IX. Facing Imperialist Technological Superiority
How can weak peoples face imperialist technological superiority?
Our confrontation with the enemy camp represented by Israel, Zionism, imperialism and Arab reaction will be through a strategy aiming at the concentration of the forces of the Palestinian revolution on the Palestinian, Arab and world levels so as to face this enemy with a revolutionary camp that is superior to it in size and numbers, but this alone is not sufficient for victory. One of the enemy’s basic points of strength is its scientific and technological superiority, and this superiority is reflected strongly in its military capabilities which we will face in our revolutionary war. How can we face and overcome this superiority?
The enemy’s scientific, technological and cultural superiority is not a light matter nor is it of a secondary nature. On the military level, this superiority means quick mobilisation for the enemy, the volume of this mobilisation, the standard of training, the high quality of military leadership, surprises in arms and plans during the fighting, overall superiority in arms and modern warfare and the ability to control and use them with shock-speed.
Any thorough scientific study of the 1948, 1956 and 1967 wars would clearly bring out the role played by the enemy’s technological and cultural superiority and the reflection of this role in the military field in the enemy’s triumph and our loss of these battles. It would be foolish to give our military defeats in three major confrontations an arbitrary superficial explanation that would mislead us into the belief that we could have won these battles had it not been for certain coincidences or certain errors. Our failure in facing Zionism and Israel during the past fifty years cannot be explained except on the basis of our weak and meagre political, economic, social and military structure in the face of a movement and a society that are scientifically, technologically and culturally superior to us, and our erroneous view of the battle and the confrontation strategy adopted by us until now. Our confrontation with Israel and imperialism cannot lead positively to victory if it consists of a classical military confrontation taking the form of a conventional war between the enemy’s army and forces and our regular troops. Such a war would be won by Israel and imperialism because their superiority in arms and quality, their ability to use the modem war machine and move it with shock speed and flexibility, and their economic capabilities which sustain such a war, would enable them to triumph over us in such battles. Three experiences are a sufficient lesson for us. Conventional warfare which today takes an extremely speedy form is the manner In which the enemy exercises its overwhelming technological superiority, and is also the manner whereby all the points of weakness in an underdeveloped society are revealed. Our reliance on the Soviet Union does not suffice close this gap at the scientific, technological and cultural level. It is not a matter of “modem arms and the procurement thereof”. The basic requirement is the human element capable of thoroughly understanding the power of controlling them and using them in the most efficient manner and of utilising the modem war machine. This in tum depends on the technological and scientific standard of the humans carrying such arms.
This is a factor which at present is not in our favour, with the result that we are not position to face Israel (and behind it the United States which would throw its own forces into the battle if the tide would turn in our favour) through a conventional military confrontation. The weapons of weak peoples in facing imperialist forces and their superiority have become well-known as a result of the experiences of peoples who have waged liberation wars in this age and achieved victory over imperialism. The technological and military superiority of imperialism is faced by weak peoples with guerrilla warfare and popular liberation wars. Through guerrilla warfare we avoid direct confrontation with the enemy and consequently prevent it from exercising its full technological superiority against our forces and from crushing them with lightning speed. Guerrilla warfare aiming at attacking the enemy’s weak points, quick withdrawal and avoidance of direct clashes can cause the enemy small losses which accumulate daily without allowing it to face our entire forces and crush them quickly with its extremely mobile and deadly war machine. In this way the enemy is made to feel that it has begun to lose its basic advantage, and the balance of power begins to shift — slowly at first but accelerating with time – in favour of the armed revolutionary forces. While the guerrilla war against the enemy is going on, our forces increase, gaining experience, strength and skill in the art of war, and attaining such numbers and quality as to render them capable of waging battles against units of the enemy forces. The cycle begins with a combination of guerrilla war and the beginnings of the popular liberation war. With the escalation of the revolution, the growing harassment of enemy forces and the enemy’s need to distribute its forces in every town and village and along the borders of all fronts, the image begins to shift towards large scale and effective war.
We cannot completely eliminate the forces of the enemy or achieve full liberation through guerrilla war, but guerrilla war is the first stage in a protracted war. The revolutionary army will be able to triumph over the enemy’s superiority through the following conditions: be politically aware and coalesce with the organised masses that support it and supply it with its human and material requirements; ally itself with world revolutionary forces who will furnish it with support and reinforcements; gain experience and efficiency through its struggle and coalesce with the revolutionary party which provides it with a clear view and an organic connection with all revolutionary forces at all levels. And with heroic determination engendered in it by years of oppression, humiliation, wretchedness and exploitation exercised by Israel and imperialism. on our land; the revolutionary army will be able to triumph over the enemy’s superiority.
We do not propose here to draw up a military plan for a long, extremely complicated war, but only refer in a general manner to the general form which this war will assume in the light of the fact that we are an underdeveloped people facing Israel, Zionism and world imperialism with all their capabilities and their scientific and technological superiority.
We propose the popular liberation war formula against the conventional war formula with which we faced the enemy in 1948, 1956 and 1967 and which led to our defeat in each of these rounds.
In his book People’s War, People’s Army General Giap says:
“The balance of forces decidedly showed up our weaknesses against the enemy’s power. The Vietnamese people’s war of liberation had, therefore, to be a hard and long-lasting war in order to succeed in creating conditions for victory. All the conceptions born of impatience and aimed at obtaining speedy victory could only be gross errors. It was necessary to firmly grasp the strategy of a long-term resistance, and to exalt the will to be self-supporting in order to maintain and gradually augment our forces, while nibbling at and progressively destroying those of the enemy; it was necessary to accumulate thousands of small victories to turn them into great success, thus gradually altering the balance of forces, in transforming our weakness into power and carrying off final victory.” (1)
In other passages of the same book General Giap says:
* “From the point of view of directing operations, our strategy and tactics had to be those of a People’s War and of a long-term resistance.” (1)
*”The Vietnamese People’s War of Liberation proved that an insufficiently equipped people’s army, but an army fighting for a just cause, can, with appropriate strategy and tactics, combine the conditions needed to conquer a modem army of aggressive imperialism.” (2)
* “The War of Liberation of the Vietnamese people proves that, in the face of an enemy as powerful as he is cruel, victory is possible only by uniting the whole people within the bosom of a firm and wide national united front based on the worker -peasant alliance.” (3)
In an article entitled “People’s Democratic Dictatorship”, Mao Tse Tung says :
“A well-disciplined Party armed with the theory of Marxism – Leninism, using the method of self-criticism and linked with the masses of the people; an army under the leadership of such a Party; a united front of all revolutionary classes and all revolutionary groups under the leadership of such a Party.” (4)
We have cited these passages because they indicate the basic features of the political thought which today directs all the democratic national liberation revolutions that have stood or can stand firmly in the face of world imperialism.
“Revolutionary theory”, “strongly-organized party”, “leadership of the revolution by the workers and peasants”, “wide, determined, united national front”, “people’s liberation war and long-term resistance”, these are the political strategic headlines of national liberation movements and democratic national revolution in the present age of imperialism.