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Peacenik's War By: Michael Tremoglie
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, March 27, 2003

In 1992 an organization with the curious German-Spanish name of Amigos de Aufheben (Friends of Annihilation  and Transformation), wrote what is basically a primer for the so-called peaceniks. This tome titled, “Lessons from the Struggle Against the [first] Gulf War” [1] lists policies and procedures to be implemented in the event of military action in Iraq. Everything they describe and recommend is being said or done by International ANSWER, Not In Our Name, and Direct Action to Stop War These procedures and policies are:

Anti-War Strategy

The experience of our class has shown us how capitalist wars can be effectively opposed. For the sake of analytical clarity this opposition may be divided into three separate strategies which are in reality particular yet inter-related aspects of the overall struggle. These may be roughly defined as:

i) undermining support for the war by stressing the class antagonisms involved;

ii) actively sabotaging the state's ability to conduct a war and;

iii) precipitating a crisis 'at home.'

In order to successfully oppose the war it was crucial that the anti-war movement stress that the war was to be fought for the interests of the capitalist class alone, and to decisively situate itself in opposition to those interests. This could be done through the usual means of propaganda such as leaflets, banners, graffiti, fly-posting, public meetings, and through high profile actions.

Not only is this essential for building an opposition at home that knows why it opposes the war and can thus formulate tactics such as strikes and civil disorder, which reflect the class basis of that opposition, but also it is also essential to encourage 'disloyalty' amongst those troops expected to fight. Historical examples abound of desertions and mutinies making it impossible for rival capitalist interests to compete by means of war, not least in Vietnam where US troops were often more inclined to kill their officers than the supposed enemy. And there is evidence to indicate that a concerted refusal to fight in the Gulf War was not an impossibility. Even without the social unrest 'back home' that formed the backdrop to resistance in Vietnam, many troops refused to go to the Gulf, including at least 23 of the US's elite force, The Marines, who are currently in jail for desertion.

In August of 1990 a live TV show debating the Gulf crisis was disrupted by anti-war protesters with a banner reading: "There's always German money in weapons when there's any slaughter in the world." And on January 21st 1991, anti-war protesters attempted to make clear in whose interest the war was being fought by blockading the entrance to the Frankfurt stock exchange and pelting the dealers with eggs and paint bombs.

In Germany frequent attempts were made to blockade military depots and barracks in order to disrupt the mobilisation for the war. Transport command supplies were also blocked, holding up the movement of the raw materials for the military bases of the British and American troops stationed in Munster, Bremerhaven, Frankfurt, Berlin and elsewhere. The tactic of disrupting the transportation of military supplies was also used in France on several occasions, and in Holland, where trains supplying troops in Germany were persistently sabotaged, derailed, and blockaded.

No War But The Class War

NWBTCW was a loose collection of revolutionaries who came together in opposition to the Gulf War. As they clearly pointed out in their leaflets, their opposition to the war was firmly rooted in a class-analysis rather than some form of moralistic liberalism."We won't pay for the bosses war" was the headline on a leaflet distributed during the prelude to the war. "As in all bosses' wars, it's us who will be told to kill each other and die in the battlefields while those with most to gain from the war sit at home and count their profits " it continued. As well as providing the cannon fodder, "those of us not in the front line will have to pay in other ways..........it's us who will be told to tighten our belts and put up with cuts in jobs and wages."

This "policy manual" is revealing for many reasons. First, it describes in detail many of the propaganda philosophies of the "peace" groups leaders. Second, it provides some operational detail. Finally, and I believe most significantly, it reveals dissatisfaction with pacifists. One paragraph states, "Here in Brighton we belatedly began to take action to sabotage the war effort. The local Committee to Stop the War in the Gulf, dominated by pacifists and supported by the SWP, had reduced anti-war resistance to "peace vigils", standing peacefully and if possible silently around a statue in the middle of town. Not surprisingly this inspired no one and went unnoticed by everyone.

What was written by Amigos de Aufheben is exactly what is happening now by the groups that blocked traffic in New York, Washington , Philadelphia, and San Francisco, evidence that these are premeditated acts by complex organizations.


1. http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2003/01/1561019.php

Michael P. Tremoglie is the author of the new novel A Sense of Duty, and an ex-Philadelphia cop. E-mail him at elfegobaca@comcast.net.

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