The bombing of the population of ex-Yugoslavia by the major powers under the aegis of NATO represents a serious escalation of capitalist barbarism. It is accompanied by a cacophony of voices attempting to hide the imperialist nature of the war. There are the voices of those who justify the bombings and try to cover the sordid and bloody self the sordid and bloody self-interest of the major powers under a veil of humanitarianism. There are the voices of those who condemn the NATO attack in order to defend the 'little' ethnic murderer, Milosevic, against the high tech slaughter of the US and European powers. There are the voices of the pacifists who appeal for a peaceful capitalism, as if the spirit of competition weren't an intrinsic aspect of bourgeois rule that leads inevitably to the use of armed force as one country tries to impose its own imperialist interests at the expense of the others. But amid this barrage there is a clear and sane voice raised against the war and all its bourgeois protagonists, that of proletarian internationalism. This position in relation to imperialist war is the foundation stone of the international working class movement and the litmus test for revolutionary organisations. Its intransigent defence marks out the currents of the communist left from those of the radical bourgeoisie, who masquerade as friends of the working class while inviting them to massacre their class brothers in other countries in the name of siding with whichever imperialism they identify as the 'lesser evil'. This song is as old as capitalism! The essence of proletarian internationalism is expressed in the words of the Communist Manifesto, drafted by Marx and Engels in rx and Engels in 1848: "The workers have no country ... Workers of all countries unite!" It affirms the nature of the working class as an international class, no part of which has interests which are in conflict with any other sector in any other country. As such the proletariat has no interest in the victory of either side in wars between capitalist powers for the extension of their spheres of influence and for world domination. On the contrary, it is always expected to pay for the war by dying on the battlefield and by increasing productivity for the war effort. It is always the victim and never a victor while this system of death and poverty has not been overthrown once and for all. When the socialist parties of the Second International betrayed the principle of internationalism by supporting participation in the First World War and played a prominent role in mobilising the workers for the carnage, the International was lost to the working class. But the revolutionary minority regrouped around the Bolsheviks in Russia and the Spartacists in Germany, defended an internationalist position by opposing the war and calling for the workers to defend their own class interests. In the same way, with the onset of the second imperialist carnage, whereas the Trotskyist current passed over to the bourgeois camp by supporting the USSRporting the USSR and the democratic front in the name of opposing fascism, there remained fractions of the Communist Left who maintained the principle of internationalism and have continued to denounce it as an imperialist war. It is the organisations that are descended from this political current that have responded to the NATO bombings by taking up the only consistent and communist position: - condemning the carnage as an imperialist war; - calling on the working class not to defend any of the bourgeois factions involved; - condemning, implicitly or explicitly, the demands of the leftists for the workers to defend the 'lesser evil' or 'self-determination in Kosovo' and, - against the myth of pacifism, affirming that only the working class can offer an alternative to capitalist barbarism through its own struggle as a revolutionary class, whose historic destiny is to destroy the exploitation of the bourgeoisie and create a new society without classes and without exploitation. The titles of the leaflets produced by the various groups of the communist left, immediately after the start of the bombing of Kosovo, testify to the unity, in action, of the internationalists in the denunciation of the war (1): "Capitalism means imperialism, imperialism means war" (IBRP); "The Kosovo war "The Kosovo war is a war of capital" (Programma Comunista); "No to imperialist intervention in Yugoslavia! Down with all nationalism and all bourgeois oppression!" (Le Proletaire); "The real opposition to military intervention and war lies in the class struggle of the proletariat, in its class and internationalist reorganisation against all forms of bourgeois oppression and nationalism" (Il Comunista); "Down with the imperialist war" (Il Partito Comunista); "Capitalism is war, war on capitalism!" (ICC).
Although there is unity on the denunciation of the war, there is not complete agreement between all parts of the communist left on how to analyse the general imperialist situation. However, the leaflets show a global agreement of these different organisations on the fact that the aerial bombardment by NATO expresses an attempt by the American bourgeoisie to impose its hegemony and to respond to the attempt to contest its authority, and, in particular, to block the efforts of European powers to play an autonomous imperialist role. Whatever the differences or nuances of analysis, there is unity among all the diverse organisations of the Communist Left on opposition to the imperialist war, which must play an essential role in the deal role in the development of proletarian consciousness on the bankruptcy of this system of exploitation. This clearly demarcates the internationalist position from those of the left of the bourgeoisie with all its radical and perfidious language intended to trap the working class. This is why the ICC has written to all the internationalist groups quoted above, on the 29th March, to propose to meet "in order to elaborate a common call against the imperialist war, against all the lies of the bourgeoisie, against all the pacifist campaigns and for the proletarian perspective of the overthrow of capitalism." "This is the first time for half a century that the main imperialist gangsters have conducted a war in Europe itself, which means the principle theatre of the two world wars and at the same time the main proletarian concentration in the world. This is the gravity of the present situation. It imposes on communists the responsibility to unite their forces in order to make the loudest possible voice for internationalist principles, in order to give these principles the greatest possible impact that our weak forces will allow." With the development of the situation after several weeks of war, such an appeal is still up to date. ICC 23.4.99
1. The organisations referred to are: - IBRP (International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party): Battaglia Comunista, CP 1753, 20100 Milano, Italy and Communist Workers Organisation, PO Box 338, Sheffield, S3 9YX - International Communist Party: Programma Comunista, IPC casella postale 962, 20101 Milano, Italy - International Communist Party: Le Proletaire, Editions Programme, 3 rue Basse Combalot, 69007 Lyon, France - Il Comunista, CP 10835, 20110 Milano, Italy International Communist Party (Il Partito Comunista): Edizioni PC, casella postale 1157, 50100 Florence, Italy and Communist Left, ICP Editions, PO Box 52, Liverpool, L69 7AL