Mini-manual of the Urban Guerrilla Part II

By Carlos Marighella

Armored cars including military cars, are not immune to mines. Obstructed roads, traps, ruses, interception of other vehicles, Molotov cocktails, shooting with heavy arms, are efficient methods of assaulting vehicles.

Heavy vehicles, grounded planes, anchored ships can be seized and their crew and guards
overcome. Airplanes in flight can be diverted from their course by guerrilla action or by one person.

Ships and trains in movement can be assaulted or taken by guerrilla operations in order to capture the arms and munitions or to prevent troop deployment.

Important innovations in this technique of assaulting banks have developed, guaranteeing flight, the withdrawal of money, and the anonymity of those involved. Among these innovations we cite shooting the tires of cars to prevent pursuit; locking people in the bank bathroom, making them sit on the floor; immobilizing the bank guards and removing their arms, forcing someone to open the coffer or the strong box; using disguises.

The bank assault is a typical expropriation. But, as is true in any kind of armed expropriatory action, the revolutionary is handicapped by a two-fold competition:

a) competition from the outlaw;
b) competition from the right-wing counterrevolutionary.

This competition produces confusion, which is reflected in the people’s uncertainty. It is up to the urban guerrilla to prevent this from happening, and to accomplish this he must use two methods:

a) he must avoid the outlaw’s technique, which is one of unnecessary violence and appropriation of good and possessions belonging to the people;
b) he must use the assault for propaganda purposes, at the very moment it is taking place, and later distribute material, leaflets, every possible means of explaining the objectives and the principles of the urban guerrilla as expropriator of the government and the ruling classes.

The occupation of factories and schools during strikes or at other times is a method of protest or of distracting the enemy’s attention.

The occupation of radio stations is for propaganda purposes.

Occupation is a highly effective model for action but, in order to prevent losses and material damage to our ranks, it is always a good idea to count on the possibility of withdrawal. It must always be meticulously planned and carried out at the opportune moment.

Occupation always has a time limit and the faster it is completed the better.

Ambushes are attacks typified by surprise when the enemy is trapped across a road or when he makes a police net surrounding a house or an estate. A false message can bring the enemy to the spot where he falls into the trap.

The principle object of the ambush tactic is to capture enemy arms and punish him with death.
Ambushes to halt passenger trains are for propaganda purposes and, when they are troop trains, the object is to annihilate the enemy and seize his arms.

The urban guerrilla sniper is the kind of fighter especially suited for ambush because he can hide easily in the irregularities of the terrain, on the roof and tops of buildings and apartments under construction. From windows and dark places, he can take careful aim at his chosen target.

Ambush has devastating effects on the enemy, leaving him unnerved, insecure, and fearful.

Other street tactics consist in constructing barricades; pulling up paving blocks and hurling them at the police; throwing bottles, bricks, paperweights, and other projectiles from the tops of apartment and office buildings against the police; using buildings under construction for flight, hiding, and for supporting surprise attacks.

When the mines explode, the vehicles will fly into the air. The police will be caught in the trap and will suffer losses.

Street tactics have revealed a new type of urban guerrilla, the urban guerrilla who participates in mass demonstrations. This is the type we designate as the urban guerrilla demonstrator, who joins the ranks and participates in popular marches with specific and definite aims.

These aims consist in hurling stones and projectiles of every type, using gasoline to start fires, using the police as a target for their fire arms, capturing police arms, kidnapping agents of the enemy and provocateurs, shooting with careful aim at the henchmen torturers and the police chiefs who come in special cars with false plates in order not to attract attention.

The urban guerrilla demonstrator shows in the mass demonstration the flight route if that is necessary. He plants mines, throws Molotov cocktails, prepares ambushes and explosions.

The urban guerrilla demonstrator must also initiate the net within the net, going through government vehicles, official cars, and police vehicles before turning them over or setting them on fire, to see if any of them have money and arms.

Snipers are very good for mass demonstrations and, along with the urban guerilla demonstrators, can play a valuable role.

The strike is a model of action employed by the urban guerrilla in work centers and schools to damage the enemy by stopping work study activities. Because it is one of the weapons most feared by the exploiters and oppressors, the enemy uses tremendous fighting power and incredible violence against it. The strikers are taken to prison, suffer beatings, and many of them wind up assassinated.

The urban guerrilla must prepare the strike in such a way as to leave no tracks or clues that identify the leaders of the action. A strike is successful when it is organized through the action of a small group, if it is carefully prepared in secret and by the most clandestine methods.

Arms, ammunition. Molotovs, homemade weapons of destruction and attack, all this must be supplied beforehand in order to meet the enemy. So that it can do the greatest possible damage, it is a good idea to study and put into a sabotage plan.

Work and study interruptions, although they are of brief duration, cause severe damage to the enemy.
It is enough for them to crop up at different points and in different sections of the same area, disrupting daily life, occurring endlessly one after the other, in authentic guerrilla fashion.

The liberation of prisoners is an armed operation designed to free the jailed urban guerrilla. In daily struggle against the enemy, the urban guerrilla is subject to arrest and can be sentenced to unlimited years in jail. This does not mean that the revolutionary battle stops here. For the guerrilla, his experience is deepened by prison and continues even in the dungeons where he is held.

The imprisoned urban guerrilla views jail as a terrain he must dominate and understand in order to free himself by a guerrilla operation. There is no prison, either on an island, in a city penitentiary, or on a farm, that is impregnable to slyness, the cleverness, and the firing potential of the revolutionaries.

The urban guerrilla who is free views the penal establishments of the enemy as the inevitable site of guerrilla action designed to liberate his ideological brothers from prison.

Those who go to the police of their own free will to make denunciations and accusations, who supply clues and information and finger people, must also be executed when they are caught by the urban guerrilla.

Kidnaping is used to exchange or liberate imprisoned revolutionary comrades, or to force suspension of torture in the jail cells of the military dictatorship.

The kidnaping of personalities who are known artists, sports figures, or are outstanding in some other field, but who have evidenced no political interest, can be a useful form of propaganda for the revolutionary and patriotic principles of the urban guerrilla provided it occurs under special circumstances, and the kidnaping is handled so that the public sympathizes with it and accepts it.

Sabotage is a highly destructive type of attack using very few persons and sometimes requiring only one to accomplish the desired result. When the urban guerrilla uses sabotage the first phase is isolated sabotage. Then comes the phase of dispersed and generalized sabotage, carried out by the people.

Well-executed sabotage demands study, planning, and careful execution. A characteristic form of sabotage is explosion using dynamite, fire, and the placing of mines.

A little sand, a trickle of any kind of combustible, a poor lubrication, a screw removed, a short circuit, pieces of wood or of iron, can cause irreparable damage.

Industrial workers acting as urban guerrillas are excellent industrial saboteurs since they, better than anyone, understand the industry, the factory, the machine, or the part most likely to destroy an entire operation, doing far more damage than a poorly informed layman could do.

With respect to the enemy’s transport and communications system, beginning with railway traffic, it is necessary to attack them systematically with sabotage arms.

The caution is against causing death and fatal injury to passengers, especially regular commuters on suburban and long-distance trains.

Attacks on freight trains, rolling or stationary stock, stoppage of military transport and communication systems, these are the major sabotage objectives in this area.

The military and police repression centers and their specific and specialized organs, must also claim the attention of the urban guerrilla saboteur.

It is essential to point out the importance of fires and the construction of incendiary bombs such as gasoline bombs in the technique of revolutionary terrorism. Another thing is the importance of the material the urban guerrilla can persuade the people to expropriate in moments of hunger and scarcity resulting from the greed of the big commercial interests.

Sleepers can be damaged and pulled up, as can rails. A tunnel blocked by a barrier after an explosion, an obstruction by a derailed car, cause tremendous harm.

The war of nerves or psychological war is an aggressive technique, based on the direct or indirect use of mass means of communication and news transmitted orally in order to demoralize the government.

In psychological warfare the government is always at a dis advantage since it imposes censorship on the mass media and winds up in a defensive position by not allowing anything against it to filter through.

At this point it becomes desperate, is involved in greater contradictions and loss of prestige, and losses time and energy in an exhausting effort at control which is subject to being broken at any moment.

The object of the war of nerves is to misinform, spreading lies among the authorities, in which everyone can participate, thus creating an air of nervousness, discredit, insecurity, uncertainty, and concern on the part of the government.

The best methods used by the urban guerrilla in the war of nerves are the following:

a) using the telephone and the mail to announce false clues to the police and the government, including information on the plating of bombs and any other act of terrorism in public offices and other places, kidnapping and assassination plans, etc., to oblige the authorities to wear themselves out, following up the information fed them;
b) letting false plans fall into the hands of the police to divert their attention;
c) planting rumors to make the government uneasy;
d) exploiting by every means possible the corruption, the errors, and failures of the government and its representatives, forcing them into demoralizing explanations and justifications in the very mass communication media they maintain under censorship.

The urban guerrilla who correctly carries through his apprenticeship and training must give the greatest importance to his method of carrying out action, for in this he cannot commit the slightest error.

Any carelessness in the assimilation of the method and its use invites certain disaster, as experience teaches everyday.

The withdrawal is equally or more important than the operation itself, to the point that it must be rigorously planned, including the possibility of failure.

The problem of the wounded in urban guerrilla warfare merits special attention. During guerrilla operations in the urban area it may happen that some comrade is accidentally wounded or shot by the police. When a guerrilla in the firing group has a knowledge of first aid he can do something for the wounded comrade on the spot. In no circumstances can the wounded urban guerrilla be abandoned at the site of the battle or left to the enemy’s hands.

One of the precautions we must take is to set up nursing courses for men and women, courses in which the urban guerrilla can matriculate and learn the elementary techniques of first aid.

The urban guerrilla doctor, student of medicine, nurse, pharmacologist, or simply the person trained in first aid, is a necessity in modern revolutionary struggle.

The houses in which the wounded stay cannot be known to anybody with the unique and exclusive exception of the small group of comrades responsible for their treatment and transport.

Sheets, bloody clothing, medicine, and any other indication of treatment of the comrades wounded in combat with the police, must be completely eliminated from any place they visit to receive medical treatment.

The urban guerrilla lives in constant danger of the possibility of being discovered or denounced. The chief security problem is to make certain that we are well hidden and well guarded, and that there are secure methods to keep the police from locating us or our whereabouts.

The urban guerrilla lives in constant danger of the possibility of being discovered or denounced. The chief security problem is to make certain that we are well hidden and well guarded, and that there are secure methods to keep the police from locating us or our whereabouts.

The worst enemy of the urban guerrilla and the major danger we run is infiltration into our organization by a spy or an informer.

The spy trapped within the organization will be punished with death. The same goes for those who desert and inform the police.

A good security is the certainty that the enemy has no spies and agents infiltrated in our midst and can receive no information about us even by indirect or distant means. The fundamental way to insure this is to be cautious and strict in recruiting.

Nor is it permissible for everyone to know everyone and everything else. Each person should know only what related to his work. This rule is a fundamental point in the abc’s of urban guerrilla security.

The battle that we are waging against the enemy is arduous and difficult because it is a class struggle. Every class struggle is a battle of life or death when the classes are antagonistic.

The enemy wants to annihilate us and fights relentlessly to find us and destroy us, so that our great weapon consists in hiding from him and attacking him by surprise.

The most important lesson for guerrilla security is never, under any circumstances, to permit the slightest sign of laxity in the maintenance of security measures and regulations with in the organization.

Guerrilla security must be maintained also and principally in cases of arrest. The arrested guerrilla can reveal nothing to the police that will jeopardize the organization. He can say nothing that may lead, as a consequence, to the arrest of other comrades, the discovery of addresses and hiding places, the loss of arms and ammunition.

Even when the urban guerrilla applies his revolutionary technique with precision and rigorously abides by security rules, he can still be vulnerable to errors. There is no perfect urban guerrilla. The most he can do is to make every effort diminish the margin of error since he cannot be perfect.

Where government actions become inept and corrupt, the urban guerrilla should not hesitate to step in to show that he opposes the government and to gain mass sympathy. The present government, for example, imposes heavy financial burdens and excessively high taxes on the people. It is up to the urban guerrilla to attack the dictatorship’s tax collection system and to obstruct its financial activity, throwing all the weight of violent revolutionary action against it.

The government has no alternative except to intensify repression. The police networks, house searches, arrests of innocent people and of suspects, closing off streets, make life in the city unbearable. The military dictatorship embarks on massive political persecution. Political assassinations and police terror become routine.

In spite of all this, the police systematically fail. The armed forces, the navy, and the air force are mobilized and undertake routine police functions. Even so they find no way to halt guerrilla operations, nor to wipe out the revolutionary organization with its fragmented groups that move around and operate throughout the national territory persistently and contagiously.

The people refuse to collaborate with the authorities, and the general sentiment is that the government is unjust, incapable of solving problems, and resorts purely and simply to the physical liquidation of its opponents.

The people now understand that it is a farce to vote in elections which have as their sole objective guaranteeing the continuation of the Super Rich dictatorship and covering up its crimes.