Social movements at a time of permanent war: How do we respond to armed conflict, military and security policies and the politics of fear?

, by  Cramer Ben, DRÉANO Bernard

A world war being fought in pieces” said Pope Francis. Bloody violent armed conflicts are going on in Syria and Iraq, Libya and Yemen, Sub-Saharan and Central Africa, Ukrainian Donbass and Afghanistan. Local tensions persist and regularly ignite, like in Palestine; “frozen” conflicts threaten to heat up from Caucasus to Western Sahara. The number of refugees and IDP due to the conflicts in the World is, since 2014, higher than it was at the end of the Second World War.

People worldwide are facing a multiple crisis of economic insecurity, a deep social crisis, and a terrifying ecological crisis. The result is an ever more dominant politics of fear. Growing numbers of political parties, intellectual, political, religious movements, are preaching xenophobia and hate, sectarian and racist ideologies – and in the case of terrorist groups enacting them in escalating acts of horror. States adopt the rhetoric and practice of war against “enemies”, carrying out extra-judicial executions by drones, imposing emergency measures, promoting a militarisation of minds. The Military-industrial-security complex has more power than ever, and is happy to push their panoplies of weapons (old and new) and their new services for security and social control.

How to understand such a world? How to act on such a world? We are probably not (not yet?) at the eve of a global conflict between great powers like the World Wars of the Twentieth century. We are also no longer in the “bipolar” world of the cold war between blocs in the “North” and national liberation struggles in the “South”. We are rather entering a period of new wars of dislocation in the time of corporate-led globalisation and climate change, with conflict going on within states and regions, provoked by external interventions “imperial” or just regional.

We live in troubled times. In both a unified and fractured world. Unified in an ever more globalised and interconnected world, yet dislocated by by its profiteers, rotten by its inequalities, partitioned by its walls, threatened by the securocrats who seek military control over growing chaos.

How can social movements confront this permanent war? It will be necessary to understand the underlying causes of the daily dislocation that provokes wars. It will require strong opposition to the warmongers’ strategies and militarisation. it will need a deeper understanding of how murderous ideologies spread, the ideas behind holy wars, nationalism and confessionalism, neo-colonialism? And everywhere it will demand our support for peace-makers and resistance to warmongers.

The aim of this working group is to exchange analysis and information on the mechanisms of conflicts; the global, regional, local, strategies of control and security; the propaganda of war and exclusive ideologies and their effects; the role of the military-industrial-security complex and of the arms race.

This approach will integrate geo-cultural and geopolitical differences and deepen critical analysis. Files will be built from articles, interviews and identified work. See, for example, this file from the conference "Wars, Military, Climate" from the Conference held in Paris in December 2015 at the Climate Forum, during the COP21.

The working method will be participative, and built up during the constitution of the group. Please feel free to contact Bernard Dreano and Ben Cramer who temporarily convene the secretariat for this working group.