On avoiding war: Another must-watch video from @BeauTFC

The Republican party, led by the Trump administration, is pushing the United States ever closer to something like a civil war. In many ways, the protesters and those supporting them are involved in something very like an insurgency, and our goal should be to avoid that crossing the line into warfare. If riot gear is replaced with bullets, that’s bad news for everybody. As Beau has been saying, there are a few layers of bad. The first is the simple fact that there’s no guarantee of victory for those of us who want justice and equality. The second is that even in the event of victory, political change achieved through force of arms generally doesn’t result in a peaceful, just, equitable society. It’s not a path likely to get the results we want.

The third, and most important, is that this movement has the politics of race at its core. If it comes to bloodshed, the people most vulnerable are those who LOOK like they’re part of the insurgency. Right now, Trump’s “Brute Squad” are targeting people who’re wearing black, or carrying shields, or wearing helmets – protesters who stand out.

If we enter some form of warfare, the rules change. People involved in combat can and will work to not stand out, because going toe-to-toe with the armed forces of a nation – particularly the United States – is a great way to get killed, even without fascist terrorists looking to “help out”.

The difference between dark skin and clothing has always been at the core of this. Black people don’t have the option to blend in. They stand out by default, and that makes them the most obvious targets if things get out of control. They already have targets on them, and further escalation will make those targets glow. The same goes for other groups with darker skin, and for people like Muslims who dress in a particular way.

We want change, but we do not want war. We have little control over what Trump and the Republicans do, while they are in power, which means that, as always, the American people have to show more discipline and self-control than the authorities. We need to win the messaging battle. We need to be sure that at every turn it is as clear as possible that the “authorities” are the aggressors. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t defend themselves. Shields, helmets, gas masks – all are good and appropriate things.

But we do need to be clear about what we do and don’t want. We need to be clear about what war would mean both for the country as a whole, and for the people in whose name this movement began.

As always, Beau of The Fifth Column has made a video that everyone should hear. He talks about the numbers of what war would actually mean for the United States.

Just as importantly, he talks about the steps people can be taking right now, both to avoid war, and to start creating the change we DO want without the need for bloodshed. Please watch the video. If you’re unable to, and the captions provided by Youtube don’t work for you, let me know and I’ll either find or make a transcript.

Obviously I still need financial support, and if you’re able to contribute at patreon.com/oceanoxia. That said, I think the work showcased in this video is more important than what I’m doing. If you can, please consider supporting it at patreon.com/beautfc. And take the advice in this video.


  1. says

    The US has lost every insurgency it has ever gotten involved in, except for Shays’ rebellion (which was about 150 people) and the whiskey rebellion (which was about 400). With, essentially, “god mode” gear they lost in Vietnam and Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria and Libya and are currently losing in Yemen and Somalia. I don’t think anyone in their right mind wants a war, but it seems to me that a large part of what makes it sound like a plausible option to many chickenhawks is their ignorance of history and warfare.

    As you say, in an insurgency it switches from protesters in hoodies with skateboards to remotely-fired IEDs wherever the forces of the state congregate. They have absolutely no idea in hell how to handle that, except in other countries they quickly resort to area bombardment – which is not an option when you’re bombing your own population, unless you’re willing to go for extreme repression which will probably obliterate the legitimacy of the state. Again, as you say, everything that can be done to point out that this is not how a legitimate state behaves is a good thing. If it gets bad enough, we need to start appealing to friendly governments. IHC and UN for assistance.

  2. springa73 says

    Well, technically the US Civil War was considered an insurgency, but it was fought using predominantly conventional tactics, with some exceptions.

    Wars against various Native American nations had a lot of the characteristics of insurgencies, or at least unconventional war.

    Of course, there was also the Philippines, where the US faced a classic colonial resistance/insurgency at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century.

    US actually had a pretty good record against insurgencies until the post-WWII period, perhaps the record got worse after that because the military focused on preparing for big conventional wars rather than insurgencies.

  3. says

    I think the fact that the US government would not, in this situation, be a foreign occupier, changes the equation. The “normal” people want to get back to won’t involve removing the Americans, it will involve ending the conflict.

    It will not take many concessions on the part of the government to sway large chunks of public support, particularly after a couple years of real violence.

    I don’t know that the US government would “win” in the long term, but the American people would almost certainly lose, regardless of what came out on the other side.

    And I don’t see a circumstance that doesn’t involve a concerted effort at genocide or something like it for non-white people, at least in certain parts of the country.

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