One of the great aims of the workers’ movement is the elimination of war forever from the world. Butthis can be accomplished only by the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism – that is, by the victory of the working class in the class war. This requirement is due not to the wishes of Marxists, but to the actual realities of history. Thus, in struggling against every war undertaken by any capitalist power, Marxists are actively for the victory of the working class in the class war, since only through such victory can war in general be done away with.
The real roots of the war can be seen in the class system of society.It Is not love of democracybut defence of national capitalist interests that pushescountries into war. There is no such thing as an “accidental war”. An accident can cause war if all the other conditions for war are present.The only way to end the madness of war is to end the system which inevitably leads to these horrors.
At the bottom of all war there is an economic cause. But today, with all the nationalistic preaching, it is easy to obscure this fact. Nationalism is the cloak behind which the economic causes work. Nationalism leads inevitably to chauvinism and to national aggression. It leads to a patriotism for the soil, for the particular bit of the earth’s surface on which a particular person has been born. It leads to narrowness and bigotry, to national jealousy and petty pride. Nationalism is the best for the intrigues and machinations of capitalists.
The inner conflicts of capitalism lead and must lead to war. War is not the cause of the troubles of society. The opposite is true. War is a symptom. The only way to fight against war is to fight against the causes of war. Since the causes of war is the nature of capitalism, it follows that the only way to fight against war is to fight against capitalism.It therefore follows that the only possible struggle against war is the struggle fora socialist revolution. The Socialist Party is absolutely clear on this point. There is no “separate” or “special” struggle against war. The struggle against war cannot be divorced from the struggles of the workers against capitalism and for socialism. Nobody can uphold capitalism and fight against war, because capitalism means war. Socialism can and will eliminate war because, by overthrowing capitalist economy and supplanting capitalism with a socialist economy, it will remove the causes of war. Under socialism there will no longer exist the basic contradictions that lead to war. Artificial economic barriers based on national boundaries will be removed. The expansion of the means of production, under the common ownership and democratic control of society as a whole, will proceed in accordance with a rational plan adjusted to the needs of the members of society.Since the victory of socialism, and this alone, will defeat war, every step on the path to socialism is a blow at war.
Ask any soldierswhat they fightfor? For what dO they shed the blood of their brotherworkers of their neighbouring country? For what dO they cripple people? They will not tell you, they will not answer, because they themselves do not really know.Ask any one of them and each will cite you a different reason.The problem is that words and practice do not coincide. War has other causes, other purposes, other reasons.What homeland does the worker have, what homeland do the dispossessed have? Do they have a homeland?The generals have a homeland, and so do the landowners, the merchants, the manufacturer and all those who carry a fat wallet in their pocket. To these, the wealthy. The homeland gives them all rights and privileges and the State concern itself about their fate. But what does the “fatherland/motherland” give to the worker, be he Russian, British or American? The struggle to put food on the table, the struggle against poverty and lack of rights, oppression at the hands of the master, landowner and landlord, insults, grief, illness and humiliation. For the poor, the motherland is a wicked step-mother, the fatherland is a cruel step-father. What kind of homeland is it if tens of millions are hired slaves working day and night for a handful of capitalists? What kind of homeland is it if these tens of millions of workers have nothing to lose but their chains? What kind of homeland is it when it is not the people themselves who conduct the affairs of the homeland, enact laws, supervise the national economy and control the national budget, but a handful of masters, of wealthy exploiters?
The capitalists of the whole world are now united in alliances which plunder and oppress the workers in many countries. The capitalists set the workers of one country against the workers of another country in order to strengthen their hold on workers throughout the world. The capitalists wage war in order to share out the spoils and weaken the workers by division. Thus those who speak about war in terms of the defence of freedom and the homeland are lying. There is only one way to defend freedom and right, to defend the cause of the working class in war- agreement among the workers of every country and their common struggle against the capitalists in the name of a socialist society.