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Culture of War

Culture of War
(Coordinator Comment)

Although the culture of war is usually associated with international war, it may be even more important for internal power than for external. As Lenin stated: "... the standing army is used not so much against the external enemy as against the internal enemy. Everywhere the standing army has become the weapon of reaction, the servant of capital in its struggle against labour..."

Engels cited the Greeks to explain how war was developed for internal power of the slave-owners over the slaves: "The people's army of the Athenian democracy confronted the slaves as an aristocratic public force, and kept them in check; but to keep the citizens in check as well, a police-force was needed, as described above. This public force exists in every state; it consists not merely of armed men, but also of material appendages, prisons and coercive institutions of all kinds..."

The use of the culture of war for the maintenance of class power is as evident today as at any time in history. The authoritarian measures of the the US government, justified in the name of "fighting terrorism" is but the latest in a long history of internal culture of war. The United States have seen an average of 18 internal military interventions using on average 12,000 troops per year from 1886 to 1990. And the US is not alone. Consider, for example, the role of the CRS as an internal army in France.

It has been difficult enough to discuss the culture of war at the United Nations, where the European Union insisted on deleting any mention of it in the 1999 resolution adopted on a culture of peace. But it is even more taboo to mention the topic of the internal culture of war, because no state wants to admit that they use it.

The irrelevance of academics is shown by the fact that the internal culture of war is so rarely discussed, let alone studied by university professors, doctoral students, etc. The study mentioned above on internal military intervention in the United States is an exception, and its bibliography contains very little reference to other studies on the subject, nor has that study been referenced in the years since it was published.

Even the socialist countries have not wanted to discuss the internal culture of war, presumably because they, too, have made use of it. This poses a serious problem for revolutionaries: without serious discussion of the consequences, we risk to establish, as a result of a successful revolutionary movement, socialist societies based on a culture of war, and this, it would seem from the collapse of the Soviet Union, cannot succeed in the long term. To avoid this, the challenge is to struggle for a revolutionary culture of peace.

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game administrator Jun. 13 2019,18:22
Readers' comments are invited on this topic.