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

Biden, Trump Talk Us into War on China

Jun 3, 2024

What follows is the editorial that appeared on the front of all SPARK’s workplace newsletters during the week of May 26, 2024.

Speaking about a Chinese “threat,” the Biden administration announced it was “cracking down.” Chinese electric cars and parts will face even bigger tariffs than Trump imposed. More semiconductor chips will be banned. TikTok may be shut off.

Biden’s announcement surely has more to do with his election campaign than with trade.

But there is a reality about this so-called Chinese “threat” that has nothing to do with the 2024 U.S. election—and absolutely nothing to do with electric cars or computer chips. U.S. leaders, Trump and Biden included, are trying to prepare the American population to accept a new, incredibly more devastating war than any we have seen.

Today, China provides the biggest market for the 500 most important U.S. companies, second only to the U.S. market itself. That doesn’t make China’s economy as strong as the American economy. But China is a rival.

In a world where each country sought to produce in order to fulfill the needs of its own population, such “rivalries” wouldn’t be a problem. Countries would produce in tandem with each other, trading with each other for what they don’t have or can’t produce—in mutual human solidarity.

But this is not the world we live in. Our world is dominated by the drive of capitalists all over the globe to maximize their profit—that means, they steal wealth from other countries. It is an imperialist world, wherein the most developed countries steal from the less developed ones—and compete with each other to do it.

Trade with China is not just an economic issue; it rests on the military. The ability of the U.S. to dominate the world economically—as it does today—rests on its capacity to control militarily.

The U.S. is a military colossus, spending more on its military than do the next 13 countries combined. But its destructive power rests on our misery, paid for by all the unmet social, medical and education needs of the American population, paid for by unbuilt and unrepaired public services.

Biden and Trump both talk about the “China threat"—as though China had naval bases and air stations in the oceans flanking the U.S., as though it had army bases in Mexico and Canada. But China doesn’t have those. The U.S., however, has a string of bases in the island chains blocking China’s coast, stretching from Okinawa down to Singapore, including the Philippines. And it has dozens of bases in Korea and Japan, within striking distance of China.

This could become a blockade, used to stop China’s trade with the rest of the world. The U.S. would strangle China, just as the U.S. strangled Japan in the 1930s. The blockade of Japan forced Japan to try to break out by attacking Pearl Harbor. Japan may have attacked, but it was the U.S. war that broke out for control of Asia.

The U.S. has again positioned itself for a new war over the control of Asia, this time with China, a war that can lead to the next world war.

Such a war would be not only as destructive as the first two world wars, which killed 17 million, then 75 million people, most of whom were civilians. World War III will be worse.

This is the world we live in, a world dominated by capitalism, which, since its inception, has rested on competition between nations, that is, on war. War means physical destruction and human misery. Gaza today gives a tiny picture into what large parts of the globe can become—and will become—unless capitalism, which drives the world to new and worse wars, is rooted out.

Capitalism can be rooted out. The working class, by its size and its role in the economy, has the capacity to get rid of this system that leads the world to war. The workers’ position in production not only gives our class the possibility to stop the capitalists, to take control out of their hands. Our class can reorganize the economy—in so doing, it can create a society that does not depend on profit or war. Hopefully, it will do this before the next war starts. If not, it can do so in the middle of war, from within the army. But the working class must take over, if humanity is to have a future.