solidarity initiative | 23.03.2004 20:43 | Social Struggles
Peace and War Limited.
The western world propaganda and creation of consciousness:
It is a war for peace (a monstrous reversal, bringing in mind the Orwellian anti-language), therefore the people under attack do not have the right to fight back or defend themselves. In order to do this, the people under attack have to be demonised (i.e. Palestinian or Iraqi=Muslim=Terrorist. This is the propaganda that takes place in Israel and the rest of the western world). This creates the second side, that of fundamentalism, which is the one that appears in the western world. The propaganda aims (and apparently has managed to a big extend) to criminalize every act of resistance in people's conscience and identify it with terrorism.
What is wrong with the two sides?
In brief, and because we do not have to say much in order to explain it, this war happens for oil, in other words for money: This is the face of western world and the substantial flag under which the massacre in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan has been taking place. But what is the other side? The other side is blurred and confused for the people of the western world. On one hand there is the resistance that takes place in Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq (to which the western media do not refer), as well as mass resistance within the West, and on the other hand the spectacular but rather unsocial "terrorist organizations" as for example Al-Qaeda. The discourse of the western world authorities (as it is propagandised through the western media) names its spectacular enemy "terrorists" and tries to include in this characterization the Arab world in its whole. At the same time, the so- called "terrorist organizations" define their enemy in terms of nation. Therefore, the attacks conducted by both sides are against people and not against military forces or authorities. For example, the western world bombed schools and hospitals in Iraq and in the same way Al Qaeda attacked rail stations in Madrid. In both cases, the people killed were neither soldiers nor people of power; but workers and children; both of the attacks were against society.
Neither with the states nor with the terrorists.
We are disgusted because the people killed and injured in Madrid were innocent. We would add that the people killed and injured in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan were innocent as well. One of the weapons of the state propaganda that takes place in the west is the question of taking a position in this situation: You are either with the states or with the terrorists. Our answer is: we are neither with the states nor with the terrorists. We are with the people, for we are part
of the people and our common interest has nothing to do with the interests of our oppressors either they are in Baghdad, London or Madrid. Internationalism and continuous inner struggle against any oppressor is the answer we can give against the madness of a fight for geopolitical and economic profits of capitalists or any other ruler in any other part of the world.. It is imperative that the people that live in the western world understand that as long as we allow this war to take place in our name, death will be the order of the day. It’s a vicious circle: war and domination breeds terrorism and terrorism justifies war. The Western capitalist states seek to extend their domination and to expand their markets. Fundamentalists seek to establish their own oppressive state of affairs; same product, different brand…
But make no mistake; war is not an accidental feature of capitalism, but a substantial one. Capitalist war (which differs from capitalist ‘peace’ only in the procedure and intensity of the slaughter) generates profits, displaces non-cooperative dictators (while enthrones co-operative ones), wrecks public infrastructure which will then be rebuilt by western corporations, creates a fabulous weapons-market, demands national unity rendering ‘unpatriotic’ any form of resistance and class struggle, expands the empire and its markets. War is spectacle, creates an external enemy, while obscuring that the real enemy is capitalism and its destructive processes.
However disgusted we feel towards the Madrid-bombing, we must not adopt the dominant ideology of ‘anti-terrorism’. For it is this very ideology, that produces terrorism. In this blood-shed world, we know our enemies very well, the enemies of our liberty: capitalism and militarism on the one hand, fundamentalism and terrorism on the other. And between two horrors, we don’t have to choose one. We have to subvert both and to fight for justice. And as long, we, here in the West, support directly, or indirectly (through apathy) the dominant system which produces war, no one can ever feel safe. Direct action, solidarity and mass public struggles are the only way out of a situation which has gone out of control, turning the world into a huge cemetery and military camp. We know very well how we got here; it’s time to break our way out.
As long as representative democracy exists, such wars will be constantly taking place. As long as we allow bourgeois democracies to exist and act in our name we will be responsible for everything they do. Therefore, our answer to the bombing in Madrid cannot be “smash the terrorists” (as terrorism is a product of war) but rather, smash bourgeois democracies.
Let’s self organize our needs. Let’s take our lives in our hands.
THE MOVEMENT AGAINST THE WAR AND THE WAR AGAINST THE MOVEMENT
AN ANTI-SYSTEMIC ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT
One year after the invasion of Iraq, the defeat of the Iraqi dictatorship and the occupation of the country, mainly by USA and British but also other forces, the looting of the country’s resources is well under way. At the same time, Al-Qaeda seems to have shifted the war to Europe. However, instead of producing another ‘alternative’ and critical news bulletin, we prefer, especially in a demonstration such as today’s, to talk about a much wider, but all the same pressing problem, that has to do with what sort of anti-war movement we want. The latest terrorism hit demonstrates that on the one hand people in the western world fall victims to the often belligerent policies of their elected leaders, on the other hand, people in the middle East have equally failed to find an alternative to religious fundamentalism, which seems to be taking over. We chose to refer to the western world and its failures, because this is where we live.
The existing anti-war movement is using the simplistic logic of war and peace; the same logic used by the violators of the peace (that the anti-war movement tries to protect): “War is bad, peace is good”. The question the movement should be asking is: Is every peace good?
Peace and security in the western world means exploitation and repression for large parts of its population and exploitation and repression for practically everyone but a small elite in the non-western / undeveloped world. It also means the perpetuation of the status quo in a society founded on social, economic and political inequality. Peace means that war is re-located in the social sphere, waged against anyone threatening the established social order. The increasing militarisation of the police in all countries of the ‘developed’ world is a good example. For some members of the affluent western world, the wealth and the comfort provide them with the opportunity to engage in struggles, which, however, are only partial. They are partial because war is perceived as an isolated phenomenon in relation to other social phenomena. Following this logic, war is not connected to other social problems like unemployment, destruction of environment or the battle for economic expansion of the power blocs. Thus, its roots are seen as not inherent in a political and social system, but lying somewhere outside the social sphere. Activists end up choosing their fronts instead of viewing the struggle in a more spherical way, recognising there is a common root in our problems.
Equally, the humanitarian logic presumes the victimisation of the non-western world and then advocates the right to providing the best solutions, such as humanitarian wars. The discourse of human rights is bourgeois in its conception (Enlightenment) and has always served for the justification of the choices made by the elites that rule us. It is the discourse, which the west uses to impose its own ideas and conceptions on the non-western world, a new kind of moral and political crusade. By trying to oppose our rulers with their own discourse, we end up legitimising it. Instead the anti-war movement should search for an alternative discourse through which to act and speak. This one only allows the western ‘activists’ to pacify their guilt and promote values of a civilisation based on conquest and oppression.
Pressure groups and partial struggles have a further impact; the separation of a unified social front. Furthermore, the contradictions and the separation of the issues do not allow us to see clearly the unity of the problem; this is no other than the power relations and the hierarchical organisation imposed on every walk of social, economic and political life.
This in turn raises the question; what sort of society do we really want? The answer is, a society in which people will inherently and continuously seek to destroy all hierarchical and power structures that suppress our human condition, leading to the immiseration of us all.
‘One never really contests an organization of existence
without contesting all of that organization's forms of language.’