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                                Volume 1, Issue 5; September 2003 $1.00

                A L L I A N C E !  A Revolutionary Communist Monthly


Where We Stand:  Terrorism or Revolution?
An Introduction

    “Terrorism” has become the great political buzzword of our day.  In the hands of spokespersons for US imperialism or the bourgeois media, the term “terrorism/ist” is equivalent to anyone who disagrees with or takes action against US policy.  Hence, groups as widely divergent as Al-Qaeda and the Columbian FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia,) the former a fundamentalist Islamist group, the latter putatively ‘Communist,” are both damned as being “terrorists.”  Yet groups such as the Nicaraguan Contras, who in the 1980s routinely performed acts of sabotage and assassination, are hailed as “freedom fighters.”  Although both sets of organizations engaged in political violence (of differing sorts) the first is opposed to US policy, the second embraces it.  ‘With us, you’re a freedom fighter; against us, you’re a terrorist,’ is Washington’s maxim.

    However, despite the Orwellian cynicism emanating from the White House, many honest people are confused by the sobriquet, “terrorism.”  Many questions beg to be answered:  What is terrorism?  Are all acts of political violence terrorism?  What stand do the Communists take on the issue of terrorism, especially since some groups claiming to be “Communist” engage in seemingly terrorist activity?  These questions cut right to the heart of contemporary political affairs and address some of the most controversial issues of our day.  IT IS THEREFORE IMPORTANT THAT WE SHOULD BE CLEAR ON
        A "Punishment for Opportunism"  

    The victory of revisionism in the international communist movement has transformed the Communist Parties of most countries into parties that objectively serve the interests of monopoly capital by preaching the illusion of "peaceful, parliamentary transition to socialism.” These parties are seen ever more clearly by those who have become rebels against the evils of modern capitalist society to become "left-wing" opportunist parties, drawn more and more into the political machinery of the capitalist state as instruments of deception of the working people.  In the absence of scientific parties of socialist revolution, it is inevitable that rebelliousness should manifest itself to a certain extent in the form of unscientific "leftist" activity such as terrorism.  
In speaking of anarchism of which terrorism is one of the two fundamental concepts (the other being repudiation of the state in all its forms), Lenin made precisely this point when he described it as "a sort of punishment for opportunism" in the working class movement:
"Anarchism was often a sort of punishment for the opportunist sins of the working class movement. Both monstrosities mutually supplemented each other.” (Lenin, Selected Works, 10, p. 71)
        Petty-bourgeois Rebelliousness  

    The rebelliousness that manifests itself in the form of terrorism is essentially that of persons drawn from, or with the
Continued on page three.

    outlook of, the petty-bourge-oisie:
"Petty-bourgeois revolutionariness, which smacks of, or borrows something from anarchism . . . in all essentials falls short of the conditions and requirements of sustained proletarian class struggle. . . The small proprietor, the small master, (a social type that is represented in many European countries on a wide mass scale). . easily becomes extremely revolutionary, but is incapable of displaying perseverance, discipline and staunchness. The petty bourgeois in a 'frenzy' over the horrors of capitalism is a social phenomenon, which, like anarchism, is characteristic of all capitalist countries. The instability of such revolutionariness, its barrenness, its liability to become swiftly transformed into submission, apathy, something fantastic, and even into a 'mad' infatuation with one or another bourgeois 'fad' -- all this is a matter of common knowledge.” (Ibid, pp. 70-71)
    The petty bourgeoisie is a class that is in process of rapid destruction by monopoly capital - so that, anarchism must be seen as a political reflection of the desperate and futile striving of the petty bourgeois to retain their individual freedom:
"The philosophy of the anarchists is bourgeois philosophy turned inside out. Their individualistic theories and their individualistic ideal are the very opposite of socialism. Their views express, not the future of bourgeois society, which is striding with irresistible force towards the socialization of labour, but the present and even the past of that society, the domination of blind chance over the scattered and isolated small producer.”  (Ibid, p. 73)

"The point is that Marxism and anarchism are built up on entirely different principles in spite of the fact that both come into the arena of struggle under the flag of socialism. The cornerstone of anarchism is the individual, whose emancipation, according to its tenets, is the principal condition for the emancipation of the masses, the collective body. According to the tenets of anarchism, the emancipation of the masses is impossible until the individual is emancipated. Accordingly, its slogan is: 'Everything for the individual’. The cornerstone of Marxism, however, is the masses, whose emancipation, according to its tenets, is the principal condition for the emancipation of the individual. That is to say, according to the tenets of Marxism, the emancipation of the individual is impossible until the masses are emancipated. Accordingly, its slogan is: "Everything for the masses!"  (Stalin, Works, 1, p. 299).  
    Though very different, both terrorism and economism (the theory that the working class can be expected to engage only in economic, and not political, struggles) have common roots in the "theory of spontaneity" -- which rejects the possibility of elevating the working class to socialist consciousness through the propaganda and day-to-day leadership of a vanguard party:   
"The Economists and the modern terrorists spring from a common root, namely, subservience to spontaneity. . . At first sight, our assertion may appear paradoxical, for the difference between these two appears to be so enormous: one stresses the 'drab everyday struggle' and the other calls for the most self-sacrificing struggle of individuals. But this is not a paradox. The Economists and terrorists merely bow to different poles of spontaneity: the Economists bow to the spontaneity of the 'pure and simple' labour movements while the terrorists bow to the spontaneity of the passionate indignation of the intellectuals, who are either incapable of linking up the revolutionary struggle with the labour movement, or lack the opportunity to do so. It is very difficult indeed for those who have lost their belief, or who have never believed that this is possible, to find some other outlet for their indignation and revolutionary energy than terror.”  (Lenin, Selected Works, 2, p. 94).  

"The present-day terrorists are really 'economists' turned inside out, going to the equally foolish but opposite extreme.”  (Lenin, Collected Works, 6, p. 192)
    Thus, terrorism -- like economism -- reflects the lack of faith of the petty bourgeoisie in the masses of the working people.   Reviewing a leaflet issued by the Socialist-Revolutionaries in 1902, Lenin remarks:   
“The April 3 leaflet follows the pattern of the terrorists' latest arguments with remarkable accuracy. The first thing that strike's the eye is the words: 'we advocate terrorism, not in place of work among the masses, but precisely for and simultaneously with that work'. They strike the eye particularly because these words are printed in letters three times as large as the rest of the text. But just read the whole leaflet and you will see that the protestation in bold type takes the name of the masses in vain. The day "when the working people will emerge from the shadows' and 'the mighty popular wave will shatter the iron gates to smithereens' 'alas' (literally, 'alas!') 'is still a long way off, and it is frightful to think of the future toll of victims!' Do not these words 'alas, still a long way off' - reflect an utter failure to understand the mass movement and a lack of faith in it?"  (Ibid. pp. 190-91).  

    "Individual" Terrorism   

    In repudiating terrorism, Marxist-Leninists are speaking, of course, of what is generally termed "individual terrorism", such acts as the assassination of a reactionary judge or the planting of a car bomb outside the office of a government department.  Any action which targets civilians and non-combatants is absolutely rejected and repudiated by Marxist-Leninists.  In the sense of "attempting to strike terror into an enemy" Marxist-Leninists by no means reject the use of terrorism.  The socialist revolution can be brought about only against the armed men who form the core of the machinery of force of the capitalist state, and one of the aims of armed struggle is to strike terror into the enemy and so facilitate his defeat. Again, one of the functions of a state is to strike terror into those who might attempt to overthrow it. Thus, the dictatorship of the working class, which must be installed on the victory of the socialist revolution, has as one of its aims to strike terror into the overthrown capitalist class, and its active supporters, so as to restrain their desire to overthrow the power of the working class.   

    Marxist-Leninists, therefore, repudiate individual terrorism not on the grounds that terrorism -- in the sense of striking terror into the enemy – is unethical, but because acts of individual terrorism harm the cause they purport to serve:   
"In principle we have never rejected, and cannot reject terror. Terror is one of the forms of military action that perfectly suitable and even essential at a definite juncture in
Continued on page four.

the battle, given a definite state of the troops and the existence of definite conditions. Nevertheless, the important point is that terror, at the present time, is by no means suggested as an operation for the army in the field, an operation closely connected with and integrated into the entire system of struggle. Without a central body and with weakness of local revolutionary originations, this in fact, is all that terror can be. We, therefore, declare emphatically that under the present conditions such a means of struggle is inopportune and unsuitable; that it diverts the most active fighters from their real task, the task which is most important from the standpoint of the interests of the movement as a whole, it disorganizes the forces not of the government, but of the revolution.”  (Lenin, Collected Works, 5, p. 19.)   
"Of course, we reject individual terrorism only out of considerations of expediency; upon those who 'on principle' were capable of condemning the terror of the Great French Revolution, or the terror in general employed by a victorious revolutionary party which is besieged by the bourgeoisie of the whole world -- upon such people even Plekhanov in 1900-0, when he was a Marxist, and a revolutionary, heaped ridicule and scorn.”  (Lenin, Selected Works, 10, p.72)   
Usually no one individual is generally capable of planning and carrying out a series of terrorist acts.  Nonetheless such acts constitute "individual terrorism" in so far as the organizations involved in them are extremely small, composed of a few skilled persons (usually petty bourgeois intellectuals), and secret (to the working class if not to the police).
Spurious Arguments for Terrorism   
The advocates of terrorism argue that terrorist acts weaken the capitalist state machine and so assist the revolutionary process.  However, if a judge is assassinated, there are a dozen reactionary barristers waiting to step into his shoes; if a courthouse is destroyed, it can be rebuilt at the cost of the working people. The strength of the state relative to that of a small terrorist group, and the protective measures which the state has the power to take when a threat of terrorist acts becomes apparent, causes terrorism to be directed increasingly against the less well defended -- because less important -- aspects of the state. Indeed, this process often results in the activity of terrorist groups, in an effort to evade the defenses erected by the state degenerating into mere indiscriminate acts of destruction in which working people are killed and maimed.   

    Reviewing the leaflet of the Socialist-Revolutionaries already mentioned, Lenin poured scorn on the illusion that the state could be significantly weakened by acts of terrorism:   
"Just listen to what follows: 'every terrorist blow, as it were, takes away part of the strength of the autocracy and transfers (!) all this strength (!) to the side of the fighters for freedom’. 'And if terrorism is practiced systematically (!) it is obvious that the scales of the balance will finally weigh down on our side'. Yes, indeed, it is obvious to all that we have here in its grossest form one of the greatest prejudices of the terrorists: political assassination of itself 'transfers strength."  (Lenin, Collected Works, 6, p.191)   
    The advocates of terrorism also argue that terrorist acts "excite" the masses to greater revolutionary enthusiasm.  This theory, too, was discussed by Lenin:   
"It would be interesting to note here the specific arguments that 'Svoboda' (a terrorist group-- Ed.) advanced in defense of terrorism. It . . . stresses its excitative significance . . . It is difficult to imagine an argument that disproves itself more than this one does! Are there not enough outrages committed in Russian life that a special 'stimulant' has to be invented? On the other hand, is it not obvious that those who are not, and cannot be aroused to excitement even by Russian tyranny will stand by ‘twiddling their thumbs’ –even while a handful of terrorists are engaged in a single combat with the government? The fact is, however, that the masses of the workers are roused to a high pitch of excitement by the outrages committed in Russian life, but we are unable to collect, if one may put it that way, and concentrate all these drops and streamlets of popular excitement, which are called forth by the conditions of Russian life to a far larger extent than we imagine, but which it is precisely necessary to combine into a single gigantic flood.. . Calls for terror. . are merely forms of evading the most pressing duty that now rests upon Russian revolutionaries, namely, to organize all-sided political agitation. ‘Svoboda’ desires to substitute terror for agitation, openly admitting that 'as soon as intensified and strenuous agitation is commenced among the masses its excitative function will be finished.” (Lenin, Selected Works, 2, pp. 96-97)   

"Nor does the leaflet eschew the theory of excitative terrorism.’Each time a hero engages in single combat, this arouses in us all a spirit of struggle and courage', we are told. But . . . single combat has the immediate effect of simply creating a short-lived sensation, while indirectly it even leads to apathy and passive waiting for the next bout. We are further assured that 'every flash of terrorism lights up the mind’ which unfortunately, we have not noticed to be the case with the terrorism preaching party of the Socialist-Revolutionaries.”  (Lenin, Collected Works; 6; p.193)   
    A Pretext for Repression   

    The Marxist-Leninist case against terrorism is not merely that it amounts to a repudiation of the need for the political mobilization of the masses of the working class -- the force that alone is capable of smashing the state machinery of force of monopoly capital:   
'Their tactics (i.e., of the anarchists -- Ed.) . . . amount to a repudiation of the political struggle, disunite the proletarians and convert them in fact into passive participators in one bourgeois policy, or another.”  (Lenin, Collected Works, 10, p. 73)
    In fact, far from weakening the state, acts of terrorism provide the pretext for the strengthening of the state machinery of force and for the imposition of repressive measures against the genuine progressive movement -- measures which, without that pretext, would arouse much more vigorous opposition from the working people. In this respect, terrorist groups, whatever their intentions, objectively assist monopoly capital.  Thus, the counter-productive hi-jacking of civilian airliners by Arab terrorists was, used by King Hussein of Jordan as the pretext for a war of extermination in September 1970 against the Palestine liberation forces in Jordan, an act necessary to the new policy of US imperialism in the Middle East.   

    In the United States, historically, terrorist acts provided the pretext for the strengthening of the FBI, for police raids on the homes and offices of anti-war activists, and for widespread ‘bugging’ and wire-tapping of opposition organizations.   
Continued on page five.
Agents Provocateurs   
    An agent of the class enemy who succeeds in entering a revolutionary, or pseudo-revolutionary, organization is generally an agent of the state intelligence service. His aim, in doing so may simply be to collect information about the members, leaders, strength, etc.; of the organization for the benefit of the state (that is, to act as a spy), or it may also be to seek to incite the members of the organization to commit a terrorist act which would provide a pretext- -- a pretext that would seem a reasonable one to wide sections of working people -- for some repressive measure or measures on the part of the state (that is, to act as an agent provocateur).   

    Where it is not possible to incite a terrorist group to commit a terrorist act desired by the state, this might be performed directly by the intelligence service itself. Moreover, where one or more terrorist groups exist, it is difficult or impossible for an outsider to know whether a particular act of terrorism has been carried out by such a group or by the intelligence service. In either case, however, the act may provide the pretext for some repressive measure or measures on the part of the state directed at the genuine progressive movement.   

    The most notorious example of such a terrorist act carried but by the state itself is, of course, the burning of the Reichstag in 1933 to provide the pretext for the repression of the Communist Party of Germany, even though that party was completely opposed to the carrying out of such acts of terrorism.   

    Within a genuine revolutionary organization, it is difficult to distinguish an agent provocateur from an honest, but misguided exponent of "left" adventurism.  Indeed this distinction can be made, not based on political analysis, but only by means of counter-intelligence activity, that reveals the agent's connection with the state.  However, an agent provocateur is powerless to incite an act of terrorism on the part of a genuine revolutionary organization unless there is support for such acts on the part of a majority of the members. The cardinal task, therefore, is to expose terrorism politically to its honest, but misguided, supporters, thus isolating the agent provocateur and opening the way to his exposure to the members and supporters of the organization and his expulsion from it:   
"We must get the workers to understand that while the killing of spies, agents provocateurs and traitors may sometimes of course, be absolutely unavoidable, it is highly undesirable and mistaken to make a system of it, and that we must strive to create an organization which will be able to render spies innocuous by exposing them and tracking them down. It is impossible to do away with all spies, but to create an organization which will ferret them out and educate the working class masses is both possible and necessary.”  (Lenin, Collected Works, 6, p. 245)  
    In addition, of course, given a partially clandestine organization with adequate security measures and tight discipline, the harm that agents may do to a Marxist-Leninist Party may be limited, and they can even be compelled to do positive Party work – as Lenin pointed out in the case of the tsarist police agent Roman Malinovsky:  
"In 1912 … an agent provocateur, Malinovsky got into the Central Committee, of the Bolsheviks. He betrayed scores and scores of the best and most loyal comrades, caused them to be sent to penal servitude and hastened the death of many of them. If he did not cause even more harm than he did, it was because we had established proper coordination between our legal and illegal work. As a member of the Central Committee of the Party and a deputy in the Duma, Malinovsky was forced, in order to gain our confidence, to aid us in establishing legal daily paper. While with one hand Malinovsky sent scores and scores of the best Bolsheviks to penal servitude, and to death, with the other he was compelled to assist in the education of scores and scores of thousands of new Bolsheviks through the medium of the legal press.”  (Lenin, Selected Works, 10, p. 85)   
Guerilla Warfare
    Socialist revolution involves armed struggle -- that is civil war - between, on the one hand, the machinery of force under the leadership of its Marxist-Leninist vanguard party, and on the other hand – the machinery of force of the capitalist state.  Guerilla warfare is a form of armed struggle waged by relatively small units of armed men against a considerably stronger armed force – in the case of revolutionary guerilla warfare against the armed force of a reactionary state. The essence of guerilla military tactics is to make localized "hit-and-run" attacks on the weakest and most exposed sectors of the enemy's forces, so nibbling away at his strength without the losses to one’s own forces that would result from a direct confrontation with his main forces. Thus, revolutionary guerilla warfare must be seen as a development of the struggle for socialist revolution -- when this has reached the stage of armed struggle:   
    Firstly, before this armed struggle has reached the stage of a country-wide armed uprising, and
    Secondly, when it has reached the stage of a countrywide armed uprising in the intervals between major engagements:
"The phenomenon in which we are interested (i.e., guerilla warfare - Ed.) - is the armed struggle. It is conducted by individuals and by small groups . . . Guerilla warfare is an inevitable form of` struggle at a time when the mass movement has actually reached the point of an uprising and when fairly large intervals occur between the 'big engagements’ in the civil war. . . An uprising cannot assume the old form of individual acts restricted to a very short time and to a very small area. It is absolutely natural and inevitable that the uprising should assume the higher and more complex form of a prolonged civil war embracing the whole country. . .  Such a war cannot be conceived otherwise than as a series of a few big engagements at comparatively long intervals and a large number of small encounters during these intervals. That being so -- and it is undoubtedly so – the Social-Democrats  (i.e., Marxist-Leninists — Ed.) must absolutely make it their duty to create organizations best adapted to lead, the masses in these big engagements and, as far as possible, in these small encounters as well.”  (Lenin, Collected Works, 11, pp. 216, 219, 222-23)  
    Revolutionary guerilla warfare has three principal aims:   
    Firstly, to weaken the military and paramilitary armed forces of  the capitalist state (and of fascist militia) by killing their officers and men
Continued on page six.                   
"The Party must regard the fighting guerrilla operations of the squads affiliated or associated with it as being, in principle, permissible and advisable in the present period. . . the paramount immediate object of these operations is to destroy the government, police and military machinery, and to wage a relentless struggle against the active Black Hundred Organizations  (i.e. rural fascist-type organizations in Tsarist Russia -- Ed.) which are using violence against the population and intimidating it.” (Lenin, Collected Works, 10, p. 154).   

"In the first place, this (guerilla - Ed.) struggle aims at assassinating individuals, chiefs or subordinates, in the army and police.” (Lenin, Collected Works, 11, p. 216) 
    Secondly, to give practical military training to working class leaders: 
"The character of these fighting guerilla operations must be adjusted to the task of training leaders of the masses of the workers at a time of insurrection, and of acquiring experience in conducting offensive and surprise military operations.” (Lenin, Collected Works, 10, p. 154)  
    Thirdly, to confiscate funds in the possession of the capitalist class for the use of the revolutionary movement:   
"In the second place, it aims at the confiscation of monetary funds both from the government and from private persons. The confiscated funds go into the treasury of the Party, partly for the special purpose of arming and preparing for an uprising, and partly for the maintenance of the persons engaged in the struggle we are describing.” (Lenin, Collected Works, 11, p. 216)  

"Fighting operations are also permissible for the purpose of seizing funds belonging to the enemies, i.e., the autocratic government, to meet the needs of insurrection, particular care being taken so that the interests of the people are infringed as little as possible.” (Lenin, Collected Works, 10,  p. 154)   
    So deep was the respect for private property inculcated in the minds of a majority of the delegates to the 1906 Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, that the congress approved guerilla warfare for the purpose of killing soldiers and police, but rejected Lenin's clause approving it for the purpose of confiscating funds from the ruling class for the financing of the revolutionary movement.   

Terrorism vs. Revolutionary Guerrilla Warfare.
    At first glance, the distinction between terrorism (which Marxist-Leninists oppose), and revolutionary guerilla warfare (which Marxist-Leninists support) seems blurred. In fact, however, the distinction is quite clear.   

    In the first place, guerilla warfare becomes a correct revolutionary tactic only when it has the support of the mass of the working people in the locality in which it is carried out:   
"Fighting guerilla organizations must be conducted … such a way as . . .  to ensure that the state of the working class movement and the mood of the broad masses of the given locality are taken into account.” (Lenin, Collected Works, l0, p. 154)   
    In the second place, and following from the above, guerilla war becomes a revolutionary tactic only when the class struggle has been elevated, as a result of correct day-to-day leadership by the Marxist-Leninist Party, to the stage where the mass of the working people have come to see the armed-forces of the capitalist state and the fascist bands as their irreconcilable enemies who must be fought.  For only then will this guerilla warfare have the support of the mass of the working people in the locality in which it is carried out. Terrorist acts, on the other hand, are carried out before this stage has been reached and in isolation from the class struggle of the working people:  
"This act was in no way connected with the masses, and moreover could, not have been by reason of the very way in which it was carried out --that the persons who committed this terrorist act neither counted on nor hoped for any definitive action nor support on the part of the masses. In their naiveté, the Socialist-Revolutionaries do not realize that their predilection for terrorism is most intimately linked with the fact that, from the very outset, they have always kept, and still keep, aloof from the working class movement, without even attempting to become a party of the revolutionary class which is waging the class struggle.”  (Lenin, Collected Works, 6, p. 189)   
    In the third place, guerilla warfare becomes a correct revolutionary tactic in the special circumstance that it is conducted under the control of the Marxist-Leninist Party:  
"Fighting guerilla organizations must be conducted under the control of the Party.”  (Lenin, Collected Works, 10, p. 154)  
    Individual terrorism, whatever the motives of the terrorists, objectively serves the interests of the forces opposed to social and national liberation. It is necessary for Marxist-Leninists, therefore, to expose terrorism for what it is, and to wage a principled and consistent struggle against this ideology and against this practice.