Socialist Party marching in London, calling for workers' unity to end the war in Ukraine. Photo London Socialist Party
Socialist Party marching in London, calling for workers' unity to end the war in Ukraine. Photo London Socialist Party

Mark Best, Socialist Party national committee

The horror of the war in Ukraine – dead bodies, homes reduced to rubble and millions of people forced to flee the destruction – has filled the news.

Ukraine and the many conflicts taking place across the world drive home the message that under capitalism, war and wanton destruction is inevitable.

Capitalism means there will be conflicts over markets, profits and spheres of influence. So to end war we need a new system – a socialist system.

War exposes in whose interests society is run – the rich. Newspapers supporting capitalism, like the Financial Times, have joined the campaign to track down luxury yachts, and other assets, owned by sanctioned Russian oligarchs. These yachts, two of which are worth 38 and 20 million dollars respectively, could be seized by Western governments.

Similar calls have been made for the government to take over empty properties in London linked to Russian oligarchs. But these houses won’t be taken over and put to the use of ordinary working-class people – turned into high quality affordable council housing to deal with the massive waiting lists. Instead, they will be used as a tool to continue the war by sanctions.

Disrupting supply chains and energy supplies across the world, sanctions are another example of the illogic of capitalism, with workers and poor people across the world paying the price.

US President Joe Biden is begging for oil companies to up their extraction of fossil fuels to bring down the price of petrol. So far this has had the same effect as begging them to transition to renewable energy – the bosses will only take action when they can make a profit.

Daily we are shown pictures on our television screens, of burnt-out tanks and rockets being fired – millions of pounds worth of equipment being destroyed. They represent thousands of hours of research, skill and labour.

Only on the basis of socialism across the world could the resources and work ploughed into the production of weapons (and luxury yachts!) be used to tackle the problems of climate change, pollution, pandemics, poverty and the other crises facing us.

We could produce, in a sustainable way, what we need across the planet instead of what makes a profit for competing blocs of bosses.

A socialist world, based on cooperation and democratic planning internationally, with the working class at its head, would be able to put to use science and advances in new technology to improve the lives of us all. The choice facing us is capitalism which means war, austerity and environmental destruction, or fighting for the socialist transformation of society.