24 March 2011

To the Unknown Pirate

The following text is the translation of a speech held by anti-war activists during a “Commemoration for the unknown Pirate” in Laboe on 28 August 2010. Laboe, a suburb of the town of Kiel, is well known for its war memorial and its regular official ceremonies to commemorate the “unknown soldiers” who have died at sea. A report of the event can be found here.

Today we commemorate those among the seamen who have become victims of the sea during times of globalisation but have never been mentioned on any memorial plaque, in any public oration nor at any minute´s silence: The unknown pirates.

Here in Laboe, the state pays homage with a monumental expense to the military branch of seafaring. Several monuments have been set in this hicksville for those sailors who have given their lives in the violent prevention of goods transport via sea. A submarine to admire, an oversized monument in the shape of a vulture to remember the submariners' death in allegiance to the state and an immense phallus to honour imperial traditions of the navy, leave no doubts about the substance and meaning of christian seafaring: Yesterday – today – tomorrow, everything by means necessary for the benefit of the nation and the capital.

There is nothing to be added at this place here, surely nobody was left out – it is the ruling class's site of the German seafaring history engraved in stone. Crusaders of the domestic economy, cargo ships to pervade the world with german goods and capital, and the weapons to eliminate any resistance against the project called “free world trade”.

We are here today to commemorate the flip side of this kind of freedom. Not as an addition to a neglected part of seafaring history but as a counter plan to the common historical narrative of the  capitalist utilisation mechanism, including its pen pushers, architects and henchmen.

One is not born a pirate, but rather becomes one! Either through the intrinsic laws of capital, the aspirations for personal wealth and the appropriation of as many resources as possible or, as most often the case, through pure poverty.

We despise the enrichment at the expense of others. It is what turns the world into what it is for the vast majority of people on this planet: a life in poverty, misery and everyday drudgery, a fight for survival and the daily piece of bread.

We respect the decision to wrest a piece of the wealth from a cold world, which doesn't even grudge you a cup of cold piss, to ensure one's survival. Especially piracy arises from the devastating reality of capitalist heist. A great number of Somali pirates used to be fishermen until the big factory ships came and gorged the fishing grounds along the coast; until the industrial nations' tankers dumped their toxic waste right there; until the cold warriors of imperialism exported their proxy wars into all parts of the world.

All that was left after that was empty waters and begging for food donations at the World Food Programme.

We respect the decision to wrest a piece of the wealth from a cold world, which would never come across with a cup of cold piss voluntarily. If you have a boat that is of no use to you anymore, if weapons are easier to get than the bread for your survival, if there are ships with people passing by your coast and their lives are worth ten thousand times more to the Free World than your own, what would you do? Is morality worth dying a wretched death? There sure are people who would decide so for themselves!

We respect the decision to wrest a piece of the wealth from a cold world, which doesn't even grudge you a cup of cold piss, to ensure ones survival.

Today we commemorate the unknown pirate who lost the fight for his right to exist against the “free world trade” in hopes to be able to live in a world which would make this appeal needless!