What They Say
U.S. politicians from both parties say we fight wars to defend what they call the “free world” from tyranny. They tell us that the U.S. is a beacon of freedom and democracy. They use patriotism (another word for nationalism) and wave the flag to get us to fight their wars, claiming we are defending our interests.
What they claim are “our interests” are not the interests of all of us, especially not of working-class people and the poor. What they really mean is defending the interests of the capitalist class. They are the bosses and the bankers who run the economy to maximize their profits at the expense of workers’ lives, both in the U.S. and around the world. To remain profitable, these capitalists are in constant competition with the ruling classes of other nations, which can lead to war.
Since World War II, the U.S. has built a world-wide military occupation. It has developed a network of about 800 military bases in 70 countries, spending more than $700 billion per year on the military. France, Great Britain, and Russia combined only have about 50 bases. In addition, the U.S. military has produced thousands of nuclear warheads (enough to destroy all life on Earth many times over) and uses military drones that kill from afar.
In the last 20 years, the U.S. has bombed and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, causing incredible horror for millions. In these two nations alone, the U.S. military is estimated to have killed at least 425,000 people; the majority were non-combatants. The cost to U.S. taxpayers of twenty years of war in these two nations alone is a nearly unfathomable $6.4 trillion.
And who benefits? Corporations like Northrup Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Bechtel, Halliburton, Academi (formerly Blackwater), and more make billions from these conflicts.
And who suffers the most? Besides the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. military personnel, who are mostly poor and working-class people, nearly 40% Black and Latino, who see no better options to make a living with some benefits. But after experiencing the horrors of war, those who aren’t killed may be horribly wounded and often experience mental illness, drug addiction, homelessness, and suffer from PTSD. Many carry out attacks of domestic violence and even die by suicide.
The U.S. military machine is a threat to the workers and poor of all nations. The ruling class, their media, and political parties are trying to prepare us for more wars with the focus now against China. They stir up hatred against Chinese people. Trump called the COVID pandemic the “Chinese flu,” and again now with Biden, there’s a continued effort to blame China for of the virus. We also hear that China is to blame for the loss of jobs in this country. As a consequence, we have seen a surge of violent attacks against Asian-Americans.
What We Say
We say that the working class and the oppressed worldwide face the same enemy – the capitalists. Their system causes most of the world’s conflicts. Working people in the U.S. have no interest in fighting workers in other countries. We have no use for the Pentagon, its vast arsenal, especially its nuclear weapons. The hundreds of billions of dollars annually they hand to military contractors to build and maintain their killing machine could be used to build housing as well as sustainable energy systems and schools, create an accessible healthcare system, expand public transit, repair water and other essential infrastructure, hire more teachers, and meet all our real needs. These are the real interests of working-class people, no matter where we live. This is what we need to fight for.