It is easy to generate emotion over the tragedy in Syria. But to understand it, to understand the forces that propel the United States toward getting involved, is something else again. It is the position of the Socialist Party that it is not possible to understand the Middle Eastern wars without examining it in the context of the world struggle. Why is the U.S. in the Middle East? It has nothing to do with religion. It has nothing to do with freedom or democracy. Those are mere political window dressing. U.S. capitalism desperately needs control in the region to secure resources – oil for its capitalist economy. World War I was over the issue of world markets and raw materials. World War II was over the same issue.
The repeated crises to which the world is being continuously subjected are not caused by men. There is a more basic cause, one that explains why as one crisis subsides others flares up, and one that also explains why all these crises follow a pattern that has become almost monotonous. This is not to say that men do not play their part, sometimes hastening, sometimes slowing the pace of events and their immediate consequences. The really determining factors, however, are social forces that exert an irresistible pressure on both men and events. Giant imperialist camps are engaged in a "death struggle", often through proxies. Each is determined to survive, to maintain its ruling-class privileges and to dominate the world. The stakes are enormous. They are nothing less than control of the markets and riches of the earth and of the producing workers everywhere. Both camps possess the means for totally destroying one another. With each crisis, they move closer and closer to open conflict -- to the point of mutual destruction. All other nations are mere pawns. Some are potential markets; others are sources of raw materials; still, others are strategically located along the important trade routes and are considered essential to their defense; many are areas for profitable investment. All of them are "battlefields" on which the East and West are clashing for imperialist objectives.
It has everything to do with coldly calculated material interests, with world markets, with sources of natural resources essential to capitalist survival, with spheres of influence, with lines of communication and trade routes, with areas of profitable investment. The hundreds of thousands of deaths and the refugee crisis in the Middle East is a mess brought about by the outmoded and decadent capitalist system
There is a vital lesson to learn. It is that politicians do not control events; events control them. The truth is that the only hope for peace in the world today lies in the words and deeds of those who are striving to abolish existing systems of class rule and to reconstruct society on sane and sensible Socialist lines. Only when private ownership of the economy is replaced by social ownership, and production for sale and profit by production for use, can we end war-breeding competition and enthrone the peace-preserving principles of cooperation and brotherhood.
Only one thing can prevent the catastrophe toward which the world is heading. That is the establishment of genuine world socialism. There is no acceptable alternative. We must establish a society in which private ownership of the means of life will be replaced by social ownership and democratic control; in which production for sale and the profit of a few will be replaced by production for the benefit and use of all; in which the outmoded political form of government (the State) will be replaced by an industrial form of government. This is the only way we can end the economic ruling-class rivalries that lead to war and the recurring economic crises that increase the compulsions to war.
Socialism will be the opposite of capitalism. Poverty, insecurity, unemployment will be eliminated. War-breeding struggles for markets will be a thing of the past. Totalitarianism will be impossible. Everyone will lead a full life, contributing his or her fair share of the work and receiving his or her fair share of the total social product. We shall have laid the material and economic foundation for social harmony, peace, plenty, and liberty, on the basis Of international human brotherhood. The Socialist Party does not question the sincerity of many of the protesters. But it is duty bound to point out that sincerity is not the issue. Sincerity is like the good intentions that pave the road to hell. Undisciplined by sound knowledge and theory, sentiment runs riot and commits tragic errors. When the looked-for result is not soon achieved the "movement" based on sentiment alone - sincere or otherwise – deflates like a burst balloon.
To conclude: Sentiment and emotion for a good cause are laudable. But without a sound premise and attainable goal, they can only lead to failure and despair. The crying need of our time is not parades, or demonstrations for limited and impossible objectives, but determined, unrelenting action to awaken the working class to the imperative need for a socialist reconstruction of society and to enlighten them on the principles and program for accomplishing that social change in a peaceful, civilised manner. At this late hour, it is the only way to strike a decisive blow for peace and freedom for the workers of all nations. All else is futile and hopeless.