ACTION AGAINST THE WARFrom the moment George Bush gave his call for a “war against terrorism”, there have been those who recognized that, like all wars, this is simply another war to uphold state power and the current system of social relationships. While the usual pacifist whining that the state should carry out its current functions in a more humanitarian and less bloody manner has certainly been an aspect of the protests against the war, there are those of us who would rather express a revolutionary rejection of the war, of militarism and of the state. Unlike the pacifists, we have no interest in replacing the institutionalized violence of war with that of the courts, but rather seek to destroy this entire social order that is based on institutionalized violence.
Of course, there have been many demonstrations against the war starting even before the bombings began. Some, such as the one in Thessaloniki, Greece on October 16 have expressed explicitly revolutionary and anarchist sentiments, though most have been a far more eclectic mix with pacifist and humanitarian voices dominating. But other types of actions have taken place as well.
On October 11, a group of twenty people involved with “No war but class war” invaded and occupied an armed forces recruitment office in Brighton, England in protest against the war, making this statement:
“In declaring a ‘war against terrorism’ the ruling class has really declared a war on workers across the world. Workers and peasants in Afghanistan are being directly killed and starved by the military machines of our rulers. At ‘home’ the war is already being used as a cover for the economic crisis. Nationalism, racism and fear have the role of dividing working class people and undermining resistance to the sackings and cuts in social spending that have already begun. There is a giant propaganda effort for a false unity based on ‘the nation’ and a resulting increase in racist attacks. Draconian laws, whose definition of terrorism includes criminal damage to state property with the aim of seriously altering the political, economic or social structure, are being introduced across Europe. There is a need for us to resist all these attacks, to come together against all the divisions that capitalism imposes, on the basis of a class opposition to all nationalist and religious ideologies.”
In Bristol, England, anarchists graffitied the windows of an armed forces recruitment office with glass etching fluid, spattered it with paint bombs and glued the locks. A few weeks later, in the same city, some people attacked a McDonald’s, smashing almost all the windows, gluing locks and leaving messages against capitalism.
On October 13, in Pau, France, a group of people calling themselves the “Totally Anti-War Group” attacked a navy recruitment office with petrol bombs in protest against the war. Not surprisingly, due to the nature of this act, there were those ready to label the act as terrorism, and others ready to claim that it was an attempt by government agents to discredit the anti-war movement. But the target was precise and the timing shows a conscious intent to avoid injury to people—thus the methodology was not that of terrorism and state violence. Thus, it makes more sense to take critical discussion of this and other actions in a different direction useful to the development of an anti-authoritarian movement of direct action against the war.
In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, a small group of anarchists and others demonstrated in front of the US embassy, burning an American flag and attacking the embassy with cherry bombs. Five anarchists were arrested for “insulting a foreign nation.”
And on November 1, anarchists in Istanbul, Turkey demonstrated against the war in Afghanistan, capitalism and poverty. They broke the chains on the gate of Beyazit square, burned American flags and flags representing McDonalds. Police attacked the demonstration, arresting 58 people and injuring most of them. One person had to be hospitalized. The following statement appeared on a leaflet:
“NO JUSTICE NO PEACE!
ANARCHIST PLATFORM DECLARATION:
CAPITALISM KILLS IN WAR AND PEACE
The US attack on Afghanistan is a part of capitalism’s centuries long war against humanity. While the wars of capitalism kill humans and nature in every corner of the world, the peace of capitalism massacres by starvation, poverty, embargos, economic crisis and genetic engineering.
The war against Afghanistan is for the benefit of oil corporations, drug and arm traders. This is just global capitalism! And global capitalism is the system of exploiting humanity and nature for money and profit.
In order to change Turkey into the marketplace of capitalism under the control of IMF and World Bank, the Turkish government tries hard to sentence us to starvation, poverty and misery! The roles of the directives of IMF and the bombs on Afghanistan are the same: to destroy humanity and ecology for the profit of global capitalism! While thousands are bombed to death in war, everyday thirty/fourty thousand people are dying because of starvation under the peace of capitalism.
We condemn both the war and the peace of capitalism! The peace is the suppression of freedom, and justice screams of humanity which is in the clamps of domination and injustice! We refuse! We are not doomed to crisis and wars! Instead of capitalism’s money-profit-greed, we have to put our values of freedom, solidarity, and humanity forward.
As long as humanity is patient with the peace lies of capitalism and the puppets like Dervis (Economy Minister of Turkey appointed by WB), all we will gain is starvation, poverty, and misery!
WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO LOSE!
MORE PATIENCE MORE POVERTY, MORE PATIENCE MORE MISERY!
IT’S ENOUGH, NO MORE SLAVERY!”
The actions—even those involving property damage—described above were basically symbolic rather than direct action. Nonetheless they do present a clear indication that the “unity” that Bush and the media desire is not there and that there are those who reject the false choices that those in power are offering. In addition they may encourage those in positions to more directly sabotage the war efforts to act.
“Armies” are the arms and at the same time the obedience of those who are disarmed. But is the obedience of the disarmed possible without the imposition of arms? Or is obedience itself the arm? Doesn’t the ballot symbolize the bayonet? Is controlling the newspapers and television different than controlling the arsenals? And yet, when one abandons work, the spectacle and the vote, one finds oneself indeed facing arms as such. There are no other arms to suppress those who would arm themselves against power.