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

Israel and the U.S.—Different Histories, But a Common System Leading to War

Mar 11, 2024

What follows is the editorial that appeared on the front of all SPARK’s workplace newsletters during the week of March 3, 2024.

Biden announced the U.S. had airlifted meals into Gaza to help people dying of starvation. Thirty-eight thousand meals were delivered to this open-air concentration camp, which is Gaza. But Gaza’s starving people need two million a day!

It was a cynical gesture behind which the U.S. hides its own role in the catastrophe. Biden, facing an election, pretends he disapproves of Israel’s war. But actions speak louder than words. Even as the war became more bloody, destructive, and barbaric, the U.S. continued to give Israel its full support. The military goods bought with U.S. tax dollars are slaughtering the people of Gaza.

It’s not just Biden. The U.S. super-power, under both political parties, created and reinforced this vast war machine, which is Israel’s military. Under Trump, it was the same. With either Trump or Biden, it will be the same.

The wars carried out by the U.S. and Israel are intertwined. Israel bombed Iran and Syria many times over. It invaded Lebanon, attacking rebellions of the poor. It helped Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen. It bombed Iraq when Saddam Hussein was in power.

Israel joined with the U.S. to impose U.S. domination over the Middle East. Its military protects the investments of U.S. oil companies, the big engineering companies, and the big U.S. financial companies. The wars carried out by both countries have made the Middle East a veritable gold mine for U.S. weapons makers.

But Israel also had its own aims. Ever since Israel’s creation in 1948, the goal of Israel’s leaders has been to expand the borders of its tiny territory. Whether they said it or not, that meant to remove Palestinians. The Zionist project—which wanted Israel to be a “homeland” only for Jewish people—this project ended up with the attempt to “remove” Palestinian people from the newly proclaimed Israel and with wars.

The U.S. ruling class has carried out the same policies, just on a much more enormous scale.

To grab land and extend U.S. territory, U.S. rulers sent their military to “remove” and practically exterminate many indigenous populations in North America. American leaders presided over the “removal” of millions of people from Africa, enslaving them to expand plantation agriculture in the South.

Some people contend this is past history. Not at all. We are living in the present that the past created. Today, Africa is beset by wars, and its lack of development stems from the fact that its population was reduced by half during the nearly three centuries of the slave trade. European and American capitalism blocked and diverted its own economic development.

Today, U.S. cities are beset by poverty, which is arbitrarily imposed on the black population. This stems from the fact that early American capitalism bought and sold people like merchandise—only to toss them aside when slavery was no longer profitable enough. Today, capitalism also tosses immigrants aside when their labor is no longer profitable enough. It condemns much of the working class to a bare, meager existence.

History doesn’t repeat in exactly the same way. But it is not something that disappears. The war Israel is carrying out today against Gaza rests on the history of Israel, on the way it was created, and on the choices its leaders made in that creation. The support of the U.S. for Israel rests on U.S. history, which used the last two world wars to become the strongest power in the world—and to turn the Middle East into its own profit center.

They have different histories, but they merge in the war in Gaza. Underpinning their different histories is this common fact: Israel and the U.S. are part of the same capitalist system, a system whose periodic crises lead to social explosions and/or wars.

Because the working class did not intervene soon enough to get rid of capitalism, the world’s peoples faced World War I, and then World War II. But both wars set in motion social explosions.

How will this past play out in our future?