War or Revolution
(Comunismo, no.3, 1980)
Lenin, in his Imperialism, a text which powerfully condemns pacifist and legalitarian opportunism, reads: “the realities of the capitalist system, and not in the banal philistine fantasies of English parsons, or of the German “Marxist”, Kautsky, “inter-imperialist” or “ultra-imperialist” alliances, no matter what form they may assume, whether of one imperialist coalition against another, or of a general alliance embracing all the imperialist powers, are inevitably nothing more than a “truce” in periods between wars. Peaceful alliances prepare the ground for wars, and in their turn grow out of wars; the one conditions the other, producing alternating forms of peaceful and non-peaceful struggle on one and the same basis of imperialist connections and relations within world economics and world politics”.
There is a close connection, therefore, “between periods of imperialist peace and periods of imperialist wars”, and not a detachment, a separation. The artificial separation between these two aspects of imperialism is the political doctrine of capitalism, which the falsely proletarian parties have made their own.
In this way, a close alliance – tending towards the kinship of the former workers’ parties and the former workers’ unions with capitalism and imperialism – is consolidated in the political field. This alliance originated from the bourgeoisification of a part of the working class by virtue of the economic and material privileges that the bourgeoisie grants it in order to keep the proletariat in a state of exploitation.
To beat imperialism it is necessary to beat opportunism. In order to prevent imperialism from passing from the “period of peace” of its struggle for the preservation of the privileges of the ruling classes, to the “imperialist wars”, it is necessary for the proletariat to defeat the self-described workers’ parties, false communist-socialists, opportunists in words, bourgeois in deeds.
What, on the contrary, is the “solution” proposed both by the small powers, feeling pressure from the big ones, and by the bourgeois parties of the working class that monopolize the proletariat? Artificially breaking the connection between the two phases of the existence of imperialist domination over the world, they propose the “disarmament” of the major powers, the “agreed regulation” of the opposing economic interests between States, the return to “exchanges” between nations in a “new way”, etc. etc.
But war is the continuation of “peace”, the logical consequence of the despoliation of weak countries, of the international dictatorship of capitalism over the world proletariat, in a more suitable form and with more suitable means. This false “solution” hides from the proletariat the profound reasons for imperialist war, because it hides the profound reasons for “peace”. War between States is a necessity of capitalism, imposed on it by its infernal economic machinery. It is not “decided” by anyone, just as the class struggle is not “decided” by anyone. War is the inescapable form of existence of imperialism. The “leaders” of the working class know this. They know things perfectly, but they too cannot escape from the vile lie, because only in the continuity of class society, only by fighting to prevent the proletariat from emancipating itself from wage labor, can they ensure, or believe they can ensure, the privileges hitherto enjoyed by the labor aristocracy.
The establishment and strengthening of imperialism is the basis on which the increasingly close alliance between capitalism and opportunism takes the form of a “political regime” today to hold back revolution, tomorrow, as proletarian revolt against the system explodes, in openly counterrevolutionary function. Lenin, still in his Imperialism, expresses, with deep contempt, this same concept of ours: “Opportunism (…) has finally grown ripe, over-ripe and rotten, and has become completely merged with bourgeois policy as ‘social-chauvinism’”. And again Lenin, at the end of the text: “This stratum of bourgeoisified workers or “labour aristocracy,” who have become completely petty-bourgeois in their mode of life, in the amount of their earnings, and in their point of view, serve as the main support of the Second International [today – ed. note – one would say of the former workers’ parties] and, in our day, the principal social (not military) support of the bourgeoisie. They are the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the labour movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class, the real carriers of reformism and chauvinism. In the civil war between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie they inevitably, and in no small num bers. stand on the side of the bourgeoisie, on the side of the “Versaillese” against the “Communards”.
The Revolutionary Solution
“War against war”, was the watchword of revolutionary Marxists at the time of the first imperialist world war. “War on bourgeois peace” must be the watchword of real communists today, during the preparation for a third world war. If the proletariat succeeds in defeating capitalism in the peaceful phase of its domination, it will avoid a new massacre, and with it the continuation of imperialist rule over the world.
The self-styled communist and socialist parties and the false workers’ unions march in the opposite direction pointed to by communists. They will tread their own path to the end. They will not be able to reverse the course that made them the protagonists of the second imperial war and the "peaceful" resumption of capitalism.
“War on bourgeois peace” is synonymous with the civil war of the proletariat against present society, the first stage of which is that of revolutionary preparation, to strangle capitalism before it puts its designs of destruction into action.
A new and powerful impetus has been given to the war industry in all countries. Masses of troops along the borders of the States, naval and air fleets trace out schemes of death everywhere on earth, set in motion by capitalist powers, while the treasonous parties study the alliances most favorable to their respective States to safeguard the interests of the capitalist system. Not a hint of international proletarian solidarity, based on the revolt of the proletariat against the regime of profit. No practical initiative to place the proletariat in the line of combat against the respective capitalist gangs. Regime parties and unions, on the contrary, even go out of their way to “self-regulate” strikes, to eliminate the slightest friction between proletarians and capitalists. How can it be thought that the wage-earning class can impose its will on the monsters of war, if it is unable to unleash its force even just to defend its most basic interests? The “rotting” of capitalism, characteristic of the death stage of this social system, most virulent where it is most developed, involves parties and unions in the same fate.
The war against this shameful union, which has dragged the flags of communism into the mud, is the only just war, in order to advance the secular struggle for liberation of the proletariat from capitalism.
A war in the near future is inevitable: either the war between the States for the continuity of oppression on the proletariat by the ruling classes, or a class war for the redemption of the proletariat. The workers must decide which war they’ll join. Knowing that their leaders are irreversibly compromised with the bourgeois regime, indeed they are its most fiercely anti-proletarian and anti-communist constituent part, the proletarians have no choice but to abandon the current false workers’ parties if they do not want, despite themselves, to choose the imperialist war.
Until a few months before the First World War, the well-orchestrated propaganda of the opposing traitorous parties, in unison with that of the capitalist factions, had sworn not to want it in the name of “peace” and “freedom” of the peoples, and then shamefully supported the war anyway.
The proletariat was brought to the second world massacre without a fight, because it was deprived of its world revolutionary party, to fight on one of the two fronts of “democracy” or “fascism”, with which the ruling classes disguised their capitalist interests. Dazzled and dazed by the opposing propaganda and ideologies, the proletarians were unable to settle on their real ideological front, communism. The working class thus found itself in the trench of the bourgeois enemy, fighting and dying for a cause that was not its own. One part of the proletariat was brought to the side of one bloc of slave-owners, to kill the other part imprisoned in another bloc of slave-owners. The proletariat could not avoid violence, armed and bloody confrontation, hunger and destruction. The working classes has been immolated for the continuity of the bourgeois regime.
Today, as then, the leaders of the international working class continue to preach that the unsolvable social and economic problems of this society can be solved peacefully, without shocks and clashes, resorting to any compromise, for the sole purpose of preventing the dispossessed from seeing clearly the true face of present society, fiercely class-based, with its States always on a war footing. The only disarmed class, with its skulls stuffed with bourgeois pacifism, is the proletariat, which the false socialist-communist parties have put at the service of their respective capitalist countries. In this state of total subjection, it is extremely easy for the imperialist centers to mount other war “crusades”, with which to divide the world proletariat on opposite armed fronts, some under the infamous flag of the “rights” of citizens, others under the flag of a false “socialism”, which the States trample on both a thousand times a day.
It takes much more than the terrorism of ambiguous fraternities, raving about “true” democracy and a “popular” State, to snatch the hundreds of millions of proletarians from the inhuman dictatorship of capitalism. It takes much more than “reforming” a society that relies on the fierce exploitation of wage labor, whose works it squanders with systematic insanity. Other than the Jesuitical preaching of “civil” relations between classes and States, roaring from the many pulpits of countless political conspiracies, over the astonished and trembling heads of the workers.
Death to capitalism, in peace or in war! This is the slogan of revolutionary communism. Violent struggle, without quarter, against the owning classes and their States, a thousand times more violent and determined against the treasonous parties. War against bourgeois peace, to destroy the political power of the ruling classes and establish real peace, proletarian and communist peace.
The dilemma is not, therefore, peace or war. Under the capitalist regime, peace generates war and vice versa, as Lenin and history teaches. The problem is instead: either the continuity of criminal capitalism, or the international proletarian revolution.