How they fuel war fever by John Molyneux
and At the Root by Felix Feistel
As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, the ground is being prepared for a NATO-led escalation in the form of sanctions & possibly military action. The establishment is stoking war fever.
How they fuel war fever
by John Molyneux
[This article published on 3/6/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.marx21.de/wie-sie-das-kriegsfieber-anheizen/]
As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, the ground is being prepared for a NATO-led escalation in the form of sanctions and possibly military action. John Molyneux examines how the establishment is stoking war fever to win public support from people who would not normally want war
Most of the time, most people don’t want war. Why should they? Therefore, if our rulers:in want to go to war, they must try to create a mood for it among the public – a war fever. With some practice, they have a well-established playlist for this.
For the playlist to work, cooperation with the mass media is necessary, but it is almost always there; there are deep-rooted links between the powerful capitalist:ins, the government, and the state and corporate media. This is especially the case in Ireland, but it is also the case in all other countries – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, etc. – even and especially where they claim to be democracies.
Say what is!
The first step in this move is to focus on the situation or crisis that is to be used as a cause or pretext for war. The media acts like a spotlight, shining a bright light on a particular place while the rest of the world is shrouded in darkness. So today the focus is on Ukraine and Russia, but not on Yemen or Israel/Palestine or other places where there is war and conflict.
Of course, there is the justification that this is what is happening, but effective propaganda works best when it contains a significant element of truth, and controlling and narrowing the focus in this way is intended to protect the pattern of behavior of our rulers, and thus their true motives, from any scrutiny.
The narrowed focus of “our values”.
When our rulers:in beat the war drums, they always portray themselves as resisting aggression, defending democracy, standing up for human rights, etc., but this claim is credible only if we do not look at the bigger picture – the bigger picture in geopolitical terms and the bigger picture in historical terms. It is therefore essential to limit the discussion to Ukraine and not even think about the war in Yemen, the war on Afghanistan, the war on Iraq, the wars on Palestine, the war on Chechnya, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and countless other conflicts in which the current “aggression deniers: innen” and “defenders:innen of democracy” have either not lifted a finger to oppose aggression or defend democracy, or have actively participated in aggression and the crushing of democracy.
“What are we supposed to do?”
Next, they say we must do something, and confront anyone who opposes their agenda with the question, “What do you want us to do? Key to this statement and this question is the little word “we,” which they hope will go unnoticed but is a crucial word in politics. Who is ‘we’ in this situation? Is it ‘the West’? But ‘the West’ actually means the US government and the EU and its allies. Is ‘we’ the Irish people? But ‘they’, i.e. our rulers, are not really asking ‘us’, i.e. the Irish citizens, to do anything. What they are really asking is that ‘we’, the people, should approve of what ‘they’, the government, are doing and want to do. They hope that their interests and goals are in line with the interests and goals of the people, but that is precisely not the case, either in domestic issues – fiscal policy, public spending, austerity measures, etc. – or in foreign policy issues. In fact, their interests, the interests of the One Percent, are diametrically opposed to our interests. In this case, they want us to go along with sanctions and possibly military action and to fuel war, while the interests of ordinary people in Russia, Ukraine and here at home are focused on peace and international solidarity. That is what they hope to hide with the little word “we.”
Another move that comes from the same playlist is the demonization of the enemy and his actions. As I said, effective propaganda contains an element of truth, and given the state of the world, the “enemy” is usually quite evil and behaves quite appallingly, but that doesn’t make him the worst tyrant the world has ever seen. Putin is undoubtedly an authoritarian tyrant, but is he the worst tyrant of modern times? Hardly. Is he a worse tyrant than Margaret Thatcher’s and the U.S.’s well-known friend, General Pinochet in Chile? Is he a worse dictator than Egypt’s General Al-Sisi, who is currently holding 60,000 political prisoners and with whom all “our” governments and companies are doing business as usual and who is barely mentioned in the media?
Historical comparisons and demonization
I have said that our rulers want to keep the focus narrow and not look at history. There is one major exception, one historical analogy that they always resort to when it comes to stoking war fever: the comparison with Hitler. Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember being told that the Egyptian Colonel Nasser, who (rightly) nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956, was the new Hitler who had to be stopped – presumably before he invaded France and bombed London! This was to justify a disastrous Franco-British military intervention to “reclaim” the canal for imperialism. Then there was Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, who was alternately a new Hitler and then Tony Blair’s and the West’s friend, only to be “our” enemy again when Libya was devastated by NATO intervention. And so it was with Saddam Hussein. Saddam was indeed a brutal dictator who invaded Kuwait and tyrannized the Iraqi people, but he was not Hitler. He was not about to invade Western Europe and invade or bomb Britain. In fact, of course, no Middle Eastern leader, however tyrannical, has ever invaded Western Europe since the Moors occupied part of Spain in 711 AD. It was precisely to overcome this little difficulty that Bush and Blair came up with the lie of “weapons of mass destruction” which, you will recall, could hit London in 45 minutes!
The imperialist blocs and their spheres of influence
From the mid-18th to the mid-19th century, British propaganda focused on the threat posed by France, which peaked with the French Revolution and Napoleon. In the course of “defending” itself against France, Britain succeeded in building the largest empire in the world, eventually encompassing 35.5 million square kilometers – 26.4 percent of the earth’s surface and seven times the size of the Roman Empire. During the Cold War, we were repeatedly told that the Soviet Union had to be dissuaded from invading Western Europe, although there was no evidence of this. In fact, at the famous Yalta Conference in February 1945, Stalin had explicitly agreed that Western Europe should be within the sphere of influence of the U.S. and Britain, and he backed this up by telling the Communist parties of Italy, France, and Greece not to fight for power, even though they were capable of doing so after leading the resistance in the war. The “threat of communism” served as justification for creating the largest military arsenal the world had ever seen, with the power to destroy all of humanity multiple times, legitimize countless proxy and regional wars, attempt to crush numerous liberation movements, and support the vilest dictators, all in the service of an informal economic empire that gave free rein to its vast corporations and reached even further than the formal British Empire.
Communism as an Enemy
In reality, the Soviet Union did not want to conquer Western Europe, but to maintain control over its own imperial sphere of influence, its “near abroad” such as Eastern Europe, and its southern and eastern flanks. As for Eastern Europe, the United States and NATO accepted this and did nothing to support Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, or Poland in 1979. Only when the Soviet Union collapsed from its own contradictions did the U.S. and NATO take care of countries like Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, etc. Putin wants to regain some of what Stalin had – he knows he can’t take on China or Southeast Asia. He is an imperialist, but he is not Hitler, and comparing him to Hitler is just bad historiography in the service of warmongering.
A truncated analogy
There is something else to be said about the Hitler analogy. More or less everyone has heard of Hitler, the war and the Holocaust. Far less is known about how he actually came to power in Germany. It is little known, for example, that when Hitler began to organize, Germany was in the throes of a socialist revolution, not a fascist one. The German Revolution of 1918 to 1923 ended World War I and overthrew the Kaiser. Had it not been betrayed by the Social Democrats, who were involved in the murder of revolutionary leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, there might have been socialism in Germany, and Hitler would never have gotten on his feet. It is also not often mentioned in general historiography that there was a force in Germany in the run-up to Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 that could have stopped him. That was the very powerful and well-organized German workers’ movement. It was prevented from doing so because the German Social Democracy and Communists failed to form a united front against the Nazis. This tragedy opened the door for Hitler to take power without serious opposition.
The Putin-Hitler comparison is lame
This point is very important today because the most important force that can stop Putin and the invasion of Ukraine is the anti-war movement in Russia. A mass uprising against the war in Russia itself, while neither easy nor guaranteed, will be far more effective than sanctions or NATO saber-rattling. Established politicians:inside and the mainstream media never have confidence in the ability of mass movements to bring about change or to oppose tyrants and their wars. History, however, including Russian history (1917) and Irish history, is replete with examples of this. So the answer to the original “we must do something” argument is yes, we must build an international anti-war movement based on solidarity, not Western intervention.
What to do about war fever?
The final factor we must consider in the warmongering propaganda of our rulers:in is that just as their rhetoric about democracy and self-determination is not sincere, they may also be hyping their belligerence to appear “great.” They know that even if they don’t go to war, they benefit from the “war fever” they have stoked. They profit, as they always have, from chauvinist war drums and from getting working:class people to put aside their own concerns and struggles in a sense of false togetherness and unity with their real oppressors.
Therefore, it is the task and duty of socialists to oppose the war propaganda of the ruling class and expose it for what it is: self-serving, hypocritical and dangerous.
We must build an international anti-war movement based on solidarity, not Western intervention.
First appeared on Rebel on February 27, 2022 by John Molyneux.
At the Root
If we abandon our belief in existing power relations, we can change social realities.
By Felix Feistel
[This article published on 6/29/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.rubikon.news/artikel/an-der-wurzel.]
We take things for granted these days as they are. Some people have money and power, while others do not. Some are poor while others are rich, and we’ve grown accustomed to rich people giving orders to poor people. Governments decide over our heads about our lives and often cause considerable damage. Yet all these conditions need not exist as they do, because they have a common basis: our belief in their necessity.
“If you want to know a man’s character, give him power” (Abraham Lincoln).
Many times in history, people have found the circumstances in which they lived intolerable and felt the urge to change them. And the question quickly arises: how does one change such an oppressive, social normality? Is it the right way to gain power? Is it money that changes the world?
Power and money seem to be the foundation on which everything is based. Power creates hierarchies and dependencies, covers people with a dense web of rules that must be strictly followed. Those in power can behave benevolently or arbitrarily, changing the rules of the game at will and demanding obedience by force if necessary.
In addition, there is money, which is linked to power. Whoever calls a lot of money his own can establish his own power relations. He has the possibility to make people dependent on him and to subjugate them, he can tear entire economies into the abyss and still profit from it, he can privatize lands and employ the people displaced from there on those very lands for starvation wages. Money multiplies itself in a miraculous way, and over the means of the money much more can be effected than over purely political power. These are the conditions in which we find ourselves today, briefly summarized.
But how can such conditions be changed? Many have tried it, became rich and fell for the temptations of money themselves. Those who successfully founded a party and were able to enter the Bundestag often forgot their original ideals and instead fell for the lure of a secure post. Others instigated revolutions, but with dubious success, because afterwards the same conditions prevailed, only with different rulers.
Oppression, tyranny and inequality could not be ended in this way.
Again and again it is shown that it is not enough to obtain the means of power, because power seduces. And all these means, money, political power, which could also be called domination, have a common root which, if not torn out, always produces the same drives.
That root is faith. Faith is the central pillar on which all civilizations are founded, the root that produces all the wars, the domination and power, the wealth, the inequality.
Is faith the same as religion?
This statement can be understood entirely in the religious sense. The belief in a higher God and his representatives on earth has enabled and cemented a rigid system of power with strict hierarchies for over a millennium in Europe alone. In the name of faith, wars could be waged, unbelievers and so-called witches persecuted, tortured and killed. Likewise, this faith concentrated great wealth in the institutions representing it. People voluntarily donated to the church in the hope of thus being washed of their sins, many bequeathing their wealth to these institutions. Letters of indulgence issued by the church were traded as commodities for a long time. Religious faith could justify everything without people rebelling against rule and arbitrariness. Because this belief was the basis for the entire, social coexistence. Even today, people go to war or blow themselves up for religious reasons.
The reason for this is a deeply internalized belief in a judging God who decides after death about joy or suffering, about access to paradise or eternal damnation in hell. Believers are firmly convinced that God delegates the execution of his will to ecclesiastical institutions, whose representatives are then called to proclaim his will to people, to guide them to act according to it. This belief used to be much more deeply rooted in people than it is today. It made any contravention impossible for most people, indeed it prevented the idea of an alternative world view, alternative ethics and thus alternative action from appearing in people’s convictions in the first place. They could not even think independently of this belief, of a worldview centered on a God.
The belief in political power is comparable to this.
Only because people believe that someone as king, president, chancellor or parliamentarian has the power and qua office the legitimation to rule over them, to pass laws or to collect taxes, does this power exist at all.
Nevertheless, for most people a society without rule is inconceivable. The idea that societies must be organized in the familiar way is so deeply inscribed in people that their thinking cannot transcend this image. Thus it also happened that after every revolution that gave expression to people’s dissatisfaction with the ruling system, a new system of rule was established, which basically hardly differed from the previous one. The idea of building a world without power is so foreign to most people that the thought does not even occur to them.
Yet it is precisely this belief that gives people power. If the broad masses were to lose this belief, then from one day to the next this power would no longer exist. Because the power of the enforcing organs such as the police and the military also feeds on this belief. It is only because people here believe in hierarchies and command power that they carry out orders. Without this belief, no one would see any sense in oppressing and bullying their fellow human beings. The power on which the political system is based would collapse without further ado. Similar to the way the religious system lost power and influence in the course of the Enlightenment and the emergence of natural science, our political system would lose this power over people, which it possesses today.
But the numerous civil servants also fulfill their duty for another reason: through this job they earn their money. So money could be seen as an even greater motivation than obedience. But money also has its value only because we believe in it.
Money is printed paper or ones and zeros in an electronic system.
It has no real value, by the way, just as little as gold or silver. None of this has any special meaning in itself. Only the human belief that it has a value makes it possible to use it as a medium of exchange and ultimately as a means of power. This belief in the value of money is so deeply rooted in people that the fact that this value is based only on an illusion does not even occur to most of them. Also, money, like power, has become so familiar to them, so self-evident, that they cannot even imagine a world without these two factors. Hardly anyone even wastes another thought on these self-evident things, just as little as a fish thinks about the water which surrounds it constantly and everywhere.
Yet these two factors are responsible for all the misery in the world. Power is regularly abused by those to whom it is attributed, people are oppressed, excluded, persecuted, killed. Wars are waged for either financial or power-political reasons. Money is concentrated in a few people, while the rest of humanity lives in dependence on them, subject to their arbitrariness. Money leads to inequality, to hunger and poverty on the one hand and to abundance on the other. Money is the direct trigger for the destruction of man and nature. Money finances rulers, weapons and wars, the exploitation of the planet, the whole insanity of production. And it influences every political decision through corruption. All this is based on the belief that money has value and that one person has power over others.
But if we were to give up this belief, even the richest person would no longer be able to convert his money into power from one day to the next. How is someone supposed to appropriate large tracts of land if no one believes the alleged value of his money anymore? How is he supposed to exercise power in this way if people lose their faith in money and power? And why should policemen, soldiers and the legions of civil servants still get carried away with reprimanding their fellow human beings if their faith in money is just as extinguished as that in the power of command?
Why should anyone allow himself to be degraded to undignified labor when the money offered in return has no value? Why tie the distribution of food to worthless paper? Why go to war because someone who usurps power commands it?
All the rulers and elites that people pay so much attention to and submit to today would suddenly be exposed as the caricatures of small, impatient children that they basically are. No one would take them seriously anymore, no one would let them give them orders.
All we have to do is say goodbye to this belief. To do this, we must begin to question the self-evident truths that have been lived and instilled in us by others. For a child, freshly born, knows no money, sees no value in it, and also knows no power. Only the education and the social understanding of the world leads to the fact that humans develop a certain world view.
However, all these beliefs are just that: beliefs. Let us question them and get rid of beliefs that do not stem from our own convictions.
Of course, belief is at the same time the most important basis of any social coexistence. Every society is based on a belief that constitutes and holds it together as such. The history of civilization is therefore also a history of changing but common faith. To fall prey to sober nihilism is therefore not a sensible option, would probably lead to absolute chaos, to a struggle of all against all. Society would disintegrate and become a collection of disconnected individuals. However, instead of blindly adopting the faith that is brought to us from the outside, we should develop a faith that comes from within.
We should ask ourselves the questions: What is it that we want to believe in, that guides and directs us? Is it the belief in the power of one person over another? Is it belief in colored paper or numbers on a display? Or can we not believe in something that rises as a true conviction from within us, that has not been brought to us from the outside, by means of indoctrination and education? We could believe in freedom, in the fact that every human being is equal, in the fact that the primary goal of human societies must be to provide a dignified life for every individual, and in the fact that no one may rule over another.
Nor is it at all necessary that we all share a religious conception, do not all adhere to the same conception of man, do not share the same conceptions of society. Instead, we can create a society of societies, that is, a society in which many, different ideas coexist.
The only shared belief that would then be necessary is that every belief, every conception, and every society has an unlimited right to exist and must therefore be treated as equal.
Underlying this is the belief that every person is free to shape his or her own life according to his or her own pleasure, but cannot impose his or her own ideas on anyone. It would be the belief in the value of man in and for himself, as a human being.
Thus a society of small units can develop, in which Christians live together beside Muslims, Jews and Buddhists, socialists, communists, anarchists, nihilists, atheists, conservatives, liberals, authoritarians and many others. It is also conceivable, for friends of dictatorship, to create small, dictatorial units in which all those who like to be oppressed are allowed to come together. Such a society of societies, in which all belief and political systems coexist in small units, not only does justice to the different ideas of people, but also represents a social laboratory.
Instead of constant system competition on a large scale aimed at eliminating the ideological opponent, this competition can now coexist on a small scale, thus revealing over time which system, which approach, which belief helps people achieve the greatest satisfaction. In this way, this system can then gradually prevail, but it does not necessarily have to. After all, no one is forced to be happy. Quite apart from this, there is also no patent remedy here. Every person can have a different faith, different convictions. Misery only arises when an individual or a group of people force their beliefs, their faith on other people. So it is necessary to find out what we believe in and what we want to believe in.
But the path begins with questioning the current belief and replacing it with one that is not brought to us from the outside, but comes from within us. To do this, everyone can ask themselves what values they live by, where these values come from, and whether they want to continue to live by them. You could also ask yourself what you want to achieve in your life and why. What is it that you want other people to say about you after you pass away? What is it that you want to be remembered on your deathbed? And very centrally: What is actually the motivation, the drive for everything you do and want to achieve in life?
Where does this motivation, this drive, come from? Is it a socially exemplified value, one that has been imparted to you since childhood, or did you find it on your own? What are actually the core values we pursue, and why are they? What is the overarching meaning, the overarching narrative, what is behind all things, all actions?
From there, one can embark on a voyage of discovery toward the questions to which humanity to this day has no satisfactory answer, and which it has had to establish belief systems to satisfy. These are questions like: What comes after death? What is the meaning of everything? These and many other questions are the basis on which our present belief systems are built, and they can be the basis for a new belief system.
One can deal with these and many other questions and question one’s faith, what is taken for granted and normal. On the basis of a shaken faith in what exists, a new faith can emerge, one that changes society from the ground up.
Felix Feistel, born in 1992, writes in many ways about the idiocy of this world and also against it. In a world reduced to numbers and data, which has always been alien to him, he searches for humanity and the meaning of life. He tries to use his powers and talents to create a world worth living in by opposing injustice and destruction. Despite the madness that is rampant everywhere, he is not ready to give up his belief in the goodness of man and his potential to transform the planet into a paradise. He is a member of the Rubicon Youth Editorial Board and writes for the Young Feathers column.