Revolution Through Disruption? Iraq, New Orleans and the Prospects for Armed Struggle

A good fight justifies any cause.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Note to the reader: Before reading this article, you may wish to first view this piece by William S. Lind.

Military historian William S. Lind, one of the world’s most renowned experts on insurgent guerrilla warfare, recently raised the issue of the on-going effects of the present US regime’s imperial assault on the Islamic nations, pointing out the role of this in creating a crisis of legitimacy for the state. Lind goes so far as to suggest that the Iraq war, and subsequent wars, could well be the regime’s undoing, in the same manner as the war in Afghanistan was the undoing of the Soviet Union. I recall how, during the late 1980s, I came to believe in the necessity of full-blown revolution against the US regime, after observing its simultaneous efforts of genocide in Central America, East Timor and elsewhere and its use of the “war on drugs” for conversion of the US to a full-blown police state domestically. I recall wondering how such a monumental effort might be carried out when, suddenly and unexpectedly, the Soviet empire that spanned a good part of two continents vanished overnight almost without warning. This is how we’re going to do it here, I recall thinking to myself.

The inherent weakness of the US regime, despite its pretensions to the contrary, is blatantly demonstrated by its twin failures in Iraq internationally and in New Orleans domestically. For all its sophisticated technology and its labyrinth of bureaucracy, the regime cannot hold off an insurgency by a Third World guerrilla army drawn mostly from a minority group that constitutes less than twenty percent of the occupied country. The regime cannot even successfully manage the evacuation of one of its key cities during a time of natural disaster, something that far less militarily powerful regimes, like those of Japan and Cuba, have been able to with relative ease. Iraq and New Orleans both demonstrate what I have long believed; that the present US regime would not be able to withstand a determined domestic insurgency composed capable, energetic warriors. Note the response of the New Orleans police when faced with a genuine crisis. What did they do? Mostly, they either abandoned ship or shot themselves. During the “L.A. riots” of 1992 the LAPD, one of the largest and best trained police forces in the world, simply disappeared while the insurgents had at it. The reason for this is that municipal police are mostly mercenaries for the local bourgeoise oligarchs who control most major US cities. Their primary function is to direct traffic, harass homeless people, young people, hookers and others out of step with bourgeoise class values and to shoot black kids who provide unwanted competition to the state-connected liquor, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries by selling crack or heroin. Faced with real danger, the police will turn and run. This is true of the federal police as well. I have seen footage of BATF agents crying over their dead immediately following the showdown between the BATF and the Branch Davidians in 1993. What kind of warriors mourn the fallen when the battle is still raging?

At the height of the Vietnam War, insurgent forces in the US such as the Weather Underground developed the strategy of “bringing the war home”. What this basically meant was that the insurgent ground war being waged by the Vietcong needed to be transfered into the domestic United States, hence, the notorious Weatherman bombings of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though popular opinion is turning against the US imperial adventure in the Islamic world, the regime shows no signs of letting up. Indeed, the indication is that the regime wishes to expand the war to Syria, Iran and perhaps other places as well. Given the monumental failures of the current US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, further US wars will likely bring even greater failure, fueling domestic unrest, particularly if military failure were to be combined with economic failure. The day before this article was written, one hundred thousand antiwar protesters gathered in Washington, D.C. As with the antiwar movement of the Vietnam period, the antiwar movement of today seems to be composed primarily of middle-class liberals, pacifist religions, commie cults, students and countercultural youth, along with occasional disgruntled veterans, concerned parents of soldiers, a few antiwar conservatives and so on. What the future holds for the mainstream antiwar movement is uncertain. It is a question that is largely irrelevant to hard-core revolutionaries.

The collapse of the US regime could take place in a number of different ways. In one scenario, the regime could retain formal power with its current structures in tact, but severely weakened and no longer a major international player. Recall the fate of the British Empire. In another scenario, the US could split apart like the regimes of the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia and dissolve into a number of smaller political units with local governments achieving sovereignty for themselves, with their present bureaucracies and oligarchies retaining power for the most part. The US regime could resort to brute repression in a last desparate effort to save itself. Recall the actions of the Chinese Communists at Tiannamen Square. Another possibility is the one suggested by Thomas Chittum, who argues persuasively that the US is headed for a Balkans/Rwandan style ethnic/cultural civil war. Of course, it is quite possible that systemic collapse will generate a situation that combines aspects of all of these scenarios. For hard-line opponents of the present regime, the question of how to best conduct a program of militant resistance is paramount. There does indeed exist at the present time a number of political factions committed to defeat of the regime through armed struggle. Yet these factions are scattered, with each of them having a relatively small number of adherents, and little popular support outside of their own respective milieus. The “smallness” of the potential domestic insurgent forces is not particularly important. The real war is between the two to five percent of the US population who run the present system and the two to five percent who wish for the system to be deposed. The rest of the “American People” are of no more importance to the struggle than spectators sitting in the bleachers during a showdown between the Redskins and the Cowboys. Recall that the bulk of the Iraqi resistance is drawn primarily from the Sunnis, a minority group in Iraq.

The armed factions most capable of engaging the US regime are the urban street gangs, drawn mostly from minority ethnic groups, particularly blacks and Hispanics. Indeed, much of the armed insurgency that actually transpired in L.A. in 1992 or in New Orleans more recently originated from these populations. There is no particular military reason why the gangs in the US could not prosecute an urban guerrilla war within the domestic US in the same manner as the urban insurgents in Baghdad. For the gangs to successfully prosecute such a war, there would need to be significant material and military support originating from other geographical locations. The regime’s strategy for crushing such an insurgency would likely involve an effort to blockade the cities through overt martial law for the purpose of starving out the insurgents. However, such a strategy would be difficult for the US regime to conduct while most of its armed forces are outside of the country waging war against the rest of the world. In fact, such a situation provides revolutionaries with an opportunity to strike out against the System Pigs. It would be an ideal situation if the urban insurgent forces were to be supported tactically by similar insurgent forces drawn from rural and heartland areas. Guerrillas from these areas could ambush convoys of government troops being transported to the centers of the urban insurgencies. Indeed, the US federal h
hway system was originally created for the purpose of providing an efficient military transport system during a time of domestic warfare. Indeed, the militia movement, drawn largely from the rural US population has become much more sophisticated and better organized in recent years and serves as a possible prototype for a rural/heartland/mountainous insurgency, perhaps drawn on the model of the present Afghan resistance to US occupation.

There exists within the US political underground a wide array of dissident groups capable of reconstituting themselves as insurgent guerrilla cells. These include some of the more militant elements of the anti-globalization movement, some of the more radical anarchist factions, certain old guard communists (the Maoists and Castroites, for example), and the so-called “eco-terrorists” or animal liberationists from the Left. Militants/nationalists/separatists among the minority ethnic groups along with white nationalists/separatists/supremacists. Radical Christian separatists and “pro-life terrorists” like the Army of God. Militant tax resisters like the Posse Comitatus. Anti-cop militants like the New Black Panther Party. About the only thing that these varying factions agree on is their common contempt for the present regime and that’s really the only thing they need to agree on. Effective military action is almost always rooted in tactical alliances among groups with no commonalities except common enemies. “An enemy of an enemy is a friend” as the old saying goes. Recall the alliances the between the capitalist US and Marxist Soviet Union or the Aryanist Germans and Imperial Japan during WW2.

During the 1960s and 1970s, various insurgent forces in Europe began recognizing the need for mutual collaboration against the common liberal-capitalist-imperialist enemy. For example, the Maoist-oriented Red Army Faction of Germany often relied on the “Far Right” as a source of weaponry. Similarly, factions of the Italian “Far Right” attempted to forge alliances with radical leftists like the Red Brigades for the purpose of waging a joint struggle against the state. This strategic outlook was given the derisive label of “Nazi-Maoism” or “right-wing anarchism” by its opponents, but it remains an insightful perspective nevertheless. The best bet for an insurgency in the contemporary US would a far-reaching military pact between all resistance forces, irrespective of ideology, particular political positions or specific objectives beyond removal of the present regime. Each of these factions would fight on their own “turf”, meaning within those geographical areas and among those population groups from whom they are derived, but in a way that was mutually supportive of one another in a military context. Perhaps the glorious day will arrive when alliances of militiamen, gang-bangers, separatists, anarchists and eco-terrorists march into city halls, statehouses and capitol buildings all across America and start shooting. What can be a common battle cry for anarchists and skinheads, militiamen and street gangs, libertarians and eco-terrorists, communists and tax resisters, pro-lifers and animal rightsers? Nothing less than “Death to the System!”

The question remains of what kind of alternative “system” this combination of state breakdown and armed domestic insurgency would produce. Even if the state retained power formally, or was split up into a number of smaller states, it would be so demoralized, decrepit, bankrupt and suffering from a loss of confidence and legitimacy as to render it incapable of effectively governing, which is precisely the goal. At the same time, while the insurgents collectively might be able to mount a formidable tactical offensive against the state, the ideologically fracticious nature and relative small size of each of these would prevent any one of them from forming a state of their own. For those of us who count ourselves as anarchists or libertarians, this would naturally be a welcome event. Those who have no principled objections to the state do not wish to be subjected to a state ruled by their enemies, so they should wish to avoid the re-emergence of an over-arching state as well. Meanwhile, the various insurgent factions might be able to set up sovereign enclaves for themselves. The Maoists can have their own “red zone” modeled after the “liberated territory” currently controlled by the Peoples’ War Group in Nepal. The militia can have their own zone modeled after the rebel-controlled regions of Colombia. The white nationalists can have their own homeland in the northwest and the black nationalists can have theirs in the deep south. In the cities, tribe-like enclaves can be carved out for competing gangs, political, religious or cultural factions. A new economy can emerge based on squatters rights with new towns and villages built with resources expropriated from state-corporate entities. In some Latin American and Asian cities, there are makeshift towns composed of squatters and usufructers complete with informal property titles and law and order provided by local drug lords. This might well serve as a model for American urban centers.

If the regime is successful at imposing a blockage on urban insurgencies, the example of the Palestinians serves as a model of resistance. The thing about martial law is that it almost always backfires on the regime that implements it. At first, the public at-large, the great mass of brainwashed ignoramuses, goes along for the sake of “order” or “security”. However, the intrusions and abuses necessary to a regime of martial law eventually serve the purpose of alienating large sectors of the “general public”. Witness the effect that martial law has had upon the Israeli body politic, even in a nation surrounded by enemy states. No doubt some of our “fellow Americans” will fight to the death to protect the regime. So be it. But plenty of others will come over to the insurgent side when the true face of the regime is fully exposed. Perhaps a new wave of suicide bombers will emerge. There are probably a lot more Tim McVeighs, Ted Kaczynskis and Andy McCraes in the making. Contrary to common opinion, it was the secular Tamil Tigers and not the Islamic fundamentalists who originated the modern concept of suicide bombings. There will certainly be plenty of scores to settle once the system starts breaking up. IRS, BATF, DEA, FBI, CIA, INS, US Bureau of Marshalls, federal Bureau of Prisons, federal judges, district attorneys, SWAT pigs, narcotics agents, red squads, vice squads, FEMA, prison administrators, EPA, etc., and all their cohorts in the so-called “private sector”. Each of these collective bodies of filth had better start packing their bags and booking a flight to China.

Once the system is effectively deposed, whether formally or informally, the revolutionary paramilitaries will be able to conduct raids on prison facilities and rescue those caught in the web of the prison-industrial complex slavocracy. Much formidable weaponry will no doubt come into the possession of the revolutionaries, as demoralized soldiers start to desert and abandon military bases and armories and police stations fall under the control of the revolutionary forces. Indeed, gang activity in many US cities has already rendered entire urban districts ungovernable. The idea is to spread this model to the entire US, or at least to capture enough territory to bring about the collapse of the present regime. Eventually, stability will return under a new decentralized, authentically pluralistic order. Recall the emergence of the classical feudal order following the demise of Rome. Will the new Vandals and Visigoths please step forward?

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