War and peace in a shifting global political environment

War is a slaughter, a living hell, visited first and foremost against the working class. As Lenin noted, “a bayonet is a weapon with a worker at both ends”. War too is invariably orchestrated by members of the ruling class, who are spared the peril of death or physical danger in exchange for their most sagacious leadership qualities. These brutal facts are easily forgotten, so saturated are we in the western world in the nauseating propaganda of militarism, jingoism and ignorance that is the background noise of everyday life in 2023, as we slouch obliviously towards nuclear annihilation. War has become a spectator sport of the most repugnant kind, draped in the false vestments of liberal humanitarian concern and a Manichean cosmology that projects all of its bloodthirstiness and barbarism onto the perpetual enemy (Russia, China, Iran, and all of those disobedient nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America), one who must be disciplined or even eradicated at all costs, all the while assuring the comfortable western subject of his superior moral standing.

Another truism, per Carl Von Clausewitz, holds that war is the continuation of politics by other means. We must be absolutely clear that the current state of geopolitical tension, in which China, Russia and likeminded nations are openly discussing the de-dollarisation of international trade and an end to US hegemony and taking active steps to achieve these goals, is strongly likely to escalate into a global war given the existential threat this poses to US imperialism. The US’ inability to thus far diplomatically challenge or reverse such moves, and limit China’s growing influence on the world stage, is an indication of this. As with the destruction of the Nordstream pipelines, if a political solution cannot be found, a military one will. Of course, we may already have seen the commencement of this global conflict in Ukraine, though this would only be one of many fronts, including the Chinese island of Taiwan, should things escalate as they promise to. We are facing into the grim prospect of either World War III, or another bloody Cold War, fought via proxies, or both.

The necessity for global mass mobilisation on a peace and anti-war platform has never been more urgently apparent. For too long has the left, such as it is, been drawn into pathetic equivocation on issues of war and anti-imperialism. The position in popular discourse once held firmly by anti-war voices, for example in opposition to the US/UK/NATO war on Iraq, has been vacated and filled by a rabble of bleeding heart imperialist warmongers, who of course theoretically oppose war, but for whom Assad/Gaddafi/Putin/delete as appropriate is so uniquely evil that only a protracted war costing hundreds of thousands of lives is the only morally justifiable position. Of course, they would never enlist in such a war themselves, but are more than happy to send the workers of another country to die in their stead. Astonishingly, in all of the western political class’ endless pronouncements on the Ukraine war since it began 15 months ago, the moral implications of this “outsourced” military policy are never even mentioned, let alone considered in any depth.

As the contradictions underpinning the global order continue to heighten, so too does the contradiction between war and peace. We must therefore stake out an unequivocal and immovable position that is anti-war, anti-imperialist, pro-peace and pro-worker. We must call out the hawkish, warmongering position of reactionaries and liberals alike for what it is: bourgeois imperialist ideology that places the value of workers’ lives at zero. We must steadfastly oppose the dogmatic control of global affairs by imperialist powers, and place politics and power back in the hands of the working class. We must mobilise urgently in a workers’ struggle for peace: the fate of the future of the world depends on it, while the ruling class relies on our silence and complicity.