IV. A stage of imperialist wars and of international struggle against the war
16. The imperialist war in the Balkans has initiated a new world-wide period of international crises, wars and revolutions.
The IV International places no equal sign, as does pacifism, between the different classes of wars. It denounces that wars are the product of a given social regime and express the explosive character of its contradictions, and not at all a particular tendency of any one government. They are born of the capitalist regime of production and of the rivalries among the different capitalist groups and are an instrument of economic domination and national oppression of imperialism. The IV International combats imperialist war with the method of social revolution.
The IV International points out the obligation of characterizing wars according to the social structure of the nations pitted against each other. It combats wars among imperialist nations through the organization of civil war of the exploited against the dominant bourgeoisie of its own country, on the one hand, and through the revolutionary collaboration with the workers of the 'enemy' countries, on the other.
It also combats wars between oppressed nations as reactionary and calls for fraternization between its workers and for a united front against imperialism. We denounce the narrow appetite of the local bourgeoisies and their manipulation by imperialism in order to reinforce the prevailing semi-colonial domination.
The IV International unconditionally supports wars of the oppressed nation against imperialism and participates in practical fashion on the side of the oppressed nation. In the same way it supports the organized and mass struggle against the military and political efforts of imperialism against the oppressed nations. Among the latter it supports all political and military collaboration with the tendencies combating imperialism with popular methods and effectively collaborates with them without resigning at any time its political independence. The national situations where the oppression of world-wide imperialism is combined with a colonial or internal national oppression, by the local bourgeoisie or even petite-bourgeoisie (such as, for example, in the Balkans, in Syria and in the countries of the Persian Gulf), are only distinguishable by differences of degree from the oppressed nations where bloody dictatorships dominate. In all these cases we support the unity of struggle against imperialism, including collaboration on a practical level with the local oppressors against the international oppressors, without resigning at all, or at any moment, the demand for national liberty and political democracy against the native oppressors. The defeat of international capitalist imperialism is the necessary condition for the conquest of national liberty. We defend the unity of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia against NATO, as well as national liberty for the Kosovo's, Macedonians, Montenegrins in the framework of a socialist Federation of the Balkans (with Albania, Rumania, Greece and Bulgaria).
We promote the unity of all peoples comprising Iraq against the Yankee imperialist coalition, and the national liberty and self-determination, for example, of the Turkoman and Kurdish peoples. We denounce the insurmountable limitations of the Kurdish enclave supported by Yankee imperialism in Iraq and the insurmountable contradictions, from the point of view of the Kurdish nation, assumed by the purpose of integrating it within an Iraqi federation under a US protectorate. The national liberty and unity of the Kurdish people assumes, primarily, the right to free unity with the Kurds of Turkey (as well as those of Syria, Iran and Iraq), a right which is incompatible with the domination of Turkish capitalism, of Yankee imperialism and of NATO. The expulsion of imperialism from Iraq demands the mobilization of all the exploited of the Middle East for national independence and liberation, and brings to the forefront the struggle for a Socialist Federation of the Middle East.
17. The national self-determination, unity and independence of Palestine constitutes the historic center of the question of the Middle East. The war of Iraq is inscribed within the framework of the repeated attempts by imperialism to liquidate national Palestinian rights. Imperialism has grafted onto the Middle East a monstrous client state, the Zionist State, which is located on the antipode of national liberation and development of the peoples of the region. The national independence of the Middle East is incompatible with the Zionist State; the defeat of imperialism in the present war would sweep it from the meso-oriental scene. The struggle of the Palestinian people resumes the historical determination for national emancipation of the Middle East. It has won this right in its live struggle against modern imperialist oppression.
Zionism has no progressive national character; its historic task has been the economic and territorial confiscation of the native peoples, financed by an international agency which is the proprietor of 99 per cent of the soil it occupies. Zionism constitutes a counterrevolutionary obstacle for the free and universal development of the Jewish people. The social situation of the Jewish masses in the Zionist state has worsened enormously, on the one hand as a consequence of the international economic crisis, and on the other as a consequence of economic competition between immigrant workers, Arabs and Jews. The new mortal impasse which confronts the Jewish people can only be resolved by means of the union with the Arab workers in order to destroy politically the Zionist state and forge a single socialist Republic of Palestine on the whole of its historical territory, on both sides of the Jordan. The IV International denounces the position which upholds that the gigantic militarization of Zionism opposes an insurmountable barrier against Palestinian national struggle and condemns the Palestinian masses to a long historical compromise with Zionism. On the contrary, we emphasize the historical artificiality and fragility of Zionism and point out that its destiny is conditioned by the outcome of the world crisis in course. The political struggle against Zionism is not restricted to the region of the Middle East but instead should have an international character, as much among those faithful to Islam as among the Jews, especially the workers and the youth. The struggle against racism and anti-Semitism should serve to unify Islamic and Jewish workers and to advance the cause of the expulsion of world imperialism and of Zionism from the Middle East.
18. The IV International denounces the imperialist and oppressor character of secularism in the States which have left behind them long ago their epoch of national formation and combat against the clergy, and are, at the present time, oppressor states of nations and nationalities. Religious neutrality in the imperialist States, in the same way as that which occurs with democracy, has an oppressor content. It is an arm of combat, not against the clergy and clerical obscurantism, but instead against atheism and science. It is also an instrument of struggle for the confessional faiths of the oppressor nations against the confessional faiths of the oppressed nations. 'Occidental' secularism also acts as a cover up of the ties that are reinforced daily between the states and the official historic church, as is the case with the Vatican. Given the hegemony of finance capital, these ties are historically closer at present than in the epoch during which the separation of church and state had not been sanctioned. A whole spectrum of corporations and foundations, which finance the unstoppable progress of the clergy in the fields of education, culture and social welfare, assure an increasingly close relationship between the clergy and the democratic state.
The offensive of the French imperialist state against the youth and workers who do not share the established religious beliefs, especially those who are obedient muslims, is a tool of capital against the unity of diverse sectors of the proletariat and reinforces the communitarian tendency of those who are not followers of the official religion, such as, for all practical purposes, Catholicism. The secular imperialist states arm themselves with religious neutrality, not as a means of struggle against obscurantism but instead against atheism and communism. The circumstance according to which that neutrality may enter into conflict with extremist confessional tendencies does not attenuate at all the fact that it is a means of cultural and political domination of the imperialist bourgeoisie and also of the official religion, through the support it receives from finance capital. The same aims of dividing the working class finds expression, especially in the imperialist or developed countries, the promotion of "multi-culturalism" by the State, alleging the need to protect ethnic or religious "diversities." The aim is really to confine the immigrant workers and their descendents into a kind of ghetto, controlled by a bureaucracy under the tutelage of the state, and to dissimulate in this way the brutal discrimination of which they are made object both from the point of view of formal rights as that of social conditions. The IV International call on the working class of the imperialist countries to strengthen its ties with the workers faithful to Islam through a common class struggle against capital and to make use of that struggle and of the organization it demands in order to emancipate themselves and their class brothers from all kinds of religious obscurantism, first of all against the dominant church, and from all communal clerical domination. The IV International calls on workers of non-Catholic faiths to not be fooled by the demands for cultural equality and to put into the foreground of their efforts and their struggles for social demands, against capital, equality of access to the gains achieved by the workers of the country in the course of a long historic struggle. The IV International highlights as an example the persistence, the opposition of the masses of Bolivia to Catholic clerical domination, and calls for it to be made a banner for the participation of millions of indigenous peoples in the social revolution and in no way for the defense of ethnic individualism which has no positive future under capitalism.
19. The IV International rejects any form of political subordination of the Arab workers and peasants with respect to their bourgeoisies and feudal classes, propitiated in the name of unity of the Arab Nation, and emphasizes the importance of political struggle against the exploiters taking into account the peculiarities of the different Arab states. It underlines, fundamentally, that the struggle for national emancipation can only triumph through the taking of power by the workers, that is, that we place into the foreground the struggle for the overthrow of the Arab bourgeoisies and feudal classes and their government.
Palestine national liberation is confronted by a colossal crisis of leadership; the totality of its petite-bourgeois leadership has passed over into compromise with imperialism and with Zionism itself. The so-called Palestinian Authority is a political barrier for the struggle against Zionism and for the struggle to unite the workers of the whole region, especially Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, against imperialist oppression and the semi-feudal, bourgeois or petite-bourgeois dictatorships. The IV International places all of its energies into the construction of a revolutionary workers party in Palestine.
20. In the context of the present international wars, we denounce the collaboration between imperialism and the pro-restoration bureaucracy of Russia in the war waged against the Afghan nation, manifest in the leasing or ceding of military bases to NATO in various Central Asian countries. This collaboration was purchased by the Russian bureaucracy in exchange for its 'right' to continue one of the most cruel and heartless wars in course, against the Chechnya nation and people. We also denounce that this war of oppression is carried out in the framework of an unfinished negotiation between the Russian bureaucracy and Yankee imperialism, capable of detonating new regional wars of international scope, for the economic and political carving up of the region around the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus, particularly in relation to the exploitation and transport of oil. The IV International supports the guerrilla struggle of the Chechnya people against the Russian oppressor, supported by the European Union and the United States, for its right to national self-determination and independence. The IV International calls on the peoples of the Caucasus to struggle in common both against Yankee imperialism, NATO, the European Union and the Russian bureaucracy, and for the construction of a Socialist Federation of the Caucasus.
21. The fundamental field of struggle against the war should take place in the imperialist metropolis themselves. The struggle against the war has given place to extraordinary mass mobilizations and to the onset of political crisis of the imperialist governments. This is already happening in Spain and Italy and to a somewhat lesser extent in Great Britain. The war has a confiscatory effect upon the peoples of the nations of Europe, whose states cannot deal with the growing budgetary deficits (Italy has begun to put on sale its cultural patrimony!). The booty imperialist war offers does not compensate the cost it occasions for the hard hit national budgets and the worsening of the bankruptcy of the pension and health care systems, both public and private, especially, even, that of the latter.
The monopolization of the principal business deals of the war by US monopolies and the wastefulness of the United States in financing the war and priming an economic recovery through a rise in the public debt, accentuates the vulnerability of the European states even more. These contradictions are intensified, in their turn, by the sharpening of rivalries between Yankee imperialism and, in particular, the French, German, and, in part, English imperialisms. In this way, there is a mounting accumulation of the action of those factors precipitating even greater political crises and popular movements of struggle of even greater importance.
The IV International underlines the incapacity of pacifism to end wars which are inevitably born of the regime of exploitation of man by man, and denounces, on the one hand, its homeopathic character, as well as its anaesthetizing character, on the other. We revolutionaries fight in favor of converting the crime of the war into more and more intense political crises in the metropolis, especially by highlighting before the masses that those growing political crises are the inevitable consequence of its anti-war and social struggles and that they represent not only the lesser evil in relation to liberty of action aimed at by the bourgeoisie to continue their wars, but also the most favorable framework within which to put an end to war through workers revolutionary action. In the practical struggle against the war, the IV International puts forward the strike and the boycott against the sending of military troops from the imperialist countries, develops agitation against imperialism within the armed forces and demands the immediate nationalization without compensation of all capital promoting war, under workers control, starting with the arms industry, but equally in the oil and pharmaceutical industries, as they have been denounced internationally. To the extent that there is a growth in consciousness and organization of the workers, these political crises should be turned into revolutionary crises. The struggle against the imperialist war puts back into the foreground the class struggle in the advanced capitalist nations.
22. Imperialism has carried out the war up till now under the sponsorship, cover and protection of democracy. It has had no need to recur to fascism. Not only this; it has acted, moreover, to contain and dissipate pro-fascist or national-imperialist outbreaks, as has occurred in Germany, Denmark, France and Austria. It has preferred political rotations from the center-left, to extreme right-wing coup d'etat. The present day pseudo-fascism, on the old continent, has a limited field of action because it represents a tendency of nationalist opposition to the European Union, which continues to be the principal arm of the bourgeoisie in its struggle for a place in the world market and with which to dispute the capitalist restoration in the east. The bourgeoisie is not tending, in Europe, towards a war among its national interests, but rather is oriented towards the creation of a political directorate of its strongest states. Imperialism, in its metropolis within and without Europe, considers itself better served, for now, by democracy. This shows the degree of class collaboration of Social Democracy, the trade union bureaucracy and the left leaning petite-bourgeois. Far from being the price of liberty that the workers bureaucracy might have placed on its imperialist bourgeoisie, it is an extortion of imperialism to keep it hostage of imperialist politics and war. Democracy is not at all a synonym of peace when it comes to bourgeois democracy and even less so in the case of imperialist democracy.
Imperialist war and democracy are reciprocally conditioned, however, by the capacity to keep the "social peace" in its metropolis. To the extent that the capitalist contradictions and those of the war itself undermine that "social peace," the democratic regime is seen as compromised. The possibility of regulating or buffering the objective contradictions of capital is outside the reach of the workers bureaucracy; so, if it still wishes to keep the "social peace" under less favorable conditions, it must have recourse to dividing the masses confronting the capitalist offensive, to the paralysis of the workers organizations and their complete and total capitulation before the bosses and the State. This is what the trade unions and the left in Europe and the AFL-CIO in the United States have done. Since the mid-nineties the leadership of the US trade unions has been in the hands of a reformist and center-left leadership, which even went so far as to flirt with the mass demonstrations "against globalization." A left wing of this leadership attempted to bring to the fore the construction of a Labor Party. This new leadership has been a strong bastion of Yankee imperialism during the whole course of the present world crisis.
The extent to which "social peace" is undermined in the metropolis is given by the growing impoverishment the masses, on the one hand, and in particular, following an ascending curve, mass unemployment of a chronic character, and a strong tendency towards limits placed on democratic liberties, on the other, with characteristics proper to the police State, advanced in name of "the struggle against terrorism." From the US Pentagon, especially, the aim is to turn anti-terrorism into the pretext for the complete subordination of the armed forces of the other countries. Due to all of this, while we denounce the complete dependence of bourgeois democracy upon imperialism, we call to struggle for the defense of formal democratic liberties and the freedom of organization in the imperialist nations, especially including the defense of the unrestricted right to resist wars and ethnic or national oppression by revolutionary means. We denounce the campaign "against terrorism" as one led against the national independence of the historically backward nations. We denounce that the political reaction in the metropolis feeds from national subjugation and we point out that the struggle for the emancipation of these nations is the highest form of combat in favor of formal democracy.