Socialism and War

Chris Burford cburford at
Wed Aug 30 08:01:44 MDT 1995

In saying that we should always oppose every action by our bourgoisies,
I think some people are being more catholic than the pope.

This is not a marxist position, and it is not a leninist position.

"Socialism and War" written summer 1915 starts:

"Socialists have always condemned war between nations as barbarous
and brutal. But our attitue towards war is fundamentally different
from that of the bourgeois pacifists (supporters and advocates of
peace) and of the Anarchists."


"In history there have been numerous wars which, in spite of all the
horrors, atrocities, distress and suffering that inevitably accompany
all wars, were progressive, i.e. benefited the development of mankind
by helpng to destroy the exceptionally harmful and reactionary
institutions (for example, autocracy or serfdom), the most barbarous
despotisms in Europe (Turkish and Russian)."


Lenin argues that from the time between the French Revolution and the
Paris Commune there were a number of progressive wars and says,

"during *such* wars, all honest, revolutionary democrats, and all
Socialists, always sympathised with the success of that country
(i.e. with that bourgeoisie) [Lenin's text not mine] which had helped to
overthrow, or sap, the most dangerous foundations of feudalism,
absolutism and oppression of other nations. For example the revolutionary
wars waged by France contained an element of plunder and conquest of
alien territory by the French, but this does not in the least alter the
fundamental historical significance of these wars, which destroyed and
shattered feudalism and absolutism in the whole of old, serf-ridden

Chris B, London.

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