We need the new Bandung

We need the new Bandung

In early spring, we moved from the reality of the Pandemic to the situation of war. And as we know, war is the imperialists’ favourite method of postponing and concealing internal contradictions and crises of capitalism. Nothing fuels the economy as well as the blood of workers. And the Russian-Ukrainian war, the new Iron Curtain and the renewed “Reds Under The Beds” propaganda all highlight importance of the grassroots anti-war movement in the West and prompt the need for the revival of the Non-Aligned States and Nations Movement.

No business – like war business

The self-dissolution of the Soviet Bloc and the emergence of a unipolar international reality in the 1990s brought a false reassurance to pacifists around the World.  Withdrawal of the threat of nuclear annihilation by the superpowers was falsely equated with no threat of war at all. Unfortunately, imperialism does not function without wars, and for capitalism There’s No Business – Like War-Business.Meanwhile, the protests against each subsequent hegemonistic military operation weakened. From war to war, the protests against the aggressions against Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the conflict in Yemen, the intervention in Lebanon, the blockade of Gaza – were getting weaker and more isolated, more and more supported only by the usual suspects. Pacifism and the disarmament movement have not disappeared but have been swept into a corner of a room with a sign: “Old hippies, nice, but don’t pay attention. Do feed, occasionally”.

And wars, war crimes, privatisation of wars by corporations – were happening somewhere safely far away. After all, TV sets and news can always be turned off, and anyway, they always provide simple and easy diagnoses, thanks to which we can immediately distinguish the Goodies from the Baddies. And since one side is only good and the other is only bad – it doesn’t make sense, it is wrong to put an equal sign between them, right? We have to keep with the Goodies, wish them victory and cheer them on, because being against wars means helping the Baddies, right? Not right, but we let them convince us. We wanted to be convinced! We let our children to be taught that. We accepted that such propaganda, the absolution of every war, every aggression, all armaments – triumphed in the media, films, games, the whole geoculture.

We silently accept military censorship, even if our country is not formally a militant party.  We cannot recover after the pandemic – because there is war. We cannot accelerate the achievement of the climate target – because there is a war. And sanctions. And the Cold War. And the bargaining of powers over new of spheres of influence. Unfortunately, capitalists and governments cannot offer us anything – because they are too busy with wars. This is their point. And even some kind of truth: we will not learn from the pandemic, we will not get out of the cycle of crises of capitalism – as long as there are imperialistic wars.

Therefore, the peace movement is not and cannot be a hobby for Sundays, but must be the very essence of our opposition to capitalism and imperialism.

Ukrainian tragic experience

On the basis of Ukrainian experience, however, someone may say: “Well, you are against wars, you want to dissolve NATO and establish nuclear-free zones – don’t you see what happened to the Ukrainians!?” This is a very good question. Keep it when hearing. Because it is Ukraine that confirms how right the anti-war movement is. Vladimir Putin and Russians are now presented as exclusively responsible for the Ukrainian-Russian war as another archetypal Villains. But it is the capitalist system, which should be blamed in its quest for infinite accumulation, achieved also in Ukraine, managed by the comprador bourgeoisie. The conflict of interests of the Russian, Ukrainian and Western oligarchs is of a purely capitalist nature. Because in fact, British or American corporations interested in the liberalisation and colonisation of Ukraine are also examples of oligarchy. The culprits in the war in Ukraine are imperialism and militarism – coming from the West, using NATO to absorb new areas and increase the threat of war. Finally, nationalism is to blame, and in the most horrible, Nazi version, which always drugged the workers so that they would not see their class interests.

And nuclear weapons: after all, Ukraine gave them up – and has been attacked!”, someone will shout. Quite the opposite – as a neutral nuclear-free state, Ukraine was completely safe, although still subjected to the pathologies of oligarchic capitalism. Ukrainians were attacked when, instead of neutrality, they were offered NATO militarism. When nationalist politicians started to announce acquiring nuclear weapons and building “dirty bombs”. And the most of all, the war broke out when it proved to be in the interests of all the oligarchs-capitalists concerned. Will we not understand anything from this lesson?

Obviously, global disarmament is the very first step, but peace-movement cannot be restricted to that one slogan. The essence of international security be a reference to the heritage of Non-Aligned States Movement, to Gandhi’s, Nehru’s, Nkrumah’s, Sucarno’s and Tito’s tradition and earlier – to the wisdom of great Atatürk, positioning Turkey outside ideological and militarist blocks. And this time the New Bandung has to be aligned. Aligned to the cause of peace, beyond and against the imperialist wars of Western and Eastern capitalists. 

Konrad Rękas
Political expert, geopolitical analyst (Poland)

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June 2024