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Rethinking anti-militarism in times of social war

Posted: December 23rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: General | Comments Off on Rethinking anti-militarism in times of social war

On the need for debate about the militarization of states against intensifying popular uprisings and revolutionary mobilizations

Translators note: This article is a proposal for a discussion on how to oppose the militarization of social conflict that was circulated among radicals in the territory of the French state on paris-luttes.info and other sites. This is a global problem, and so if you want to contribute to this discussion, I will share summarize or translate responses from anglophones and share them with folks on paris-luttes.

“In recent years, ethnic, tribal, social, and political problematics have re-emerged and contributed to tensions and conflicts in many regions of the world. […]
“The logic of insurgency and counter-insurgency have become essentially urban questions […]
“Guerillas, insurgents, and other non-state actors have taken advantage of the benefits of operating in this environment and will doubtless continue to do so.”
NATO – Operations in urban areas 2020
2.3.2 The Nature of the Enemy – April 2003 [1]
the NATO Research and Technology organization in Neuilly-sur-seine [2]

“The militarization of the state progresses at a hectic pace. More and more often and for many different reasons, military-style solutions are chosen that disturb or threaten to disturb the fragile social equilibrium”
Anarchist Prisoners of Korydallos
Letter on the assassination of Marian Kola – August 2013 [3]

In times of war. If it weren’t for the avalanche of alienation dispensed by the fourth estate, the media, and its commentaries that fade into declarations by decision-makers — ministers, presidents, religious leaders, and kings — we wouldn’t need to spell this all out. But the change in how uprisings happen and how they are repressed is clear, which means a debate about them is obviously necessary.

Going forward, for the powerful, there are no clear front lines to hold: all conflicts have become asymmetrical. There are no longer regular armies to force into submission by diplomacy or strategy, treaty or ceasefire. Now, their enemies are everywhere and all wars will be total. The only victory is unconditional: by annihilating the adversary (by murder, enslavement, or imprisonment) or by full control over their subsistence and environment. This is done by means of magnetic cards (credit or ID), NGOs, military and police checkpoints [4], and by generalizing technological advances (like biometrics, surveillance, and virtual social networks).

Here, we want to highlight that this avalanche of disinformation — the TV news steeped in a warrior tone, where even the reporting is set to imposing music —  strategically misleads us, like the propaganda during the Second World War that tried to conceal terrible events in order to morally defeat the enemy civilian population.
Here, we want to highlight that the ongoing militarization of repression is aimed at Us: Those who are in conflict with the existent, its structures, its defenders, and its false critics.

Of course, scenes of cops in action, armed to the teeth, and the moving declarations by military commanders and soldiers, as well as police and gendarmes, are demonstrations of the means used by the state to defend itself.
Immediately, the testimony of terrified citizens and the families of victims ring out from the machines of the fourth estate, justifying the “emergency” measures “put in place”.

But again, we need to clearly distinguish the propagandistic practices from the real ones and the fictional reasons from the true motivations. We need to distinguish the Logic of the State from Insurrectionary Motivation. Not that of some priest, imam, or ideologue, but those of the exploited, the deserters and the rebels. .

We need to see the reality of the current conflict clearly:

  •  The atrocious reality of the state’s war, bloody and fratricidal like it has always been, used to take territory, resources, and cheap labour, or, foolishly, just for power games.
  •  The conflictual reality of revolution and how it envisions itself. By refusing the the symmetry of the forces traditionally in conflict; by refusing the formalism of our ways of organizing compared to those of the rebels; by refusing militarism, by taking as our goal the end of all states, the end of all wars, and the beginning of peace and anarchy. Or communism, according to  your taste in words.

We will start by setting our local reality in a proportional relation to the global reality. We will debate the state of emergency laws [5] and the movement of refugees, as well as the forced adoption of the Labour Law [6] and of austerity measures throughout Europe, and land defense, in the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes as well as elsewhere.
We will talk about the movements in the banlieues [7] and prisoners movements, in the French territory and around the world.
We need to talk about war and those who live it, it in Iraq, Syria, the Mediterranean, the Alps, Calais and on our doorstep.

We need to rethink anti-militarism.


1] Full report (maybe use Tor or something for clicking NATO pdfs): www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA413638

2] Neuilly-sur-seine, the richest of Paris’ suburbs, is also one of the political bases of the main right-wing political parties

3] Published in Avalanche Dec 2013: https://avalanche.noblogs.org/files/2013/12/Avalanche-EN-0.pdf

4] In Paris now, security checkpoints are routine and a search (usually just of your bag or coat) is required to enter any public space, like university buildings or libraries, and its very common to see checkpoints established in transit hubs and near demonstrations or large gatherings. The level to which we are all expected to “participate” in security is astonishing, but quickly becomes normal

5] France has been under a state of emergency since last November that gives extra powers to police and intelligence services

6] La loi travail, or the labour law, sparked a massive social movement this past spring. For some sense of what that looked like: https://borderedbysilence.noblogs.org/post/2016/09/17/paris-were-still-here/

7] Referring to certain suburbs of major cities where poor and racialized people are concentrated and that are famous for their outbursts of collective rage

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