(in deutscher Sprache)

What are wars good for?

War is always aimed against the demands, the hopes and the struggles of people. Not only in the war region. It had started again: the hope for a better world. People got rid off dictatorships, from South Korea and South Africa to Indonesia. Movements have developed which question the power of money and capital: from the demonstrations against the IMF and World Bank to the struggles of workers and peasants in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Hundreds of millions moved from the countryside to the cities, looking for the abundance that capitalist propaganda had promised them. Millions are migrating around the world in order to get at least a little part of this abundance. War however changes the standards of our demands. You already are glad if things are not getting any worse...

War is supposed to create fear and the feeling of powerlessness. Faced with the war machine being under way resistance seems to be futile. It seems like the Bush- and Blairgovernments are deliberately producing such a crap, amateurish war propaganda. As if they wanted to tell us: We don't need any justification anymore, your protests don't impress us.

War is good for religion. If you can't do anything anyway, at least there remains god, whatever kind of god. Whether it is the pope surfing on the peace-wave or the Islam which is offering us an exit to paradise. Wars like the looming one will increase the importance of religion again, in parts of the world where this delusion has been easing off over the last few years.

War creates nationalism, ethnical divisions and hate. The fear created by the arbitrariness of the ruling class not only feeds racism in the form of hate towards other powerless - be it refugees, immigrants, the youth, the unemployed - but once more defines by national or ethnic belonging who is friend and who is foe.

War dramatically brutalizes society. It almost naturally introduces murder and manslaughter. Militarization, omnipresence of the police, fortifying of borders, state control become lesser evils. War consolidates the state, not only by the introduction of martial law (openly declared or de facto exercised) on all sides, but by supporting the notion that only the government can provide a solution: Either people appeal to the state ("GerhardSchroeder, stay on the peace track") or the state is supported as the rescuer of its people.

War justifies capitalist peace. A peace which demands hundreds of victims daily in small wars, a peace which lets thousands of people starve or die of curable diseases every day. A peace that does not respect us as human beings, but just as labour-power and consumers, a peace which forces us to ignore our true needs every day.

But: For the ruling class war also is a risky game. Wars question all matters of existence and future. On February 15th worldwide about 20 Million people protested against this war: that is a form of globalisation which the rulers surely won't like at all. If the lives of probably hundreds of thousands are jeopardized by the war, our answer can only be: we ourselves have to question our lives as they have been up to now!

What is this war good for?

There are lots of speculations going on about the motivations of the US-Government. The oil, the oil price, the crusade, geo-strategy, the dollar crisis, the world order. That's all part of it. Beyond the probably very fucked up mind of George W.Bush it might be best to have a look at the current world situation and the development since the declarationof a "New World Order" by Bush senior twelve years ago. That's the only way to understand why the US-Government goes from war to war, like seized with panic.

Regarding the increase in regional crises (just to mention the most important ones: Philippines, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya,West-Africa, Argentinia, Venezuela, Bolivia), the regional economic slumps (Russia, Indonesia, Turkey), an aggravating general economic crisis, the growing streams of migration: it becomes clear that the traditional political structures of the Cold War are no longer suitable for maintaining stable conditions of exploitation and power.

The Soviet Union (just as the military dictatorships in Asia, Africa or Latin America) was more or less able to control and govern its people. These dictatorships were able to do this as long as the majority of the population were peasants. That is the fundamental change of the last twenty years: today most of the people live in cities possessing nothing but their labour-power and needs, hopes and desires which reach far further than to the next harvest. That's why most of these regimes have been abolished in the last years, nearly always by uprisings of the urban population. Others, e.g. the regime in China, are increasingly loosing control over their population. Some states simply collapsed, like in Afghanistan, Somalia, Central Africa.

Everywhere the security laws are tightened up (Anti-Terror-Laws in Europe and elsewhere, "Homeland Security Act" in the USA), the police, the intelligence, and the army are re-armed and/or re-structured for the "internal security", equipped with new authority. The first victims are the immigrants. But all this also shows that the state's capability to tell us what to do and what not to do has decreased everywhere.

Within the frame-work of the existing world order, the function of the state was and still is the limitation of social contradictions and class struggle to the state territory and to the sphere of negotiation and regulation. As well as the national states, their counterparts of social mediation and regulation (e.g. the national liberation movements, the communist parties and often the unions as well) have also lost influence and importance. No wonder that the role of nationhood in international law has lost weight and that not only the US-Government, but also the EU perceive the global situation as a problem of global "home affairs". After the disappearance of most of the little dictators, more and more often the rulers of the world have to do the job themselves.

The history of Iraq might clarify this point: after the revolution in Iran 1979 the regime of Saddam Hussein was supported in order to enable him to cover Iran with years of war. So the social revolution in Iran ended up as a religious dictatorship. Later on the regime in Iraq itself began to teeter and was attacked on the occasion of the annexation of Kuwait. Resulting in hundreds of thousands of killed people and Saddam Hussein's power re-secured. Today there is lot of evidence that all main dictatorships in the Gulf Region (Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others) have become unstable. And those who can't control their people any longer are in for it.

The latest change in propaganda announces that the US-troops will bring "democracy" to Iraq. Before the war lots of threats are spoken out and promises are made. After the war the memory often is short: In the bill for the national budget 2003 the US-Government simply forgot to provide an item "aid for Afghanistan"... (The US-Senate later on approved a few millions).

It is not possible to install US-military administrations or UN-Protectorates everywhere. For the purpose of "divide and rule" even in a globalised world it remains necessary to limit crises and focus struggles on the state. The nation states and the positive reference to them, nationalism, are anything but dead.

How is the world supposed to be re-ordered in the interest of unhindered capitalist valorisation? And who is supposed to do this? The USA as the strongest military power? The UN, "Old Europe"? All together, in cooperation? That's still an open question and argued also within the capitalist nomenclature. The arguments within the UN Security Council are not dealing with the question of "war or peace". Russia is waging war in Chechnya, France launched a military intervention at the Ivory Coast. Germany supports the deployment in the Persian Gulf by ordering the Bundeswehr to secure US-Army bases, by granting the US-AirForce the right to move within German air space, by sending AWACS staff and "Fuchs"-tanks. There are different opinions regarding the extend to which military, political and economical measures are necessary to install secure power-relations. In Afghanistan the US-Government has used its military power in order to hand over the land to the warlords afterwards, whereas Germany still makes futile attempts of nation building.

This war is also an answer to problems within the attacking country itself, as war always is. In the USA capitalism is not just in economical crisis (collapse of the New Economy, increase of internal and external debts, trade balance deficit, increasing unemployment and poverty), but also in a political and moral one. After the ENRON scandal even the boss ofthe New York stock market NYSE talked about "terrorism in the boardroom".

Against war and peace!

A peace-movement that once more is searching solutions to problems which are not the point anyway has got no future. Oncemore parts of the movement are looking for alternative solutions to keep up the order. Before the last Gulf War they said "Embargo instead of war". The result was: War and embargo. The people in Iraq have paid that with hundreds of thousands of killed. Today part of the peace movement says: "Inspectors instead of war", which would mean the continuation of the misery for the population in Iraq for an undefined time.

The movement against the war is also a struggle against the miserable peace in the Gulf region. This movement should be our contribution to the struggle of the people in the Gulf Region to get rid of their exploiters and dictators, their Saddam Husseins, their sheiks and mullahs and the multinational oil companies by themselves.

As long as humans accept to be exploited and oppressed, there will be violence and war in order to secure and organize their exploitation. As long as humans accept the logic of war, as long as they reduce their demands and fall into fear and powerlessness, as long as they turn to religion, state and national identity, war will exist.


We have more impotant things to do: to overthrow all relations in which man is a debased, enslaved, abandoned, despicable essence.

Home, Index Asia, Daily Asia News

A webpage of WELT IN UMWAeLZUNG (World in Radical Change) Mannheim-Ludwigshafen, Germany

March 2003