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

The Big U.S. Military Build-Up:
Enriching the Merchants of Death

Jan 9, 2023

What follows is the editorial that appeared on the front of all SPARK’s workplace newsletters, during the week of January 1, 2023.

Right before Christmas, Congress passed a massive 858-billion-dollar military spending bill that President Biden signed into law. This latest bill is 80 billion dollars more than what was spent last year, and 300 billion dollars more than eight years ago, when U.S. troops were still fighting the war in Afghanistan.

In fact, the latest U.S. military budget is one of the biggest since the end of World War II, including during the wars in Viet Nam and Korea that each involved millions of U.S. troops. And it is slated to continue to grow in the future.

Big increases in military spending are an enormous Christmas present for military contractors, like Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, and Northrup, providing huge, guaranteed profits.

That’s one reason why the two big parties, the Democrats and Republicans, supported it wholeheartedly. Congress even voted to spend 55 billion dollars more than the Pentagon had asked for. Money is no object when it comes to the military.

The other reason for this military buildup is that U.S. leaders are engaged in two major confrontations against two big rivals.

First, the U.S. has fomented the war in Ukraine in order to try to weaken Russia militarily and economically. The U.S. government is using the people of Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia. The U.S. and its allies have turned the war in Ukraine into the biggest war in Europe since World War II. This war has already destroyed much of Ukraine, and cost tens of thousands of lives of ordinary peoples of both Ukraine and Russia.

But for U.S. arms merchants, it’s been a bonanza. The big oil companies have raked in record profits. And U.S. companies have descended on Ukraine and neighboring countries, buying up their land and resources, putting them in debt to the big international banks.

Second, in Asia, U.S. leaders are now tightening their noose around China. They have instigated a trade war, while positioning huge numbers of war ships, planes, and war materials around China. U.S. leaders are also using the island of Taiwan as a bridgehead, a staging area, both economically and militarily against China.

The U.S. superpower, the most powerful in the world, is using its military to try to pry open new markets, new sources of profit and wealth for U.S. companies and banks.

And they are doing it knowing their actions risk setting off a new world war. Under capitalism, U.S. corporate profits and the wealth of U.S. capitalists are more important than anything else, even the survival of the human race. That’s how out-of-control and insane the capitalists and the workings of their economic system are.

Workers in this country have already paid mightily for the U.S. capitalists and their wars. Past U.S. wars have filled cemeteries and hospitals with the dead and wounded. U.S. streets are filled with homeless vets, who suffer from mental disease and drug addiction. As military spending grows, big parts of the country fall apart. Our schools, roads, and the entire system of health care crumble. Racist and nationalistic propaganda are used to divide peoples against each other.

No human being should have to live like this. The working class has produced more than enough wealth to do away with poverty and to assure that everyone leads a decent and fruitful life. But as long as society is run in the interests of the tiny minority of the capitalists, this is impossible.

However, wars also produce revulsion, revolt, and revolution. Working people can organize together to wrest control of society from the capitalists. It is the only way finally to do away with capitalism’s war madness, and at the same time to tackle humanity’s other problems.