Socialists have no direct control in any country and in particular they have, in fact, at present little influence on the international policy of a particular country. The working class prove quite powerless to arrest the enormous expenditure on armaments. They cannot determine the course of the government’s diplomacy. Millions can march as they did in 2003 to protest the Iraq War but Blair and Bush were able to ignore the peoples’ will. It is the ruling class who decide when and where wars shall be made. The workers pay for them in blood and in suffering.
Pure pacifism, meaning practitioners of non-violence (Quakers, Ghandian or Tolstoyan), has few followers, however, most people are opposed to war so when we speak of “pacifists”, we mean those who are anti-war and believe that the struggle against war, those who take a position – against war in general – and think that organisations for peace can campaign and can stop war.
We view it as a complete fallacy that the pacifist position is a means of preventing war. Harsh as this conclusion may seem to pacifists themselves since many are personally sincere in their convictions. The preaching of peace does not necessarily further the cause of peace. The socialist’s task is to break down the illusions of pacifism, and to point to the revolution as the only way solution for society to end war.
Pacifism spreads illusions about the nature of war and of the fight against war (advocating disarmament, conscientious objection, treaties, UN resolutions, etc., as solutions), and thus prevents a real struggle against war, which can be based only on a true understanding of the nature and causes of war. Pacifism diverts the working class from its struggle for socialism, the only genuine way to fight war. In this way it redirects the revolutionary struggle against war into “safe” channels – that is, channels safe for capitalism.
Many anti-war movement leaders while exploiting the desire for peace continue to shout that they are against war “in general”, but they find that this or that particular war is justified because it is “ for democracy”, “to defeat a dictator”, “ for humanitarian purposes”, “to uphold the United Nations”, or for some other "noble" purpose. The peace movements, overnight, change from “anti-war” groups into propaganda arenas for war.
When things are no longer produced for profit, but for the use of those who make them, then there will no longer be any necessity for a capitalist army. When millions of workers are set free from making munitions and provisions of warfare, then they will be able to turn their attention to building themselves better houses, producing more and better food for their families, and they will enjoy the leisure, the comfort, the culture and the education which are now the privileges of the exploiters. The continuous struggle for socialism is the Socialist Party’s peace policy.
Many support the concept of a “good war” and the Second World War is often cited as a case in point. The United States fought that war against Nazi racial theories with a racially segregated army. It fought the war for freedom and democracy having passed Executive Order 9066 interning more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans without due process. Before the war the United States regularly turned away Jewish refugees to face certain death in Europe.
The American capitalist traded with the enemy. U.S. investment in Germany increased more than 48 percent between 1929 and 1940, while declining sharply everywhere else in Europe. Among the U.S. corporations that invested in the Nazis were Ford, GE, Standard Oil, Texaco, ITT, IBM, and GM (top man William Knudsen called Nazi Germany “the miracle of the 20th century”). In December 1933, for example, Standard Oil of New York invested $1 million in Germany for the making of gasoline from soft coal.
Standard Oil also honored its chemical contracts with I.G. Farben -- a German chemical cartel that manufactured Zyklon-B, the poison gas used in the Nazi gas chambers -- right up until 1942. All of these businesses were more than happy to see the German labour movement and working-class parties smashed and for many of these companies, operations in Germany continued during the war (even if it meant the use of concentration-camp slave labour) with overt U.S. government support.
“Pilots were given instructions not to hit factories in Germany that were owned by U.S. firms,” writes Michael Parenti. “Thus Cologne was almost leveled by Allied bombing, but its Ford plant, providing military equipment for the Nazi army, was untouched; indeed, German civilians began using the plant as an air raid shelter.”
The pursuit of profit long ago transcended national borders and loyalty.
International Telegraph and Telephone (ITT) founded by Sosthenes Behn -- an unabashed supporter of the Führer even as the Luftwaffe was bombing civilians in London -- and was responsible for creating the Nazi communications system, along with supplying vital parts for German bombs.
According to author Jonathan Vankin, “Behn allowed his company to cover for Nazi spies in South America, and one of ITT’s subsidiaries bought a hefty swath of stock in the airline company that built Nazi bombers.”
Behn himself met with Hitler in 1933 (the first American businessman to do so) and became a double agent of sorts. While reporting on the activities of German companies to the U.S. government, Behn was also contributing money to Heinrich Himmler’s Schutzstaffel (SS) and recruiting Nazis onto ITT’s board.
In 1940, Behn entertained a close friend and high-ranking Nazi, Gerhard Westrick, in the United States to discuss a potential U.S.-German business alliance -- precisely as Hitler’s blitzkrieg was overrunning most of Europe and Nazi atrocities were becoming known worldwide.
In early 1946, instead of facing prosecution for treason, Behn ended up collecting $27 million from the U.S. government for “war damages inflicted on its German plants by Allied bombing.” At that juncture, Behn was in the perfect position to lobby President Truman concerning the newly formed Central Intelligence Group (CIG). Meeting with the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William D. Leahy, in the White House, Behn, as recorded in Leahy’s diary, generously offered for consideration “the possibility of utilizing the service of (ITT’s) personnel in American intelligence activities.”
Meanwhile, Sullivan and Cromwell was the most powerful Wall Street law firm of the Good War era. John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles -- the two brothers who guided the firm; the same two brothers who boycotted their own sister’s 1932 wedding because the groom was Jewish -- served as the contacts for the aforementioned I.G. Farben.
During the pre-war period, the elder John Foster Dulles signed cables to his German clients with the salutation “Heil Hitler.” In 1939, he told the Economic Club of New York, “We have to welcome and nurture the desire of the New Germany to find for her energies a new outlet.”
“Hitler’s attacks on the Jews and his growing propensity for territorial expansion seem to have left Dulles unmoved,” writes historian Robert Edward Herzstein.
Extracts from here