Urban guerrilla

From Academic Kids

Urban guerrilla refers to someone who fights a government or dictatorship using unconventional warfare in an urban environment (see: guerrilla tactics). Many have been on the left-wing of the political spectrum (especially in Latin America), claiming to fight for the "liberation of their people"; more recently, urban guerilla warfare has become common in the Middle East, often waged by Islamist or nationalist forces that would be considered on the right-wing of the political spectrum. The urban guerrilla phenomenon is essentially one of modernity and industrialised society.

Unlike rural guerillas, urban guerrillas have not often been successful at overthrowing a government and talking power. During the 1960's, urban guerrillas such as the Montoneros in Latin America intended to destabilize civilian governments and put into power an oppressive military government which they believed would cause the middle classes to rise up in popular revolt. In many cases they did succeed on overthrowing the civilian government prompting a military government to take control and brutally wipe out the guerillas with general disregard for human rights.

Historical examples include the Weathermen in the United states, the Red Army Faction in Germany and the Red Brigades in Italy. The PLO and Hezbollah in Lebanon, groups such as Hamas in the Palestinian territories, and the insurgent forces in Iraq are other examples. However, not all urban political violence can be labeled as urban guerrilla. The Black Panther Party does not qualify, due to its public nature and pursuit of a policy of self-defence. Similarly the Italian Autonomia movement, and the German Autonomen engaged in urban political violence, but not as urban guerrillas due to their policies of public, mass and non-deadly violence.

The line between an urban guerrilla or freedom fighter and terrorist is often considered to be a blurred one. The term urban guerrilla is also used to refer to westerners who support subversive politics and take part in different forms of protest like culture jamming.

Urban guerrilla oftens forces a regular army to enter a city and engage in urban warfare against the guerrillas, often resulting in heavy casualties to all parties involved and great damage to property and civilian infrastructure.

Urban Guerrilla is also the name of a single record released in the United Kingdom by the band Hawkwind in 1974, but rapidly withdrawn following a terrorist outrage.

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