Version 1: Published 11 March 2010
Anthropologists for Justice and Peace (AJP) stand opposed to the uses of anthropology in the service of the national security state, as we oppose the engagement of anthropologists in imperial wars of conquest and occupation. With the U.S.-based Network of Concerned Anthropologists, we hold firm to the principle that "anthropologists should not engage in research and other activities that contribute to counter-insurgency operations in Iraq or in...the 'war on terror.' Furthermore, we believe that anthropologists should refrain from directly assisting the US military in combat, be it through torture, interrogation, or tactical advice." Given the interest of the military and intelligence agencies in "culture," "ethnography," and the development of both "ethnographic intelligence" and "cultural intelligence," we warn anthropologists about the damage they do to the discipline, and the potential for jeopardizing the lives of anthropologists when a close link is forged between anthropology and military training and consultancies for any branches of the state engaged in warfare and occupation. We are especially concerned by the way anthropology is enlisted in the war effort in the form of the U.S. "Human Terrain System" and its variants, and Canada's development of "white situational awareness teams." We are also deeply concerned by the militarization of the academy, beyond anthropology. In particular, we stand against Canadian universities and researchers applying for grants under the U.S. Department of Defense's Minerva Research Initiative, which enlist American, Canadian and academics of other nationalities in producing knowledge oriented toward pinpointing "terrorists" and creating "countermeasures" to subvert local resistances to the U.S. imperium. We also reject the militarization of humanitarian aid and foreign policy, and call for greater attention and support for autonomous, grassroots, local initiatives.
AJP will forge links with civil society organizations, anti-war activist groups, and indigenous communities engaged in struggles against racism, encroachments on their lands, and police surveillance. As teachers, researchers, and students, we commit our work in whole or in part to unveiling structures of violence, injustice, and inequality. As ethnographers, we call on anthropologists to radically rethink the nature of their position in local communities, to decolonize ethnography, and to re-conceive the nature of the research process so that ethics are not a minor, procedural consideration.
In particular, these are the broad hallmarks of our position:
- We recognize and support the right of people everywhere to lives lived with self-determination, dignity, freedom, justice, and peace.
- We unequivocally condemn and will work against the use of anthropology, in whatever form, for military or intelligence purposes.
- We seek to advance struggles for social justice through public, democratic, and peaceful action.
- We stand in solidarity with communities resisting systems of violence, oppression, and exploitation, and recognize the legitimacy of diverse forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples' rights.
- We embrace the full dignity of human beings and reject all forms of oppression and discrimination including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, and ableism.
- We recognize the connections between militaristic, economic, social, and political forms of domination and oppression and will work to expose and dismantle them as systems of structural violence.
- We will advocate for the use of anthropological knowledge about the diversity of human experience as powerful resource with which to assist in the construction of resilient, just, democratic, and peaceful alternatives to some of our most pressing contemporary problems.