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Macron and his war

In his first speech on coronavirus, Macron repeatedly declared: “We are at war”, an attempt to rally under the flag and under the aegis of his economic model, as if this capitalist could feel like a great master loved by all, “Come under my wing my little geese! “.

Originally published by Le Café Anarchiste. Translated by Enough 14.

Let us have a look at the definition of war to see if it applies to public health issues. Whether in the Larousse [1] , in the Littré [2] or in Wikipedia, war is an armed struggle, which means that there are at least two major camps that confront each other, in no case does the word find meaning if one of the “camps” is non-human, non-thinking.

Beyond that, from the government that jumps on the occasion of the virus to satisfy its moral power by using the classic patriotic propaganda, it is necessary to look for other explanations of what “War” can be to better understand the aims behind this word, its use is not innocent.

The explanation is undoubtedly to be found in a military theorist and strategist: General Carl Von Clausewitz. The latter in his major book “On War” [3] gives the adequate answer to this Macronian war:

War is nothing more than the continuation of politics by other means.”

And it is as such, that we should understand Macron’s words, that dealing with the coronavirus is also a political issue for those in power. By the word “war” Macron says only one thing: Capitalism brings us all into a harder, more violent phase, socially and economically, and will thus justify later on a way out to repression more easily if necessary.

Anti-militarism does not mean ignoring what has been said by the thinkers of those obsessed with khakis and obsessed with those who are trigger-happy, when the latter are intellectual “qualities”. On the contrary, theorists like Clausewitz, even former ones, are people who, referring to their own experiences, try to explain part of a fundamental element of societies based on power and by extension Power at war. Of course a Clausewitz will never be one of our references, his subjection to state power and the sacrifice of people in war, classifies him among the Authoritarians who by their writings have served to justify many massacres. But his reflections on the reality of war, beyond their later use, can partly feed the present to know what to expect from the powers that be. And perhaps even avoid the traps that have just been set.

After all, it was capital, through the bourgeoisie and its representatives, that unofficially declared class war to us.

“To give in to despair here would be to deprive us of our rational reflection, at the very moment when it is most needed, when everything seems to have come together against us. Therefore, even if the probability of success is unfavourable to us, we should not look upon it as impossible or unreasonable; it will always be reasonable from the moment we cannot do anything better and do the best we can with the limited means at our disposal. The difficulty in such a case is not to lose one’s calmness and determination, two qualities which war always puts to the test first in such circumstances, and without which the most brilliant qualities of the mind are useless.”



[1] Larousse Editions is a French publishing house historically specialized in reference works, especially dictionaries. It was founded by Pierre Larousse.

[2] The Dictionnaire de la langue française by Émile Littré, commonly called simply the “Littré“, is a four-volume dictionary of the French language published in Paris by Hachette.

[3] Vom Kriege is a book on war and military strategy by Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831), written mostly after the Napoleonic wars, between 1816 and 1830, and published posthumously by his wife Marie von Brühl in 1832. It has been translated into English several times as On WarOn War is an unfinished work. Clausewitz had set about revising his accumulated manuscripts in 1827, but did not live to finish the task. His wife edited his collected works and published them between 1832 and 1835.

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