The only war we need to fight is the one to defend our interests as workers

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
February 13, 2023

Since January 19, we’ve been fighting to stop retirement age from being pushed up to 64. But we also can’t ignore the worrying sound of marching boots getting closer.

The war in Ukraine is still threatening to develop into a generalized flare-up. The economic and political confrontation between the two giants that are the US and China is equally fraught with danger. It has already been marked by a series of bellicose acts. Last week, the US destroyed a Chinese balloon that they accused of espionage. At the same time, they were setting up four new military bases in the Philippines, not far from China which is already encircled by US bases.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was alarmed by this. He declared – “I fear the world is not sleepwalking into a wider war. I fear it is doing so with its eyes wide open.” It is a fact that all the major powers are preparing for war by rearming as fast as they can. And now they can even use Ukraine as a training ground. That is where they are testing the very latest cannons and missiles, tanks and hi-tech drones.

Whether they like it or not, every country is already caught up in this war and the Sino-American rivalry. As events escalate, they will be forced to choose sides.

Propaganda here in France present the US, NATO and the EU as forces for peace, guarantors of freedom, democracy and the rights of peoples. Russia and China on the other hand appear as the epitome of dictatorship and oppression, in other words, the axis of evil.

But this ignores the fact that Western powers are happy to foment coups and uphold bloody dictatorships, as they do in Saudi Arabia and Africa, when they want to exploit and plunder a region. When a regime is hostile to them, its sovereignty no longer exists, they invade and fight the country, as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their support of Israel, their most faithful ally in the Near East, means closing their eyes to the colonization of the West Bank and suppressing the right of Palestinians to have their own state.

International relations are guided not by moral values but by the permanent struggle of major powers to access raw materials, capture new markets and for economic supremacy. There is not one square mile on land and sea and now in space that escapes this. Ukrainians are today’s victims of this rivalry.

Western leaders are exploiting the atrocities committed by the Russian army to stir up public opinion so that people become resigned to and accept a deeper involvement in the war.

As if the carnage could be stopped by piling more and more weapons on the battlefield! And who can believe that Biden and Macron care about the workers and the poor in Ukraine when they make it perfectly clear every day that they don’t care about the working class in their own country!

It comes as no surprise that the so-called defenders of the people in Ukraine are first and foremost worried about their wealth. Several people close to Zelensky have taken advantage of the war to accept bribes. The Defense Minister has even embezzled millions from the army’s budget! And that’s nothing compared to the profits pocketed by arms manufacturers like Dassault and Thales. But it serves to remind us that although war is a tragedy for the general population it is always an enormous business opportunity for the bourgeoisie.

No to being brainwashed by warmongers! No to delivering arms to Zelensky! No to an increase in military budgets! The war that the major powers are waging today with Ukrainian lives and tomorrow perhaps with ours, is not our war!

We, the workers, should refuse to make a choice between the Western bourgeoisie that exploits us and the Russian oligarchs or the new Chinese capitalists. They all belong to the same class of exploiters. We need to protect ourselves everywhere from that class by defending our interests as workers. We need to continue our combat here against raising the retirement age to 64, against lower wages and for workers’ rights. We must do this with the awareness that we have to rebuild a political force so that tomorrow we can refuse to be cannon fodder in the war that the capitalists are fomenting.

Nathalie ARTHAUD