By Lucas Leiroz – Research Fellow in International Law at the Federal University of Rio da Janeiro (UFRJ), member of New Resistance – Brazil
“Hybrid warfare” is a shallow term, encompassing a small part of contemporary war theory.
In the past many authors expected technology would free man from work and world problems in general. But history has proved that this theory was completely wrong. The truth is that technology has brought the brutalization of labor and war, not its abolition and the liberation of man, as predicted by the socialists.
The stage of technical progress that had the most brutal effects on society was the extreme industrialization of the last 200 years, the results of which were the World Wars, which inaugurated the battlefield with factory logic, i.e. the industrial capacity for extermination; the total war.
Total Mobilization is a phenomenon of factories and trenches. But the technology is not static and its progress has brought a deterioration of this condition to workers and soldiers.
In postmodernity this phenomenon is raised to an unimaginable degree of collective insecurity. Factory logic is replaced by the phenomenon of uberization, which extinguishes coercive police control and imposes on workers invisible and a thousand times more efficient control, the machine one.
The worker goes from being an employee to being a number. He no longer submits himself to direct control by physical coercion but really believes that he is free, autonomous, and engaged in a “venture business” when in fact he is controlled by the machine.
Not only did technology not free man from the curse of working, but has imprisoned him in a sphere of intermittent activity and total control that, nevertheless, creates simultaneously an illusion of freedom, autonomy and self-control that alienates the worker from his own reality.
It is a thousand times more efficient a system for capitalism in its contemporary phase. There is no longer an agglomeration of workers for hours inside a factory, so there is no longer a workers’ identity and collective force capable of handling mass violence and driving social change. Everything is pulverized and virtually controlled. Capitalism no longer needs to produce – today we only produce garbage. It just needs to control and profit.
But, tracking back to the issue of war, this view is also applied. In most cases, it is no longer advantageous to attack an enemy country, mobilize entire combat forces, erode thousands of soldiers and repeat the instant killings of yore.
Much better is the virtual mobilization of forces, cyber attacks, economic blockades, international sanctions and the veiled formation of local militias in the target countries of the world financial oligarchy.
The West has not physically invaded Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Venezuela or China. Instead, it financed, mobilized and managed Maidan, Arab Spring, the current Venezuelan crisis and the unborn protests in Hong Kong.
We have come to the era of Uber, drones and e-money, but also the age of color revolutions, “socially tagged” riots and terrorism – a somewhat brutal face of this phenomenon.
Perhaps we have already reached the great Weltburgerkrieg, the Global Civil War, which virtually and anonymously kills in the long run and causes more damage than any previous war modality.
We can already talk about an uberization of war, i.e., the rising of a virtual war that kills more people and overthrows governments almost invisibly. It is the new view of work applied to war.
That is why China has real legitimacy to act with total force against the Hong Kong protesters, respecting nothing more than the limits of International Humanitarian Law. Maduro has the same legitimacy in Venezuela, and so on. All these events are real forms of War.