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Open Letter to the Rome International Peace Conference

24th October 2023

On October 27th and 28th, anti-imperialist organisations and parties from around the world are meeting in Rome for the Peace Conference – under the banner “Stop the Third World War – for a true and a just peace”. We believe this conference, growing out of opposition to NATO’s reckless proxy war against Russia, is an important step towards building a new internationalist anti-imperialist movement. The letter below, addressed to the those attending the conference, was endorsed by, the LCFI, Bolshevik Group South Korea and the Socialist Unity Party.

Open Letter:

To prevent World War III, we need to defeat imperialism and unite Marxists in a new Communist International

1. The Conference must be anti-imperialist, not just anti-war!

A generation since the collapse of the USSR and the militarism of NATO and the US again confront the global population with the threat of a world war. Why do they act like this? Because the imperialists never let up in their drive to save their capitalist system by expanding profits and dominating the global working class and oppressed. Imperialism today is additionally confronted by growing challenges which drive it inexorably towards world war.

Despite the collapse of the USSR, NATO is yet to achieve its goal of absolute domination of all the old Soviet bloc. NATO expanded to the East despite the pacific words of James Baker, that NATO would not expand “one inch” eastwards. However, until they completely crush all national sovereignty of the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Russia, imperialism is haunted by the ghost of communism, even after capitalist restoration.

Likewise, the gains of the 1949 revolution in China, combined with the growth of its capitalist sector have allowed its economy and military power to grow as it builds it economic links with nations around the world through investment, trade and loans.

Imperialism is losing control over the world market to BRICS, and the mercantile association between the oppressed nations, led by Russia and China.

As we have seen in recent years, imperialism in decay prefers to sink the world into barbarism than to lose control of the planet. It will resort to everything to artificially contain the decline of its hegemony. It will unleash wars, coups d’états, terrorism and fascism including Nazism. It will utilise its full technical powers to deploy or threaten its enemies with weapons of mass destruction including chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. It develops technological wonders like Artificial Intelligence not to help humanity but to further its surveillance and control of the masses. It utilises the crises it creates from pandemics to ecological destruction to further its aims.

We are deluding ourselves if we think that this can be resolved through a ceasefire and a peace agreement. “Peace movements” and pacifist appeals are insufficient to stop imperialist wars. It was not a ‘Peace’ movement that stopped WWI. The advocates of peace in Social Democracy eventually voted in favour of war and it was only the Russian and German Revolutions that finally stopped the slaughter. “Peace” movements had no influence against World War II. The movement against the Vietnam War in the US did eventually reach into the working class including even the military itself, but it was ultimately the courageous military victories of the Vietnamese Communists, backed by the Soviet Union, which brought the war to an end. The huge movement against the war in Iraq was ignored, and its impotence is shown today in Britain with the failure of the Stop the War Coalition to stand up for the people of the Donbass under attack from Western-backed Nazis. Mass united front movements against war must be built but we must do all in our power to direct these movements towards anti-imperialism and away from the dead end of pacifism.

Although we always oppose imperialist wars, the wars between the capitalists have destabilised the capitalist system and been the midwives of the main revolutionary waves against capitalism. The Franco-Prussian war, the First and Second World Wars led, respectively, to the Paris Commune, the Bolshevik Revolution, as well as the Chinese, Korean, Cuban, Yugoslav and Vietnamese revolutions. Thus, unlike ‘world peace’, the outbreak of a third world war, despite the carnage, could pave the way for a new revolutionary wave. So, it would be important for the Rome Conference to move towards constituting itself as an anti-imperialist Conference, avoiding pious appeals for world peace, which by denying the lessons of the past may disarm the communist vanguard for the future of the international class struggle.

As an anti-imperialist Conference we must go beyond supporting calls for “peace” and instead firmly stand on the side of victory for those fighting imperialism. We need to face the threat of the third world war by defeating those who threaten us with war. The Rome Conference needs to position itself explicitly in favour of a defeat of NATO in Ukraine rather than just call for peace.

Likewise, we must stand for the victory of those fighting the spearhead of imperialism in West Asia, the Israeli Zionist regime, rather than just call for “peace”. We also need to oppose any attempt by imperialism through the threat of war to regain the control it has been losing in Africa, after the rebellions in the Sahel of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, favoured by the internal and external weakening of French imperialism. The shift in world geopolitics caused by the war in Ukraine itself has caused major problems for imperialism in such places, and in the event of such wars breaking out we must stand for the defeat of imperialism and for the victory of social revolution.

2. The Conference should be a step towards a new Communist International!

But we won’t get any new ‘framework’, ‘liberated from the global economic dictatorship’ of the West without a new upsurge of world revolution, which is the only thing that can bury imperialism. We need to go far beyond the illusions of the governments of the BRICS countries in plans for multilateralist coexistence with imperialism. We need to formulate strategies to abolish imperialist capitalism itself.

For this, it is important that this Conference as a whole, or at least its most advanced sectors build a new unity, a new communist movement, a new Communist International, for the concrete struggles of the twenty-first century. In this spirit we welcome moves from the World Anti-Imperialist Platform to bring their anti-imperialist perspective to this network and hope they can continue to move beyond their previously exclusionary perspective to Marxists from different perspectives. War, and the threat of war, is what drives revolutionary movements to come into existence. It drove the Russian revolution and the creation of the (Third) Communist International and can do so again. We have no alternative but to do this, for otherwise imperialism and its wars will not disappear and drag us into new and greater carnage.


Bolshevik Group (South Korea) (Australia and US)

Liaison Committee for the Fourth International, and its sections:

Consistent Democrats (Great Britain)
Partido Comunista (LCFI – Brasil)
Socialist Workers League (United States)
Tendencia Militante Bolchevique / Militant Bolshevik Tendency (LCFI – Argentina)

Socialist Unity Party (US)

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