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(en) Italy: Alternativa Libertaria Nov. 04 - At the Antipodes (it)

From Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici <internazionale@fdca.it>
Date Sun, 21 Nov 2004 11:40:22 +0100 (CET)

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So, what number is the present conflict? The 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th World War?
Actually, none of the above. What we have now is a real Universal War, one of
its kind, and nothing or no-one in the Islamic world, in any other world or in
our Western civilizations can feel immune from involvement in the hostilities.
This is not only because that irregular and well-camouflaged army of those who
are commonly defined as the Enemies of the West can strike anywhere - it is
above all because this siege mentality we are witnessing, this terrible fear
masterfully cultivated by the mass media of crazed, bloodthirsty lunatics who
strike out of the blue, all this is changing or serves to justify the changes
in our habitual way of life. In other words it provides an alibi for an
asphyxiating form of control over us which spells the end of any pretence of
democratic guarantees.

The very notion of a war on terrorism provokes profound changes in the
relationships between groups of people. And notice too the careful use of
words: "war", not "fight". Both are forms of conflict, but of a very different
nature. Fights are carried on in a variety of ways and can even be something
positive. For example, you can fight for a different world, a better world. A
fight does not require precise battlefronts, it does not require huge
deployment of soldiers, it does not automatically require military discipline.
War, on the other hand, demands all of this. It needs States and regular
armies. So just why did they choose to call it a "war" on terrorism?

It seems obvious that terrorism (at least what is defined as such in the media)
has its own ways of acting, ways which are totally different to those of
conventional armies which have such a need for visibility that they even adopt
uniforms which unmistakably identify their members and on which even
hierarchical differences are evident. The more widely and easily identifiable
an army's power is paraded, the more fearsome it becomes. Terrorism, on the
other hand, acts with the maximum possible anonymity.

It might be an idea to examine for a moment the word terrorism, a term which is
so frequently used, not to mention incorrectly and superficially. Historically,
terrorism in its true sense it that policy adopted by the revolutionary
government of France at the end of the 18th century: the famous Terror. By
extension it includes any policy of the powers that be whereby any
manifestations of dissent are repressed with violence and fear. Only recently
has the term begun to be used to indicate the forms of bloody and violent
revolt involving civilians being killed indiscriminately in the midst of the
indistinct mass, a definition that ended up becoming the sole possible
definition of terrorism in our minds. This only serves to cover up the fact
that terrorism is primarily a practice of governments and States. We are
dealing with a semantic shift which is by no means unimportant: it allows us to
deplore the killing of 300 Ossetian children by Chechen terrorists and blithely
ignore the extermination of 40,000 Chechen children by the army of the Russian
State as if it were something normal. It would also be worthwhile examining
closely the other word which is part of the Bush administration's watchword, to
better understand both its continuous nature and (more importantly from the
point of view of political analysis) its innovative nature. We need to examine
the motivations that drive it and the ways in which it is carried out.


Alternativa Libertaria - November 2004
online news-sheet of the FdCA

Download it in PDF format from:

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