Welcome to the resistance,
On Sunday the 26th of September 2010, the Officer Training Corps’ (OTC) stall at the St Andrews Student Association’s Fresher’s Fayre was completely disrupted at around 13:00 and for at least an hour.
A small group of determined individuals walked into the St Andrews Student Association. Non-descript in their clothing, they were accompanied by a multi-coloured elephant, or what on a second look turned out to be person dressed as an elephant with the word Afghanistan written on it. Unhesitating, they made their way to the top floor of the Union. They had to wade through a crowds of hundreds of students. The Fresher’s Fayre is publicised as an event open to students and student societies, with non-student societies paying for stalls in order to sell their products, services and recruitment programs to fresh-eyed students. One such society is the OTC, which, while ostensibly open to students, is in fact a branch of the military. It is inherently homophobic, misogynistic and violent.
The military concentrate power into hierarchies, with one goal: to carry death into the lives of populations declared to be ‘enemies’. This undue power allows these small groups of men and women to carry out and execute acts with impunity, when wars and other ‘peace’-keeping operations are deemed illegal. One such operation, carried out by the NATO states, is the illegal, immoral and unjust invasion and ongoing occupation of Afghanistan. For almost a decade, foreign troops have occupied Afghanistan, denying Afghans self-determination, freedom and access to a country not in permanent conflict. Regardless of the ever-changing Western political landscape, the occupying governments still continue this war unabated. This is a clear indication that the power structure and institutions that compose the system, not the individuals acting in it, that breed the violence visited on Afghanistan.
When the determined group arrived at the stall they paused, composed themselves and then acted. Silently they walked up to the table opened bin liners full of 'blood' and began stuffing Army propaganda into them. The 'blood' immediately spoiled the propaganda, making it unusable. The propaganda was not significantly altered, as it was already crimson with the blood of the hundreds of thousands of Afghans killed by the Army. The action ended when members of the OTC began using physical violence against the group. Bruised, battered but still resisting non-violently, the group made a hasty exit, leaving behind tattered Army propaganda and the Afghan elephant, to wonder which was the bigger elephant in the room: itself, or the inherent violence of the military.
The group expected such a disproportionate and violent response.
The military will never be reformed into peaceful organisations. By confronting this inherent violence, direct action must be taken to end the ability for the military to conduct wars. It is in this spirit that the action was taken, in order to disrupt their ability to organise. This action had to be taken outside of the law, and outside of Union regulations. The military, supposedly upholding the law, broke the law via assault, demonstrating the systemic nature of militarist violence, and the necessity for action against it. The time to work within the system, with the politicians and the generals is long gone. All that remains is the blood on all of their hands, and a clear mandate from Afghans for occupying troops to leave their country in peace and to finally end this illegal war.
The time for politeness is over.
So even as the self-righteous call on us to rely on free speech in an open debate, the Union forced the inactive elephant to leave (who ruefully noted “Elephants never forget”) and banned all participating war-resisters. By crippling the war effort in our communities, by denying the military access to students, by destroying their ability to fight wars, we collectively work to end the occupation of Afghanistan, and prevent any such war-crime from ever happening again. Direct actions against the military are easy and fun. We will do it again.
The State is violence at home and abroad.
http://www.army.mod.uk/join/career-offices/default.aspx (Visit your local recruitment branch!) http://www.army.mod.uk/UOTC/5458.aspx (Find your Training Corp!) http://www.antimilitaristnetwork.org.uk/calendar/ (Join friends in solidarity!) http://www.caat.org.uk/resources/facts-figures/top-uk-cos.php (Call on your local business!)