Bombardment in Syria: What is to be done in face of war?

‘Nuevo Curso’ apropos of the US “surprise attack” of April 14

» We woke up this morning with the news of the allied attack on Syria. The USA, French and British armies have launched more than 100 shells on Syrian soil, including Damascus and Homs. The objectives, according to the official versions, were the sites and arsenals of chemical weapons. The situation had reached a point of no return and all the actors expected an imminent attack. (1)

This attack is another example of the criminal development of war tensions around the world. Each of the imperialist capitalisms both in the region – Syria itself, Turkey, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, even Greece and Egypt, now in the second row – as well as in the capitalist centers – France, USA, Great Britain, Germany – they see in the Mediterranean Levant a strategic border where their respective ambitions collide.

The bombardment has had a relatively small dimension, and has been answered by the Syrian missile defense, armed by Russia, and probably led by Russian officers on the ground. Once the attack had ceased, Russia has given its version. It is possible that both the importance of the attack, its duration and subsequent reactions have been carefully measured, and in fact tacitly agreed upon with other imperialisms in the area, including Russia. The Americans, eager to intervene, have done so in a timely manner, limiting the damage. The USA takes center stage and shows its muscles to its Israeli and Saudi allies, having Turkey side with NATO again in passing. Russia gains a reason against Al Assad why he should not look too much towards his Iranian ally. That is, the attack has probably had a limited impact due to a perverse, tacit convergence of interests between the USA and Russia. Far from demonstrating the capacity for “self-control” of the imperialist status quo, this shows that it is drifting towards open and globalized war. (2)

Whatever the motivation and the maneuvers behind the scenes of the attack, whatever its duration and power, the participation of imperialists of either side, from the point of view of the workers the foundation is the same. Imperialism is the direct consequence of the inability of capital to reproduce itself on a national basis. That is why old capitalisms, like Britain and “young ones” like Israel, gigantic national capitals like the USA, France or Russia and “small nations” like Syria – or Cuba – are imperialist. All states are imperialist and supporting an imperialism has never served anything else than to drive the killing of workers.

What to do against the development of war?

  1. History shows us that there is an alternative to the apparently unstoppable development of war tensions. The First World War was stopped only by the international expansion of workers’ movements, first in Russia, then in France and finally in Germany. And even if the Second World War had some chance to end up in something different from the biggest slaughter in history, it was thanks to the specter of the class war that in 1943 once again threatened to turn the imperialist war into a social revolution. (3) Today the fate of the imperialist war escalation is not so much played out in the Syrian mountains, but in the class mobilizations that arouse from Iran to Tunisia, from Europe to the USA. (4)

  2. Strengthening class movements involves clarifying their relationship with war and confronting the impotent pacifism of the media hypocrisy. Pacifism has never stopped any war. On the contrary, it has always been part of the imperialist war effort. The much-vaunted “international legality” is nothing more than the legal expression of the force relations between imperialist thugs. We can not have any hope in the capacity of capitalism to “self-regulate” its tendencies towards war and hope that “the worst does not happen.”

  3. All imperialisms have always called for war in the name of peace. They all have told all kinds of tales about “rights” and “offenses”, and have [always] relied on the “national oppression” by those who accuse their opponents [of the same]. To lower our guard against any nationalism, however small, (5) to align ourselves with any national capital, no matter what it’s dressed up like, means to reinforce imperialism, disarming ourselves before it and to become part of the war effort.

  4. The workers form an a-national class. Our interests are the same throughout the world. Internationalism is not to support one of the national capitals and their states – or their Statist projects – against other ones. That is to feed the killing by poisoning the struggles with nationalism painted over in bright colors. Internationalism is to be conscious that the fight against capitalism and war is to face the entire bourgeoisie in each place and from our own class terrain. There is no national or religious flag, no “right to self-determination” or “national defense” that does not serve imperialism and does not fuel the development of war. We have never had a fatherland to lose. (6) Instead we have a world, without borders, armies or salaried work to win. «

Nuevo Curso, April 14, 2018

Source: Translation and redaction of notes: H.C., April 15, 2018

4 See for instance: “First Skirmishes of the Massive Confrontations between the Classes ” (IGCL) and “West Virginia School Employees Strike Sold Out?” (Internationalist Workers Group, USA, March 8, 2018)

5 Like, for instance, the Catalan micro-nationalism. See a.o.: AFRD Vol.1#5 Supplement, October 22, 2017. For an actualization by NC: Cataluña y el imperialismo (March 27, 2018)

6 See also: “Pro Segundo Manifiesto Comunista” (“For a Second Communist Manifesto”; FOR, 1949). A re-edition is freely downloadable as pdf in Spanish from the ‘Nuevo Curso’ “mobile library”.