Monday, 23 May 2016

A Soldier.


Tanks shipped into Glasgow after "Bloody Friday" 1919.
          I get pissed off by all those who spout, "support our boys", of course referring to that band of unfortunates who have surrendered their right to the faculty of thinking for themselves. They have taken on the duty of defending the wealthy and privileged cabal that rule over us, and they will do it with whatever ferociousness and brutality that they are ordered to administer. They will turn their weapons on their own people, if so ordered, yet we are still urged to "support our boys". The soldier, he/she is portrayed as something brave and noble, when in fact they are the unthinking, obedient brutal tools of the state, there to crush any challenge to its unbridled authority.
 Troops on the streets of Liverpool during the 1911 transport strike, in which two strikers were shot while on a demonstration.
      The following is a wonderful article written with beautiful moments of irony, by Aristide Jobert, (Aristide Jobert (1869-1942) emphasised direct action, appeals to the people, a general strike and insurrection. He wrote for La Guerre Sociale. Although anti-militarist, insurrectionist, anti-parliamentarian, and syndicalist - Jobert became a member of parliament, elected to the chamber in 1914. The article was written as an obituary for Marquis of Gallifet, who died July 1910), it was later translated for The Socialist, (SLP)

“A Soldier! Funeral Oration of General de Gallifet-
Monsieur, the Marquis of Gallifet, General of the French Army and ex-Minister of the no less French Republic, has rendered up his beautiful soul to God. The astonishing thing is that he has died in his bed; a beautiful death, if I may say so. It is truly astonishing that he never found himself face to face with a relation or friend of one of the numerous victims whom he caused to be assassinated during the re­pression of the Commune. He himself must have been astonished at his own immunity, and he who was the friend of Gambetta must have lost faith in that “Justice which is immanent in things” spoken of by his friend. The noble soldier decided before his death that he did not desire to have military honours rendered to him. It is a pity. No one merited them better than he.
He was a Soldier in every sense of the word. He possessed all the military virtues in the highest degree. To be a soldier is to be ready to do for pay, for a salary, any deed, however odious, however criminal, however contemptible it may be. Gallifet was a soldier, and he showed himself worthy of his calling. Is courage necessary for that? During the repression of the Commune Gallifet accomplished his task with a refine­ment of cruelty that is truly rare. It is well known that when conducting a column of prisoners he made the youngest and the oldest step out of the ranks and had them summarily shot without further form of procedure. His reasons (he has given them) were remarkable for their generosity: the first, the young men, were the “flower of the revolutionaries”; the others, “those with white hair,’1 were old offenders, “they had seen ’48.” Monsieur le Marquis tried to be funny.
Note that it was unnecessary to give any reasons at all, since a soldier exists to kill his kind without scruple and without reasons, since true courage—military courage—con­sists in furiously attacking those who are weak, disarmed, and without defence. Gallifet was a brave soldier, and since he had not been prominent during the foreign war he re-installed himself at the expense of his countrymen at home. It was less dangerous. As we see, he was worthy to wear the gold lace of a general, and he was no less worthy to become a minister of the bour­geois Republic. He was in that position along with Millerand,—a Socialist, if you please,—and with the assent of a good many Socialists whose comrades or predecessors had been assassinated by Gallifet. Gallifet possessed all the military virtues.
His mother—since in spite of all it was a woman who gave birth to this soldier—was disowned by him, and was forced to appeal to law to obtain a pension from her son. His wife—since even the beasts go in pairs—was repudiated by him, and he separated from her. His son—since even tigers procreate— was driven out by him, and died, it is said, without ever receiving a sign of forgiveness from his father.
We see that Gallifet was a perfect type ; without a heart—I do not say without en­trails, as the legend runs that he carried them in his military cap—he had no attach­ments, he was not bound by any of those moral or physical ties which hold ordinary mortals. He was a soldier. Assassin, plunderer, cynic, bad husband, unnatural father, unworthy son, that is what a true soldier ought to be—without natural or human sentiments. That the arm of a soldier may trike sure no human feeling or sentiment of pity must hinder it. It is thus that a man must be made to be worthy of the noble calling of arms. Now Gallifet was truly worthy; he had all the military virtues; not one was wanting. He even pushed to an extreme his soldierly frankness ; he paraded his virtues before the world. The man was a type.
Yes, it is really a pity that he refused military honours. He fully deserved them. How imposing would have been the funeral procession of this decorated carrion, winding along the streets of that Paris which he had drenched in blood, accom­panied by all those soldiers, decked out in gold lace, of whom he was a true example. Accompanied also by those ministers, by all the governmental clique, republican, monarchist, and imperial, whose supporter he had been. The people, the working people, those whom Gallifet had crushed, insulted, and shot down, would have come to swell the procession.
The sons, the grandsons, the friends, the survivors, of those who were massacred in the Commune, would have made for him a guard of honour. The sons, the brothers, the fathers, and the mothers of those whom military disci­pline confines in barracks or at Biribi, could have come also to do homage to the gilded corpse of this soldier. In spite of all, I hope that one day the full and unveiled history of this hero will be written, and that it will be put into the hands of children, so that they may learn from its details what military virtues are. That would certainly be the best way to inspire disgust, contempt, repulsion, and hatred towards that being of which Gallifet was the most perfect type, that abnormal, immoral, and unnatural being called a Soldier.
A. Jobert.

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1 comment:

  1. Who admits orders, and also follow them unquestioningly, becomes a harmful mechanical monster.