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War and revolutionary defeatism

2022-03-11 | History

Continuing with the recovery of texts of our current, we digitized (in Spanish) three articles published in the French editions of FOR between 1980 and 1986 on war and revolutionary defeatism. They have always been fundamental, but now they are even more urgent.

Three very timely topics as food for thought

Why do the ruling classes harp on about "the danger of a nuclear war"?

The first of these reasons is indisputably to prepare the population for the eventuality of war; to get people used to the idea of war, otherwise the moral shock provoked by the explosion of the first bombs would risk giving way to uncontrolled and "irresponsible" actions. The second of these reasons is that they know very well that world war is, in the minds of most people, the end of all hope.

The announced imminence of a world war has the effect of total discouragement because very few are those who today perceive as the only escape from the dead end of capitalism its liquidation by socialist revolution; seeing no way out, people are discouraged because they do not understand the way to prevent the threat of war from materializing, and in this they are right.

Because if one remains locked in the logic of this rotten and dying system, war will always hang as a threat until it erupts. The total discouragement, thus provoked by the fear of war and the lack of hope both in avoiding war and in establishing a better world, cannot fail to make people, and especially the proletariat, even more apathetic, even more shy, even more ready to accept any conditions.

Antimilitarism without revolutionary defeatism leads nowhere

On the one hand, it must be said that the struggle against war is not necessarily the struggle against capitalism, just as the fear of war is not necessarily a glimmer of communism. The struggle against war must be waged through revolution, that is the key phrase, the only revolutionary slogan concerning the struggle against war. ‎...‎

That in this case the goal pursued - to avoid war or to stop it - cannot be achieved, is obvious, but this evidence is only obvious to communists and not to those who run the risk of naively allowing themselves to be carried away in such a struggle, a false struggle par excellence therefore and one that will delight the various defenders of capitalism. The simple feeling of horror justly provoked by the idea of war may be the only feeling that makes the people react.

We say "people" because precisely in this eventuality social limits are eclipsed and the proletariat does not fight as an independent class and therefore is not revolutionary. On the other hand, the feeling that must dominate the revolutionary struggle is the feeling of horror provoked not only by a particular state in which capitalism finds itself (war, economic crisis, etc.) but by capitalism itself, by its reactionary forces. Atrophy today, because of the absurdity of its parasitic survival in a world where all the objective conditions are fully given for the establishment of communism.

A world war would not bring us closer to a utopian "collapse" of the system nor to revolution and in fact is, in itself, a defeat for the workers

As for the others, those who see in the massacre of tens of millions of individuals the opportunity for communist revolution, to combat them in their absurd reasoning it is necessary to consider the war to come (if it occurs) and its consequences. Consequences for the class struggle.

The coming war, if it breaks out, will be in the first place a failure of the international proletariat which will not have been able to prevent it by revolution, and in the second place above all, if the insurgent world proletariat is not the one to put an end to it as soon as possible, it will mark the end of all human civilization, whatever the form in which its development is imagined. And then, the possibilities of revolution would be compromised for a long time, perhaps forever and in this case it would mean that whatever is left of the human race, if there is anything left, would be on the way to its total decline.

Agitation against the system must prevail over agitation against its catastrophic consequences

It is a question, then, of making capitalist "peace" as mentally unbearable as capitalist war, the "good" course of capitalism as mentally unbearable as capitalist economic crisis, and so on for all facets of capitalism: to make unbearable to the mind both the fundamental cogwheels of the social, economic and political system now reigning over the whole planet, and the catastrophic epiphenomena arising from the laws of the system and allowing them to explode at any moment.

As for the threat of war that today weighs heavily on humanity, we must not panic but, on the contrary, keep a cool head.

Panic can only result in total discouragement or in precipitate participation in actions which have all the possibilities not only of failing to prevent anything at all but also of hindering or opposing the struggle of revolutionaries, the only struggle which can avoid war because it aims at the destruction of capitalism to its roots and the establishment of world communism, without borders and without classes.

This destruction of capitalism, it must be stressed, is far from being a utopian aberration, a hope without possibilities of realization. On the contrary, despite its apparent power, capitalism has never been so weak because the potential power of the proletariat, that is to say, the power it would have if it finally decided to take on behalf of the whole of human society the machines it manages and the wealth it produces or has produced - until now for the sole interest of the capitalists - would surpass its enemy capital; the potential power of the proletariat, therefore, has never been so great. Never has the proletariat had so many possibilities of triumphing on a world scale.

Read the full text in Spanish or download the PDF

Read them in your browser: Guerra y derrotismo revolucionario (1980-86) Download them in PDF format from our historic repository