Presented by Nicholas Walrath, Inland Empire Socialist Party, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
“… an insurgency is an organized, protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken the control and legitimacy of an established government, occupying power, or other political authority while increasing insurgent control.
Counter-insurgency is military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.
Legitimacy is the main objective.” U.S. Army Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency (December 2006)
“Capital and police dream of pacification: a dream of workers available for work, present and correct, their papers in order, their minds and bodies docile, and a dream of accumulation thereby secure from resistance, rebellion, or revolt.” Mark Neocleous, “The Dream of Pacification”
Counterinsurgency (COIN) has long occupied the imagination of security planners, generals, think tanks, NGOs, police officials and other guardians/technicians of capital, yet its history is inextricable from a much richer, deeper practice of security and bourgeois state power: pacification.
A fixation on COIN as chiefly a military tactic relegated to the Dirty Wars of the Global South ignores that this technology of pacification has long been deployed domestically as a purposefully ambiguous police power meant to crush internal dissent and threats to racial capitalist order (i.e. Black Lives Matter, Earth Liberation Front, the Black Panthers, Puerto Rican nationalists, NATO disrupters, etc.)
COIN deserves further examination through the logic of security, police and through the lens of pacification as the latter implies and necessitates public participation in maintaining bourgeois social relations (referred to in COIN speak as “Psy-Ops”).
The approach utilized in this talk examines contemporary and historic Marxist, socialist, feminist, and anarchist literature on both COIN and pacification in the United States, as analysis of the official imperial military doctrine of each through Army field manuals, academy articles, and interviews with key public, military, and police figures (aka “COINdinistatas” and their apologists).
In the current context of neoliberal austerity, hyper-inequality, and widespread social alienation that grows in tandem with the securitization of daily life, pacification brings into sharper focus the underlying logic and mandate of our repression: “Let there be accumulation!” As both enemy and prize – the target population whose legitimacy the state seeks – we are actively shaped and encouraged to serve the interests of security of our own accord, prepared for our own pacification in these precarious and uncertain times.