Pacifism and Communism (XI)
The tradition of revolutionary Marxists has firmly established opposition to nationalism and militarism, as well as to any bellicism based on class solidarity of the proletariat with the bourgeois state at war for the three misleading motives: defence against the aggressor, liberation of peoples governed by a state of another nationality, defence of liberal and democratic civilisation.
But no less solid a tradition of Marxist doctrine and struggle is opposition to pacifism. This idea and this ill-defined programme, when they do not constitute the hypocritical mask of war preparations, present themselves as the stupid illusion that we must, to the detriment of the definition and clarification of social contrasts and class struggles, and beyond the alignment on these class fronts, agree with a view to the "abolition of war" and with a view to "universal" peace.
Socialists have always maintained that capitalism inevitably engenders war, both in the historical phase in which the bourgeoisie stabilises its power and in the modern imperialist phase in which it orients itself towards the conquest of backward countries and in which its various historical states compete for possession. Whoever wants to abolish war must abolish capitalism and for this reason, if there are non-socialist pacifists, they must be considered as adversaries. Whether they are of good or bad faith (in all these problems specific to our movement and our behaviour, the first of these cases is still the worst), they would commit us to abandon the classist foundations of our action and the struggle against capitalism, without reaching the illusory objective of a period of capitalism without war, an objective that cannot in any way be ours.
That is, in short, it will always be useful to establish that the Marxist analysis of wars between States has never been reduced (see Marx, Engels, Lenin) to a simplistic reasoning that would deny the influence and repercussions of the course and outcome of wars on the development and possibilities of revolutionary socialism. And if we refer to the ultra-modern phase of capitalism today, the complete analysis in no way leads us to rule out the possibility of capitalism organised throughout the world following a unitary superstate or federal complex, capable of maintaining peace everywhere. Today, this appears more and more as the ideal of the super-balancing groups of capital and its valets. We do not exclude this possibility of bourgeois peace, which, before 1914, was depicted under the colours of idyll by the various Norman Angel. But by admitting it, we consider it as an eventuality even worse than that of capitalism generating cascading wars until its final collapse. Indeed we see in it the most counter-revolutionary and anti-proletarian expression. This eventuality, which contains nothing surprising for the Marxist outlook, brings together in the service of capitalist oppression, in a world police force of iron, under a single command, all the means of destruction and attacks likely to strangle any rebellion of the exploited.
Pacifism, as a global renunciation of the use of violent means, from State to State, from people to people, from man to man, is one of those many hollow ideologies without historical foundations that Marxism has done justice to. The doctrines of non-violence are not only unreal and without examples of historical application, but can only serve to destroy within the working class the preparation for insurrection to overthrow the bourgeois regime which, according to Marxists, cannot fall otherwise. These doctrines are counter-revolutionary doctrines.
Christianity itself, which is today the principal means of putting the oppressed to sleep and making them accept social injustice, by its horror of violence (which does not prevent the hypocritical blessing of wars and repressions, by the priests of all the Churches) was as a historical fact an act of struggle, and Christ himself said that he did not come to bring peace but war.
The thesis that war was inevitable in ancient and medieval societies, but once the bourgeois and liberal revolution was consolidated everywhere, it would be possible to settle conflicts between states by peaceful means, has always been considered by the founders of Marxism as one of the dirtiest and most stupid apologies of the capitalist system. Karl Marx, whenever he had to deal with bourgeois "civic" ideologues, did not hide his infinite boredom and, in the end, resolved to brandish his infallible whip on their ramblings. And one of the reasons of principle, at the time of the rupture with the false Bakuninian revolutionism, was the attendance, by the libertarians, of these Swiss ambiances of neutralism and Quaker sympathisers.
In this hard work undertaken to bring the workers movement back on the right path, we will never remember enough, we will never sufficiently illustrate the powerful campaign against the social patriots of 1914, which marked them definitively, as renegades, as valets of militarism and bourgeois orientation correlative to Geneva's international legal solidarity, in what for Lenin consisted the true international capitalist counter-revolution.
On the eve of each war, the recruitment of troops is being done today with more complex means than in past centuries. In Greco-Roman societies, only free citizens were allowed to fight and slaves remained at home. In feudal times, the aristocracy had war as its function and it supplemented its armies with volunteers: volunteers or mercenaries, it is always the same thing, that is, the one who decides on his own initiative to be a soldier, learns the trade and seeks a place. The bourgeoisie introduced war by force. While claiming to have given everyone civic freedom, it abolished the freedom not to get their throats slit. Instead, they wanted us to do it for free, or just for soup. An old melodrama sang, at the time of absolutism: "He sold his freedom and became a soldier". The censor became alarmed by the terrible word "freedom" and wanted to replace it with that of "loyalty", anyway the new bourgeois regime considered personal freedom too noble to pay for it, and it monopolised it without remuneration.
The State now has mercenaries, volunteers and conscripts, but the war has become so vast that all this is not yet enough. The effects of war can cause discontent among the entire population, military or otherwise. To curb it, in addition to the various police forces on the internal and external fronts, a mobilisation of propaganda in favour of the war itself was instituted. This is how the colossal stuffing of the skulls under which the history of the last two decades has submerged us, and which has rehabilitated all the types of fortune tellers that make up the life of peoples, from the sorcerer of the tribe to the Roman omen, from the Catholic priest to the parliamentary candidate.
At the present hour in this preparation for the massacre, in this fabrication of enthusiasm in view of the general carnage, a very important character is at the head of the macabre carnival, it is the great Idea, the noble Cause, of Peace, a candid dove... reduced to the state of a long deflowered damsel.
The treacherous leaders dragged the world working class into the bric-à-brac of bourgeois ideology, dragging it behind all these ideological puppets and delivering it, thus lost and passive, to the good pleasure of its class enemy.
They ordered it to fight for all the goals of its oppressors; they made it available to the country, the nation, democracy and progress, everything but socialist revolution. They are capable of preparing it for action, for unrest, uprisings, for revolutions, provided however that it is the revolutions of others.
At a time when in Russia there were still two revolutions to make, and when, according to the Marxist perspective, it was not possible to make only one, there were two types of opportunism to fight (the very ones Marx had fought in Europe in 1848). The first wanted to graft a socialist economy onto the tsarist regime, the second wanted to use the workers for a bourgeois revolution, arguing that the capitalist regime should be allowed to live longer in view of its subsequent evolution. Lenin clearly exposed the revolutionary solution in a very simple sentence: revolution must serve the proletariat and not the proletariat the revolution. That is to say: we are not here to place the workers movement, which our party commands, at the service of demands, demands and even revolutions of other classes, but we want to bring it to the struggle for its autonomous and original objectives, those of our class and of it alone.
The current movement of the so-called communist parties frames the workers only to carry them behind these puppets of bourgeois bric-à-brac, only to burn their energies in the service of all non-worker and non-classist goals.
The campaign for democracy and parliamentary liberalism threatened by the fascist regime, the struggle for the shameful words of national resurrection, new democratic revolutions - words a hundred times more insane than those spoken by anti-Bolsheviks in the time of the tsars - are now being followed by a new and more despicable phase of global brainwashing: the battle behind the slogan of pacifism.
This is a new and important chapter in the denial of Marxist communism. The crusade against imperialist capitalism in America and the West could be a proletarian slogan, but in this case it would present itself as a slogan not of peace, but of war, of class war in all countries. Moreover they could not launch it those who created the D-Day plans for this imperialism and, to do so, received their salaries.
The peace campaign and the congresses with invitations to all non-communist thinkers, not only are the greatest defeatism in class orientation - defeatism that crowns all others with dignity - not only constitutes a first-rate service rendered to capitalism in general, but they will lead, like the great democratic crusade shamefully developed from 1941 to 1945, to a strengthening of the great Atlantic state structures. These will only collapse when the capitalist system is attacked head-on, vigorously denouncing the false flags of Freedom and Peace, to crush it openly with dictatorship and class war.
Battaglia Comunista No. 13 April 13, 30 - 06, 1949
Translation by Libri Incogniti