Dr. Michael Moutoussis  - November 2002

In our era of massive militarisation of our societies we have to look far to realise that processes of demilitarisation are in fact at work amongst our industries of death.

Demilitarisation is the diminution within society of the role of personel and aparatus kept for its potential to kill others. Many social processes contribute to demilitarisation, although each currently coexists with massive phenomena serving militarism :

  1. The development of just economic structures of interdependency, best served by peace and stability (contrasting with i. economic powers served by expoitative control of groups of people and their resources ii. the armament industry itself, which seeks to create demand for weapons).
  2. A political culture whereby legitimate popular frustrations and fears are presented in proportion and many alternatives are opened up for their solution (vs. one where leaders and 'opinion makers' amplify such frustrations and fears to justify killing).
  3. An education, entertainment culture , historical research and media emphasising the creative management of conflicts (vs. structures whereby killing for the sake of one's own people can be indulged in as noble, heroic and historically necessary).
  4. Research, legitimisation and implementation on non-violent methods such as human rights observation and non-violent opposition to totalitarianism (vs. funding R&D of new means to kill).

Members of most social groups are entirely out of touch with the true feelings, the true distress their group has caused others, while they are acutely aware of others' "wrongdoing", a situation that greatly impairs demilitarisation. In some areas this situation has just started to be challenged in the form of awareness of the historical abuse of children, women and ethnic minorities. Awareness of the gravity and endurance of each social group's own crimes is still quite a rare - though existent - phenomenon.

The above processes - from a fair economics to the develoment of effective, non-violent struggle - can empower us as peoples not to depend on the military and not to yield to demands of "allies" and "enemies" alike. First and foremost however we need a deeply alternative, deeply human understanding of badness, of wrong-doing in our world. We need to open up all our usual attributions and explanatory theories, including those that we all share in the progressive Left. I ask you to work hard to really understand all those who stand opposite us, who stand against us, as fully human.