L’associazione Utopia Rossa lavora e lotta per l’unità dei movimenti rivoluzionari di tutto il mondo in una nuova internazionale: la Quinta. Al suo interno convivono felicemente – con un progetto internazionalista e princìpi di etica politica – persone di provenienza marxista e libertaria, anarcocomunista, situazionista, femminista, trotskista, guevarista, leninista, credente e atea, oltre a liberi pensatori. Non succedeva dai tempi della Prima internazionale.



mercoledì 16 ottobre 2013

WEAPONS AND DEATH, by Marcelo Colussi

I’d prefer to wake up in a world where the US is the sole provider
of the one hundred percent of world weapons.
(Lincoln Bloomfield, US State Department official)

When our ancestors descended from the trees and started to walk in the erect posture on two legs two millions and a half years ago, they manufactured for the first time an object, an element which transcended nature. That beginning for mankind was given, no more and no less than by the obtention of a sharpened stone; in other words: a weapon. Is it then that our history is marked by such beginnings? Are weapons embedded in the very same origins of the human phenomenon?
Undoubtedly. Violence is human, not an alien body in our constitution. How is it that we moved from necessary aggression, in terms of survival, to the present day industry of death? Organization as to power is equally human; animals, beyond their instinctive survival mechanisms, do not exert forms of power. We do. In that dialectic (whoever said that "white" is better than "black" or that a woman is "less" than a male... but that sort of dialectic marks our relations), the use of something which increases our capacities for attack is vital. It was vital back then, as a necessary means in the struggle for survival (the sharpened stone, the stick, the spear) and it is still nowadays. Yet, modern weapons are not in the least at the service of biological survival: from the moment where our history ceased to be about pure survival in a cave and constant struggling with the environment, weapons in class societies have been at the service of the powers that be, from the most rustic sword to the hydrogen bomb.
In his old age, based on a wisdom acquired through lifelong meditation and more as a philosophical reflection than as a formulation for clinical practice, Sigmund Freud spoke about the death impulse: a return to the inanimate. That is why psychoanalysis can talk about an intrinsic uneasiness in every cultural formation or society: why do we make war? Shall it be possible to say that social organization structured as to classes inevitably leads to wars (and thus to weapon production)? Then, we should ask why the human being decided to build stratified and warmongering societies instead of horizontal solidarity-based organizations. Socialism is the proposal which aims to the construction of such alternatives. Will we be able to reach it? Is it feasible to carry out what sub-commander Marcos proposed in Chiapas as he said that "we take weapons to build a world where armies are no longer necessary", or will the death impulse drag us before to self-destruction as a species?
Except for an insignificantly small amount of weapons produced for hunting, the weaponry we humans count upon nowadays is destined to the conservation of class differences. That is to say that human beings kill each other in order to maintain their power and, basically, to defend private property or loot upon others in the name of private appropriation. As well as to "solve" everyday conflicts. Those psychos who, every now and then, weapons in hand kill their peers, as it frequently happens in the US, are not the dominating trend. Weapons are there to be used differently: is a war tank or an anti-personal mine manufactured in order to hunt that which we are going to eat later? Obviously not.
Contrary to the delusional idea which - out of a misconception or simply bad intentions - presents weapons as a guarantee to safety, their function in the social dynamics is quite evident: they are the artificial extension of our violence. What are we protected from by having weapons? Weapons are, in fact, those who kill us, mutilate us, terrorize us, leaving negative psychological traces and hindering more harmonic social developments. Or, to put it otherwise, it is us, human beings who do all that by using those instruments we call weapons, from a gun to a nuclear submarine.
Weapons, clearly enough, do not have a life of their own. They are the deadly expression of the unjust differences which characterize human life and the conflictual nature defining our condition. It is human beings who invented them, improved them and conceive them, with the market logics working as social axis, as just another merchandise, and what a merchandise!
And it is us, human beings organized in classist societies deeply marked by the individual desire for profit which capitalism has imposed throughout the last centuries who have transformed the weapons business (which is to say: the business of death) in the most lucrative one in the modern world, more than oil, steel or communications.

When we sayweapons” nowadays we refer to the ample domain of fire weapons (those which use powder to provoke the shooting of a projectile), which comprehends a huge variety: small weapons (revolvers and pistols – the most common ones -, rifles, carbines, sub-machine guns, assault rifles), light weapons (heavy machine guns, hand grenades, grenade throwers, portable antiaircraft missiles, portable antitank missiles, portable non-receding cannons, bazookas, mortars of less than 100 mm.), heavy weapons (an enormous variety of cannons with their respective projectiles, bombs, various explosives, aerial darts, impoverished uranium projectiles), and those means designed for their transport and operation maneuvers (airplanes, ships, submarines, war tanks, missiles) to which we’ d have to add anti-personal mines, anti-tank mines, all of which constitutes the so-called conventional weaponry. Then we must add weapons of mass destruction with ever increasing lethal power: chemical weapons (neurotoxic agents, irritating agents, suffocating agents, blood-attacking agents, toxins, tear gas, psychochemical products), biological weapons (loaded with pest, anthrax and other diseases), nuclear weapons (with the capacity to erase all life on the planet).
In a broader definition, if today’s war theoreticians can speak about a “fourth generation war” with no bloodshed but with even more promising results for the winner than all the weaponry which is cause of death and destruction, we would have to include all the instrumental battery of the current “mind war”, fought in the media and psychological terrains. Are these communicational means also part of the arsenal? To some extent they are: computers, internet, T.V. sets and intelligent telephones are weapons destined no to kill but to neutralize the enemy. It is a complex subject so let us, at least, put in in words as a question: how did we arrive to the point of a “no bloodshed” war which is, at the same time, more effective than any military invasion?
The whole complex of death machinery does not favor human safety at all; it is, on the contrary, a risk to it. The myth of the personal pistol, useful to avoid assaults and to confer a feeling of safety is only that: a myth. In the hands of civilians it rarely helps avoiding any attack but only causes home accidents. Whereas in the hands of those state corps which hold the monopoly of armed violence, the ever growing arsenals – always bigger and deadlier - do not guarantee a safer world but, quite in the contrary, make the possible extinction of mankind more visible still: if the whole atomic potential with which the military counts upon were to be liberated the expansive wave would reach Pluto’s orbit completely fragmenting the planet Earth). Why would US missiles be necessarily “good” (peaceful?) and those of North Korea and Iran not?
Notwithstanding the amount of terminated lives and the immense pain caused by such infernal devices invented by the human kind, there is a growing tendency in their production and improvement of their destructive capacity. Thus we must accept the fact that the business of death is growing and growing a lot because it is profitable. Can we now understand the Freudian thesis?

The weapons’ business is like no other. Due to its relationship with the national security and the foreign policy of every country it works at high secrecy levels beyond the control of the World Trade Organization and only in governmental hands. In general –and that is even more worrying- those governments are not always willing to responsibly control the weapons sale. Similarly, more often than not, national legislations on the matter tend to be inadequate and plagued with legal vacuums. Besides, existing mechanism are not compulsory and seldom applied. Who, among those who now may be reading this text, knows in detail how many and which weapons are stored in the country where he or she lives? Was he or she ever informed about it? Or, less probable still, was he or she ever consulted about it?
The weapons business is not transparent. Since it is not part of the public domain it is very cautiously handled and almost free of fiscal examination. That is why several post-Cold War international initiatives to control this kind of transactions have been useless. Economic, political and security interest have made this mysterious and dangerous sector practically untouchable.
Since 1998 weapons expenses have started a rising trend after reaching its lowest point in the post-Cold War era. In 2000 expenses were of about 798.000 million dollars (25. 000 dollars per second); from then on, they started to climb in acceleration and the anti-terrorist fever provoked by Sept. 11 has spectacularly catapulted them over the billion dollars a year, by far the most profitable commercial field of them all, the one which moves higher money volumes and the one which grows faster in terms of scientific-technical research.
In the field of weapons everything is about business, whether a nuclear submarine or a pistol. Even small weapons, with a fire power smaller than many of the weapons reaching the market, are especially profitable. More than 70 countries in the world manufacture small weapons and their ammunitions and buyers are never lacking, either government or individuals (mainly males). Direct sales of small weapons to other governments or private entities correspond to the 12 % of total sales of weapons in the planet. The rest is provided – trickeries of reason or mockeries of history, Hegel would say - by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, those supposedly in charge of keeping peace and safety in the planet: United States, Great Britain, France, Russia and China. The US is currently the main producer and seller of weapons of all kinds in the world, with 50% of general sales (though the dream of many a Washington official, as it comes out clear in the epigraph, is to increase that percentage).
In face of all this, what to do? To buy a gun in order to protect ourselves? To resort to campaigns for disarmament and no use of weapons, at least small ones, is praiseworthy. But we can see that it is not enough to stop a powerful business from growing. To appeal to good conscience and the fostering of non-violence is good in intention but insufficient as to the goal of eradicating weapons. Will that stop such multinationals like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, IBM, General Motors? Or those governments which base their national development strategies on weapon commercialization? Each new war (and there is always a new one) responds to market strategies based on dispassionate commercial terms. Death impulse or not?

The struggle against the proliferation of weapons is mainly political: it is about changing relations of power. It is inacceptable that those merchants of death control human destinies…but it still happens. That is what characterizes the international dynamics and, given the fact that it so is and hoping that a better world is possible, that utopias are possible, we must think of alternatives. Obviously enough, a wingless human being cannot fly, yet thanks to our immeasurable desire to do so, we have reached Mars! With no wings of our own we manage to fly farther each time. To present ourselves with a utopia is what makes us go forward (or fly forward…for that matter). As put in a memorable graffiti from May ’68 in France: “Let us be realists. Let us ask for the impossible.”
Nowadays the production of weapons is no marginal business, linked to criminal circuits moving in the shadows: it is the main economic sector of humanity. As a result, every minute two people die in the world due to the use of some kind of weapon (almost 3000 a day, while the always ill-defined and vague international “terrorism” kills 11, if we are to talk in statistical terms). To dismantle this human tendency towards the use of weapons appears like a titanic effort: it means to eradicate violence and injustice. And there the Freudian reflection acquires some meaning inasmuch as it lets us see the dimension of whatever is at stake. Is it about struggling against our own nature? How to go against this primary, original energy?
That death is an inevitable fate, naturally rooted, is a conjecture. Maybe it is so and, as a theoretical hypothesis it can help us interpret the world. Or maybe not and it has to be discarded; if the destruction of the whole planet awaits us, so to say, at the turn of a corner, due to a possible thermonuclear catastrophe (because, rational though we are, the possibility of a “crazy” or just mistaken decision is always at hand in our species), then it is absolutely vital to take on this titanic task as a requisite for survival and a more dignified existence. It is maybe impossible to eradicate violence as a human condition even if we go on educating ourselves for a tolerant coexistence (it is a fact that more “educated” countries are the most warmongering and possess the most lethal weapons), but it is inescapable to keep on fighting against injustices and aiming at living in solidarity; otherwise we would sanction social Darwinism and the survival of the fittest.
To say that “a different world is possible” does not mean that the tendency towards conflict will be over, that we shall live in a bucolic paradise free of contradictions and that limitless love will spread itself over all the planet’s inhabitants; what it means is that it is necessary to aim at a society capable to experience shame before the business of death and react accordingly. The cause of justice cannot accept death as business, can it? Will the impulse towards death be finally triumphant? Let us firmly believe in the possibility of changing history’ course; if we have been able to reach Mars and free the atom’s energy or domesticate ourselves and stop being animals will it be impossible to determine ourselves not to kill each other?

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RED UTOPIA ROJA – Principles / Principios / Princìpi / Principes / Princípios

a) The end does not justify the means, but the means which we use must reflect the essence of the end.

b) Support for the struggle of all peoples against imperialism and/or for their self determination, independently of their political leaderships.

c) For the autonomy and total independence from the political projects of capitalism.

d) The unity of the workers of the world - intellectual and physical workers, without ideological discrimination of any kind (apart from the basics of anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism and of socialism).

e) Fight against political bureaucracies, for direct and councils democracy.

f) Save all life on the Planet, save humanity.

(January 2010)

* * *

a) El fin no justifica los medios, y en los medios que empleamos debe estar reflejada la esencia del fin.

b) Apoyo a las luchas de todos los pueblos contra el imperialismo y/o por su autodeterminación, independientemente de sus direcciones políticas.

c) Por la autonomía y la independencia total respecto a los proyectos políticos del capitalismo.

d) Unidad del mundo del trabajo intelectual y físico, sin discriminaciones ideológicas de ningún tipo, fuera de la identidad “anticapitalista, antiimperialista y por el socialismo”.

e) Lucha contra las burocracias políticas, por la democracia directa y consejista.

f) Salvar la vida sobre la Tierra, salvar a la humanidad.

(Enero de 2010)

* * *

a) Il fine non giustifica i mezzi, ma nei mezzi che impieghiamo dev’essere riflessa l’essenza del fine.

b) Sostegno alle lotte di tutti i popoli contro l’imperialismo e/o per la loro autodeterminazione, indipendentemente dalle loro direzioni politiche.

c) Per l’autonomia e l’indipendenza totale dai progetti politici del capitalismo.

d) Unità del mondo del lavoro mentale e materiale, senza discriminazioni ideologiche di alcun tipo (a parte le «basi anticapitaliste, antimperialiste e per il socialismo.

e) Lotta contro le burocrazie politiche, per la democrazia diretta e consigliare.

f) Salvare la vita sulla Terra, salvare l’umanità.

(Gennaio 2010)

* * *

a) La fin ne justifie pas les moyens, et dans les moyens que nous utilisons doit apparaître l'essence de la fin projetée.

b) Appui aux luttes de tous les peuples menées contre l'impérialisme et/ou pour leur autodétermination, indépendamment de leurs directions politiques.

c) Pour l'autonomie et la totale indépendance par rapport aux projets politiques du capitalisme.

d) Unité du monde du travail intellectuel et manuel, sans discriminations idéologiques d'aucun type, en dehors de l'identité "anticapitaliste, anti-impérialiste et pour le socialisme".

e) Lutte contre les bureaucraties politiques, et pour la démocratie directe et conseilliste.

f) Sauver la vie sur Terre, sauver l'Humanité.

(Janvier 2010)

* * *

a) O fim não justifica os médios, e os médios utilizados devem reflectir a essência do fim.

b) Apoio às lutas de todos os povos contra o imperialismo e/ou pela auto-determinação, independentemente das direcções políticas deles.

c) Pela autonomia e a independência respeito total para com os projectos políticos do capitalismo.

d) Unidade do mundo do trabalho intelectual e físico, sem discriminações ideológicas de nenhum tipo, fora da identidade “anti-capitalista, anti-imperialista e pelo socialismo”.

e) Luta contra as burocracias políticas, pela democracia directa e dos conselhos.

f) Salvar a vida na Terra, salvar a humanidade.

(Janeiro de 2010)