Leaflet from November 2001 analysing the movement against the war in Afghanistan.
The civilian death toll mounts in Afghanistan, to be added to the thousands who died in New York. The refugee crisis grows daily, with millions more facing starvation. Ground troops are sent in and we are warned to expect a long drawn out bloody conflict. War certainly lays bare the horrors of capitalism.
We are heartened by the fact that reasonably large, and growing anti-war demonstrations have taken place both in this country and elsewhere. We share the view that, despite the massive propaganda effort, only a minority of people actively supports the war effort. The effects of the war will be increasingly felt. The war is being used as a cover for the deepening economic crisis but also contributes to it, leading to more sackings, increasing racism, additional draconian laws and further cuts in social spending. This will in turn lead to more and more opposition to the war. The important question will be the form this opposition takes.
Over the last few years, since at least June 18th 1999, we have witnessed the growth of a global anti-capitalist movement. Through a series of international gatherings beginning with Seattle and most recently at Genoa, this diverse movement succeeded in questioning the viability of capitalism. Many commentators are now seeking to write off this movement, suggesting that September 11th changes everything. But war and capitalism are inseparable. Nation states and would-be states (like al Qaida) fight each other for control of both resources and the right to exploit our labour power. This is the normal mode of functioning of capitalism - since the First World War barely a day has passed without war being waged somewhere in the world. The struggle against the war and the struggle to replace capitalism with a classless world human community are the same.
The overwhelming urge for peace is an understandable response to the war. The ideology of pacifism is, however, a completely reactionary basis for opposition to the war. Most pacifists seek an alternative method to resolve the conflict, the favourite being that bin Laden should be tried before an international court, whilst others look to UN intervention. Even if we ignore the often-tragic failure of such initiatives in the past, this can at best lead only to capitalist peace. Capitalist peace means death by starvation, lack of shelter or healthcare, by environmental poisoning, over work, hopelessness and alienation, in short terror and death by other means.
The response of the left to the war is to drag out the tired old formula of “anti-imperialism” in which the USA is the imperial power to be opposed. This in turn means giving support (“conditional” or “critical”, it matters not) to the barbarous misogynist pro-capitalist regime of the Taliban. Not surprisingly this quickly develops into anti-Americanism, which writes off an important section of the working class as irredeemingly reactionary. The Stop the War coalition, formed by the left, is a cross-class alliance with religious leaders, MP's and other enemies of the working class. That the left performs such a counter-revolutionary role does not surprise us - they are after all the left wing of capital. To the members of such groups, among whom we know that there are decent people, we must pose the question: How can you stomach such reactionary nonsense?
Taken from the No War But The Class War website.