Against the war, against the State
Alternatives or refusal?
The United States government is now demanding support for a war that it has been carrying out on and off for over a decade. It is making broad claims of the threat presented by a second-rate renegade colony, a former puppet that tried to cut a few strings and was transformed into the devil by the American government’s propaganda machine. This war has nothing to do with terrorism (beyond the everyday terrorism carried on by all States, and particularly the American State). Saddam Hussein has made no threats against the United States. There is no evidence that Iraq has the weapon capabilities Bush and crew claim and according to Unscom (the UN investigation committee) reports a great deal of evidence that it does not. The US government’s claims that such weapons – if they existed – would be offered to terrorists for their use is absolutely baseless. Thus, it is absurd to speak of “more just ways to challenge terrorism” or of “exploring alternatives” with regards to this current attempt by the US to garner international support for a war that is already in act. Instead, what we need to speak about and act upon is an absolute refusal of the American government’s crass exploitation of the events of September 11, 2001 to gain support for its blatant acts of aggression and terror against the people of Iraq, and absolute insubordination to every call for submission to the necessities of war.
We are currently living in an era when, for all practical intents and purposes, there is a single power ruling throughout the world, the power of Capital. The few enclaves that still exist against this power have little chance of survival as long as we, who live in the heart of the beast, continue to be blind to its real nature and believe that it can be reformed, that it can be made “more just” (as if justice were anything more than the edicts of judges who serve those who rule this world.) And the United States is the greatest representative of this power, militarily and economically. The end of the duality of superpowers at the end of the 1980’s changed the nature of war, at least as carried out by the great powers. (Of course, this change was already in act decades earlier – after all, weren’t the Korean War and the War in Viet Nam “police actions”?) We no longer see the real contention of nations for power, territory and resources. The great powers like the United States and the European Union already have practical control over all of these. Instead the great powers go to war to police recalcitrant subjects. This is why the US is attacking Iraq (and still patrolling Afghanistan and “aiding” the Philippines) and threatening Iran, North Korea, etc. Looked at this way, it also becomes clear that the USAPATRIOT act, the searches at airports and bus stations, the fear-inducing propaganda efforts, the increased security everywhere are acts of war. And not of a “war against terrorism”, which would have had to start with the dismantling of the CIA and a half a century of US foreign policy, but rather against the possibility of revolt by the exploited and excluded people here and world-wide as well as against all who dare to refuse control, who dare to refuse “life” as compliant sheep.
If we talk to the representatives of this war-mongering social order, we are still granting them the final say. Such participation is simply participation in our continued slavery. Instead, those of us exploited, excluded or simply disgusted by this social order need to talk with each other about how we can actively refuse the State’s war, encouraging non-compliance, disobedience and revolt, in short, total insubordination to the efforts of the masters of this world to once more send us out to shed each others blood in their interests.
As long as the State exists and Capital rules the world, war will continue killing us. Only insubordination and total revolt can bring this to an end, and open the possibility of a world where no one can order anyone else to go out and kill. Desertion, refusal, sabotage, attack, destruction against every constituted authority, all power, every State firstname.lastname@example.org. against the war, against the State.
In general, Americans are cowards. This has become quite clear since September 11, 2001. Not only are most people willing to put up with every humiliation at airports, bus stations and other places considered “at risk” in the name of security, ready to jump at every wolf-cry of “terrorism” from Bush’s pack of liars and prepared to prostrate themselves before Big Daddy State so that He will keep them safe. They are also ready to support a war that they know will be easy, a bully’s war for which there is no real reason other than to keep the hysteria of the “war on terrorism” raging. If this were likely to be another Vietnam War, this cowardice might be worthy. It might cause more people to oppose this war out of sheer chauvinistic fear for “American lives”. After all, we don’t want “our boys” getting killed.
But war has changed. Thanks to the technological developments of the past twenty years, it is becoming easier and easier for the great powers who have access to it to carry out their acts of destruction from a distance, without a care. For the most part, mistakes will only kill foreign civilians, those residing in the territory under attack. American casualties would be few, almost entirely the result of “friendly fire”. So it is easy for Americans to thoughtlessly accept further American aggression against Iraq or anywhere else the government desires it. It requires no courage whatsoever, simply continued submission to the will of our rulers. Courage now lies precisely in the refusal of this war. But we must be clear about what this war is in order to understand what refusal means. In the same way that the current social order tries to make each new disaster brought on by the economic-technological devastation of the earth appear to be a separate incident easy to repair, the rulers of this world try to make the current American war-cry appear as a distinct event. This is not the case. War has been the normal state of life throughout most of the world for decades. Not just in places like Rwanda, Palestine, Yugoslavia or Somalia, but in the hearts of American cities as well, where if you are neither black nor poor nor undocumented, then the police won’t shoot at you. Otherwise, there is no guarantee.
The real war, the one behind all the others that fuels them is the war of the rulers against all those they rule, the war to maintain their power in the face of all actual or potential revolt. Pacifist requests to the rulers to find “peaceful resolutions” to their conflicts can only help to maintain this ongoing war because it is the very function of the State and of all forms of rule. Thus, appealing to “our representatives” (and are we really so willing to give up our own capacity to decide, to allow someone else to “represent “ us?) can at best change one minor scene in the global theater of pain, while leaving the state of universal war intact.
The illusion that capitalism and the democratic State could offer abundance and freedom for all has proven to be the most blatant lie, and unrest is a worldwide reality. But the potential for revolution is perpetually recuperated into ethnic and religious conflicts worldwide and into gang war and racial hatred here. And all of this plays into the hands of those who rule us allowing them to advance their war against us – now through the so-called “war on terrorism” with its new laws and “security” measures – criminalizing more and more expressions of dissent, resistance and revolt.
Thus, real refusal of the current war effort must take the form of insubordination, not of petition. Disobedience on all fronts, the refusal to negotiate in any way with the State, the refusal in the full sense to fight their war.
But the refusal of their war must also be the refusal of their peace, because the two are one. Thus, the refusal of their war must also be the active struggle to destroy the State and capital everywhere.
Desertion, refusal, sabotage, attack, destruction against every constituted authority, all power, every State, total insubordination to the efforts of the masters of this world to once more send us out to shed each others blood in their interests.