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

A World at War, Paid for by Uncle Sam

Oct 30, 2023

The Russia-Ukraine War

The current war in Ukraine was set off by Russia’s invasion in February 2022. But long before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, the U.S. was sending money and weapons to countries lining the borders of Russia, countries that had once made up its periphery or once had even been part of its nation. For thirty years, the U.S. sent hundreds of billions of dollars worth of military goods into the region bordering Russia, helping NATO set up military bases threatening Russia’s borders.

The Ukrainian government was only one more pawn in U.S. policy in the region.

The war in Ukraine is not the result of a rivalry between the two nations. The Russian people and the Ukrainian people were not forever at each other’s throats. They had long lived without borders, mixed in the same territories—Russians in Ukraine, Ukrainians living in Russia, and many families sharing both Ukrainian and Russian heritage.

But today, they are locked in a combat that has cost half a million of their lives.

This is a consequence of policy choices—the long-term U.S. policy to weaken Russia. Russia is still the biggest country in the world, occupying over one-tenth of Earth’s land mass holding some of the planet’s most critical raw materials. It has long been a target for capital investment, and what capital wants, government policy seeks to provide.

The Israeli-Palestinian War

The latest war in the Middle East was started by the incursion of Hamas commando units into Israel. But before Hamas carried out its bloody attack on Israelis, Israel’s government had been carrying out repressive operations against the Palestinian population. Locking the Palestinians within Gaza’s narrow prison, absorbing Palestinian land in the West Bank, Israel’s government was sooner or later bound to provoke a reaction.

The conflict has pitted two peoples, Palestinian and Israeli, against each other. It is not because two peoples, Arabs and Jews, can’t get along with each other. It is the result of policy choices pursued by all the big imperialisms to put their hands on the Middle East’s vast oil reserves.

Israel was supposed to be a refuge for Jews subjected to the horrors of European pogroms and death camps. Instead, the establishment of Israel pitted Jews against Arabs by removing Arabs from their homes. And it made Jewish settlers dependent on imperialism for their existence.

For decades, tiny Israel was the biggest recipient of U.S. military spending in the world. Its economy lived on U.S. grants. That money served to oppress the Arab peoples of the Middle East, but it did not make the Jewish people secure.

Class War in the U.S.

The U.S. is by far the predominant military power in the world, spending more each year than the next nine military powers spend altogether. That money is spent so U.S. corporations can drain wealth from all over the world.

In paying for war, the U.S. government is not defending Ukrainians, Israelis, Afghans, or anyone else it claims to defend. And it certainly is not defending the working people of this country.

It is defending the right of a very tiny class of people to control the world’s wealth—the American capitalist class.

It is the same capitalist class that has carried out a war for over 50 years against working people here, reducing our standard of living—so much so that even our life expectancy is going down today. Do not believe that we are protected because we live inside a country that carries out its wars in other parts of the world. Eventually, the U.S. policy of war will catch up with us. It has already helped to destroy our livelihood, our children’s schools, and life as our parents once knew it.

War is the mechanism that capitalism has used to keep its rotting system from foundering. It will keep using war until the day it dies—until working people in this country and elsewhere find a way to get rid of the system that needs war.