(The original of this article was published in the 11th issue of the Proletarian Revolutionary KöZ of September 2003.)
Since the US attack on Iraq has come to the agenda, a new slogan is very popular: “We will not kill, we will not die, we will not be anyone’s soldier”
Besides the reformists and pacifists, many revolutionaries are close to this slogan.Whereas it is suitable for those who are pacifists and reformists, this is not suitable for revolutionaries at all.
First; the slogan “we will not do military service, we will not die and will not kill.” is not only incomplete but also wrong when the following emphasis is not made: “We would do military service for this but not for that, we would die for this and not for that, we would kill for this purpose, not for that purpose andif we are prevented from acting like this, we will both die and kill.”. Communists who adopt revolutionary defeatism and even accept anti-militarist defeat in the military as a conditional duty, should avoid using expressions such as “we will not do military service, we will not be soldiers.”. Because, there is a lack of a daring revolutionary party who should say “we will go to the military and go to defeat, we will go to shoot the enemy at home; we can stop the war only like this” and communists who stand behind KöZ have set out to create such a party.
Second, this attitude does not address the working class, but is a political attitude that appeals to the bourgeoisie or privileged segments of the working class.For in the age of imperialism, in the midst of a sharing fight, when the biggest powers of the world have decided to fight, the luxury of not going to the military and avoiding this war will only be bestowed on a very small and privileged minority of the society.If the war is unavoidable, the masses of the majority of the workers will be taken to the military, whether they want it or not; they will be killed and they will kill.
“Do Not Do Military Service!” Is Not a Call For Proletarians
The young male proletarians who are the target group of communists standing behind KöZ are already under such pressure. The call to “Don’t enlist!” does not make any sense to them.Moreover, they are said “Enter the factory”. It is only something said by people who does not know that one cannot enter the factory unless he did military service and by those who forgot that it is a privelege which is bestowed on the few to dodge the service until one is thirty years old.
Our interlocutors do not have the luxury of civil disobedience; because in this case they have to give up the opportunity to work, which is compulsory to live. In fact, this means the risk of not only finding a job, but also not finding a partner in some places.In a way, changing one’s life in order not to die in the militaryis like changing your one’s world. There is no fundamental difference in terms of the majority of the proletarian masses choosing between taking the risk of dying in the military and dying from starvation caused by one’s civil disobedience and worse, choosing to live while not knowing how to. Just when we learned once again that wars cannot be stopped through civil disobedience with new examples.
In this case, the duty of the revolutionaries should be to work towards showing and making other adopt the goals worthy of death, rather than adapting to the reflexes of self-defense and escape from the military service.
If there is a war, the majority of the working people will be armed, killed and will kill. Those who can avoid this are those who somehow have “friend at court”.
What did the Bolsheviks do?
When the Bolsheviks stated that opportunism sprouted above the workers’ aristocracy, the centrists asked them, “Well, if there is a worker aristocracy in Tsarist Russia, where did your opportunists feed from?” The answer they received was “Working as a worker in a factory that produces for the front instead of going to the front is a privilege in itself for us”.
Indeed, the Bolsheviks went to the army, fought on the front, died and possibly killed.But at the same time, the military Soviets were born this way; The biggest defeatism movement, which caused the first great imperialist war to stop, also came from there.
On the other hand, were there not people who went to Korea among the ones who were influential in the struggles of 60s from the working class? Wasn’t a large part of the famous commando operations carried out in Kurdish villages in the 60s among those who took to the streets on June 15-16?Were most of the workers at the forefront of the class struggle in the 70s not involved in the Cyprus operation?
Let no one have any doubts that the ones who went into the army and involved in the filth will outnumber the pacifist who say “we will not kill, we will not die, we will not be soldiers of no one” and those who will determine the fate of humanity will come out of them.
What Does It Mean To Be Privileged?
There is no absolute measure of the privileged sections of the working class. The measure of privileges is different in each country and at different times. Critical twists such as war are the twists where this measure may appear to the naked eye.For the same reason, those who have set their sights on the privileged segments of the working classadopting the pacifist attitudes of the second international opportunism under war conditions is exemplary.
Students; Those who get the luxury of working like a horse in factories producing for the front instead of going to the front; those who can set up an injured report; or those who can to find a way to fill their stomachs in illegal conditions.Therefore, it is not accidental that the actions based on this idea, in manners of form, method and place, is determined as toaddress not to the most oppressed, exploited sections of the working class, but to the anti-war sections of the bourgeoisie and their servants.
The fact that pacifism is a bourgeois policy is not only because it is put forward by the bourgeoisie.On the contrary, pacifism comes to the fore when the decisive sections of the bourgeoisie decide on war. Thus, pacifism rising when the bourgeoisie decides to war expresses the reflexes of the bourgeoisie to save their precious children; It should be seen as an effort to save the house where servants slave during a fire.It is an attitude that does not have any tangible meaning for anyone other than the bourgeoisie and its privileged servants or servant candidates.
Just like the naming of Proudhon’s political stance which appeals to the conscience of the intellectual bourgeois as “bourgeois socialism”, this attitude and those that are similar, regardless of by whom they are defended, should be seen within the boundaries of bourgeois socialism and should be criticized accordingly. The spontaneous reactions of the masses are already in the same direction. Pacifist attitudes such as the rejection of military service constitute a good opportunity to demonstrate the accuracy of the assertion that “the spontaneous consciousness of the masses get trapped into the use of bourgeois ideology”.
Likewise, it is a good opportunity also to expose what the movements with the claim of leadership who follow the tail of the spontaneous consciousness of masses are. The task of those who claim to build a leadership that has gained the trust of the most revolutionary sections of the proletariat is to take advantage of this favorable climate to fulfill their claims.
In this aspect, it is necessary to put forward the attitudes that include ideas such as not going to the military etc. as attitudes within pacifism, namely, bourgeois socialism. It is also necessary to demonstrate the opportunist character of those who are hesitant and in ambiguity about these attitudes.
Everything aside, the fourth condition to join the Communist International states:
“4. Persistent and systematic propaganda and agitation must be conducted in the armed forces, and Communist cells formed in every military unit. In the main Communists will have to do this work illegally; failure to engage in it would be tantamount to a betrayal of their revolutionary duty and incompatible with membership in the Communist International.”
Although it may not be clear what those who claim to inherit the legacy of the Communist International can do in the context of today’s objective conditions and possibilities, it should be evident what they should not do.