Dear reader,

The 5th issue of the International Communist Review engages with the topic: “The imperialist war and the stance of the communists”. A very important, very relevant topic because it provides the opportunity to study the historical and recent experience and draw substantial conclusions concerning the imperialist wars, crucial conclusions for the working class, the popular strata, the youth, the struggle of the communists.

The experience of the 1st and 2nd world war, the experience of dozens of wars where millions of lives were lost, millions of workers were crippled and with enormous material damage, demonstrates that imperialist wars are not a chance, contingent phenomenon but the result of specific historical circumstances, conditions and causes.

The representatives of the bourgeois class, liberals and social-democrats, every type of opportunist attribute the causes of the imperialist wars to mistaken policies, to specific figures, at the most they talk about some competition between states.

They conceal the basic issue. They conceal what is the class character of the war, what are the real reasons for its outbreak, which classes conduct it, which historical and historical-economic conditions provoke it.

In essence, they conceal the source of wars, which is capitalism and which becomes constantly more dangerous in its highest, final, imperialist stage.

100 years have passed since the beginning of the 1st World War, which was known as a “European War”, as it brought the “civilized” states of Europe into war, filling the old continent with millions of graves and cripples. It was the first major confrontation, it arose from the sharpening of the conflict of the strong powers of the era over the conquest of new markets and natural resources and redivision of the already existing ones.

At the same time, the war was used by the bourgeois classes, also with the assistance of opportunism, to pollute the consciousness of the working class in their countries with the poison of nationalism and chauvinism.

Lenin, writing about the 1st World War, provided irreplaceable methodological tools that are essential for analyzing both these historical events and the situation today.

The war is not a product of the evil will of rapacious capitalists, although it is undoubtedly being fought only in their interests and they alone are being enriched by it. The war is a product of half a century of development of world capitalism and of its billions of threads and connections.

It is impossible to slip out of the imperialist war and achieve a democratic, non-coercive peace without overthrowing the power of capital and transferring state power to another class, the proletariat.” [1]

Lenin, using the well-known phrase of von Clausewitz “war is a continuation of politics by other means” attempted through his work to demonstrate that war is connected to the specific socio-economic and political framework, adding that war is the connection with “the preceding policy of every country, every class that ruled before the war and achieved its ends by so-called “peaceful” means.” [2]

The 2nd World War broke out 21 years after the end of the 1st World War and the agreements made regarding the division of the territories and markets. 75 years have passed since the beginning of this bloody war, which was the result of the sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradictions, as well as of the global economic crisis 1929-1933, which, despite the brief revival in the 1930s, had not been overcome. The war, as a way out, constituted the means for the territorial re-division of the world amongst the imperialist powers in this period, but above all it aimed at crushing the first socialist state in the world, the USSR, and overthrowing socialism so that they could win back a lost link in the imperialist chain.

The German machine was strengthened by the support of major monopoly groups as well as by monopolies from the USA and other capitalist states, strong imperialist powers elaborated plans to attack the Soviet Union.

However the workers’, socialist state, the soviet people and the other peoples, with the communists in the vanguard resisted. The role of the Soviet Union in the Anti-fascist Victory of the Peoples, during the 2nd World War, was decisive. The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR) crushed the military machine of Germany and its allies, which had invaded its territory. It liberated a number of countries in Europe from Germany military occupation. Over 20 million Soviet citizens gave their lives for the socialist motherland, over 10 million were disabled or wounded, while there was enormous material damage.

The victories of the Red Army lent significant impetus to the national liberation and anti-fascist movements, in which the communist parties played the leading role. The anti-fascist struggle was linked to the overthrow of bourgeois power in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, with the decisive contribution of the USSR.

Dear reader,

The history of the previous imperialist wars provides valuable information for today, as we see the inter-imperialist contradictions over the control of the natural resources and their transport routes, over the market shares. Imperialism is becoming more aggressive in the conditions of the capitalist crisis.

In recent years, we have witnessed the wars of the USA, NATO, EU against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya. In this period, there are war flashpoints in Ukraine, Palestine, Iraq, Syria. “War clouds” are gathering in new regions, like South East Asia and even the Arctic, and there is the danger of a new generalized military conflict. The imperialist organization of NATO, with the recent decisions taken at the Summit in Wales, demonstrates its readiness to intensify its military interventions in Europe and every corner of the world, where the interests of the Euro-US monopolies are at stake.

The events themselves pose the main issue of our stance in relation to these developments. The communists oppose, denounce the imperialist wars and struggle for the eradication of the causes that give rise to them.

They struggle for the overthrow of capitalism, for the construction of socialism, the abolition of exploitation, the elimination of the causes of war.

Lenin stressed that “We cannot rule out the possibility of revolutionary wars, i.e., wars arising from the class struggle, wars waged by revolutionary classes, wars which are of direct and immediate revolutionary significance.” [3]

This matter, the matter of preparing for the socialist revolution, must shine a light on the path of the communists’ struggle. What is needed is the independent ideological, political struggle and confrontation against the bourgeois class so that the working class and the peoples are equipped and are not trapped in the plans of bourgeois management, so that they are not trapped in the plans of one or the other section of the bourgeois class, in one or the other imperialist union.

The orientation of the CPs is tested in these complex conditions, and the important role of the revolutionary strategy is highlighted so that it can gain ground inside the working class, the popular strata, taking into consideration the lessons from the 1st World War in order to avoid the political decisions that led to the bankruptcy of the 2nd International.

The articles included in this issue seek to further develop aspects related to the issue of the sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions in various regions and the danger of war. They approach previous wars from a historical standpoint. They reveal imperialism’s responsibilities and connection to war. They examine the stance of the communists towards ideological constructs of the bourgeois class concerning war, as well as more generally the issue of the stance of the communists regarding imperialist war and the participation of their countries in it.

Although the journal can not engage with all the issues and dimensions of imperialist war, we think that it constitutes a significant contribution to the discussion on this topic.

The Editorial Board of the ICR

Brussels 1/10/2014

[1] The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution. V.I. Lenin. Collected Works, vol. 24

[2] War and Revolution.. V.I. Lenin. Collected Works, vol. 24

[3] War and Revolution. V.I. Lenin. Collected Works vol. 24