Material World – a world without war
We go into another new year and as in previous years, it is under the looming prospect of war. Working people may once again be called upon to take part in another slaughter where men, women and children will suffer.
It is easy to blame individuals for starting wars, and some are certainly guilty, but the fundamental culprit is the capitalist system. Since capitalism is a predatory social and economic system, predatory personalities tend to rise to power who view the world through a lens of aggression. But it’s not merely a capitalist delusion, they are in fact surrounded by enemies.
When the Soviet Union disintegrated into independent regimes of oligarchs, and when China’s Communist Party promoted private enterprise as government policy, the intellectuals who had insisted that the Cold War was a conflict between competing ideologies were proved wrong. Meanwhile the small Marxist voices that had always explained the rivalry between the Great Powers as an economic one for the control of raw materials and trade routes were shown to hold the more accurate analysis. The danger of war arises inevitably out of the very nature of capitalism.
As 2022 begins we are faced with a number of flashpoints that could feasibly ignite into war. These are:
(1) The important sea-lanes of the South China Sea with its scatter of strategic small islands, as well as the unresolved status of Taiwan. The UK, USA and Australia have established the AUKUS security pact, complementing treaties with Japan, the Philippines and others, aimed at the encirclement of China. Capitalism forces countries to compete in the world market and to strive for aims that cannot be satisfied. The rivalry between China and the US is unavoidable and a trade war can so easily escalate into an actual blood-and-guts war.
(2) With echoes of the Eastern Front, at the borders of Ukraine and Belarus, Russian forces confront those of the NATO alliance. Army manoeuvres are regularly taking place to be prepared for military conflict.
(3) Iran, an aspiring regional power in the Middle East, enduring the slow strangulation of stringent economic sanctions, challenges the neighbouring oil sheikdoms using proxy militias, and the Gulf States now have a new friend in Israel. A shadow war is already being engaged in with the mining of ships and in the Straits of Hormuz, the main sea route for oil tankers, the scene is of regular stand-offs between warships.
(4) And then there is the Horn of Africa, where countries are too poor to feed their peoples yet have the ability to build armies and engage in wars which too often involve other countries.
Of all the many problems that capitalism has not solved, war is a perennial and always ominous threat.
War is fought for the interests and advantages of the ruling class, to protect or extend capitalist profits. Of course, no politician will ever admit going to war for such shabby motives. Every war has to be justified with such reasons as ‘humanitarianism’, the defence of the national interest, or upholding international ‘justice’, otherwise, very few citizens would sacrifice their lives or surrender their liberties so willingly. Each nation’s political leaders will argue that ‘our’ government’s foreign policy is ‘just’ while ‘their’ government’s foreign policy exists because their leader is a warmongering militarist adventurer. ‘Our’ side was forced into a ‘defensive’ position due to the other nation’s ‘aggression’. The noble talk about protecting ‘democracy’ is cant and hypocrisy. Every war is justified by a massive propaganda effort to demonise the enemy. It is the bait to hook us into giving our approval to an orgy of armament spending and profiteering.
Capitalism breeds wars. In order to secure peace we need to create a cooperative commonwealth where things are no longer produced for profit, but to satisfy people’s needs. This involves a struggle known as the class war, and this is the only war which workers should engage in. Yet the tragic reality remains that men and women still seem more willing to work and die for capitalism than to work and live for socialism.
If we are to eliminate wars we must understand that we need to transform the minority class ownership of the means of production and distribution into common ownership, producing for use instead of for profit.