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

Someone is expecting a bright future:
the arms merchants

Oct 8, 2001

There is no recession in the armaments industry; in fact, arms sales were up eight% in 2000, rising to 37 billion dollars.

While the United States and Russia are at the top in arms sales, other countries also contribute their bit to this market in armaments. France comes in third, followed by the other big powers – Germany, Great Britain, China and Italy.

The three major arms manufacturers in the world – the U.S., Russia and France – provide almost 80% of the sales for armaments. By itself, the U.S. sold over half of all weapons in the world marketplace: 18.6 billion dollars. Its sales increased 30% between 1999 and 2000.

Among the principal clients for the armaments furnished by the great powers are the monarchies of the Middle East, like Jordan and Saudi Arabia. While continuing to improve their up-to-date airforces, they also purchase armored cars to keep internal order. The United Arab Emirates expense for arms in 2000 was 8.4 billion dollars. Other clients for weapons are the African dictatorships like Algeria, which spent 580 million dollars, Angola, (253 million dollars), and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which spent 108 million dollars. All three countries have been ravaged by terrible civil wars which have oppressed and massacred their populations for years. Nothing stops the arms industry – merchants of death – from going after profit.

Most of them are respectable companies, listed on the stock exchange. These companies equip the richest dictators with ultra-sophisticated arms, selling conventional war material to the poorest governments. Always ready to sell engines of destruction, they sometimes recruit arms traffickers to transport arms into areas where war is taking place and get around the embargos which affect certain countries at war.

These companies don’t hesitate to equip the belligerents with new arms, sometimes free, in order to test how well they work on the battlefield. Just as in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, when arms merchants inundated both sides with war materials, they today do the same thing in the bloody conflicts ripping Africa apart.

In fact, they prolong and maintain wars for the economic profit of arms merchants and the political gain of imperialism.