No War but the Class War: Statement from NWBCW Chicago

We publish here the founding statement of NWBCW Chicago. You can follow their activities: @NWBCWChicago.

How is this war different from all others?

It has been just over a year since the initiation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and in that time, as always, the highest price has been paid by the working class: sacrificed as cannon fodder, state oversight suffocating worker organization, the continued propaganda and attacks from the reactionary sections of the ruling class (often representatives of “old money” and dying industries) at the expense marginalized workers continues without end, while the more gracious sections content themselves with viewing the working class more “equally” as the human embodiment of labor-power which is to be subjugated to the end of producing ever more profit—all this while living conditions diminish due to high inflation and the cutting of benefits and wages, while tragedy strikes repeatedly as climate change continues to ravish the planet. This is what workers have paid as they spent some months wondering if they would die soon by nuclear assault. While the ruling class battles over land, resources, and strategic advantages, our immiseration grows more and more by each passing day.

However one question has been raised again and again; what exactly makes this particular war any different from any others? There have been numerous wars throughout the last 20 years. Whether it was in Iraq and Afghanistan, Syria, Libya or Sudan, all were wars over resources and intensifying conditions as capitalism continues its path of crisis and cannibalization. The answer becomes clear that there is no difference in Ukraine except an intensification of stakes and circumstances. With each passing moment the tendency towards a generalized war becomes more and more reality. This war can only be speculated at this point as being the stage setting for a coming general war between competing imperialist blocs. Russia has interest in it in order to protect their current assets as much as they have in gathering further resources such as from Crimea by expanding their territory and furthering the buffer zone between them and NATO. The current peace agreement being proposed by China has the character of solidifying blocs and alliances, should it go through–recall that China is Ukraine’s largest trading partner. Should the war in Ukraine end tomorrow, it will result in a further boldening of the lines in the sand of the current imperialist conglomeration. As the die is cast and our living conditions are attacked further and further for the sake of our national capitals, the threat of a more generalized war between blocs grows more and more.

These actions taken by the capitalists in various blocs in order to suit their interests have shown their consequences for the working class clearly. In Ukraine this has lead to workers fighting and killing one another, houses torn and burned to their foundation, impoverishment and destitution of all sorts. Workers here and in Ukraine are being stretched to their limits and beyond. In the US for example, a series of shortages lead to baby formula being very difficult to even obtain causing suffering, anxiety, and malnutrition for the poorest workers while bombs and armaments are produced to fuel the war. This illustrates clearly that every bomb produced is a can of baby formula not produced. Hour cuts have become more and more common as companies restructure their workforce and attempt to recover any amount of profitability they can. Simultaneously they are hiring more to fill roles and increase their productive forces on the other side of their quest to secure revenue. Some of this was a direct result of the exacerbating circumstances caused by the pandemic, but all of the above is part of the general trend of capitalism and more specifically the recent crisis. While profits are at an all time high the tendency of the rate of profit continues to fall and the conditions ideal to turning profit are becoming more unstable. The same crisis that creates these woes for workers in the workplace and at home creates the need for the war and is stretching thin workers to produce, export, and labor in order to meet the continuing demands of the capitalist class as it sinks us further and at times even prepares to go into a general war.

For capital, production, social and material life, must be in the final instance oriented towards profit. As the profits dip as they naturally do, some ways to get those numbers up is to get the real wages of the working class down, and subjugate it politically to the ultimate end of waging war, securing rebuilding contracts and “new” markets, and starting the whole thing over again. We must reject the sacrifices we are asked to accept for capital: cuts in hours, wages, raises in rent, cuts to public services, the increase of debt burdens for workers. As the capitalist class arms the police, invests in surveillance, and right here in Chicago raises the bridges to guard itself from the masses. We must orient ourselves as a class against capital, across the false divisions imposed by its political heads. We must demand our wages, demand no sacrifices for the nation or its wars, and struggle to bring an end to the capitalist system that divides humanity into national-imperialist blocs.

The working people of Chicago have not been passive through all of this. From health workers at Howard Brown Health Clinic to the service workers at the United Center, workers have shown the courage to stand up and strike. However this effort so far has only taken the form of unionizing efforts which are by design actively limiting and counterproductive to working class organization. In order to see real results we need independent working class organization from all third parties that act only as functionaries and middle management for capitalism and only negotiate wages, benefits, and concessions. We know this because we are a gathering of workers with political knowledge taking action towards international working class organizing and we’re putting forward a message in the interests of the working class. We call upon genuine internationalists to participate in the formation of No War But the Class War Committees to struggle against the progressive impoverishment of the working class and to reject the sacrifice of workers for the imperialist chess game of the ruling class. It is only when we impose our needs over the needs of capital and the state that represents it that we can prevent further imperialist carnage and the whole system that gives it life and meaning in its entirety.

NWBCW Chicago
April 2023
Tuesday, April 4, 2023