PROTEST AND THE URBAN GUERRILLA by Richard Clutterbuck

PROTEST AND THE URBAN GUERRILLA

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Clutterbuck, a retired British Colonel who previously authored a book on counter-insurgency operations in Malaya in which he was involved, now turns his attention to urban guerrilla groups: the IRA, the Tupamaros, the FLQ, the Palestinian terrorists and a scattering of others. Using Northern Ireland as his paradigm he concludes that all such groups are interested in creating a ""climate of collapse"" and an erosion of legitimate authority; this in turn will bring down repression on the heads of the citizenry which is just what the guerrillas want. Clutterbuck notes that to date most such groups have been ""technically proficient but politically inept."" Nonetheless the government is caught in a bind: to deal with the insurgents it may, as in Ireland, have to suspend due process. The Establishment may overreact and itself become repressive; if it does too little it may create a backlash which is as bad, or worse, than the terror. As an Englishman Clutterbuck is impressed with Britain's excellent track record in dealing with strikes, protest marches and riots. (At home, not a word about Britain's not so excellent track record in India, Cyprus, etc.) The commitment on the part of the police and soldiers to ""minimum force"" impresses him and he is appalled by America's lax gun laws. On the other hand he is strongly against bartering with kidnappers, assassins or hi-jackers. Clutterbuck's understanding of guerrilla politics is monolithic and not very sophisticated. But to those whose job it is to contain, isolate and quash guerrillas, revolutionaries and disruptive protesters he will, no doubt, have a lot to say.

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 1974
Publisher: Abelard-Schuman