Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Rememberance day, for who though ?
Every year about this time of year we have the poppy appeal and the time of rememberance. All this is told to us to remember those injured in war and those who lost their lives fighting for so called "freedom" we are asked remember the horrors of war first hand, but there aren’t any WWI veterans alive now. The icon of this imperialist military pride is the poppy, which people attach to their coats in order to publicly display their patriotism and respect for war ‘heroes’ whose lives were lost on the battlefields of the first world war. But also for the other fallen war ‘heroes’ of the past, as well as the present and future pawns of the military. Seems innocent enough at first, to wear a poppy to ‘remember’ the dead from the “great war” – the so-called “war to end all wars.” As this year being the 100th anniversary of the start of the first World War there has been much in our media all year on remembering the so called "great war". “The present war is not a war for the protection of national integrity, nor for the freeing of oppressed people, nor for the welfare of the masses. From the standpoint of the proletariat it signifies the most extreme concentration and extension of political oppression, economic exploitation, militaristic slaughtering of the working classes, body and soul – for the sake of capitalism and despotism…” – Karl Liebknecht "In 1917 in the US, Emma Goldman and her comrade Alexander Berkman stood trial for opposing conscription for WWI. According to J. Edgar Hoover – who made it his personal mission to get Goldman and Berkman deported – they were “beyond doubt, two of the most dangerous anarchists in this country” and along with hundreds of other foreign born radicals they were deported to the Soviet Union on December 21st 1919. “War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle; therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against each other.” – Carlyle quoted by Emma Goldman As anarchists we are committed anti-patriots, anti-militarists, anti-war, anti-imperialist and of course anti-state, we are not pacifists, we are fully aware that violence against oppressors is necessary and entirely different to violence against the oppressed. War is legalised state-sanctioned murder based upon racial and national superiority and greed. The narrative of the pro-war / pro-troops propaganda revolves around the outright lie that these soldiers are somehow fighting for ‘our freedom’ for ‘our way of life’ for ‘our’ benefit in some way. David Cameron himself said that servicepersons “gave their lives for our freedom” and we must ensure that “the lessons learned live with us for ever”. Bullshit, we haven’t learned anything about the atrocities and horrors of war, least of all them chinless toffs. "The only thing these troops fight for is the maintenance of the nauseating lifestyles of the privileged and the powerful at the expense of countless lives, both civilian and military. The troops are state agents, they don’t work for us, they don’t ‘free’ us as we are conned to believe, they certainly don’t ‘keep us safe’. They work for the state and are used at the state’s disposal – often literally. Yet there is some indisputable honour in subscribing and fighting on behalf of the rich. To criticise this is to be branded as a national traitor, to be ‘disrespectful’ of war dead, purely because we dare to question what exactly is ‘honourable’ about the mass slaughter of people you don’t even know, more than likely other working class people who are sent by their masters for the same purpose that ‘our’ troops are." Though it is true that many working class soldiers are desperately trying to escape unemployment and their miserable poverty stricken lives, they may even feel like they have no other choice, especially during times of harsh austerity measures implemented by the ruling class, which is where nationalism tends to gain a stronger foothold as a way to pass blame to ‘Johnny foreigner’ for our suffering. As much as needing to get some relief from poverty and squalor is valid enough, it still does not excuse the class treachery and complicity in hideously murderous acts committed in the interests of the state and the elite. “It’s hard not to see the present poppy appeals as highly politicised. The events are organised by the British legion. The slogan this year is ‘Shoulder to Shoulder with all who serve.’ Now that isn’t about remembering the dead. It is about supporting the armed forces.” Lindsey German I'll end on this brilliant quote from a war veteran himself. Now when you hear this from someone who served in a war it does make you sit up and take note. “I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one’s right to privacy.” – Harry Leslie Smith With quotes and many thanks to the guys over at Liverpool Class action you can read the full piece including quotes at http://liverpoolclassaction.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/no-war-but-the-class-war-remembrance-day-an-anarchist-perspective/