The Spark

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

War in Ukraine:
Huge Profits, Made on People’s Lives

Oct 24, 2022

This article is translated from the October 20th issue, #2829 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers' group of that name active in France.

The French Ministry of Defense is going to bring 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers to France, to train them in general, and in particular to use the weapons that France delivers to Ukraine. The officials hope, of course, that the Ukrainian government and general staff will return the favor by ordering ever more weapons from French firms.

When French President Macron declares that, "The war will last" in Ukraine, it is an observation: that the increasing arms deliveries of the great powers to the Ukrainian regime will continue. It is also a thinly disguised wish because, over the months of fighting, the order books of industrialists of death around the world have continued to swell. To the point that they are no longer able, it is said, to satisfy “demand.”

Thus, Macron can congratulate himself on having received a tweet from the Romanian president thanking him, in French, for having delivered to him a dozen Leclerc tanks and as many armored infantry vehicle. The Romanian president claim they had “strengthened the French military presence in Romania,” a country bordering Ukraine and a member of NATO where Paris has already installed several hundred of its soldiers.

The war in Ukraine and the very real risks it entails—for example the intensifying Ukrainian missile strikes on the border regions of Russia, including Crimea—offer a perfect opportunity for Western states to expand their military clientele in the region. In addition, it allows them to position themselves for the “after.” Because with all the destruction of buildings, equipment, factories, ports, energy infrastructures (in Ukraine, more than a third of them have been affected in recent days), those who are salivating in advance are no longer only large arms groups but also companies in construction, logistics, industrial equipment manufacturers and a host of others in Western Europe and America.

Meanwhile, among Western allies, the trade war to take the biggest slice of the “aid” pie from Ukraine rages on—which in fact is mostly aid to their own capitalists.

Thus, Washington has just announced that it has released 725 million dollars, the first part of the additional aid voted by Congress in September. It includes 23,000 shells, 5,000 guided anti-tank mines, 200 military transport vehicles, with Humvees and air-to-ground missile batteries to follow. According to the head of American diplomacy, the White House has allocated 18.3 billion dollars to Ukraine since Biden’s election in January 2021, more than a year before Putin attacked Ukraine. Indeed, military aid of all kinds, with the supply of arms, equipment, advisers and instructors, from the United States to the Ukrainian State is not new. It dates back to early 2014, with the installation of a pro-Western power in Kyiv, and has continued to intensify since. The same is true, on a smaller scale, for other Western powers.

A newcomer to this macabre dance is Saudi Arabia. It is paying Ukraine 400 million dollars in “humanitarian aid,” without specifying whether it prefers to keep its weapons, provided by France, Great Britain and the United States, to massacre Yemenis or use against its own people.

This Western escalation of arms supplies to Ukraine does not prevent the leaders of the major powers from declaring, as did the French Minister of Defense, that they respect the international standards of non-belligerence, since their troops do not physically intervene in the fighting. It is completely hypocritical, but cynically correct: the imperialist West confronts Russia through Ukraine—which means, concretely, using Ukrainian civilians and soldiers as cannon fodder.

It is estimated that around 65,000 soldiers are already dead on each side and that the wounded number in the hundreds of thousands. As for the civilians killed and wounded, no one providing any figures on this subject, one imagines that they too are very numerous.

So, when the French, British, American, German and other arms manufacturers publish their annual results, we can try to divide this monstrous total by the estimated number of victims to get an idea of how much profit a human life brings to the capitalists.