the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Apr 11, 2022
The U.S. news coverage of the war in Ukraine has been filled with images of the dead for weeks. In recent days, the bodies of executed civilians were shown, found in Bucha, following the pullout of Russian soldiers. Subsequently, the train station at Kramatorsk was hit by missile strikes which killed civilians.
U.S. president Joe Biden has turned up the volume on his expressions of shock and horror at these deaths, citing Putin as a war criminal, calling for justice.
Truly, the situation is horrific. But it is less than believable that Biden and his state officials are shocked. After all, the U.S. government has engaged U.S. troops in deadly wars, one after another, in our recent lifetime. Afghanistan and Iraq, to name a few.
Atrocities? The U.S. war machine holds the world record for executions and war killings. The U.S. dropped more bombs on one city in Iraq in the first day of war during Desert Storm than Russia dropped in the first four weeks of war against Ukraine. The U.S. killed over 200,000 civilians in the ensuing war. Current U.S. sanctions have caused the deaths of one-and-a-half million Iraqi civilians from starvation. Today, millions are also near starvation in Afghanistan after U.S. forces reduced city after city to rubble.
And this is only the most recent, partial, body count. In Japan, an estimated 230,000 civilians were murdered in the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII. An estimated 25,000 civilians were firebombed to their deaths in Dresden, Germany.
So, no, Biden and U.S. state officials are not shocked by the recent death and destruction in Ukraine. Their words have a purpose though, and that purpose is to rally the U.S. population around an extended U.S. war they know will come, even if they don’t know exactly when or who will be on what side.
Their determination to pursue and escalate the war in Ukraine demonstrates a deliberate policy of no compromise. Providing billions of dollars in armaments, they demand all or nothing from Russia. They have used the opportunity of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia to hugely increase the number of weapons of mass destruction in Europe and in the border states surrounding Russia.
Not to save Ukrainian lives. Not for some false promise of defense of democracy. Not to provide money for the living. To provide billions to the U.S. military machine for death.
The capitalists look to take back Russia. On the world scale, Russia and its surrounding territories have existed outside of the control of U.S. imperialism since 1917. While Russia has been forced to engage with the capitalist world economy, capitalism has never been able to integrate Russia with its vast territories and resources fully back into the capitalist system.
Those who run the system today see an opportunity to change all of that, to use Putin’s dirty war to force open the gates that keep the Russian economy outside of direct capitalist control.
The goal of the U.S. government, and its allies in NATO, representatives of the junior capitalists who follow in its wake, clearly is to weaken the Russian regime to the fullest extent possible; to use the Ukrainian population as a proxy in a wider war.
Are U.S. workers ready to go to war for U.S. capitalism’s interests? The recent pain of U.S. wars may have made the U.S. population less willing. But even today, we are told we must pay the costs of war, sacrificing our health and our standard of living to military pursuits.
Biden and his cronies and the wealthy bosses and bankers they represent will not be sacrificing. They won’t be shedding a drop of blood. They will be feasting on war profits.
Ukrainian workers and Russian workers have been forced into a conflict not of their making. Will they find a way out? Will they refuse to be decimated and separated by a ditch of blood when together they could refuse to fight each other and fight for their own interests? While today’s war forces the working classes of these countries into a patriotic alliance behind their exploiters, it doesn’t mean it will remain that way.
Workers of Russia and Ukraine may find their way to another solution as they did in 1917. War has been known to carry revolution in its wake. Workers of earlier generations have refused to fight for their oppressors and have used their forces to take power and themselves run society.
American workers, when they see where their true interests lie, can do the same. But in the meantime, we must refuse to be pawns in yet another capitalist war. Why should we accept more misery, more poverty, a lower standard of living than we suffer today so that the true warmongers, a handful of U.S. billionaires, can get even richer?