Anarchism or Vanguardism? Critique of Guerrilla Ideology of the IRPGF


Guerrilla ideology reduces all revolutionary questions to quantitative problems of military force. Nothing could be more disastrous. – James Carr,

Power does not come any more from the barrel of a gun than it comes from a ballot box. No revolution is peaceful, but its “military” dimension is never central. The question is not whether the proles finally decide to break into the armouries, but whether they unleash what they are: commodified beings who no longer can and no longer want to exist as commodities, and whose revolt explodes capitalist logic. Barricades and machine guns flow from this “weapon”.

The greater the change in social life, the less guns will be needed, and the less casualties there will be. A communist revolution will never resemble a slaughter: not from any nonviolent principle, but because revolution subverts more (soldiers included) than it actually destroys.

To imagine a proletarian front facing off a bourgeois front is to conceive the proletariat in bourgeois terms, on the model of a political revolution or a war (seizing someone’s power, occupying their territory). In so doing, one reintroduces everything that the insurrectionary movement had overwhelmed: hierarchy, a respect for specialists, for knowledge that Knows, and for techniques to solve problems — in short for everything that plays down the role of the common man.Gilles Dauve, When Insurrections Die

SEE ALSO  .. Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Force Expands.. plus..Experiences in Rojava ..

“Revolutionary” acts are no longer appraised in terms of the situation in which they are embedded, the possibilities they open up or close. What happens instead is that a form is extracted from each one of them. A particular sabotage, occurring at a particular moment, for a particular reason, becomes simply a sabotage. And the sabotage quietly takes its place among certified revolutionary practices on a scale where throwing a Molotov ranks higher than throwing rocks, but lower than kneecapping, which itself is not worth as much as a bomb. The problem is that no form of action is revolutionary in itself: sabotage has also been practiced by reformists and by Nazis. A movement’s degree of “violence” is not indicative of its revolutionary determination.The Invisible Committee, To Our Friends

The whole gun thing, it just makes me really hot.Charlie Kelly, Gun Fever Too: Still Hot

Over the past few months, the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF), a new anarchist group fighting in Rojava, have published a fair few interviews and texts setting out their positions. On a purely defensive level, I certainly appreciate anyone fighting against ISIS in the name of international antifascist solidarity, but the IRPGF go way beyond this and repeatedly present themselves as the representatives of anarchism in the area, carrying out a project that will be “valuable to the entire anarchist community worldwide”.

With that in mind, I think it’s legitimate for others in that “worldwide community” to raise a few questions about the IRPGF’s ideology, and how it relates to the cause they claim to be advancing. Continue reading “Anarchism or Vanguardism? Critique of Guerrilla Ideology of the IRPGF”