Does capitalist crisis mean war is inevitable?

February 5, 2024

As the crisis of the imperialist world “order” deepens and the capitalist rulers worldwide look to build up their militaries and search for new allies, the danger of more wars — and threat of nuclear conflagration — grows. This is sharpened by Moscow’s war against Ukraine and Hamas’ pogrom against Jews in Israel.

One call that is bringing together the rulers in Tehran and Moscow, as well as Stalinist-minded left groups worldwide, is a clamor of accusations that Israel is carrying out “war crimes” in Gaza. These false claims are aimed at escalating the pressure on the Israeli government to abandon its war to defeat Hamas.

The likelihood that actual crimes against humanity will be perpetrated is increasing today. It’s built into the sharpening conflicts among rival capitalist powers. Every one of these powers’ rulers is prepared to shed the blood of countless numbers of people to advance their own cutthroat class interests.

Israel’s war to defeat Hamas is a battle in the interests of workers across the Middle East, in the U.S. and worldwide. It’s a war against Jew-hatred and to defend Israel’s existence as a refuge for Jews.

There is a long record of actual war crimes perpetrated on a horrific scale by the U.S. rulers and their imperialist allies in World War II, as they targeted the working people of Germany and Japan in their battle with the rulers of those countries over the redivision and plunder of the world.

The firebombing of workers’ districts in Dresden and Hamburg by U.S. and British forces had the sole aim of inflicting maximum civilian deaths. Later that year Washington did the same in Tokyo. And throughout the war, the imperialist rulers and their Nazi government in Germany drove to exterminate the Jewish people, killing 6 million.

“There Is No Peace,” was the banner headline run in the Aug. 18, 1945, Militant, after Washington’s use of nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima brought an end to the war. That statement has been borne out many times over, from the U.S. rulers’ use of napalm and carpet bombing of Korea and Vietnam, to their “Turkey shoot” of Iraqi soldiers on the road to Basra in the 1991 Iraq War. Each one of their atrocities had the wholehearted backing of both imperialist parties in the U.S. — the Democrats and Republicans.

The imperialists’ crimes against humanity are only rivaled by the counterrevolutionary Stalinist regime in Moscow. Millions perished in a famine it imposed on Ukraine in what is known as the Holodomor — extermination by hunger — in 1932-33. Stalin murdered hundreds of thousands of revolutionaries in the Soviet Union and elsewhere as he organized betrayal after betrayal of working-class struggles in the 1930s and after.

“The possibility of the use of weapons of mass destruction in today’s world can be seen not only in Tehran’s drive to develop nuclear arms and delivery systems,” explains the Socialist Workers Party in The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us. “Such a prospect is underscored by Putin’s nuclear sabre rattling, in face of growing setbacks to his regime’s efforts to crush Ukraine’s national independence and sovereignty.”

But a third world war is far from inevitable. Workers will have our chance to take power out of the hands of the capitalist warmakers — as working people did in Cuba. Out of today’s strikes and working-class struggles proletarian parties capable of leading millions to make socialist revolutions here and around the world can be built.