Impose Peace on the War Makers
Tens of thousands of people from around the country and the world are gathering in Chicago in May of 2012 to protest the murderous policies of NATO, the graphic tyranny of the G8 and its member powers, and to speak out against the immorality of war, the intolerability of poverty, the betrayal of democracy.
The significance of these protests and all the activities that surround them cannot be underestimated. They are part of — a step in — the formation of a social movement that is arising throughout the world. This movement is being propelled into motion by an economic and social system that impoverishes the majority of humanity and denies even their basic needs, while it hands the world on a silver platter to the global capitalist elite.
Beneath the surface of all this discontent lie vast changes in the economy; changes which are leading to a growing polarization of wealth and poverty in this country. Today, every dollar spent on war means one dollar’s worth of food taken out of the mouth of a hungry child in America.
This fusion of the deep sense of morality that has always sustained the movement for peace and the economic threat being levied against all sections of society characterizes the movement for peace today. As such, the movement for peace protests not only against the wrongs of society. In demanding an end to war it demands the only society that can make that possible — a society where humanity can fulfill its centuries-held vision of living in a peaceful and cooperative world.
Militarization of the Economy and Society
Today, more than half of the U.S. discretionary budget goes to the military. The U.S. Department of Defense has estimated U.S. military spending for the year 2011 was about $525 billion. Overall, estimated defense spending is in the trillions. The United States not only has the largest military budget in the world; that budget equals 43 percent of all military expenditures in the world. (The U.S. Department of Defense is also the world’s largest landlord, owning 845,441 structures covering 30 million acres.).
It took about four years for manufacturing to return to levels seen before the 2001 recession — and all those gains were wiped out in the current recession. By contrast, military manufacturing is now 123 percent greater than it was in 2000 — it has more than doubled while the rest of the manufacturing sector has been shrinking.
With the accelerating militarization of the economy is coming the rapid expansion of a world fascist order. This is characterized by the growth of the number of U.S.bases worldwide (nearly 400 in Afghanistan alone), the disappearing of thousands into black prisons where brutality and torture are routine procedure, the use and celebration of special elite killing units and legally sanctioned assassination squads. As the corporations consolidate their hold on the government and the political system, they are moving to destroy what is left of legal protections and civil liberties in America. A sustained campaign on the part of the U.S. ruling class is being used to justify its violence and barbarism against those it seeks to convince us are our “enemies,” including not only Islam or Muslims, but also minority youth, women and the growing ranks of poor regardless of color.
Some commentators and many Americans believe that war production will put America back to work as it has in previous wars. The introduction and spread of laborreplacing technology in all spheres of production, in increasing sectors of the service industries, and especially in warfare itself are putting an end to that possibility. Cycle upon cycle of “jobless recoveries” have decimated whole sectors of the economy, destroyed whole towns and left entire regions of the country such as the Rust Belt in ruins.
There are a stunning 26.9 million people who are either unemployed, under-employed or who have searched for a job within the last 12 months who cannot find one. Add to that the 1.5 million who are in prison and the tens of thousands of veterans and returning veterans who need work but cannot find it. This does not take into consideration people who have dropped out looking altogether, or undocumented work-seekers. Together, they are equal to the entire population of Canada.
The poverty rate for all children increased from 18 per cent in 2007 to 21% in 2009. Nearly 7.8 million children had at least one parent who was unemployed in 2009, when only half were in those circumstances in 2007. And since four years ago, at least 5.6 million children have been affected by home foreclosures.
Instead of planning how to take care of its families, state governments have passed budgets that defend corporate interests over those of the people the state governments are supposed to serve. They have slashed their budgets, cutting billions of dollars worth of programs such as school lunch and breakfast programs, housing programs, and aid to the growing numbers of families in poverty and other programs to help the most vulnerable. This at a time when the demands for these services have never been greater. This at a time when corporate profits have never been higher.
These realities are giving rise to a broad discontent in our country, whether people are unemployed or live under the shadow of its inevitability. A majority of the American people no longer accept that wars and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan serve their interests. 69% of Americans think that the U.S. should not be in Afghanistan, and nearly six in ten think that U.S. troops should be pulled from Iraq immediately.
Only 29% believe that the country is on the right track; only 26% of Americans say they have some faith that the government can solve the economy’s problems. 39 percent of Americans now say they have a favorable view of socialism, and at 49% this approval is even higher among young people between 18 and 27.
Competition for shrinking world markets is intensifying, and various nations are struggling to assert their national interests in the face of U.S. military and economic domination. The U.S. is determined to maintain its dominance in the world and has militarized its economy and turned to war to attempt to maintain its control. The danger of nuclear war is increasing. The attempt by the U.S. ruling class to win the American people to their program of austerity and war can only increase the polarization in American society as economic conditions deteriorate, further accelerating the development of the fascist order.
Peace Movement Today
Today’s peace movement can accomplish things which none of the previous struggles for peace waged in U.S. history could have achieved. Today, the fight for peace is the context in which the American people can begin to understand the class nature of their society and the necessity — and real possibility — of putting an end to the rule of a tiny class of millionaires and billionaires.
All of this means that today’s struggle for peace can play a different role than the antiwar movement did during the Vietnam War era. Those who opposed the war objected to it out of a legitimate sense of moral outrage, but not because the war threatened their immediate economic survival.
Today, the situation is completely different. The introduction of the qualitatively new means of production of electronics and robotics is putting an end to the old industrial economy — and the steady, good-paying jobs for Americans that accompanied it. The entire world economy is being transformed by the development of electronics and globalization.
Today, there is no separation between the fight of millions of people against war and the fight of millions for economic survival; they are one and the same struggle. As thousands of revolutionaries emerge from these struggles, they are forming up their ranks — in the fight for health care, for jobs, for education, for a decent life, for peace and an end to war. There is a common current running through all these struggles, a truth that binds them together into one mighty torrent.
Public ownership of the wherewithal of our existence, and the distribution of its fruits on the basis of need is the only societal form that is in harmony with the new technology. A cooperative, communist society is the only solution to the economic and social devastation spreading throughout society. It is the only foundation for true democracy.
Humanity stands on the cusp of great change. The uprisings here and around the world are a testimony to the clash between the disruption and destruction of the old social and economic order and the struggle to create a new one based on the possibilities that history is handing us. To impose peace on the war makers is a profoundly revolutionary act. To do so will allow humanity to create a society where exploitation, competition and inequality can be done away with. And by doing so, end war forever.
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011