War, exploitation, and capitalist domination: How and why confront them?

Left: “Russian soldiers surrender”. Right “Ukrainian soldiers surrender”

Translations into Dutch, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese

We developed the following theses in discussing the Ukraine war and what to do against it. They may be discussed and concretized by proletarians worldwide trying to find a fundamental agreement as a tool for action against the war.


Wars between the constituent parts of imperialist capitalism are a terrible reality in various parts of the world. The earth has experienced two world wars and many regional and local wars. In these wars, blood has flowed in abundance, blood to water capital’s lust for profit. Capital lives in competition, and its parts are grouped to compete in the best conditions against their adversaries. This movement changes its forms but remains permanent in its content. It is the root of capitalist imperialism, and no state force or social class can escape it.


Now, the war in Ukraine shows once again that in imperialist capitalism, all bourgeois factions and all capitalist states have to intervene in one way or another. On the one hand, the conflicts between capitalist nations are part of the world dynamics of imperialist capitalism: trade wars, political wars, and necessarily warlike confrontations. On the other hand, they intensify the exploitation and domination of the proletariat.


The war in Ukraine is part of the formation of imperialist blocs. As a rising capitalist and imperialist world power, China challenges the number one imperialist position of the USA. After the fall of the Russian bloc, the USA tried to dominate significant parts of the world, among others, the countries of the former Russian bloc. At the same time, new regional powers resisted the US: Germany-France in Europe, Turkey in the former Ottoman Empire, Iran in the Middle East, etc. In this context, China aligned itself militarily and economically with Russia, and both tried to attract other states. However, the war in Ukraine has damaged the reputation of the Sino-Russian alliance. The US leads the opposing bloc, with NATO and AUKUS as essential alliances. As a first result of the war in Ukraine, the EU countries, Britain, Japan, Canada, Australia, and other allies on various continents, are more firmly integrated into the American bloc.


The Ukrainian bourgeoisie is sharply divided over which of the two budding blocs it should choose.

The faction that believes that an alliance with Russia best serves Ukraine’s imperialist interests has decided to break away from Ukraine its old industrial region of Donbas. Russian is the most widely spoken language in the region and is used for its nationalism.

The faction that believes that an alliance best serves Ukraine’s imperialist interests with the EU and NATO makes itself a pawn in the US strategy against Russia. The Ukrainian language, and a narrative about its culture and history, are at the core of its nationalism.

Both nationalisms of “oppressed peoples” want their “full self-determination” to align themselves with the imperialist bloc of capital that best suits them. Nationalism ties the population – and especially the workers – to the capitalist and imperialist interests of their exploiters and oppressors, pushing them into an inter-imperialist war where the US and Russia pull the strings.


All national capitals are necessarily pitted against each other. The inherent dynamic of globalized capitalism is based on disputes over markets, territories, strategic military control, sources of raw materials and energy, and the control of labor flows. Nothing for the benefit of the proletariat and everything against it. The capital and money for all this come from our labor.

The exploitation and control of our class, which generates surplus value with its labor (realized and unpaid work), the basis of capitalist profit, becomes broader and more intense. The demands for submission to political and military dictates become more acute. The various capitalist factions use the proletariat as a mass of maneuver and cannon fodder.


In many areas of the world, vast masses of civilian population with many impoverished peasants are ravaged by imperialist wars for capitalist interests. Right now, we have Yemen, Northern Syria, parts of Iraq, Myanmar, Tigray-Ethiopia, Somalia, Congo, Mozambique, etc. Many proletarians are threatened and killed in these areas by the warring military apparatuses.


The political, trade union and social forces call on us to defend one side of the war in Ukraine or the other. Some of them raise the campaign of democratic citizenship, with their “no to war,” based on pacifism, with demonstrations that are harmless spectacles. This way, they channel social tensions that arise from the consequences of the war. First of all, inflation. At the same time, numerous other wars have been hushed up or only a little published. But what these pacifists impose on the working class, whether active or unemployed, is so-called ‘social peace.’ While capital puts up the pressure and attacks us, we should sit back, divided as a class, holding our ground without defending our demands at the places of work and in the streets, thinking at most of supporting with votes and rallies this or that political demagogy, trade union, NGO and other fauna subsidized by the bourgeois states, with a horizon of reformist change of capitalism… of which the effects of its development are catastrophic.

But there can be no peace in a capitalist society, there has never been, and there never will be.


Either the proletariat reacts by freeing itself from subjugation to bourgeois interests and forces and from an attitude of mere distrust, or the exploitative and militaristic march of imperialist capitalism will intensify, leading, when several conditions are met, to a Third World War, and in the meantime to the development of numerous wars in the world and intensified destruction of the natural environment of humanity.


What is to be done? Radical defense struggle, broad and self-organized by the proletariat, is necessary. But it is not enough, neither against the open militarist manifestations of capitalism nor against the daily economic and political attacks. We must understand that the two are interrelated: to generate more offensive and defensive capacity against their competitors, all states, capitalist forces, and coalitions need to squeeze more and more surplus value out of the working class. Imperialism cannot stop doing this at the risk of seeing its positions and interests deteriorate. That is why every war between states is capitalist-imperialist. All states have to defend their positions with military means and organize themselves with the appropriate partners for this or that protection of their positions.

  • There is talk of totalitarianism and dictatorships. But democracies have the same attitude.
  • They speak of “oppressed nations” fighting for their self-determination. But this is in the framework of the struggles between the forces of capital, which use this self-determination to build coalitions with the capitalist powers and forces to improve their security and positions.
  • They talk about national freedom. But it is the freedom of the national bourgeoisie to ally itself with others and fight to improve its positions, attract investments, monopolize trade, control strategic territories, land, and sea areas, and grab raw materials for itself.

National freedom is the freedom of capital to exploit labor power and exercise what is a dictatorship over the working class and society as a whole. The national bourgeoisie controls the means of production and distribution, along with the freedom to use its weapons against its opponents, finance professional and levy armies, and use military levies. They militarize the economy and society according to the pretensions of each side, and this has to be paid for by the proletariat. Right now, the proletariat as a whole and everywhere is paying the war with the inflation that followed the blow of the pandemic crisis. It cannot be otherwise as long as capital exists, just as debt levels, financial and monetary maneuvers, unemployment, and the degradation of the conditions of existence and work of the proletariat cannot stop increasing.

In doing so, they use their dirty tricks, and their cunning stands out. They cannot fail to do so; it is in the class relations of capitalism, their way of producing life and material wealth. That is the root that must be attacked in depth. And for that, it is necessary to have criteria, methods, and organization.


Therefore, in the face of capitalism’s imperialist war, what is necessary is to promote the defense of internationalist revolutionary defeatism: against all bourgeois sides, states, and forces, for the defeat first of all of the bourgeoisie that exploits and dominates us nationally.

At the same time, we need international coordination to respond on the war fronts, at our places of work and in the streets, boycotting all military interests and structures that collaborate in the war, defending international solidarity among the proletariat across nations, ethnicities, and all kinds of divisions that favor capitalism.

Thus, on the war front, it is about soldiers directing their weapons against their officers and commanders and not against the soldiers on the other side of the front. It is about degrading the criminal, military hands on all sides of the war.

This front is essential because, on the military front, we find, on the one hand, a lot of professional soldieries and, on the other hand, terrible conditions of authority.

On the home front, at the places of work, in the streets, and the proletarian neighborhoods, it is a question of putting forward class demands, particularly to alleviate the remarkably miserable situation of the most exploited and worst treated parts of the proletariat. And in the rearguard and all over the world, it is a question of rejecting and resisting capital. Without sticking to cards and legal statutes of citizenship, we should bring forward class demands through strikes, mass mobilizations, and meetings to organize the broadest possible mobilizations.

It is, therefore, a question of orienting ourselves towards radical transformation, of organizing ourselves for it, while being aware of the enormous problems that this represents.

In conditions of militarization, the effort is much greater, but at the same time, capital shows that imposing its despotic rule is a necessity of the first order so that imperialism can fight. Capital must reproduce the whole of society to adapt it to the needs of imperialism. But at the same time, this inevitably undermines its dominance by inciting the working class to resist. In each concrete situation, those proletarians who initiate class struggle will have to weigh their steps carefully in the face of an enemy increasing its repressive capacity. The mass dynamic is essential to generalize the unrest and not allow it to fragment or be fragmented, which would facilitate the repressive break-up and the victory of bourgeois forces.


Without this class struggle against imperialist war, capitalism will further aggravate the terrible consequences that its global march has generated. It will further degrade our class and the environment, aggravate disputes between nations and blocs, spread mystifications and deceptions designed to subjugate us, and sterilize protest demonstrations, which to be effective must be broad, lucid, and international.

The working class is the target: hours and hours of work, sacrifices, renunciations, humiliations and existential insecurity, piles of corpses, and traumatized people everywhere. It is necessary to oppose the patriotic demands and alibis that chain us to capital in a daily routine of toil and fatigue to valorize capital. We have to resist the efforts to keep ‘social peace’ in exchange for some crumbs.


The movements that develop from critical denunciations to concrete actions against capitalist interests and forces depend on the possibilities. From defense and solidarity organizations to the calls of our class, trying to bring together those who, in theory, and practice, want to react and promote a radical international dynamic for the emancipation of the working class by itself and united all over the world, for a society of free and equal producers, without classes, states, nations, money, and capitalist enterprises, oppression and exploitation, and establishing proper relations with the land, air, water, and natural resources.

Who wrote above theses? Who are we?

We are communists. But for action against the war, you do not have to agree on our orientation for further struggle:


As communists, we believe only a society liberated from capital and its profit motive, without profit-making structures, ideologies, huge states, and armies, can meet the current challenges to the human race.

For these goals, we have to join forces with clarity and determination. We have to know that there are many problems and differences that can only be tackled in the very movement

of the workers.

There is no choice but to become dynamic and fight unless we wait and wait, which is wrong. Otherwise, we will remain tied to sectarian dynamics and ideological illusionism.


Revolutionary communists must act with clear principles, definite intentions, and precise orientations. The program of the social revolution is the instrument that the various forms of aggregation among revolutionaries pose as a necessity.

The aim is to achieve the self-emancipation of the proletariat worldwide, not to gain power for an organized communist minority or to generate state capitalism as in the USSR. The proletariat needs strong class-wide mass organizations like the workers’ councils, which set themselves an international and coordinated revolutionary dynamic. These same mass organizations exercise the necessary dictatorship during the period that starts after the proletariat successfully takes power. In this long period of transformation of society and the proletariat, the capitalist economy has to be liquidated and replaced by an economy controlled by the direct producers, associated fraternally, capable of knowing and managing the working time, revolutionary and social needs. If the dynamic is not such, the councils will be elements of capitalist reform.


It is normal and appropriate that the internationalist communist minorities organize themselves in several forms, depending on circumstances. The form ultimately to be reached is that of the World Party of Communist Revolution, on a serious, rigorous, and precise bases. This party must involve itself in:

  • the development, clarification, and improvement of proletarian consciousness,
  • promoting the advancement of the positions and methods of struggle of internationalist revolutionary communism,
  • the worldwide advance of the process of independence of the working class against capital, in its coordination, to become a united and capable force.

This party does not aspire to seize power for itself but to lead the process in a world revolutionary sense. It is not a Bolshevik model party, substituting itself for the class. This party strives to be an actual vanguard reference to the proletarian class movement, which helps it defend itself against bourgeois ideologies and forces. This party supports a method of thought and response that empowers the proletariat to emancipate as a class for itself, to carry out the insurrection against the capitalist states, forces, and relations. Subsequently, the proletariat as a whole will be able to exercise the international revolutionary dictatorship aimed at the emancipation and overcoming of capitalist relations. For this dictatorship, it is necessary to generate and control world communist production and distribution. Capital will win if the workers’ councils – with the party in their midst as a social vector of communist critique and action – do not control the economy.

What is needed is an international communist unification on solid, lucid, and precise methodological, principled, programmatic, tactical, and strategic bases. A proletarian awakening will promote this unification. But sectarianism, confusion, doctrinarism, and confused ideology are powerful cancers that demand a capable and robust reaction from the movement’s healthiest and most advanced parts. This notorious and high demand from the movement and its most active and clarified elements addresses the internationalist communist groups and parties, which will be in the historical position of creating a new proletarian communist International Party which will be effective and not a bluff, nor a make-up maneuver of radicalized reformism, or an opportunist tendency which repeats the ravages of the Third, the Communist International.

Fredo Corvo, Aníbal and materia

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3 Comments on “War, exploitation, and capitalist domination: How and why confront them?

  1. Pingback: Guerra da Ucrânia: o que vem a seguir? – Crítica Desapiedada & Leftdis – Crítica Desapiedada

  2. Pingback: Krieg, Ausbeutung und kapitalistische Herrschaft: Wie und warum konfrontieren wir sie? – Arbeiterstimmen


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