International Communist Party Against Capitalist War


The Coming War
from Prometeo, issue 6, September 15th 1928


In the previous issue we recalled the views of our teachers on the problem of war – a fatal product of the contradictions of the capitalist economy – which, when it manifests itself in the imperialist epoch, in the last phase of capitalism, indicates that the maturity of the development of the productive forces lays the preconditions for the transformation of the economy toward socialism, a transformation whose fundamental precondition consists in proletarian insurrection for the conquest of political power, for the destruction of the capitalist State machinery and for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletarian class.

As in 1914, the dilemma arises: either the struggle for imperialist war, or the struggle for revolution through the transformation of imperialist war into civil war. As in 1914 today, social- democracy – in its Brussels congress – has chosen the first alternative and, to this end, has lined up “socialist militias” that demand their program into the preparing armies. This socialist military program, which rests on the reduction of compulsory conscription; on the organization of cadres of specialist careerists, on the incorporation of the trade unions into the State machinery (or the civil personality that makes trade unions an organization in the service of the capitalist State), on the mobilization of the entire population, this military program of the socialists is the one that best corresponds to the technical and ideological needs of the future meat grinders, and it must thus be said that the recent International Congress of Social Democracy represented an attempt of paramount importance, for the unification of the socialist parties (reflecting the contradictions of interests between their respective governments) on the plane of a coordination for an active struggle against the revolutionary proletariat in order to submerge the eventuality of the transformation of the imperialist war into civil war and for the revolution, in the fratricidal slaughter of the proletarians.

But Vandervelde spoke of a “struggle for peace and against war”.

But Kellog presented the project to outlaw “war”.

But, in Geneva these days the Kellog pact is hailed and the Social Democrat Müller – Hindenburg's chancellor – calls for the implementation of this pact by quickly convening the Conference for Disarmament, and Renaudel proposes a conference between the socialist parties of France, Germany, England to examine the question of the evacuation of the Rhineland, while in Geneva, the socialist fraction of the League of Nations – Breitscheid and Paul Boncour – works in the same direction.

But Litvinov, who had already presented the Soviet plan for universal disarmament, brings Russian adherence to the Kellog Pact and proclaims that we’re “really” proceed on the path of disarmament.


THE QUESTION OF DISARMAMENT

Lenin taught us that the “tapage” (1) around peace develops precisely when preparations for war are at their most fervent. The facts prove this. Never – in the aftermath of the war – had we witnessed, as in these times, the great land, air and sea maneuvers, the galloping race toward armaments.

And so, the “tapage” for peace actually manifests itself for what it is. Just as the “tapage” of the defense of democracy against Kaiserism was the vehicle by which capitalism succeeded in throwing the proletariat into the war, so the “tapage” about disarmament is the vehicle by which the right-wing bourgeois and socialist governments use to divert the attention of the communist proletariat from war preparations and to corrupt the consciousness of the masses by making them converge toward the expectation of peace in order to prevent – in the light of the terrible experiences of the past – this consciousness from becoming emboldened in the vision of the struggle for proletarian revolution. And when the day has come, there will be no shortage of ways for the Poincarés and the Vanderveldes to prove that war is being declared in strict compliance with the pact that outlawed it. What will follow will be the cruelest test for the communist proletariat against which a bestial reaction will be unleashed to strangle its action and propaganda in these decisive periods.

But what should be the position of the communists in this regard, in the imperialist countries and even where the proletariat has won political power? It’s to declare that since war is inevitable as long as a regime based on class oppression exists, all propaganda carried out for disarmament is but the vehicle for ideologically preparing the masses for war. That this propaganda for disarmament is carried out to ideologically “disarm” the masses today in order to better “disarm” the civil war tomorrow when war breaks out, that it is carried out to corrupt and “disarm” the enthusiasm with which the world proletariat greeted the Red Armies of Russia, the armies of the Russian and world revolution.

The communist position is the opposite of that held by the communist parties today, which can be judged an “ultra-left” position, on the side of social democracy, alongside the “disarmers” where proposals for real (!) disarmament are presented.

Besides, the logic of the facts is crystal clear even today. Despite the false position of the communist parties, even on this question capitalism – aware of the danger posed by these organizations where the communist proletariat is organized – unleashes its legal and illegal terror. Ivry and Saint-Denis are eloquent demonstrations of this.

We must “arm” the proletariat’s consciousness with the conviction that all the propaganda of State, clerical and socialist pacifism serves to cover up the preparations for war, not only that, but that it serves above all to corrupt the consciousness of the masses which we must as of today instigate toward civil war, and not toward disbandment and inaction. On this line of disbandment falls the policy of communist opportunism, which, moving under the guilty delusion that communist tactics consist only in the unmasking of social-democracy, falsifies all the preparation that the communist parties should make on this question of capital importance.

In the ideological field, capitalism operates both through “pacifist phraseology” (using for this purpose the valuable support of the socialist organizations) and through chauvinist propaganda in schools, sports clubs and a thousand other organizations. In both camps the bourgeoisie has achieved successes; in both camps the intervention of the communist proletariat on the basis of the remembered fundamental class criteria is needed.


THE KELLOG PACT

Russia's adherence to the Kellog Pact is an act that runs counter to the interests of the Russian and international proletariat because it seriously undermines the effort to be made by the proletariat to dismantle – by striking at the heart of it – the capitalist machinery of disarmament.

The analyses the International had until now always made of the “peace talks”, of the “arms reduction” agreements, had taught us to glimpse, beyond the farce of phraseology, the reality of an economic, political and military agreement between the contracting imperialists. The same was to be done with the Kellog Pact. It’s in reality and at the same time, a farce as to the military agreements that preceded it and the interests of the imperialisms that were at stake. In the Hall of the Clock in Paris, one contractor, America, had gathered a number of other contractors (the imperialist States of Europe) and the relationship was that of the one sovereign Kellog in the face of multiple satellites. This famous pact indicated the degree of American supremacy in the world economy manifested when the imperialist governments and socialist parties of Europe were seeking a line of compromise to their antagonisms to establish a common front of resistance.

A year earlier it was the proletariat of Europe that had unleashed agitations against Yankee imperialism and against the capitalism of Europe: this was at the time of the formidable Sacco and Vanzetti agitations (2).

This year, the essential force of European regeneration, the revolutionary proletariat, has lost many positions of strength (especially at the most important point, in Soviet Russia) and on the world chessboard, antagonisms between different imperialisms are looming as being the decisive ones.

The Kellog Pact was preceded by the “pact against Kellog” as Comrade Lapinski aptly calls the Franco-British naval agreement which, under the unfailing banner of peace, aimed at an extension of French submarines in order to determine a factual understanding against the United States and to direct a plan for the development of general European policy such that it would include Germany. Of course, this plan encounters enormous difficulties manifested moreover in the Geneva conversations of these days where the directives expressed by Poincaré in the Carcassonne speech, regarding the mobilization of the Rhenish bonds, seem to have clashed with the first American response to the Franco-English compromise.

Soviet Russia, instead of adhering to the Kellog Pact, should have revealed its real nature, presenting – to the world proletariat – all parts of this war machine especially in relation to the course of the 1927 Naval Conference. Soviet Russia was not to fail, on this important occasion, to point out the plot hiding behind all the phraseology, and which a proletarian State must openly denounce and not give it its support albeit with ineffective reservations.


“THE COMING WAR”

On the level of the manifestation of the antagonisms of the bourgeois economy, experience has shown us that as much as the essential class antagonism is the dominant one and gnaws at the bowels of capitalist society, when the positions of strength of the communist proletariat are not such as to deploy the strength of the masses in combat (and then a united front is immediately established between the imperialist governments – reactionary and “socialist” – as during the Commune, in the period 1918-21 against the Russian revolution, in 1927 against the Chinese revolution), then the collisions between the special interests of the capitalist groups become the driving elements that determine situations. This is, of course, temporary, since thereafter – as the revolutionary battles of the postwar period prove – the manifestation of revolutionary class conflict resumes its inevitable upper hand. In this light, it is evident that the exit from the present situation is dominated by this dilemma: either revolution or war. If the proletariat of Europe succeeds in revolution, we won’t have war, otherwise we will have war.

It’s clear that if we do come to war, this will depend solely on the fact that the counterrevolutionary offensive of capitalism has achieved some fairly important positive results. But it is equally clear that in order to stop the offensive of capitalism, a firm and clear policy of the communist parties is necessary and indispensable. Unfortunately, the situation imposed in Soviet Russia and the Communist International, on the left, and the triumph of opportunism, are such elements as to seriously undermine the action of the proletariat.

The whole crux of today's question is here: will the proletariat succeed in driving opportunism out of its ranks, before the counter-revolutionary successes of capitalism are such that a new 1914 arises? We said in the previous article that the current situation of the proletariat is summed up in two names: Bordiga in Ustica, Trotsky – one of the leaders of the World Civil War – in Siberia. Class relations are indicated by the situation of these two great leaders. If the revolutionary proletariat succeeds in putting them back at its head, it will have set a fundamental condition of success because this will show that it has resumed its offensive march. Should events unfold in the opposite direction – especially in Soviet Russia – then the revolutionary struggle will be much bloodier and harder but this will not fail to achieve victory on the path that the masters of Marxism have taught us and in the course of the struggle against socialist treachery and Stalinist opportunism.

 


1. French for noise, fuss, racket, commotion, ruckus, etc.

2. Reference to the unrest following the execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian anarchist immigrants to the US, by the American State. The execution sparked outrage among the international proletariat: riots broke out in America itself, general strikes were called in Mexico and Uruguay in solidarity, ten thousand protesters took to the streets in Sydney and the proletariat revolted in Berlin, London, Paris, and other European cities