How will we abolish war?

Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d

In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.  Tennyson

Capitalism has again plunged the people of the world into carnage and slaughter. It is good that workers are prepared to demonstrate their international solidarity, but it should be a demonstration of real and understanding solidarity. To know how to end wars it is necessary to know how they begin. So long as capitalism remains, for just so long will war (or the armed threat of war) be inevitable and the desire for world peace a vain aspiration. 

So long as a corrupt media and a powerful section of manufacturers of weaponry have everything to gain by war; so long as rival capitalist nations strive against each other to pillage for the plunder around the world; so long as increasing productivity render imperative new market outlets for the growing surplus of commodities; so long, will war persist. The first and fundamental fact about this war in Ukraine that has to be recognised is that it arises against the background of private ownership in the means of living and the world capitalist competitive struggle which flows from it. Without private ownership (and the only alternative is socialism) it would not have arisen. It is, therefore, first, a capitalist war, not because of the “motives” of the ruling groups engaged in it, but because the objective world in which we live is a capitalist and competitive world. 

It is they who concentrate upon achieving socialism alone who are the truest peace-makers, for the abolition of the capitalist system is the indispensable prelude to human harmony and solidarity. With socialism, the struggle of exploiters to loot the planet of its resources is ended. In the co-operative commonwealth, the necessity of capturing spheres of influence by cannon fire no more exists. The workers of the world have everything to gain by peaceful cooperation, and everything to lose by belligerent competition. Capitalism involves power politics, sordid diplomatic intrigue, quarrels over territory and spheres of influence, and other nauseating features of global politics. This, we should stress, is not due to some inherent predatory instincts to which capitalists and their henchmen are particularly susceptible, but is the logical result of their pursuit of profit. The cause, then, is clear. Not human nature, nor individuals aspiring to power, nor lack of cooperation among nations, but capitalist order of society. The remedy follows logically. Deprive the capitalists of their ownership of the means of wealth production, and make these the common property of all the people—in short, end capitalism and inaugurate socialism. Profits, spheres of influence and trade routes will then no longer interest anybody because they simply won’t exist or be able to exist.

We are aware that our attitude is unpopular particularly in face of the widespread belief that a war of defence by Ukraine is the only means of stemming the spread of Russian aggression and of safeguarding Ukraine’s sovereignty. Briefly, our answer to this is that the nationalist feeling and hatreds engendered by war hinder the growth of working-class internationalism and enlightenment. We declare that the nationalist way leads to despair and disaster for the working-class movement and the human race. The need of the hour is to re-kindle, weak and uncertain though it was, the flame of internationalism and the recognition that the interests of the world working people of all nations are one. We hold that hope for the future lies in the direction of trying to keep alive independent socialist organisations. We hold that it is the mission of socialists to continue their work of spreading socialist knowledge confident that socialists in every other country will be doing what they can in face of the difficulties that beset them. At a time when the international fraternity of the working-class is drowned by the roar of guns, we re-affirm our trust that only through international, socialist action can the future peace and well-being of the working-class be attained. It is easy and plausible to say that internationalism is unrealistic and must be abandoned in face of the failure of workers in Russia to line up against their aggressive ruling class dictatorship. Our view is that the decision of our fellow workers to ally themselves with their governments inevitably weakened the hands of those in other lands who were willing to resist the nationalist war fever around them. Socialism is a battle worth fighting for. Cause and cure go hand in hand—capitalism the cause, socialism, the remedy.

War can solve no working-class problem. It cuts across the fundamental identity of interest of the workers of the world, setting our class at enmity with one another in the interests of sections of the capitalist class. Its affects all the participants by forcing them to concentrate upon the best methods of producing misery and of annihilating each other. There can be no peace under capitalism.

In order to abolish war, it is necessary to abolish the cause of war and that is production for sale. If you have a sincere desire to promote the welfare of mankind you should realise that only by becoming active in an organisation that stands for the complete overthrow of the existing system can you do effective work in this connection.

We need no national barriers, the interests of the workers can best be promoted by an international fraternity. We need no money we aim at producing wealth for all, we need no wages, so long as workers are paid for their labour-power others, who are non-workers, will receive the results of their labour. The means of production commonly owned and wealth brought into being for the enjoyment and well-being of mankind. That is our goal and eventually, we shall make it. You fellow worker may not see eye to eye with us at the present juncture. You may be under the illusion that peace can be obtained in some other way. There is no other way. Socialism or capitalism is the choice.

The time has not yet come when World Socialist Movement can consciously plan to challenge events. In the meantime, however, we reject any evils that the world offers as a choice. The members of the WSM do not have to choose which is the lesser of the evils. In a world where the majority are dispossessed of the means of living and where the minority who own quarrel between themselves over possessions that should belong to society, working-class independence should remain among the first and fundamental of socialist principles. We refuse to try to please you by making false statements or inducing you to believe that which is not true.

“He who tells the proletariat fairy tales or who leads them to believe their history has been different to what it has been is as criminal as the navigator who draws false charts for mariners.” – Lissagaray