Capitalist War or Socialist Peace?

Ukraine in rubble, men engaged in butchery with women sobbing and children in tears. The mad orgy of destruction which is now convulsing unfortunate Ukraine was caused by the conflict of capitalist interests. This was anticipated, by World Socialist Movement(WSM), we just did not know exactly when or where. There was little doubt today’s horror had been permanently incubating within capitalism as it was the natural consequence and inescapable result founded upon the economic inequality, the necessary clash of interests, that is the capitalist system. War somewhere, sometimes always was inevitable. The black cloud of war once more hangs over the world. The Working people must arouse themselves and take immediate action against the war.

There is a saying that Ukrainian workers should heed.

“Defend me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies myself.”

The WSM is determinedly against any war between peoples and has opposed always will oppose war with every resource we possess. The role of our movement in the current tragedy is to proclaim that there is but one war – the class war, the one waged in every country by the oppressed against the oppressor, by the exploited against the exploiter. Our task is to rouse the wage-slaves to overthrow their masters.  Our first obligation is, to tell the truth and to convey a firm understanding of capitalism. We point out the media’s derelictions from honesty and principle.

Our purpose as Marxists is to define the class character of war. This war is a war of the capitalist class, worldwide. If we don’t say it’s a class war, a war of the oppressor against the oppressed, of the exploiters against the exploited, of the capitalists against the workers and oppressed people of the world, then we are not telling the whole truth. It is our duty to work toward the speedy ending of the Russian invasion and with the use of all our powers to take advantage of the economic and political crisis produced by the war for the acceleration of the overthrow of the capitalist rule

Every soldier is convinced that he is fighting for justice and freedom, so we explain that their bravery serves only to perpetuate tyranny and misery. We must show the end of war and militarism can only be achieved through the free association of producers and the utter demolition of the State and its agencies of coercion. Modern wars, as a rule, have been caused by the rivalry and intrigues of the capitalist interests in the different countries. Whether they have been frankly waged as wars of aggression or have been represented as wars of “defence,” they have always been made by the ruling class and fought by the working class. Wars bring wealth and power to the ruling classes and suffering, death, and demoralisation to the working people.

They breed a sinister spirit of race hatred and false patriotism. They obscure the struggles of the workers for life, liberty, and social justice. They tend to sever the vital bonds of solidarity between them and their brothers in other countries, to destroy their organisations and to curtail their civic and political rights and liberties. The World Socialist Movement is unalterably opposed to the system of exploitation and class rule which is upheld and strengthened by military power and sham national 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 great struggle of the working class of the world to free itself from economic exploitation and political oppression, and we particularly warn the workers against the snare and delusion of so-called defensive warfare. As against the false doctrine of national patriotism we uphold the ideal of international working-class solidarity. In support of capitalism, we will not willingly give a single life; in support of the struggle of the workers for freedom, we pledge our all.  It is cant and hypocrisy to say that the war is not directed against the Russian people, but against Putin’s government. The weapons being sent mow down rank and file common soldiers and not the oligarchs in the Russian Government.

The socialist parties of the WSM in the present grave crisis solemnly reaffirm their allegiance to the principle of internationalism and working-class solidarity the world over and proclaim their unalterable opposition to the war. The main thing to remember about the pacifist position on the war is its denial that war is an inseparable feature of capitalism. Being a devoted defender of capitalism, they hold, on the contrary, that peace is possible under capitalism. Put good men and women into government, reform or patch up the system, show the ruling class how much it stands to lose by going to war, build up institutions like the United Nations and you can have everlasting peace. In a rational world, there would of course be no war over raw materials which would be accessible to all and collectively used for the common welfare. But a world dominated by capitalism is not a rational world. It’s a world whose very fate is based on such conflicts as the competition for raw materials, trade and spheres of influence. This competition is costly to maintain – but that fact never prevented wars before. It’s a dog-eat-dog system, where each dog is ready to undergo some suffering in order to remain or become the top dog, and where all the dogs are indifferent to the welfare of the pack as a whole.

We can’t end war without ending its cause, capitalism. No matter how fine intentions maybe, someone who clings to this decaying system can’t help misleading in the fight against war. As long as anti-war campaigns are able to dissuade the people from replacing capitalism with a socialist system, just so long will the prospect of war be with us.

There is another problem with which everywhere in the world, are concerned. It is a problem that points at the heart of the real issue – the kind of society we want to live in. A society in which we face constant fear, insecurity and hardship – capitalism? Or a society in which we can live with the richness of human beings who are independent, secure, without fear of living – socialism?

We believe that people can shape their own destiny. We believe that wars arise out of systems in which there are masters and mastered. The most fatally dangerous doctrine, a doctrine which has been systematically propagated during recent years by liberals and progressives throughout the world, is the theory that a basic distinction must be drawn between the comparatively “good” capitalist nations, the “peace-loving” nations – Britain, France and the United States, on the one hand; and, on the other, the altogether “evil empires” – Russia, China and Iran.

 From the point of view of the working class, there can be no “good”, no “peace-loving” capitalist states. Every capitalist state, democratic as well as autocratic, represents one form of the dictatorship of the capitalists over the working class. To defend the democratic rights of the working class is one thing. But this has nothing in common with the defence of the “democratic” capitalist state. The former is a primary duty of every working-class party; the latter is the occupation of traitors. The latter will be put forward as the only way to protect the working class against war; in practice, it will give the working class war. The business of the working class within any country is never under any circumstances to defend “the government” – that is, the political executive of the class enemy – but always to fight for its overthrow.

An important feature in the present war crisis revolves around the question of “sanctions” when a nation has been declared an aggressor financial, economic, and even military measures shall be invoked by states against the aggressor nation. “Sanctions” indicates an ingenious method for turning opposition to war into support of the war. All that is necessary is to call the war an “application of sanctions”. Then it becomes the duty of all “friends of peace” to support it. This, indeed, is the real meaning of the doctrine of sanctions. But sanctions are war measures. They include withdrawal of financial credit, embargoes on trade, various forms of boycott. To enforce them genuinely would require a blockade of the country against whom the sanctions were invoked. The probable, the almost certain outcome of such a blockade, as history has so often proved, is war – since the blockaded nation cannot accept such a measure peacefully without surrendering political sovereignty. Thus it follows that sanctions must be either ineffectual – a kind of large-scale bluff – or they must lead to war.

The World Socialist Movement represents the third camp – the camp of the genuine opposition to war, against all imperialist expansionism – is the only camp worth supporting.