On war and anti-war: Barbarism under the mask of civility - SÜLEYMAN SEYFI ÖĞÜN

On war and anti-war: Barbarism under the mask of civility

There is a famous saying: “Wars are an inseparable part of human history.” With the passage of time, structures, institutions, and organizations emerged from the womb of those wars. A culture of multi-layered and multi-faceted wars also emerged.

Practical-minded circles note that they cannot eliminate wars completely, so they enact laws of war and make those laws their rule, even if that rule works wrong.

Crimes that are displayed in the various arts have become tournaments to embellish wars. Attempts were made to differentiate between the different types of wars. There are wars involving self-defense, there are wars that have justifications, and there are illegal wars waged for aggressive purposes, but this differentiation has not been achieved in the light of practical application.

Where the most illegal wars waged for aggressive purposes easily find justification for them. Even anti-colonial wars find justification, as this type of war is considered the easiest to make this distinction.

Aggressive colonialists did their best to portray the struggle for independence as anti-civilizational movements feeding on brutality and barbarism and making it look like an unjust struggle.

In this context, the Japanese philosopher Kogen Karatani defined pre-modern wars as the eras of banditry and plunder, and this matter is a separate study. But if we touch on the wars of the modern world, we find that they changed the color of the history of wars. In the past, nations used to gather armies and fight. In the modern world, nations with a new configuration became involved as ready-made continents.

(Sidenote: Let us remember that if one of the duties of a privileged citizen is to pay taxes, his other duty is to perform military service.)


The nation is considered a production and consumption force that meets economic supply and demand and has emerged as a military and combative apparatus. This is exactly where the relationship between modern wars and capitalism emerges.


The socialist philosopher and politician Rosa Luxemburg is considered one of the most insightful and knowledgeable thinkers and theorists in this relationship.


Regarding this relationship, Luxembourg said that there are many allegations about the existence of rationality in capitalism, but capitalism is in essence an irrational structure that reached its severity in light of the history of human social alienation.


Luxembourg asserts that the expansionist and competitive processes of capitalism cannot function without militarism. The proof of this is that the most profitable sector in the industrial world is certainly the war sector and many other sectors that fall under this sector, which in turn have warned against it.


Luxembourg pointed out that capitalism, which is essentially an irrational structure, will lead to inevitable continuing crises. She emphasized that in order to overcome these crises, wars were organized on a global scale.


We can draw conclusions from those assessments made by Luxembourg and summarize them as follows: The modern world does not have civilized goals and means, as some philosophers, writers, and scientists claim, stuck in lust for ideas separated from their historical context, and these goals and means are deceptive, and the dominant party is "barbarism".


Luxembourg's most famous slogan from one of her books is "either Socialism or Barbarism." (In it, she points out that practical socialist practices have done nothing but fuel militarism and increase barbarism.)


There were high hopes that the working classes would stop going to the front lines, but that didn't happen and they didn't listen to the likes of Rosa Luxemburg and Jean Jaures. They began to put on their uniforms and rushed to the front lines to kill each other.


Other hopes were for an anti-war approach during the anti-colonial struggle, just as Gandhi had experienced and succeeded. Also, that never happened.


It is not easy to say this fact but these movements achieved their independence with the weapons made by the colonial capitalist economies. After that, they could not help but be agents of military economics, even if that involved slogans and concepts such as "security".


In a nutshell, this colonial capitalist system proved adept at absorbing anti-war movements and dragging them into its own black holes.

Certainly, there will be opposition movements within the military units. The anti-war movements of the Cold War period are considered ideologically motivated movements that cannot be trusted. But at the very least, it came out under the name of counter-movements, and if we look at our present time, we will find that there are no such movements.

Among the movements that interest me the most are the movements under the name "conscientious objectors", which require thinking about them. These movements are known to have shifted the issue from a social to a matter of individual moral preference.

They believe that anyone can refuse military service on the basis of freedom of thought or religion, and their demands include the saying: "Whoever wishes to fight, it's up to them, but I will not fight."

These movements emerged as a reaction from the middle class that fell into the black hole of the military capitalist system and still exists within it. What is suspicious within these movements is the extent of the moral value that this thought holds. In fact, this issue is much deeper than that.


Meanwhile, the Second General War brought about enormous devastation, after which military calls and messages could not find value and response and lost their missions starting with people born in 1945.

The centralized capitalist states gave up fighting each other and gave their citizens the choice to perform military service.

Those willing to perform military service will do their duty, and those unwilling to perform military service will take part in other public services or remain free and go about their business.

These measures served the personal interest of the middle class. They marketed it as a great civilized development and moved the military service market from the center to the outskirts.

Accordingly, I wonder if decolonization is one of the sub-strategies of those actions

The issue that the philosopher Rosa Luxemburg talked about earlier about capitalism and its feeding of militarism, we find that it applies to our time, as we see that capitalism is facing one of its biggest crises today.

The exits of this crisis are war, but the question that arises here: Who will you fight?

Certainly, these will not be the same people as "Anglo-Saxons" or people from Western, Central, and Northern European societies. What do the peoples of Eastern Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East, and the Far East constitute today?


So many people died in Ukraine so needlessly, but who really cares about that?


The weak anti-war sentiments of the Germans are driven by fears about a cold winter ahead and the rising cost of living.


Barbarism is a strange thing. They are not embodied in front of us by masks and provoke a lot of brutalities, but rather come wrapped in the masks of civilization and civility.

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