Autor: Emil

~ 26/12/11

The following post is a reply to someone. You can read the original discussion here.

-Originally posted at Revleft on 28th March 2011-

Some posts in a recent thread outlining my position against armies and for militia’s:

Communism wouldn’t have standing armies. The Red Army (Revleft user) Khad so charmingly refers to was not a socialist conception, Trotsky prefered workers militia’s. However, the Red Army was a necessity under civil war conditions and a boken proletariat (the early Red Army consisted mainly of peasants).

Communists stand for the universal education in the use of arms and workers militia’s. Such a system is already feasible under capitalism (see the Swiss example) and is therefore a concrete democratic demand that empowers the working class and weakens the capitalist state.

To come back to the OP’s question: Desertion is caused by alienation, why would you die for your country if your country cares so little for you? That is exactly the type of propaganda we need to be making regarding the army: Don’t die for your capitalist overlords, your main enemy is at home! Under a workers’ militia, the militia duty is spread out to everyone and located in your neighbourhoods, where you live, work and have friends. You wouldn’t desert from protecting that, would you?

The following post is a reply to someone. You can read the original discussion here.

[Quoting user “Kamos”]

Let’s look at it this way: being part of a communist army is voluntary. Why shouldn’t it be voluntary at all times? If this causes any administrative difficulty restrictions could be placed on the deserters’ rejoining of the army.

No, it shouldn’t be voluntary. We should insist on its universal appliance so everyone knows how to deal with weapons. What good is it if no one knows how to defend yourself and your fellow workers against the state? Likewise, we should insist on union organisation inside the army, like is the case in the Netherlands, and integrate these elements fully into the workers movement. Everything that tears these forces away from the state and makes the working class stronger as a class.

The following post is a reply to someone. You can read the original discussion here.

[Quoting user “runequester”]

Militia’s are fine for keeping the peace to the extent its needed, hopefully they’d end up doing more useful stuff post revolution though, but militia’s never won a war without an army to lean on or supply them.

Could you give examples?

Anyways, I think you’re missing the point. Wars under capitalism are not so much of army against army, like was the case under feudalism for example. No, under capitalism it’s a total war in which all layers of society play a role. The reason for this is that the industrial support base of the enemy army is as much as target as the army itself. Hence bombing cities, although these days the bombing did become “smarter” as dead babies don’t make good propaganda on tv, even if they are of the enemy.

Workers militia’s are taking that same logic, but in reverse so to speak. While standing armies are excellent tools for capitalists, given that they’re a minority within society; militia’s are excellent tools for the working class, given that it arms (or teaches to use arms to) the whole proletariat.

The mightiest army on the planet can’t even subdue Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries around. What are the realistic prospects of an invading army trying to subdue an entire proletariat that is well armed and is also trained to use advanced weaponry, like airforce and navy (Yes, I don’t see why such advanced stuff couldn’t be integrated within a militia structure)?

The following post is a reply to someone. You can read the original discussion here.

[Quoting “runequester”]

A militia structure cannot support the logistical tail required for maintaining a modern airforce and navy, let alone supply a field army.

Given that workers militia’s are the proletariat itself that is armed, surely that implies very short and efficient supply lines, as it is so closely integrated within society itself? So I disagree with the point made here. In fact, militia’s are exactly perfectly capable of defensive purposes. Standing armies are more geared towards offensive roles, to which I don’t see any structural role for the proletariat.

I agree that a communist society should have militia’s as they serve a variety of purposes outside of defense, but the original topic was during or just after the revolution.

The point I’m trying to get across is that we should work towards these goals – universal education of everyone to use arms, the unionisation of the armed forces, democratic structures within the armed forces, workers militia’s – right now. We shouldn’t wait until after the revolution. In fact, these goals are pretty necessary conditions for a successful revolution in the first place!

As far as Afghanistan, of course it is subdued. It hasn’t been completely pacified, since this is almost impossible to do. But I doubt anyone thinks the taliban is legitimately in control of Afghanistan or able to impose their will.

The taliban isn’t making any significant victories over the coalition. All they can do is keep dying until we give up and go home. Hardly the stuff revolutions are made of.

I’m sorry, but this is utter nonsense. No, the Taliban isn’t able to control all of Afghanistan (although they do have huge swats of it under their control in the south), but so can’t the allied forces. To say it is subdued, that is under allied control, is totally not understanding the situation over there.

But Afghanistan was a limited analogy, in that you can’t subdue a society that easily. I very much doubt it could occupy a well developed, industrialised, highly educated society with a large proletariat that is armed to the teeth. It would be a nightmare from day one.

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