Monday, July 6, 2015

Mao Zedong: On Guerrilla Warfare

“When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.”  

This is one of the more famous quotes from Mao Zedong’s small book On Guerrilla Warfare. This book is not so much a how-to venture on the tactics of waging a guerrilla war; the reader does not get instructions, say, on how to blow up train tracks. Rather, the book explains how to create a guerrilla band, organize its members, keep them supplied, and most importantly, provide them with the proper political education so they can view the armed struggle (in this case, against the Japanese) from the proper prospective.

Although Mao writes very much about a national unity campaign against the Japanese (the combined efforts of the Chinese Communists and the Chinese Nationalists) this all important political element instilled in the fighters and the peasants who provide them with food and supplies is of obvious and overwhelming importance. 

This is apparent by looking at Chinese history after World War II.  Mao struggle against the Nationalists, who had superior numbers and firepower, led to his victory.  This little book provided some of the ideological base for unforeseen upset.

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