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The remilitarization of Europe. Remembrance, resistance, disobedience

The growing tide of remilitarization that Europe and the US have begun, together with brutal and general rearmament, requires an aggressive (and lucrative) policy of arms sales and the spread of wars that go beyond the limits of Western comfort. The purpose of domination violence, which fuels the logic of violence that governs the world system we live in today, makes warfare and its preparation one of the most important opportunities for the ruling hawkish elites.

By Juan Carlos Rois

The reintroduction of conscription and militaristic indoctrination are part of the story and practices of taming the nonviolent consciousness of the European population. The reintroduction of militaristic, nationalist, racist, colonialist, anti-feminist, denialist and violent narratives and practices is once again at the top of the EU and US political agendas and is thus being repeated on a global scale.

Indoctrinated, confused, fearful and submissive citizens are part of the top-down program launched by leaders to chainsaw or “leave no one behind” the new policy responses to the multitude of systemic crises underway, the real and denied threat, to be implemented. for human security and life on earth.

Regarding the reintroduction of conscript armies in the West, such ideologies do not even respond to a military necessity in the current phase of the technification and specialization of warfare, but to the pretension of the hawks and power groups in Europe to dominate the hegemony of the discourse and practices of militaristic subjugation that they need to discipline the world order and the internal order.

I think they will have a harder time in Spain than elsewhere. Not because we are less docile or more intelligent, but because the memory of disobedient empowerment and the practices that took place during the development of their overwhelming cycle of social mobilization still resonates in our memories.

They think that we have lost our memory and that these practices are beyond repeatability, that they have not gone beyond the epidermis of collective knowledge, that they have not crystallized the wisdom of empowerment, and that today’s youth willingly accept the return to the world will accept. darkness of a militia we could banish.

There have always been fools, and there will be no shortage of belligerent, hyperventilating fools, neither among the nostalgic people of those barracks that geographically coincided with the profile of this bullskin in the blackest past, nor among their epigones in the brownshirts of today. Judging by the increasing levels of political violence promoted by the more pro-militaristic parties, we will see many claims for military power.

But apart from the foolish, society is not in search of collective suicide, nor is the ignorance or laziness such that people today do not know what social evil lies behind the militaristic discourse and the appearance of reintroducing the military .

Just to be sure, I dusted off one of the many pamphlets in which the anti-militarist movement in the early 1980s called on young people to resist militarism and proposed disobedience to conscription laws or their civilian substitutes.

A brochure from the early eighties about military and civil conscription.

The accompanying document was produced in Getafe in 1982. In this context, Spanish anti-militarism opposed military service (known as ‘mili’) and called for political conscientious objection as a tool for social transformation and to bring about the abolition of ‘mili’. ”.

Previously, those who refused military service were suppressed through the application of the Code of Military Justice, but after the adoption of the Constitution and the recognition of conscientious objection in Article 30 thereof, at the end of 1977, the then Minister of Defense, Gutiérrez Mellado, ordered that those who objected to military service would be granted an indefinite postponement until a law regulating conscientious objection was passed.

Since then, and in the years that followed, this order has placed several thousand anti-militarists in a legal no man’s land, and the fight against conscientious objection has gained strength and coordination, at the time mainly through the Cons.

In 1982, the PSOE drafted a law on conscientious objection, which aimed to reduce anti-military dissent to a mere matter of moral scruples, without questioning conscription or the military, and those who objected to to require military service to perform civilian service as an alternative to military service, a service that differed in both approach and duration, was widely rejected by conscientious objectors, was widely rejected by refusers and gave rise to a wide debate within their organizations about its legitimacy of the civilian service and the effectiveness of passing a law that, instead of advancing the fight against military service and for demilitarization, was seen as further strengthening the military service itself, which was not questioned.

This is not the time to abandon this rich debate (which has also opened up other areas and perspectives of the social struggle of anti-militarism, such as the search for a global alternative to defense, demilitarization processes, the struggle against the militarization of territory, against military alliances, against military spending, the perspective of anti-militarist feminism, etc.), but only to explain the context in which this document was written. For those more interested in the evolution of disobedience and the abandonment of any “civil service” perspective by anti-militarist organizations, we refer to the interesting work of Pedro Oliver, in which he develops this evolution.

In 1982, the PSOE draft law (later published as a law in December 1984) brought together the consensus of anti-militarism around its radical rejection, both of the non-political concept of objection and of the concept of alternative civilian services that was proposed and led . shortly after the MOC’s announcement of a referendum on the bill (later published as law in December 1984), the MOC announced its rejection of the law and the objectors’ refusal to comply if it passed, thus starting of the process that would, in time, set in motion the cycle of mobilization that ended with the Objection Act in March 2001, with Aznar as Prime Minister and Federico Trillo as Minister of Defense.

At the time of writing, Getafe (where there is a military base) had an active and important MOC group, which was also responsible (thanks to some of its activists who participated in a kind of printing cooperative in the city) for the production of a much of the MOC’s publicity in Madrid.

The anti-militarist message of the diptych

Let’s go back to the document, which can be downloaded here in case anyone is tempted to reprint it, or use it to rekindle awareness among young people to use as guinea pigs for the new military proposal (it is available in OCR so it can be cut and pasted).

The arguments were as clear yesterday as they are today. Militarism is abhorrent and harmful to our social health, and disobedience to its impositions, everyone from their place and according to their capabilities, is the best way to fight for a more just society. It is said that conscription means destroying one’s personality to impose ‘their’ truth, that of the warlords:

To do military service is to have yourself cut, conscripted, uniformed, numbered, uprooted, in short, it is another way to destroy your personality. It’s about creating a submissive mass of people without the ability to make decisions. Others think and decide for you. Hierarchical, disciplined, robotized; you are left with blind obedience. The nightmare of a year in which you will learn that war is ‘inevitable’, in which disregard for life, especially that of others, is encouraged. Kill or be killed is the philosophy of the warlords.

They denounce military defense because what they want to defend is not what society wants to defend. Today it is more correct to speak of social defense and human security, as opposed to the military paradigm of military defense, domination-violence and warfare.

“They ‘defend’ us even when we don’t want them to, by provoking wars to line their own pockets, wars that we, the common people, always lose.

They point to the tools of preparation for systemic war, which is one of the main arguments of the current neo-capitalist system, and how they need our voluntary servitude as the cornerstone of their claim to domination.

“We know them, they are the ones who brought us into NATO, who increased our military budgets, who facilitated events like 23-F and other coup attempts, who organized security and disarmament conferences. And they export weapons to support South American dictatorships. And all this, after which they become docile workers, obedient citizens, possessive husbands, the perfect model for this unjust and oppressive society to sustain itself.”

In my opinion, the above statements are the most relevant and useful for the moment we live in, when the threat of the reintroduction of conscription is once again on the agenda. The rest of the document, which refers to the legitimacy of the civilian service, seems to me to be outdated today. Today, even from a tactical point of view, any form of service imposed on anti-militarist dissidents to ensure the continued existence of conscription for the rest of the population would be unacceptable.

Prevention instead of cure

You have not yet dared to reintroduce military service or any other civil or military obligation of the same seriousness. I believe that it would not find non-violent acceptance here in society and that in response it would provoke a new, disobedient social struggle.

I do not believe that the generations affected by the experience of the struggle and the anti-militarist proposal that the uprising (and so many other struggles) brought about will passively participate in the reintroduction of military service. Nor do I think that today’s youth belong to a different race from us, or that it is now easier than before to subject them to militaristic impositions, or now more difficult than before to raise their consciousness of anti-militarist commitment.

We have a task ahead of us to keep the black storms in the sky at bay. It is important not to rest on our laurels and to expand memory and memory, to put at the disposal of society the whole toolbox, the whole experience of collective empowerment and all the creativity that set in motion the cycle of conscientious objection and disobedience to set.

The original article can be found here

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