Choosing one side against another always means choosing imperialist war!

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In the space of a few months, the appalling Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip has swept away tens of thousands of lives in a furious torrent of barbarism. Innocent civilians, children and the elderly are dying in their thousands, crushed under the bombs or coldly shot by Israeli soldiers. To the horror of the bullets we must add the victims of hunger, thirst, disease and trauma... The Gaza Strip is an open-air mass grave, an immense ruin symbolising everything that capitalism now has to offer humanity. What is happening in Gaza is a monstrosity!

How can we fail to be disgusted by the cynicism of Netanyahu and his clique of religious fanatics, by the cold nihilism of the IDF's assassins? How can you not get carried away when the slightest expression of indignation is immediately branded "anti-Semitism" by low-grade editorialists and Tel Aviv propagandists? Of course, the images of the horror and the testimonies of the survivors are bloodcurdling. Even among the Israeli population, traumatised by the despicable crimes of Hamas on 7 October and subjected to the steamroller of warmongering propaganda, the indignation is palpable. Rallies in support of the Palestinians are multiplying around the world: in Paris, London and, above all, in the United States, where university campuses are the scene of particularly large-scale mobilisations.

The indignation could not be more sincere, but revolutionaries have a responsibility to say it loud and clear: these demonstrations are not remotely on a working class terrain. On the contrary, they represent a deadly trap for the proletariat!

Capitalism means war!

"Immediate ceasefire", "Peace in Palestine", "International agreement", "Two nations at peace"... Calls for "peace" have multiplied in recent weeks in demonstrations and on platforms. Some of the organisations on the left of capital (the Trotskyists, the Stalinists and all the variants of the "radical" left like La France Insoumise in France), all have the word "peace" on their lips.

It's a pure mystification! Workers must have no illusions about any so-called peace, in the Middle East or elsewhere, or about any solution from the "international community", the UN, the International Tribunal or any other den of capitalist brigands. Despite all the agreements and peace conferences, all the promises and UN resolutions, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on for over 70 years and is not about to end. In recent years, like all imperialist wars, this conflict has only become more violent and atrocious. With the recent atrocities of Hamas and the IDF, the barbarity has taken on an even more monstrous and delirious face, in a scorched-earth logic that goes to extremes and shows that capitalism can offer nothing but death and destruction.

So, to the question "Can there be peace in a capitalist society", our categorical answer is no! The revolutionaries of the early twentieth century had already made it clear that, since 1914, imperialist war has become the way of life of decadent capitalism, the inescapable result of its historical crisis. And because the bourgeoisie has no solution to the downward spiral of the crisis, we have to say it very clearly: chaos and destruction can only spread and increase in Gaza as in Ukraine and everywhere else in the world! The war in Gaza threatens to ignite the whole region.

Pacifism, a dead end and a preparation for war!

But beyond the impasse represented by calls for peace under the yoke of capitalism, pacifism remains a dangerous mystification for the working class. Not only has this ideology never prevented war: on the contrary, it has always prepared it. Already in 1914, Social Democracy, by posing the problem of war from the angle of pacifism, justified its participation in the conflict in the name of the struggle against the "warmongers" on the other side and the choice of the "lesser evil". It was because society had been imbued with the idea that capitalism could exist without war that the bourgeoisie was able to assimilate "German militarism", for some, and "Russian imperialism" for others, to the camp of those who wanted to undermine "peace" and who "had to be fought". Pacifism since then, from the Second World War to the war in Iraq, via the countless conflicts of the Cold War, has been nothing but a means of collaborating with this or that imperialism against the "warmongers" in order to hide the reality of the capitalist system.

The war in Gaza is no exception to this logic. Using the legitimate disgust aroused by the massacres in Gaza, the "pacifist" left calls straight out to support one side against another, that of the "Palestinian nation" victim of "Israeli colonialism", saying with its hand on its heart: "We are defending the rights of the 'Palestinian people', not Hamas". This is to quickly forget that "the rights of the Palestinian people" is nothing more than a hypocritical formula designed to conceal what must be called the State of Gaza, a devious way of defending one nation against another. A "liberated" Gaza Strip would mean nothing more than consolidating the odious regime of Hamas or any other faction of the Palestinian bourgeoisie, of all those who have never hesitated to put down in blood the slightest expression of anger, as in 2019 when Hamas, which lives like a real predator on the backs of the Gazan population, brutally repressed demonstrators exasperated by poverty. The interests of proletarians in Palestine, Israel or any other country in the world are in no way the same as those of their bourgeoisie and the terror of their state!

Trotskyism in its traditional role of recruiting sergeant

Trotskyist organisations, particularly in the universities, no longer even bother with the hypocritical verbiage of pacifism to feed the dirty war propaganda of the bourgeoisie. They shamelessly call for support for the "Hamas resistance". In the name of "national liberation struggles against imperialism" (fraudulently presented as a Bolshevik position on the national question), they seek to mobilise young people on the rotten ground of support for the Palestinian bourgeoisie, with thinly veiled hints of anti-Semitism, as we heard in the universities: "At Columbia University in New York, demonstrators were filmed chanting: 'Burn down Tel Aviv [...] Yes, Hamas, burn down Tel Aviv [...]'. ‘Yes, Hamas, we love you. We also support your rockets’. Another shouted: ‘We don't want two states, we want the whole territory’. In the same vein, some students no longer content themselves with chanting ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’, they now hold up signs in Arabic. The problem is that it says 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Arab', meaning that there will be no Jews from the Jordan to the Mediterranean”[1]

Trotskyist organisations have a long tradition of supporting a bourgeois camp in war (Vietnam, Congo, Iraq...), first in the service of the Eastern bloc during the Cold War[2], then in favour of any expression of anti-Americanism.

However, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a leitmotif of Trotskyism's selective indignation. In the past, the "Palestinian cause" was a pretext for supporting the interests of the USSR in the region against the United States. Today, these organisations are exploiting the war in Gaza to support Iran, Hezbollah and the Houthi "rebels" against the same "American imperialism" and its Israeli ally. The claimed internationalism of Trotskyism is the International of scoundrels!

To end the war, capitalism must be overthrown

Contrary to all the lies of the left-wing parties of capital, wars are always confrontations between competing nations, between rival bourgeoisies. Always! Wars are never fought for the benefit of the exploited! On the contrary, they are the first victims.

Workers everywhere must refuse to take sides with one bourgeois camp against another. Workers' solidarity is not with Palestine or Israel, Ukraine or Russia, or any other nation! Their solidarity is reserved for their class brothers living in Israel and Palestine, in Ukraine and Russia, for the exploited of the whole world! History has shown that the only real response to the wars unleashed by capitalism is international proletarian revolution. In 1918, thanks to a huge revolutionary upsurge throughout Europe, which had begun in Russia a year earlier, the bourgeoisie was forced to stop one of the greatest butcheries in history.

Of course, today we are still a long way from that prospect. For the working class, it is difficult to imagine concrete solidarity, let alone direct opposition to the war and its horrors. However, through the unprecedented series of workers' struggles which have taken place in many countries over the last two years, in Great Britain, France, the United States and even more recently in Germany, the proletariat is showing that it is not ready to accept every sacrifice. It is perfectly capable of fighting en masse, if not directly, against war and militarism, then against the brutal attacks demanded by the bourgeoisie to feed its arsenal of death, against the consequences of war on our living conditions, against inflation and budget cuts. These struggles are the crucible in which the working class can fully reconnect with its past experiences and its methods of struggle, rediscover its identity and develop its international solidarity. It will then be able to politicise its struggle and chart a course by offering the only possible perspective and way out: the overthrow of capitalism through communist revolution.

EG, 30 April 2024





[1] “Most Jews and Palestinians want peace. Extremists, narcissists and other 'allies' only block the way", The Guardian (26 April 2024).


[2] Arguing that their respective nations (France, the UK, Italy...) had every interest in joining the bloc led by the so-called “Degenerated Workers’ State”, the USSR


Pro-Palestine demonstrations around the world