The following powerful appeal for non-cooperation with imperialist war was given by a former British soldier, Michael Pike, at the Imperialism on Trial public meeting in Birmingham on 12 July 2018. Michael is now a poet and a member of Veterans for Peace. We reproduce his speech and poem here with thanks.
Imperialism and the military
The military’s role in imperialism is vital.
Without the military, without the well-conditioned, without the well-trained courage of the common man and woman, the imperialist has no clout; no teeth.
So, in order to swell the ranks, they have painted the military as glamourised, glorified, romanticised heroes.
The promise of travel, adventure, money, status.
Soundbites that challenge young minds. Adverts that seduce young egos.
“This is belonging.” “Are you tough enough?” “Brave enough?” “Strong enough?” To be the BEST!
It’s all lies!
So, having been seduced and signed up … how do they turn a young mind into a machine, a robot?
Taught to hate and taught to kill to keep the rich rich
Young recruits are put through a highly-developed and insidious crash course of military training. They will strip them down, strip them of their individuality and their humanity, then rebuild them to act on command, to obey orders without question. They will develop amongst the group a gang-like mentality.
I could do a whole talk on military training, but unfortunately time won’t allow me.
They teach you to hate. They teach you to hate other regiments, other sections of the armed forces. They teach you to hate civilians.
Now if one is taught to hate civilians in one’s own country, how much more contempt would one have for civilians on foreign shores?
They teach you to kill.
So we are left with a highly-trained, well-conditioned machine. Ready to fight, ready to kill, to obey orders without question.
It is this blind obedience that leads to young men thrusting and twisting bayonets into the guts of other young men.
Then they are awarded medals for bravery, for gallantry. To my mind, this is the biggest insult.
“Here, brave young person, have a shiny penny and a pat on the head for keeping the rich rich.”
Then, finally, when the soldiers are no longer of any use, they are cast aside, like straw dogs. Many of them will leave the military to face a life of penury and pain, with a pocketful of useless trinkets. Some will end up homeless, in prison or take their own lives.
There is no glory in war. All wars are about profit and the military are nothing but accessories to the rich man’s plunder.
No-one really fights for their country. They fight for the establishment, the rulers, the money men of the country.
All wars are proxy, arranged and coerced well in advance of the first shot being fired or the first troops deployed. Lies and propaganda are used to whip up the masses, get them onside.
World War One
WW1 was a war about trading routes and fading empires. A war to keep the rich rich and the royals royal. The monarchy even changed their name from Saxe-Coburg Gotha as it was deemed ‘too German’ at the time.
So here are some of the insidious methods used by the establishment to swell the ranks needed for the bloodfest that was The Great War.
– Economic and political coercion – unemployment was very high.
– The promise of a regular wage and food for the family – there is no greater recruiting sergeant than an empty belly.
– They would turn up at sporting events such as football matches, using loud speakers to whip up local and national pride. The rush to colours – come fight for King and Empire!
– They would spread propaganda by way of newspapers and radio broadcasts that the dreadful Hun (the Germans) were using babies for bayonet practice. The enraged masses flocked to take the King’s shilling, and those that saw through the lies and refused to sign up were branded cowards and traitors. They were shunned, ostracised by their communities and sometimes by their own families. They were sent the White Feather.
World War Two
There is much we are not told in the history books regarding WW2 … much.
Hollywood would have us believe that the Americans, with bayonets clamped between their teeth, swam the Atlantic to save the day. When in fact, they took years deciding which side to join before entering WW2.
And the reality is we owe Russia a great debt of thanks for defeating the Nazis.
Let’s focus on the financial backers of WW2 who financed the German war machine: JP Morgan, WW Lamont, the Rockefeller interests, General Electric, Standard Oil, National City Banks, Chase Manhattan Banks, Kuhn, Loeb and co, General Motors, the Ford Motor company, the Federal Reserve Banks, the Bank of England (a lot of banks).
And scores of others helped to prepare the bloodiest and most destructive war in history.
America made huge profits on the back of WW1 and WW2. Britain borrowed huge amounts for both wars. Britain also made deals like the Balfour agreement that condemned Palestine to decades of genocide that is still happening to this day.
The £6bn Britain borrowed for WW2 was eventually repaid to the US in 2008 to the tune of £128bn.
It is all about profit.
Recent imperialist wars
We could talk about Vietnam and all the other countries affected by the current imperialists, the USA. But let’s concentrate on the last 20 years: the middle east and north Africa.
Iraq; the lies that led to the invasion of Iraq.
There were no weapons of mass destruction – the lie repeated over and over by war criminals Tony Blair and George Bush.
‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,’ said the Nazi Joseph Goebbels.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was going to ditch the dollar and start trading in Euros.
Afghanistan. The repeated newsreels that Osama bin Laden was hiding in a cave there. A lie! Afghanistan was invaded for plunder: opium, natural gas, raw materials used to make mobile phones, laptops, etc.
Libya. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi too was going to ditch the dollar and introduce the African Gold Dinar. He was accused of murdering his own people, gassing them – another lie.
Syria. President Bashar al-Assad refused to be bullied by the west. Syria too is rich in the oil and gas Israel and the west wish to plunder.
The US company Genie Oil is illegally drilling in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights – raw materials that belong to Syria. The west is using the same lies it used about Saddam and Gaddafi.
All these wars are about plunder, profit and government/regime change, and none would have been possible without the blood, sweat, tears and courage of the working man and woman – ie, the soldiers.
People, we need to wake up.
The rich, those profiteers of war, use the blood of our children like some satanic ritual to meet their agenda. For without our blood, their war machine grinds to a halt.
We need to stand up and say, ‘NO!’ We will no longer be used to fight your proxy wars.
I’ll leave you with this poem:
Profiteers of War
So we are told
Be proud of the rock
where we cried
our first tears
Be proud of the flag
that flutters above
our hope and fears
Be proud of the song
we sing together
fearing our man made god
Then we are told …
Be proud to fight those
that cried their first
on a different rock
under a different flag
singing a different song
fearing a different
man made god
Yes! they are proud
but our pride
Yes! they fight
with their god
but our god
Yes! they feel pain
but our pain
So I say, pain for all those affected
is surely the same?
For it has no flag
It knows not race
There is no heart
can stop it getting in
It gives no introduction
nor will reveal its face
Like a dagger
twisting in your gut
It engulfs your
It is your darkest dream
It’ll cut you wide
to release inside
So I say to those
that feast upon
our hollow pride
I have seen the skull
behind your crooked smile
as you ride that
lead lined carriage
along that golden mile
You possess those lands
and titles, of which
you have no right
paid for by the blood
of those, those you send to fight
So I say to you
profiteers of war
No more …
Knee deep in
mud and blood
Will we clear those
crow pecked bodies
field and shore
We will tell
you greedy bastards
we fight for you
We will turn our backs
We will tell you
has to cease
We’ll not clear those
crow pecked bodies
field and shore
We will tell you
we die for you