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
Jul 23, 2023
What follows is the editorial that appeared on the front of all SPARK’s workplace newsletters during the week of July 16, 2023.
NATO met in summit last week in Vilnius, Lithuania. Government leaders from NATO’s 31 member nations came together, supposedly to make clear their support for Ukraine in its war with Russia. Of course, there were lots of speeches—these were politicians meeting, after all.
Armaments and money will continue to flow to Ukraine. But the most important discussions at this “summit” involved, not Ukraine, and not this war, but an agreement to bring a quarter of a million more troops onto the borders with Russia over the next two years. New bases will be constructed in eight countries bordering Russia—from the Arctic Ocean to the Baltic Sea and on to the Black Sea. Germany, France, several other European powers—and perhaps the U.S.—will pour their own troops into these bases.
Imagine if a gang of countries from elsewhere decided to position a quarter-of-a-million troops in Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Ocean islands that ring the U.S. Clearly, the U.S. would see that as an intention to attack the U.S.
Well, this agreement to position additional troops around Russia’s borders is a war threatened against Russia. It’s a war that would be much more disastrous than what is going on today in Ukraine.
Wars can never be understood by looking only at which country invades. Behind the scenes, a whole development carried out by several countries finally leads to the break-out of war. Right now, we are seeing a development to a more massive war.
Russia may have invaded Ukraine. But U.S. imperialism made the Ukraine war its own. Even before the war “started,” the U.S. provided training, logistics, and intelligence for the Ukrainian army. It armed and is arming Ukraine to the teeth, sending ever more deadly weapons systems. Just two days before the NATO summit, Biden announced that the U.S. would supply Ukraine with “cluster bombs,” vicious weapons that are designed to explode into thousands of bits just before hitting the ground. Civilians are the chief victims.
Constantly upping the ante, the U.S. has used this war to bleed and weaken Russia.
But U.S. plans go well beyond Russia and this war. First of all, the Ukraine war has been used as a live “exercise” in which many of the most deadly weapons can be tested. The Ukrainian defense minister was recently quoted as saying, “For the military industry of the world, you can’t invent a better testing ground.”
Furthermore, the U.S. has used the Ukraine war as the pretext to cover the enormous increase in its own military spending. The U.S. is now spending more on the military than at any time since World War II, more than during Korea and Vietnam, more than during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. And the U.S. race to amass more arms has forced other countries, including its supposed close allies, to do the same.
One reason for the armament race is the enormous profits that military spending provides for big military contractors. They are making a lot more weapons of destruction and death—to make up for profits the economy no longer produces for the capitalist class.
But the massive military build-up isn’t just about spending money and funneling profits to the capitalist class. It is the preparation for much bigger wars that U.S. imperialism envisions. Government officials say it outright. Watch them on television. They say they are preparing to fight much bigger wars. And they act like it’s the most normal thing in the world.
Working people of this country should take them at their word and prepare also. Such wars end up being a war against us, too. We will do the dying, while society disintegrates around us.
100 years ago, Eugene Debs said it. The only war worth fighting is the war of working people against the capitalist class that produces war. It’s still true today. Even more true.