Thursday, November 11, 2010

Unpopular Positions . . . .

"The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man's right to his body, or woman's right to her soul." -Emma Goldman.

If you have been reading my blog lately you know my thoughts on Remembrance Day and Western Military conflicts. If you feel strongly that I am wrong or crazy - just don't read my blog.

I make no apologies for these opinions despite numerous offensive comments that I have been forced to delete from my blog. That's ok. I don't mind being a voice of practical reason amid a sea of blind patriotism and naivety. Because nieve is what the majority of people are regarding military conflicts. I can't say it enough - most wars are conflicts fought for the most part by working-class people in an effort to secure the money and power for the elite. The elite sells these conflicts through patriotism and false claims of altruism.

In World War I (which was quite blatantly a fight of the European powers to jockey for position in the global struggle for colonial territory) the first country to exit from the conflict was Russia and it withdrew ostensibly because the soldiers just started walking off the line. The Communists encouraged the soldiers to leave because they rightly understood that the war was not about freedom or altruism but was about the ruling-classes of Europe securing their wealth and power. It was the first reply to the modern question "what if you held a war and nobody came?"

I come from several generations of socialists on my father's side and I am proud of it. The socialists, trade-unionists, and feminists are the reasons that we enjoy most of the rights we do. They brought about universal suffrage, the forty hour work week, and the legal protections for workers. If it was not for the socialists, trade-unionists, and feminists most workers even here would work under conditions of a third-world maquiladora. If you want to thank anyone for your freedom thank generations of tireless activist who have defended your rights against those who really want to take them away - capitalists and conservatives right here at home.

My father's uncle fought in the First World War. He was an avid socialists and was disgusted by the war and the officers who waged it with workers as cannon fodder. He lived those terrible conditions that so many talk about. He was gassed and suffered from the after effects all his life. Years after the war my great-uncle admitted to my father that he and his fellow soldiers shot and killed their officer. The officer was a Captain who was a public school-boy and came from a very rich family, was brutal and constantly talked a load of rot about the King and greatness of Briton. He treated the men under his command as little more than cattle who were there to do the bidding of the aristocrats who orchestrated the war from well behind the lines. So they shot and killed him, and it was something that happened a lot more than anyone wants to admit.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a pacifist. But neither do I buy the patriotic spin of the colonial wars (and neo-colonial wars) that our governments engage us in.

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