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Bourgeois war and propaganda of horror



For the bourgeoisie the propaganda of horror is a weapon of war.

All belligerents use this weapon for their own purposes. The most important purpose of documenting with real or specially fabricated images is to justify the war against the enemy; the population is called upon to gather in the great and miraculous national unity in order to increase the force of impact, or resistance, of military operations. Since the Second World War, the wars waged by the ruling classes for the sharing of markets and the world have increasingly involved the civilian populations of the countries where the military confrontations take place. Of course, by hitting the civilian population of the "enemy" countries, the fighting spirit of their troops is undermined; they are weakened, disoriented, demoralized, pushed to surrender. The more the "enemy" resists, the more its civilian population is hit, massacred, forced to flee their homes. The military operations of the bourgeois ruling classes do not respond to any morality: they are prepared, organized, conducted with the sole aim of bending the enemy to their immediate and future interests, interests which are not only military, but political, economic and domination interests; the human lives massacred are simply necessary damages, often hypocritically passed off as... "collateral".

In spite of illusory international conventions prescribing that certain weapons should not be used or that unarmed civilians should not be attacked, all means are, in any case, used. Pity disappears; it is an episodic feeling linked to the embarrassment of some soldiers who individually cannot bear the horror in which they participate. The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the gases, the phosphorus bombs, the cluster bombs, the explosive objects disguised as everyday objects, the anti-personnel mines, the bacteriological bombs and the thousand other inventions that modern technology allows to kill, massacre, annihilate the enemies, demonstrate that bourgeois society, while chattering about democracy, national cohesion, shared values and above all the search for peace, is nothing but a permanent horror. The bourgeois media take it for granted that war brings destruction, death and horror, but they are surprised when these horrors occur even in times of peace.

In fact, capitalist society, by accumulating and multiplying social violence, inequalities, intensive exploitation of wage labor and natural resources, by developing unbridled competition between capitalists and between states, only systematizes the horror on which it has developed and thanks to which it keeps itself alive. What are the systematic accidents and deaths in the workplace? What are the injuries and deaths in continuous disasters caused by landslides, floods, fires, air, sea, rail and road disasters and earthquakes? What are the daily violence and murders, especially against women or for racist reasons, or against defenseless groups of people who serve as targets for acts of revenge, in schools, hospitals, in the street? What are they if not the proof that the current bourgeois society is the society of horrors, the society of disasters, the society of death and atrocities?

The most modern means of communication, thanks to advanced technologies, can now bring into every home, via television and cell phones, scenes and films of destruction, repression, death and wounded, sometimes tortured; in this way horror becomes an everyday thing, arousing morbid curiosity and, at the same time, fear. In the hands of large industrial and financial companies, the means of communication are obviously at the service of their interests. If on the one hand the atrocities committed by the "enemy" are shown and described in detail, the atrocities committed by the other side are hidden or falsified. In both cases, the belligerents use the horror in the same way to induce feelings of solidarity and revenge on both sides and to justify the mutual massacres. It is obvious that war operations conducted by the most powerful and best organized armies cause more destruction, more deaths, and more atrocities, depending on the aims of the war, the course of the war, the resistance and the counter-attacks of the "enemy". Without going back to the Second World War, it is enough to look at the wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria or Yugoslavia to realize that the horrors of war are only the continuation, by military means, of the bourgeois and imperialist policy carried out previously.

The question is: what interests does the policy implemented by the bourgeois ruling class in peacetime serve? They are exactly the same as in wartime, except that the repressive and coercive means used to maintain the capitalist order are much more concentrated and destructive, qualitatively and quantitatively, in space and in time, than they are in peacetime. The bourgeois class does not modify its nature as a ruling class by passing from peace to war, or vice versa: what it modifies are precisely the military means on a more or less large scale, more or less destructive, more or less local, more or less global. We must not forget that capitalism has always developed through wars, which are nothing more than the historical moment of a major crisis of bourgeois society. The very development of the capitalist economy leads - when economic and financial crises can no longer be overcome by economic, financial and social compensation mechanisms - to the war crisis. The conflicts of interest between companies, monopolies and states, which have reached the limit of the tension caused by the crisis of overproduction, objectively demand to be overcome by an ever greater destruction of productive forces. Imperialist war is then the only "solution" available to the bourgeois ruling classes. This is why war is inevitable in capitalist society; it is bourgeois politics itself - the politics of domination, the politics of conquering ever larger markets at the expense of other competitors - that leads the ruling classes, increasingly in opposition to each other, to extend their economic politics into the politics of war. The "liberation" of territories and countries, always evoked by one or other of the belligerent camps, is in reality the liberation of markets: the markets are "liberated" from a competition momentarily annihilated by the war to make room for the victors; a competition that never disappears, because it is an integral part of capitalism; by renewing itself, it only reconstitutes the factors of tension and contrast that will again lead to war.

When the tension in international relations reaches levels that can no longer be controlled, no matter how well each bourgeois ruling class is prepared for war - as demonstrated by the arms race and its continuous modernization - the bourgeoisie is unable to predict how long the war will last (lightning wars have always been a pure illusion), nor how many resources it will have to deploy to win, nor how long it will be able to count on the "national cohesion" of its population, nor what the consequences of internal social tensions and defeats in the different battles will be, nor if the allies of the first hour will be the same throughout the war. Just as the capitalist mode of production is not controllable by the bourgeoisie - in fact it is only its representative, and it is on it that it has erected its political power, having inherited private property and the organization of the state from older societies - so neither the market, nor capital, nor the development of the productive forces, nor war, nor peace are controllable.

The bourgeoisie, from being a revolutionary class, that is to say, the bearer of the development of the productive forces within the framework of the old feudal society, has inevitably become over time a reactionary class, that is to say, a class that maintains its political power by force while it can no longer develop those productive forces that the capitalist mode of production has generated and which, precisely because of its intrinsic contradictions, must necessarily be destroyed to make way for new cycles of production. The law of value, if on the one hand it has meant a powerful impulse to capitalist development, constitutes on the other hand, at the same time, a powerful brake on the development of the productive forces; capital consumes itself in order to survive, it feeds on human labor, thanks to which it accumulates and valorizes itself, exclusively to survive as capital. To the contradictions intrinsic to the capitalist mode of production are added those inherent to the national state, that is to say, to the centralized organism which was created - in addition to its social functions - to try to overcome the economic contradictions arising from production by enterprises and their competition on the market, but which in reality plays the role of the greatest defender of the most powerful capitalist centers that monopolize the national market, and therefore that of the greatest defender of national capitalism. The war of competition between capitals is transformed, at a certain point in the development of capitalism, into a war between states, into an open war.

The bourgeois policy which supports and defends, politically, diplomatically and economically, the interests of national capitalism against the interests of all other existing national capitalisms, extends its activity - in the struggle of international competition - to the level of military confrontation. The state, therefore, from being the greatest defender of national interests becomes the greatest aggressor of the interests of other bourgeoisies. War, that is, the use of military means to assert its national interests, has the task of "solving" the inter-capitalist, and therefore inter-imperialist, conflicts that political pressures and agreements no longer manage to "solve", that the tactics of threats, sanctions, embargoes no longer manage to "solve". Consequently, war, in addition to the task of destroying enormous quantities of unsold goods and enormous quantities of productive forces unused because of crises of overproduction, is also the means by which the most powerful states dominate the weakest, sharing the world - and therefore the markets - between the victors.

To wage war, the bourgeoisie needs to mobilize the whole country, especially the productive forces, that is, capital and wage earners; it needs to unite all the social classes into a single army. This "national union" does not form spontaneously, it is not automatic. The bourgeoisie must prepare it, build it and maintain it in the long term because it must attenuate the existing social contrasts which, with the economic crises, and with the war crisis in particular, tend to worsen. In order to achieve this "national union", which is indispensable for its survival as a ruling class, the bourgeoisie uses all possible means: legal and illegal, licit and illicit, moral and amoral, peaceful, repressive, terrorist. To send masses of proletarians and soldiers to the slaughterhouse, it is not enough to force them - which it does, of course - but it is also necessary to convince them of the "rightness" of the war, a war always presented, by any bourgeoisie, as "defensive". And one of the means of conviction used by the bourgeoisie on both fronts is precisely the propaganda on the necessity of arming oneself to defend the fatherland, the sacred borders, civilization, one's traditions, one's way of life; a propaganda that exalts every phenomenon, every situation, every fact, every event susceptible of arousing the strongest emotions so that the members of this "national" army are ready to sacrifice their lives in favor of the fatherland, the sacred borders, civilization, etc. etc. Horror propaganda is an integral part of war propaganda; the more destructive war becomes, the more war actions affect the civilian population, and the more necessary horror propaganda becomes for the bourgeoisie. And the killings, the tortures, the massacres actually perpetrated or purposely constructed, serve both to bend and demoralize the troops and the population that have suffered them, and thus to increase the victims' sense of revenge; they become a fuel of war themselves.


Just as the bourgeoisie mourns the deaths of the disasters caused by systematic negligence applied to reduce costs, speed up production, gain on the price of materials and earn extra profits, so the bourgeoisie, after having killed and massacred, mourns the deaths of its wars, celebrates the victims, institutes "days of remembrance," "revives" the dead it has caused to reiterate the horror of their deaths in order to solicit pain and the memory of pain. All this to justify and market its capitalist society as a society that "asks for forgiveness" for not having been able to avoid these deaths and pains and that "promises" to do everything - thanks to the moral and political values inscribed in its constitutions - so that these horrors "never happen again"; a society which, on the one hand, starves billions of human beings and, on the other hand, feeds a part of them; which, on the one hand, throws ever greater multitudes of human beings into misery, precariousness and systematic insecurity and, on the other hand, distributes to a part of them crumbs of immediate well-being - destined to disappear abruptly in the next crisis.

The proletarians of the countries on the periphery of imperialism have known for decades the horror of war, hunger and misery; in order to escape this horror, they risk their lives and those of their family members in search of a less uncertain and less painful survival. They flee from countries that offer them nothing for the present or the future, in order to reach the countries of opulence, peace and constitutional guarantees: the countries of Western Europe or North America, the countries where democracy reigns, the countries of "human rights. And what do they find in these countries? As migrants and refugees, when they don't die crossing deserts, woods or seas, they find hatred and mistrust; they find almost the same misery they escaped, but disguised as humanitarian charity; they encounter human trafficking, illegal work, prostitution, drugs and crime; a life of slaves treated worse than animals and on the verge of worsening at any moment. The horror, from which they thought they had escaped, reappears in other forms; in fact, it never leaves them. If it is not the bombs that kill them and break their families, it is the fatigue of living, the life of slaves that sooner or later breaks their resistance.

Most proletarians in the imperialist countries share the same status of wage slaves; but decades of bourgeois prosperity, of capitalist overprofits, of bestial exploitation of the proletarians in the countries on the periphery of imperialism, have provided them with a decent standard of living, but they have also clouded their minds, they have erased from their memory the real conditions of wage slavery in which they live and the traditions of class struggles against the ruling class, the bourgeois class that is directly responsible for wage exploitation, social inequality, market competition between states, the growing misery of the vast majority of the world's population, and wars and their horrors. As long as the horrors of war only concerned the colonies, the countries far from the metropolises of imperialist democracy, the countries where these metropolises sent their soldiers to supposedly "bring" democracy and prosperity, or to overcome ethnic clashes, or to bring these inhabitants from "barbarism" to "civilization", war seemed somehow justified; one pitied the dead of these civilizing massacres and mourned one's own dead, who had fallen for a "just cause".

But now war has knocked on Europe's doors. With the war in Ukraine, as in the 1990s during the Yugoslav wars, peace in Europe has been broken; Europe is no longer a happy island where the bourgeoisie can enjoy its opulence and the indigenous proletarians the crumbs that fall from the table of the rich capitalists. The sanctified democracy has shown for the umpteenth time that it has no possibility to stop or extinguish the ever more powerful forces of inter-imperialist conflicts. It is these contrasts that are in charge, it is the economic and political interests of power that guide the policy of the bourgeois governments. The war in Ukraine is only the latest example which shows that capitalism cannot do without the confrontation between the different national bourgeoisies which are always pushed to conquer new economic territories because of the contradictions and crises of the capitalist mode of production. War is necessary for the very life of national capitalisms, and therefore for the world capitalist system as a whole, on which all national capitalism depends. This is the demonstration that the horror of imperialist war is not an avoidable accident thanks to the good will of the rulers or the mediators of the moment between the belligerents, but is the norm.

The proletarians who are forced to wage war in the name of the bourgeoisie, both as soldiers, therefore on the war fronts, and in the rear in the production of war as well as in the defense of the territories eventually invaded by the enemy, are in reality weapons of war for the bourgeoisie; and like all weapons, they are used to strike and destroy the enemies, i.e. the proletarians of other countries, or to be destroyed by stronger enemies. In the armed confrontations of the bourgeois war, the proletarians have no national patriotic "duty" to fulfill, because this patriotic duty responds exclusively to the interest of the national bourgeoisie which, even if it is defeated militarily, always remains the ruling class: it will always remain in power and will not cease to be the exploiting class par excellence, no matter what democratic and anti-totalitarian propaganda it uses to deceive the proletarian masses again.

But, against the imperialist bourgeois war, the proletarians have a way to follow, and they have shown it in history: the way of the revolutionary class struggle. It is in this class struggle, and only in this one, that the proletarians find their specific dignity, and finally feel themselves human beings and not armed objects, dehumanized, fighting a war which is not and will never be theirs.

Yes, the proletarians are historically called either to make war in the name of the bourgeoisie - and therefore for the capitalist interests, accepting to play the main role of the "national union" promoted by the capitalists - or to make war to the bourgeois war, to the imperialist war, that is to say, to engage in the class war. To the "national union", to the national independence, the proletariat must oppose the union and the class solidarity over all borders, the class independence with which it organizes its own struggle, its own war.

Faced with the first imperialist world war, Lenin and the Bolshevik communists launched the slogan of transforming the imperialist war into a civil war, i.e. into a class war in which the proletariat fought above all "its" own bourgeoisie. This civil war had nothing to do with the partisan war of the Second World War. The class war sees the proletarian class organized, armed and led by its revolutionary communist party against all its class enemies, above all the bourgeois class and the forces of social conservation fighting together for the preservation of bourgeois power. The partisans are only armed militias that support the bourgeois army; they fight for the supremacy of the bourgeois interests for which the imperialist war broke out. That's why we, revolutionary communists, have always been against the "partisan resistance" which, from 1943 to 1945, supported the Anglo-American armies in the war against the German army and its fascist allies; because, through it, the proletarians were diverted to the support of one of the war fronts; they had become, in fact, the armed executors of the interests of one of the two bourgeois war fronts. Their class independence had been sold off and replaced by direct dependence on the bourgeois factions (in this case democratic) who got rid of the enemy bourgeois factions (in this case Nazi-fascist) in order to have the freedom to exploit the proletarian labor force for their own account, for their capitalist profits. Massacres, destruction, prison camps, concentration and extermination camps were part of the horror of the imperialist war, and they were used by both belligerent fronts in order to demoralize the enemy by systematically hitting the civilian population of the enemy countries (Dresden razed to the ground yesterday by the Anglo-Americans was not very different from Mariupol razed to the ground today by the Russians) and to stimulate the thirst for revenge. Today, the same thing is repeating itself, as it has already happened in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Bosnia…

The war that the proletarian class will have to wage in order to impose its class solution to the capitalist crisis will have to use all the violence necessary to break the enemy bourgeois forces, their political, social, military dictatorship; the reactionary violence of the bourgeois ruling class can only be broken by the revolutionary class violence of the proletariat. The proletarians constitute the majority of the population and are the producing class of the social wealth; the goal of the revolutionary class war is the overcoming of the inhuman capitalist mode of production; this makes the proletariat the only class capable of humanizing society, of harmonizing production with the real needs, not those of the capitalist market, but those of the human beings all over the world, developing and strengthening the productive forces that capitalism periodically restrains and destroys for profit. To achieve this goal, there is only one option: revolution, the overthrow of the bourgeois state, the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship and the extension of the proletarian revolution in all countries of the world, especially in the advanced capitalist countries. Capitalism will not disappear by itself, it will not die out; the bourgeois class which represents the interests of capital will never give up power; even when, because of the proletarian revolution, it has to yield power in one or more countries, it never gives up. It demonstrated this in the revolutions of 1848, in the Paris Commune of 1871 and in the Bolshevik revolution of 1917; it fights for the restoration of its power by all means, including the massacre of defenseless populations. The more technologically advanced the weapons systems are, the more horrific is the bourgeois revenge; today, with bombing, from the sea and from afar with missiles, armies try to open the way to infantry, to ground troops, because military victory can only be obtained by occupying and dominating the enemy's territories, and this result can only be obtained by ground troops. Indeed, in order to resume its unbridled development, capital needs real economic territories, markets made up of flesh-and-blood consumers, land on which to build factories, offices, warehouses, banks, houses, roads, railroads, ports, airports, and labor forces to exploit.

Once the horrors of war have passed, then begin the horrors of peace, the horrors caused in daily life by the exploitation of labor power, by the starvation of a part of the population that cannot find work, by an underlying economic violence that generates violence of all kinds and at all levels of social life, in particular against women, minors, the elderly, inside the home, in kindergartens, in old people's homes, in prisons. Capitalist society is permeated by violence and its preservation is only due to the rivers of proletarian bloodshed in times of peace as well as in times of war. For the horrors of bourgeois war to end, it is not enough for bourgeois war to end. History amply demonstrates that bourgeois war is the norm, not the exception, and that peace is only an interlude between two wars. The only way out is through the proletarian revolution, which will offer society, on a world scale, a future totally opposed to the one offered by capitalism, because at the center of economic and social interests will be the real needs of human life and not the needs of capital and its necessary and incessant valorization.

It is a difficult, arduous and not brief path, but the wheel of history is moving in that direction.

The development of modern industry - wrote Marx-Engels in the "Manifesto of the Communist Party" in 1848 – therefore, cuts from under its feet the very formation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers... that is, the class of wage earners, the class that produces wealth in all countries, but whose monopoly the bourgeoisie appropriates, stealing it by the violence of the state, by its laws and by its military forces, and thus depriving the great majority of human beings of the enjoyment of this wealth.



International Communist Party

April, 11th 2022



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