(Statement of Commission 4 of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) for Armistice Day, November 11, 2019)
Over 100 years since the conclusion of World War One, and war is still a constant, major problem for humanity. The International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS; ilps.info) supports the just struggles of the peoples for national liberation, genuine democracy and a decent standard of living. We condemn militarization, bigotry and wars of aggression and counter-revolution. We oppose military intervention aimed at destroying social progress, popular democracy and societies that reject the global monopoly-capitalist system in favour of social and economic arrangements that benefit the people. We oppose occupation and domination. We call for the universal non-proliferation of nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction. In sum, we choose life. We support peace with social justice. We firmly reject the propaganda of aggression to achieve human rights and a “way of life”, as was used to justify wholesale terror and destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
The ILPS calls for the respect of and return to peace processes in cases of internal conflict. Demands of the people for social justice must be addressed, such as demands for land reform, political and economic reforms, and legal or compensatory justice for the people. If those demands are ignored, the people have reason to wage their struggle, even armed struggle, for such conflicts are matters of survival. Rights and standards acknowledged and set internationally must be honoured. The people facing repressive and inhumane states cannot be expected to lay down their arms and abandon their struggles, and neither can oppressed nations under domination, unless social justice is respected and put on the table for honest negotiation. We call for ceasefires and resumption or initiation of peace talks in the Philippines, Colombia, Palestine, the Ukraine, Syria, Turkey and the Kashmir.
States and factions committing offenses such as invasion, genocide and “ethnic cleansing”, extrajudicial killings and detentions, deprivation their citizens, and obstruction to democratic processes must be confronted and dealt with according to international norms and law. Sovereignty must be respected. States plotting and ganging up against another state or interfering and intervening against a peaceful, non-threatening state, (which is done largely for profit, control and political bias) should also be confronted and treated in the name of social and legal justice. The ILPS thus stands against the meddling and disruptive practices against countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and North Korea. It thoroughly opposes the occupation of Palestine. We also oppose the implementation of economic tactics to crush enemy states and peoples’ movements as they punish the people with deprivation. The ILPS thus condemns the US blockades against Cuba and North Korea, as well as the economic measures against Venezuela and Iran. Plans to invade as a so-called solution to conflicts are totally unacceptable, so we also oppose the militarization and war exercises around North Korea, Venezuela, the Ukraine, the Persian Gulf, the Caribbean and anywhere else.
World War One was a clash of old empires, including the British Empire, in which there was no sane reason for engaging millions of young people and unleashing widespread destruction of civilians and civilizations. Four empires fell by the end of WW1: the Russian Tsarist Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Prussian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire; it was the desertion of Russian soldiers and, eventually, the Russian Revolution that were the main factors for peace. Competing states sent millions of soldiers to wholesale slaughter. Just as Tsarist Russia had deployed masses of soldiers to satisfy a pact with Serbia, the British Empire intentionally mobilized divisions of men from its colonies, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, to stage futile battles such as Gallipoli, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.
New empires asserted themselves after WW1. Born out of the redivision of European states, industrializing Germany under the Nazi fascists attempted to build a new empire but was crushed by the dedication of myriads of men and women. Imperialist Japan, meanwhile, tried to make the most of the conflict in Europe to expand its territories and resources by invading more countries in East Asia, which forced a military response on the part of the US. The US had been creating its own empire establishing colonies in the Pacific and Caribbean regions, though it had held back for much of the two World Wars. However, vulture-like interests, especially profiteers in the US, drooled over the benefits they could enjoy from war and the destruction of Europe: chemical and arms corporations grew, and the US poised itself to reap the rewards and come out on top. Just as the Nazis were doing, the US also exploited the opportunity to develop arms, most notably the nuclear bomb. History has concluded that the release of nuclear bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan was not justified, intended rather as an experimentation and a display of might and conquest. The US thus asserted its role as a ruling empire of the world.
It is the US empire, which supports and defends the global elite, the global moguls of finance capital, that is the main factor for war today. This is the “way of life” that it declares it stands for. The kind of freedom it desires is market freedom, at any cost to the peoples of the world. It has been a factor in stirring up aggressive, anti-West Islamists who are trying hard to establish an Islamist empire in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions today. The US plays both sides in the conflicts with the Islamist movements, supporting some terrorists, for example in Libya and Syria so as to crush political and market obstacles, while gunning after others, such as the fundamentalist regime of Iran, so as to open up markets and spheres of influence. ILPS opposes all terror.
The ILPS understands that conflict is inherent in the imperialist economic system, which is rife with contradictions: inter-imperialist rivalries, class, nation, corporate competition, and so on. It thrives on violence and social division, seeking market niches, cheap resources, cheap labour, technological innovations, expropriations… In short, it is an exploiting and plundering system. Also, it imposes itself as far and as wide as possible by force. Arms are both a means and an industry.
Let us observe, educate and organize according to this reality, this scenario of social injustice and crimes against humanity and the planet. Let us not celebrate the imperialist violence. Let us not glorify war for domination and profit. Let us raise our voices together in calling and mobilizing for just peace!
All out to say, “No to NATO” from December 1 to 3, the time of the NATO summit in London, UK. Denounce all crimes against humanity and defend life and human rights on International Human Rights Day on December 10. Say, “No Taxes for War” on April 15. March for land, life and just peace on Earth Day, April 22. March on May Day, May 1st.
US, Hands off Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, Iran, North Korea!
Support the just causes of the peoples!
Resume the peace talks in the Philippines, Palestine, and Colombia, now!
Israel, out of Palestine!
Universal nuclear non-proliferation now!
No to NATO!
Not a single person used for war again!