Terrorism and guerrilla warfare : an essay on people's war and revolution
This thesis is concerned with the waging of revolution through people's war. In the first chapter the concept of revolution, in both contemporary and historical usage, is considered, as are the major social science theories of revolution.' It was found that the social science theories are deeply flawed, and frequently suffer from a predilection towards grand theory and mono-causal explanations. The conclusion is reached that revolution is essentially a political phenomenon made and waged by man, and not by forces above and beyond his control. In the interest of developing a theoretically coherent and useful understanding of revolution, the concept is defined as referring to the overthrow of a government and the substitution of a new system. The second chapter considers strategies for the achievement of revolution through war. Guerrilla warfare, it is found, is frequently confused with people's war. The former refers to irregular warfare fought on irregular terrain. The latter can bear tactical similarities to guerrilla: warfare, but in it war becomes an affair of the people. People's war is defined by the population's active support and participation in the struggle. Two case studies, Algeria and Cuba, are considered at length as important examples of people's war. It is found that the people's wars, remained militarily weak yet triumphed against superior armies. The principle reason for this was that the revolutionaries built a militarily unassailable base. Their violence was tuned to the political ends of revolution. The governments, in contrast, failed to consider the political and psychological impact of their actions. As a result they lost the battle for popular mobilization, and their military superiority was rendered irrelevant. In Algeria an undefeated army lost a war, when metropolitan France refused to continue waging it. In Cuba the government was overthrown once the military refused to fight and support it. People's war it is found is an extremely powerful form of warfare.