Front de Libération du Québec 1966

Strategic Retreat and Rearguard bases.

Source: La Cognée, No 55, March 15, 1966;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2004.

The Urban Struggle

In an industrialized country, with a large urban population like Quebec, the problem of the front and rearguard areas takes on a particular characteristic.

There can be no question of battles in the cities, and even less of establishing free zones there. Action will remain clandestine and will be limited to rapid actions, isolated and followed by a retreat. It is only on the day of the general insurrection that revolutionary groups will invade the cities to take control. The insurrection will unfold rapidly, in a few days, and all over the country. It will not be a matter of creating a front in the classic meaning of the term.

Nevertheless, the urban struggle must foresee strategic retreats and rearguard areas that will take on a different form from that of the guerilla.

In the urban struggle strategic retreat consists of a maximum dispersion of forces. Those in clandestinity must spread out in small units of a maximum of 2 or 3 men. These units isolate themselves and halt all activity as long as the circumstances don’t allow the taking up of combat.

This temporary halt in hostilities implies that the rear be organized, and that rearguard areas exist. Safe houses, liaisons, reserve funds, security agents, hideouts where partisans can live without fear, assured means of communication with the rest of the movement, reserves of money for financial operations are reduced, the existence of a security service to assure the retreat and the protection of troops. All of these activities are the responsibility of the organizational branch, distinct from the ALQ [Armée de Libération du Québec]. The wall between the military and organizational branches is necessary to ensure security, the rapidity of retreat, and coordination with other units of the movement. This need for the preparation of the rear is a priority in the organizational phase. It’s not on the day of the retreat that apartments should be rented, liaison agents set up, money gathered...If we give so much importance to organization and all it includes: liaison, security, finance, it’s in order to avoid renewing the errors committed in the spring of 1963 and the spring of 1964. Past failures due to unforeseen circumstances have their use insofar as they provide an increase in experience. There is a real danger that these errors will be repeated, certain militants of the FLQ thinking that they cannot err. A revolution, like all wars, must be scientifically prepared, up to and including predicting the unpredictable.

It is up to the leaders of the different networks of the FLQ to ensure that no errors slip into our structures, just as it is up to the military leaders to make their numbers understand that bulling ahead is a suicidal gesture that only adventurers allow themselves.

The success of our combat depends on this

Paul Lemoyne