1. The struggle against wars and the fight for freedom starts with the soldier—our fellow worker—and not with the posh liberal moralist. The vain and impudent Alexander would have tried to conquer the world were it not for his mutinous soldiers. Roman plebeians refused to fight wars of conquest when the Senate denied passage of agrarian reforms. English soldiers put down their weapons in October 1647 to agitate for a fully democratic society. World War I screeched to a halt because soldiers in Germany and Russia revolted against their imperialist taskmasters. The Vietnam War ended as much through soldier protests (fragging, refusal to fight, organizing at home) as through the worldwide popular protests against the war. One Chelsea Manning has been more effective than dozens of demonstrations. These small contingencies of history are the ones that repeat themselves—and often with powerful effect.
2. Soldiers must get the ball of revolt rolling, but the only way to fully halt the crimes of US terrorism at home and abroad is to bring the battle into the belly of the beast. Righteous rage should lead to disobedience and protest, protest to rebellion, and rebellion to organized revolution. Ending drone strikes through protest and public opinion is no end in itself. This is either an international struggle of the working class against empire and capital or it is nothing. Responding to the imperialist invasion of Mexico in 1845, Thoreau famously wrote: “A whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law. I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize.” It has been proclaimed before; let’s do it now!
3. Do not be moderate. Begin to articulate the powerful visions of what is to be and then act upon them. We want a society in which our creations do not rule over and murder us. We want a world where “war with its million horrors and fierce hell shall live but in the memory of time” (Shelley). We want to be able to cry out in unison, as the poet William Blake once did alone by his lampshade: “Empire is no more. And now the lion and the wolf shall cease!” We must not strive for moderation and cowardice, but fearlessly call for the elimination of all wars, including the virulent class war that has enabled capitalism to thrive from the age of conquest and slavery to the days of police repression and revitalized imperialism. “I do not wish to think, or speak, or write with moderation,” abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison famously said. So speak now with the prophetic tones, and tomorrow break the rod of the oppressor with your own two hands! Communism is that prophecy.