The current conflict between Russia which has invaded Ukraine purportedly to protect two breakaway Russian-speaking regions requires an answer and an analysis.
Most people are opposed to war. War is so terrible in its practice that even politicians, at least, must pretend to be against war. But we have seen that wars do not result from what people wish and believe and that being against war does not prevent people from acting in a way that helps bring war about. Honeyed phrases about ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ is a minor issue from the standpoint of the working class. As is the question ‘who started the war?’, politicians on either side of war will always portray the ‘enemy’ as the ‘aggressor’ to sway public opinion.
A study of the nature and causes of modern war proves that war is an essential part of capitalism. The contradictions and conflicts of capitalism lead and must lead to war. Socialists have fewer illusions than anybody about capitalism and we are well aware of the dangers. The spectre of nuclear Armageddon has once again reared its ugly head as the West bluff and counter-bluff with Russia over its Ukrainian invasion. Because capitalism cannot be controlled in the human interest, we do not know which way it will develop.
Since the causes of war are part of the inner nature of capitalism, it follows that the only way to fight, against war is to fight against capitalism. The World Socialist Movement is absolutely clear on this point. There is no “separate” or “special” struggle against war. It is of little use to cry out against war while we tolerate a social system that breeds war. No one can uphold capitalism – whether directly, as an open adherent of the capitalists, or indirectly, from any shade of liberal or reformist position – and fight against war, because capitalism means war.
Capitalism makes war inevitable. Capitalist nations not only exploit their workers but ruthlessly invade, plunder, and ravage one another. Ukrainians have been divided between those who desire to break ties with Russia and join the EU and NATO while other segments of the population wish bonds with Russia and assure it of Ukraine remaining a neutral buffer state. Zelenskyy appears to have been inclined toward compromise with Russia but many Ukrainian nationalists oppose any concessions with Russia. If Russia ceases the increasing escalation of its demands, a diplomatic agreement with Ukraine is possible and peace restored.
Our enemy is in our “own” country, and this enemy is the same for all the workers of the world. The enemy is capitalism. The World Socialist Movement calls for the replacement of capitalist society by a just and better world based on the socialist cooperative commonwealth of the workers of every country. The WSM is against any and every war. Its task is to work to turn that war into a class war. Socialists group working people, poor against rich, class against class, without taking into account the differences of race and language, and over and above the frontiers traced by history. The differences which exist between the present countries are all superficial differences. The capitalist regime is the same in all countries. Workers have no country. Our fellow workers who offer their lives for “their” nations such as Ukraine and the Russian Federation have been duped. There is only one war that is worthy, that is class war, social revolution. Our policy on war is an immediate peace to save workers’ lives so that the class war can be fully carried out until we have accomplished the cooperative commonwealth. Our duty as socialists is to develop class solidarity, refusing to murder one another at the behest of our rulers.
The workers of one country have no quarrel with the working people of any other country. Let us arouse anger against war. Let us teach our children to abhor war.