Wars and why?

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Capitalism is war, plain and simple. It’s not just market society with a war on top, it is war all the way down, and can only be properly understood as such. Peace is a social myth we have constructed to delude or amuse ourselves in our leisure moments eating rat stew in the trenches.

War is an inevitable concomitant of capitalist competition for trade, trade routes, raw materials and exploitative opportunities. When tough negotiations fail, war is always an option under some pretext.

Nation states, schools and commercial businesses are organised hierarchically, like armies, and we are all reluctant conscripts, squaddies whose task it is to fight whoever we’re told to fight, whose received ambition may be to make NCO or officer but whose real ambition, if we’re not blinded by patriotism or xenophobia or bloodlust, is to not get killed.

Understanding that capitalism is war helps to make sense of the news in a way that nothing else does. Random acts of violence no longer seem random. The fear and the paranoia and the endless search for scapegoats and snake-oil cures become explicable, even predictable. The impotent and irrelevant posturing of politicians are meaningless precisely because they are war propaganda, as bogus as Hollywood fantasies, monarchical pomp or religious preaching. This is not civil society with a few oddballs and quirks, it is society in shellshock, having a continuous mental breakdown.

And where do you fit in? There’s no room for shirkers or ‘conshies’ in this war. You don’t have a choice not to fight. If you struggle to make ends meet, you’re in the war. If you struggle against disability prejudice, you’re in the war. If you feel oppressed by white racists, loud-mouthed bigots, the council, the boss at work, the ‘male gaze’, you’re in the war. You don’t have a choice not to fight, but you do have a choice what to fight, and how to fight.

For socialists, the only part of this war that makes any sense, which is worth fighting, that might realistically stand a chance of ending war forever, is the class war, the war against the idea of capitalism itself, the mindset of private property and public poverty, the universal acceptance of oppression. Everyone else is fighting to win, or not lose, or just survive. If we were to win the class war, it would remove the main reason for fighting all the other wars. In socialism, society could finally start to recover from the hell it has put itself through.

Stop electing leaders and elect yourselves to common ownership and democratic control of all the world’s wealth with workers worldwide.

All wars are fought on behalf of the ruling class. Fought over markets, trade routes, vital resources, with intense competition and geopolitical rivalries and ambitions and the last two great wars were not fought for any grand ideal, despite the rhetoric employed to engage workers in the slaughter of their brothers and sisters fellow workers, whom they had more in common with than the bellicose parasite capitalist class of all nations, sending them to their doom.

War, wrapped in the cant of nationalism is used by ruling elites to thwart and destroy the aspirations of workingmen and -women and distract us from our disempowerment.

Alan Johnston