Sunday, May 31, 2015

War and Peace and capitalism

Verity M.

The recent verification that the United States would be stationing B1 bombers at Australia’s Tindal Airbase and is moving aircraft carriers within 12 nautical miles of and overflying Chinese claimed territory in the South China Sea is preparation for war with China. So too is the remilitarisation of Japan and securing Japan as a tight ally of the United States and Australia.

Australian   Governments have a long history of kow-towing to imperialist powers and foreign capital; the collaboration with U.S. military is a case in point and raises questions about Australian sovereignty and independence as does the  subservience with which the Labour Government approached the mining tax.  The government is subservient, the people are not.  There is rising concern being articulated around Australia about military alliances and foreign investors doing pretty much as they like.

The U.S. renewed focus on Asia is to ensure that as many Asian countries as possible are secured for the American camp and the influence of, and alliances with, China are kept to a minimum.  At the same time, it is preparation for a trade war and armed conflict to challenge a competing power. This is of real concern to Australians. We have American bases in Australia and intelligence apparatus which could make us a first strike target in any  U.S. initiated war.

Peacekeeper or warmonger. 

America which presents itself as the world’s ‘peacekeeper’ has a long history of wars against neighbours and friends-become-enemies. The U.S. history is a history of war. America has been involved in eighty or more wars against its South American and Asian neighbours between 1885 and 1990.  These can be loosely categorised as wars to extend national boundaries as with Mexico and Haiti, wars against progressive governments as with the Dominican Republic, or to prop up inept but U.S sponsored Governments, and military interventions to protect American capital  being threatened with nationalisation or prolonged strikes. All of these are wars against the people where U.S. capital has significant investments and interests; all are examples of the State taking action against the people of invested-in nations on behalf of capital. Other wars as in the Middle East are no different; they are similarly attempts to capture resources and space for imperial capital.

Imperialist/capitalist  wars are not confined to a armed conflict against other nations that are threatening trade or which  need to be pulled into line for other reasons.   War is a central tenet of imperialism: imperialism cannot exist without war.  War paves the way for capital penetration of defeated nations, it captures territory and structures governments. The need for imperialist nations to be constantly at war or preparing for war distorts the economy of the imperialist nation  and utilises a vast amount of resources that could be used  for the benefit of the people but  which instead benefits imperial capital at great cost to the peoples of the imperialist power, not to mention the suffering of the invaded peoples and the aftermath of invasions as we are now witnessing in the Middle East . The working classes of imperialist countries have good reason to support and unite with the working classes of the nations subjected to imperialist exploitation

Class War

Lenin states “…history describes a struggle between nations and societies and also within nations and societies and in addition, an alternation of peace and war and rapid progress and decline.”  Marx brought order to this chaotic and seemingly unchangeable way of life with his theory of class struggle.

Imperialist wars are as much a struggle of class against class as is the internal relationship between labour and capital. Imperialist wars are fought on behalf of imperial capital: its purpose to capture resources and the creativity and productivity, ( the labour power) of the indigenous working class.  What else is foreign investment about, whether it is achieved by military intervention or by stealth, aided and abetted by compliant governments?

Capitalist war continues at the domestic level and in another form and  for the same reasons as external wars, to ensure trade is not interrupted, and that capitalist accumulation and expansion can continue at a rate determined by capital.  So called ‘peace’ gives capital the opportunity to focus on the internal class war. The restoration of the U.S as the world power and the only one to be tolerated is essential for Western capitalism under threat particularly in the U.S. and Europe.  And as capitalism is weakened, so are peoples’ rights. We are witnessing a global promotion of right wing parties and a clamp down on peoples’ protests, as State power is more openly utilised to protect a weakened and increasingly threatened  capital.  What this means is that working people must look to each other to form alliances and devise strategies to protect themselves and to  resist any diminishing of the right to withdraw their labour,  rights to organize, assemble etc.  

Weakened economically, capital must increasingly rely on force and the threat of force to sustain its power to exploit and this remains true whether it is applied to the U.S. utilising its military power to ward off perceived threats to its economic power or whether it is a working class prepared to defend itself against unfettered exploitation.  State power is called into play and the war goes on in another of its many forms.

The pressure towards war only increases.  We are seeing preparation toward war in Asia whilst wars in the Middle East intensify.  The war against the people also intensifies as unemployment encompasses entire continents bringing despair and want to masses of people.   Indebted countries punish their people to keep faith with finance capital.   The environment is sacrificed and young people continue to die either from war or from want. The gap between rich and poor widens as uneven development within and between countries (a characteristic of capitalism) becomes more apparent.

What future?

We face a future where capitalist and imperialist nations led by the United States plan a redivision of the world, one that seeks to maintain United States dominance whilst limiting the opportunities for Chinese trade and investment.  Behind closed doors strategies and plans are being developed for various invasions.  Internally capitalism in crisis prepares to repeal gains won through the sacrifice and struggle of previous generations of workers.  Social democracy attempts to temper worker militancy by offering small concessions to workers whilst skewing industrial relations legislation, taxation, and other legislation to benefit capital.  

The people can create a different future.  The struggle has begun and will intensify.  The authentic, subjective individual and collective experience of working people will increasingly bring workers together to claim power in their various fields, whether it’s the factory, mine, school, hospital or university.   The cry of the many city ‘occupiers’ of “All power to the people” is not just a slogan; it is an outcome that through organisation and working class leadership can deliver social justice and sustainable peace and it is achievable.  History is on the side of the people.