Thursday, July 21, 2022

Say No More War


Some of the arguments of the peace movements begin with the plausibly-sounding statement that “war is the most urgent of problems, so it must be solved first.” We claim that the Socialist Party and its companion parties have the only real case against war. This must be thought about by workers not as a cheap bit of self-promotion "pushing the party,” but as a serious statement, which, we think, all the evidence upholds.

When workers hear or read the appeals to end war, their reaction is one which has already been strongly conditioned. Conditioned by the fact that, whatever country they live in, they are taught to think as nationalists. Conditioned by the patriotism of "loyalty to the country.”

Nationally they see their rulers' interests and their own as one. They are British, American, Russian, and so on. To nationalistic people, leaders (political and religious) flags, armed forces and weapons of all kinds are quite necessary in the interests of the "country.” Seeing no difference between themselves and the boss, they argue " it's no use this country disarming if the others don't,” forgetting that the misguided patriots in the other countries argue in exactly the same way, i.e., not as workers, but as Germans, Americans, Africans, Russians, and so on. Because of their nationalism they all make the same mistake, the mistake the boss teaches them to make, that is, to speak of “we” and “our country.” The all-important fact is, of course, that workers do not possess any country, and the convenient little "we” makes them identify their interests with those who do. To nationalists the world is not divided up into a world-wide working class and a worldwide capitalist class with mutually antagonistic interests; it is divided into “ us” and the “foreigners.” What could be more telling of the futility of the "peace” movements than the fact that they appeal to nationalism and claim to be the real patriots? Thus they directly help to foster the very outlook without which war would be impossible.

It becomes clear that while the majority of workers in each country feel allegiance to its rulers, and through them to the capitalist class which lives on their backs, these governments, politicians and media commentators will be able to prepare the workers for war or do any thing else on the ground of "national interest.” There must then, be something more than just not wanting war to end. There must be understanding by the majority of a really workable alternative. It is precisely this which is lacking among the peace movement, all of whom accept capitalism (consciously or otherwise), but seek to avoid its normal consequences.

The alternative for anyone who has thought about what they have just read is implied in what has already been said, that is, a world without nationalism, commerce and conflicting trading interests. A world no longer divided either into nations or classes of rulers and ruled, but a world community, the whole planet being run to satisfy the needs of its population and no longer for profits. With the industrial and natural resources bring held in common by all, mankind would cooperate to produce and freely distribute the things they need. Because the very basis for international conflicts will have gone, wars cannot arise. From that it follows as a matter of course that there will be no bombs to ban, society will not be making them nor any other instrument of destruction. Armed forces will not exist under socialism because their function will have gone when capitalism goes.

Our opponents say, “yes, it is a nice dream but how and when will it come about?”

The answer to this has been given by the Socialist Party since its inception. It will come about when working people cease to think that solutions to working class problems can be found within capitalism. Stop calling socialism a dream when you are stuck with the nightmare of capitalism. When a majority of the world’s workers (all suffering the same problems under the same system) have come to the conclusion, after making the tour of the blind alleys, that socialism is necessary, the "how” will be fairly easy. They will no longer vote for and support the parties of capitalism. They will use their votes to send Socialist delegates forward in each country for the object of stripping the capitalist class of the thing which makes them a capitalist class, that is, ownership (State or private) of land, factories, mines, machinery and railways, etc. With this done and the means of production in the hands of the community and democratically controlled, society will begin anew.

The Socialist Party consists of individuals who have come together for one purpose: to assist in the urgent task of establishing worldwide socialism.

We define socialism as a society in which all the resources of the world are used in common to meet all the needs of all the people of the world, without any distinction whatsoever, including the distinction of so-called national identity. It follows, then, that we do not concern ourselves with either the elimination or the creation of territorial borders within capitalism. This is a policy that we have upheld from our formation in 1904. During that time, we have, of course, been admonished to recognise the seemingly vital need to defend this national group against that one; to support the imposition of this border or the dissolution of that one.

The world is today so integrated that no country can be genuinely independent in how it acts. Usually, it can’t even independently decide how it behaves within its own ‘borders’, for fear of criticism or censure from international bodies, or, more usually, powerful outside interests. World capitalism always has been, is now, and always will be a confusion of different competing interests along national lines.

Only under capitalism is it necessary to build borders. Socialism, the only universal solution to ‘borders’ will require no such artificial distinctions between the world’s people and will have no frontiers

The working class have no country. By persuading workers that they have a stake in “the nation”, capitalism obtains their support.

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