A comrade of mine is off to Syria. To fight against Assad. He has been studying Arabic for a while, and now he will join the rebels. Personally, I’m kind of sceptic about it. He may be knowing what he is fighting against, but I don’t think he knows what he is fighting for, and I doubt it’s much better.
But anyway, I wanted to give him a farewell present. “Hey man, do you need some guides on guerrilla warfare?”
So I dug up three of the most influential essays on the subject. “Guerrilla warfare”, by Che Guevara. “Mini-manual of Urban Guerrilla” by Carlos Marighella, and the “Science of Guerrilla Warfare” by T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.
All these texts can be easily found on the Internet. Unfortunately, most of them are only available in PDF. Now, PDF is a perfect format for printed text, because its content is fixed to the pages. But reading a PDF on a screen or on a reader is a nuisance. This is why the standard for digital books is EPUB, of which the reflowable content allows you to change the font size and the line space to optimize your reading experience. Plus it supports internal hyperlinks, notes, etc.
I converted the PDFs I found into EPUBs, I added tables of contents, so that these texts can be easily read on digital devices.
If you have a Kindle, get rid of it. And buy yourself a serious reader that supports EPUB. Or else you can easily convert EPUB to MOBI with free software like Calibre.
Aside from the English versions of these manuals, I also converted the Spanish versions. They may be a little outdated, for we live in a postmodern era which calls for postmodern guerrilla, whose tactics and strategies are still being developed. But the hints and experiences of the men who wrote these manuals may still prove to be valuable.
The guide by Lawrence was actually the lemma on guerrilla warfare written for the 14th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1929). It is based on his experiences as a desert warlord in the Arab uprising (1916-1918) against the Turks during the First World War. (Spanish version)
The guide written by Che Guevara is based on his experiences as ‘comandante’ of the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959) and the war he and his comrades waged against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Battista. (Spanish original)
The guide written by Marighella is based on experiences of urban guerrilla against the military dictatorship in Brazil in the 1960s. It has been cited as a source of inspiration for European insurgency movements such as the IRA, ETA, RAF, and the Red Brigades. (Spanish version. Link to the original Portuguese version here.)
If you are interested in the subject, you might want to take a look at the infamous ‘Anarchist Cookbook’. The original 1971 version (available only in PDF), can be found here. It includes everything from producing your own drugs, to valuable tips on hand-to-hand combat, the creation of your own rudimentary weapons, bombs, boobytraps and incendiary devices. Some people say the recipes of the cookbook are notoriously unreliable, others have tried to put them to the test, and found that many of them worked pretty well.
Partly in response to the Anarchist Cookbook, another cookbook was published by CrimethInc. collective in 2004, called ‘Recipes for Disaster’. Now this one is really interesting, for it is maybe the first attempt at creating a guide for postmodern guerrilla tactics, which are not primarily focused on the destructive aspect of uprising, but on the creative side of it…
Have fun, seed, copy, distribute, and don’t try it at home.