The Universal Abolition of Militarism


Alberto Portugheis – TRANSCEND Media Service

I was thrilled to read Mairead Maguire’s defence of a demilitarized world, something I’ve been talking about and campaigning for during the last fifty years!!!!

This is, as Mairead puts it, the vision of “The Peace Movement” but it is a vision shared by 99% of Humanity. Why is it difficult to be achieved? Because many people have been brainwashed into thinking militarism is the only option and there is a large proportion of uneducated people who have no clue as to what’s happening in the world and why. In theory, almost the entire Humanity belongs to “The Peace Movement”.

Perhaps if we changed the misleading name Ministry of Defence for its “real” name, Ministry of War, and Defence Forces for “Attack” Forces, people may start to se the light.

In reality, it is a small percentage of people who favour a militarized world, and that is only because they make a living out of wars. These people also like Peace, but if they made toy tanks and other armoured vehicles, toy drones, toy artillery pieces, etc, they wouldn’t make the same money. Even the people who make soldiers uniforms would like to see a demilitarized world, but making uniforms for dolls or puppets will cut their profits by 95%.

In other words, to consider a demilitarised world, we must first work out – with the cooperation of intelligent economists and financiers – what to do with the millions of people around the world, who at the moment, are able to feed their families thanks to a militarized world.

This is why we have such an ironic situation: IFOR (International Fellowship of Reconciliation) was started in 1914 and what effect did it have? four and half years of a big international war (World War I) that left many millions dead and many countries in ruin. By September 1914, less than two months after the onset of this human tragedy, the name “First World War” was already in use. Clear proof the war had been planned and that the powers intended on having more World Wars in the future.

What can “reconciliation” do between people who kill each other and the survivors continue to buy weapons? Plus, IFOR has ECOSOC status at the United Nations, an ominous honour. UN concocts wars worldwide, even if they pretend the opposite, that they work for Peace. Same as politicians in most countries.

We should also not forget that IFOR is a Christian organisation and there is no Religion more divided than Christianity, with its different factions at war, for centuries. OK, Quakers, Evangelists and Methodists ten not to get involved in fighting Catholics to death, but the horrors of Christian brutality Mairead Maguire is very well placed than most of us to know that worshiping Jesus is not a recipe for Peace. This is because the founders of the Religion were not really interested in Jesus, but in the power they were going to gain.

Thanks to Jesus, they conquered Europe and the whole of Latin America. In the name of Jesus they decided to annihilate all Jews (Inquisition) and all Muslims (Crusades) Mairead says “Militaries Are Outdated and Should Go, Like Hanging and Flogging” but hanging and flogging is still practiced today. It never went. Same as Slavery.

Mairead mentions Fr Dan Berrigan’s advice: ‘Pray and resist’. This advice from a pacifist is the same advice that fighters receive. Fighters are human beings just like everybody else and they also believe in the need for prayer in order to strengthen their spiritual lives and their resolve. Like peace lovers, fighters also take their prayer, very seriously.

Mairead says “Our Muslim brothers and sisters show us great example by their very beautiful lives of prayer, (5 times a day), and fasting at Ramadan.” All very nice, but I see no connection between 5 daily prayers and our subject, a militarised versus a demilitarised world?

  • Muslim soldiers don’t stop their assaults and killing at prayer times.
  • Muslims with the time for 5 daily prayers use their prayers, like worshipers in all theistic religions, to ask God/Allah to help their troops beat the enemy.

Theistic Religions are not a recipe for Peace. Nowadays, perhaps Buddhism would be the closest to a Peace Movement. In fact, it is Buddhism that continuously stresses the sanctity of human life, unlike theistic Religions, who all think they are better than the rest.

It is easy to say “we must resist militarism”, but it is not that easy to achieve this resistance, while Education from early age, at school and at church, teaches “our country is the best” or “our Religion is the best”. “I must be loyal to my country” (or Religion). “I must be ready to die for my country” (or Religion).

How can we teach Resistance when at the same time we allow our children to study the life of our country’s heroes? The more battles our military chiefs won, the more people they killed, the more they are remembered by generation after generation. Songs, marches, poems are dedicated to them. Our squares and public buildings are litters with their portraits and busts. Many of our heroes appear full bodied, with their weapons, battle horses, military decorations, etc.

Mairead talks of a “new” Cold War, but to me, as I wrote in the early nineties, the Cold War never ceased. It only changed clothes.

Mairead calls Norway and Sweden “peaceful countries”. To me, a country that develops, manufactures and sells weapons, air-fighters, etc, cannot be called “peaceful”. Whether they belong or not to NATO is neither here nor there; they still make money out of people dying in other countries. I consider Switzerland, the most bellicose country of them all. Clever Swiss, calling themselves “neutral”. This allows them to sell weapons to all sides in a conflict.

If USA, UN, EU and NATO did not exist, nothing would change. We would continue to have wars, because it is not these organisations that create wars. They only administer them. Wars are created by those dealing in the research, invention, development, manufacturing, buying and selling of tanks, drones, air-fighters, Apaches, warships, grenades, landmines, mortars, bombs, guns, rifles, bullets and many more artillery items.

Furthermore, the above mentioned groups, more than create, facilitate wars. And of course, make fortunes out of them. The real creators are the various fighting Religions, fighting ethnic groups, fighting political ideologies and powers.

Mairead accuses nations for getting involved in military conflicts, but which country it is, doesn’t matter. What difference to the dead or the limbless man does it make if he knows the nationality of the sniper or of the bullet used? Why is it important that Germany sold (did not “provide”) the Israelis with a nuclear submarine? Israel had many other countries to order the submarine from.

I agree entirely with Mairead that we need to abolish NATO and dismantle the Military Industrial complex through non-violent and civil resistance. To this end I would suggests the same means Governments use to make violence and war acceptable: the Media.

The problem here is that the existing Corporate Media is on the side of the warmongers. In fact, most of the big media corporations are part of the Military Industrial complex.

Like Mairead Maguire and I presume, like all of us reading this, politicians would also like to bring about social/cultural/political change without killing/violence. Politicians know very well that Militarism and War do not solve our problems, but they are caught in the “SYSTEM”.

Yes, as Mairead says, “we need to teach the Science of peace at every level of society”. This is a big, daunting task, but achievable. We have to reach billions of people in the world, many of whom cannot even read or write, so we need radio stations and TV channels. We must convince the ordinary man and woman that joining the Armed Forces is WRONG. How do we achieve this in the UK, when Queen Elizabeth II is so determined to keep the Royal Armed Forces forever, that she arranges for popular young members of her family to be paraded as members of the Armed Forces, to inspire young people to follow the example.

Since Princes William and Harry launched their promotion of the Armed Forces, the spending in recruitment efforts has decreased enormously. From Paintball – to get children excited by playing war and getting used to the sight of blood – military toys and video/DVD games, films of shootings and killings on television, everything is geared to encourage parents to tell their children to join the Armed Forces. In London, when you buy a ticket to see a film, you get a compulsory promotional film of the Armed Forces.

Mairead is correct when she mentions Dwight Eisenhower, who “warned the USA people against – the Military/Industrial complex. He said it would destroy USA democracy and he has been proven right in this.” Alas, Eisenhower also said something he should have never said: “USA must achieve Full Spectrum Dominance, by land, sea and air”.

In rightfully attacking the Military/Industrial/Media/Corporate/Academic elite” Mairead mentions the “Gun and Israeli Lobbies”, amongst others, adding “who hold great power over American Politics.” However, I see it the other way round. It is USA who “hold great power” over Israel and the rest of the world.

With around one thousand military bases all over the world (in addition to the many in the US itself) with, CIA operating in all countries, with their spying drones and satellites, USA controls the world.

It is all very well to say “We the Peace Movement are the alternative to militarism and war” but we must reach the billions who do not know there is such alternative. These masses, belonging to different religions, do believe that to die for God or Allah is to ensure eternal life in paradise.

We have a lot of work to do!!!!!


Alberto Portugheis is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. By profession a concert pianist and pedagogue, he is an active peace campaigner, whose anti-military stance  earned him a nomination  for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. As a result, Portugheis wrote, “Dear Ahed…..The Game of War and a Path to Peace” – a book that has received critical acclaim He contributes regularly to Twitter and has many followers. Some of his thoughts, ideas and reflections, which express only the desire “to make people think” and not take for granted what they read, “no matter where”, can be found in his blog


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 11 Aug 2014.

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