"Only a robber is a true revolutionary in Russia - a revolutionary without a chatter, without bookish rhetoric, without phrase mongering - an intransigent, indomitable revolutionary of action..."
A joint publication of Bakunin and Nechaev, 1869We can suppose that a revolutionary party, in its formation, passes through definite, natural stages. One of the first is "robbery", or "banditry". A historian M.N. Pokrovsky in his "History of Russia in the Most Concise Form" thinks that robbery was the first form of resistance of the Russian people to their princes. However, the very fact of banditry should not surprise us, as the princes themselves were in reality heads of bands of slave merchants, as they attacked other tribes, and stole from them people, whom they turned into slaves, and later sold on various markets. Testimony to this is contained in "The Russian Truth", a legal code of Russia first written down in XI century.
Individual acts of plunder were a prelude to massive uprisings. Pokrovsky writes that in ancient Kiev there were two risings - in the second half of XI century, and in the beginning of XII century, and both were preceded by military defeats of the princes.Let's note that robbery and plunder were not unique to the Russian society. This form of a class struggle has appeared in other feudal societies, the most famous being Robin Hood. His band was active in the Sherwood forest in England in the period of high Middle Ages, and they are first mentioned in written records dating to 1283. The theme of "noble robbers" appears in a number of literature pieces dating from XVIII - XX centuries. These are Schiller's "Robbers" of 1781, Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" of 1869, R. Sabatini's "Captain Blood: His Odyssey" of 1922, etc. Here is just one phrase from "Captain Blood": "Only the sea remained, open to all and especially alluring to those, who felt themselves hostile to all humanity". Bandits and pirates are present in the modern epoch. In their reasoning and stories there is an element of rebellion and romance. For example, Somali piracy dates back to the start of a civil war in the country in 1991, when foreign fishing vessels started coming into the territorial waters of Somalia, and hence left the local fishermen without fish. The local fishermen started uniting against foreign vessels, and them simply started robbing them, as this was more profitable. Gradually, the piracy has switched from smaller vessels to larger ones.
In conclusion: banditry is the first stage in formation of a true revolutionary party, a party of action, not of chatter. The Bolsheviks and the IRA have gone through this stage. The Colombian government accuses FARC of drug trafficking to make them appear as simple robber barons, instead of being social revolutionaries.