World Socialist Review 1986-02 Fall

Volume I, Number 2
Grand Rapids, Fall 1986

The murder of workers in airports in Rome and Vienna, the killing of two men in a Berlin disco and the bullet which killed a British policewoman have nothing to do with freedom fighting or liberation. Freedom does not arise from the barrel of a gun; liberation will never be the product of the killers who claim to be serving higher causes.
Capitalism is an inherently violent social system. It was founded by violence; it has expanded and prospered due to violence; its much-cherished law and order is institutionalised violence. Killing is not capitalism gone wrong, but the system running as normal. The history of capitalism is a long and bloody story of murdering and maiming and threatening and plundering so that a small minority of the world's population - the capitalist class - may own and control the major resources of the earth to the exclusion of the vast majority who produce all the wealth — the working class. In every country in the world, including the so-called socialist countries (which are state capitalist), the minority on top owe their position to violence.
To those defenders of capitalism who make noises of disgust about the violence of the unauthorised terrorist let us ask, where did the capitalists obtain their property from? They won it in the early days of capitalism by forming armies and terrorising the poor peasants and small landlords and stealing their land from them. The appropriation of capitalist property was a process of successful mugging expeditions: the European aristocracy of today are the inheritors of the muggers' plundered gains. The common lands, hitherto used by the poor, were enclosed and appropriated by capitalists who forced others to keep out. The law of trespass ensured that non-property-owners could be killed - and many were if they tried to enter the land of the capitalists. The early history of capitalism, going on well into the last century in Britain, saw thousands of workers being killed for stealing the necessaries of life. The state, which is the machine of class violence used by the bosses to keep the workers in line, has killed numerous workers who have offended against the sacred rights of property.
How was the British Empire built if not by such terror tactics? The ruling class of Britain, armed with the Bible and the bullet, plundered the earth in the quest for profits. Those who stood in their way were killed. In the sixteenth century, when Britain went to war with Spain - readers will remember the defeat of the Armada - it was nothing different from the battle of power between the gangs of Chicago and New York in the 1930s. Workers were sent to their deaths in these imperial wars in order to determine which national group of capitalist gangsters would own and control new resources, territories and exploitable populations.
In the late nineteenth century two new national gangs of European capitalists came on to the scene: Italy in 1860 and Germany in 1870. They made efforts to enter as rivals in the competition for world domination and so more workers - in their millions - were killed in wars. The workers who were slaughtered in world wars for economic interests which were not theirs were not regarded as the victims of terrorism. But that is precisely what they were.
In this century the British robber class has lost its Empire and must rest content with exploiting the workers at home. The British working class was poor when British
capitalists had an Empire and we are poor today: one thing is certain, the Empire never belonged to us.
Today two new major empires - superpowers in modern times - dominate the world: America and Russia. The President of the USA now sermonises about the evil of terrorism. The status quo must not be disturbed. Does this man Reagan not know that without terrorism the American state would never have been established? The revolutionaries of 1776 who threw off British imperial rule were regarded by the British ruling class as terrorists. Had they been defeated the name of George Washington would have been listed in the history books together with Gerry Adams and the PLO leaders. The rulers of Israel echo their American masters in condemning terrorism. In the 1940s these same leaders who now have state power were themselves terrorists, killing British soldiers in order to gain state power. Once the American terrorists obtained power in 1776 they became legal terrorists and many thousands of native Americans (Red Indians) were murdered callously by the state because they were in its way. In 1986, while Reagan makes complaints about Libyan-backed terrorists damaging American capitalist interests, American-backed terrorists are being given huge amounts of money by his administration in order to dislodge the elected government of Nicaragua.
The class struggle is a messy, violent process. The capitalists will stop at nothing in their struggle for more power within the world market. The Libyan government is seen to represent a new form of Islamic, Arab nationalism which could endanger existing interests in Africa and the Middle East. As capitalism develops - if workers let it — more power blocs will emerge, all competing for supremacy, and one would be naive not to predict such rivalry leading to wars, both local and frighteningly global.
Workers have no interest at all in ever supporting the capitalists of the country where they live. In recent years the Arab ruling class has prospered greatly due to massive oil profits, but the Arab workers are still living in some of the most deprived conditions in the world. Arab workers have nothing to gain by the expansion of their masters' powers. In the USA, the alleged land of capitalist prosperity, it was reported in the newspaper of the Longshoremen's Union in March 1986 that government figures state that 22.2 million Americans are now living below the official poverty line and 9.1 million of them are in jobs but cannot afford to make ends meet. So much for the incentive for workers to fight to make their bosses rich.
Who are the real terrorists? Yes, the deluded workers with home-made bombs and the fanatics who fire at innocent crowds are killers, but let them not divert us from the killing which goes on with the blessing of the boss class. According to a report from the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, in 1984 10.4 million workers were injured and 28,500 were killed in accidents at work. (This is based on information from seventy countries). How many of these deaths and injuries were the direct result of capitalists making a profit out of unsafe working conditions for those they exploit? In a recent report from the Health and Safety Executive we are told that over the last three years 400 British building workers have been killed and 30.000 injured, many seriously. According to the report,
It is possible that economic pressures may have resulted in a general lowering in the degree of safety and supervision on site, and in the increase in the practice of undercutting at the expense of safety.
The recession has led capitalists in the construction industry - notoriously, some of the worst employers in Britain - to risk killing their employees for the sake of offering more competitive prices. We have read no report of Thatcher sending the anti-terrorist squad to the building bosses to ensure that justice is done for the 400 men who have died. On the contrary, it has been recent government policy to go in for what is called deregulation in the construction industry - they have cut the number of inspectors employed to check that building sites are conforming to legal safety standards. According to Richard Peto, Reader in Cancer Studies at Oxford University,
. . . there will be a total of about 50.000 asbestos-induced deaths in Britain over the next thirty years . . . 50,000 deaths is a number so enormous that it is difficult to comprehend. For example, it greatly exceeds the number of murders during the same period . .
Those who die from asbestos-caused cancer - and we have plenty of evidence to show that many workers already have - will die for profit: 50,000 sacrifices to the god of profit makes anything planned by the PLO or the IRA look like kids playing with a peashooter. So workers must beware not to be conned into believing that the "baddies" are only those whose violence is not initiated by the capitalist rulers. While we must oppose the senseless killing of WPC Fletcher we remember the workers who have been murdered, injured and abused by the British police; we must oppose the bombers, but never forget the greater violence perpetrated in the name of profit. When 15 million children under five annually die while food is locked away or dumped in the sea the capitalists are in no position to lecture workers about what is evil. Those who have invested millions of pounds, dollars and roubles in the weaponry which could annihilate the entire planet have no right to tell workers that violence is to be deprecated. Those who allowed thousands to die and suffer at Bhopal in India because there was profit to be made for Union Carbide cannot preach about senseless killing. The numerous capitalists who have investments in bloody dictatorships, such as South Africa where over a thousand workers have been killed in the last year for protesting, are hypocrites when they take it on themselves to attack the Libyan regime. The capitalists are the people of violence and tyranny and any words of theirs against certain violence and some tyrannies are worthless and contemptible.
Only socialists can oppose terrorism because only socialists stand in opposition to the system which causes it. There is no other way to destroy the misery caused by organised violence than to abolish its cause.
Let us consider the other choices which have been proposed. There are those who say that we need new, more responsible leaders: Mondale instead of Reagan, Kinnock instead of Thatcher. Do they really believe that Mondale, faced with a perceived threat to US power, would not respond militarily? Does anyone seriously believe that Kinnock, tied to the terms of the military agreement with the USA which allows British bases to be used for American military attacks, would have acted differently from Thatcher? The fact is that these leaders have no option but to dance to the tune of capitalism, for its logic governs them, not they it, Others rather simple-mindedly argue that more faith should be placed in the United Nations, more appropriately known as the Disunited Thieves. The class struggle cannot be fought out around a conference table and the rivalry between capitalist and capitalist will turn violent quite regardless of resolutions passed by diplomats.
Some argue that Britain should turn from alliance with the American Empire to the Russian. The Russian ruling class could never be so callous as to bomb civilians, we are told. But they have killed over 100,000 workers in Afghanistan since they invaded it and one would be naive to imagine that Russian bombs would not carry out a similar raid to the US one if Russian imperial interests are threatened. It has even been suggested that workers in Britain should support Gadaffy because, in the words of the unfailingly foolish Revolutionary Communist Party, any enemy of the British bosses must be supported by the British workers. According to that logic workers in Britain should have supported Mussolini and Hitler - and, indeed, the RCP urged workers to support Galtieri's struggle for the Malvinas in 1982. This sort of pathetic nonsense is what passes as Marxist-Leninism. From other quarters we are urged to return to religious slumber - like born-again Christian Reagan whose interpretation of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" contains an addendum: "unless under instructions from the White House".
Gadafy is a Muslim, a believer in the faith of Islam which is the Arabic word for submission. It is time for workers to reject the posture of submission for it has been the position of the wage-slave class for too long. There are no answers to violence within the system of violence and that is why peace and security depend entirely on the establishment of a worldwide socialist society now. Tomorrow might be one bomb blast too late.
2.2 CAPITALISM'S " M. O. “
Every successful bandit must have an "m.o" (from the Latin modus operandi) The late, famed bank robber and prison escape artist, Willie Sutton, explained that he preferred to use some sort of delivery workman's uniform as an "m,o.” when on the job, because workmen's uniforms are-so commonplace that they attract scant attention from passers-by. Capitalism, a glorified slave economy that masquerades under the guise of "freedom" also has an "m.o," or two or more with which to disguise itself. And so effective, in fact, are these false faces that they have proved to be dynamic in hoodwinking the population—especially the working class section of the population—for centuries.
As an illustration: capitalism, as a system of society, presents itself as a loose network of rival business operations based upon the philosophy of "Each man for himself and Devil take the hindmost," a sort of anarchistic scramble, so to speak, for assets and for life itself among the conflicting elements of the population. But something else looms in the background, something that everybody is aware of and yet which has not yet been fully understood to be a mechanism for preserving the system, as a clagg, rather than as a genuinely free society. That something is government. Although purportedly a mechanism that represents the interests of the entire population, what government amounts to, in essence, is a modus operandi—or "m.o." for melding the various conflicting units of the economy into a unified whole as a sort of invisible, single, corporation made up of entities from manufacturing, processing, distributing, servicing, finance, &c sections. The government itself, in its various parts, plays the role of a board of directors for Corporation Uncle Sam, or John Bull, or Ivan Bear, or whatever.
As of these final decades of the 20th Century, there is still no central world authority—even though capitalism is essentially a world economy—although there is the recognition for such an institution in the generally powerless United Nations Organization and its equally powerless predecessor, the League of Nations. But it is not beyond the realm of possibility that future generations, barring a forestalling by a world socialist revolution, may even live under such a universal government. In fact, there exists today a sizable number of advocates of that sort of authority—the World Federalists—the membership of which is surely more numerous than that of the World Socialist Movement as of this time of writing. Unfortunately, establishment of such an authority would nothing toward alleviating the problems inherent to capitalism because the predicaments and quagmires that beset us continually, are endemic to the economics of capitalism and not to the nature or the structure of its assorted types of government. For that reason, and particularly since at this stage of development, the world is rotten-ripe for genuine socialism, the establishment of a single, world government would not by any means constitute a progressive step.
So what, then, can possibly be the benefit of socialists running for political office? Even during the years that such elected).representatives would be in a minority they would be occupying seats in an Institution that is designed to regulate the affairs of capitalism in the interests of local, regional, national and even the international capitalist class. Good question but one that has an obvious answer.
Socialism will be even more of a world system than is capitalism and, as such, will require central administrative bodies to carry on an overall regulation of production, distribution, servicing, etc. for the community. There will be no national boundary lines but the different areas will certainly require differing sorts of attention depending upon such factors as geography, topography, and climate. There is nothing wrong, per se. with congresses and parliaments where representatives meet to parley over and about the problems that must be tackled. The predicament in our times is that such assemblages must, of necessity, represent the interests of the ruling class in a class-divided society.
In the meantime, socialists elected to congress—or whatever the political body is termed—can do not much more than present the case for socialism at every opportunity. Such representatives may vote for a reform measure should such bill be designed to further the interests of the working class and not be attached to another bill that does not— which is what most likely would be the case. But since the socialist representative has been elected by socialist -voters (the World Socialist Movement respectfully declines the support of non-socialists) the constituency could expect nothing different. Socialists understand full well that they would be as helpless to operate capitalism in the interests of the working class as are the capitalist politicians themselves.
The rationale of the World Socialist Movement in seeking to elect its representatives to—and ultimately to capture the political state through majority representation, is that there is no other way that such control can be gained—at least not for advocates of world socialism. There are at least two good reasons why the World Socialist Movement has always opposed the advocacy of violence as a means for attaining socialism. To begin with, for the frist time in all recorded history a revolution will be the work of a vast majority of the population and in the interests of the vast majority—indeed, of all mankind. Support for a society such as socialism is not something that can be rammed down throats at the point of a bayonet or even by mass bombing attacks. There must be widespread understanding of and approval for such concepts as production for use rather than for sale on a market with view to profit; abolition of national boundary lines; right of access to all goods and services by all mankind. A mass movement of working people imbued with ideas of that sort would have no reason to arm themselves with firearms or bombs. In fact, once such a movement really got off the ground—as it really never has, as yet—it would gain in momentum like a snowball rolling down a hill, sweeping all reaction before it into the dustheap of history.
But there is also a practical reason of a different sort, a fact of life in these times that dooms all working class confrontationists to failure, dismemberment and death as a result of violent demonstrations against the armed might of the capitalist state. The proletariat will never be a match for the capitalist class in the ability to possess and use weapons. The only weapon that the working class can possibly win with is a mass determination to end the wages, prices, profits, money system with such determination being made manifest at the polls. By that time, it will be a foregone conclusion that the "virus" of socialism will have "infected" large numbers among the armed forces, composed in the main of members of the working class. The sophisticated weaponry of the capitalist class can be nullified when there occurs a shortage of help to man it!
There are those, to be sure, who put down the World Socialist Movement as "Utopian," That sentiment is predicated on a contempt for the mental powers of the working class and there is precedent for such feeling in the writings of "great men" such as Lenin and Mao tse Tung. They have both maintained that we would have to wait 500 years before a majority of the working class would understand socialism. But changing the meaning of socialism—attaching that designation to state capitalism whsn operated by professed socialists—is all that either of those worthies were able to accomplish and_.there ia ao indication that the working class in any of the purportedly "classless" society nations are any closer to an understanding of socialism than are the workers in the avowedly capitalist nations. It takes more than the displaying of likenesses of Marx and Engels—let alone those of Lenin, Mao, etc,—to spread the understanding of scientific socialism*
But, the vanguardist radicals protest, how do you expect socialist workers in totalitarian countries to elect representatives to their parliaments when opposition parties are not permitted? The problem here is simple. The vanguardist "revolutionists" are taking themselves too serious­ly. There is no indication that socialist? revolution is around the corner.. But there is little doubt that even in the U.S.S.R. political repression is not as pervasise as it once was. With further growth of a "middle" class (higher income working people) Soviet society is bound to become even less restrictive, even to the extent of permitting legal opposition. By and large, Soviet peoples have the same general outlook as the populations of the "free" world and once a significant section of the working class in totalitarian countries begin acquiring a socialist attitude it is certain that the ruling classes will be quick to toss political "bones" to them in an attempt to quiten them. After all, there are benefits to the rulers in bourgeois-style democracy. It is always possible to know the extent and significance of the opposition. In any case, we have seen examples in quite recent times, in the Philippines and in Latin America, of the forcible ouster of dictators through massive—and generally unarmed—action from the working class.
What then shall we do in the meantime?—a question that is of great importance to the vanguardist radicals? Our answer: In the meantime let us concentrate on building a nucleus of convinced, genuine, socialists through organization and education in order to help speed the day when government (over people) will be converted into an administration over things—an "m.o," of world socialism.

Below is a letter that Jack London wrote to our party (then known as the Workers' Socialist Party) shortly after it had been formed.
Altho Jack London was a great writer he was not a scientific socialist in the real sense of the term. He was very confused on the questions of war, race, "supermen", etc.
Though not actually understanding the principles he endorsed, he was imbued with a working class viewpoint. In spite of a deep but erroneous sense of pessimism, only a short time before his death he welcomed the formation of the World Socialist Party (then the Workers* Socialist Party) and its Declaration of Principles.
Glen Ellen
Sonoma County, California
September 21, 1916
To: Wm. Davenport, Secretary (Workers' Socialist Party)
Dear Wm. Davenport,
In reply to yours of Aug. 29th, 1916 with which I received copy of the "Manifesto."
Please read my resignation from the Socialist Party and find that I resigned for the same reasons that impel you to form this new party.
I was a member of the old Socialist Labor Party. I gave a quarter of a century of the flower of my life to the revolutionary movement only to find that it was supine under the heel as it was a thousand centuries before Christ was born.
Will the proletariat save itself? If it won't it is unsaveable.
I congratulate you and wish you well on your adventure. I am not bitter. I am only sad in that within itself the proletariat seems to perpetuate the seeds of its proletariat.
In a society that makes possible the production of wealth in profusion, it is outrageous that the vast majority of mankind is in need. To be born poor is to be cursed.
At an early age you become aware of the indignities perpetrated against you by others, which continue throughout your life because you were born into a working class family. You were told that you were poor because your father was stupid or too shiftless, perhaps, to find a decent job. When he was unemployed you were told that he was a lazy good-for-nothing; or that your mother was a bad manager and that your family should feel ashamed at accepting help from the "welfare state;" and quite often you did feel that shame. You were a pale, undernourished kid who lived in a slum and who wore shabby, threadbare, clothes—hand-me-downs from your older brother.
Your mother had the almost impossible task of handling the family budget, "Tell the rent collector when he calls that your mother is out," and when you told him that "Mother says that she's out," you received a clip on the ear for your trouble, You can recall her frequent visits to the sign of the three balls where she would pawn your grandfather watch, given to him as a reward for his loyalty during fifty years of wage slavery by his "benevolent" employer, how your mother managed to provide food for the family was a miracle, but there were times when you all went hungry. She would have made a brilliant chancellor of the echequer, for you were always tightening your belts.
When you started school you discovered that there were others in the same poverty"stratum as yourself. You chummed up with them and participated in feuds with other boys who, although also living in poverty, were better clothed and nourished than yourself. These were considered by the teachers, perhaps, to be scholarship material. You were all taught to be patriotic, to tell the truth in order that you could become good citizens; and you were assured that if you worked hard and were ambitious, you would "get on in the world." You joined with your schoolmates in singing Land of Hope and Glory, and other patriotic songs—and their parodies—with gusto.
When you were pitched out into the world of commerce to earn a living, however, to your dismay you found that life was a different kettle of fish from that which you had been taught. If you kept your mouth buttoned while on the job it was frequently put down as dumb insolence; if you spoke out against indignities you were branded "a trouble maker," Even though it was true enough that you were still patriotic enough, you had discovered that everybody was lying and cheating, including the politicians who ran the nation, who appeared to be "good guys" when they were members of the Opposition and "bad guys" when they were occupying the seats of power. This was all very difficult to understand and you invariably found that more often than not the harder you worked the less pay you received.
You could see no way out of this dilierama and the insidious, sophisticated propaganda of radio, television and newspapers perpetuated your confusion, so that you gave up and just left everything to the glib-tongued "experts" who knew how to disguise their motives with fancy rhetoric.
You were so brow-beaten that you did not think you were worthy of a full life free from anxiety, although you had begun to recognize that something was wrong with capitalist society,, nevertheless, you still voted for Liberal, Conservative. Labour (or whatever the accepted political; parties called themselves)—all reformists—who represented the interests of the capitalist class, the owners of the means of wealth production. In vain you hoped that you might get a larger slice of the pie by supporting social democratic parties, advocates of what is widely thought of as socialism. But you became sadly disillusioned. After all, wasn't it the British Labour Party that coined the phrase: "The inevitability of gradualism?" Creeping paralysis would have been a better term. There have been times, of course, when social democratic parties have used phraseology generally thought of as "socialistic." But they have had their chance to govern in a number of countries and have all) failed miserably to make so much as a dent in the problems of their working classes—as they were bound to fail. How could it be possible to operate an exploitive society in the interests of the exploited?
The World Socialist Movement has an alternative which we think that you really ought to examine. The words "socialist" and "socialism" have been dragged through the mud by the lackeys of capitalism. Britain, for example, is referred to as being a socialist country when the Labour Party happens to be in powerj Prance is referred to as being socialist un Mitterand (although now, since the most recent election, there seems to be at least some confusion as to whether it is altogether or only partially socialist !); and you are told that Soviet Russia is a socialist (or communist) country. So has it been with Cuba since it threw in its lot in the world of commerce with the USSR rather than the USA. And here, there and everywhere, gun-happy, illiterate, peasants in revolt are called Marxists. It would be a huge joke if it were not so tragic. Even those workers who are paid to make us laugh—the comics—get into the act: "A socialist with a knife and fork would like to meet another socialist with a steak."
So what is socialism and what are our credentials? As defined by the World Socialist Movement, organized in Great Britain, Canada, United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, and France, socialism is "The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interests of the whole community." This Object and the Declaration of Principles that follow it are printed on all of our literature and is accepted by all of the members. No one can join this Movement without accepting the Object and Declaration of Principles, a fact which should make it self evident that none but socialists can belong to it. This is our strength for every member is a propagandist with the same rights and priviledges as every other member; we have no leaders, only representatives duly elected by the entire membership and responsible to the general membership. Executive (or Administrative) committees are elected by the membership of the individual parties. The conferences and balloting arising from them are the highest "authority" of each organization. There are no secret meetings and the public are welcome to attend all sessions. We practice the highest form of democracy possible within capitalism. Funds are obtained from membership dues, donations, and the sale of literature.

Our propaganda consists of indoor educational talks, debates, and outdoor meetings, where there is always free and frank discussion in which opponents can state their opposition. Understandably, the TV and radio stations are loath to broadcast our views although persistent effort to obtain a hearing through broadcast media have paid off in some parts of the U.S. and Canada. The propaganda forces arrayed against us are formidable but capitalism is, nevertheless, digging its grave. The trick is to keep it from digging yours!
We have been organized since 1904 and have seen mass parties of the so-called left come and go. We want your support now and when we put up candidates at election time, but we insist that firstly you must understand the case for socialism. We refuse to compromise, for we want the thought behind your vote and not just a cross on a slip of paper. We have held mass rallies at election time, sometimes larger than those held by the capitalist political parties but they get sparse reportage in the daily press.
Parliament and Congress are the seats of power; power for socialism, and we predict that one day you will be voting for us in your thousands because capitalism cannot solve your problems. Only a complete change in your ideas and your actions will bring about a revolutionary change in society.
Can you visualize what this will mean? Under socialism there will be a completely different world-wide set-up where all goods and services are commonly owned and democratically controlled in a classless society. The need for buying and selling, wages and profits, becomes completely unnecessary for goods will be produced for use and not for profit. The basis for production will be: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs, and the production of goods of the highest quality will be the norm because mankind is entitled to the best. Furthermore, socialism will be a society in which war between nations will be unthinkable—there will be, in fact, no division into nations, iust one World.
No! Socialism will not be a land of hope and glory but a world more conducive to the wellbeing of all. The demise of capitalism will even benefit the erstwhile capitalist class. They will finally be able to live like human beings without the need of keeping the rest of mankind in chains by holding over them the “whiplash” of poverty or of potential poverty, a condition of life which carries with it grave threats of destruction and even premature death. In a sense, they—the capitalists— also have a world to gain although, in all truth, we do not expect them to come over to us in droves.
Sid Catt
You can't possibly do anything with it. Throw it away. It's only a scrap of paper." This is the opinion expressed concerning the ballot by our syndicalist friends.
The ten dollar bill is likewise merely a scrap of paper. You can't do a great deal with it any more. But you don't throw it away. It comes in mighty handy when translated into terms of groceries. Regardless of its shabby nature the shopkeeper seems glad to get it. He understands that there is something important behind it.
When we get a rent receipt, or a marriage certificate we notice that they are just scraps of paper, but we don't throw them very far. They serve the purpose of holding the line until we are able to negotiate better arrangements.
When the quarter-time has expired on the parking meter, and the cop on the motor cycle adorns your windshield with a paper plaster, you don't file it in the sewer. Even if you did the stipulated fine must be settled anyway. There's authority behind the paper.
So with the ballot. In a physical sense it, too, can be classified as a scrap of paper. But, with a thinking electorate of men and women behind it, the weight, of public opinion is sufficient to effect a change from capitalism to socialism. The paper is not the objective. It's the instrument for registering what is in the minds of the voters.
With the heating up of the situation in Nicaragua, the bombing of Libya and the flood of Rambo-type films in the theatres, the subject of war is once again in the forefront of topics being discussed.
We of the WORLD SOCIALIST MOVEMENT for over eighty years have put forth our views on the causes of war. We claim that war is nothing but the clashing of economic rivalries over such things as markets, private property issues, trade routes and spheres of influence. Of course, the capitalists of various nations are always quarreling over such things, but once in a while these items cannot be resolved peacefully. When such a time comes, wars begin. We claim that wars are therefore fought for the capitalist class interests and do not, in any way, benefit the working class* Therefore, we oppose all wars during peacetime and wartime. We also claim that the only way to end wars is to end capitalism.
Now that we have presented a brief outline on our position to war, we would like to take this opportunity to give the capitalist class and its supporters a chance to present their views in our journal (something that they almost never grant us in their publications).
1. Rear Admiral French E Chadwick, U.S.N.
“Navies and armies are insurance for capital owned abroad by the leisure class of a nation. It is for them that empires and spheres of influence exist. The great war now waging is a culmination of efforts to maintain and extend these spheres." (NY EVENING POST, Dec. 17, 1915)
2. Lammont duPont
“War is caused by economic and political rivalries," (NY HERALD TRIBUNE, Nov. 19, 1934)
3. NATIONAL HUGHES ALLIANCE DECLARATION, issued in 1916, signed by two ex-Presidents, T. Roosevelt and Wm. Howard Taft and 25 leading bankers and captains of industry.
"Our business is business. We are producers, manufacturers and traders, without sufficient home demands to absorb the full yield of fields and the output of factories. Year by year it becomes more apparent that the markets of the world must be kept open to American industries. We cannot extend our trade further than we are able to defend it. The rivalries that begin in commerce end on the battlefields. The history of war is green with international jealousies. Whatever the diplomatic excuse. every conflict in modern times had its origin in the question of property rights*"
"This is more than war of mechanical monsters clashing in the night., more than a war of production. It is a war for markets—YOUR markets ! The Axis wants your business—wants to destroy it once and for all." (Quoted from a Treasury Department Ad placed in INSTITUTIONS MAGAZINE, April 1943. Ad was captioned, "The Axis Wants Your Business")
Leaflets for distribution are available from our Boston office. If you are a member or a supporter of the WSP(US), why not order a bundle today? Help to spread socialist ideas, distribute leaflets .

5. Bernard M. Baruch
"Before I go any further in this expression of my views, I think it wise to remind you gentlemen of the fact that wars are not fought merely for immediate results. Each participant makes an effort to impose his will upon his enemies by military and economic destruction. But at the same time he keeps in mind the after results—new markets, new trade and new intercourse, always at the expense of the defeated and neutrals." (Senate Comm., NY TIMES, April 7, 1939)
6. David Lawrence
"It makes one shudder to think what the sudden outbreak of peace might mean to the American economy." (NY SUN, April 5, 1949)
7. George P. Taubeneck
"If you are one of those domestic-minded businessmen who are unimpressed with this view (that prosperity hinges on foriegn trade) ponder for a bit the thinking of a gentleman who ought to know about such things.,.. He is R.W. Gifford, vice-president and assistant general manager of Norge Division, Borg-Warner Corp., and chairman of the board of Borg-Warner International Corp.
He'll tell you in just ten words why he considers foreign trade important to this country: Because "all wars are basically economic" and because "we actually need the business."
(from 'Inside Dope. from AIR CONDITIONING AND REFRIGERATION NEWS, Dec. 9, 1946.)
8. Woodrow Wilson
"Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a mairket, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused." (as quoted in THE FORGING of the AMERICAN EMPIRE by S. Lens, 1971)
9. U.S. NAVY
"Realistically, all wars have been for economic reasons. To make them politically palatable, idealogical issues have always been provoked.
Any possible future war will undoubtedly conform to historical precedent.
Present differences with our world neighbors, now in the diplomatic stage, we can hope can be kept there. But after all, war is merely diplomacy by force of arms."
(official document distributed by Office of Naval Intell. to U.S. Senate Comm. on Armed Services-April 15, 1947)
So there you have it. The real causes of war, straight from the capitalist class and its supporters. Remember, the next time we have a war for “making the world safe for democracy” or “to end all wars,” that the real reason is not these ideological phrases, but instead conflicts for the benefit of capitalists and their markets. Let's end wars by ending the system that creates wars. Join the WORLD SOCIALIST PARTY, NOW!
"Citizen Hughes" by Michael Drosnin, published by Bantam, $4.50, is a classic account of power gone mad.
The author deals mostly with the last decade of Hughes life most of which was spent as a recluse in a blacked-out penthouse in Las Vegas. Drosnin's work is detailed, readable and presents a graphic account of an emaciated, meglomaniac, junky using wealth and power to satisfy his personal whims (such as buying a TV station so he could watch whatever program he wanted, when he wanted) and petty malice; and does not, like some writers, lapse into snivelling, moralizing, suggestions about preventing such men using power recklessly. Drosnin does in fact, portray Hughes as very much a product and a symptom of his times.
From his penthouse lair, the crazy billionaire sought increasingly greater power. It wasn't enough to buy one Las Vegas hotel, he bought all Las Vegas - mafia? -small fry. It wasn't enough to buy Vegas, he bought Nevada; but, it still wasn't enough, the greedy bugger, wanted all 50 states.
There was one sure way to go about it, first - buy the president: however, here things didn't exactly go to plan. Poor old L.B.J., holed up in the Whitehouse, afraid to show his face on the street, in case it got shot off, had enough problems - no deal. Nixon took Hughes' money, and with immense gratitude repaid him by testing A Bombs in Nevada and by dumping hundreds of tonnes of nerve gas in the sea off Paradise, Bahamas, while Hughes was involved in negotiations with view to purchasing Paradise.
Dicky boy didn't have the last laugh: it is the author's contention that Watergate was a result of Hughes - Nixon machinations. Larry O'Brien, ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was an employee of Hughes, (how come, is a fascinating story, but I ain't telling you everything here) and as such, might know a heck of a lot about Nixon that he didn't want the whole world knowing. Hence, the screwball burglary aimed at getting info, to'neutralize' O'Brien, and the whole colossal cock-up of a comic opera, called Watergate.
As symptomatic of Capitalism, Hughes is shown as a man of great contradictions. His company manufactured nuclear weapons, but he fought to prevent them being tested, because of his fear of contamination, even to the ludicrous extent of identifying himself with the peace movement.
His fear of contamination was so great that every document handed to him had to be sterilized first, and his aides, who handled it were required to wash their hands several times in a manner prescribed by hin). Yet he never washed, cut his hair, and nails or had the bed sheets changed or washed. His room was never cleaned: there were mountains of dust and used Kleenex everywhere: his hair was lodgings for every flea in Vegas, but boy! gotta watch those germs!
Hughes considered himself anti-establishment, (don't get your eyes checked - you read it correctly), his image of himself was a corporate John Wayne cum Darryl Zanuck - a board room swashbuckler, bucking and swashling all politicians, executives, Capitalists etc., who stood in his way.

Like any Capitalist, he would have liked to have had everything his own way -subservient politicians, a docile working class and no government interference or taxation: and came as close as anyone can to achieving that unblessed state of affairs.
Details are given of which politicians he bought, how much they were paid and how they earned it, by killing or delaying certain bills in senate and congress and which legislation beneficial to Hughes they had forced through, and which illegal takeover deals they had turned a blind eye to.
All books on Hughes will neccessarily have the same broad, general thrust - the power of money. It is clearly shown in this one how political office is bought and how Hubert Humphrey failed to become president because he didn't have the loot. The reader is treated to a tear-jerky scene of poor Huby sitting helpless in a stalled, rented bus, broke, weeping tears of anger and frustration as he hears the private Kennedy jet roar overhead, carrying his well-healed opponent to victory in the West Virginia primary in 1960. Humphrey eventually became a Hughes man because he needed - guess what? He didn't beat Nixon in 1968 because Nixon had a lot more of Hughes money.
How the richest man in America was able to evade paying personal income tax for seventeen years,makes fascinating reading, (no kidding), and that ain't all: Hughes Tool, the holding company for his entire empire, avoided corporate income tax for three years. Like other so-called philanthropists, Ford, Rockerfeller, Carnegie, Hughes discovered a way to get great acclaim from the working class for hoarding his wealth and evading taxes, he created a foundation - The Howard Hughes Medical Institute. When legislation was about to be introduced to tax medical foundations, Hughes paid so much in bribes to ensure they would be exempt, one wonders if it wouldn't be cheaper to pay the damn taxes in the first place.
Drosnin gives several examples of how Hughes would become caught in web of his own making, a typical one being when he tried to corner the market on helicopters during the Viet Nam war. He quoted the U.S. government a ridiculously low price to get their orders, which, not surprisingly, he did. He immediately tripled the price, but when various people from congress and senate started asking, "what's going on here?" Howie baby, just as quickly, went back to his original price and lost $90,000,000 dollars.
One event which is of no profound significance, but does underline the sheer lunacy of Capitalism is when Hughes chief gofer, Bob Mahew, was in Miami, planning with the Mafia and C.I.A. an attempted assassination of Fidel Castro. Mafia boss Sam Giancana, wanted to leave Miami for Los Vegas because he'd heard his girlfriend, singer Phyllis McGuire, was having an affair there with comedian Dan Rowan. To keep Giancana in Miami, Mayhew sent a C.I.A. operative to bug Rowan's room. A hotel maid caught the guy, playing with his wires, and called in the F.B.I.
Drosnin sometimes takes his reader along a certain line of thought, but stops short of drawing a conclusion, as if to invite each reader to draw his. Such a case is the killing of Bobby Kennedy: was there a connection with Hughes? One must figure it out for one's self.
Whatever the answer, one thing's for sure, Hughes, his henchmen, political joe-boys and other sundry partners in crime, saw the Kennedys exactly for what they are, (the same thing as most of our folk heroes), glorified hoodlums. It's too bad the working class, as a whole, can't see through them.
In his treatment of people working for him , Hughes was a jerk. He liked to create hostile situations where there was no premise for any and constantly feed his antagonists anger while he put on an innocent, hurt act. Too much space is given to this nonsensical drivel, but if you like listening to little old ladies argue you'll love it.
The author claims that much of his book is in fact, an autobiography because it was culled from Hughes secret papers, which were stolen from his Los Angeles headquarters in June, 1974.
It is the author's contention that either Hughes or his executives acting on their own volition, were responsible for the break-in, possibly because three days previously the Securities and Exchange Commission had subpoenaed all documents relating to Hughes take-over of Air West. Nothing was more threatening to the billionaire since it was one of his more illegal than usual business deals. The Hughes people, unlike Nixon's crowd, enlisted the aid of a guy who was no plumber (and is referred to only as the'pro'), who, on completion of the job swiped the papers for himself and tried to sell them back to Hughes cronies. They tried to find the pro, but lost interest after they S.E.C. did. Our friend the pro, stuck with his papers, bricked them up in a wall for a few years before giving them to Drosnin.
The author, who I assume, is no socialist, (I'm sure the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, who he worked for, as a reporter, don't make a habit of employing socialists), does not draw socialist conclusions, but his epitaph for Hughes is deeper than he could have imagined, "he was an American folk hero, a man who lived first the dream, then the nightmare - in that sense, perhaps the single most representative American of the twentieth century."
Ray Rawlings