Why I will no longer write for Counterpunch
[Note: Over the last few years, Counterpunch has published over 100 of my articles, but they did not run this one. As I announce at the end, I will no longer be contributing my work to Counterpunch.]
As a lifelong unreconstructed pacifist, I don’t take kindly to people bashing peace activists.
Pacifism is, to me, an ethical stance, not a political one. It is neither right nor left and refuses allegiance to any state or leader. Parties dedicated to one side or another in a conflict — the belligerents — invariably accuse pacifists of aligning with their opponent, but that’s wrong. Pacifism decries the harmful actions of all belligerents in a conflict, and demands that their harmful actions stop. Such a demand is not about supporting the political ideology or leader of any side. I personally define pacifism as, “opposition to the gratuitous injury of living things,” and for me that extends to plants and animals as well.
The current conflict in Ukraine has inflamed pro-war passions in the West. You have to go back to 9/11 for an event that catalyzed this much gung-ho support for war across the political spectrum. Those seeking peace are in a distinct minority, and are regularly accused of being on Russia’s side, or being “Putin lovers” or “pawns of Putin,” or other playground taunts. Just to make it abundantly clear: I don’t personally support any country or head of state. My own politics could be described as anarchoprimitivist. I believe that, for the sake of a livable planet and equitable social relations, we should be voluntarily dismantling industrial civilization towards the eventual goal of living at a hand-made level of technology. This would include phasing out the nation state, whether it’s capitalist, socialists, or other. The massive scale of war-making in the nation-state era has been nightmarishly gruesome. To me, there are no good guys in the hall of nations.
The war in Ukraine has been exposing political and cultural divisions that already existed, and has been widening the gaps. Where before some differences might have been easy to ignore, now they have burgeoned into bitter rifts expressed…