Thursday, June 01, 2006

The War to End All Wars

Woodrow Wilson
You are my base, bitches!
In the United States, Woodrow Wilson has been portrayed by the capitalist media as, and thus largely understood as, a moderate peace-loving statesmen who reluctantly went to war. Of course this is in the extremely rare instances when any historical analysis is done at all to contextualize present events.

Wilson indeed had high Christian values and morals and was thought of as a leader of the progressive movement. Unfortunately, Wilson was also highly aligned with the capitalist bourgeoisie and could not conceive of a democracy which included all peoples voices. All over the developed world at the time, popular movements were seriously challenging the rule of the capitalists.

On the democratic left socialist and communist movements were gaining massive momentum. In the United States, Eugene Debs polled nearly 1 million votes as the Socialist Party candidate for president in 1912 and 1920. On the right, there were conservative populist movements which foreshadowed the fascists who came later.

It was in this climate that the wheels of power turned to create a pretext for the "War to End All Wars." We can see the exact same mechanisms at work today as we look back on how the Iraq War was engineered, and how war with Iran is being setup.

I ran across a great article in Workers World which goes into much more detail on this subject especially with regards to sexual and gender emancipation and I encourage all to read it:

The outbreak of World War I derailed the thrust of the movements for sexual and gender emancipation and for women's rights in Germany--and created a profound political split in the international working-class struggle.

It was no accident that the war began precisely at a time of a worldwide upsurge of the working class in Europe and in the United States, as well as stirrings in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The workers' movements were gaining strength and momentum. They were increasingly taking a stand against imperialist war.

There were no socialist countries or liberation movements to blame for World War I. It was a plain, unvarnished racist war for colonial empire. The principal capitalist countries, each hungry to gobble up a bigger share of the markets and profits, tried to redivide the colonial world.

In each of the capitalist countries the bosses appealed to the workers to unite behind them in battle. The German ruling class was able to rally its working class for the war on a patriotic basis. Even the majority in the socialist movement of that day, and the Homosexual Emancipation Movement, got swept up into the chauvinist appeal.

Going along with this right-wing, murderous patriotism put the brake on every social movement--gay, trans and lesbian, women's rights, workers' and socialist struggles--because it gave the ruling class the upper hand, strengthened the right wing and set back the progressive movement.

The War to End All Wars,
Workers World, June 24, 2004

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