One World, One People 2/2

The Socialist Party of Great Britainwholeheartedly supports the efforts of workers everywhere to secure democratic rights against the powers of suppression, but the history of the past decades shows the futility of war as a means of safeguarding democracy.1939

Inside every country, there is a far deeper division than that separating nation from nation – the division between the wealth producers, the working class and the wealth-owners, the capitalist class. True, the workers have failed to understand this yet but their strikes and struggles show them more clearly every day how they are dominated in society. We counsel our toiling brothers and sisters, regardless of their nationality or religion, to ask themselves who really benefits from war. Fellow workers, it is necessary for you to understand in order that you may penetrate the curtain of excuses behind which it is endeavoured to hide the real reasons for new butchery. The working class of the world has only one enemy—the ruling class. We call upon all working men and women to join with us for the overthrow of that enemy.

To serve the economic interests of capitalism the war drum will always be beat. The capitalist call is a constant “To arms! To arms.” once again, the roar of guns and the thunder of bombs shake the ground and the cries of the wounded and dying fill the air. This is the fact that explains the utter farce and failure of all the disarmament conferences and peace movements.

Have we ever answered the question of why war? It is the same old story of smash and grab. The monopolists of the means of life are out for glorified pillage and plunder. Those brigands, the world’s financiers and the world’s industrialists are seeking wider fields for exploitation. Workers are to sacrifice their lives to provide more loot for the moneyed tyrants. Women are to be widowed, children to be orphaned, homes to be desolated to make our masters gain.  War fever is aroused, religious rivalries stirred up, racial hatreds and jealousies fanned by unscrupulous lying. The lesson of it all for the workers is that nothing in the world is sacred that stands in the way of capitalist expansion—which is spelt: “Profits”. In pursuit of profits, no crime is too horrific to be undertaken. The working class has no interest in the struggle of one or another group of vultures fattening on the corpses of the working people.

Advocates of the “Stop the War” policy are attempting to educate and morally persuade a predator class to live together peacefully and this has proven to be a hopeless policy.

War cannot be humanised. Its brutalities will cease only when capitalism, which is the cause of wars, has been brought to an end. That demands action by the international working class, the first step towards which is that the workers in each country should accept the existence of the class struggle as the basis of their organisation and line up in opposition to their own ruling class and its government. The excuse for deserting internationalism is that the working-class movement has ceased to exist in many dictatorships. While this is largely true, it overlooks the point that loyalty to internationalism by the workers in democratic countries is needed to inspire the oppressed workers to renewed efforts. When the ruling class talk about war it is more than ever necessary for the workers in this country to remember that the workers in other countries have as little direct responsibility for their callous ruling class and bloody-minded military as we have for ours.

 Every day we hear of new weapons for the more efficient destruction of our brothers and sisters. Reckless patriotism and jingoism stir up international jealousy and has become the most lucrative line in politics and media. “Defend our country” plead the politicians and their hirelings in the media.  Defence of whose country? Defence of the bosses. It is the working people who suffer.

In former times men fought in the quarrels between kings and queens, now wars are fought for industrial barons and the lords of finance. The rivalries of kings have been supplanted by the rivalries of capitalist elites. Nations may appear to be fighting for military supremacy but behind the headlines, it is for economic supremacy, the right to acquire natural resources, the power to open up new markets is the principle underlying all the politics of the present day and the real cause of the wars.  Capital accumulates and seeks profitable investment. The speculators, the bosses, the oligarchs —they want war and with lies and sophistries they will whip up our blood-lust until we will fight and die for them. We, who are socialists, must hope that out of the horror of bloodshed and dire destruction will come the desire for far-reaching social changes—and a step towards our goal of peace among men.

While war is in progress, the highest duty of the socialist is the fight for its speedy conclusion.

But even when peace has been declared, the struggle is not finished. For the effects of the war remain. New problems arise and must be met. When soldiers return home, new misery greets them.  During war-time the workers are needed; the rulers need their enthusiasm, their willingness to sacrifice, their goodwill – the spirit of the army is an important factor in warfare.  That ceases with the coming of peace. The workers are no longer needed as soldiers; they are no longer heroes. Once more they become beasts of burden, objects of exploitation.  After the war has stopped, the economy must readjust. The whole business of war ceases.

The socialist revolution alone, when it has placed all the wealth of society into the hands of the producers and organised production in a manner that will provide for the needs of those on whom all production depends, can put an end to these conflicts for markets. Each labouring for all and all for each. We are engaged in a class war, in the revolution a struggle not between countries but which it cuts across national boundaries. Workers, do you know your enemies? Workers, which side are you on?  Let us turn upon our real enemies, the capitalist class.

The socialist’s job is to overthrow the capitalist system.  For too many the day for socialist struggle never seems to come around – not even when fellow workers are being slaughtered. Let us be united against the warmongers who would send us to our deaths.  Your enemy is not the worker in other lands; it is the capitalist class at home. There is only one way to prevent war and if it breaks out to end it, namely, by the overthrow of capitalism, the real root from which war springs. The solution rests in the power of the working class. If world capitalism has no solution for its problems excepting new and more horrible slaughter, it is time this insane system was ended. The fight for socialism is the fight for peace. Destruction and carnage can be ended, not by the victory of one or other of the combatants which would merely lay the basis for new wars and is not in the interests of the workers of any country, but by the victory of the workers over capitalism.

The real lesson to draw is while capitalists wish to divide workers from each other, working people face a common enemy, the world capitalist class and their system. One of the strongest holds the capitalists have over the minds of the workers is given by the workers’ ready acceptance of the dogmas of patriotism and nationalism. They are top of the list of political illusions used to blind capitalism’s victims: the workers of the world.