Ukraine War: No to Imperialist War, Yes to Class War!

February saw the first anniversary of the Ukraine war - a year of massive destruction and massive loss of workers’ lives. As the front lines move back and forth, the US and its NATO allies escalate the supply of deadly weapons to Ukraine. Following the artillery, rockets, and Russian tanks from ex-Warsaw Pact countries, it was announced in January that hundreds of Western tanks and longer range rockets would be supplied together with 300 so-called contractors embedded with the Ukrainian army to service and repair this equipment – echoing Vietnam. Supplying tanks crossed a supposed red line. The next red line is fighter jets but almost immediately after supplying the tanks there was talk of sending F16 fighter jets. One red line after another is just being crossed as Ukraine demands more. Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister has even asked for submarines to sink the Russian Black Sea fleet! It’s clear we are on an escalation treadmill which could, if the Ukrainian army collapses, lead to the direct involvement of NATO troops and an open war with NATO.

There is now not even any pretence that the war is between Ukraine and Russia with NATO merely helping Ukraine; the German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, made it clear that this is a proxy war of NATO against Russia when she casually announced, to the council of Europe, that “We are fighting a war against Russia.” The truth is that the war is imperialist on both sides. On the NATO side, the US ultimately wants to split up the Russian Federation into smaller republics in order to loot their resources and exploit their workers, while on the Russian side, the aim is to secure the riches of the Donbas and secure territory to protect itself against these aims of the US. In either case, it is the working class of both countries being asked – and often forced – into fighting and dying for these imperialist goals. For the US, China is the key adversary and the Ukraine war is just a warm-up, with its medium term aim being to weaken Russia so it will not be able to assist China in a future conflict. The formation of military alliances with China’s neighbours and the belligerent statements from US military and politicians make this clear. US General Minihan, for example, said the US would be at war with China by 2025; other generals have said 2027 but the message is clear and the flashpoint is Taiwan.

This war expresses the crisis the whole capitalist system finds itself in. Declining global profit rates intensify the need for competition between rival nations, which expresses itself as a scramble for more spheres of investment, raw materials and more readily exploitable workers. When the world has been fully divided up between the imperial powers, they can no longer find these things without a new division of the world. War becomes the only option available. Already, the race for raw materials has led us to the brink of climate collapse, now the crisis of the system has become so acute that our leaders are prepared to wage a barbaric war in the heart of Europe, risking an escalation into a global conflict and even discussing the use nuclear weapons.

The only way to end this conflict and the slide to global war is to destroy its cause, the global capitalist system. Only the international working class is able to do this because of its position as an exploited class on whose labour the whole system depends. This can only be achieved through the conquest of political power from the parasitic classes that exploit our labour in peace and march us into our graves in their wars. By depriving the ruling classes of their property, and with it their political strength, and seizing the means to directly shape our own lives, we can transform ourselves from an exploited class, existing only as wage slaves to create profit, into a real human community that produces to meet the needs of each and for whom war would be a relic of the past. Already our rulers are linking their attacks on our wages and living conditions to the war. They tell us we must tighten belts and accept sacrifices because of the war, but the war is being fought for their profits with arms they supply and money they provide, with over $120bn flowing into Ukraine from 28 combined countries. We need to refuse any economic sacrifices for their wars. Instead, workers all over the world need to step up the economic struggle for our interests.

The war is not worth a drop of workers’ blood. In imperialist war there are no good sides or lesser evils. Any political support for either side, no matter how qualified, is support for imperialism; it represents abandoning the interests of the working class and supporting those of the capitalists and the crossing of class barricades. The imperialist war must be turned into a class war. For the workers on the front this means fraternisation with enemy soldiers and mutiny, and for the workers at home this means strike action and sabotage against their nation’s war effort. Refuse to play a part in this imperialist plunder! No war but the class war!

The above article is taken from the current edition (No. 62) of Aurora, bulletin of the Communist Workers’ Organisation.

Friday, March 17, 2023

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.