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Charles Curtiss

The Communist Fight against Imperialist War

(January 1930)

From The Militant, Vol. 3 No. 3, 18 January 18, p. 4.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Talk! talk! talk! Peace! Naval reduction! Disarmament! Abolition of War! Geneva Conferences! London Conferences! League of Nations! Kellogg Pact – and while all this hypocritical cant is filling the air to the confusion of many workers, arsenals are being filled, gases compounded, troops drilled, battleships built, industries organized, all for the next August 1, 1930.

Young workers and farmers, you who do the fighting and dying for the greater glory (and profit) of your capitalist masters, engrave this deeply into your consciousness: Twelve years after “the last war, the war to end wars”, the world is bristling with armaments even more so than the week before Sarejevo in July 1914. The black clouds have gathered – a tiny spark and the storm of death will have broken.

The Role of the Socialists Loudest in their vehemence, most touching in their oratory, holding the attention of millions of workers are the bellwethers for capitalism, the leadership of the international social democracy and the pacifists, trying to convince the workers of the possibility of disarmament, of the abolition of war under capitalism, meanwhile, with might and main aiding their imperialist in arming, such as MacDonald, Mueller and Paul Boncour.

The Communists are blunt: under capitalism war is inevitable. If you, fellow-worker, desire to abolish war, we say: Abolish capitalism with all its misery and replace it with the proletarian dictatorship – with a system of production for use and not for profit – all over the world.

Some “scientists” say, in the spirit of Bismarck, that war is nature’s way of removing the unfit, the way “the law of the survival of the fittest” operates nowadays. Nonsense! It is precisely those who are sickly and weak and crippled and old who stay at home to survive and deteriorate the race, while the strong, the healthy and the young, without scar or blemish, who lay down their lives as blood sacrifices to Mammon on the altar of war.

So, as the chief sufferers, those most endangered, the young workers traditionally lead the fight against capitalist war. But how? Whose method shall be used?

War calls for a radical cure, for a revolutionary surgeon’s knife to exterminate class society, and not a reformist salve to heal the ulcer and retain the body of capitalism. So those who would apply the salve, the leadership of the Socialist Parties and Socialist Youth Leagues are excluded as capable of fighting war.

From Bosses’ War to Class War

Essentially the problem is how to turn the imperialist war into a war of the working class against the master class. The reformists do not desire whatsoever to turn the war against capitalism. The task remains for the Communists.

But the days when Leninist policy dominated the Communist movement are long past. Today, within the Communist movement we have three currents, the Right, the Center and the Left.

Based theoretically on the monstrosity of “socialism in one country”, which it shares with the Centrists, the Rights have taken the next step down the hill to reform the next step following “socialism in one country”. They have declared their “right” to “national” Communist Parties” (a contradiction in terms as ridiculous as a square circle), negating the very principles of internationalism which is fundamental in our movement and especially in the fight against war. The Right wing “Communist” is checked off as incapable. The Centrists waver between the Right and Left, and anyone who hesitates in the class struggle is lost. A bold, determined policy is needed. They lag behind the masses or overtake and jump far ahead of them into adventurism and lag behind again.

The Left wing under the leadership of Trotsky and Rakovsky and many other fighters against the last war stands foursquare on an International Leninist platform. It is the embodiment of internationalism, of the fight against war and capitalism.

With the old battle-cries, first used by Lenin, Liebknecht and Trotsky, with which the masses overthrew the czar and Russian imperialism, and shook many a haughty empire, we shall also turn the next imperialist war into a victorious class war of the proletariat. The young workers must be in the front ranks.

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