1980s >> 1980 >> no-910-june-1980

“War can solve no working class problem”

Socialism and War

Anything which in the slightest way encourages the workers to retain the blighting and poisoning belief in nationalism and so-called national interests, perpetuates the dangerous illusion of class harmony and plays always into the hands of the capitalist class. Only class-conscious socialists can speak across the frontiers of the capitalist nations to the working class of the world and they can do so only because they are entirely free from the taint of so-called national interests which can be none other than capitalist interests.

War can solve no working class problem. It cuts across the fundamental identity of interest of the workers of the world, setting sections of this class at enmity with each other in the interests of sections of the capitalist class. It elevates force into the position of arbiter in place of the common human desire for mutual peace and happiness. Its effect is wholly evil. It depraves all the participants by forcing them to concentrate upon the best methods of producing misery and of annihilating each other. It elevates lying, cheating, disabling and murdering opponents into virtues, confers distinctions upon those who practise these means most successfully, and inaugurates training courses on a vast scale to produce efficiency. Young men and women, in their most impressionable years, have the vile methods of warfare impressed upon them so thoroughly that they lose a balanced outlook on life and are impregnated with the idea that force, with all its baseness, and not reason is the final solution in all problems. Many of those who have been subjected to the atmosphere of war remain addicted to violence when war has come to a temporary end.

Socialism is completely opposed to war and to what war represents. At the same time it is the only solution to the conditions that breed war. It is a new form of society in which the people of the world will work harmoniously together for their mutual benefit, for there will be neither privilege nor property to cause enmity. No coercion will be needed because each will gain from co-operating harmoniously with his fellows. But it is a new social system that demands understanding of its implications from those who seek to establish it. One important implication is that coercion does not solve problems but only breeds fresh ones, and war is an attempt to coerce. Above all war is one of the means employed by the ruling class to maintain their privileged position at the expense of the subject class. With the establishment of Socialism war will disappear and humanity will have taken the first step out of the jungle.
From “The Socialist Party and War