guerilla

guerrilla

[guh-ril-uh]

Member of an irregular military force fighting small-scale, fast-moving actions, usually in concert with an overall political-military strategy, against conventional military and police forces. Guerrilla tactics involve constantly shifting attacks, sabotage, and terrorism. The word (the diminutive of the Spanish guerra, “war”) was first used to describe Spanish-Portuguese irregulars who helped drive Napoleon's French army from the Iberian Peninsula in the early 19th century. The strategy of the guerrilla is to wear down the enemy until he can be defeated in conventional battle or to subject him to so much military and political pressure that he sues for peace. The Chinese general Sunzi (5th century BC) was one of the first to write down the theories of guerrilla warfare.

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The spassguerilla (fun guerrilla) was a grouping within the student protest movement of the 1960s in Germany that agitated for social change, in particular for a more libertarian, less authoritarian, and less materialistic society, using tactics characterized by disrespectful humour and provocative and disruptive actions of a minimally violent nature. Events organized by the groups included such actions as attacking politicians or the police with custard pies. One of the main proponents was Fritz Teufel, sometimes referred to as the political clown of the Extraparliamentary Opposition. The lack of respect for traditional, "bourgeois", "repressive" forms of authority and ritual, countered by irony and humour was typified by Fritz Teufel's reply, when told to stand for the judge at a trial: "If it helps the search for the truth" (Wenn es der Wahrheitsfindung dient).

The tactics and attitudes of this grouping including Fritz Teufel were in contrast to the more serious, revolutionary rhetoric and actions of other groups centred around the SDS and figures like Rudi Dutschke.

The tactics of the spassguerilla were characterized by civil disobedience, symbolic (rather than real) violence, provocation of authority, using actions of the "authoritarian" state, such as trials, as opportunities for "unmasking" outdated traditions.

It was Wolfgang Lefèvre who said that every event or demonstration should be planned so as to be fun for the participants.

While Rudi Dutschke talked of a "Stadtguerilla" (urban guerrilla), Fritz Teufel talked of a "Spassguerilla" (fun guerrilla).

The forms of provocative and disruptive protest invented by the spassguerilla were later adopted by the peace movement of the 1980s and later by youth protest movements in the reunified Germany.

Similar forms of disruption have also been adopted by Cyberspace activists ("hacktivists" ).

The word Spassguerilla

The word "Spassguerilla" itself is interesting. Though the normal German spelling is Spaßguerilla, it was spelled Spassguerilla by Fritz Teufel and this therefore became known as the "teuflische Schreibweise" (a pun meaning either "Teufelian" spelling or "diabolical spelling"; Teufel in German means devil). This spelling is retained by some, including academics (see references). The use of "ss" rather than "ß" implies a short "a" sound, making the word more like Stadtguerilla (urban guerrilla), a term used by Rudi Dutschke.

References

See also

Kommune 1

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