IFA-IAF Congress St-Imier August 9-11, 2012 - Statement on anti-militarism


Nowadays the army operates with the same functions of social control as the police and the police are becoming more and more similar to the army. In this situation, cities become the battleground: tanks tear down walls in order to frighten people. Drones are everywhere. Social disruption and economic crisis mean that repressive laws are not 'matters of emergency' anymore but have become 'normality'.

The opportunities for political and social opposition have been badly hit. The right to strike is being eroded, freedom of speech has been limited and repressive laws are being used again. All this makes the police and government stronger. Immigration laws are the new racial laws. Social inequality is established by law. Without real equality and freedom, rights are only empty principles. The fact that inequality has been established by law is the signal of changes in social conflicts- war between poor people rather than class war. The symbolic and real significance of these events are enormous.

Government action is focused on fighting immigration but also targets formal rights (speech, press, association). This happens in our cities. Normal social behaviour such as drinking a beer or talking loudly in the streets is considered a crime. Many armed men are in the streets to enforce these prohibitions. Most people now think it is 'normal' to have the army in the streets. A society in war establishes curfews, restricts formal freedom, and portrays those who fight against this onslaught as traitors.

Repression, meanwhile, finds wide-spread consent. For years, the media have induced fear and insecurity, both amplified by the economic crisis and the increasing precariousness of working conditions. Newspapers and television have built up the image of countries under attack by criminality and immigrants, depicted as common outlaws, hiding real life problems.

Internal and external war is two sides of the same coin. It's a war, or more accurately, battlegrounds, known as 'peace-keeping' or 'humanitarian' war. The keeping of social peace is the extension of capitalism's commercial activities. In the streets of the city and the working class suburbs, the police and army experiment new methods of repression on us. Repression is the other side of the coin to neo-liberal globalisation. Government dynamics force national states to use force to deal with social problems.

Immigration from south to north opened a new battleground that changes the world situation, affecting class war and calling human rights into question. Using the pretext of workers' immigration, governments have sharply attacked the rights of native workers that were obtained only after years of hard struggle.

European governments also use women's rights as a pretext to highlight the 'clash of civilisations' between 'democracy' and Islamic fundamentalism. Journalists choose which 'honour killing' they put on the front page, forgetting that everyday many native women are killed by their native lover. On the other side, there is a lack of protection for victims of violence. Walls and chains that bind immigrants begin to bind each one of us.

What can we do to block or at least put some obstacles in the way of this militaristic system? We know it is long and hard work. We have different tools at our disposable. None of these can guarantee success, but together they can be put together to fight the system.

Economic struggle, moving to a general strike (fighting militarism on a different level than the mili-tary one. Boycott and sabotage, where it is possible, of armies, factories and all that is linked to them. Anti-militarist propaganda: Wider links between militarism and the cuts in public services- cuts to education and health care but increasing military expenditure. Also make the link between militari-sation and ecological destruction.

IFA-IAF congress, august 2012