Peace Talks or Socialism?
Protest or Socialism?
What of the opposition to the Syrian civil war in the UK? Stop the War, although it condemns Russia and Iraq, weights its criticism of the conflict in Syria against the US and the UK for invading Iraq in 2003. This might be true but they demonstrate against the UIS and the UK but never against Russia and Syria. In short, they take sides.
Stop the War Coalition sees the US as the villain of the piece and portrays its ambitions of global plunder and world domination as though the US has a monopoly over war, conflict and destruction. Putin’s annexation of the Crimea did not bother the leadership of Stop the War Coalition but US imperialism and Trump’s decision to order military strikes against Syria has led to call for demonstrations and political action.
Stop the War conveniently forgets that the capitalist class of all the nation states in the world need to be able to enforce and defend its interests in the world. This means that capitalist governments must keep exclusive control and use of the forces of the state to pursue its interests alone. The political machinery of government remains in the hands of a tiny minority so that it can be exercised to enforce class exploitation at home and to plunder land, populations and resources of their rivals abroad. The US does not have a monopoly in geo-political war and
Here is Stop the War’s message to the working class:
Please ask your MP to support the campaign against Trump and May's plans for escalation of the war in Syria. Military interventions from external powers have failed to bring an end to the war. The only solution in Syria is a ceasefire on all sides and a political settlement.
While countries are pursuing their interests in the region “a ceasefire on all sides and a political settlement” is remote. And MPs will support the airstrikes if they believe it is in the interest of the UK not what their constituents might or might not think.
Unlike the Stop the War Coalition, socialists point out to the working class that wars and conflicts are a direct result of global capitalism. A political settlement in Syria would only be a settlement in capitalist terms. A political settlement would not benefit the working class in the region. The only solution to end all wars is the one consistently put by the Socialist Party of Great Britain - to end the cause of war first requires the working class to abolish capitalism.
The Stop the War Coalition does not exist for this purpose and are as politically ineffectual as CND before them. For decades CND organised protests for the abolition of nuclear weapons and were not successful. All the leading capitalist countries have nuclear weapons and North Korea has just joined them.
Stop the War does not explain why wars occur in capitalism. They do not criticise the existence of nation states (except the present territorial contours of Israel’s borders). There is no socialist critique of war and there is no socialist conclusion that to end war you first have to end capitalism.
While capitalism exists and rival nation states compete over resources like oil, water and gas, spheres of strategic influence and pipelines and trade routes there will be death, destruction and misery afflicting one generation of workers after the other.
Object and Declaration of Principles
The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.
Declaration of Principles
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN HOLDS:
1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.
2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.
3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.
4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.
5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.
6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.
7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.
8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.