Imperialism & War

Imperialism & WarClausewitz, the German military theoretician, insisted that “war is a mere continuation of policy by other means”. This goes to the heart of the matter. War is merely an extension of the struggle between nations and classes by other means, and the struggle between nations is merely an extension of the competition between the major multinational corporations. 

Capitalism is riddled with war. In a constant struggle over the profits they have extracted from the labour of the working class, the various imperialist powers engage in various forms of armed conflict. The complete domination of US imperialism, which was euphemistically referred to as pax americana, means open conflict between the imperial powers is excluded. Yet, that doesn’t in any way exclude small wars. In fact, the past few years have seen millions of people displaced and dead in conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. 

As long as capitalism remains, as long as competition between multinational corporations remains, so will armed conflict. The Second International in its famous Stuttgart Resolution advocated the use of the crisis brought on by war to further the socialist revolution. That remains the attitude of Marxists to this day. We fight against imperialist wars, but we understand that the only way to finally rid humanity of the misery of war is to rid it of the capitalist system itself. 

For more than 100 years, the democratic and progressive forces on the Balkans have striven to overcome national divisions and hatreds, and to unite the peoples of the Balkans on the basis of a federation, based on genuine equality and fraternal relations. However, on a capitalist basis, the idea of a Balkan Federation remained a hopeless utopia. An outstanding analysis of the break-up of Yugoslavia written at the beginning of the conflict.

In May 1997 Kabila came to power in the former Zaire (which he renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo), ousting dictator Mobutu. The US diplomacy was euphoric. They now had a string of "client" regimes which included Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, the DR of Congo and also a great deal of South Africa's foreign policy in the region was dictated by Washington. But many things have happened since. At least nine African countries have become involved in the Congo conflict which broke out on August 2. What is the meaning of the conflict in the DR of Congo?

It is nearly seven years since George Bush, the then president of the US, made his famous "New World Order" speech. This was in 1991. In the build-up to the Gulf War the main imperialist power on earth promised a world without wars, without dictatorships and, of course, a world firmly under the control of a single all-powerful world policeman--the US. After the fall of Stalinism, US imperialism really thought that the world would be firmly under their command and they would be able to dictate the destiny of each and every country. Now all these dreams have been reduced to rubble. In this document Ted Grant and Alan Woods make an in-depth analysis of the history of the imperialist

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"No-one, it seems, has learned anything on the Balkans since 1991." (Financial Times, editorial, 9/3/98.) The scenes of massacre of men, women and children in Kosovo have disturbed the conscience of civilised people everywhere. What is the meaning of this? What is the solution? And how should the labour movement react? Alan Woods analyses the situation and puts forward, as the only solution, the Socialist Federation of the Balkans with full autonomy for all people's.

US and British imperialism are preparing their war and propaganda machines for a bombing of Iraq. This article exposes the real reasons behind the threat of force and all the lies and double standards of imperialism in relation to chemical weapons, UN resolutions and "defence of democracy". It also analyses the possible consequences of an intervention in the fate of the Middle Eastern reactionary regimes.

This article, by Ted Grant, deals with the refugee crisis in Central Africa at the end of 1996, when Belgium and French imperialists were demanding military intervention in the area for 'humanitarian purposes'.

50 years ago on this day, after four years of revolutionary struggle against British colonialism, what was later known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen was born. This event, which is consciously hidden by the bourgeoisie today, marked one of the peaks in the revolutionary wave that swept through the Middle East in the post-war period.

In 1975 the Vietnamese people gained a historic victory, driving out the US armed forces and liberating the south. After 28 years of war the country was reunited and capitalism and landlordism abolished throughout. With these heroic sacrifices, the Vietnamese workers and peasants paid the price for the defeat of the revolution of 1945,when they had power in their grasp. Why was this opportunity lost in 1945? What are the lessons of this defeat for the workers' struggle today?

The arms race between the USA and the USSR escalated in the 1980s because of Reagan’s “Star wars” programme. Ted Grant outlined the real reasons for the antagonism and the factors that ruled out an open war between US capitalism and the USSR, and explained that only the conscious mobilisation of the working class could put an end to this criminal “Cannons instead of butter” policy.

The coup in Algiers by General Massu paved the way in France for the rise of General de Gaulle to power without shooting a bullet. Ted Grant exposed the role of the Socialist and Communist leaders who appealed to the capitalist state to take action against the insurgents instead of mobilising and arming the workers, and tail-ended Pfimlin to "defend the democratic institutions", thus politically disarming the French workers in the face of the shameful capitulation of Pfimlin to the Generals.

We are republishing Ted Grant's 1980 article on the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, together with an introduction by Alan Woods. In this article we find a scientific Marxist analysis of the class content of the 1978 Afghan revolution and its historical origins. In addition, we have an explanation for the principled position that we took with regard to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that occurred the following year.

In 1978, a radical faction of the Afghan Communist Party seized power in a military coup. The 'Saur Revolution' carried out a whole series of progressive measures. The government passed decrees abolishing the selling of brides and giving equality to women. It announced a land reform and the cancellation of farmers’ debts. These measures met with the ferocious opposition of the powerful land owners and moneylenders. This article by Ted Grant, published in 1978, contains an analysis of the revolution, as well as the phenomena of colonial revolutions and proletarian bonapartism more generally.

In this internal discussion document Ted Grant analysed the process of the Syrian revolution in the 1960s and outlined the causes of its peculiar development, which gave rise to a regime of proletarian Bonapartism, where capitalism was abolished and the vast bulk of the economy was nationalised. The Syrian working class, however, needed to go through a political revolution in order to establish a genuine workers' democracy.