Wars represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s impasse. As long as the profit system exists, there will be wars over markets and influence.

War is a constant feature of life under capitalism, especially in the epoch of imperialism. There has not been a single day of peace since the end of WWII, despite the appearance of WWII (and all previous wars) of being the “war to end all wars”. Capitalism is inherently unstable, competitive and violent. Moreover, there can be no final peace between the classes, since this system is based on the exploitation of the working class by the rich. 

However, there are wars of different kinds under capitalism. The question of war is the hardest equation of all to judge, so careful study is essential so that revolutionaries are not blown off course by the complexities involved. For example, some “socialists” called for support for the war in Iraq, as it had the appearance of establishing “democracy” over dictatorship. Equally, the failure to understand the true meaning of WWI and its implications was the direct cause of the death of the Second International.

Wars, like revolutions, represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s crisis. Under capitalism, there will be many wars in the future. The more revolutionaries study and understand capitalism’s previous wars, the better equipped we will be to fight against future wars and the capitalist system itself.

Introduction

War is a constant feature of life under capitalism, especially in the epoch of imperialism. There has not been a single day of peace since the end of WWII, despite the appearance of WWII (and all previous wars) of being the “war to end all wars”. Capitalism is inherently unstable, competitive and violent. Moreover, there can be no final peace between the classes, since this system is based on the exploitation of the working class by the rich.

However, there are wars of different kinds under capitalism. The question of war is the hardest equation of all to judge, so careful study is essential so that revolutionaries are not blown off course by the complexities involved. For example, some “socialists” called for support for the war in Iraq, as it had the appearance of establishing “democracy” over dictatorship. Equally, the failure to understand the true meaning of WWI and its implications was the direct cause of the death of the Second International.

Wars, like revolutions, represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s crisis. Under capitalism, there will be many wars in the future. The more revolutionaries study and understand capitalism’s previous wars, the better equipped we will be to fight against future wars and the capitalist system itself.

Introductory articles

Marxism and War: Study Guide With Links to Further Reading - Phil Mitchinson

Lenin on Imperialism - Trotsky

Learn to Think - Leon Trotsky

The "Peace Programme" - Lenin

 

Longer articles

The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution - Lenin 

Pacifism As The Servant of Imperialism - Leon Trotsky

British Pacifism and the British Dislike of Theory - Lenin

 

Marxist classics

Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism - Lenin

Marxism and the Struggle Against Imperialism - Alan Woods and Ted Grant

Bourgeois Pacifism and Socialist Pacfisim - Lenin

War and Revolution - Lenin

Reply of WIL to the RSL criticism of "Preparing for Power" - Ted Grant

 

Audio and video

Marxism, Imperialism, and War - Niklas Albin Svensson

Imperialism in the 21st Century - Daniel Morley

Will there be a Third World War - Ben Gliniecki

World War One and Imperialism - Alan Woods 

Educate Yourself

Socialist Appeal are proud to publish this education guide to help focus your studies of Marxist theory and practice. Visit the various tabs below to find links to introductory articles, classic texts, videos and audio talks for different topics. Read More

The Fundamentals of Marxism: suggested reading

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Dialectical Materialism and Science

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Historical Materialism

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Marxist Economics

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The State

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Anarchism

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Feminism

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Fascism

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The National Question

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Imperialism and War

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Revolutionary History

All written history, Marx stated, is the history of class struggle. Our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future. Read More

Revolutionary Strategy

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