There are no “good” wars

“Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.” Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher 


The World Socialist Movement chose its name purposefully. We have no national axe to grind. We side with no nation or government. We have no time for borders. Workers should try and resist taking sides in the battles of the Great Power blocs who just happen by the accident of the place of your birth to be named on your passport. Working people we are united by stronger ties than our nationalities together, our class position and common class interest. We are endeavouring to show working people the plain facts of the position, regardless of whether these facts are palatable or not. Members of the World Socialist Movement will not be expressing any support for either Russia or Ukraine in their war. Patriotism and nationalism are artificial restrictions of humankind’s sympathy and mutual help, as obstacles to the expansion of the human mind, as impediments to the needful and helpful development of human unity and cooperation, as bonds that bound people to slavery; as incentives that set brothers and sisters at each other’s throats.

Nationalism and patriotism have again swept onwards with increasing force to engulf our fellow workers in another internecine conflict. The more the movement for the emancipation of labour wallows in the doldrums, the more nationalism blossoms, despite the fact that national differences between the peoples are vanishing more and more. Socialists, however, will never allow their heads to be turned by nationalist slogans and must resist the siren call of patriotism and national chauvinism by proclaiming the unity and indivisibility of the class struggle. International solidarity of the workers is an essential element for the triumph of the working class. It is critical for working-class people to organise themselves independently of all capitalist interests. Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters have the right to choose between sovereignty or subjugation, but they can only choose one thing – capitalism. 

Rosa Luxemburg presented the Marxist case in regards to national independence:
“A “right of nations” which is valid for all countries and all times is nothing more than a metaphysical cliché of the type of “rights of man” and “rights of the citizen…When we speak of the “right of nations to self-determination”, we are using the concept of the “nation”, as a homogeneous social and political entity… In a class society, “the nation” as a homogeneous socio-political entity does not exist. Rather, there exist within each nation, classes with antagonistic interests and “rights”.

National boundaries may be altered and may even disappear but such re-arrangements of things geographical can in no way abolish, or even lessen, the poverty of the many. The goal of the World Socialist Movement is to establish a real world community without frontiers, where all states as they currently exist will be eliminated. In a socialist society, communities, towns and cities will have the opportunity to thrive and people will no doubt feel an attachment to places that are real and tangible. What an extraordinary notion it is that the world’s rulers possess the right to tell us which bit of land we should live on? Nationalist feelings arise because of the incessant propaganda of the ruling class in each country to persuade the working majority that they are in some way essentially different from and superior to everyone from other countries. 

The World Socialist Movement has always maintained that war is an inevitable consequence of the capitalist mode of production and that its competitive drive for the domination of markets, trade routes, strategic territories, favourable treaties, and possession of valuable resources is the root cause of all wars. War holds no interest for the working class, except they will be the ones dying, wounded and displaced, as even a victory will not change the system of exploitation and wage labour. Only a victory in the class war can do that.

Socialists believe that workers have no country, only a shared interest with all other workers of the world. Thus, we roundly condemn the terror of all sides who are quite content to murder fellow workers in the name of nationalism or religion. Only when realise that their struggles are not based on national or religious lines but on the class struggle between worker and capitalist, and, along with other workers of the world, they unite to create a cooperative, democratic world will wars such as this one be relegated to the annals of human history.

The World Socialist Movement holds that capitalism is a highly competitive system where the spoils go to the winners in the form of vast wealth and profits to be shared by that tiny minority of humanity. Although conflicts of interest are often resolved with agreements and treaties sometimes disputes are so intense that war is launched to settle things. This occurs often enough to give us perpetual war somewhere on the planet. Standing armies are kept by every state government for this purpose. They may be called ‘Departments of Defence’ but they exist to ensure favourable trading conditions for their capitalist class. In no war, have the ordinary people of one country threatened the lives of the ordinary people of another. Yet it is these very people who are called on to sacrifice their lives. As always, when war threatens, the servants of the owning class, the government, beat the drums of patriotism, democracy, and national security in order to con the working people into thinking that it is in their interests to do the fighting.

Patriotism, nationalism and fear of one section of a population taking advantage of another and access to anything provided one can pay for it will disappear when we make the decision to abandon and abolish this divisive capitalist system for one based on egalitarianism and freedom for all – socialism. We, who are workers should concern ourselves with the chains that doom us forever to the toil and sweat of wage slavery. So long as private property remains, the miseries that necessarily flow from it will remain also and continue to afflict the workers under an independent Ukraine or Donbas. So long as private property is the order of the day it matters little to the workers who rules. It works out the same — we, the workers, are always the bottom dogs. Members of the World Socialist Movement have long since turned a deaf ear to the empty phrases of nationalism and patriotism, and look forward with hope to world socialism. 

This war is not our war. Our war is working people against our rulers. This war of workers killing workers should not be justified. Socialists maintain that workers must free themselves of patriotism and national superiority in their own interests, for without discarding these aspects of the prevailing ruling class ideas they will never themselves be free. The one and only war worth fighting is the war for humanity, the whole of humanity and that should be a war of words, a war of mass understanding and acceptance of our need to end the subservience to the controllers of the capitalist system – the class war.