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War and Capitalism

Altered October 1, 2010

Some have claimed that war is inevitable under capitalism or that it is capitalism that produces war. Wars existed before capitalism, and why should we dismiss the possibility of a cause of war other than capitalism after capitalism appearance.

Against the argument that capitalism makes were inevitable are the long stretches of peace between capitalist nations – such as The US and Canada since the War of 1812.

Financiers, moreover, prefer peace and stability. Europe's financiers feared the coming of World War One because they knew the damage it would do to commerce. World War One sprang not from the heads of financiers – which is what capitalists are – but from the stupidities of Europe's emperors, primarily old Franz Joseph, who wanted to maintain his empire. Financiers encouraged and contributed to empire, but that makes capitalism the singular cause of the Great War only if you are overly simplistic.

The ingredients that go into the making of war can be complex. World War II was a product of World War I and a lot of circumstances that followed into the 1930s – rather than simply rising from capitalism as that old fool Stalin believed.

President Johnson's decision to send the US military into Vietnam beginning in 1965 was not because he was beholden to financiers who were hungry for Vietnam's natural resources. Other matters were on his mind.

I remember when "Businessmen Against The War" joined our anti-war demonstration in San Francisco. Some of us were happy to see them. Some people I knew to be Trotskyists complained to me about them as we were getting ready to march. They were exercising a simplistic reasoning that was not very different from Stalin's.

Copyright © 2007-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.