A couple of weeks ago my daughter, aged seven, came home from school, requesting money for a poppy. With liberal indulgence, I explained why I believe wearing a red poppy linked to those who continue to make war is wrong.
Marxism and war
America’s war in Vietnam, and the international movements that sprung up in opposition to it, are central events in the history of 20th century radical politics. The events of that conflict continue to cast a long shadow over the contemporary left’s understanding of imperialist war. Looking back over a distance of 35 years, Vietnam still has a huge amount to teach us in terms of the nature of capitalist imperialism, the nature of Stalinism, and what kind of anti-war politics and movement socialists should aspire to fight for and build.
1. Why and how did nation-states arise? Why does Trotsky argue that the capitalist development of the forces of production has come into conflict with the European nation-state framework?
Leon Trotsky once said that the small revolutionary movement he led was like the apex of an inverted social pyramid, upon which the whole weight of capitalist society pressed down. Hounded and murdered by fascists and Stalinists, the Trotskyists suffered terrible casualties during and immediately after the Second World War, all across Europe, from France to Greece. The politics of independent working class socialism, which the Trotskyists represented, was everywhere defeated.
World War Two created extremely difficult circumstances and political challenges for internationalist Marxists.
By summer 1943 the Axis war machine was suffering heavy setbacks. Although Hitler had completed a total occupation of France in November 1942, and still held on to his conquests in the Low Countries, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and parts of western Russia, the Axis powers no longer looked able to win the war.
No. 1 July 1943
is proletarian revolution coming?
The Stalinist bureaucrats have dissolved the Comintern. “Warning”, declares the Axis propaganda, “this is just a manoeuvre, a chimera, playing dead”. “Hurrah!” the Anglo-Saxon imperialist press cries with joy, “our allies are not communists, they are good Russian patriots”. “Of course, it’s just a manoeuvre” is the rationalisation the communist worker still committed to the Third International
No. 2 August 1943