|Members of the NZ Special Air Services in Afghanistan|
NZ workers were dragged into the First Imperialist War on the side of British imperialism. The ANZACS became cannon fodder on the beaches of Gallipoli and the trenches of the Somme. NZ workers and farmers were dragged into the Second Imperialist War behind Britain and the ‘allies’ to fight fascism. They died in droves in North Africa, Italy, the Western Front and the Pacific.
Then NZ soldiers went to Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam on behalf of the UK and US ruling classes to fight the spread of ‘communism’. In each case the cause of the war was to divide workers nationally and send them to fight one another so that they would not become an international class force united in fighting for a world communist revolution.
In all of these wars the interests of the ruling classes and working class were diametrically opposed. The ruling classes were pitted against one another to divide and re-divide the world at one another’s expense. Yet when it came to opposing workers revolution, they put aside their rivalry to unite against the communist revolution.
The workers interests were therefore to oppose fighting national wars unless they were fighting against imperialist oppression, and in turning their guns on their own ruling class, unite their forces to overthrow capitalism and bring about communism. In each case war armed workers and created the conditions in which workers could organise armed revolution.
The First Imperialist War proved this. After the Bolshevik revolution in October 1917, imperialist troops on both sides began to actively oppose the war. Within a year the German troops mutinied and brought the war to a halt. The ruling classes quickly signed a ceasefire, disarmed the troops and sent expeditionary forces to attack the new Soviet Republic. It was only the threat of revolution spreading throughout Europe that caused the rise of fascist movements in every bourgeois nation to divide and smash the working class.
The failure to defeat the Bolshevik Revolution and to eliminate the communist parties in the rest of the world meant that communism was now the main enemy of all bourgeois states. Because the Treaty of Versailles punished a destitute Germany, the threat of revolution was greatest there and a strong fascist movement arose to smash it and to rally the masses behind the territorial expansion of imperialist Germany. Fascist Germany also took upon itself to invade the Soviet Union to complete the task of smashing ‘communism’.
The Soviet enemy
France and Britain declared war on Germany to prevent it and its allies from re-dividing Europe at their expense. At the same time however, their main enemy remained the Soviet Union. The Western allies enlisted Russia as a temporary ally to bear the brunt of the war where it played by far the most important role in the defeat of the Axis. After the war Western Allies resumed their fixation on defeating communism, smashing revolutionary movements in Italy, Greece and elsewhere.
The Cold War began in 1948 when the Soviet Union threw the capitalists out of Eastern Europe. They also backed the anti-imperialist struggles in the colonial world in Africa, China and Indo-China etc., as they began to fight for national independence. At that point the Allies united behind the US, the new dominant global power, to stop the ‘spread of communism’, and to ultimately defeat the legacy of 1917. The 'anti-communist' wars in Malaysia and Vietnam in which NZ participated were part of this long-term objective to restore the soviet bloc to capitalist control.
The victory of the Western imperialists had to wait until the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellites from 1989 to 1991 and the restoration of capitalism. China and Vietnam followed the same path of a return to capitalism. That marked the end of ‘soviet communism’ and a scramble by the Western imperialists to pronounce the historic victory of global capitalism over 'communism'.
That triumphalism proved short-lived however. The ex-Soviet Union and ex-Communist China were not re-colonised by imperialism. Instead they became powerful state capitalist regimes that retained control over their economies and emerged as new rival imperialist powers. The rivalry between capitalism and ‘communism’, had been transmogrified into a rivalry between two big imperialist power blocs today, the US-led and China-led blocs.
The ISIS ‘enemy’
The fact is that imperialism today is re-dividing the global world afresh and causing economic, political and military wars on every continent. This time the underlying rivalry behind every war is that between the old Western bloc led by the US and the ex-Soviet bloc led by China. But as is always the case where the threat of the rise of proletarian revolution becomes paramount this rivalry is temporarily suspended.
This is the case in the Middle East today. The two main blocs want to defend the status quo. The US and is gendarme Israel want to continue to dominate the MENA with the right to impose puppet regimes to contain the masses struggles. Its object is to prevent the other bloc from gaining access to more oil and other resources. Meanwhile, China and Russia, allied to Iran want to defend their position in MENA also, including access to oil.
As the Arab masses have risen up to oppose their dictators, this has led to a stalemate as both blocs have backed dictatorships which have not been able to defeat mass insurgencies. The result is a vacuum in which the masses have been increasingly driven into the arms of a new Arab petty bourgeoisie that is trying to create a new state based upon reclaiming some ancient Islamic Caliphate in MENA. Both imperialist blocs and their client dictators in the MENA are against this enemy that has arisen out of their failed policies and threatens their spheres of influence.
War and Revolution
In this situation revolutionary Marxists oppose all imperialist wars, invasions and occupations, including those against the Islamic Caliphate which is a bourgeois proto-state that must align itself with one or other imperialist bloc. The Caliphate as a theocratic state is no better or worse than Israel or Saudi Arabia. War between imperialism and the Caliphate is like all such deals a process of negotiation over the fate of the Arab masses.
How does the US and China/Russia decide which bourgeois faction should rule the masses on their behalf in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Iraq? Not by any hypocritical humanitarian criteria of saving mothers and children but by their ruthless efficiency in bombing mothers and children and suppressing the masses.
Only the Arab masses rallying and organising workers and oppressed as an international revolutionary force can defeat both imperialism and their secular or theocratic national bourgeois dictatorships!
To support the Arab revolution, NZ workers must oppose our lackey regime’s alignment with both imperialist blocs, and all military intervention into their proxy wars in MENA, specifically against IS. We must oppose the designation of anti-imperialist fighters as ‘terrorist’, and defend the right of NZ citizens to travel overseas to fight wars they consider just.
- Break with the imperialist militarism of ANZAC, ANZUS and the UNO!
- Victory to the Arab Revolution!
- For the Defeat of the US led coalition against IS!
- Defeat the intervention of China/Russia/Iran in MENA!
- For a Socialist United States of MENA!