– Where liberals emphasized free trade and economic interdependence, socialists focused on questions of equality and economic justice.
– They criticized rather than praised capitalism, exposing the economic motives of imperialism, and the bellicose influence of munitions makers.
– They agreed that interdependence promoted peace, but they had a very different model of socialist solidarity in mind.
– In many respects a natural affinity existed between socialism and pacifism.
– Marx emphasized the transnational character of class society and the need for a global solution to the problems of injustice and war.
– An end to economic exploitation and imperialism is necessary for genuine peace.
– Many pacifists agreed with this analysis and incorporated the struggle against inequality into the peace agenda.
– Marx opposed capitalist war but favored the class war.
– The two movements also differed in their social composition and attitudes toward religion.
– Pacifists were often religiously motivated, while socialists tended to be agnostic or atheist.
– Marx wrote that the capitalist drive for markets leads to imperial rivalry and greater exploitation of colonized peoples.
– Poverty, inequality, and war were the inevitable consequences of capitalism, early socialists believed.
– Economic exploitation and underdevelopment are now widely recognized as causes of war and as legitimate and necessary concerns for building peace.
– These ideas are summarized succinctly in the famous expression of Pope Paul VI, “If you want peace, work for justice.”
SOCIALISM AND PACIFISM: EARLY DIFFERENCES
– Many peace advocates were skeptical of the socialist claim that the abolition of classes and an end to private property would bring peace.
– Peace advocates tended to be liberals and believed with John Locke that private property and personal liberty were the foundations of social stability and peace.
– Where socialists placed their faith in the collective, liberal pacifists emphasized the importance of individual freedom.
– They considered talk of overthrowing capitalism utopian and unrealistic, and a diversion from the necessity of adopting practical measures to reform society and prevent war.
– Many peace supporters believed that overcoming war and militarism would help to resolve what they called the “social question.”
– The best way to achieve justice and economic equality, Frédéric Passy argued, is to work for an end to militarism and the prevention of war.
– As the dangers of war increased in the years prior to 1914, the socialist and pacifist movements drew closer together.
– On the pacifist side an increasing number of analysts recognized the economic and social roots of war and the need for a more scientific, less moralistic basis for peace.
– Within the socialist movement many organizers began to adopt a less rigid and doctrinaire peace strategy.
THE LENINIST CRITIQUE
– Communists agree with pacifists in condemning the brutality of war, he wrote, but their attitude is fundamentally different:
We differ. . .in that we understand the inevitable connection between wars and the class struggle within a country; we understand that wars cannot be abolished unless classes are abolished and socialism is created; we also differ in that we regard civil wars, i.e., wars waged by an oppressed class against the oppressor class, by slaves against slaveholders . . . as fully legitimate, progressive and necessary.
– In Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin developed a comprehensive if not always coherent theory of the imperialist nature of capitalism. “Imperialist wars are absolutely inevitable under such a [capitalist] economic system,” Lenin wrote.
– With Marx he argued that the internal contradictions of capitalism drive the system toward fierce competition for foreign markets and that the resulting military confrontation among rivals creates war.
– He also argued,as Marx did,that imperialism and war provide a safety valve for relieving social pressures within capitalist countries.
– Luxemburg, Lenin, and other communists rejected any prospect of accommodation or cooperation with capitalism.
– The way to peace, they believed, was to hasten the demise of the hated system.
– The problem of war could only be solved through socialist revolution.
– Luxemburg was critical of what she called the “bourgeois friends of peace.” Pacifists believe that world peace and disarmament can be realized within the framework of the present system, she wrote, “whereas we .. . are convinced that militarism can only be abolished from the world with the destruction of the capitalist class state.”
– Wars for the liberation of oppressed people are appropriate and necessary, Marx and Lenin argued.
– The Marxist-Leninist obsession with class struggle also proved to be profoundly mistaken.
– While class analysis is a useful tool for understanding power relationships and political dynamics within society, the communist concepts of proletarian revolution and classless society were abstractions with no relation to the real world.
– Socialism had a significant influence in deepening the pacifist analysis of the causes of war and peace, as reflected in the school of thought known as scientific pacifism.
– Scientific pacifism borrowed a great deal from Marxism, including the pretension of being “scientific” and an overly determinist perspective.
– The causes of war are to be found in the economic self-interest and dominant political influence of giant industries and government bureaucracies.
– Fried and the scientific pacifists dismissed as pure sentimentalism the pacifist belief that moral enlightenment and education would be sufficient to tame the scourge of war.
– The path to peace was not to be found in morality or religion, they argued, but in understanding and harnessing the natural forces shaping the development of society.
– The scientific pacifists produced a series of studies at the turn of the century which showed that war was becoming so destructive and costly that it could no longer serve any constructive purpose.
PEACE THROUGH ECONOMIC JUSTICE
– In the years after World War I criticisms of capitalism and support for socialist alternatives increased.
– Faith in the peacemaking potential of capitalism largely disappeared.
– Socialists helped to sharpen this critique by linking capitalism to imperialism, and to the resulting inequalities and denial of national self-determination that they considered root causes of war.
– Concerns about injustice and a lack of self-determination were intensified by the unequal terms of the Versailles Treaty, which rewarded the major imperial powers and exacerbated international inequalities.
– Faith in free trade and capitalism faded further during the Great Depression.
– Few expected progress from a system of free market commerce that had delivered neither peace nor prosperity.
– In the interwar era demands for economic and political equality became essential elements of the peace agenda.
– The principle of universal participation emerged to embody the goals of economic development and political self-determination for colonized peoples and smaller nations.
– Peace movement support for the League of Nations rested in part on a hope that the League would help to address international injustices, particularly the need for self-determination and greater social and economic equality.
– Radical pacifists and those on the left adopted a “social change” perspective emphasizing the economic roots of war and defining peace as the “overthrow of privilege.
– The prevention of war requires a restructuring of social relations, they argued, to ameliorate political and economic disparities within and across nations.
– This shift toward greater recognition of social justice as a requirement for peace marked a significant conceptual evolution for the peace movement.
– Earlier theories saw the path to peace in moral and religious enlightenment, in the spread of free trade, in the development of international law, and in more democratic governance within nations.
– It remains a primary conceptual paradigm today, with ever more sophisticated and empirically based knowledge now available to determine how questions of economic development and social justice influence the prospects for peace.
– Social justice and environmentalism have also converged, according to Paul Hawken. Environmental exploitation and resource disputes inevitably have social dimensions and can cause conflict.
– Powerful interests often locate polluting industries and appropriate resources in communities with the least power to stop them.
– Indigenous and low income people suffer most.
– The green movement discovered that to protect the environment, it had to confront power, corruption, and mendacity in the corridors of government and business.
– The concern for economic justice as a means of preventing war continued after World War II with the founding of the United Nations.
– The Covenant of the League of Nations had not explicitly emphasized international economic cooperation and development, although the League developed machinery and had some success in furthering economic and social welfare.
– This experience influenced the architects of the United Nations system and reinforced the commitment of political leaders and nongovernmental activists alike to promote economic development and social welfare as means of advancing international peace and security.
– The economic development policies of the United Nations represent a curious blend of capitalist and socialist principles.
– The Bretton Woods financial institutions were intended not only to assist reconstruction and development but to bolster free-market economies.
– The Soviet Union was understandably skeptical of mechanisms that were designed in part to undermine the validity of socialist economic principles.
– On the other hand, the promotion of active governmental intervention to encourage employment and economic development contradicted laissez-faire economic doctrine.
THE DEVELOPMENT – PEACE NEXUS
– Development assistance programs in many countries are justified as a means of over coming the conditions that give rise to armed violence and terrorism.
– There is considerable empirical evidence of a link between armed conflict and inadequate economic development.
– The causes of war can be traced to social and economic conditions that produce frustration and humiliation among economically disadvantaged social groups.
– The relationship between war and economic injustice is complex and indirect, however.
– The studies that document a relationship between war and a lack of economic opportunity are careful to emphasize that there is no direct causal link between poverty and armed violence.
– Commodity dependence is itself a function of inadequate development, and thus another link between economic deprivation and war.
– It is not poverty per se but a general lack of economic development that seems to be most strongly associated with armed conflict.
– Countries that have low, stagnant, and unequally distributed per capita income and that are dependent on primary commodity exports face the highest risk of prolonged conflict.
– Other factors that increase the risk of armed violence are inadequate governance and weak regimes, conditions that are compounded by a lack of economic development.
– Poverty and a lack of opportunity are likely to be most disruptive when communities experience a decline in social and economic status, when they feel relatively disadvantaged compared to what they possessed previously or expect to gain in the future.
– It is not poverty per se but the experience of relative deprivation that seems to be most directly associated with violent conflict.
– Violent discontent tends to be highest when people experience a discrepancy between what they have and what they feel entitled to, or if a period of improving conditions is interrupted or reversed.
– These factors help to explain the rise of violence and terrorism in societies where substantial numbers of young men lack opportunities for education and gainful employment.
DEVELOPMENT FOR WHOM?
– There is widespread agreement that promoting equitable and sustainable economic development is an effective strategy for peace.
– How to achieve the desired development, however, remains a huge question.
– In the 1970s developing countries proposed a very different strategy for promoting development. They called for a New International Economic Order (NIEO).
– Socialist groups and trade unions supported the NIEO, as did a number of peace and justice organizations in the United States and around the world.
– Industrialized nations strongly resisted the effort, however, and prevented any substantive action toward realizing NIEO demands.
– The supposed benefit of large scale development assistance is also questionable.
– In the 1990s the rise of corporate globalization prompted a countervailing global justice movement to resist unjust trade and investment policies.
– The global justice movement advocated a new form of development incorporating broader measures of well-being for individuals and communities, including greater social and economic equality, human rights, and opportunities for political participation.
– The global justice and antiwar movements thus have common ground in opposing the US military and corporate agenda in the Middle East and Gulf region.
– The challenge of promoting social justice and economic development as a strategy for peace has proven to be enormously complex and controversial.
– Socialists were the first to advance economic development and equality as a path to peace, but the strategies for development most recently adopted by political leaders have followed the principles of free trade liberalism.
– The meager economic results and often harmful social consequences of the dominant aid and trade strategies have prompted a new debate about globalization and the principles of achieving economic development.
– This debate is framed primarily in terms of economic and social development, but it has direct bearing on the challenge of preventing war. Its outcome may well determine the long-term prospects for peace.