO EVERYDAY LIFE. MAKING THE STRATEGIC DECISION TO SHIFT OUR FORCES
Its not enough to define a strategy of preparation for war, which is to say a strategy of construction of base areas: we must bring this strategy to life. Practically this means no more “beating around the bush”: One knows right away what this means, when one knows that dozens of militants still remain in the university towns or the petty bourgeois university towns while the big proletarian concentrations are still for us practically “unknown territory”.
It should be understood, that our decision to shift our forces to the base areas and potential guerrilla zones is a strategic decision of the same importance proportionally as the decision of the Communist Party of China in 1928, to build bases in the countryside and encircle the cities from the countryside.
Once again, the question that arises, is who, the enemy or ourselves will be encircled and in the end annihilated. In 1928, for the CPC to remain in the cities, as demanded by the ultra-left or as done by Liu Shaoqi, it was either be encircled and rapidly destroyed if waging war or vegetation in peaceful work: on the contrary to be established in the countryside as indicated and realized by Chairmen Mao, was to encircle the enemy and ultimately destroy him via protracted war.
For us,the equivalent of the cities in 1928, are the zones without rear areas; they are the objective base for the domination of bourgeois politics, which is also to say the oscillation between “left” and right.
The right, which is to say pacifist grouplet activity, war in words, capitulation in reality. In these conditions all the frontiers between the Left and liquidation, between the partisan struggle and unionism are effaced.
The “left” which is the partisan struggle “across the board”, the “ankle bitter” conception of the partisan struggle, on every front but without solid support in the factories, therefore without the possibility of deep and sustainable protection from the enemy and the establishment around of a “wall of flame” of the people. What then occurs is a trivialization of the partisan struggle. One does not wage the partisan struggle according to a plan with precise political objectives; one wages it anywhere or anytime, it is used as a talisman to “free up the situation” as the saying goes; we retaliate for the sake of retaliation, because they say we must respond each time we are attacked, like a yapping dog which goes for the kill each time it is kicked.
The ultra-left leaves us without a serious defense against the enemy’s campaigns of encirclement and annihilation, where recent experience allows us to formulate the law: encirclement by silence, the comprehensive silence around all the partisan actions which are setting an example, which is to say our deeper unity with the people and the proletariat; the first signs of which are the silence observed on the mines, on Dunkirk, and on the transport campaigns.
The encirclement by slander and provocation occurs on the contrary when we endorse all violent actions carried out without a strategic plan by short sighted parasites or more generally some common crimes: the theft of firearms in Strasbourg, It was GP who did it, until they discovered its authors in the Parisian milieu.
Moreover, it is provocation, that with the active aid of the social fascists and complacent complicity of the liquadationist grouplets organized around “Rouge”, becomes the no.1 tactic of encirclement.
The tactic of encirclement, of course involves the tactic of silence: to the extent that if no official existence is accorded to advanced partisan actions, nothing remains but extra-legal forms of repression: today provocation, terrorism tomorrow.
The examples which succeed one another with a rapidity and a consistency sufficient for us to see a law of encirclement: ACDB, the mines, a little while ago, three bombs were planted in a factory, which could have blown up the whole neighborhood. After encirclement, comes annihilation, which is to say massive repression against G.P at the point when it is encircled and discredited in the eyes of the masses.
However, we cannot resist such enemy maneuvers without solid bases of proletarian support, build with guerrilla work and with political propaganda.
We cannot resist this, if we have no rear area, that is to say, if we are attacked for example in a essentially petty bourgeois neighborhood. Against a genuine enemy strategy, we must resolutely and firmly apply our strategy, which is to say, carry out a massive shift of our forces in order to build solid worker and popular rear areas, which will break the enemy campaigns of encirclement.
In that regard, the example of the mines is good: though is still not in anyway the construction of a base of support, the simple fact that the Cause du Mineur is well known to the miners, ultimately caused the collapse of the provocation that could have destroyed us.
One could not have caused the collapse of such a provocation in a essentially petty bourgeois neighborhood. It is therefore necessary to make the shift of our forces an immediate perspective. We must prepare with a deep and profound political education which shows that it is a matter of a strategic decision which will define the future, that this decision is taken because the future is war, the encirclement and annihilation of either ourselves or the enemy: we are moving towards the bases of support in order to ruin the plans of the enemy, to encircle and ultimately to annihilate them.
We must make clear to comrades like the political cadres, make it understood to the solders of the Red Army, that if we partially or totally evacuate certain regions, it is because currently we are at risk of annihilation there, it is in order to constitute solid rear areas, from which we can one day retake the evacuated regions.
V-A FEW PRINCIPLES FOR WAGING THE VIOLENT PARTISAN STRUGGLE IN THE SUPPORT BASES AND THE GUERRILLA ZONES
How to develop the partisan struggle in the support bases and the guerrilla zones. In this area, it is clear that ideas emerge from practice, which is to say that we have much, almost everything to learn. We can simply set down the first rules which we have been taught by our brief experience and that of the peoples who have already passed through the stages we are approaching.
A) in order to develop the partisan struggle, in order to set the prairie aflame, we must liberate mass initiative. In order for the first partisans to free mass initiative and inspire other partisans, at least two conditions must be fulfilled; the first is that the political target of the action must be clear, directly linked with the aspirations of the masses for justice, liberty and happiness.
In that regard, it is obvious that there is a profound difference between an action against a puppet embassy or a bank, where domination is not directly experienced, and an action like free passage for workers at Renault-Billancourt or alternatively, revenge for murdered comrades: in one case there is a fairly loose indirect relation, with the aspirations of the masses, in the other there is a direct link and sometimes even a blood tie. The second condition is that the military form of the action itself must be immediately assimilable by the masses
Let us listen to the Indian comrades “the second erroneous idea is unlimited confidence in modern firearms. A dismissive attitude towards towards traditional weapons paralyzes the people’s initiative. Without the maximum employment of traditional weapons, the total force of the people cannot be deployed to attack the enemy when the time comes” (Peking Review no 5.1970).
This means that there is a qualitative difference between the military form of the action of the NRP in Mantes-la-jolie for example, and those in Dunkirk and Renault-Billancourt, and not in the sense that one initially supposes: the first does not allow the people to “deploy their forces” , because it cannot be reproduced by the masses, at least not currently; on the other hand, to immobilize a machine, all the workers know how to do it; to force your way through, even against a few dozen cops, all the workers know how to do this also, and all the people know how action must be carried out. That is one of the reasons why hundreds of workers have participated in the mass partisan actions of the transport campaigns.
That is the way to begin the diffusion of the popular resistance; that is how the Resistance began, it was years before a large scale turn to annihilation attacks on enemy troops and bases; we continue to carry out actions of that kind when circumstances demand it, because of their undeniably very powerful political and ideological effect.
But we have to wait a little until that point, from the perspective of the liberation of the initiative of the masses and thus also of the organization. To illustrate all these categories, lets give an example, the transport campaign, and examine the different perspectives; what were the terrains of struggle, the bases of support or the guerrilla zones? What were the political targets and military forms of partisan action?
The principle interventions were: Billancourt,Citroën, Saint-Lazare, Austerlitz. The political target was exactly the same in all four cases: impose free transport opposing legal robbery with violence. Therefore was there no difference from that standpoint?
From the perspective of the terrain of struggle, there is Renault-Citroën on the one hand, Saint-Lazare and Austerlitz on the other which are included among the guerrilla zones surrounding the factories; it is on the basis of this distinction that we chose the military forms of partisan action in each case: in the support bases in construction or in the process of emergence, that is to say in the factories, the essential problem was the immediate liberation of the initiative of the masses, in order to be able to organize them in partisan groups; therefore in Renault as in Citroën, we attempted and succeeded in mass transport, imposed against the cops; there were small differences between the two, but it was almost the same; at Renault, we had redeployed some forces, thereby allowing us to have a relatively coherent on the inside and a external detachment: that made it possible to really consolidate, which is to say, advance to organization, at Citroën on the contrary, we had “beaten around the bush”, which temporarily prevented consolidation, that is to say, the sustained organization of the workers mobilized for free transit, and attending the meetings on the metro platforms.
In the stations, on the other hand, where it was in any case, out of the question to construct organizations, we chose a form which did not liberate directly the initiative of the masses, which is to say, it was not reproducible, because it was militarily difficult, even though it aroused the enthusiasm of the people for the partisan struggle, seizure of the tickets and well protected distribution.
In conclusion, what made this campaign a great success, was the combination of actions aimed at directly developing the initiative of the masses in order to organize the bases of support, and actions aimed at developing enthusiasm and popular support around these bases.
B) The partisan struggle is not only violent action, it is also, and inextricably, it is also a wide and deep practice of political propaganda. Lets listen again to the Indian comrades: “in the planes where the masses are for us, the forests and mountains in which we hide, we must carry out political propaganda while continuing the guerrilla…
We can only thwart the plans of the ruling classes who seek to create dissension between ourselves and the masses through regular and more concrete propaganda work.
We also know from our experience, that to construct the bases of support, to unify the people and to extend the bases of support in the surrounding regions, we must not be distracted from the task of propaganda for a single moment. If we do not make our political orientation, the goals of the war which we wage, known to the masses throughly and steadily, the enemy will be able to sow division in the camp of the people, to isolate us and strike us.
Therefore, the complete formulation of our strategic decision is: shift our forces in order to construct the bases of support, which is to say, wage the guerrilla struggle and make political propaganda among the masses in tandem.
The dissemination of the People’s Cause, the construction of the factory networks, the editorship of the local newspapers, the factory news sheets, the info bulletins, because “the truth conquers”, these are the fundamental tasks of the partisans.
Likewise, we must carry out actions of the Renault-Billancourt and Saint-Lazare types, which vividly integrate political propaganda with the partisan struggle, showing the aims of the war in the war itself:
expropriate the thieves, distribute to the people the goods which they have stolen, demonstrate that we will not be beaten, that we fight because we want “peace, and bread and roses for all”; just like when the Indian peasants reap the fields of the landowners in broad daylight.
We endorse the slogan of the Indian comrades:
IN THE FACTORY DISTRICTS WHERE THE MASSES ARE THE FORESTS AND THE MOUNTAINS IN WHICH WE HIDE WE MAKE POLITICAL PROPAGANDA WHILE CONTINUING THE GUERRILLA
Comrades, we are engaged in a protracted struggle, we want to make a radiant future, but we know that to get there, we must annihilate the enemy in a protracted war. We want peace, we are preparing for war, we want to build a people’s France tomorrow, we want the people to be free, we are creating the bases of their resistance!