The anti-war movements are futile because they ignore war's cause


The anti-war movements are futile because they ignore war's cause
By A. S.
from the Weekly People
January 23, 1971

Speaking of antiwar protests in his Jay, Daniel De Leon stated: "When William Jennings Bryan attacks 'militarism' and yet upholds the capitalist system, he is fighting an effect while defending the cause. He and all others of his kind in attacking 'militarism' merely imitate the farmer who knowingly planted cockleseed and then complained at the nature of the crop."

The logic of De Leon's contention has been tragically demonstrated in the futility of what was once considered a numerically strong antiwar movement in this country in its efforts to bring about peace or slow down militarism. The evidence that the antiwar movement in America has neither stopped war nor even slowed down militarism was clearly shown in the Detroit News, Sept. 14, 1970, by the syndicated columnist, Richard Wilson, captioned, "Pacifists' score is zero."

Stated Wilson: "For a couple of years the media has been saturated with horror stories about the military-industrial complex, pacifistic Senators have called for 'new priorities," the young have demonstrated at the Pentagon, idealistic groups have deplored the bomb." He continued: "It has all come to naught. Exactly zero insofar as major Pentagon projects have been curbed or eliminated. After months of consideration, the $19.2 billion military supply bill which was to have been made the vehicle for expressing war dissent and Pentagon distrust has been adopted by the Senate the way the Nixon Administration and Armed Services Chairman John Stennis, Mississippi Democrat, wanted it." (Italics ours.) The article went on to state that the measure came complete with ABM (anti-ballistic missile) expansion and provision for huge cost overruns for the C-5A aircraft.

And that was not all. Continued Wilson: "The Senate refused to hold President Nixon to a timetable for ending the Vietnam war. It refused to prohibit use of chemicals for defoliation and crop destruction in Vietnam. It refused to prohibit the use of draftees in Indochina combat. It refused to stop expansion of the ABM ... It refused to adopt an across-the-board cut in Pentagon spending." (Italics ours.) And there was not a thing that the antiwar movement or the pacifistic Senators could do -- even if they wanted to. The politicians at Washington were elected and sent there to protect the economic interests of the capitalist class. That's just one little lesson in political economy that the antiwar movement badly needs. There are many others.

The function of the political State as executive committee of the capitalist class was well expressed by Samuel Clesson Allen, Congressman from Massachusetts, back in 1830. Stated Allen: What have goverments been and what are they now, but the combinations of the rich and the powerful to increase their riches and extend their power? What have the laboring classes to expect from their justice or charity? What from a government in their control? It is in the nature of things that government will always adapt its policy, be the theory of its Constitution what it may, to the interests and aims of the predominating class." (Italics ours.) The present Congress acts strictly in the interests of the present American capitalist class just as it did in Allen's time. Aye, even more!

As long as the antiwar or peace movements and the working class in general refuse, or are unwilling, to recognize the cardinal point that capitalism with its production for profit and private ownership of the tools of production is the cause of war, they will find themselves fighting endless reforms or effects under capitalism which never lead to a solution but only to frustration and despair.

We realize that it is one thing to say that capitalism is the cause of war, but to prove it is another thing. There are many pieces of evidence to offer, but we believe one will suffice. General Leonard Wood, speaking to capitalists before the Lake Mohunk Conference in May, 1915, said: "We soldiers and sailors are merely your trained servants. You create wars, we try to terminate them. Nine out of ten wars are based on trade." (Italics ours.) The general could have said that all wars are based on trade or its equivalent.

The only road to permanent peace lies in the abolition of capitalism and its replacement by genuine Socialism under which goods will be produced for use and the means of wealth production will be socially owned. The workers of America, including those in the antiwar movements, must listen to and heed the logical Socialist Industrial Union program of the Socialist Labor Party.

The Socialist Labor Party's program points out that the capitalists are powerful only because they own and control the means of wealth production. By the same token, they are also weak because they do not personally operate or supervise the mass production industries or services. The workers of both brawn and brain do that. The capitalist class only owns the industries. The Socialist Labor Party calls upon the working class to take, hold and operate the industries and services in the name of all society and establish Socialism. Socialism being a classless and cooperative society under which worker-producers will receive the full value of their labor, there will be no exploitative capitalist class as at present to fight over the surplus wealth stolen from the working class and encourage wars to get rid of it.

The causes of war that existed under capitalism will no longer exist under Socialism. Only under Socialism can permanent peace become a reality instead of just a dream as at present. All of the energy, enthusiasm and sacrifice of the present antiwar movements will come to naught unless they quickly learn that capitalism is the cause of war and that the Socialist Industrial Union program of the Socialist Labor Party provides the only means by which the present ruling class can be dethroned by an economic power greater than theirs.