No War But The Class War (NWBCW)

No War But The Class War (NWBCW)

Internationalist communists oppose every war that the capitalist class and their governments create to defend their own selfish interests. This position is nothing new but is the legacy from previous generations who saw that "War or Revolution" is a choice that has to be made clearly and consistently.

100 years ago communists met to found the Communist International. [See leftcom.org] The Congress drew together those who supported the working class revolutionary wave that had ended the First World War. We echo the words of Boris Reinstein, of the U.S. Socialist Labor Party: "... in our century there can be no wars that are not rooted in capitalist competition ... the proletariat not only does not have the duty, it does not even have the right to support its government, even in so-called defensive wars. There is only one war that the proletariat is duty-bound to support, and that is social war, the social revolution."

The statement here has been drafted by the CWO in response to a request from a "No War but the Class War" meeting in January that was organised by the CWO and the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG). After discussion of the situation and how to chart a practical way forward, the meeting agreed to draft a statement which the attending organisations could support and publish in their press. The CWO was delegated to produce the first draft which we present here. It is self explanatory, applying the same approach as our former comrades adopted 100 years ago.

No War But the Class War (NWBCW)

Worldwide capitalism is in a long term and deepening crisis which is taking us down the road to generalised war. There are more than 60 local wars going on today. Every one of those destroys the lives of our working class sisters and brothers while different gangs of bosses struggle for control. Most of these wars are between the clients of the key imperialist powers. They are proxy imperialist wars which together with open trade wars are harbingers of a wider global conflict. The drive to war is an outcome of the operation of the capitalist system itself. It is not the result of a few mad or bad capitalist leaders and only the overthrow of the capitalist system can prevent war. The real alternative we face is war or revolution.

Supporters of No War But the Class War (NWBCW) are aiming for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism by the working class and the creation of a new global system of production. We are for a system based on common ownership to directly satisfy everyone’s needs. This will be controlled democratically by the working class via a global system of workers councils. Production for profit and the system of nation states and borders will be eliminated. In the process capitalism’s degradation of the planet will be reversed and humanity will be able to plan for sustainable development.

To achieve this we need to organise ourselves on a global scale and spread the understanding of both the need to create a new society and consciousness of how to achieve it. The working class itself needs to create an international political organisation of revolutionaries for this task.

The necessary starting point is to step up the defence of our own interests and reject ruling class agendas including the wars they ask us to support. All these wars are imperialist wars in the interests of sections of capital. NWBCW exists to oppose war on the basis of class, not just against one section of the ruling class but against the whole rotten system which offers the world's workers death, destruction and misery whether slowly by poverty, disease and disaster or at the faster tempo of war.

Workers have no country! So-called “national liberation” or "anti-imperialist" wars are simply imperialist wars in disguise! We make no common front with any of the bosses' puppets on the capitalist Left like the parliamentary parties and trade unions and their hangers on in the pseudo-revolutionary swamp. They are all embedded in the bosses' system and support it in peace and in war.

No War but Class War! Let us step up and generalise class struggle as our response to bourgeois war mongering and austerity!

NWBCW is an organisation of groups and individuals who support the political positions above. We invite others who support these positions to join NWBCW to help us produce and distribute propaganda and carry out interventions in the class struggle for “No War But the Class War”.

To join the organisation, discuss further, get on the mailing list or get more information about how to form a NWBCW group, contact:

Communist Workers' Organisation
email: uk@leftcom.org, website: leftcom.org

Or

Anarchist Communist Group
email: info@anarchistcommunism.org, website: anarchistcommunism.org

Posted By

Internationalis...
Mar 28 2019 16:06

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  • No War but Class War! Let us step up and generalise class struggle as our response to bourgeois war mongering and austerity!

    NWBCW

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Comments

AngryWorkersWorld
Apr 2 2019 17:31

Hiya,

A short response to your ‘No war but the class war’-call out.

We see ourselves as proletarian internationalists and therefore share the general positions you have lined out in the call.

We have more of an issue with the approach - internationalism shouldn’t primarily be a programmatic position but should be developed out of an internal understanding of movements and struggles and their material context themselves. If we look at Rojava or Catalunya or similar regional liberation movements it is one thing to describe the external geopolitical configurations and the cross-class alliances. The traditional ‘communist left’ is quite good at that.

What the ‘communist left’ is less good at is understanding the internal dynamics of struggles: What are the actual experiences that people make in these movements? At what point do experiences and practices of collective resistance, e.g. against the ISIS fascists or the Turkish state or the Guardian Civil, which is most often driven forward by proletarians and working class people, enter into conflict with the narrow regionalist or nationalist trajectory of the movement? A real critique would be able to anticipate these moments based both on intimate knowledge of the experiences of working class participants AND a wider historical and theoretical understanding on how shit works in capitalism.

This is how we want to address and criticise the comrades who decide to support the Catalan cause or risk their lives in Rojava - people who have genuine revolutionary hope and motivations. Part of the critique is to be able to point out local working class struggles which we think have actual potentials to go beyond cross-class regionalism: some of the struggles during the early phase of the uprising in Syria or workers’ wildcat strikes in automobile and other factories and construction sites in Turkey (many workers will actually have migrated be from Kurdistan) - struggles that in the longer run will be able to weaken the regimes from within. Our internationalism should relate practically to these struggles.

Therefore our question would be what you think a ‘No war but the class war’-coalition should be doing, what is the concrete aim and work?

In solidarity

Some
AngryWorkers

www.angryworkersworld.wordpress.com
www.workerswildwest.wordpress.com

Dyjbas
Apr 4 2019 10:34

Hiya,

Thanks for your comment. We are glad to see you agree with the general positions of the NWBCW statement, which serve as a starting point for a class response to the ongoing capitalist crisis.

In your comment you claim that the Communist Left is less good at understanding the "internal dynamics of struggles". As examples of these struggles you list the independence movement in Catalonia and the federalist project in Rojava. We however seem to agree that in both examples workers have been mobilised behind nationalist and inter-classist agendas. We say “seem” because internationalism is primarily a programmatic position. It establishes our yardstick for judging the actual movement going on before our eyes so that we do not start from judgement about the subjective intentions of those who have been suckered into what ultimately are inter-imperialist conflicts.

We definitely agree that publicising, providing analysis of and making a specific critique of local and international outbreaks of class struggles is important. To this end we have been covering the struggles of the proletarians in Iran, Mexico, and indeed Turkey, as positive examples of workers beginning to pose the social question.

We hope, as more people get involved, that NWBCW can help us intervene in local class struggle with a political message, to pave the way for the self-organisation of the class in what has to be a struggle for a global community without borders. It's up to those of us who share this vision to present a clear line that internationalism means class solidarity beyond all 'ethnic', tribal or proto-national boundaries. As you imply, no small feat for internationalists 'on the ground'. Practically this also includes explaining how workers in places like Catalonia or Rojava are being used as cannon fodder for the capitalist class big and small and pointing to the alternative class response, the birth of which we can already see in different parts of the world.

The precise forms which NWBCW interventions take on will have to be decided by the NWBCW groups where and if they form. The next NWBCW meeting is in Leicester, details here.

D for the CWO

Mike Harman
Apr 5 2019 07:09
AngryWorkersWorld wrote:
We have more of an issue with the approach - internationalism shouldn’t primarily be a programmatic position but should be developed out of an internal understanding of movements and struggles and their material context themselves. If we look at Rojava or Catalunya or similar regional liberation movements it is one thing to describe the external geopolitical configurations and the cross-class alliances. The traditional ‘communist left’ is quite good at that.

What the ‘communist left’ is less good at is understanding the internal dynamics of struggles: What are the actual experiences that people make in these movements? At what point do experiences and practices of collective resistance, e.g. against the ISIS fascists or the Turkish state or the Guardian Civil, which is most often driven forward by proletarians and working class people, enter into conflict with the narrow regionalist or nationalist trajectory of the movement? A real critique would be able to anticipate these moments based both on intimate knowledge of the experiences of working class participants AND a wider historical and theoretical understanding on how shit works in capitalism.

I brought up some similar issues in the comments on the CWO/ICT's post on Syria (although it ended up more about apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa). For me (and this doesn't only apply to the ICT/CWO) there is often too much focus on the non-internationalist positions taken by other sects, vs. trying to analyse actual struggles of the working class. And this can often mean emphasising the nationalist elements of events to the exclusion of possible counter-tendencies altogether - dismissal rather than critique.

Dyjbas
Apr 5 2019 09:19

Mike, the article you link to is, as the title would suggest, a look at the stances of the various Trotskyist groups on the Syrian war. Of course it's gonna focus on the "non-internationalist positions" taken by them.

If you are interested in our analysis of Syria, there are many other articles you can read. For example, there is this and this on the imperialist actors, this and this on Rojava, or this on the Islamic State.

Mike Harman
Apr 5 2019 14:29

So the closest any of those articles come to talking about the co-ordinating committees or mass protests is the following, correct me if I missed something:

CWT/ICO wrote:
Of course there were many on the left, who just as they had in Libya, saw a genuine workers’ revolution in Syria. Others, aware of the reactionary sectarian nature of much of the protest movement, defended the Syrian state in the name of secularism, anti-imperialism or whatever ideology they could use in an attempt to cover up the gore of a murderous bloody state. Anarchists in particular, but not alone, were particularly vulnerable to talk of democratic committees and self organisation of the revolt. Many insisted on these characteristics even as it became increasingly obvious that the war was turning into a multi-sided bloodbath where different ethnic/sectarian gangs controlled the populations that they controlled by force. Of course, as communists we too agree that there can be no genuine working class movement without workers' self organisation. However, we also insist that their can be no workers councils without workers' struggle. Local democracy in itself is not a revolutionary thing. In many countries workers can vote for their local representatives who are responsible for running municipal services, and in many countries few of them bother to.

What invests workers' councils with their revolutionary content is not their democratic forms, but the fact that they are representative of workers in struggle. The war in Syria saw an initial burst of enthusiasm in the struggle against the regime. People created various committees and councils, but this was not a workers' struggle. Ultimately as armed gangs took control of what rapidly became a war, enthusiasm and popular involvement died down. Of course some committees remained, but it was armed men giving the orders. Much, but not all of the left, seemed to realise its mistake. As internationalists had stated from the start there was no progressive side in this war. It seemed like some sort of lesson had been learned.

Again, this is mostly saying 'some people cheerleaded the mass protests but we knew everything was nationalist/democratic and not related to workers struggle from the start', it's not actually an analysis of what happened and what went wrong. This is what I mean about the difference between critique and dismissal.

Dyjbas
Apr 5 2019 16:04

Mike, I'm only going to comment on this once because I can already see this is another attempt to derail the discussion to your pet peeve of the week. If you want to discuss the Local Coordination Committees in Syria in more detail, then you can start another thread.

From what I know the Local Coordination Committees "started from a group of activists, journalists, legal experts and politicians", functioned basically like an independent news agency, joined the Syrian National Council at one point, and circa 2011 had 100 to 200 people involved. Hardly an example of working class self-organisation. On the councils, the text you brought up on the Trotskyism thread states:

"the work of these councils was limited to municipal affairs, such as various services, accompanied (competing with?) a constellation of NGOs focusing on the same work. Armed groups remained outside the supervision of local councils. At the same time, the Syrian National Council, the Syrian interim government, and the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition forces monopolized the "high political rhetoric." Thus, the original idea behind the councils became meaningless. Under the hegemony of weapons and conditional funding, the space for council work closed up." - The Experience of Local Councils in the Syrian Revolution

Which actually corresponds well to what the leftcom article says:

"The war in Syria saw an initial burst of enthusiasm in the struggle against the regime. People created various committees and councils, but this was not a workers' struggle. Ultimately as armed gangs took control of what rapidly became a war, enthusiasm and popular involvement died down. Of course some committees remained, but it was armed men giving the orders." - The Bloodbath in Syria: Class War or Ethnic War?

Noah Fence
Apr 5 2019 21:37

The left really is quite something.

Mike Harman
Apr 6 2019 05:52
Dyjbas wrote:
Mike, I'm only going to comment on this once because I can already see this is another attempt to derail the discussion to your pet peeve of the week. If you want to discuss the Local Coordination Committees in Syria in more detail, then you can start another thread.

I mentioned the co-ordination committees and the mass protests, you then went on a long detour about the limits of the co-ordination committees and ignored the question of the mass protests. Oh well. The Yellow Vests in France has been doing mass protests and local assemblies for months now (but always weekend protests, unless we count the not-yellow-vests school student protests), and generated significantly more discussion and analysis - obviously it's easier to do this for something in France than in Syria since a lot more people are able to translate from French than from Arabic - but this is also a self-reinforcing problem IMO.

You're free to describe this as 'pet peeve of the week', but for me it's a question of what internationalism means in practice.

R Totale
Apr 6 2019 09:56
Dyjbas wrote:
Mike, the article you link to is, as the title would suggest, a look at the stances of the various Trotskyist groups on the Syrian war. Of course it's gonna focus on the "non-internationalist positions" taken by them.

Saying "we were writing about the Trot sects because we were writing about the Trot sects" is a bit circular, though. I'm not saying that you should ignore the Trot groups altogether, but if, say, you started NWBCW as a functioning project and did some kind of practical internationalist anti-war activity (whatever that'd involve - I would be interested to see answers to the AWW's questions on that score), and then came into conflict with some Trot groups as a result of or as part of that, and then wrote an article about that, it would've been a different, and more interesting imo, article.

Serge Forward
Apr 6 2019 10:10
AngryWorkersWorld wrote:
Hiya,

A short response to your ‘No war but the class war’-call out.

We see ourselves as proletarian internationalists and therefore share the general positions you have lined out in the call.

We have more of an issue with the approach - internationalism shouldn’t primarily be a programmatic position but should be developed out of an internal understanding of movements and struggles and their material context themselves. If we look at Rojava or Catalunya or similar regional liberation movements it is one thing to describe the external geopolitical configurations and the cross-class alliances. The traditional ‘communist left’ is quite good at that.

What the ‘communist left’ is less good at is understanding the internal dynamics of struggles: What are the actual experiences that people make in these movements? At what point do experiences and practices of collective resistance, e.g. against the ISIS fascists or the Turkish state or the Guardian Civil, which is most often driven forward by proletarians and working class people, enter into conflict with the narrow regionalist or nationalist trajectory of the movement? A real critique would be able to anticipate these moments based both on intimate knowledge of the experiences of working class participants AND a wider historical and theoretical understanding on how shit works in capitalism.

This is how we want to address and criticise the comrades who decide to support the Catalan cause or risk their lives in Rojava - people who have genuine revolutionary hope and motivations. Part of the critique is to be able to point out local working class struggles which we think have actual potentials to go beyond cross-class regionalism: some of the struggles during the early phase of the uprising in Syria or workers’ wildcat strikes in automobile and other factories and construction sites in Turkey (many workers will actually have migrated be from Kurdistan) - struggles that in the longer run will be able to weaken the regimes from within. Our internationalism should relate practically to these struggles.

Therefore our question would be what you think a ‘No war but the class war’-coalition should be doing, what is the concrete aim and work?

In solidarity

Some
AngryWorkers

www.angryworkersworld.wordpress.com
www.workerswildwest.wordpress.com

Reply from the ACG...

After a brief discussion with fellow ACG members, we would say that the main reason for establishing the NWBTCW is to create an organised pole of attraction for revolutionaries who take a 'proletarian internationalist' perspective against the cheerleaders of various sides in inter-imperialist conflicts, but also to publicise and promote the perspective through an active outreach through public meetings across the UK.

Libertarian communists should always be looking for the contradictions, the tensions, the possibilities (however limited) in developments like the Rojava 'revolution', the emerging struggles in Sudan and in movements that have a working class content that is often fragmentary and buried beneath both the rhetoric and the material power of democracy, national self-determination etc.

More specifically, we need to relentlessly promote the idea that there is no war that the working class has any interest in supporting other than the class war and to prepare the ground, as much as our limited resources can, to support this internationalist perspective and those who defend it as the imperialist powers gear up for their next war.

Hope this answers your questions.

ACG national secretary

Meanwhile...

Don't forget, there's a NWBTCW meeting this afternoon in Leicester with speakers from the Anarchist Communist Group and the Communist Workers’ Organisation. It takes place at 2pm upstairs at the Regent Sports & Social Club, 102 Regent Rd, Leicester LE1 7DA. Ask at the bar for “LibSoc“. Venue is 5 minutes walk from Leicester train station.

slothjabber
Apr 6 2019 23:11

The meeting in Leicester was today. Four of the participants were involved in the original No War But Class War group in Leicester from 2003, and as the original leaflet came up in the discussion I thought I would link to it here, as it is archived at LibCom at least.

https://libcom.org/library/no-war-class-war-leicester-leaflet-march-2003

AngryWorkersWorld
Apr 11 2019 06:14

We are happy to be part of such an ‘organised pole of attraction for revolutionaries’ - so please count us in. The question remains what is attractive about three fairly uninfluential groups meeting in an upstairs pub room smile But yes, keep us updated and we will try to do our bit...

Serge Forward
Apr 11 2019 07:53
AngryWorkersWorld wrote:
We are happy to be part of such an ‘organised pole of attraction for revolutionaries’ - so please count us in. The question remains what is attractive about three fairly uninfluential groups meeting in an upstairs pub room smile But yes, keep us updated and we will try to do our bit...

Clearly, the key word is "pub" wink

Battlescarred
Apr 11 2019 08:53

What I object to is the upstairs bit, What's wrong with a ground floor room?

Dyjbas
Apr 12 2019 18:31
AngryWorkersWorld wrote:
We are happy to be part of such an ‘organised pole of attraction for revolutionaries’ - so please count us in. The question remains what is attractive about three fairly uninfluential groups meeting in an upstairs pub room smile But yes, keep us updated and we will try to do our bit...

Great to hear. In the meantime, we'll probably see some of you at the Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair!