The Only Perspective is International Class Struggle

Against Capitalist War

Against Nationalism in All its Forms

May Day this year falls close to the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. In Western (May 8 1945) and Eastern (May 9) Europe there were joyful celebrations by those who survived 6 years of massacre in which perhaps 100 million died around the world. Despite the fact that there has been no outright conflagration on the same scale as 1939-45 the world has not endured a moment’s peace since. A post-war boom, dominated by two rival imperialist powers who got what they wanted out of the war, ensured that proxy wars in Korea, Vietnam, Angola etc never became global. Even the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) found neither side ready to plunge humanity into oblivion. But then the post-war boom was still in play.

The situation is different today. The end of the boom years in 1973 showed that capitalism’s cyclical crisis had returned. It led to increased tensions and a racking up of the arms race in the 1980s. This in turn brought the economic implosion of the USSR which had been devoting 25% of its GDP to maintain an unsustainable arms race. It was not the “end of history” for “history” never stands still, but it was the beginning of US hubris. The unilateral arrogance of the wars the US (and its allies) unleashed on the Middle East have today reaped their reward in the increasingly brutal and bitter conflicts which are spreading from Syria and Iraq to Libya and Yemen, as well as much of Africa north of the Congo. The situation worsened after the collapse of the global financial markets in 2008 and the subsequent austerity policies inflicted on populations around the world. This in turn provoked anti-austerity movements which culminated in the Arab Spring of 2011. The outcome was not the victory of “democracy”, as Western imperialists originally claimed, but an increase in imperialist rivalries which have now torn so many of these states apart. Millions of people who wanted no part in these wars have been driven from their homes, raped and injured or have had their deaths dismissed as “collateral damage”.

Everywhere the ruling classes feign moral disapproval (at the actions of other rulers naturally) and for many conflicts they claim that there are “peace processes” in operation. At best these produce ceasefires but the wars still go on and on and increase in number. The number of places hit by war from which people are fleeing around the world goes up every year. And what of those that flee? They take part in a version of real-life “Hunger Games”, crossing deserts to reach coasts and then trusting their savings and their lives to people traffickers and unseaworthy boats in an attempt to get to the “rich” (for some) north. The “winners” of these “games” get to “enjoy” a low paid, insecure existence faced with racist attacks. The response of the main imperialist perpetrators of their misery is not to stop plundering and bombing their homelands but simply to make it harder for them to get to the north.

Can anyone doubt that this is a picture of a global system in crisis? Capitalism has created the possibility of a world of abundance yet continues to inflict misery on millions, if not billions. The fundamental reason is to be found in the laws of capitalist production themselves. The same laws which drive capitalism on are also the ones which produce its crises. The law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall pushes capitalism continually to “expand or die”. When the rate of profit is no longer sufficiently high to encourage investment the crisis kicks in. This happened before the First World War and before the Second World War. The destruction produced by these wars caused a massive devaluation of capital which allowed for a new round of capital accumulation to begin. The capital destruction of the Second World War was so great that it produced the longest boom in capitalist history. But this ended in the early 1970s. Since then we have had a system lurching from one expedient to the next in order to keep going. Thus far the capitalist states have managed the current crisis, culminating in the massive banking bail out through a fiction of creating money from nothing. They have increased sovereign debt to levels which are unlikely to ever be repaid but they have reduced spending on wages, welfare and social provision in order to claim financial orthodoxy. They have no real solution to this crisis but their one consistent answer is to step up class war against workers everywhere.

This warfare takes both material and ideological forms. Health and social security spending have been slashed. The only alternative is a job with low wages, zero hour contracts and no security. This is accompanied by media accusations that it is all the fault of “foreigners”. Either it’s those migrants who “steal our jobs” or it is some foreign government with its dirty tricks which is the cause of the problem.

Everywhere we find the rise of the likes of the Front National, UKIP, Jobbik in Hungary, the Italian Lega Nord, the German AfD and Pegida who all try to capitalise on the economic crisis to push their reactionary agenda. These racist and nationalist parties are playing on fear but they are nothing compared to the mainstream capitalist parties of both left and right who use it to divert attention from the real cause of our misery – the capitalist crisis. Their nationalism is more dangerous as it involves justification for participation in imperialist war. In Ukraine the masses are victims of two sets of gangsters acting as proxies for outside powers. The pro-US and pro-EU government in Kiev is playing on the tradition of a mass murderer like Stepan Bandera and the "struggle for national independence. In the East it is the USSR’s “anti-fascist” struggle of World War Two which is the basis of nationalist propaganda against the “fascists” in Kiev. Putin will be taking the salute at the Victory Day parade in Moscow to celebrate the end of World War Two (or the Great Patriotic War as it has been known since Stalin’s day) on May 9. No leading Western politician has so far offered to celebrate alongside their wartime allies.

The global economic crisis of capitalism has increased the imperialist rivalry that we are now witnessing. The desperate competition for energy resources, strategic and financial advantage and any kind of expansion that can relieve the pressure on any national economy lies behind the increasingly barbaric wars of our time. Under capitalism global debt forgiveness is entirely a utopian fantasy. All the capitalist powers would like devaluation of capital – but not their own. The road to a future world imperialist war has not been closed.

But neither has the alternative. The working class has no country. We are, and always have been, a class of migrants. We are the one force which is capable of fighting austerity, nationalism and the capitalist drive to war on a world scale. This is not because we are the bearers of any special moral virtues but because we are the one producer class which has the collective means to confront capitalism in the same way everywhere, and to surpass it. It is not yet immediately obvious, but humanity is approaching a decisive choice. Either we follow the logic of capitalism towards more and more warfare and the ecological rape of the planet or we reconstitute society anew on the basis of a common ownership of the world’s resources. We call this communism but it has nothing in common with the state capitalism of the old USSR. It is a society without states, without borders, without money and without war based on the principle “to each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities”. To achieve it will not be easy. We must first reject austerity but only as a first step to rejecting everything else capitalism promises. In the course of this long struggle we need to create our own autonomous organs like strike committees, assemblies – outside and against the unions, which allow the maximum of participation of all workers and have recallable delegates immediately accountable to the assembly.

Above all it is the task of the revolutionary political minority to frame the alternative in a political programme to inspire and unite the majority of workers and in the final analysis create a political organisation capable of spreading that programme and leading the assault on power. This party will not be a government in waiting anywhere. It will have no country. It will be international and internationalist and act as coordinator for all those who seek to end the misery of capitalist existence. Our aim in the Internationalist Communist Tendency is to be part of that process. Join us.

Internationalist Communist Tendency

May Day Statement 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

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.