State of siege in Brussels. Hundreds of soldiers stationed throughout the city, thousands of police strolling through the streets of the European capital. The schools and universities are all closed, the transport network is almost completely paralysed. The streets are deserted, fear haunts the soul. Controls, machine gun to the head, are multiplying. Not only has space been saturated by the forces of power, but also minds it seems. And perhaps things are even worse.
The days when European States could go to war anywhere in the world striking blows, occupying, opening up new markets, wildly exploiting and plundering resources while preserving their own territories from acts of war, if perhaps not exactly the same at least in the same logic, seem to be over. The war has struck right in the heart of the French capital, and will not go quietly. And the logic of war advocates striking into the crowd. As all States have done since the beginning of their existence, against their own subjects and those of other States. As all those aspiring to conquer power and impose their domination have done and continue to do. Be they Islamic or Republican, democratic or dictatorial. For it is by trampling on freedom, the freedom of each individual, that dominion imposes itself. Authority and freedom are mutually exclusive.
So war against war. The saturation of the mind by power’s discourse eliminates all spaces of struggle for human emancipation, or at least pushes them even more to the margin than they were before. The mobilization aims to be total. Either with the State or with them – anyone aspiring to something else, who struggles against oppression and exploitation, all the thousands and thousands of rebels and revolutionaries who have been murdered and massacred by established States or those under construction, which continues around the world, must now be seen to be out of the game. Thousands more await their turn to be sacrificed on the blood-soaked altar of power.
Who is responsible ? Need we remember where the phosphorus bombs that burned Fallujah were produced, who delivered computer technologies to the secret services of the regimes of Assad, of Sisi, who trained the pilots that bombed Gaza? Need we remember how cobalt and silicon are extracted from the depths of Africa for technological gadgets, how all the consumer goods found on the shelves of supermarkets and shops are produced? Need we remember how civilized capitalism manages its hundreds of labour camps, from Bangladesh to Mexico? Where the sinister shadows of the drones that strike around the world come from? How and in the name of what thousands of people have been drowning in the Mediterranean for years now? So, say it, who is responsible?
But if our rebel eyes rightly look up to find the answer, they should also look within ourselves. For in the time to come, and already in the times that are and were, by our passivity we are complicit in our own oppression. And this passivity is not merely the inaction of the body, it is also the brutalization project programmed for decades by the power that deprived us of the tools to understand reality, to understand our rage. That deprived us of any sensitivity other than that required for the needs of the moment, of any capacity to dream. It was from there, this program of human reduction, that today those who decide to commit massacres come from, to participate in the power game, to kill themselves too. It would be foolish to have believed that their slaughter would target the powerful and their structures. Modern warfare in a world bloated with technology and remote massacres no longer allows such subtleties, if such subtleties could ever have existed in the minds of men at war.
In the districts of Brussels under military occupation today, it must be said, everything has been used to buffer social revolt, to make shock absorbers of the rage against a terrible, cruel world. Whether it’s courses of citizenship and the promotion of democracy (while dropping bombs), whether it’s the control mechanisms offered by religion, whether it’s the massive doping by technological gadgets: anything rather than revolt. And sometimes this game also escapes the hands of power, as is happening today. And here come the strikes into the crowd. Especially if the fiction of a heavenly reward appears that has held millions of slaves under the yoke awaiting the promised redemption for centuries, right up to today. Somewhere, the decades that the Belgian State has used Islam to appease spirits, to keep control of the communities of the excluded, to manage social contradictions, is now turning against it. But perhaps even more against the possibility and the prospect of liberatory revolt.
In the face of the militarisation of space and of minds, in the face of the war that States and those aspiring to power are dragging us into; and knowing that we will be pushed more and more to the margins, the effort should focus on the absolute refusal to play their game. And this refusal also implies the rejection of the rules they are in the process of imposing. Don’t make any noise today. Stay at home, so within the ranks. Give way to the terrorists of democracy and the terrorists of the caliphate. It will be difficult to break the occupation and break the rules of this game, for sure. The choice of the deserter, of those who refuse to go to war for the powerful, has always exposed them to every kind of repression.
But who knows if on the margin we will find other rejects, other deserters, other excluded, other sacrificed with whom to sabotage the ongoing war with whom to struggle, headlong, for ideas refractory to all power. Who knows if in this margin, in this corner, the proud international defying all authorities will be reborn in the midst of a world torn by civil war?
If the last thing we will renounce is precisely the desire for freedom and the dream that can sharpen our mind, make our hearts beat and arm our hands, we must simultaneously make the effort to look reality in the face. The spaces are shrinking, blood is already flowing, it is flowing today and will flow more, the fight for freedom and revolution undoubtedly has hard times ahead. The conditions under which the revolutionary struggle must develop are deteriorating. And after the massacre of the popular uprisings of recent years in many countries, they are also reaching us who find ourselves on the European continent, where each one will face a question with possibly terrible consequences, but full of challenges: in spite of everything, are we ready to fight for freedom?
Brussels, 23 November 2015