What is the MIC?
Military Industrial Complex- the network of individuals and institutions involved in and benefiting from the production and use of military weapons, technologies, and talent.
For example in 2018, 507 out of 535 members of congress received significant contributions from the Defense industry. In turn, the Defense corporations currently receive contracts that make up approximately 45% of the $717 billion military budget.
What is Militarism?
Militarism- a system of political, economic, and social philosophies that prioritizes and glorifies the expansion and aggressive use of state violence to further state interests. A culture embracing militarism is often marked by passive belief in the intrinsic value (or necessity) of war, prioritization of military practices, values and knowledge, and powerful national mythology that centers military success.
For example, we see militarism tangibly show up socially through the militarization of police, federal agencies, schools, and the border. Culturally we see it in the conflation of strength and physical might or violence. Economically we see through the “war economy,” or economic dependence on industries that benefit from military activity.
What can we do about it?
The MIC maintains itself through support from politicians across the right and the left enabled by policies and lack of accountability to public. Public awareness raising about the existence and harm of this system is step one. We have seen awareness raising and education turn the tide of war before, when it drastically shifted public favor against the Iraq war and propelled it to be a key voting issue in the 2008 presidential primaries. Important progress was achieved then but the wars continue and it’s time to organize for structural policy changes. Some examples include:
- Repeal the 2001 and 2003 AUMFs (Authorizations for Use of Military Force). These irresponsibily vague documents are the claimed legal basis of all 7+ bombing campaigns the US is currently leading. Repealing them would formally end authorization for the military operations based on them and force congress to formally debate and authorize military actions in line with their constitutional mandate.
- Ban campaign contributions from corporations receiving or vying for federal government contracts. This practice currently enables obvious conflict of interest. This tenant of campaign reform would help directly break the link between corporations that benefit from war-mongering and the politicians charged with deciding when we take military action.
- Further restricting militarization and the use of the military on U.S. soil. We know that the roots of U.S. militarization began with the colonization and attempted genocide of indigenous Nations. It is unsurprising that in turn, the same methods have been employed frequently throughout history to oppress marginalized populations in many ways, but especially through the repression of protest. Additionally, we see the lines continue to blur between the military and pseudo-military agencies used to side-step constitutional protections against the use of the military within the U.S. It’s past time to, at a minimum, update the rules and tighten the restrictions.
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