Weapons never served to truly advance the human being. They were always used for the benefit of the few at the cost of the life, pain and suffering of the great majority, even though the latter was used and continues to be used as a justification. And victories – if any – are always fleeting because they carry in their essence the revenge of the losers, in a chain of violence that finds no end.
The development of weapons as a form of survival could have been understood thousands of years ago, which surely does not mean and does not justify that the “choice” of that path by humanity was not a big mistake, which we are still paying for and from which we have not emerged, having arrived at the present day, in which the survival of the species and of the entire planet is at risk.
The arms race that we are living in has returned us to the worst moments of the so-called Cold War, is accompanied by campaigns to increase a sensitivity that is being strengthened even in schools, feeding an ideal image -associated with leisure- about the “benefit” of weapons. We are seeing it in countries of the former Eastern Europe or in England lately. These awareness campaigns are accompanied by the imaginary construction of “enemies”: countries like Russia, Iran, North Korea… (countries that do not bow down), human groups like refugees, migrants (displaced by the disasters that the arms industry itself produces), etc., increasing violence of other types like hunger, racism, xenophobia, discrimination by religious beliefs, etc., that feed the spiral of violence in a crazy race.
It is alarming the increase in military spending worldwide, with the United States at the head and its policy of the use of force and threat, a policy that it imposes and that its NATO partners accept; some governments such as that of Colombia, substantially modifying the geomilitary map of the region, or Japan, the most obvious example of the barbarism we have reached but that today gives in to Trump’s pressures, multiplying the tension in one of the hottest areas of the planet.
This “coin” that increases in size every day, that of military spending, has two sides, both negative. The other side is the side of collateral damage, in war terms. If a country’s budget increases the item of military expenditure, rights are systematically cut and the budget is reduced in social policies (education, health, pensions where they exist, research, etc.).
Clear examples abound. The American population itself sees the arms increase while it has a very bad public health; in Spain, during what they have mistakenly called ‘crisis’, the governments in office have cut back on education, health, public pensions… while maintaining their commitments to the arms industry and increasing the military budget; Txipras’ Greece betrayed the will of the people, following in the wake of previous governments, and delivered its people to the feet of the horses of the interests of Central European banks, without bothering to cut wages, labour rights, health, education, public pensions… while paradoxically buying military material.
This is to mention scandalous cases that have been and are in all the media, clearly because they belong to the ‘north’ of the planet. But, if we know this about old Europe or the USA, what happens and with all of Africa, much of Asia, areas with great natural resources, whose population lives in the most extreme poverty as a consequence of wars they didn’t choose and that keep them ‘entertained’ while all their resources are stolen?
There, where arms are invested in, violence increases in any form (physical, economic, psychological, moral, racial, religious, sexual…), social inequalities increase, famines, climate change, forced displacements of population, and so on.
It is very graphic to see, moreover, how this arms race accompanies the process of concentration of wealth. The business of war is the biggest in the world, let’s not forget it.
Survival of humanity
In any case, today there are no situations that justify weapons and wars if we speak of survival and the defense of the interests of all humanity as we stated at the beginning of this writing. Today, sufficient accumulated wealth exists in all fields, as a consequence of the work of thousands of generations, so that all Humanity may live in dignified living conditions. And that wealth, which was generated by all, by social justice must therefore return to all. And we have all the means so that wealth can be shared.
Why do we say that it belongs to us and how could we do it? Without the need to make history always full of injustice and betrayal, let us take an example of absolute actuality and around which there are armed conflicts. We know that in the north of the planet there are greater scientific and technological advances and in the south there are elements such as coltan, which is so essential for electronic devices, so that those technological advances in the north can be realised. What wise or moral position and that opens the future of all justifies continuing to spill the blood of millions of human beings to take these resources and deny them to enjoy these advances?
Let us imagine for a moment how much energy in all fields the whole of humanity could gain if, instead of promoting confrontation, we renounce war as a resolution of conflicts (see the example of the Constitution of Bolivia 2009, in its article 10.1), if we work on policies of rapprochement and cooperation, if we invest in free education, in universal health, in ensuring food and housing for all. What would happen if an education and a culture were researched and developed to disarm internal violence and eliminate all forms of external violence? We would be facing an exponential increase in the physical and psychological health of the populations, for a human being who would gain deep faith in the future, we would be putting the condition so that the different forms of violence do not find fertile ground in individual and collective consciences.
If all the resources that are diverted towards the arms race were used as a function of life and the liberation of the human being, we would have the space to move on to another stage of history, we could move on to building the true human history, as the Latin American thinker Mario Rodriguez (Silo) said.
So, while we find no reason to continue feeding the violence and the arms industry, we say loud and clear ‘Reasons for disarmament? All of them!
About the author
Juana Pérez, journalist and documentary narrator, is Pressenza’s editor for Spain, and a humanist activist.
 https://www.oxfam.org/es/sala-de-prensa/notas-de-prensa/2018-01-22/el-1-mas-rico-de-la-poblacion-mundial-acaparo-el-82-de-la=- sync:ßÇÈâÈâ
This article was initially published in Revista América Latina en Movimiento: Paz y NoViolencia: Rebeldía a un sistema violento 17/09/2018 (Rebellion against a violent system).
Translated from Spanish by Pressenza London