Saturday, April 20, 2024

Peace Between Peoples – No Peace Between Classes: Repost


The Socialist Party, formed in 1904, has, from its inception eschewed leaders and has opposed war. Today, 20 April, marks the birthday of an individual who is, understandably, loathed by many but who still carries a fascination for  more, amongst whom are those who would like to recreate the past. As the post points out, leaders do not operate in a vacuum. The ideologies may change but the fundamental capitalist causes of conflict remain the same. The present conflicts in the world continue to menace the future of humankind. There is a solution: Socialism.

The following is a repost from SOYMB, 25 March, 2022.

One of the many problems that capitalism has not solved is that of war. We see each day the mobilisation of military forces on some border as perhaps another potential bloody conflict may break out. The companion parties of the World Socialist Movement have a consistent history of opposing all war. In our analysis which has withstood the test of time, war is fought for the interests and advantages of the ruling class, fought to protect or extend capitalist profits. Of course, no ruling class will ever admit going to war for such sordid motives. Every war has to be justified as a ‘righteous’ and ‘just’ war reluctantly resorted to for ‘humanitarian’ reasons or in defence of international ‘justice’, otherwise, no worker would sacrifice their lives or surrender their liberties so willingly.

Many assume Hitler was the sole cause of the Second World War and all the associated horrors as they blame Putin today for the Ukraine war. This is a gross oversimplification. Germany in the 1930s wasn’t suddenly corrupted by Hitler’s charisma. The political tensions and strife were all there, the results of a previous world war and a great depression. Hitler was just able to capitalise on this. But if he hadn’t there’s nothing to say that nobody else would. Elimination of the main figurehead won’t necessarily prevent events that were as much a product of the wider socio-political context. Problems rarely exist in isolation.

These lies about international justice and freedom and the like have been uncovered but not before people were deceived and dragged into the great slaughter, then they opened their eyes and saw the truth. They saw clearly that the war was not about their own interests, or anybody’s rights and freedoms, but that war was a terrifying conflict between predatory groups seeking advantage over the others. It then seemed so simple and understandable and we are taken aback when we are reminded that we found the pretext of wars in what the politicians and the media said. They will claim that the war was waged to defend national sovereignty or to protect their ethnic cousins. Or they will argue that ‘our’ government’s foreign policy was misunderstood while ‘their’ government’s foreign policy was simply wrong because its leader is a war-monger and militarist adventurer. ‘Our’ side had recourse to war only because ‘our’ government was forced into a ‘defensive position due to the other nation’s aggression.

But he or she who truly wants to know the causes of war today, the real causes, will recognise the reasons we mentioned above as well-worn. He or she would be very naive if they believed the guises and lies whose aim is to cover up the real causes of wars. He or she who wants to explain how wars come to be, both the past ones and the ones that threaten us in the future, and what are their causes, is obliged to examine and learn first the capitalists seek to place their excess capital abroad, in order to obtain bigger interest and more profits, to have these countries as markets for their merchandise, To subjugate them politically, to have their governments under their own influence. To pull the strings and play them in their hands like puppets.

Around the world the old ‘democratic’ methods are abandoned by the political parties, the so-called civil and human rights have been reduced to a mere joke on the people, and there is no means of oppression, violence and terror that is not being used on them. The state has become the private playground of every oligarch who can afford to finance a lobby group or think-tank, the social and welfare services have become merchandise in privatised hands and finally, a whole camp of parasites on the public purse follow any party clique in the ups and downs of political power. Bankers, big industrialists and merchants now hold in their hands huge concentrated economic forces (stock-market capital, land, factories, real estate), that is, it holds in its hands almost completely the lives of the people. The causes for new wars develop daily and the important resources of the country are wasted in preparing for war.

The causes for the war are to be found in the very process of capitalist production, distribution and exchange where corporations seek to establish control over markets, sources of raw materials and areas for exploitation. In their inextinguishable thirst for new profits, cliques of big business seek other countries, outside of their own trading bloc, to exploit. This search for expanding areas of markets comes up against rival groupings. What the capitalist elite of one nation desires is the same thing the sharks of the other countries crave too. And in the name of nationalism the ‘fatherlands,’ and the ‘motherlands’ launch their armies against each other. And the price of these conflicts is paid by the people with their own innocent blood.

This process, unavoidable so long as capital rules, creates ceaseless conflict. Hark back to the dissolution of the Soviet Empire and the so-called ‘peace-dividend’ which was promised. Instead, each year has seen war around the globe and more nations devoting vast resources to their military machines.

The struggle does not begin when a government – serving one group of businesses – declares war on another nation. It goes on all the time, taking many forms; some open, some concealed. Diplomatic negotiation and treaties, agreements and alliances between countries, subsidised economic warfare, small proxy wars waged ostensibly between small powers or rebel forces, actually on behalf of great ones, all these are manifestations of the same conflict. The formal declaration of war – rarely practised nowadays, more and more dispensed with – is merely the continuation of this same struggle in a sharper, more open form. The temporary cessation of one conflict gives rise to the escalation of other conflicts.

There is an oligarchy that holds in its hands the most important means of national wealth and whose interests oppose and counter those of the great majority of the people. Many want to deny this, either out of self-interest or narrow-mindedness. They say that there is no such class. And they don’t want to see these parasites, bankers and financiers, big merchants and industrialists, all those idle rich who accumulate capital from the sweat of all the working people. But, of course, the plutocratic oligarchy is always there exploiting the labour of the people, often happening without us realising. A thousand lies and prejudices and customs hide it. A general uncertainty for tomorrow in all aspects of the life of every country arising from the political conflicts of the capitalist gang of every country trying with every means of violence, terror, mass murder and oppression to keep its hegemony, to squeeze out new profits of the people’s misery new profits constantly while all the time preparing for new bloodthirsty episode tomorrow. Everywhere there are volcanoes of conflicts, lying dormant, ready to erupt and bury under its lava unsuspecting citizens.

There are many instances of autocracy and tyranny against us. The 1% tells us that ‘the will of the peoples is sovereign’ yet decide on their own, using their fortunes to buy elections. They send their own representatives to the parliament and they take decisions with their vested interests in mind. And the people frequently make it easy for them, being willing instruments of every charlatan demagogue, prostrating themselves at the feet of various rich local party leaders who can manipulate the passions of the people very skilfully with all their rabble-rousing speeches. We need not mention the outright terror and violence of state pressure, nor the brazen ballot-rigging which have become the main means of electoral domination lately. And so the ‘will of the people’ ends up to be the most disgraceful comedy against them, the ultimate hypocrisy and lie, that conceals from the eyes of the deceived the political dictatorship of the privileged upon the people.

The workers cannot conquer political power by struggling against foreign capitalists but only by struggling against those in their home country who control the existing social structure. It is impossible to support war and the governments waging them and to hope to create revolutionary opinions which will radically change that social system.

Those who replace the red flag of world socialism with the jingoist flag-waving of nations must be denounced. Yet, the tragic fact remains that men and women seem, at present, more willing to work and die for capitalism than to work and to live for Revolution! Only the class war for the overthrow of capitalism can end wars by ending the cause of war – capitalism.

The fight against war is inseparable from the fight for socialism. And this is very important to know, for us who want to fight for our lives and our peace, against the war. We must strike evil at its root, not its branches. Only through our own organisation and our own struggle will working people gain possession of their own lives and the means to free and save themselves from being sacrificed and slaughtered. As there are differing kinds of tyranny and exploitation, our organisations must also be varied with various ways of struggle. But it is obvious that all these organisations must share a common goal: the abolition of the plutocratic oligarchy and the liberation of the people. The only way to fight militarism is to fight capitalism. The capitalist nationalist system breeds wars, and we shall have to build a cooperative society, where things are no longer produced for profit, but for use, in order to be secure in peace. This struggle is known as the class war, and this is the only war in which workers should engage.

No comments: