9 points – First reactions to the war in Ukraine


Clandestina, Thessaloniki

“If you cannot have both reason and strength, always choose reason, and leave strength to the enemy (…) we can always draw strength from our reason”

1. There are many ways to speak about capitalist wars: interstate military conflicts, means for capitalist expansion, looting and possession through dispossession, methods for violent destruction of productive forces and devaluation of existing wealth, means to obtain social discipline and conformity, etc. On the other hand, it is counterproductive to speak about the capitalist war machine by using the term “imperialism”.

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Over the Walls of Nationalisms and Wars

[Statement of participants of 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair]

It is clear that nationalism is a tool used against the exploited classes. In the Balkans, (especially in the region of ex-Yugoslavia) the rise of nationalist ideology in the 1990’s helped enable the brutal capitalist attack against society. It further atomized the population and destroyed established networks of cooperation and solidarity.

The need to confront nationalist ideology from a radical and anti-authoritarian perspective gathered us in Mostar on the 5th and 6th of September 2014, for the 8th Balkan Anarchist Bookfair. We came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Albania, Romania, Greece and other countries outside the Balkan area.

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Preparedness, the Road to Universal Slaughter

Emma Goldman

Ever since the beginning of the European conflagration, the whole human race almost has fallen into the deathly grip of the war anesthesis, overcome by the mad teaming fumes of a blood soaked chloroform, which has obscured its vision and paralyzed its heart. Indeed, with the exception of some savage tribes, who know nothing of Christian religion or of brotherly love, and who also know nothing of dreadnaughts, submarines, munition manufacture and war loans, the rest of the race is under this terrible narcosis. The human mind seems to be conscious of but one thing, murderous speculation. Our whole civilization, our entire culture is concentrated in the mad demand for the most perfected weapons of slaughter.

Ammunition! Ammunition! O, Lord, thou who rulest heaven and earth, thou God of love, of mercy and of justice, provide us with enough ammunition to destroy our enemy. Such is the prayer which is ascending daily to the Christian heaven. Just like cattle, panic-stricken in the face of fire, throw themselves into the very flames, so all of the European people have fallen over each other into the devouring flames of the furies of war, and America, pushed to the very brink by unscrupulous politicians, by ranting demagogues, and by military sharks, is preparing for the same terrible feat.

In the face of this approaching disaster, it behooves men and women not yet overcome by the war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call the attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated upon them.

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Anti-militarism in Serbia in the 1990s – Interview with Igor Seke

Drafted soldier Vladimir Živković deserted from the Vukovar front and parked his armored vehicle in front of the Parliament building in Belgrade, protesting the war. September, 1991.

Igor Seke is a peace activist from Serbia, currently living in Mexico. From year 2001-2004 he was coordinating the Conscientious Objection campaign in Serbia, together with other Campaign members, mainly coming from the punk and underground music and art scene. Currently, he’s participating in various initiatives in favor of the rights of the indigenous communities in Mexico. He’s a council member of War Resisters’ International (WRI) and also an active member of the Antimilitrist Network of the Latin America and the Caribbean (RAMALC).

Antipolitika: Tell us something about the general characteristics of the anti-war movement of the 90s in Serbia.

Igor Seke: The anti-war movement had many forms. For example, the Civil Alliance of Serbia was a political party that participated in the elections and had clear anti-nationalist and anti-war characteristics, and many intellectuals of the left and social-democratic orientation were members or sympathizers of that movement. In addition to that, in the beginning of the war, a group of rock musicians gathered and made the song  “Slušaj ‘vamo” (“Listen here”) that called for people to boycott the war and calls for mobilization. Women in Black Against the War was also founded, and they openly helped the deserters and conscientious objectors, and they were—in the literal sense—the cradle of the conscientious objection movement in Serbia. Women in Black became members of the global anti-militarist network War Resister’s International (WRI) and through an international network made contact with conscientious objectors movement from Spain (MOC) from which we learned a lot. YUCOM, the committee of lawyers for human rights also joined the struggle for the recognition of the right to conscientious objection, and in cooperation with them a campaign for the collection of 30.000 signatures for a citizens initiative for the recognition of the right to conscientious objection was started. The initiative was rejected by the parliament, but it was the first indicator that things would change.

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Greek Militarism in the age of SYRIZA

20.20.2014. Future PM in the Ministry of Defense

Barefoot Battalion, Presented as part of the Mediterranean/ Balkan Anarchist Meeting, Athens-Thessaloniki-Chania, 9-18/10/205


This paper was presented for the first time at the 5th Antimilitarist Gathering organised by the Barefoot Battalion on 4-5th September 2015, in Ioannina, Greece. It was then enhanced to include the period shortly after the elections of 20th September 2015.



The continuation of the State

It is a fact, that the issue of anti-militarism is not always a central issue on the agenda  of the anti-authoritarian movement and its structures. This has been the case in Greece for many years, and is especially true today. The total number of social and class struggles has clearly decreased. Despite the valuable legacy of recent struggles, they have not managed to overcome internal and external limitations in order to halt the increasingly intensified undermining of our class. Capitalist restructuring continues to rampage our lives, worsening our position within the fields of social struggle and decreasing the possibilities of collective action and thought.

Arguably, it is precisely during such a critical period, when inter-capitalistic competition makes war an increasingly less remote reality, which can be simply ‘shoved under the carpet’, that anti-militarism should preoccupy us in a much more serious and targeted way. The sweeping statements traditionally adopted by the Left that imply an antimilitarist approach (ie. opposing NATO or US foreign policy), have succeeded in attributing a certain ‘anti-imperialist’, confrontational character to their own agents and have masked the true nature of militarism and the way it has weaved itself into our everyday lives, into our neighbourhoods, in the structures of ‘our own’ state. There is a general tendency to view fascism, nationalism and racism as exaggerated deviations (from the otherwise ‘democratic’ European norm) and as socio-historic elements of only specific eras or states, as in the case of Germany during WWII. Similarly, militarism seems to be perceived as a phenomenon that is only apparent in remote dictatorial regimes (where leaders wear military uniforms and tanks roam the streets) or in the ‘exceptional’ chapters of contemporary greek history (such as the military junta between 1967-1964). In any case, an analysis of militarism which focuses neither on N.Korea nor on the military junta of 1967, but instead, focuses its’ attention on Greece in 2015 under the rule of SY.RIZ.A, is not the ‘hottest’ of subjects. Even though Rosa Luxemburg taught us almost 100 years ago that “militarism in both its’ forms – as war and as armed peace – is a legitimate child, a logical result of capitalism”. However, we hope that through efforts such as this one, the genetic relationship between militarism and the state will become clear.

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the mars barcode: 12 illustrated shorts and a post-scriptum on capitalist war

Bonaparte visitant les pestiférés de Jaffa (Bonaparte visits the plague stricken in Jaffa, oil on canvas, 1804, Louvre, by Antoine-Jean Gros) is a propaganda painting idealizing Napoleon’s disastrous Egyptian campaign. It shows his (alleged?) visit to his sick soldiers in March 1799 in his attempt to reverse the negative rumors about him ordering plague victims to be “mercy-killed” by poisoning. The outbreak of the bubonic plague had followed the violent “sack of Jaffa” by the French army. This romantic oil-painting, with several neoclassicist elements, was exhibited in the months between Napoleon’s proclamation as emperor and his coronation. It portrays the emperor as god-sent healer offering the traditional “royal touch”, as he thaumaturgically lays his hand on the armpit of one of the sick.

Clandestina, November 2015

1. war as spectacle within the bourgeois subject

The battlefield had become a mass spectacle decades before the discovery of photography. With the Napoleonic wars, the boundary between exercising lethal violence and observing it became blurred. Napoleon realized that in war, succeeding in propaganda is more important than winning a real military confrontation. Napoleon’s operations had to be celebrated as victorious, even if if they could not be won on a technical military level. They had to be described in detail and these glorious narratives of fighting battles had to be distributed as widely as possible. He was the first leader to make “live war reporting” as definitive as it still is for the subject formation of the Western citizen “in the peaceful world”.

Military operations in war had long become mass industrial affairs and could no longer be represented in their entirety by simple observers, such as painters or writers. Now that armies had technologies of mass destruction to their disposal, a whole variety of accounts, comments and descriptions, as well as knowledge of the stages of tactical and practical preparations were necessary for “a whole battle” to be recomposed in the Press for the news-hungry public.

Over the course of the 19th century, war itself started adapting to the requirements of the remote-controlled imagination of its consumers. Everyone could now have an opinion about how an operation would be best carried out, how its tactics should be interpreted, how a battle should be evaluated or repeated avoiding past failures. Soon, war had found a comfortable place in the everyday life of consumers in bourgeois States.

As a natural law of the global balance of power, real war would soon appear even banal.

This sense of a split between “peace at home” and “war abroad” (or “war elsewhere”) is expressed in most binary oppositions of meaning in the spectacular industries of the 20th century. The opposite genres of “news” and “entertainment” are emblematic of this dialectics – their merging in today’s “infotainment” carries their complementarity to its logical conclusion.

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Anarchist solidarity and anti-war initiatives in post-Yugoslav countries

Z.A.P.O Anti-War Demo, 19.06.1991.

(personal recollection from Croatia)

A few important notes: I am writing from my own personal perspective, meaning that I lived at the time in Croatia and that all of this is my point of view. I will note if something is a quote or reference.

Also, it’s important to note that this is not a historical text. There’s no such thing as objective history. This is a personal overview of activities and events that were organized to oppose war, nationalism, militarization and to show and practice solidarity with all those suffering directly from war or its (side)effects.

Most of all, this is not an analysis of the war(s) in former Yugoslavia, neither an attempt to discover why they happened. It was never really a question – as any war in the past it was all about power, wealth and control over territory and people, no matter which side in the war you look at.

For a better understanding of the context in which the events that I’m writing about take place, it is important to note that in the years before the war(s) in former Yugoslavia there was no anarchist movement, just few individuals and initial groups being formed at the very end of 1980’s and the beginning of the 1990’s. So, the time of war(s) was also a new beginning (after almost 60 years) for organized resistance coming from anarchists.

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Antipolitika Broj 1/Issue 1

Tema broja: Antimilitarizam. Broj strana: 60


Militarizacija svakodnevnog života

Anarhistička solidarnost i antiratne aktivnosti u Hrvatskoj u devedesetima

Emma Goldman: Pripremljenost, put kao sveopćem pokolju

clandestina: marsov barkod: 12 ilustrovanih crtica i post scriptum o kapitalističkom ratu

Bosonogi bataljon: Grčki militarizam u eri Sirize

Intervju sa Igorom Sekeom: Antimilitarizam u Srbiji devedesetih godina

Preko zidova nacionalizma i rata