An anti-Iraq war leaflet by the Anarchist Youth Network in 2003. The authors no longer think the leaflet is very good, but it is reproduced here for reference in text and PDF formats.
In every war that nations have had, we have always been told that it is ‘us’(our country, government, army) against ‘them’ (another country, government, army). Governments always use war as a way of spreading national unity by making the people choose sides. But choose sides between who? The mass murdering states of the USA and the UK or the mass murdering states of Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea - or wannabe states like Al-Qaida?
The fact is that nation-states and wannabe-states fight each other all the time, and have done throughout history, to control the world’s resources. In the case of Iraq, those resources were not just oil, but also all its services like health and education, its industry and millions of potential sweatshop workers, employees and consumers – with bumper profits for any company which moves into the region. The wars we have are always fought in the interests of capitalists, politicians and big business but it is never the capitalists and politicians who die! It is ordinary people like you and me who are forced to kill and be killed in these wars.
Though we were pleased with the growth of the anti-war movement, we feel it is necessary to point out that the best any anti-war movement can ever achieve is capitalist peace.
Capitalism is built on terror and kills thousands every day. For instance, the biggest killer in the world is not terrorist bombings or wars but the easily curable diarrhoea. However, it is not profitable to cure since only the poor of the world suffer so millions are left to die. And according to the UN 34,000 children under 5 die every day from the poverty which capitalism creates.
Even in a rich country like the UK people die in the quest for profits: on Brighton docks, 18-year-old Simon Jones was decapitated on his first day at work by machinery he’d only had a few minutes ‘training’ on. This is the effect of casualised labour. Tens of thousands of people are severely injured each year at work and hundreds even die in this country because of dangerous working conditions. Millions more suffer constant depression, stress-related illness and utter boredom from soul-destroying work: which is mostly pointless anyway.
The sad fact is that during times of ‘peace’ people are harassed, intimidated, injured, maimed, beaten and killed by our own government and the bosses that they represent. This is capitalist peace. In addition, the root cause of all wars will still be present. Even if we manage to stop one war US and UK still intend to attack North Korea, Iran, Syria… the list is endless.
The fact is that capitalism is based on profit, and concerns itself with nothing else. This why people die at work. This is why strikes are broken. This is why wars are fought. And wars will always be fought until the capitalists and their governments who start them are overthrown.
And that is our proposal. We believe that the current system is unjust and cannot be reformed, no matter how many wars are stopped or how many UN resolutions are passed. At the end of the day, the entire system is based on the idea of profit over social need. We want to overthrow this system and replace it with a free and fair one. One where people have all that they need and don’t have to slave away in dangerous conditions for hours just to get by. We recognise that because wars are fought for profit and power, we will always have wars as long as there is profit and power to be won from them. Because of this, if we want to fight for a world without wars, we also have to fight for a world without capitalism.
We must all fight against wars using direct action, and we must also fight the war in our own communities, colleges, schools and workplaces against the exploitation, terror and boredom of capitalism.
This leaflet was produced by the Anarchist Youth Network: Britain & Ireland
[NB all contact details now defunct]
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