Urban guerrilla

Urban guerrilla

Carlos Marighella was a Brazilian revolutionary. While going underground, he wrote a number of articles, booklets and books that became his most famous contribution to guerrilla literature. 

Information. Joao Carlos Marighella (5 December 1911 – 4 November 1969) was a famous Brazilian social and political activist, leader of the Brazilian Communist Party (BCP), leader and founder of the National Liberation Action (Ação Libertadora Nacional,  ALN). Marighella joined the Communist Party in 1927. Since 1957 he was a member of the Political Bureau of the BCP Central Committee. He spent 8 years in prisons. In 1967 he left the Political Bureau of the BCP Central Committee and accused it of reformism and opportunism. On February 1968 Marighella founded the ALN, Brazilian communist guerrilla movement. It stood against the military dictatorship and for establishment of the revolutionary government.

Marighella’s most famous contribution to guerrilla literature was the Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla, written in June 1969. 

The book describes different aspects of urban guerillas activities, including the following: physical and psychological qualities necessary for urban guerillas; living conditions and combat training; use of firearms; small firing groups and their importance.

According to Marighella, the armed struggle of the urban guerrilla points towards two essential objectives: 

  •  the physical elimination of the leaders and assistants of the armed forces and of the police;
  •  the expropriation of government resources and the wealth belonging to the rich businessmen, the large landowners and the imperialists, with small expropriations used for the sustenance of the individual guerrillas and large ones for the maintenance of the revolutionary organization itself.

In unconventional warfare, in which urban guerrilla warfare is included, combat is at short range and often very close. The urban guerrilla’s weapons are light arms, easily obtained, usually captured from the enemy, purchased, or made on the spot. Light weapons have the advantage of fast handling and easy transport. Hand grenades and conventional smoke bombs can also be considered light weapons, with defensive power for cover and withdrawal.

In order to function, the urban guerrillas must be organized into small groups. A team of no more than four or five is called a firing group. The organization is an indestructable network of firing groups, and of coordinations among them, that functions simply and practically within a general command that also participates in attacks.

On that basis Marighella concludes that Brazil guerillas must possess mobility and attack the enemy by surprise.

Carlos Marighella pays special attention to armed propaganda and psychological operations. With the support of local governments, mass communication media become the means of emotional impact. Marighella concludes that under current conditions media industry can be a strong instrument in influencing peoples’ consciousness and we may say that there exists “mass communication media fascism”. Due to armed struggle, peoples’ consciousness is awakened from mass communication media’s manipulative influence.

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