Report on the International Day of Mobilization against the Wars of Capital on February 24

A first step of organized proletarian internationalism / Revolutionary Internationalist Tendency – SI Cobas

The road to a first international day of action against the wars of capital on 24 February was not easy, but it was crowned with success. Most of the path towards the constitution of an international and internationalist proletarian united front against the wars of capital and against the tendency towards a third apocalyptic world war remains, of course, to be accomplished. A first step, however, has been taken. And we’re already looking forward to the next one to come with coordinated initiatives on 1 May, which serve to consolidate and develop the network of international relations and relations developed in recent times.

Let’s see, in brief, how we got to this day.

For two years, since the outbreak of the war between NATO and Russia in Ukraine, the SI Cobas and the Revolutionary Internationalist Tendency (RIT) have been carrying out constant and firm action against this war centered on the following thesis: “For what it is and for what it prepares, the war in Ukraine, imperialist on both sides, is a war against the Ukrainian proletarians and against the Russian proletarians, against the proletariat of all countries.” For this reason, the political delivery can only be that of “defeatism on both sides of the front, against the oligarchs and generals of NATO and Ukraine, against the oligarchs and generals of Russia and its allies.”

From the outset, our action took the form of statements with a clear class orientation, which were collected in the volume La guerra in Ucraina e l’internazionalismo proletario [The War in Ukraine and Proletarian Internationalism], and with numerous initiatives, which focused on denouncing the active participation of the Italian government and state in the war (supply of weapons, military deployments in the East, sanctions, rearmament and the first steps towards the war economy, Russophobic campaigns) summarized in Karl Liebknecht’s formula “The enemy is in our own backyard,” and in revolutionary defeatism.

We helped organize two national assemblies against the massacre in Ukraine: the conference in Rome on 16 October 2022 and the National Assembly on 11 June 2023 in Milan, with the presence – in both initiatives – of various organizations and local bodies that shared the defeatist position.

On this basis we have launched – together with other sectors of rank-and-file trade unionism and extra-parliamentary left-wing – first a national demonstration in the streets of Rome on December 3, 2022, “against the war and the high cost of living”, and then on October 21 last year a second demonstration in front of the Italian military base in Ghedi, preceded the day before by the strike against the war and for the wages of part of the grassroots unions. The May Day demonstrations SI Cobas organized were also characterized by internationalist opposition to the war.

The next step was to take the anti-war initiative to the international level from a proletarian point of view, with the aim of forming an international and internationalist camp, or front, to oppose both imperialist camps in confrontation – initially in Ukraine, actually on a world scale. Indeed, the war in Ukraine is not a contingent episode: it is the result of the new framework of relations between capitalist powers, which sees the relative decline of the United States and the European Union, on the one hand, and the rise of the so-called BRICS, China in the lead, and other medium-sized powers, on the other. From the very first moment we have argued what today seems even banal: namely, that the war in Ukraine “marks a point of no return in the shift of inter-capitalist contradictions on the world scale from an economic-commercial to a strategic-military one“, and contains within itself the growing risk of a third world war for the re-partition of the world. In fact, it has already triggered an unbridled rearmist rush in preparation for this prospect. A perspective totally different from being the dawn of a multipolar, ‘balanced’ and finally peaceful capitalist world of certain narratives that it is difficult to say whether they are more propagandistic and fraudulent, or more childish.

It follows that the siding with this war has also marked a decisive watershed in the anti-capitalist left, between the internationalist-proletarian and ‘camp’ positions, as was the case during the First World War.

Aware of the urgency of the formation of an internationalist camp or front totally autonomous from both capitalist-imperialist camps in formation, we started a work that was immediately confronted with the fact that the war in Ukraine divided the various historical families of the anti-capitalist left between the proponents of the false self-determination of Ukraine (and willy-nilly NATO), the proponents of the false anti-Nazi mission of Russia, and the defeatists.

Noting that in the face of this war, all the components of the old workers’ movement (Stalinist, Maoist, Trotskyist, communist left, anarcho-communist) have split more or less vertically into opposing factions, we turned to the only organisations that expressed positions similar to ours, or at least compatible with them, believing that the divisions of the past, while not at all meaningless, cannot and must not prevent unity of action in the present, if the fundamental prerequisites for a common initiative are there. This led to our proposal for an international day of action against the wars of capital, which was accepted in principle as early as last summer by the Argentine comrades of the Partido Obrero, and later, in the autumn, by the German comrades of the MLPD and many organisations belonging to the international anti-imperialist United Front against fascism, war and environmental destruction, which was formed in September, and which the SI Cobas also joined. Other political and trade union organisations operating in Japan, Turkey and the United States also took up the proposal for an international day of action against the wars of capital.

This led to the drafting of a joint appeal with the MLPD and the United Front, and another more concise one with the Partido Obrero and the Polo Obrero, converging on the international day, set for 24 February, and its watchwords. The two appeals were signed by some 30 organisations from 21 different countries, and by a dozen internationally known militant intellectuals (see appendix).

In the run-up to this day, the genocidal operation of the state of Israel against the population of the Gaza strip, unanimously supported by the entire western imperialist camp, the USA in the lead and Italy in the pack, exploded after 7 October.

This has further accentuated the need and urgency for international coordination of forces that intend to fight against ‘all colonial and imperialist wars’. Here too, our position has been characterised by a clear line-up in support of the Palestinian people and resistance, and by an irreducible opposition to the Zionist state and its protector-allies, first and foremost the Italian government and state, without, however, making any openness to any supposed ‘anti-imperialist’ roles of the anti-American powers acting on a regional or international scale.

In the Zionist genocide underway in Gaza we see “the last word of Western imperialism in irreversible crisis of hegemony”, thus necessitated to resort to the most extreme forms of state terrorism, just as tens of millions of protesters in the Middle East and throughout the world have seen in Palestine “the homeland of the oppressed”, and in Palestinians the oppressed among the oppressed, to be supported in their war of national and social liberation.

Even Israel’s war of annihilation on Gaza has produced some differentiations within the defeatist camp, in particular on the attitude to take towards Hamas as the main organisation of the Palestinian resistance today, which have not, however, prevented the definition of common positions – different, instead, is the case of those who, belonging to the tradition of the Italian Communist Left, to the anarcho-communist world, but also to the m-l areas, would pretend to apply the scheme of defeatism also towards the Palestinian resistance, forgetting, and this is resounding, the colonial character of the state of Israel and the anti-colonial character of the Palestinian liberation movement.

The initiatives of the international day against the wars of capital

As mentioned at the beginning of this document, the road to the International Day of Action on 24 February was not without its difficulties. But from the written reports we received and the pictures available, we can say that it was successful.

The range of initiatives was very articulated, depending on the different national situations and the material forces available (in some cases, very reduced): from the combative marches of thousands of proletarians to the street protests, from workers’ assemblies to public propaganda teams, up to – where any public initiative is forbidden – the dissemination on social networks of the appeals and watchwords agreed upon for the 24th, which constituted the common connective tissue of all the initiatives.

On Italy we have already written a separate report: the day was prepared by a national strike called by SI Cobas for 23 February, with a strong incidence in logistics, but which was also joined by many workers of other unions, especially in schools and public transport. This was the second strike called by SI Cobas for Palestine – the previous one had been held on Friday 17 November, and had resulted in a large and very hot square demonstration in Bologna, also organised with the Young Palestinians of Italy and other Palestinian associations, on Saturday 18 November.

The picket in front of the SDA (Italian Post Office) in Vidigulfo (PV), a ‘model’ of job insecurity

On the strike day of 23 February, boycott actions were carried out: of Israeli ships in Genoa, of the Italian war group Leonardo in Naples, of Carrefour, supplier to the Israeli army in Turin.

Above the blockade of the port of Genoa, and the garrison in front of the Leonardo in Naples, 23 February

The day of 24 February saw the involvement of the most deeply rooted Palestinian associations and the grassroots unions, with whom we called a national demonstration in Milan, ‘with the Palestinian resistance, against colonial and imperialist wars‘, as the opening banner said. Participation was higher than the most optimistic forecasts, over 20,000, with two large initial groups: that of the Palestinian associations and that of the SI Cobas/TIR/Iskra, joined by the Communist Youth Front, both by several thousand, followed by the other grassroots unions, social centres, associations and left-wing parties from all over Italy. At the centre of the slogans and banners was the denunciation of the genocide in Gaza, but SI Cobas and TIR extended the denunciation to all the wars of capital, pointing to revolutionary proletarian internationalism as the only possible answer.

Here, two reports:

Also in Tokyo, at the initiative of the Doro Chiba railwaymen’s union and the Revolutionary Communist League of Japan, a combative demonstration was held by thousands of workers and young people against Japanese rearmament, the revision of the constitution in a bellicose direction, against the war in Ukraine on both the NATO and Russian sides, and against the preparations for a war against China on the side of the USA and allies. Demonstration in the central streets of Tokyo, preceded by rallies in which numerous workers and comrades, men and women, took the microphone.

In speeches made during the protest, it was stated that the imperialist states continue the war to prolong the life of the capitalist regime, which is why the war continues in the Middle East and Ukraine. It was stated that the Japanese government of Fumiyo Kishida is willing to sacrifice the blood of workers to prolong its own life, seeking to profit from the Ukrainian war.

During the demonstration, denunciations were made of the war drill held in cooperation between the US and Japan in early February (targeting China), the ongoing restructuring of the Okinawa military base, and the forced labour of Japanese workers as part of the reconstruction agreement with Ukraine. The Japanese workers said they would not allow a possible Japan-China war.

Moments of the demonstration organised by Doro Chiba in Tokyo

In the speeches it was also emphasised that the conclusion of the restructuring agreement between Japan and Ukraine means supporting the imperialist war: workers must not fall into this trap. While it was stated that the country’s political parties are complicit in war crimes: ‘We are fighting a war caused by government leaders. The enemy we are fighting is within our own country.” “As workers of the world, we have the power to stop the war”. In the speeches given by the demonstrators, it was stated that trade unions around the world should fight as one body to stop the war, and slogans were shouted such as “Don’t send weapons to Ukraine, don’t support Israel’s army!”

Moving in the direction of the earth’s rotation in South Asia, and proceeding for once from East to West, in Nepal, the NCP (Mashal) party organised a public conference followed by an internationalist procession in Kathmandu.

The organisation’s vice-president said: ‘We said that World War III could happen because of imperialist interests. “Not only a nuclear war, but also a biological war can destroy the human community. Through imperialist war, human life and the physical world would come to an end, so peace lovers around the world should unite against it.”
During the event Samir Singh, CPN (Masaal) spokesman, said that US imperialism is waging war. The war in Ukraine and Palestine is due to imperialist interests, he said. “Only the revolutionary people’s movement can stop the imperialist war.”

In India, the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) organised anti-war garrisons in several capital cities – below is the garrison in the city of Kolkata (Calcutta) in East Bengal, where an end to the wars in Ukraine and Palestine was demanded.

Communist (SUCI) Presidium in Kolkata (Calcutta)

In Turkey, the International Workers’ Solidarity Association (UİD-DER) involved many workers in this mobilisation with its organised work under the slogan ‘From Ukraine to Palestine to the fight against imperialist war’. This burning issue was discussed with workers, women and young people through meetings and events in many workplaces and offices in the metal, petrochemical, health, logistics, food and municipal sectors. In this way, the proletarian class was given a voice in unison with workers in other countries of the world. The slogans “No to imperialist wars!”, “Long live workers’ unity, long live the brotherhood of peoples” were raised. [We have all the video documentation of these initiatives at our disposal, but the UID-DER and the comrades of Marksist Tutum asked us not to divulge it to avoid the inevitable institutional and trade union reprisals against those who were active in them].

Here a photo of the assembly against the wars of capital organised by UID-DER in which images were projected revealing the growing anger of the world working class against imperialist war and its struggle for peace and brotherhood, and in which it was emphasised that the only power that will destroy this system is the working class. The working class that stands up and says “enough is enough” will eventually destroy this system of oppression and “establish a new world, giving humanity the freedom it deserves”. “We will continue to organise our unity and sweat with patience and perseverance in the ranks of the working class until the day we succeed in opposing the bell of capitalism.” The event concluded with the slogans “We will destroy the capitalist system, we will build a classless world!”.

Also in Turkey, the SEP organisation (Socialist Workers Party) organised a garrison at the Israeli embassy in Istanbul, demanding an immediate ceasefire and an end to colonisation in Palestine. (photo below)

In Greece, as part of the international day against the wars of capital on 24 February, the NAR (New Left Current, component of Antarsya) organised a garrison in front of the Ministry of Defence in Athens, against Greece’s role in NATO and participation in the naval expedition in the Red Sea: “In the context of this NATO policy, the Greek state chooses to actively support Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people, even sending frigates alongside American aircraft carriers and warships, both in the southeastern Mediterranean and in the Red Sea, for which it has claimed and obtained an enhanced role of involvement in war operations in the region. Greece’s administrative role in the war, this time on behalf of the EU imperialist powers and Greek naval capital, and in particular the transformation of the Larissa NATO base into an operational headquarters against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, is the next step in its war strategy.”

In Germany, the MLPD brought the international day against the wars of capital to the miners’ demonstration in Neukirchen-Vluyn against the ‘scorched earth policy’ of the RAG mining group.

“Greetings and a miner’s poem against the nuclear threat were an integral part of the opening event, as were the Ruhrchor songs. A sea of flags waved in the cold wind: Solidarität International, the women’s organisation Courage, the local electoral alliance NV AUF geht’s, the youth organisation REBELL, the Internationalist Alliance, IG Metall, the MLPD.

“When other contributors emphasised the struggle for the Donets coalfield as one of the causes of the war in Ukraine and reported on the mutual declarations of solidarity between Russian and Ukrainian miners after the outbreak of war, it became clear that the slogan ‘Workers don’t shoot workers’ is alive and well. One young Russian told how the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities is becoming more and more widespread among young Russians, despite the massive repression.

In the video, the speech by Peter Weispfenning of the MLPD on the causes of the war in Ukraine and how to end it.
He recalled the second anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine [between NATO and Russia]: 200,000 people died and this destruction goes on! The anti-imperialist United Front Against Fascism, War and Environmental Destruction decided to protest on this day under the banner of workers fighting against the war. “What does this concern the miners? First of all, one of the big objects of dispute in Ukraine is coal (the basis of the steel industry), who should this huge coal deposit belong to (Russian or Western oligarchs)? We also have contacts with miners in Russia and the Ukraine, who do not share the war but solidarise across borders and across war fronts. Workers do not fire on other workers: as an international movement of miners we can be neither with Putin nor with NATO, but against both. Germany also participates intensively, cutting social spending in favour of military spending. We must fight against imperialism, for socialism in which the idea of international workers’ solidarity is realised.”

This path must be strengthened, and this 18th miners’ rally also represented this, not least with the moving poem by Moers miner Johann Esser: ‘Once again, the philoppics of hatred are sent out to the world and the old ballads of hatred are revived…. Shout no to this world!”
In several other cities in Germany comrades of the MLPD and its youth association Rebell held garrisons and propaganda initiatives against the war.

In Argentina Partido Obrero and Polo Obrero, which organises tens of thousands of unemployed people, demonstrated in front of the Argentine Foreign Ministry.

Some of the main leaders of the two organisations took the floor, including Eduardo ‘Chiquito’ Belliboni, whom the newly appointed president Milei publicly named as the first enemy to be put in his sights

PO leader Rafael Santos read out the appeal for the International Day Against War and denounced the Milei government’s policy of supporting Israel and its genocidal action on Gaza, and NATO’s imperialist intervention in Ukraine, also denouncing the Russian invasion.

In the United States, the United Front Committe for a Labor Party, an organisation that wants to promote the formation of a revolutionary workers’ party by overcoming the sectarian divisions of the American anti-capitalist left, organised a presidium in front of the US Air Force base in Travis, California, as part of the international day of mobilisation against the wars of capital. The presidium denounced US support for Israel, demanded an end to the genocide in Gaza and the occupation of Palestine, and the sending of arms to Ukraine and in support of corrupt governments. It also denounced the US government’s war policy, which fails to provide health care for the masses and public education while war profiteers make billions of dollars, and demanded an end to the war machine and the closure of the 800 US military bases abroad.

In a number of other countries, from France to Portugal to Brazil, initiatives were taken to disseminate the calls for an international day of action, which are reproduced below.

February 24International day of action against the wars of capital!

From the Ukraine to Gaza, from Sudan to Congo, capitalist wars are butchering hundreds of thousands people, mostly proletarians; millions are forced to leave their homes; millions are starving and epidemics spreading.

An arms race has started worldwide to prepare for World War 3 while governments cut social expenditure and repress our struggles militarizing social life.

Enough is enough! No more massacres, no more cannon fodder for the interests of our exploiters! No more sacrifices, militarism and repression!

Let’s join forces internationally and have our voices be heard all around the world

Proletarians of Ukraine and Russia, shake your hands, your enemy is at home !

Stop the genocide on Gaza and the ethnic cleaning in the West Bank!

On the side of the Palestinian resistance, for a Palestine free from Zionist colonialism!

Workers and youth in the West: let’s stop our governments sending weapons for the butchery in Ukraine and support Israel!

Let’s unite around the world and fight for a society without exploitation and war, of harmony between man and nature

On Saturday 24 February 2024, second anniversary of the intensification of war in Ukraine between NATO and Russia, let us join forces in an international and internationalist day of protest and struggle against the wars of capital!

Proletarians and oppressed of all countries, let’s unite!


Call for a day of international mobilization against the wars of capital

In a historical phase in which the contradictions of global capitalism are intensifying, from Ukraine to Palestine, from Sudan to the Congo, imperialist states increasingly resort to war and the massacre of human beings. By doing so, they want to violently ‘resolve’ conflicts of interest between their capitalist monopolies, or renew their colonial and neocolonial domination over oppressed peoples.

The workers, the proletarians called upon to slaughter one another to decide who will exploit them, must declare war on the wars of capital and organise themselves to overthrow capitalist domination of the world.

With the ongoing war in Ukraine, on the European continent, for the first time since the Second World War, two alignments of great capitalist powers are openly clashing: Russia on the one hand (with partial support from China and several emerging powers), and NATO (US and European powers) on the other, supplying the military materiel, with Ukraine providing the cannon fodder. After almost two years and more than 500,000 casualties and 10 million displaced people, 6.2 million of whom have emigrated, the slaughter continues with the risk of escalation, which, combined with global rivalries, makes World War III a real catastrophic possibility, for which all powers are preparing with a generalised arms race.

In the face of this war that is imperialist on both sides, as in the face of the outbreak of World War I, some of the currents of the anti-capitalist left have split between supporters of one or the other of the two warring camps. Which talk of ‘self-determination’ of Ukraine when the fierce dispute between two wings of the national bourgeoisie has plunged this country into the tragic path of war and, with Zelensky, of complete submission to western imperialism? Which war against ‘Nazism’ on the part of Russia, when Putin and his entourage, who want to revive the tsarist empire, are supported by Russian Nazis and in turn support far-right organisations throughout Europe?

Against both camps of clashing powers, let us raise the banner of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, to give substance to the proletarian opposition to both war fronts: “the main enemy is at home!”.

In the Middle East, Israel’s heinous colonial and annihilation war against the Palestinians of Gaza, with the massacre to date of 32,000 civilians, mostly children and women, the displacement and imminent starvation of more than two million people, the systematic destruction of homes, public buildings, hospitals, and basic infrastructure, together with the fascist attacks by settlers and the army on the Palestinians in the West Bank. It proofs the support of the western powers to the Zionist state, their outpost in the Middle East; and the complicity of the other big powers and regional powers, unwilling to sacrifice their own affairs to the Palestinian cause. The only allies of the Palestinian people are the proletarians of the Middle East and the workers and youth around the world who are taking to the streets in support of the Palestinian people, in support of their extraordinary resistance, their century-long struggle for self-determination by putting an end to the Zionist and Western machine of oppression in Palestine. We support the Palestinian resistance, despite our criticism of the political and ideological alternatives of the Islamist forces. Today, more than ever, Palestine is the home of the oppressed!

All states, all governments, are expressions of profiteering bourgeoisies linked to the major imperialist powers, to the capitalist monopolies, to the international financial system, and are part and parcel of the social system that produces war; none of them can be allies in the war on war. The decline of the American superpower in the face of the emergence of new medium and great powers, the transition from a US-dominated world (dis)order to a ‘multipolar world’ cannot bring about equilibrium and peace, but – as we are already seeing – growing imbalances, tensions and new wars. Wars which, in their essence, are wars for the sharing out of the fruits of the exploitation of the vast majority of society by a small minority.

Our camp is not the camp of the bourgeois states, it is the camp of the exploited and oppressed classes, of the workers, of the international proletariat, the only class that has an interest, and has the strength – if it organises itself – to put an end to the wars that its exploiters wage at its expense. After the low point of the revolutionary movement has been passed, it is necessary for the organisations that stand on the ground of revolutionary defeatism against the wars of capital, on the ground of coherent proletarian internationalism, to come together in common initiatives. The time is now, before it is too late!

The past matters, but we will be judged from our ability to meet the challenges of our historical period head-on.

On Saturday 24 February 2024, the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine, let us join forces in an international day of protest and struggle against the wars of capital!

– against both warring parties in Ukraine, for revolutionary defeatism – “the enemy is at home!”

– on the side of the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people against the national, racial, religious oppression and discrimination of the imperialist-zionist state Israel

– for a society without exploitation and war, of harmony between man and nature.

Proletarians of all countries, let’s unite!