Their principal argument is that the disarmament demand is the clearest, most decisive,
most consistent expression of the struggle against all militarism and against all war.
But in this principal argument lies the disarmament advocates' principal error. Socialists
cannot, without ceasing to be socialists, be opposed to all war.
Firstly, socialists have never been, nor can they ever be, opposed to revolutionary wars.
The bourgeoisie of the imperialist "Great" Powers has become thoroughly reactionary,
and the war this bourgeoisie is now waging we regard as a reactionary, slave-owners' and
criminal war. But what about a war against this bourgeoisie? A war, for instance, waged
by peoples oppressed by and dependent upon this bourgeoisie, or by colonial peoples, for
liberation? In Section 5 of the Internationale group these we read: "National wars are no
longer possible in the era of this unbridled imperialism."
That is obviously wrong.
The history of the 20th century, this century of "unbridled imperialism," is replete with
colonial wars. But what we Europeans, the imperialist oppressors of the majority of the
world's peoples, with our habitual, despicable European chauvinism, call "colonial wars"
are often national wars, or national rebellions of these oppressed peoples. One of the
main features of imperialism is that it accelerates capitalist development in the most
backward countries, and thereby extends and intensifies the struggle against national
oppression. That is a fact, and from it inevitably follows that imperialism must often give
rise to national wars. Junius, who defends the above-quoted "theses" in her pamphlet,
says that in the imperialist era every national war against an imperialist Great Power
leads to intervention of a rival imperialist Great Power. Every national war is this turned
into an imperialist war. But that argument is wrong, too. This can happen, but does not
always happen. Many colonial wars between 1900 and 1914 did not follow that course.
And it would be simply ridiculous to declare, for instance, that after the present war, if it
ends in the utter exhaustion of all the belligerents, "there can be no" national, progress,
revolutionary wars "of any kind", wages, say, by China in alliance with India, Persia,
Siam, etc., against the Great Powers.
To deny all possibility of national wars under imperialism is wrong in theory, obviously
mistaken historically, and tantamount to European chauvinism in practice: we who
belong to nations that oppress hundreds of millions in Europe, Africa, Asia, etc., are
invited to tell the oppressed peoples that it is "impossible" for them to wage war against