AGAINST MILITARISM: The State, Exploitation
                      and War
                      "War is the health of the state." The truth of this statement stems
                      from a deeper reality: war is, in fact, the basic functioning of the
                      state. But to understand this one must have clarity of the nature of
                      war and "peace". During the times when most people considered
                      war in terms of the threat of nuclear annihilation, fear clouded
                      understanding. Although this threat hasn't actually disappeared, it no
                      longer seems to loom on the horizon with the immediacy that it had
                      in the '80's and before. The military actions we have seen in recent
                      years could remove the cloud that prevents a clear understanding of
                      the nature of war if we examine them well.
                      In recent decades there have been very few declared wars in spite
                      of the fact that military actions have constant. As early as the '60's,
                      the U.S. war against Viet Nam was never declared as such, but
                      rather started as "advising" and then evolved into a "police action".
                      Since then military actions have been known by such names as
                      "peacekeeping mission", "humanitarian mission", 'surgical strike".
                      Etc.
                      This apparently Orwellian language is in fact very revealing to those
                      who examine it carefully. If the bombing of hospitals and apartment
                      buildings can be a "police action", then events such as the bombing
                      of the MOVE house in Philadelphia are simply par for the course. It
                      should also come as no surprise that increasingly big city police
                      forces are receiving military training and that the Marines have been
                      training in American cities for dealing with urban unrest. In the case
                      of the former, we are dealing with the training of "peace officers",
                      and in the case of the latter, with the training of "peace-keeping
                      forces". The unity of purpose between the police and the military is
                      thus quite evident.
                      The purpose which these two institutions serve is social peace. But if
                      armed organizations are necessary for the maintenance of social
                      peace, then this so-called "peace" rests on a bed-rock of violence.
                      All states, however democratic, only exist by means of force. From
                      its beginning, the purpose of the state has always been to maintain
                      the privilege of the powerful few against the exploited many. In light
                      of this, it is evident that social peace means nothing other than the
                      suppression of rebellion, of any uprising of the exploited. Such
                      suppression involves violence or the threat of violence-the perpetual
                      terrorism of the state visible in uniform on every street. Thus, social
                      peace is simply an aspect of the ongoing social war of the rulers
                      against those who they exploit, the war necessary to maintain
                      capitalism and the state.
                      In this light pacifism is useless against militarism and war. To call
                      states to interact peacefully is to ignore the primary function of the
                      state. For the state, war is peace-that is to say, violence the way to
                      maintain social peace, the continuation of domination and
                      exploitation. This is as true for democratic states as it is for blatantly
                      dictatorial and oligarchic regimes. The former merely supplement the
                      force of arms with the illusory participation in consensus creating
                      "dialogue"-which always upholds the present order-as a means to
                      keep the exploited under control. So if the struggle against militarism
                      and war is not to be a futile symbolic gesture that ultimately upholds
                      what it claims to fight, it must leave behind the moralisms of pacifism
                      and humanitarianism which the state has already drawn into the
                      realm of its justifications for war. This struggle must recognize the
                      reality of the ongoing social war against the exploited and of the
                      necessity to transform itself into a revolutionary struggle aimed at
                      destroying the state and capital. For only when the state and capital
                      are destroyed will the ongoing social war come to an end.
 
 

Back to the Venomous Butterfly Page (on KKA)
                             Back to the Killing King Abacus Page