To End War We Have to End the System That Causes It

Across the world many people will be joining the demonstrations against this war in Afghanistan and many others that are wreaking havoc around the planet. There is no doubting their sincerity. There is much to protest about. Since the so-called “end of history”, and the “new world order” were announced in 1990, millions have been massacred around the globe.

A War for Oil

These massacres can no longer be blamed on “collateral damage” in the fight against. “communism” so they told us we have “the war on terror”. And when no-one believed this our rulers resorted to claiming that they were fighting for “human rights” in Afghanistan. But the war in Afghanistan has absolutely nothing to do with bourgeois democracy, freedom, rights of women or any of the other ideological candyfloss the capitalist media serves up for our consumption. Afghan President Karzai was a member of the UNOCAL team that tired to persuade the Taliban to have a pipeline through Afghanistan. A personal friend of the Bush family he was also on the CIA payroll. Members of his government are making more from opium than the Taliban. They have recently passed a law more or less sanctioning rape within marriage.

The real aim of the US (with the support of its NATO allies) is to control the oil and gas of the Caspian Basin and to construct pipelines which bypass Russia and Iran thereby isolating them, together with China, from this energy. The invasion of Afghanistan was planned long before the attack on the twin towers, all this attack did was provide a convenient pretext for what was already planned. The grand design of the US is to create client states along the southern Russian border and the western Chinese border thereby controlling how much energy they receive. Naturally China and Russia have their own competing schemes (China, for example is building a series of naval bases across South Asia). And the latest collapse of the financial markets in the main capitalist economies have increased the tension.

As a consequence wherever we look, from Sri Lanka to Somalia, and on into Central Africa, populations are being murdered, children starved, women raped, and whole peoples displaced by wars over natural resources. For the big players oil is the most important because it is a strategic commodity. The new “Great Game” of imperialist rivalry is largely played out in the Middle East and Central Asia because this is the region where the bulk of the world’s oil and gas lie.

What lies behind this imperialist rivalry, however, is the need for capitalism to continue to expand. Capitalism must grow and capital must accumulate. Above all capital must generate profits in an ever-expanding quantity. This need which is fundamental to the capitalist system is the root from which the entire structure of capitalist imperialism springs. This means that as long as capitalism is the global system of production imperialism will be the key force which leads the world from one war to the next. As death and destruction sweep country after country the dreadful consequences of the capitalist system are exposed.

Only the International Working Class Can halt Capitalism and Its Wars

The imperialist powers, their local agents and their opponents, the so-called “terrorists” are all equally reactionary. The only social force which could create a way out of the inferno into which Central Asia is descending, is the international working class. It alone creates the wealth which our rulers turn into guns. Workers’ real interests are the same the world over and they have the collective power to bring about a different world.

However, we are a long way from an international and united working class movement. After years of defeats, of accepting reduced wages and worsening economic conditions the working class is only now beginning to rediscover itself as class. At present its resistance is piecemeal and episodic, but the growing attacks of the system are forcing workers everywhere, from Egypt to Enfield, to fight back in one way or another. This is not a new situation. In 1914 the working class seemed to have disappeared when it marched off to war to kill fellow workers on behalf of their imperialist masters, but three years later it was the rising of the working class in Russia, in Germany, in Austria and Hungary (as well as the threats by workers on Red Clydeside) that brought a halt to that slaughter.

This is why we argue that it won’t be demonstrations or speeches which will save humanity. If the demonstration of 15 Feb 2003 against the Iraq war, the biggest in British history, could be ignored then our rulers can ignore anything like this. We need to withdraw our labour from the production system which begets war before they will even notice. But a workers struggle is not just to stop war - it is to stop the system which needs war. Instead of capitalist greed which spawns the production of useless commodities, which unsustainably destroys the very resources which are the stuff of existence and which threatens the very future of the planet, we have to build a new society. This would be a society based only on production for need (the capacity for this already exists but the profits system distorts it). It would be a society collectively run and would have no frontiers, no standing armies, no exploitation and no money (since everything would be based on the satisfaction of needs). This is what we are fighting for. It is not short term vision but it is the only route to a saner world.

This is a necessary step in the international struggle to overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with a communist system of production where energy would be distributed globally according to need. The question for humanity remains the same as that posed by socialists at the start of the last century - socialism or barbarism.

Aurora (en)

Aurora is the broadsheet of the ICT for the interventions amongst the working class. It is published and distributed in several countries and languages. So far it has been distributed in UK, France, Italy, Canada, USA, Colombia.