“The big fight will be between the Corporations and the Proletariat”
Industrial War – Open for Business and Making a Killing
I believe it was Gandhi who said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then they lose."
He was talking about his oppressors. He was talking about the British, one of whom I am.
I didn't learn about Gandhi in school. I learned about the Great Crusades, the Holy Wars. I drew pictures of knights in armour, their surcoats crossed with the fluted red. As part of a project, I learnt to sing...'When a knight won his spurs in the stories of old.... he was gentle and brave he was gallant and bold....
Gentle and brave, gallant and bold. I could aspire to that, I thought.
Yet no one mentioned how the crusader knights (mostly English, German and French) were feared abroad, for pitting infants on the ends of their lances, roasting them over fires and eating them.
In school, the savages were always the brown or black men.
At school I learned about Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Drake and Admiral Nelson. How, by 1884, over a quarter of the planet's surface had been conquered by the British Army. But I wasn't told about the slave trade, the pillaging of many a country's ancient artefacts, their national treasures, their workforce, and natural resources. I certainly wasn't asked to draw pictures of howitzers blowing the arms and legs off grass-skirted tribesmen.
I didn't hear the poems of Wilfred Owen at school, or anything about the Persian oil pipeline in relation to WWI. I learned about the glory of death on a French battlefield. The red remembrance poppy. Rupert Brooke – If I should die, think only this of me...
Sacrifice for the cause.
No one talked of the thousands who fell in front of the machine guns- or survived legless, blind, deaf and sometimes deranged by war, those who returned from France and fell into poverty because they couldn't get work. No one spoke of their families and children baring the weight of their war experience.
At school i learned about Churchill and other heroes of the Empire, whose deeds and words have inspired generations of Englishmen to believe in their own supremacy and the God given right to tell other nations what is best for them. I was encouraged to feel proud that my country had helped liberate the Jewish from Nazi death camps. My leaders were the saviours of the oppressed. And I was proud, baring in mind no one ever mentioned the fact that Churchill was a man willing to inflict unknown suffering on other human beings by testing chemical weapons on Iraqi 'savages'. No one talked about the allied bombings of Germany, the Warsaw ghetto Jews who took up arms against the Nazis while waiting desperate for salvation that never came, the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, or the terrible deaths that followed on from that cruel deed, or Britain's part in it.
Growing up, I was encouraged to curse the Germans because of WWII. Curse the Irish because of the IRA. Curse the Argentinians because of the Falklands. Curse the French because of Agincourt. Curse Pakistanis because 'they've taken our jobs', curse Indians because 'they've taken over our corner shops', curse black men because...well, because they're black.
Being manipulated into a nationalistic hater of all things foreign (other than American), having to swallow the propaganda, through the lies of those who raised me, (as well as those who were raised with me), the media, education and entertainment, I grew up thinking I was on the right side, the side of God. It was only later that I discovered they had lied about Him, too.
Yes, it was a shock to find out that my hero, Winston Churchill, was a miserable, greedy ego-maniac with delusions of white supremacy, who failed the Jewish people of Europe (or at least six million of them) and was comfortable with the subjugation of women, bombing civilians and stealing other people's lands.
It was even more of a shock when I discovered that the 'good guys' out there in what I knew to be an ugly world, were not the great humanitarians I had imagined them to be. That Capitalism corrupts the spirit of democracy. That there are fools in power, too selfish and arrogant to consider the consequences of their rash, self-promoting actions. How dangerous that is.
Of course, Britain no longer rules the waves, or even has much influence in this modern world of empires. Like a fading Olympian, we can barely keep our feet on a world-stage football pitch, let alone straddle the globe. We pass on the baton of supremacy to our eager brother-in-arms, the United States and watch, with something like fearful nostalgia, as they stride over the line we once stepped across. Domination of the world.
(And with more than 700 military bases outside the US – including the biggest US spy base in Europe nestled securely in my own country, the US is probably the most powerful Empire that has ever existed).
History changes the fortunes of men. Once, Englishmen tortured and degraded Irishmen in filthy prisons and got away with it. Now it is the turn of privileged men to torture and degrade Muslim men who live in poverty. Once, it was Nazi Germans persecuting the Jewish, now it is the Israelis turn to persecute Palestinians.
Once the Pakistanis were our friends, now we treat them like our enemies.
Churchill said, “ At the end of war, your enemies become your friends and your friends become your enemies.”
He was a wise old bigot, without a doubt. War does nothing but divide us all, over and over again.
We might have hoped, somehow, that the time in our history, when we enslaved men and women and made them less than human, in order to elevate ourselves, had ended. That following the Nazi holocaust, we might have learnt something about ourselves. Seen the mistakes. The failures of our past leaders. The dangers of power. That we might have moved on from there.
Yet here we are and the teams have swapped around a bit, but still we persist in trying to dominate and degrade one another. To 'win' even when we don't know what it is we are trying to win. To prove ourselves better, more worthy of life than 'those over there'.
Hell, it's almost as if we fear peace itself.
Fear of peace could explain Gandhi's quote. An Empire must fear peace. Fear could be why the war-mongers and those who embrace violence, coldly ignore, ridicule and finally (sometimes) shoot dead the peaceful men amongst us.
But before peace comes unity, and it is unity (of the masses) that they really fear, these mega-corporations that build the cause and tools for war - the richest people in the world, the power and the money.
Fear of unity and peace is why the corporate oligarchy continue to promote war, hatred and competition between us, encouraging us to despise people from other nations. Encouraging our left/right, black/brown/white divides. They make us pliable for war by de-humanizing the weakest and poorest among us. Not just to keep their Industrial War machine intact and the money rolling in, (although I'm sure that is the prime reason) but also because the uber-rich 2% and their cronies need to maintain 'divide and rule' – it's what keeps them safe. They need to encourage disharmony, in order to stop a united proletariat from turning to look too closely at them.
With that in mind, and with the hope that somehow we, the masses, can unite on common ground, not to defeat the oligarchy, but to revolutionise them, we have no choice but to see racists and nationalists, supremacists and the lovers of hegemony amongst us, as dividers - supporters of The Industrial War Complex, their propaganda a craft(y) tool for promoting trouble, suspicion and war. Some (complicit journalists for example) work for the rich war mongers, or at least fall into step with them, but others have been voluntarily recruited, perhaps even unknowingly. They spout war because they have been brainwashed into believing that everyone else is a terror threat out to ruin their
country, and they are afraid. Afraid of offering the hand of peace, in case it is (as they have been led to believe it would be) lobbed off.
Meanwhile, Empire has become the privatized, lucrative business of billionaires.
Why should we be slaves of the rich, money worshipers, those who put wealth and success before their humanity? They are today's plantation owners who sit in the white house at the top of the field, as the rest of us struggle to toil on the land. But it is our land, our countries, our world, not just theirs. Right around the planet, we are the ones who have sweated blood, and spilled our guts for our homelands, not they. If we stand by silently and do nothing as they encourage divisions among us, we in turn, encourage them to continue stoking the furnace of war. And who benefits from these wars? Where do all those trillions of dollars and billions of pounds go?
That is why silence is not good enough. Because fighting their wars is leading us nowhere, but to a cliff edge, while they, blind to the consequences, reap their monetary rewards.
Right now, 83 percent of the British public want the troops brought home from Afghanistan. It's true. 83 percent. The latest opinion poll says so. If we live in a democracy, those voices can not be ignored.
But we are ignored. Just as Gandhi said we would be.
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then they lose."
Right around the world, people are calling for peace and really, I don't think any of us should feel ashamed for wanting to protect the integrity and stability of our nations. The Industrial War Complex (with their control of suggestion via mainstream media) can mock us and call us unpatriotic if it suits them - but isn't it men who give of themselves without price, who are the true patriots? The Companies who make so much wealth out of war, yet do nothing to endanger themselves in the process - who stir up war in order to benefit themselves, and their patrons, who lie to make wars happen for the economic advantages it will bring them- they are not patriots. They are thieves and murderers and cheats.
They have stolen from their own people, black, brown or white, who have fought and died or been wounded in false and contrived warfare aimed at sustaining and ever advancing the technical and business aspects of war. They have stolen more than the billions of pounds and trillions of dollars poured into their war racket. Their arrogance has defeated us. Their greed has shamed us. And they have taken our pride and our purpose from us.
And let's not forget the most shameful horror – that along with this betrayal - they have overseen the killing of millions of innocent men, women and children.
Britain can no longer afford delusion. The old Empire is over. There is no longer any pride to be had in a superpower bullying a struggling country, invading foreign lands, or threatening people less powerful.
From here on, the true leaders of future plans and projects on Earth will be those who give up the old, imperial ways and turn to the real problems at hand. Our immediate environment, global human and civil rights, mental health and physical well-being. Security from big companies that endanger our lives by destroying our habitat. Encouragement in finding what it is we each have to offer the world. Social development. Real education, based on honesty and hope. A plan for the future.
Sod the rich war merchants who feed off the dead. They've had their time. Two Thousand years of it.
How many more innocent people have to be sacrificed for their greed?
At the turn of the 20th century, 5%
of war casualties were civilians * In World War I, 15% were civilians * In World War II, the figure leapt to a 65% civilian death toll, as whole cities were bombed * By the mid-nineties, 75% of war deaths were civilians * Today, 90%
of the human war toll are civilians-the majority women and children
War will continue as long as men continue to get rich from it. War will continue as long as we are able to convince ourselves that the murder of civilians is worth the price of 'success'. And until we are brave enough and wise enough to turn around to these rich warmongers, these corporate criminals in a world crying out for justice, and tell them that if they want to go on warring against innocent nations, killing innocent civilians without shame - well... from now on – until there is real
cause - they can fight their wars without us.
Why should we suffer social and economical hardships to pay for their greedy ambitions? Why should we kill innocent, poor people, in order to fill the bulging pockets of these cowards?
The average age of British soldiers dying in Afghanistan is 22.
The rate at which British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan is almost four times that of their US counterparts, and double the rate which is officially classified as "major combat".
The official classification of "major combat" is a killing rate of six per 1,000 personnel years. For the 12 months up to May, the killing rate for British troops in Afghanistan stood at 13.
During February and May, the death rate of UK military personnel reached 9.9 per 1,000 personnel years compared with 2.7 for US forces in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a catastrophy but Obama and Cameron won't admit it
One in four British soldiers in Helmand province has been killed or injured. The army is retreating, effectively defeated. The war in Afghanistan is a catastrophe, but still the warmongers insist "progress is being made".
By Simon Jenkins
The latest opinion poll shows 83 percent of the British public want the troops brought home from Afghanistan, but parliament refuses to act on this overwhelming opposition to the war. On 23/24 July, Stop the War groups across the country will lobby local MPs at their weekly surgeries.
Rally Monday 26 July 7pm: Afghanistan - Time To Go
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL
Speakers include: Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, just released from prison following his court martial for refusing to fight in Afghanistan.
Joe's Letter to Downing street
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to you as a serving soldier in the British army to express my views and concerns on the current conflict in Afghanistan.
It is my primary concern that the courage and tenacity of my fellow soldiers has become a tool of American foreign policy. I believe this unethical short-changing of such proud men and women has caused immeasurable suffering not only to families of British service personnel who have been killed and injured, but also to the noble people of Afghanistan.
I have seen qualities in the Afghan people which have also been for so long apparent and admired in the British soldier. Qualities of robustness, humour, utter determination and unwillingness to take a step backwards. However it is these qualities, on both sides, which I fear will continue to cause a state of attrition. These will only lead to more heartbreak within both our societies.
I am not a general nor am I a politician and I cannot claim any mastery of strategy. However, I am a soldier who has served in Afghanistan, which has given me some small insight.
I believe that when British military personnel submit themselves to the service of the nation and put their bodies into harms way, the government that sends them into battle is obliged to ensure that the cause is just and right, i.e. for the protection of life and liberty.
The war in Afghanistan is not reducing the terrorist risk, far from improving Afghan lives it is bringing death and devastation to their country. Britain has no business there.
I do not believe that our cause in Afghanistan is just or right. I implore you, Sir, to bring our soldiers home.
Joe Glenton Lance/Corporal, Royal Logistics Corps