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Colombia: The logics of irregular war

and civil resistance *
Fernando Cubides Cipagauta **
Summary: Analyzing the Colombian case one tries to elucidate the characteristics of the irregular war and
the reasons of its duration throughout more than five decades, by means of a brief recapitulation. Immediately we
examine some of the most representative works of Colombian social investigators on this matter, as well as its most
universal theoretical modality and the type of interpretation that has been constructed. El accent is given in the
singularity of an irregular war, of low intensity but long duration, and in its effects on the civil population in the areas
where the guerrillas have achieved a grade of implantation and in a correlative way the army develops counterinsurgency works. The essay ends with the analysis of different forms of civil resistance towards the war, the way and
sequence in which they have manifested themselves and some predictive exercises about the foreseeable
developments of the civil resistance.
Key words: violence, irregular war, Colombia, counter-insurgent strategy, civil resistance, history, 20th

Colombia: las lógicas de la guerra irregular y la resistencia civil


Resumen: Analizando el caso colombiano se procura dilucidar las características de la guerra irregular y las
razones de su duración a lo largo de más de cinco décadas, mediante una breve recapitulación. En seguida se
examinan algunos de los trabajos más representativos de los investigadores sociales colombianos al respecto, así
como sus referentes teóricos más universales y el tipo de interpretación que se ha ido construyendo. El acento está
puesto en la singularidad de una guerra irregular, de baja intensidad pero de larga duración, y en sus efectos sobre la
población civil en las zonas en donde la guerrilla ha logrado un grado de implantación y de manera correlativa el
ejército desarrolla labores de contrainsurgencia. El ensayo termina con el análisis de distintas modalidades de
resistencia civil hacia la guerra, el modo y secuencia en que se han ido manifestando y algunos ejercicios predictivos
acerca de los desarrollos previsibles de la resistencia civil.
Palabras clave: violencia, guerra irregular; Colombia, estrategia contrainsurgente, resistencia civil, historia,
Siglo XX.
Received 07.02.08

Accepted 08.03.08

“Start looking after loosing a war who the 'culprits' are is a proper old women thing; it is always the structure
of society that causes war”.
(Max Weber, 1919)

Some constants in the analysis
A panoramic reading of what has been taking place in Colombian social sciences for at least a
decade, allow us to understand that the innovation grade as for theories, methods and skills, has been in a
determinant measurement according to adapting itself to the nature of an armed, singular conflict like
ours: of long term but low intensity, to its alternatives, to its dynamic. If, since it is known, its emergence
as academic disciplines was sealed by a pressing knowledge demand about violence, of multiple violence,
and having produced it, induced, along with sour polemics, the first recognition of its relevancy, its early
visibility; presently they are being judged first of all for their little or big aptitude to unravel the origins
and the course of the armed confrontation, as well as the strategies place in game, they are being
evaluated as for their relevancy first of all by their aptitude on formulating predictive judgments about the
type of irregular war that prevails here and of its immediate development.
For it then, strategists out of necessity, more than for vocation, many investigators have had to

but it starts from the assumption of which by being lethal and destroyers. and a consensus that has the force of a popular prejudice. although not . who tries to analyze it. of understood and coded messages. to examine its assumptions. Which ever the epithet war assumes. The Anglo-Saxon expression is very significant and pertinent: most of the warlike actions. The rationalization grade. as well as the profuse one. if we summarize the Colombian armed conflict with some detail. but never lose sight of the regional and local societies. it has always to proceed in his balances. all those who gather the appellant discussion on insurrectionary models. which it is the predominant one in an irregular war. between gesticulating of the illegal armed groups and the political parties that act in the legality. and it is a current matter. and after deciphering the strategy and the contenders plans of campaign. literature about assumptions. the keys are possessed. systematical disinformation. such a meticulous pursuit of the events has been done as to establish with clearness its sequence. to new weapon or new coalitions of political forces. exists in them a grade of rationality. unavoidable. diverse and contradictory. still to the most perspicacious observer. And who ever has analyst's pretensions. there is the core. a certain decency on having referred to it for most of the analysts. The guerrilla war variants that here prevail. all this implies some other obstacles. That is why the proposed expression: "logics of the war” can turn out to be presumptuous up to the maximum. to find tendencies starting from very precarious evidences. or try to avoid only its most lethal effects. War and strategy are basic matters. on the other hand those readings of revolutionary doctrine have had to be re-edited. a set of those who take part of a way scarcely indirect. but it open a path anyway. it can induce the mirage of which after clarifying the assumptions. and the appellants ruptures in the pre-established tendency. or the criminal sociology of Ferri. according to the classic proportion. have lead to a continuous learning between warriors as for handling the information. to be faced in the middle of such a diversity has to boast of subtle. We could state a kind of inhibition at the moment in which the discussion got about the nature of our war. of its sources. in which. an increasing mediation. although more cryptic. to support an attitude of constant alertness about the consistency of the information obtained. unexpected and unpredictable is occupying a first place. to penetrate -anywayinto this area of clear -obscure. As for the first concept. variants and tactics. the problem has been more about information than of inhibition. in what there is a consensus. to decipher them. to discern the technical work terminology. Not up to the point in which to be an investigator of the conflict the analyst has to be unfolded in strategist -and in his least nice variant: lounge strategist. as if it was a question of an untimely consideration. due to new resources put in the game. which were provided with a criterion that allowed to distinguish with clearness between motives.but it is an imperative today to penetrate with criterion into these formulations. today key words. the nine tenth parts of its strategy remain a secret at the beginning.come closer (with some guilty curiosity at the beginning) to the strategic doctrines. if the information is profuse. its logical relation. strategies and tactics of the counter-insurgency. even if the discussion about its specific character. the elegant symmetry of the criminological theories of Lombroso. even if this is purely instrumental. is that in more than one conjuncture it registered a tacit agreement or a convergence calculated concerning precise targets. The challenge of formulating an explanatory principle in such intricate context is current. as assumptions. (to assimilate the slang) of military theory specialists. produced by the obstinacy of the facts. to assume it implies that there is not already understood the armed conflict like a plurality of violence in which the irrational. since one of the characteristic appellants that we will go to find. as in 1987. motivations and purpose are “gray area phenomena” (“Gray Area Phenomena”). scarcely begins to appear. means and opportunities of the criminal act. To study the armed conflict from its direct protagonists. or it contained some type of ideological authorization to those who promote it or to those who carry it out. is that it is a matter of an irregular war. locating them in our context.“ To combine all the struggle forms” some time ago stopped being an exclusive formulation of a political group. have been the rules. With regard to the matter of strategy. And in the most recent it has been answered in several ways: with assiduity. almost all anecdotal ones. to decode them. the relations between the warriors with society. according to the classic advice: "with inventory benefit”. assumptions. In constant search of a balance between the tendencies and continuities that could be elucidated. Tactics and diversion or delays maneuvers. The matter is only about the inference from fragmentary indications. and an increasing virtuosity in the handling of psychological warfare resources. they have had to give in some time ago like pretension (with major willingness one can be warned as for the changes in the jurisprudence and with regard to the distinctions between different types of crime: how to harmonize all these theories with our oblique reality!) and today they are seen like rare pieces of junk.

the violent facts multi dimensionality. not facilitating force solutions course. and today the relatively active ones do not go over seven. and in addition to being an element of the method of exhibition. but it has an empirical foundation. or the feedback between them. and considering it to be a basic input. the regional diversity ended up by being the rule. from the contradictory and sinuous of the course of events. If it is considered to be. that this has been one of the periods of major growth: when it is carried out. contradictory in many cases. it could weigh in the slanted of such an appreciation the “thought full of desire”.exclusive nor principally by sociologists. it turns into an analysis element to understand “the way how it was spreading over the national territory” 1 since they have verified that although on the part of their promoters guidelines and slogans that were covering the whole country were given. differing. to duplicate the number of their activists. it is possible to read there: “It is absolutely not true that after Belisario Betancur the situation of ‘public order’ caused straight by the guerrilla clash is worse than before. And that in addition to the fact of which the companions do completely without the intention of being represented and of representing this diversity. against what could be thought. Magdalena Medio in Bolivar. regional. historical series have been constructed about the territorial expansion of each of the armed actors and for it the employment done by geography and instruments of cartographic representation. the well thought attitude of not aggravating things. and in a most methodical way. it is not in any case a logic matter. and in a context in which it is heightened like a request of principles. and the multiple causalities that intervene. The authors had warned us. May be the political violence intention of separating in a conscious way of the tendency to over estimate the political violence will be taken too far (and with some mistakes of that book fashionable slogans were done) but the case is that they conceive and analyze the plurality of forms in which the violence appears. was having introduced the notion of social actors in its determination for demonstrating the multi causality. Marquetalia. much on the contrary. point out. more important than that: the papers that the own guerrilla produces and that in a gradual way goes out to the light. the “unfolding of the fronts” on FARC´s case: at the end of this period it had managed practically together with the number of fronts. more than in receiving the interaction. the postulate about which “the logic of violence in Colombia is not inexorable”. we are provided with the whole technical set of instruments that they put at our disposal the geographical information systems. Urabá. scarcely they increased from twenty-seven to thirty and two. local. it leads them to what to my judgment is the thickest appreciation error with regard to the presence and territorial domain acquired to this date for an armed actor. but there are no comparative studies that demonstrate it. the chapter of the Geography of the Violence (the IVth in the first one of two volumes) became indispensable to show in a convincing way to the profane reader the unequal distribution of the facts. (Ibid. like a fundamental fact to discern its strategic intentions. with databases and analysis from them. a didactic resource facing this type of reader. we are provided with the . This argument is used repeatedly in favor of the comeback to the strategy that grants priority to force. national. On the other hand. and to all strategic implications that it has. decomposing. Certainly one of Colombia: Violence and Democracy of 1987 book´ s contributions also classic at this point. so much as in what could have the cartographic instrument of didactic intention. el Pato. to understand today the reality of the territorial presence of an armed actor. the geographical expansion of the guerrilla groups factor. and. assimilating the criticism about its theatricality. the magnification to which its inadequate or ingenuous employment gives place Already in the classic text of the pioneers Fals. Algeciras. the emphasis is put directly in considering the specific gravity of every form. and to all assumptions. the weight of the argumentation is put in analyzing. p. and. This way they immediately refer characterizing four forms that count with a clear political content to “complex combinatorial processes” 2 that happen between them in the real life. if the point is well contextualized. Guzmán and Umaña." 3 The comparative studies that were prepared subsequently. the opposite is verified: between 1977 and 1983 in effect eight fronts of the FARC located in regions much delimited (Corinth. Cañón del Duda) multiplied up to twenty-seven. for example. as for explanatory possibilities. to a great extent because they assume that under each of these forms a social actor sub lies. but especially with the information compiled with criterion. also. a basic assumption of its analysis. while from 1983. 27) but the appreciation mistake does not come from logic oscillations. the diverse effects. and at the level of detail. which register the change of this presence in the intervals that we want to define. and so much like this information deficit. spread throughout the country. which will be necessary.

1964. but like subjects that during the warlike action have not resigned from their will and make use of a margin of freedom. national and internationally in the 30's and 40's and his fictitious history is nourished of real experiences and of direct experiences in the area. 1963. Since he narrates it in one of his writings of autobiographical cut. to a few sources of interpretation. it is obtained would be necessary to point out inside the accessible theoretical sources that we find a singular relevancy for our case to an authors' trilogy that. and Raymond Aron (Clausewitz et la guerre populaire. Taking the actors speeches literally is a question of the past. not like automatons. it is not possible to dispense of them. but neither to depend on only one source. the need for the above mentioned comparison is more conscious. and certainly to a few databases and information sources. which restricts them and mostly determines them. which produced anthological texts. it is possible to state an intensive learning. . filósofo de la guerra y la política. From violence to war It is not that it has the scope of a “Copernican draft”.and at the risk of being a pedant . The virtuosity in which came to develop the histories of life skills. facing their action in relation to others. 1967). In the same way the conflict has worsened and deteriorates in front of our eyes. on what of its past and its origins still in its current orientations. then for areas of new population in the confluence field of the Orinoquia with the Amazon region (as in Selva Adentro). at first for regions of traditional population in the Orinoquia (Los Años del Tropel) where it combines them with the conventional tools. Molano took the qualitative skills at excellence levels. dos Vols. or still nominal. 1976). it is possible to trace an universal intention . And a brief exploration in our own theoretical tradition allow us to find that the sociology has not been foreign to the effort to annotate the field of the irregular war. Clausewitz. interpretive skills. as the famous definition says. doing of the need a virtue. I refer to Carl Schmitt (Teoría del partisano. maxim formulation “with inventory benefit”. not in vain. “Concluding Remarks by Anatol Rapoport” in On the War. as in Up-stream. they enter upon the matter. Related to the previous ones. Anatol Rapoport (Estrategia y Consciencia. every declaration. enclosed in that one with intentions purely descriptive. has propitiated the modality exchange. to assume it this way (without implying that war is going to explain each and everyone of the violence forms. 1972. As for the first subject it means to come to all authors who have docked the war (even when it predominates over the aberration) like a singular type of social action. of literary quality like those of Alfredo Molano. is fair. the Colombian case progressive overcoming idea and the consequent attempt of doing a methodical comparison with other well-known cases. from my point of view a whole disenchantment registers on this subject. A way has been made through the attitude of judging every ideological product. The comparison that Antonio Caballero did at that time of Molano´s written work with La vorágine. in his big lineaments. And in it . 1967). and the warriors simultaneously framed in a complex technical device. turns out to be as for the methods a good example. it will not be possible to accuse them of having continued in the age of the innocence as for theoretical modality: in the profuse and very unequal literature that has formed.. It seems to me worth noting down that the more important works of at least the last decade. Read his qualifications in the sequence in which they were published. as well as any of its most general features. and connecting to it a subjective sense. the itinerary of the colonizing process. to explain the conditions in which it arises. even if it is precarious. they do it taking an outstanding figure as a fund noise: Clausewitz. at once for the chaining between the violence of 50's and the most recent (as in Siguiendo el Corte) and anyway for a sub region frontier and much circumscribed inside the Amazonía. that way. and worse than good. Penser la guerre: Clausewitz. Molano´s work have obtained for the urban Colombia of the 90s something comparable. Clausewitz como pensador político. starting from dissimilar assumptions. and of corroborating the information that they provide us. or realizes each of the facts) sends us to a style of reasoning.imperative of using them. with diverse theoretical horizons. And as for rules of application. If José Eustasio Rivera´s novel helped like no other text to announce the situation of the Amazonía. 1968. and. more pressing. but to understand the violence declarations diversity in the context of a war. the book Trochas y fusiles is centred on the reconstruction of FARC´s history. Most of the natural stages where his testimonies and histories develop belong to the Orinoquía and to the Amazonía.

and the obvious mastery of the illegal armed actors. can have driven to a certain ambiguity on the proper concept of social actor. although. but he imposed a language and created school. If he affirms that reading Marx's El Capital cover to cover was key in his basic training. for example. The actor´ s logic appears in the testimony with all his subjectivity. that innumerable scale of events that are not happenings. it is a question of rather understanding the mentality that guides the action of the individuals. to the social actor to a great extent composed from multiple testimonies. where the predominant activity is illegal. author of his testimony. it is an analysis skill that is designed to receive almost in an exclusive way the conflict in its most extreme declaration. coexists basely with it. the grade of identity that exists between a colonization which principal mobile is the cultivation profitability like the coca and poppy. and at the same time relating it to the production universe. and still less if they turn out to be armed rival in the horizon. From there the actors' denomination and the diffusion that it has obtained until coming to the common language and to its employment like part of the psychological warfare to which the proper actors are pawned. and the dynamics of classes´ s struggle in the agrarian societies surrounded by a productive system that he characterizes as of greedy capitalism. (Which is essential but it does not include a key dimension: the form in which people adapt themselves in the middle of a war situation. anyway. principally of the Marxist conception of the process of capital original accumulation. who used the skill in his Historia Doble de la Costa. the special care in the literary invoice that bears elements of verisimilitude and fiction. or of its staging. I have not had the occasion to debate them in his presence. in general commanders or guerrillas with control. it manages to avoid its most lethal effects) And the epic . The daily action turns out to be darkened by the unusual event. but it does not turn out to be suitable when the above mentioned consonance breaks in favor of an increasing social differentiation as the process becomes stable. Fals Borda. Siguiendo el Corte. realizes the consonance. and also theatrical. completely exterior to the individual) giving the analysis a tone much intimist and personnel. and despite its verified advantages and flexibility. like the Amazonía and the Orinoquía.Nevertheless. and with the consequent tendency to praise his own action at the expense of the social action itself. narrate the war facts. names it an imputation method and explains in detail his steps. the routine thing. Nevertheless one of the limitations of the above mentioned method can consist on the fact that is less sensitized to understand the adaptive strategies. in sum. how not always the conflict redounds into violence. Molano not only has showed the possibilities of the interview skill and the mended life histories. As Molano himself exhibits autobiographicaly in a small history written in 1992 and of methodological connotations titled “Confesión de parte” it is not a question of the dramatization or theatrical representation of the socially significant facts. when the guerrillas had no rival at sight and were an unanswered power in these areas. by the protuberant fact. The risk of what Bourdieu in a moment named “the . on having prefaced the one that to my judgment is the best work of Molano. It portraits very well the guerrilla´s ascensional role in areas of recent population. successfully varied and not always with its sensibility and talent. in his work the principal intention has become to understand the motivations of the action socially faced from testimonies and histories of individual lives.heroic tone in which the interviewed personages. and. in placing them in context and mending them attributing their importance. The language to which I allude is the one that denotes the direction that goes from the individual protagonist. and to compose Molano´s he has made use of his previous intellectual baggage. to the search of the rural rationality and how it has evolved in the most recent stage. of the relation with the soil´ s revenue. simultaneously he recognizes everything what his readings and later experiences had complementary to go towards the comprehension of individual and collective mentalities. managed in good time to replace the previous analysis centered on the factors (objective and impersonal. confirming their versions with other sources. and have presented in other contexts the present critical notes. and it has been applied also to other regions. regions of traditional population. I know with certain detail level Molano´s work. at the expense of the others. The actors examination. the previous skill does not realize all the components of the changeable regional reality in war times. The investigator skill consists in choosing representative testimonies. having been employed at some brief opportunity next to him. After him were great investigators who adopted it for those peripheral regions and of recently population. praises in an invariable way the protagonist of the first line. defining which of the sectors or society classes they represent. if war degrades itself with the arrival of paramilitary. The existential of the histories. And it does not manage to tell. To construct a character who is representative of a sector of the society. of hefting them. with “what takes place” and “how it takes place”. and anyway.

simultaneously the enormity of its crimes and resources. rests on the analysis of the academic investigation to explain it. Without rejecting the war alternatives -its geopolitical implications. as the one offered from here. particularly the television. and that a lot of works derive towards the merely apologetically. have served at least to make clear the fissures. it turns out less understandable on the other hand that the friendliness means a loss of analytical independence.6 Very much later. therefore. across their own means (Bulletins Colombia Libre. compiled the official information. A certain fascination is warned by the facts of the war. between the ends of the execration and the denunciation. mentalities and motivations that persist in the middle of the war and despite it. Still if the worst hypothesis would be adopted: that the above mentioned intention only existed in the role and the accusations of one of the reports of Human Rights Watch. but . for the day by day and the routine which not fighting population has to confront its consequences. are demonstrated in the results reached in the last times” (and it brings numbers). nevertheless one would not manage to explain such a rapid growth. But only up to the most recent stage. with everything debatable that it could keep on being. the incongruities of its politics as group. its fissures.risked a summary definition of the paramilitarism: "they are . observes it with circumspection. the mail between one and other were indisputable: in 300 of 1020 municipalities back then it was possible to find both aspects. on one hand and for other one. in the south of the country) it was possible to see that the method in question.” 5 With which some type of explanation becomes pressing. the fascination for the mass media skill of some of its spokesmen. The ups and downs of a negotiation as that it has been carried out by the current government. and of his motivations. the weakness of its hierarchy. even that the territorial domain that it exercises is valued for what it has of positive towards the sectors and the weakest links of the productive process. From 1996 it has been possible on my part to do a pursuit of this armed actor in a more specific way.biographical illusion” is latent in all those narratives. with the whole series of prosaic attitudes. And. with productive systems. After the rural marches of 1996 (of the massive mobilizations of rural coca growers. the military forces and the national Police to fight the criminal action of the self-defense illegal groups.the long term has to do with rules of establishment. Clouded by an appellant semantic treatise (self-defenses or paramilitary?) its progressive geographical expansion scarcely of two periods of five years went to this part was magnified in all its scopes. Certainly that for the period previous to 1990. to annotate at once: “Nevertheless. web page) and for the echo and amplification that from a time until now massive means grant them. I have tried to infer from there (of indications. had given all of itself. the illegal groups of self-defense are those who have had the biggest growth and the biggest territorial expansion in the last years. which that literature genre is not sensitized to receive. that its mobiles and strategic plans are studied carefully. more than of consolidated evidences) the expansion intentions. A look to the first official document of the Defense Department in which they appear. the oscillation excelled itself. illustrates the problem well: it refers to an official and public text in which the above mentioned Department was establishing the magnitude of the phenomenon. has shown up the weakness of its flow chart. as his leader and spokesmen spread them. the current subjection to justice of most of them. The exercise of a meticulous pursuit from the secondary information is useful although not conclusive. on having tackled a phenomenon like the guerrillas. Alejandro Reyes had already done the superposition of the map in which the paramilitary had carried out their most lethal actions. try to infer of all this is a strategic plan or longterm goals that have been fixed. even for the virtuosity existed in its application. same as the fascination that war -its spectacular nature. according to which in 9 of 18 brigades in which it was organized the Colombian army back then there were officials with control who are compromised by the paramilitary were completely true.4 It is understood that the majority of the literature inspired by this model. to establish a sequence in his actions. pendulous. and the history of life skills. between the agents that generate violence in Colombia. as the press information registers them. and goes out to light works that have a solid empirical foundation in the regional. the plans of territorial domain.can also lead to a loss of interest by the non participants. in 1999 the ex-president Alfonso López Michelsen -in an interview. To this point there is no doubt that where more distortions and errors were accumulated was in the evaluation of the paramilitary like armed actor. effect in the population movements. The document begins with a paradox (undoubtedly involuntary) alter affirming: "The commitment and the decision of the Colombian State. and the map of ground buys for drug traffickers. even if it is speculative. facts and protagonists produces on journalists.

with the consequent need to refine the criterion. even if it is well elaborated. from the fragmented nation to the State construction. to the reader in general. “drug trafficking“ is a generic and diffuse expression that does not denote in itself the connections it could have with politics. are creating a new conception of the territory. the importance of the geographical knowledge: combatant who does not know the territory in which he acts well. this way the fact is that ours turns out to be a fragmented territory and ours a divided society (and the previous one is a conscious paraphrase. and to the consequent dilemma of the medieval theologian trying to distinguish the canonical from the apocryphal. abstract and impersonal. and to offer the reader. is not to discern the authenticity of the documents. it is possible to agree in that the intensity of war united to its duration. and in an axiomatic way. in addition to a picture of conventions in which the source of information is specified. May. it is their abundancy. And. is convicted to lose it. Still with its simplifications. In any case. in contrast to approximately two decades ago in which to obtain the basic information or to gain access to the information took the investigator to the semi underground ambiences in which it could obtain. . of the provocative title of Marco Palacios and Frank Safford´ s book: Colombia: país fragmentado: sociedad dividida. Bogota. and the instrumental and conditional character of any cartographic representation. the current apogee of the notion of social actors indicates a countertendency that puts the accent in the plurality. it is a problem of oversupply. today the problem. postponing a set vision to perceive the interactions. were indicated the inevitable distortions maps suffer as effect of the aggregation. Definition that coming from the one who comes would be useful to open the discussion. but without it going so far as to minimize the second one of the components. already overcome the attitude that was consisting of undervaluing the role of the actors. to depend on one or two sources at most. from the outstanding figure of 1962 up to the most recent. considering them to be a simple passive expression of the structures. Presidency of the Republic) and the prepared one by an ONG as the CINEP by the team that coordinates Fernán González (Political Violence in Colombia. for the case. has re-formulated the terms of this discussion. It is up to the investigator. have different periodicity criteria. to consider the information. Simultaneously has been gained conscience about the limitations of the cartographic representation to realize the dynamics of the war and population flows. to refine the interpretation. still knowing that. 2003) they start from very different assumptions. since also its different links as economic activity are dispersed through out the country. Bogotá. And the valid precipitate gives us the unavoidable spatial frame in the analysis. “areas of confrontation”) as for the persistence in time and the diffusion rules. the interferences that appear between the different alternatives of territorial control during the war. a convergence between different approaches: works as the one that compiles a governmental dependency (Colombia: Armed conflict. then. In fact like an outstanding feature of the Colombian situation we meet that in a given moment the armed actors seem to be guided by the maxim: «if you are not provided with the support of the population. Some of the outstanding figures of the military strategy go so far as to formulate like a principle. which seem inevitable. In several recent works from a pair of French geographers Vincent Goüeset and Olivier Pissoat and on the base of a taken detailed examination of the whole series of Colombian publications.the rural military arm of the drug trafficking” 7. The clausewitzian and neo-clausewitizian discussion. “areas in dispute”. I make notice that in any case there is already a valid precipitate. a context adapted to every map. think about how to dominate the territory. not even the most sophisticated of the cartographic representation tools manages to realize the flows of population that produces the forced displacement. locally regional or national. etc. nevertheless. different technical set of instruments for the cartographic representation (they use software of incompatible geographical information systems between themselves) nevertheless it is not by chance that they come to similar conclusions as for the geographical concentration of warlike facts and the associate forms of violence (“grades of implantation”. specialist or layman. and the diversity of violence associated to it. I believe that today and in view of the facts and evidences accumulated. And with regard to the data sources. regions. the other will come on addition«. liberating us from judging the presence of one armed actor from its own formulations. as a whole. and underlines the supremacy of the population on the territory in its strategic importance. 2002). like a tendency and clear balance of previous oscillations. Human rights and DIH 1998-2002. “areas of consolidated rearguard”.

agents and victims. one of the international guests. Caldono and Páez in the Cauca. and is exterior to war itself. chaotic and anarchic. a process of degradation that at first sight is eventful. Kalyvas. of the region of the Carare and of Tarsus in Antioquia) and the theoretical formulations. a notion of civil resistance is formulated in the middle of . 2003) a balance was achieved between the exhibition of resistance experiences with a good representativity (Delegations of the municipalities of Silvia. to resist it? Stathis Kalyvas. defined with clarity. to demonstrate in the facts that it is not inexorable. using in a conscious and studied way the mechanism of denunciations. of which on part of the contenders of the armed conflict during the actions one does without the distinction between the combatants and the civil population. Kalyvas. and the way in which its fluctuations depend on the war course. a work empirically founded on the facts happened in his country Greece. And during the discussion arises an empirical observation. and the handling of the aggregate information.The types of resistance to war and its determinants In a recent event organized by the Mayoralty of Bogotá and the National University about the Civil Resistance and not violent Political Action (Bogotá. with a few definite objectives. there takes place an innumerable scale of violence facts. is how violence levels increase in a civil war since strong incentives are arising for the indirect use of violence: starting from the testimonies. which pass for episodic and unexpected. many people who were not committing themselves straight. with a series of interviews in the area to the survivors. turned out to be involved by implication. like product of the aberration. Analysts as Kalyvas warns us nevertheless against the “sociological deviation” that consists of supposing that always and in all cases the civil support to the armed groups is predetermined by divisions and ethnic contrasts or class. at least. to understand the dynamics that generates war is a prerequisite. completely applicable for our case. which was obtained from the analysis of available numbers for all civil conflicts of the XXth century (to the law of big numbers it is necessary to add: for every ten people died in this type of confrontations. The nucleus of his previous work is the description of violence forms. As for the regional mosaic. and it is clear for anyone that we have been present at a constant degradation. An empirical find incorporated then by his model. ethnic. of the Alto Ariari in the Meta. making a show of a formidable tension for the objectivity. with all his resources. That its why it can be postulated that. presented there a model that proposes to receive the “logic of violence in the context of a civil war”. As a logical derivation of his argumentation. I anticipate from his book that he would publish soon. The participants were wondering then: How to resist this tendency? Under what conditions is it possible revert it or. trying to adapt itself to the subject-matter of the event. and along with the confrontations properly military and opened between the conflicting edicts. If a basic consensus exists about the profiles of the situation. and that would give for a philosophical pessimism. universalists. its interaction in a certain historical context. and combining the application of his model. become perceptible certain rules. August. One of the outstanding characteristics of the national "case" from which he prepares the thickness of the information that feed his model is that it was a question of a confrontation in which there was not opposite. with our situation is tantalizing. and others. it was seen that if there are few who exercise straight violence. 8 (eight) have been unarmed civils). inciting warriors to use violence against those who have old complaints. between 1943 and 1949. and although the representatives of those movements who adopt the resistance as part of an identity reconstruction movement have its specific gravity. civil confrontations take a "triangular" character as a singularity: they always involve civil disarmed. The analogy. and contrasting meticulously with other available sources. subtle connections between war facts that are provided with a strategy. a fundamental assumption for the suitable orientation of not violent action. there are not the only ones. Of Mogotes in Santander. And a slightly raw metaphor is used to synthesize it: the civil population has being the "umpire" across whom the contenders think about how to give themselves decisive blows. In the civil pedagogy in which Antanas Mockus as Mayor of Bogota was pawned. to the protuberant fact. of most international confrontations. religious or of social class. and with his taste for the symbolic. proposed to deduce of his model the conditions in which it is possible to change the course of this logic. in contrast to the conventional wars. apparently there are variants.

of a well known formulation.. works and important facilities for the city” p. they are renewed. although spectacular actions have taken place in the cities. but he commits himself in a direct way in the action against the violent ones” (. and the most popular of the leaders. And seeing from the capital the different declarations of resistance that have been taking place. “from below”. its spontaneous character. The mayor is in his area. its legitimacy is endorsed. a balance of forces that makes them operating. in his determination for promoting the civil resistance he showed the same personal courage opposite to the guerrillas and the paramilitary. we are in conditions to do it. to solve the asymmetry between the efficacy grade of the organizations that exercise violence in the frame of a strategy. 4 and p. while in others the . it can hardly be supported in time. the decentralized resistance.war. propose like model. the basic stage is the field. One of the paradoxes of the recent Colombian situation is that the armed conflict has been accentuating preexisting inequality: for example those who exist between the downtowns and the periphery. from 1994 they have been lowering the numbers of most lethal violence: murders. as such. the amorphism. but that's why he acts like an authority. and less still it manages. I believe that in particular sociologists.) and p. In other words the legality rationally better definite. I do not hesitate to recognize it. it has been for a short term. like a possibility. And on the other hand. that still the most democratic of the authorities. The possibility of this interstice between the legal and legitimate is what bases the resistance right. the above mentioned asymmetries were understood. valuable but unilateral: “What is civil resistance?: It is a set of attitudes and actions by means of which the members of society do not accept to surrender nor even yield before the pressure of the violent ones. and.. of that we do almost. has the disadvantage of which it does not propose. and since its formulation has a doctrinaire character (and it is not a coincidence the form of catechism that adopts) the omission is more sensitive. it is proper of a transitional circumstance. there will always be an asymptotic approach: the most just and better organized of the political systems that we so far would imagine. not for it is entirely legitimate. of education. and for it itself it is also key to guarantee the resistance as a right. the dispersion. the centralized civil resistance induced by the authority.certain structural characteristics: recognizable borders. Theoretically is key to allow. With all its authenticity. it takes the passivity as a feature. and they have improved almost all safety indexes. it needs -so that it happens. the resistance “from below” against a dictatorial authority (or democratic but that possibly becomes arbitrary) is not conceived. demands and needs of the society. the most perfect of the democracies will never be able to answer directly to all the tendencies. even if in the examples that are quoted there are included other forms of resistance. Since it refers to a real mantra. This means that the citizenship does not delegate in the State the whole task of expressing the indignation. is not self sustainable. A clear case is that of our wrongly placed ones: their resistance consists of thinking “with the feet”. Since like theoretical formulation there has never been given a finished coincidence between the society and the state. by force of invoking in a regular way the distinction between legality and legitimacy. personal injuries. The clear thing is that when ever it has taken place by itself. 5: ——“the civil resistance is born in an autonomous way from the civil power. It consists of expressing the rejection that we feel towards the violent ones and towards the acts that threaten the life of people. And the question is inevitable: will it be able to continue doing it while in many of the regions the situation deteriorates? How lasting is a situation in which there are portions of a country territory in which the institutions work. should incur in an arbitrariness. an identity element. the demobilization of those who are not framed in any organization. 6: ——“There is civil resistance when there exists a clear decision not to collaborate with the illegal armed groups nor using weapon”8 etc. With all its validity. As we were listening to the testimonies we were understanding better that Bogotá has become a privileged niche: at least from ends of the 80s it has been improving in a consistent way its quality of life measured to the most objective indicators: coverage of health. Nevertheless it is necessary to repeat a more comprehensive and multilateral definition of the civil resistance. still by the most legitimate of the authorities conceived. after all. or the resistance “from below”. more coherently statutory.

and which also none of those claim leaders has tested to obtain dividends by means of winks or tacit agreements with those who remain in the illegality. Specialists in generalities. the idea (let's not call it a thesis since it is formulated in an axiomatic way. an instrument of careful design. who became known like investigator as part of the group that produced the book The history of violence in America (1969) the archetype of the North American "violentology" ( forgive me the barbarism. insensitive to the heap of events. but of several. the difficulty of planning a clear line since it is not a question only of two contenders. Although in his case referring to the distribution of power in the European feudal societies. which could have planned a clear line. it helps to create “a moral community different from the one that ties ordinarily the students of the same matter and linked. otherwise. and the demobilization and dispersion of those who try to be opposed to it: how to correct it? Obviously: by means of an organization that shelters and promotes the movement to the advantage of the resistance. Nevertheless: how to measure the sensibility? On this matter there is nothing similar to the Latin barometer. which Georges Bataille promoted on his time. The existence of a dual power in special regions of the country. On the other hand with regard to the sensibility and the way editorial writers expressed themselves usually they use the example of the type of massive mobilization that has happened in Spain against the terrorism. as to what has being their professional practice. produced). Because of its duration. avoiding the stereotypes and the easy generalizations. as the parodic expression says. and the one that grows “from below” in an autonomous and spontaneous way. national identities. as involved they are in the struggle for power (as they were on March 11. But the comparison is too thick and it ignores important historical differences. super specialists in conflict and in its most virulent variants. and if we throw a panoramic look to the intellectual production of the sociologists that is reflected in the released qualifications. the fluctuating of the borders between the territorial domains of diverse actors. one and the other coincide in underlining the social costs that a similar situation implies9 The asymmetry that has been noted down between the grade of organization and the efficacy of the structures of those who practice violence. the number of victims and damages. just before an election. as the peninsular ones call it. they have done without their differences. which gives it continuity. precisely to the virulent character of the studied matter” as the School of Sociology program was saying. recaptures it to emphasize the unstable of the resultant balance but it re-formulates it and prefers to speak of “parcellized sovereignty”. to my judgment. which tries to define collective features. like a question of survival in the regions and most affected areas by the war and its associate violence. which in Spain´ s case have been mobilizations with organized expressions. and the suspense that causes this changeability in the settlers. The most crucial to my judgment. or we have become. as if it was a question of a hard fact. And in the asymmetry or disparity there is also an aspect of Colombian´s social life that would have been interested a lot to Tocqueville: the lack in the base of society of a good number of voluntary associations. On having recaptured in an assiduous and persevering way the problems with which the discipline was inaugurated like academic profession. giving place to a framework. comparing in a systematical and recurrent way. And about the most recent and concerning the hobbles and resistances that the humanitarian exchange has found. its parcellized character in a circumstance like the current one. difficult to decipher to a simple sight. In one of his books Charles Tilly. the deficit of . being some actions of ETA or the offenses on March 11 at the Atocha station.typical is a pre hobbesian war situation of all against all? All this leads us to another basic question: the sovereignty. and it would be necessary to see the massive mobilizations and the almost unanimous rejection that 11-M. to an intricate network. which the parties have promoted and with regard to which and for it. on having continued the trace of the pioneers. the colombianism) was referring to these situations which are unstable and transitional like characterized by a “multiple sovereignty” while a historian as Perry Anderson. which amplifies it. to the great thing that remains in the shade. that has well identified the origin of the threat. but first of all as two dimensions converge: the civil resistance that legitimate authorities and its pedagogic towards the citizens. they have come tackling the two mentioned dimensions. strongly proved) that most of the Colombians being. but especially concerning the most recent slaughters. and since at the same time one and others have done long learning in that of mixing all forms of struggle. and all this like a typical feature of the most recent stage. here the facts are more serious but simultaneously the responsibility on them is more diffuse. and without their rivalry. When the specialists qualify wars like ours of asymmetric they point at that: the disparity. And.

The guerrilleros. And certainly to affirm without much ado with regard to the facts of violence of any period of our contemporary history. very vulnerable. was used during the process 8000 (the investigation about the financing on the part of one of the drug traffickers organizations of president Samper´s campaign. but they keep on being weak and especially. finally in conscience. registers a certain and healthy heyday of the nongovernmental organizations and forms of local and regional association. any delicacy turns out to be small. nevertheless. between us. that compare or to do analogies is not equivalent to implant at all costs the principle of identity A=B. Summoned by members of the youngest generation. And in such an intricate context perhaps the most encouraging signs are being received from the left. “we all are responsible”. those who inside the Democratic Alternative Pole demonstrate that they have better assimilated the previous experience and can lay down their short term interests. the individualism as rule of proper social action. the French thinker found an outstanding feature of the North American society: the profusion and importance of the voluntary associations and for which he was previously thinking that if perhaps in the future civil wars and confrontations would register. helps to dilute the concrete responsibility of people and groups. the Internet networks. from them such forms of association and representation would become even strengthened. and is far from being a suitable or balanced judgment. and had the same responsibility as the president who had been chosen thanks to the drug trafficking money. for the sake of the institutional profitability of a new organizational model and of wide coverage. going so far as to affirm that it is the whole constitutive element of our history. As well as to affirm without much ado that we are insensitive. in conscience of which the similarities or tendencies shared by the cases that are compared become exhausted when reaching the singular. and that includes the proper popular classes. it is necessary to distrust the generalizations and is necessary to go deeper. on the contrary. “we all have been guilty”.liberalism which drives every social sector to try to conquer at its own risk the advantages possible”. comparing is unavoidable. 2008 are an unpublished phenomenon in Colombia. And this is a crucial fact that. is who more has insisted on the above-mentioned fragmentation and asymmetry. for its spontaneity. Answering to a world tendency and to specific stimuli. as well as for guilt attributions. making intensive use of the media. with countries by comparison like Spain. already had prospered. which “demonstrate the biggest suspicion towards the State that does not guarantee them the access to a social citizenship and often give in a kind of anarchist . the "mediasphere" has . for effective they are in the "netwar" can not manage to avoid the negative effects of the over use of media and the contrast with the raw facts that affect the collective sensibility. Soon they verify that the profit in hearing does not mean profit in credibility. prevailing individual tendencies. and is already seen how partial to the government they try to found in them a new reelection project. that who ever have bought contraband products was also making a profit. but who is very familiar with our history and situation. The climate of intimidation that exists in regions where there has been the presence of armed actors has been clear. Let's remember that this plain attribution of the collective responsibility had a variant that was bordering on the cynicism: that “we all are smeared”.10 Fragmentation. from those sectors of the left that do more emphasis in the organizational problem. but they are constructed precisely to highlight what exists of specific in every case. what.representation forms and organization. without much ado. none of such attempts of exploitation manages to spoil them. at least in the last decade. to postulate. 1994-1998) with the intention of diluting or palming the principal responsibilities. those who adopt a major sensibility and formulate the axiom of insensibility of the majority usually do not register. And it is not that I am a willing to consider the exceptional nature of the Colombian case. One of the analysts who judges us from outside.enemy logic in a diagram of recognizable forces. Crossfire but in several directions simultaneously. politicians of different parties will try to capitalize them. those that having arisen from the base of society. And from there precisely most calm statements come about what the collective sensibility means. to establish historical analogies is indispensable. or even. does abstraction of the singularity of our conflict. make difficult to apply the friend . for being massive and multitudinous. the wildest practitioners of terrorism who manage to construct networks to move their wars forward. in a context like the current one. 11 And the most recent: the massive mobilizations on March 4. in sum: deep social lack of organization. As for sensibility attributions.

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1962. April. Republic of Colombia. National University. 1991. Bogotá. 20. When there is a cause people are motivated to fight and even to die for it. May 8. Mayor. August. Tilly (1978). 168. 7 “It does not matter what the paramilitarism is in its origins. 1990. 2003. p. 1st work. N ° 37. and still not stop. and in a clear and consistent rupture with the immediate past. or better. edition. Wesley Addison. 6 “Paramilitary in Colombia: context. 11 When scarcely it was initiating its transit to legality. p. 25. p. is perhaps to sacrifice itself for the sake of a rhetorical illusion. IDCT. Now there is no cause”. the fact is that it is the rural military arm of the drug trafficking facing the guerrillas” in “De Juan de la Cruz Varela a Tirofijo”. 9 Charles. It is not known where this goes. 8 Civil resistance in Bogota. National Defense Department. declarations to Semana. 5 The self-defense illegal groups in Colombia. Juin 1986. 2002. it is known that is not going anywhere. p. 1999. and when scarcely it was overcoming the offense which it survived. 2000. December. 70. p. to treat life as a 3 Ibid. 1978. Volume 2. Sociological Monographs. 2 Quoted book. Bogota. Bogota. Number 3. See also a very pertinent article for our case: "The rise (and Sometimes Fall) of Guerrillas Governments in Latin America” of Timothy Wickham-Crowley in: Sociological Forum. interview done by Dew Londoño in: Political analysis. reinforcing” in: Actes de la recherche en Sciences Sociales N° 62/63. Summer 1987. Allied Forces and consequences” in: Political analysis N ° 12. . that is to say like the coherent history of a significant and faced sequence of events. Antanas Mockus. the ex-Navarrese guerrilla Wolf already said it in 1990: "Now the only thing that exists is a crossfire in which nobody knows why is shooting nor why they shoot him.** Titular Teacher of the Sociology Department of the Colombia National University. From mobilization to Revolution. 4 “To produce a life history. 1987. of a common representation of the existence. 1 The Violence in Colombia Took I. Planet. which the whole literary tradition has not stopped. Email: fcubides etb. 10 Daniel Pécaut in: Measuring force-balance of the government´ s first year of Álvaro Uribe Vélez. 5. April.