We are about to begin a new course on the
CU-Africa channel: Anti-Imperialism, War and Peace. A previous edition of this
course can be accessed here.
The series begins with Chapter 1 of
Clausewitz’ “On War”, described by one critic, Bernard Brodie, as “Not simply the greatest, but the only great
book on war”. Clausewitz shows the dialectical (or in Clausewitz’ term
“reciprocal”) nature of any study of war. It also shows that war can only be an
interval between negotiations. It the pursuit of politics by other means - means
which cannot be conclusive.
We are for peace but we have to be
prepared for war. We are not pacifists, though we have no interest in bloodshed.
We seek the ascendancy of the working proletariat. We know that the bourgeois
power is everywhere defended with brutal force.
The ANC democratic breakthrough owes its
existence to successful armed struggle, in turn a part of a historic worldwide
struggle against Imperialism. Yet the South African armed struggle is barely
acknowledged. Instead, bourgeois virtues are daily paraded in front of us by
bourgeois “role models”. The South African police shoot demonstrators, while
bourgeois pacifism is pushed as a compulsory ideology for the rest of us.
Internationally in the 21st
Century, Imperialism has embarked upon a series of wars, including wars in
Africa, which have the character of “underdeveloping” once again and
subordinating, or recolonising, African countries.
Therefore it is necessary to have a frank
look at the question of the military. The political democracy must know enough
about war to be able to oversee and to command the military. The military must
always be subordinate to the political. This is the most important thing to