The ideologists of imperialism regard war as an eternal phenomenon necessary for the life of society. And this is clear: the bourgeoisie and its professors consider only themselves to be society, and pass off their robbery interests as the interests of the entire people.
Bolshevism considers war not as an eternal and natural phenomenon in the life of peoples and states, but as a historical phenomenon that came up at an intermediate stage in the material development of society. This means that at the advanced stage of social development, wars will disappear from the life of peoples, that wars are not eternal.
War is an inevitable product of the development of class society. In the era of primitive communism, when there were no classes, private property and the state, wars between tribes did not happen often, because to wage war was to waste resources. Only with the appearance of private property, classes and states war become a profitable and permanent business for the exploiting classes, a means of enhancing their domination over society, a means of takeovering foreign lands and wealth, a means of enslaving other peoples. The rise of private property and the partition of society into irreconcilable classes necessitated the rise of a state, and hence, special squads of armed people existing to serve the economic and political interests of the ruling class. With regular armed squads at their disposal, the ruling classes are able to constantly wage wars.
War in its essence is the continuation of the policy of this or that class by violent means. In fact, the ruling classes of different countries constantly compete with each other, using the force of their states for this. At the same time, they are trying to achieve their economic and political goals by a variety of economic, diplomatic and ideological means. But if these means fail to achieve the goals set, then the states fighting among themselves resort to an open violent method of struggle, this is war.
In order to understand the essence of war, to understand its real causes, it is necessary to study the policy of classes and states which they conducted before the war, the policy which prepared for the war and led to it. There is no war that is not fought for and governed by the politics of a certain class. It is not the army that governs the war, but politics. The army is the executive organ of politics.
The foundations of every policy and every war are laid in the system of economic relations, in the relations of production that exist in the belligerent countries, in the social and state system of these countries. Just as there is no non-class politics, so there is no war that does not have political goals. The nature of the political objectives has a decisive influence on the conduct of the war. It should not be forgotten, however, that the deepest roots of politics, and thus of war, are in economics. Politics is the concentrate of the economy. It is not politics that determines the economy, but economic causes that determine politics. The struggle of the exploiting classes for dominance in world production ultimately leads to a world war. At the same time, the struggle of the enslaved class against the exploiting class leads to revolution and civil war.
Therefore, war is of two kinds.
1. A just, non-aggressive, liberation war, goaled at either protecting the people from external attack and attempts to enslave them, or liberating the people from the slavery of capitalism, or liberating dependent countries from the oppression of international imperialists.
2. An unjust, conquest war, whose goals are capturing and enslaving foreign countries and peoples.
The exploiting classes, with the goal of plundering the peoples for the sake of enriching a small handful of exploiters, holding back the development of the productive forces and the progressive forces of history, preserving the obsolete mode of production and the old social order, wage unjust, invasive wars. These wars are reactionary, accompanied by the extermination of entire countries and peoples. In such wars colossal material and human forces are destroyed, these wars throw peoples back and hinder the progress of society.
Just, liberating wars are, first and foremost, wars of the working class against the bourgeoisie. These are revolutionary wars. They destroy the old, harmful and reactionary institutions that impede the free development of peoples, they bring liberation from capitalist slavery to oppressed mankind, they bring liberation from the oppression of imperialism to the peoples of dependent countries, and they create conditions for independent state and national development. Just wars serve the interests of the development of productive forces and the progress of society. A striking example of a just war was the civil war of the working class and the working peasantry of Soviet Russia against the White Guard armies and the intervention of foreign capitalists. An even more striking example of a just war is the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet people, who defended socialism, their freedom and independence in the fight against fascism, brought freedom to a number of European countries, and helped the Chinese people get rid of the yoke of Japanese imperialism.
Bolshevism recognizes the justice and necessity of the wars of the oppressed classes against their oppressors and exploiters and condemns imperialist wars. There is an opinion that today Ukraine is waging a just, liberation war. This is not true. The current war in Ukraine is not a just, progressive war on the part of Ukraine.
It doesn’t matter which of the imperialists attacked first and where the fighting is going on. The important thing is that the policy of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie before the war prepared for war with Russia, just as the policy of bourgeois Russia prepared for war with Ukraine and was supposed to lead to war.
It is important, secondly, that the war on the part of Ukraine does not pursue the goal of protecting the people from external invasions and attempts to enslave them by Russian capitalists. Why? Because the working class and the rest of the working people of Ukraine have been enslaved by their own and foreign bourgeoisie long ago, and the conditions of fascist slavery that the Ukrainian capitalists created for their people are no better, and in some ways more difficult, than the conditions of slavery in which the working people in Russia find themselves. The government of Ukraine, as befits the servants of the ruling class, does not protect the interests of the absolute majority of the Ukrainian people, but only the interests of Ukrainian and foreign capitalists, namely, their private property, their domination, their exclusive position in Ukraine, their right to exploit the Ukrainian workers, their right to dispose of and appropriate all the public wealth of Ukraine, created by the labor of its people. This is what the Ukrainian bourgeois state is fighting for, hiding behind the interests of the people.
Next. Ukraine does not fight for the liberation of its people from capitalist slavery and the oppression of American and European imperialists. On the contrary, with the help of the war, the Ukrainian and American bourgeoisie is intensifying the oppression and exploitation of the workers and working people of the country. Ukraine also does not fight to protect civil liberties and democracy from the threat of fascist tyranny from outside. Everyone knows that the remnants of civil freedom and democracy for the working people in Ukraine were destroyed by the Ukrainian government long before the war. Finally, Ukraine does not fight for the sake of developing its productive forces. On the contrary, the country’s productive forces are rapidly declining. And this comes not only from direct military destruction and the killing of workers, but also as a result of the policy of the Ukrainian government aimed at de-industrializing the country, turning it from an industrialized into an agrarian colony of Western imperialism, into something like an Arakcheev country of military-peasant settlements.
Imperialist wars are waged by the big and biggest fascist bourgeoisie, the vanguard of the exploiting class of modern society. It aims to takeover and enslave foreign countries and peoples, to establish its world domination, to retard the development of the productive forces of society, to conserve capitalism, to save the exploitative system and slavery for the working people of the whole world, and to eliminate all the progressive forces of society. On the part of Ukraine, the war is waged by the fascist bourgeoisie of several states at once: Ukraine, the USA, and the leading EU countries. Moreover, the Ukrainian bourgeoisie submits to the policy of U.S. imperialism in everything, and this policy is accompanied by wars, during which entire peoples and countries are exterminated. In line with this policy, the Ukrainian government is actually at war with its own people, since the current war in Ukraine does not destroy the old, harmful and reactionary institutions that hinder the free development of the people, but, on the contrary, reinforces them.
But the war between Ukraine and Russia does not bring deliverance from capitalist slavery to Russian workers either. It is absolutely clear that no matter how this war ends, the world bourgeoisie will do everything possible to prevent the Russian working people from overthrowing the fascist government, establishing a regime of people’s democracy and moving towards the struggle for socialism.
Finally, the war, or rather, the rivalry with Russian imperialism waged by bourgeois Ukraine, does not create conditions for the Ukrainian people for independent state and national development, does not give them sovereignty and political freedom. On the contrary, the working people of Ukraine fall into enhanced slavery to several groups of international predators at once, who are already agreeing and will certainly agree among themselves against the Ukrainian people, for better joint exploitation of this people. Each of them seeks to further enslave the working people of another country, to deprive them of all freedoms, sovereignty, national wealth and culture on the basis of military robbery, brutal exploitation and fascist barbarism. These groups of imperialist predators, moreover, are united by the desire to further enslave their own peoples. Hence, for example, the “sanctions war“ that was declared by the American-European and Russian imperialists not so much against each other as against their own workers.
The progressive working people of Ukraine and Russia are beginning to oppose the war. This is good. But we should not forget that it is impossible to destroy wars without destroying the causes that give rise to them.
The capitalist system, with its irreconcilable contradictions, is the deepest source of wars. Modern world wars arise as an inevitable result of the development of world economic and political forces on the basis of modern monopoly capitalism. The entire system of the modern world economy contains within itself unprecedented crises and military clashes. Unable to overcome in a “normal” way the deepest contradictions that are corroding the modern capitalist economy, trying to get out of the continuous and ever deeper general crisis, trying to save their dominance in the world from the revolution, the imperialists are looking and will look for a way out in a new world war. The capitalists of the USA, the EU, Russia, China, Japan have the goal of re-dividing the world anew by way of war, forcibly establishing their dominance on entire continents, enslaving all the peoples inhabiting them, and destroying any development and movement of humanity’s forward. This means that the imperialists’ fight to win world domination and enslave all the peoples of the world by one, for example, the American imperialists, inevitably becomes on the agenda.
That is why today, more than ever, it is necessary to rally and organize all the progressive forces of all peoples into a united front against a new world war and the uninterrupted struggle of the working people against the war. Only such an organized front of the workers and working people of Russia and Ukraine, with the sympathy and support of the workers of all countries, is able to stop the spread of the Ukrainian war into a world war and foil the criminal plans of American, Russian and any other imperialism.
After all, if the imperialists nevertheless unleash a World War III, it may become a grave not only for individual capitalist states, but for all mankind. Therefore, if humanity wants to live, it is necessary to put an end to the main cause of imperialist wars, that is, to destroy the domination of capitalism by the victory of socialism in most of the leading countries.
To be continued.