In the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, No War But The Class War look at who the real beneficiaries of such wars are.
War is good for forging national unity. War helps to both create new nation states and submerge class and other conflicts in an existing nation-state. Nationalism always tries to make the dispossessed and exploited, who make up most of the population, identify with their exploiters and so perpetuates this inhuman society. War is good for national liberation rackets, which can use a war situation as a way of bargaining with world powers in conflict with the local ruling powers and each other. War is good for polarising arbitrary groups of human beings into enemy camps, which allows various gangs of rulers to exploit them more effectively. War is thus a boon for nationalist, islamist, democratic, fascist, "communist" governments and would-be governments.
War is good for mopping up the surplus population. In the last war against Iraq only a handful of US and British troops were killed but up to 200,000 Iraqi soldiers were massacred. Many of these were Kurds or other people the regime wanted to punish. They were press-ganged and put in the front line. Both the Iraqi regime and the Allies collude in the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people surplus to the economies' requirements. As the development of the world economy and technology throws more people into permanent or semi-permanent unemployment war provides a useful way of managing these impoverished masses.
War is good for generating fear. Like the periodic moral panics over refugees, gypsies, child abuse, the war on drugs, and the reporting of violent crime, war is a way of terrorising the general population. War is good for turning our fears into racism, further repression and surveillance. War is good for making us feel happy with our lot and accepting more sacrifices. War is good for suppressing class struggles such as the firefighters' strike.
War is good for generating fatalism. Faced with the apparent 'inevitability' of warfare people adopt the view that nothing can be done and despair of the possibility of collective struggle. This reinforces the fatalism towards starvation and suffering and the fatalism about the need to work and the inevitability of the economy. War is good for religion. Religion is a way of reinforcing national identities. War is good for god - religious rackets always profit from war. War is good for charities and NGOs, who promote capitalist development in the name of feeding the starving.
War is good for particular sectors of the economy, such as arms production and the media. War is good for the economy in general. Investment in armaments and other war preparations are often undertaken as a policy of stimulating demand, as in the US now. And it modernises and restructures sectors of the economy as obsolete plant and infrastructure is blown to bits and reconstructed on a more profitable basis. And it creates war refugees who'll work for almost nothing. And it enables social spending to be cut without anyone complaining too much. And we could go on...
War is good for justifying peace. In peace time millions of people are killed and maimed each year in industrial "accidents" and journeys to work. Even without these deaths and injuries capitalist society is the denial of the possibility of a social humanity. Capital is the shattering of the world into nations, classes, and individuals to aid a self-expanding exploitation, mutating human creativity into waged-work. What we need is a community of struggle (such as when workers take collective action e.g. a strike) and a struggle for world human community. A revolution centred on the proletariat, for a classless society beyond economy. For a truly human life, for a life worth living.
September 2002. Taken from the No War But The Class War website.