A Declaration of War against War


 As war wages in Ukraine, it is well that the World Socialist Movement explains its attitude towards war.

The Russian side wants us to believe that this war is a war for the defence of the people of the Donbas and against fascism, and the Ukrainian side seeks to convince us to believe that this war is the patriotic defence of their homeland. This war is not a war in the interests of the Russian workers nor defending the interests of the Ukrainian workers. It is a war against our interests. 

The World Socialist Movement reaffirms its allegiance to the principle of internationalism and working-class solidarity the world over and proclaims its unalterable opposition to all war. Whether they have been frankly waged as wars of aggression or have been hypocritically represented as wars of “defence”, they have always been made by the ruling elite and fought by working people. Wars bring wealth and power to the ruling class and suffering, death, and demoralisation to the workers. War breeds unreason and ethnic hatred. War obscures the struggle of the workers for social justice and severs the vital bonds of solidarity between them and their brothers and sisters in other countries. War curtails their civic and political rights and liberties.

The World Socialist Movement is opposed to the system of exploitation and class rule which is upheld and strengthened by sham nationalism and fake patriotism. We, therefore, call upon the workers of all countries to refuse support to their governments in their wars. The wars of the contending national groups of capitalists are not the concern of the workers. The only struggle which would justify the workers in taking up arms is the class war, that great struggle of the working class of the world to free itself from economic exploitation and political oppression. In support of capitalism, we will not willingly sacrifice single life but in support of the struggle of the workers of the world for freedom, we pledge our all.

The acquisition and the extension of spheres of commercial and political influence became the object of diplomatic intrigues and the cause of constant clashes between nations. The competition between the capitalist powers, their jealousies and distrusts of one another force each of them to arm to the teeth. The working class has no quarrel with the working class of any country. Working people are never consulted and have had no part in declaring war. They are plunged into war by the trickery and treachery of the ruling class through its political representatives, its demagogic militarists, and its servile media. We declare all war a crime against humanity.

Borders are imaginary lines but they have very real consequences and implications. These lines divide nations and peoples in the name of security and sovereignty. The World Socialist Movement doesn’t believe in borders and hopes to abolish them. Unlike capitalism, we challenge nationalism and we intend to bring together communities worldwide. Socialist solidarity and awareness transcend borders and bring us closer to our goal, which is the end of capitalism. It’s time for us to abolish its borders and focus on people. Whatever other differences we have, we are united as a class by the fact that we are all the exploited victims of capitalism. This makes the working class the global and internationalist class. It is the only force capable of putting an end to the infernal cycles of war. Let’s not fall for “nationalist” nonsense or the defence of any country. When capitalists call on us to “defend the nation” they are really calling on workers to sacrifice themselves in defence of their property. It is better to be a traitor to your country than a traitor to your class. “Workers have no country,” Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto. 

 Loyalty may have had some meaning in small local communities where the principle of all for each and each for all have not entirely lost even its economic significance. But in the modern nation-state, it is a masquerade. No socialist can consistently love his or her own capitalist State to the detriment or disparagement of other peoples. We all know what patriotism means. A gang of thieves by fraud or otherwise lay hold of the power of the State, and with that power in their hands proceed to start a quarrel with another people, whom they consider sufficiently weak and defenceless to be a safe prey, in order to enrich themselves and the class they represent by the plunder and enslavement of the people. But the common citizen must on no account condemn their actions, otherwise stands accused of lacking patriotism. On the contrary, like all true “patriots,” we must cheer them on. We must further rejoice in the victories of “our” countries in war and be duly despondent and desolate by defeat. 

The principle of patriotism – of “fatherland” or “motherland” – is not important, socialist principles are. The task of socialists is to rid mankind of accursed prejudice of patriotism. For socialists, patriotism, in all its forms, is not desirable. Socialists possess no national sentiments. The love for the country of our birth is foolish and absurd. When socialists loves his or her native land then they equally love other people’s native lands, as well. If we love our fellow native-born, then we also love the foreigner. We anti-patriots strive for a new society for all peoples – for the socialist commonwealth. If one can hold in affection a nation of millions, then why not billions in the same way?

The working class is hoodwinked and duped by patriotic pleading, and hasten the day when the workers of the world finally abandon the national flags of their masters and muster themselves under the red banner of world socialism and international brotherhood. The class war we recognise but we have no sympathy with any other warfare pursued under whatsoever pretext. “My country, right or wrong,” the expression of modern patriotism, is the very antithesis of socialism. Our land of birth is accidental, but our duty to our class is worldwide, hence the World Socialist Movement’s internationalism. 

We are all members of the world working class and have a common interest in working together to establish a world without frontiers in which the resources of the globe will have become the common heritage of all the people of the world and used for the benefit of all. We re-assert the original socialist position that workers ought to act as a worldwide class with a common interest in working to establish a single world community. As socialists, we refuse to pander to petty nationalism but work to promote a world without borders or passports.

The World Socialist Movement advances the concept of world socialism, a planet without borders and without the State. We argue for forms of free associations of producers and worldwide federated communes. We are against ‘independent’ capitalist nation-states. Our alternative to both is the fight for world socialism and for international working-class unity and solidarity. 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 World Socialist Movement supports only working-class unity to establish a socialist world. Socialism will be a global cooperative commonwealth, a free world for a free people.