In lieu of an actual post today, I offer you a quote from author John Zerzan:

War, of course, always requires a good excuse, especially when the state’s real enemies are, more clearly than usual, its own citizenry. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand well-suited the needs of a dying regime. But by no means did it cause the war. First, the assassination was not atypical. Many European heads of state or upper level administrators were killed in the years just previous. Next, the immediate reaction all through Europe to the news of the assassination was indifference. The people took little notice, and the stock market didn’t really respond at all.

We’ve also been told that the war came because an intricate series of treaties guaranteed that any localized conflict would quickly spread. That’s nonsense. After the assassination Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to Serbia. But Serbia capitulated! There was no reason for war! Nonetheless, Austria-Hungary needed a war, and a big one, so war was declared anyway. And why would Russia defend an-already-capitulated Serbia? Because it, too, needed a war to stave off its own imminent collapse.

The real reason for the war, I believe, had to do with the tremendous unrest in all of Europe. 1913 and 1914 had seen immense strikes all across Russia. Austria-Hungary was on the verge of civil war. Revolutionary movements and radical unions were on the ascent in the United States, Germany, France, Italy, England. Even George V acknowledged this when he said in the summer of 1914, just before the war, “The cry of civil war is on the lips of the most responsible and sober-minded of my people.” Things had to explode.

But how would things explode, and at whom would this explosion be directed? What better way to destroy hope than through a long and pointless war? And it worked. Most unions and left-wing parties backed the war, and those that didn’t-like the Wobblies here in the US-the state simply destroyed. After the war not many people had the heart anymore to pursue revolution, and those who did, like Mussolini or the Bolsheviks, were not true revolutionaries in terms of overturning the social order, but instead opportunists who turned the power vacuums to their own advantage.

(Taken from Alternative Press Review interview by Derrick Jensen)

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