The Need to Abolish Patriotism...
To those who support war, I have these questions. Do you not know that military action always has the consequence of death? The basis of war is the international use of force, coercion, and violence in order to acquire what all other means and methods could not. While that is an efficient definition for our purpose, it still leaves out a very important understanding of war. The human race is stubborn. We are willing to kill each other, or let ourselves be killed, in order to defend the earth where we were born to; the land that some of us would be unwilling to leave under penalty of death. Does the war advocate understand that by supporting a military conflict, he is putting men in to combat with each other, each soldier expecting to kill or be killed? War is a process that affirms and upholds the most barbaric and most uncivilized traits of the human character. In all armed conflicts, people are rewarded and given medals for relying on violent instincts and satisfying cruel urges. When a soldier kills, murders, and slaughters without prejudice or inhibition under the guidance of a general, he is given medals, honors, and awards. If a person should ever take the role of a soldier in his civil life, if an individual should ever murder or loot from his fellow citizens, he would be dealt with very seriously. As a society, the actions of murderers and thieves are never taken light-heartedly. There are strong and bold men who are willing to defend the rights of all the innocent, sometimes even to their deaths; true heroes. It is the common opinion of all honest thinkers, that all humans have certain inalienable rights. And among those rights, we count the right to life. Should a civilian ever end the lives of the people around him, he would be taking the role of the soldier in an armed conflict. The contradiction of this scene of international affairs only strikes the most socially alert of the world's people.
War always entails the deaths of combatants, of soldiers, of those who aid one side in their military efforts, no matter what station or position they hold. While this is the essential premise to battle, it is also admitted that in ending the lives of men drafted by their governments, armies are responsible for killing many innocent people. Collateral damage. Friendly fire. Civilian casualties. There are a million technical phrases that the governments of the world have applied to the situation where their troops are directly responsible for killing unarmed families and children. Much of the time, entire cities are engulfed in flames by extremely destructive tools. The homes of these unarmed and innocent people, their places of work, their museums and centerpieces of culture, are entirely burned to the ground. And this is all done under the guise of "military campaigns" or "strategic warfare." Nobody will ever doubt you if you were to state that the military are responsible for tens of millions of unintentional deaths. Being able to react fast and quickly in a military conflict means having a higher chance to live. Those who are fast to open fire on an unarmed family scurrying from the conflict, are also most likely to be fast in opening fire on armed combatants. The natural order follows then, that those who open fire on civilians quickly, will open fire on enemies quickly, and therefore be more likely to survive and continue fighting. While it is true that innocent civilians often are slaughtered during combat, the governments are always hesitant to release the numbers or any cases that they are aware of when it comes to their troops murdering the innocent.
Rarely, though, do the governments or the world's militaries ever admit that they intentionally killed innocent civilians. The generals, the presidents, the prime ministers, all authorities, will deny having killed people who they were unsure were civilians or combatants. Sometimes they will begin their speeches with phrases like, "In combat, things can become confused," or "Who is your enemy? Who is your friend? You can never know." But, they will never end their press conferences with, "Yes, we willingly and knowingly killed people who were innocent and completely uninvolved with combat or the conflict." These are militaries that train their soldiers to wound, maim, kill, and otherwise destroy other people who are also called warriors. And once the curtain has been unfurled, once armed troops are thrown on to a battlefield with people they are expected to kill, there will always be the intentional murder of innocent civilians. Sometimes, a government will declare war not another government, but on an entire people, as it happened with the Nazi government and its hatred of the Jews, or as it happened with America's rulers and the Vietnam War. In those situations, all people are considered the enemy, because they are workers, producers, consumers, and distributors in the enemy's economy. They produce the food, the weapons, and all other necessities that feed themselves or fuel the war efforts; and in their zeal to win the war, armies will claim open season on all people, armed or unarmed, of the other side. Due to recently declassified documents, we are now aware that military authorities ordered the extermination of thousands of unarmed civilians in Vietnamese villages. We see the same kind of murders and mutilations in the history books, when it comes to the First World War, the Second World War, just about every war the United States government enacted, and the many military campaigns of ancient empires. The intentional murder of innocent families and their children is an unbreakable pattern that comes with every military effort.
In America today, we are on the very fringes of the Vietnam conflict. The great many who fought and witnessed the death of their comrades in combat are still with us today. And after losing their conflict abroad, not to superior forces, but to a people defending their homeland from foreign invasion, they came back to America to fight the United States government. Armies of soldiers had organized, this time not for the sake of waging war, but for the sake of defending peace. They protested their government’s activity in creating foreign wars and deceiving the public. These soldiers threw their medals that they had earned at their oppressors. To them, it was more important to uphold the life, the culture, and the independence of all people, instead of subjecting them to violence, tyranny, and cruelty. I've known many members of the underground and the subculture who listened to the confessions of the Vietnam veterans. As revolutionaries, we have always been the greatest and strongest enemies of military conflict. And many of us have listened to the sad and displeasing tales of Vietnam veterans. They confess to us in a way that a Catholic might confess to a priest, or the way a child might confess to a mother or father. They tell us how they bombed entire villages of innocent people. An entire village, scorching in the hot sun of South East Asia, and even though the American soldiers were far, far away, they could still hear the crying pains of unarmed people being burned alive.
Those Vietnam veterans who ended up hating their government for what they forced them to do are the pinnacle of love and understanding. Many might disagree with me. They might point to the ancient monks of Buddhism, or the apostles of Christianity, or the highest caste of Hinduism, or the wandering seers of all lands. Those who fought in the Vietnam conflict are still with us. They are still telling us their stories. An entire government, and its subservient society, kept telling these soldiers that it was their duty to kill, eliminate, and destroy; and in the end, they organized themselves for the sake of peace and understanding. For the most part, we all understand that war makes men debased and cruel. From ancient Rome, to the wars of the British Empire, to our present conflicts of the United States, veterans of battle always returned to find no jobs and little hope in life. Many of them returned without limbs. And today, we see many of them still strewn across the street, begging. For hundreds of years, that was the case. It was only recently that the government started to pay for those who were wounded during conflict. And even then, the amount paid to handicapped veterans is very little. The physical disability of these individuals inhibits them from finding and maintaining work after the war. And this says little of the emotional disabilities caused by conflict. Many who were forced in to combat have an extremely difficult time readjusting to their lives back home. That is the most natural response of any human being who was trained to make their living off of killing and causing suffering for others. I think few truths are more obvious than that. And yet, our governors, mayors, presidents, and all of our elected representatives will make great promises to us, while those who "defended our freedom" are dying in the streets.
When I do think about the Terrorist actions of 9/11 and even the recent bombing of a building in England, I first think that it is easy to understand the activities of the bombers. They are motivated by some powerful emotional forces. Among them, there is the religious assertion, that they are doing an act that will bring them to heaven; their minds are under the influence of ancient prejudices and bigotries. Another motivation, one that seems a thousand times more just and sufficient, is the understanding that the United States and other Western nations have soldiers on the homeland of their sacred ground. They feel that their home is the land that rightfully belongs to the people who have lived there for over ten thousand years. And it is this land that is being violated by alliances and aid given to Israel, U.S. or U.N. interference, or by exploiting the people for their labor and natural resources. In the past, the United States and other Western nations sold weapons and arms to the one part of the Middle East's population that had the worst intentions for the region. The fanatics and suicide bombers were given their ammunition from the United States. And after all these years, the United States goes back in, to claim territory and oil from a dictatorship that it was responsible for setting up. Of course the bombers, the terrorists, and the international soldiers have a fine reason to detest the United States and its government.
The games the governments of the world have been playing have gone on for thousands and thousands of years. In the past, the United States sent its soldiers and troops to die in a foreign country simply so they could declare defense as an act of war. That was the case in the Mexican-American War, as well as the Spanish American War of 1898. Manifest Destiny is a philosophy that has created slavery and destroyed indigenous people. World War 1 was caused by a bunch of bureaucratic European states squabbling amongst each other over old prejudices and slanted opinions. It was caused by the violent treaties they agreed to and the ability of the government to force young men in to war. To end the so-called Great War, the war that was to end all wars, a treaty was created by Western powers and Germany was forced to sign it. The economic and political sanctions that were put on this country were so unjust, cruel, and oppressive, that it was the cause for some people uniting and forming a Fascist government. That would be the cause of World War 2. In Vietnam, Cuba, and Iraq, it was the same story: the United States government created an antagonism or conflict with the indigenous people, and then used their reaction to that attack as the excuse for invasion. And every time, we always find out ten to twenty years later that the government had ill intentions. It was not really about creating liberty for these people, because right now after U.S. intervention, they are the slaves to Nike and Adidas factories. What the governments of the world have been doing for centuries seems to surprise the people of today. It's a simple pattern that just a brief understanding of history will confirm. The governments will always oppose the will of the people; it will always work to bend and otherwise subvert their intentions.
What is it that motivates governments to military efforts? What is the intention of those who wage war and ask for confidence in their battles? We all hear their words, we all see their posters; every one of us is witness to the massive program of propaganda that the government has underway, in the form of centralized control of major media outlets and book distributors. There is a ruling class that demands these wars. It is the most privileged caste of our social strata that supports these wars. They are the ones who receive an enormous amount of slave labor, forced through economic treaties and totalitarian governments. Vast quantities of oil, land, ores, timber, and other natural resources are freed up from international embargos. There are new sources of labor and capital to be exploited, at the cost of the people and the environment. What the natural inhabitants once called home for forty thousand years is now called "annexed territory" by the invading force. Has a war ever done anything for poverty? Has a battle ever hindered world hunger? Wars have destroyed homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, museums, libraries, everything. And as these things are necessary for the day-to-day existence of modern society, war has done much to create social ills and increase poverty. With a new and near endless supply of cheap labor, jobs are outsourced and the western working class sinks lower and lower in to Capitalist slavery. The observant mind will see clearly that to go to war with another nation is to aid in the destruction of your own people and culture. The state, in declaring war and raising legions upon legions, is only serving its own interests, that is, the interests of the ruling and authority class. The government works hand in hand with big business and corporate interests when it comes to setting economic policy. And for this reason, the world has always suffered. Our people have died in foreign wars, and the survivors come home to a very painful economic recession.
With this kind of activity on part of the United States, there is no difficulty to see why our reputation is so disrespected in the international community. That is not to say that other nations are innocent and have no blood on their hands. On the contrary, every state, whether European or American or Asian, will always be guilty of these crimes against humanity. While the Terrorists of 9/11 and other bombings had plenty of reason to be agitated by the activities of the American military, I still have somber feelings when I think about the bombings they committed. I can imagine myself in the place of any of those Americans being killed in those massive explosions. I can see myself saying, "This is not my time. I am not ready to die now. There is so much that was awaiting me in my life." I can imagine everyone else in that building feeling and saying the same things. I can see them all unsure of what to do, knowing that they are condemned to death, and knowing also that there is no escape. We will all be consumed in flames and ash as we die side by side with complete strangers who are doomed to the same fate. I can feel their terror. And if I were to die in their place, and while I may be unsure of what I should do in my last few moments of life, I know that I wouldn't want my memory to be used as a reason to bomb others. I would be horrified by the cruel patterns of human behavior if the attack was used as a reason to launch another attack against many other buildings, killing thousands of innocents and destroying millions of homes. Yet, that is what is happening. Civil Rights are curtailed, our basic freedoms are under attack by congress everyday, and these deceptive policies are crept in to office under the guise of Patriotism: to desire that which is beneficial to your people and to no other people.
Patriotism is the religion of the state. It teaches citizens to become self-sacrificing to accomplish the needs of the state. The interest of the government in military efforts becomes synonymous with the interests of the people. To invade a foreign land and destroy a foreign people, and to be slain by your sworn foe in defense of your government's war, becomes the highest form of virtue. These are the conditions of a nation engulfed in the passions and prejudices of Nationalism. The more I investigate the literature, the art, the poetry, the music, the culture and ideas of different people, the more I am convinced that there are no true fundamental differences between nationalities and races. The same passions that give birth to our intentions in America are not essentially different at the core than the passions of other nations or cultures. Do the poets of other lands write with a much different heart than our own poets? If an artist comes from a different region of the world than you, does that mean his artwork has no relation to the artwork of your own people? When we look at these different cultures, do we find that their romantic relationships are devoid of compassion, that their fathers and mothers have no affection for their children? Are there not class and social conflicts in these foreign lands, just as there are here? In times of war, the leaders of these nations send their poor to die in battlefields so that the rich can subsidize the wealth of the new country. In so many ways, all human beings of all cultures demonstrate the same patterns of human behavior. All of this understood, how could we ever say that we should value our own nation over another? Why should we unite as people arbitrarily born in one country? Why are we not uniting as people of this planet, working together and cooperatively, in order to eliminate all socials and poverty?
The guise of Patriotism is ushered in to all the pews of civilians of a particular nation, in order to motivate them to hatred of other people and love of their own people. Patriotism puts people against each other. It creates conflict, battle, war, pain, death, misery. It has never been the prophet of better times. In no instance has love of one's country ended war or helped to end poverty and world hunger. Patriotism has always been the precursor to so much pain. And for this reason, I think it must be eliminated among the common people. The spirit of Nationalism is promoted in newspapers, magazines, television, and in every form and mode of public communication. To love one's own people, as the greatest example of good citizenry to the world, is an idea that is associated with justice, peace, and equity. But there has never been a politician who said, "Let us work together as Americans, to end poverty," or "Let us work together, as a single nation, to harmonize world relations." The only message that has accompanied Patriotism is the idea of militarization and destroying the way of life for a different people. This sense is giving to the public not for its own benefit. It never comes with the intentions of motivating public spirit to solve its own problems of crime or disease. It only comes as an enemy of the public, to give them the disgusting intentions of causing death and misery for another people. And to fulfill this disregard for other cultures, the public sacrifices its young sons and its endless labor, so that "our flag earns its glory." This sight is simply one of disgust.
What are we fighting and dying for? That is the question that many ask when it comes to any sort of armed conflict. The governors and rulers of the state know this. And they will always provide you with the greatest reasons for waging war. We are always told by our elected officials that we are engaging in war as a defensive measure; it will help protect us from the enemies of our way of life. Of course our government will feed these lies to the people. The people themselves have been humanized by art and liberated by their right to opinion and thought. While they might have their slights, their faults, their errors, I can certainly agree with they have become a great deal more humane and open-minded than our situation one thousand years ago. All governments always have the desire to motivate these people to war and armed confrontation, advocating thousands of deaths of people in a foreign land. And to realize this desire, the governments have always started and encouraged wars on the basis of accomplishing justice or removing some foreign tyrant. We are all aware of the interests of the ruling class. The politician is cheap: he is subservient to the will and power of money interests. His vision of his country is determined by the information and ideas fed to him by the highest wealth-owning groups. They will separate themselves off as an individual class, and they will force politicians to promote the interests of this high class, as though they were the interests of the people. The great wonderful republic that has been prophesized by our philosophers has been turned in to the plutocracy, of the wealthy class holding its power over the struggling people. What is the cause of war? It is the over ambitious political party that has power over the government and holds the people in its debilitating paralysis called Patriotism.
The governments of the world engage in war solely for conquest. When there is a defense of a country, it is most often initiated and maintained by the people. If there should ever be a doubt to the truth of these two principles, then I ask the reader to examine the result of all the wars. Once a nation has conquered another territory, by conquest and threats of violence, does it liberate its people and deliver them away from poverty? Examine the case of the British Empire and its dominion over India. It is a history of thousands of people killed, beaten, and tortured in public by British soldiers, and it is the story of their revolt against their oppressor, led by Gandhi. Examine also the case of the United States government, and its dealings in the slave trade of Africa. Did the state exploit Africa by enslaving its population? Using some argument about "the greater good," our philosopher-kings explained to us why our ideas were wrong and theirs were right. Once out of slavery, did the government treat the members of the African race with kindness, decency, and justice? Certainly not. It was the long struggle of Martin Luther King and so many other fighters against the government that won the rights and liberty of the people. And today, whenever our leaders and our rulers speak, whenever the columns of authority shake, we are told that our wars and government are for upholding justice, and not undermining it. But our history books always tell us, that it is only the governments that set up slaveries, hand in hand with the wealth-owning class, and it is always the people who must rise up and fight against the government, so that they can have a true liberty. After every suppression of public spirit, the government comes back, and attempts to establish itself as a supporter of these public ideals, but their interests are always the same.
I remember someone once telling me that war was responsible for solving "Communism, Fascism, Nazism, and dictatorships." As far as for "solving Communism," I can only assume that this person meant Imperialist Communist nations, such as the U.S.S.R.. First, there was no war that caused the U.S.S.R. to fall. Second, the Statist Communist nations like Cuba and China are indeed changing their cultural and social ideas, but this change was not instigated by any war. And third, genuine Communism implies the abolition of the state, and the creation of mutual social relationships. It is the solution, not the problem. In regards to "war solving Fascism," or Nazism, I think the reverse statement is true: Fascism is the cause of war. The leaders of that movement, Hitler, Franco, Hirohoto, and Mussolini, worked along the principle of using military and racial pride in order to create a luxurious and nationalistic empire. In contrast, Fascism is not solved by war; it creates war. And, as far as war being responsible for abolishing Dictatorships, this statement is generally untrue. Good, peace-loving people can never advocate war. It is always the brutish, unfriendly dictators of enslaved communities that push for military action. It is by coercing the public in to fighting for corporate wealth that allowed for dictatorships to thrive and grow. Again, we find that dictatorships are not eliminated by wars, but they produce them. In every military effort, there is first a war on the people of the imperialist government, to hinder those who would support peace efforts, and to arrest any who refuse to serve their country by murder. Once the will of the people has been enslaved, they are marched in to war, to fight and die for a cause never explained to them.
When the Iraq war started and was underway, I was well aware that the United States government was using torture, abuse, and other internationally disliked tactics on the prisoners. Reports from international organizations on United States troops abusing non-convicted prisoners of war were prevalent for at least a year before photographs were released. But once there were hundreds of photographs of the abuse, the press couldn't ignore it any more. At first, all mainstream media ignored the reports, ignored the witness testimonies. Any soldier who complained to his commanding officer was relocated to harsher duty. The masters of war were very clear and plain about their interests. And then once these photographs were released, it was like something was suddenly discovered, when after months and months of probing and investigation, the United States government refused to listen to these organizations, whether it was the Red Cross or Amnesty International. I was well aware that the United States government was killing, beating, and torturing innocent civilians. It has always been the basic trend and habit of all occupying military forces. There are documents available now showing the United States government doing the same thing during the Vietnam War, during the Korean War, and just about every armed conflict that dates back to our founding. When there is such a history of American forces torturing innocent civilians, I wonder why all of these new agencies and all of my fellow citizens are amazed that the government did in this war what it has done in every war.
The principal of every fighting army is to cause death and misery to the enemy. It is this killing that makes a war. In these wars, it is not only combatants who are killed, but many times the innocent, accidentally and intentionally. Those who support these wars are industrialists, bribing your politicians, to force you in to war so they can obtain new industry and cheap labor. The governments always lied in the past to get the working people to become fighting soldiers. It was through the cruel trick of Patriotism that this game is played. Every reason for going to war in the past by the government has always proven false. The conquering government always turns out to be as evil as the last. It never solves poverty or human pain. When we consider all of these facts, and when we understand that all of these facts are maintained by our history books and all independent minds, why should we ever doubt that war will always be the enemy of the people? Furthermore, why should we ever doubt that the government will ever change? In every form, massive and enormous states have always betrayed the people, subverted their minds, and caused wars and military conflicts. The problem of armed conflict is the problem of Capitalism and government. If we are really willing to stop war, then we must be really willing to stop Free Enterprise, and her partner, the state. It is the economic and political ruling classes who threaten you with poverty and arrest. Unless we destroy the interests of this ruling class, war will always been found in endless patterns throughout history. The disease can never end until the cure is fully applied. So long as there is an authority in the world, that authority will become corrupt, ambitious, and violent.