Canadian troops in Afghanistan

Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:32

Originally written: 11 November 2006

The Canadian government has decided to keep soldiers in Afghanistan until 2009. A growing segment of the population believes that the soldiers should leave Afghanistan now, or before 2009. According to an Environics poll conducted for the CBC, 59 percent of those surveyed said they want Canadian troops out of Afhanistan before 2009. As the body count of Canadian soldiers rises, the support for the government position sinks.

Should the Canadian troops stay or go?

That is a question for those who support the slaughter known as capitalism. The capitalists will be the real beneficiaries when workers from Canada travel halfway around the planet to kill Afghani workers, and be killed by Afghani workers.

Workers killing workers is not beneficial to workers.

The issue in Afghanistan is which group of thieves will run capitalism to enrich themselves on the backs of Afghani workers.

The United States government assisted groups such as the Taliban in the war to overthrow the oppressive Soviet occupation. Without that aid, the Taliban might never have come to power. The Taliban replaced the Soviet occupation with a more oppressive, brutal, destructive, and anti-female regime. The United States created the problem and now wants other countries to sacrifice soldiers to bail it out. The calculated plan of the United States was to overthrow the Soviet occupation, to prevent the Soviet Union from controlling what may become an important oil transmission corridor. The plan was successful, with results which any rational person, reviewing the information — at the time — expected.

The United States was prepared to accept the Taliban’s oppression of Afghanis. But, the Taliban did not provide the sort of security for the United States’ oil supply sought by the United States. It turned out, also unsurprisingly, that the Taliban fostered and sponsored anti-United States terrorism. That was two strikes against the Taliban, and that was not acceptable to the United States or many other countries, including Canada. The human tragedy of Taliban rule, including its support of anti-United States terrorists, has been successfully used as a pretext to justify the current invasion. It is an invasion which has, most experts will tell you, nothing to do with oil. But control of the possible oil corridor, directly or by proxy through a new Afghan government, just happens to be a result beneficial to the United States and its allies.

A few hundreds or thousands of dead workers is never an obstacle too high for capitalism in its quest for such things as oil security.

Is it possible that the thieves supported by the Canadian government will be nicer to working class Afghanis than the Taliban? It would be difficult to be otherwise, given the revolting record of the Taliban. It will be a good result if Afghanis benefit, on balance, from the war. The future may provide that answer.

Asking for better than the Taliban is not asking for much. It will still permit brutal, anti-female oppression. The current shaky Afghan government still will permit, condone, support, and demand wage slavery. It will be less pleasant than the wage slavery to which most of the Canadian soldiers will return.

Socialists oppose wage slavery and war. Workers slaughtering workers does not bring us one second closer to the end of wage slavery or war. And, because most workers believe that their wage slavery is okay, they do not even ask for freedom. Socialists do not enjoy being wage slaves, but we do not ask for freedom because we know that we could only ask those who keep us in slavery, and that wage slavery is necessary under capitalism.

Instead, socialists try to convince other workers that freedom is worth taking. That is the only way we will ever be free. We must take it. We must vote the working class into power with the sole aim the replacement of capitalism by freedom: socialism.

Capitalism is a brutish system. It slaughters for profit. It accepts treating women as less than human, as long as it is profitable. It accepts treating men as less than human, as long as it is profitable. Wage slavery is inseperable from capitalism. A slave system cannot function in the interests of the slaves. That is why, no matter how many problems faced by workers are partially resolved, there are always many more which cannot be resolved.

The best possible under capitalism is a world of wage slaves who do not realize they are wage slaves. So today we live under capitalism at its best. The problems we face as wage slaves can never be eliminated under capitalism, and most believe that they are either impossible to resolve, or are soon to be resolved, thus condemning ourselves to those problems.

As long as profit rules, we will be wage slaves. As long as profit rules, we will not get the best that society could offer.

The choice is the best or capitalism. The twain do not meet.

Those who accept that workers must kill other workers will continue to do so, and the capitalists will continue to win every war. And as long as the capitalists are winning, any improvements, anywhere, for any of our class, will be the result of the war which most do not admit exists: the class war. We will continue to lose that war until we notice that we are fighting every day, in every country, to try to get the means of life produced by our own labour.

In Afghanistan, today, the working class is much poorer than the working class in Canada and the United States, or Britain, France, Germany, or Japan. The current slaughter may, for those Afghanis who are not “collateral damage,” result in a better life. But better is not good enough.

Workers have spent, and still spend their lives in war and producing profit for the capitalists. Workers will never solve poverty under capitalism because capitalism is the cause of worker poverty.

Workers cry that improvements are needed now, especially for the worst problems. The progress over the past century or more has been deadly slow. At the current rate, the problems will be solved, never.

If we workers recognize that we are wage slaves, and that the current approach — working to make capitalism work for workers — is doomed to failure, forever, then we can take a new path to the future.

We can stop saying that we “demand” when we really mean we are trying to convince capitalism to treat us better. We can start saying that we will take our freedom, and nothing can stand in our way. That will bring faster relief to workers than decades of “demands.” The capitalist class will do almost anything to appease workers to prevent us from ending capitalism. Reforms to satisfy non-socialist workers will come as capital attempts to convince them not to become socialist workers. But eventually, capitalists will have no more they can give, without giving up their wealth and power, and that will still not be good enough for socialists. It will not be the best which society can provide.

When workers gain democratic control of our lives, and produce to satisfy human needs, without the interference of profit for the capitalists, then and only then, will we have the best that society has to offer. And we will have built a socialist society.

Workers have debated the benefits of wars for hundreds of years. Workers have therefore died in all of those wars. The debate has ensured that there will be more wars. It has ensured that the problems causing war, and the pretexts used to defend wars, will continue to cause wars. The result is a never-ending flow of working class blood.

Socialists do not engage in the debate about wars, because that debate is part of the problem. Giving war the benefit of debate is to accept that workers slaughtering workers is a justifiable means to promote the interests of the rich.

The war to end all wars did not end all wars. The second world war did not end wars. None of the subsequent wars, ended wars. None of them ended the brutish actions of capitalism, either, because the wars were fought for capitalism. So in 2006, on Remembrance Day, there are thirty wars killing human beings. And every day of the year capitalism kills more of us.
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