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
May 9, 2022
What follows is the editorial that appeared on the front of all SPARK’s workplace newsletters, during the week of May 2, 2022.
The big media walk in lockstep with the U.S. government about the war in Ukraine. From the New York Times and Washington Post out to the Los Angeles Times; from the various networks, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, to Public Radio and Public TV, the story is the same. Even Fox News, which criticized Biden, fell in line to support the war.
There is a drumbeat for war. And this has implications for our future—dangerous ones.
The media play on our sympathy for the Ukrainian people, caught in the horrors of war. But they turn this valid human sentiment around against us, using it to build support for the system that led to this war, getting us used to the idea that the wars in which the U.S. is involved serve us.
There couldn’t be a bigger fallacy.
This country, which drips violence out of its every pore, has plunged the world into more wars than has any other. Korea, Viet Nam, Dominican Republic, Laos, Cambodia, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Haiti—and those are only the direct wars, and only since the end of World War II.
There are all the indirect wars, wherein the U.S. rested on proxies, whom it funded and trained: the 1961 invasion at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs; the Iran-Iraq war, in the 1980s, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1990s; Somalia, 1990s; Kosovo, end of 1990s; Kenya and Somalia, 2007 to present: Libya in 2011.
Today, there is Ukraine: a criminal invasion carried out by Putin, within the criminal framework which U.S. imperialism has imposed on the world.
Biden calls Putin a war criminal, citing the 400 and some civilians killed in two months of fighting in Bucha. What is Biden, but a criminal, who pushes to keep the war going, only to weaken Russia at the expense of more civilians killed?
In two days, August 1945, the U.S. killed over 200,000 civilians when it dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In three days of steady bombing of Dresden, February 1945, the U.S. and Britain killed 25,000 civilians. On the first DAY of its 2003 war against Iraq, the U.S. sent more missiles and bombs into Baghdad than Russia expended in the first four weeks of this current war.
These are not just incidental facts. They are the deadly consequence of what the U.S. military does to control the whole world, making it “safe” for U.S. companies to invest and take out profit. There is a close tie between those companies and the military, including weapons manufacturers, who couldn’t be more pleased by the continuation of the war in Ukraine. Every bomb, every shell exploded means more money in their bank accounts.
The current Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, came from the Board of Directors of Raytheon—one of the top weapons suppliers—as well as from those of a steel company and a medical company. Before that, he had been a four-star general in the U.S. Army. This human link between corporations and the military is standard practice.
It’s true that other countries do the same thing. We live in a world ruled over by capitalism—and its deadly offshoots, colonialism and imperialism. But the U.S. has carried out these wars on a vastly greater scale. Consider this: in 2019, the U.S. spent 778 billion dollars of public money on its military. The next 11 biggest military spenders spent less than that, all together, 761 billion dollars.
The money that goes to those wars is money not spent on the needs of the population in this country. Rotten roads, inadequate schools, a public health system unprepared to meet the virus—these are simply consequences of money spent on war.
In any case, we live in this country. A few people aren’t enough to stop its war-making machine. But we can pierce through the veil of propaganda for war. We can spread the word that the class that oppresses us here at home is the same one carrying out wars around the world. We can say what we know to be true: that there is no answer within this capitalist system. The only answer is to get rid of the system that spawns war.
The good news is that our class, the working class, has the capacity to do just that when it is organized collectively.