NATIONALIST WARS AND WARS OF LIBERATION, AND MODERN JUNIUS PAMPLETEERS
“M. le general made a review of the regiment and seemed happy”
Comte Maurès de Malartic
Since the end of the Vietnam War, including that of the Algerian War of independence, there has been a confusion among Marxists intellectuals, Marxist thinkers and progressive political organizations in general as to why wars are fought in the first place. In the title of my essay I refer to the term “JUNIUS”. The term “Junius” comes from a critique that Lenin wrote in response in 1916 to an unknown German pamphleteer of the “Left-radical” wing of the Party of the German Social Democrats, who singed his pamphlet with the name “Junius” (which in Latin means junior) and gave his pamphlet the title: The Crisis of Social-Democracy, in order to refute the Social-Democratic Party of Germany during World War I. In essence, the pamphlet deplored the selling-out of the political agenda of the Social-Democracy stand towards not only its pre-war revolutionary principles, but also its cow-towing to the first modern imperial war in general. Except, here is the fatal rub, the author and his fellow travelers which included Zetkin, R. Luxemburg, and Thalheimer as well, made two glaring mistakes by advocating pacifism regarding war in the specific and stating that all national wars in general are counter-revolutionary which is not the historical case in terms of the science and art of modern war.
In the early 21st century we have would-be Marxists, including those from “Left-Wing” positions in the United States and abroad, who cuddle-up to the Green Party factions as well as the bourgeois ‘progressive’ factions who only decry the possibility of war when it suits them, or pander to the government of their countries that sell military munitions to counties like Israel and Saudi Arabia so as to bolster the economy. The liberal middle class and their establishment pundits in the United States think they need such allies to create a wedge or encroachment against a perceived tide of Russian imperialism and her allies, when in fact, both sides are part of the same equation in the quest for world hegemony. We forget that Russia’s Great Patriotic War was a national war against Nazi fascism, we forget that North Korea and North Vietnam fought their national wars for national liberation in their homelands. We forget that Simon Bolivar and his grand armies fought national wars in South America against Spanish imperialism. We do not want to remember that it was the French Revolutionary armies, made up of proletariat and peasant French citizens, who fought a national war to preserve in the early days and years a necessary French Revolution, and that the French national war only became an imperialist war with the ascendency of Napoleon as Emperor of France. We forget, we do not want to admit that Russia is fearful of an invasion of NATO forces into the Russian motherland. Such is the complexity and dialectical ways of national imperial war which can become wars of national liberation. In these days, the Syrian people, the Iraqi people and the people of Yemen are fighting national wars to preserve their culture and their deeper ways of life. As Lenin wrote about national wars “Further, national wars waged by colonial, and semi-colonial countries are not only possible but inevitable in the epoch of imperialism.”[i]
It is instructive to study and understand how the various modern imperial powers persuade and manipulate ordinary people to become involved in a national war, that persuasion being orchestrated through the social media in all its various forms. However, we must scientifically and with calm or cool analysis address the differences between national wars of defense or a war of liberation and predatory wars. This is not an easy to task to understand the social nature of war, as not only professional revolutionaries, but great military thinkers like Sun-Tzu, Carl Von Clausewitz and Machiavelli wrestled with the ethics of war. Behind every war in the history of warfare there is deception towards people in general as well as a meaningful reason to fight and die for the motherland or to fight abroad against fascist forces, before they come to the very shores of one’s own country. As Stalin so succinctly phrased it in his World War II pamphlet The War of National Liberation 1943 “ The war has torn down all veils and laid bare all relationships”. In our time, the United States, even as an imperialist power, must confront the various armies of ISIS, or pay the price of an eventual conventional war against such a viscous and cruel adversary. In Secretary of Defense, James N. Mattis’s final letter to the American soldiers serving abroad, he wrote “In this world awash in change, you hold the line. Storm clouds loom, yet because of you, your fellow citizens live safe at home.” and we can ask the profound question of whether the “Storm clouds” are one of confrontation here in the Unites States or other “Storm clouds”— the nature of a storm as a national imperialist war or a war of national self-preservation. The veils are coming off.