Has the “infinite war” already come to an end?


The results of the mid-term election in the United States and the replacement of Rumsfield at the Pentagon has aroused the hope that the US leadership class is about to set aside the “infinite war” declared by Bush & Co. after 11 September 2001. And this hope feeds another: that “multilateral” management of the world’s affairs will reduce the risk of an endless series of new wars and, in on way or another, that all of this will be to the advantage of workers throughout the world, starting with those who are now being bombed every day.

None of these hopes has any foundation.

It is true that, instead of rapid forced marches, the Bush-Rumsfield “unilateralist” plan is now temporarily marking time. Faced with the unexpected strength of the resistance in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, and the first creakings of domestic consensus in the USA that this resistance has partially generated, the Yankee ruling class has realised that it must adjust its sights and, if necessary, take a step back in order to make a better leap forward. It is therefore possible that there will not be any new escalations such as the latest Israeli attack on Lebanon – although we should not take it for granted – but the reasons underlying the “infinite war” remain unchanged.

These reasons have nothing to do with the Bush family or the oil lobby, nor the United States alone or even the West alone, but are deeply rooted in the contradictions of world capitalism taken as a whole and its 30 years of unresolved crisis. Despite the breakdown in the East after 1989; despite the oxygen supplied by the impetuous development of the young Asian capitalisms (with China in the lead); despite the forced retreat of the proletariat in the richest countries, the capitalist system is finding it increasingly difficult to produce the critical mass of profits necessary to give new life to its by now gasping process of global accumulation, which is now at risk because it is founded on the growing indebtedness of families and states, and the increasingly speculative activities of banks, investment funds and enterprises. The declaration of “infinite war” by Washington was a sign of its realisation that its erstwhile “peaceful” methods of the noose of foreign debt, the WTO and neo-liberal measures were no longer sufficient. What was needed to break the limitations of “development” were the old/new methods of a boundless open war of global capital against the world of labour (and of each “national” capitalism against all the rest).

The new agenda for today and the future not only includes strengthening the West’s monopoly of the oil and energy resources of the Islamic world, controlling Chinese and Asian development in such a way as to ensure that it serves the interests of the Western powers, and “only” crushing the resistant Arab-Islamic masses and the proletariats of China and Asia seeking to improve their living and working conditions; it also includes the Western workers who the kings of world finance intend to pressurise even further with the blackmail of releasing the enormous reserve army from the “periphery”. And the agenda will remain the same regardless of who is in power in Washington, Berlin or Rome.

This is why the electoral results of November will not lead to any substantial change in the foreign policy of the United Statest or in the evolution of the international situation. If anything, after the inevitable confusion and uncertainty of the moment, the interruption suffered by Bush & Co. will simply fuel even more aggressive policies: in Iraq, where McCains and Giulianis are all in favour of a tougher stand against the Iraqis; on the front of global militarism, for which the Pentagon and NASA have already prepared apocalyptic plans of expenditure (and expropriation); in Israel, where the defeat at the hands of the Hezbollah certainly did not have a moderating effect on the actions of the government but, on the contrary, induced it to hammer Gaza and then embark Lieberman, the greatest exponent of the anti-Palestinian “final solution”; or in Italy, where a more aggressive right wing exhalt the Italian soldiers killed by the resistance in Nassiriya as military heroes and call loudly for anti-Islamic measures as it prepares its “people” for the wars to come.

And so: have no illusions about having escaped! The “infinite war” has not finished; it has not even been suspended for a while. The electoral restoration of Prodi and the American Democrats does not represent any real change. The international “multilateralism” of the Italy of Prodi and D’Alema has the same objective as the “unilateralism” of Bush and Cheney. Italy is just as greedy for booty but – at least for now – its military inadequacy means that it prefers a softer approach that is more appropriate to its strength and its intention to recruit Italian workers to its imperialist banner by means of the same deceitful rhetoric about “peace” and the brotherhood of nations that has previously always and unfailingly led to war between them.

No. No illusions about having come through! What is needed is a warning siren against the policies of dividing the exploited and setting them against one another which, in this confusional interlude, are rapidly regaining sway on the bourses of American and European capital, as well as among all exploiting classes throughout the world. In Iraq, they are aimed at encouraging open conflict between Shi’ites and Sunnis, Arabs and Kurds; in Lebanon, disguised as Unifil II, they are seeking to rekindle the “inter-community” civil war; in Palestine, the starvation of the Palestinians is being used to trigger fratricide between the people of Hamas and the supporters of the corruption-ridden PLO; and in Iran, to “stir its ethnic mayonnaise”. In Africa, such policies have already had devastating long-term effects (it is enough to think of Ruanda and the Congo), and are now being readied to dismember the Sudan. 

A warning siren against the poisons sprinkled by Western governments with the aim of dividing Central Asian Muslims and Chinese workers (and the latter against the Vietnamese), sowing discord between the workers of Central and South America who are otherwise becoming increasingly united by their common anti-imperialist feelings, and fuelling bitter competition among Western workers and – above all – between these and the workers of the South of the world.

This is the only way that, counting on the collaboration of vile bourgeoisies ready to do anything necessary to safeguard their own privileges, the Western capitalist powers can fulfil their plans of war and carving up the world market. And so it is against such prospects that the workers of the five continents can and must mobilise themselves and work towards the unification of the exploited of all races and colours. This is the real “nuclear bomb” that Western (and non-Western) capitalists are trying to defuse in advance! Because it is by uniting their forces that the workers could effectively defend themselves against blackmailing globalised capital with its untrammelled freedom to switch its investments from one part of the world to another depending omn the conditions in which manpower is forced to work. And because, in this defensive struggle, they may caome to embrace the only programme, the one and only way, that can free them from all of the social evils of the present: the reorganisation of the productive forces of human labour brought together on the basis of a worldwide plan of real communist cooperation that will put an end to competition between workers and between countries.

Western command centres are haunted by this spectre. They they understand that it is called to life by the very system of exploitation with which they terrorise the world. And they can see its first works of excavation: in the convergence between the associations of immigrant workers and grassroots trade union organisations in the United States; in the protests and attempts at self-organisation of immigrant workers in France and Italy; in the common (although certainly not easy) march of British workers and Muslim immigrants opposing Western aggression against the peoples of the Middle East; and in the the sympathy with which the workers of Latin America look at the anti-imperialist struggles of the Middle Eastern masses, and vice versa.

This prospect of fraternity among the workers of the different continents that goes beyond the barriers of religion and nationality cannot be entrusted to the likes of Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah or the national bourgeosies that are still the least disposed to cede before the real dictators of the world, because they are unwilling and incapable of pursuing such an objective to the end – or even only half-way. The workers must seize the opportunity in their hands, organising themselves everywhere distinctly and separately from their respective bourgeois classes. And the most far-sighted militants of the proletarian and anti-imperialist cause are calld upon to work towards this end in all four corners of the world.


Organizzazione Comunista Internazionalista