The monster of war has raised its ugly head again, or at least the escalation of a civil war by the threatened intervention of the UK/US. The American, British and French governments, on the hollow pretext of stopping the use of chemical weapons will launched a massive air attack on Syria. The victims of similar past campaigns in Serbia, in Iraq and in Libya are forgotten. It again exposes the futility of the United Nations to avert war.
Many people's gut reaction is simply that war is crazy. Socialists share this anti-war sentiment. but like a voice crying in the wilderness, we also maintain that capitalism and war are inseparable.The weakness of the anti-war movement is that the majority want nothing more than a return to capitalist "peace" rather than the overthrow of the system that causes war. Speaker after speaker sees the immediate situation of open conflict as the problem, the simple solution of which is to simply pull back the troops. It doesn't go beyond that to examine the fact that if states have weapons and armies, they are there to be used. It fails to look at how conflict is actually continuous in the present world. It simply adopts a simple moralist position, "War is bad”. Capitalist states are not moral entities, and their ruling classes do not react to attempts at moral persuasion.
Anti-war protesters lose sight of the fact that we live in an economic system which drives its actors to battle against one another, in order to secure trade routes, natural resources and capital investments. This conflict is continual, the only variation being in the intensity of the conflict and the badges on the uniforms. Whether a war in society is within a nation or between nations, the causes of these wars are of a similar nature. While the circumstances surrounding each war may remain peculiar to the time and place (the extent of dictatorship/democracy or ideas on religions etc), the pattern seems to be repeated all over the world. The owning class of one nation possesses something which that of another nation, or groups within a nation would like to possess. These could be land, markets, or a natural resources like oil and gas. And where a conflict occurs within a country, outside influences are often brought to bear. If resources are up for grabs, the capitalist grabbing class join the fray to see what share of the spoils they can win.
Some on the Left focus on the role of American imperialism as if the American government had some choice in pursuing an imperialist policy, that its actions result from some mysteriously gung-ho national characteristic, rather than from the dictates of capitalist economy. If the US declines as an imperialist power, others will readily and gladly take its place.
The Socialist Party loudly proclaim our adherence to "no war, but the class war" as a means for bringing this ongoing horror to an end. The consent of the ruled (us!) is essential to the continued functioning of capitalism (in both its state-capitalist and private-capitalist forms). Our consent, or our resistance, is part of our rulers’ profit-and-loss estimates. We can make this particular militaristic adventure too difficult or too expensive for our rulers.
But as long as we, all of us, consent to the capitalist system as a whole, in other words, so long as we resist only this particular imperialist intervention, then there will be more and more bloodshed. We must deal with causes, not just symptoms. The socialist does not take sides in ruling class quarrels.
Let the workers unite to control of the machinery of government, including the armed forces. In that way alone will they be able to usher in a system of society wherein universal solidarity of interests will abolish all war, be it between classes or nations. Only socialists can claim to be the true anti-war campaigners. Our fellow workers around the world participate in anti-war campaigns, which call for the end of military wars, but few make that connection, as socialists do, to the wider society and particularly, to its mode of production and guiding ideology which promote competition among all sections of society. In campaigning solely for an end to military wars, which are but a bloody climax to the wider commercial war, there can be no hope of addressing the problems of human society today as a whole. Our message as always is that workers have the choice of roads, a choice which all humanity must make. One road is the road of blood and tears, of capitalism and war. The other is the road to socialism and by ending the exploitation of man by man can we strike at the roots of war.