War, Alienation, and Apathy

Apparently, it is offensive to care too much about our world. Look at the recent attack mounted against me in these pages. I was accused of: seeking to unite anti-war groups; writing long, informative e-mails in an attempt to increase student involvement in the anti-war movement; and finally-brace yourself-concerning myself with democracy and equality within that movement!

Further, the student (who is against the war, yet also against anti-war organizations) then has the gall to express her frustration with student apathy! As the saying goes: don’t throw stones from glass houses.

When complaining of apathy, what kind of example does it set to lob criticisms from the sidelines of activity at those who are actually acting upon their sentiments? Rather than criticize the tactics of an anti-war group, why not join it and help to shape it to your liking?

Moreover, contrary to my literary assailant’s contention, I think that there has recently been a dramatic increase in activism among an extraordinarily wide layer of students-as well as a general increase in interest amongst the student body to learn about international issues.

I think that the problem my insulter is attempting to define comes not from some internal flaw (apathy), but from a society so alienated from true political discussion and organization, that attempts at the latter are foreign and unnatural. This is no accident.

Given the extent to which our ruling class represses, oppresses and exploits us, they know that it would be suicidal to foster the idea that regular people should express their true thoughts. People would begin to see that they are not isolated in their frustration at life under capitalism-and they would begin to discuss common solutions to their common problems.

Thus, the malady is not that anti-war activists seek to organize themselves, or that ‘leaders’ of the anti-war movement arise during the struggle. No. The problem is our alienation from one another and the system that breeds such alienation.

Whatever happened to fighting for what you believe in? “Well,” cynics say, “if you fight for your beliefs you may alienate others who do not feel the same way.” Yet are you not being alienated from your very humanity by “refraining from activity” when your government is threatening slaughter in your name?! In a society so alienated from basic human relations, might it not be a good thing to sometimes alienate others operating wholly within the confines of society’s framework?

When you say that you will no longer sit idly by, analyzing and watching history as it proceeds in front of you, you will become an active participant in the history that you are a part of and shape it for the better.

At the point when history finally moves from a process defined by the material necessity of a minority (i.e., capitalist profit) to a conscious process defined by the collective desire and activity of all human beings, we will find ourselves definitively released from a state of alienation.