The Worker (Update), October 9, 2014
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625
The Peoples Will Stop the War!
On September 23, the U.S. extended its “war on terrorism” into Syria.
With the approval of the “Friends of Syria” alliance and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the U.S. launched a campaign of unilateral airstrikes on Syria.
U.S. bombs and cruise missiles are already taking their toll on the Syrian people. Although U.S. officials say they seek to avoid “collateral damage,” U.S. airstrikes have already killed at least 31 civilians during U.S. bombing raids on Kafr Daryan, al-Raqqa and other strategic hamlets.
Attacks by “moderate rebels” supported by the U.S. air campaign have killed at least 112 civilians.
Unprecedented demagogy about “human rights” and “humanitarianism” is being used to cover over the aims of conquest and exploitation.
According to Obama, the U.S. is bombing to support the operations of the “moderate rebels” of the Free Syria Army which are now said to be opposing ISIL and other “extremists.”
According to the story, the Free Syria Army’s moderate rebels of yesterday are the ISIL terrorists of today.
Nevertheless, today the U.S. has adopted a “new strategy” for investigating its recruits.
Thus, according to Obama’s cabinet, the failed strategy of the past has not been enough to justify respect for the sovereignty of Syria, non-intervention and non-interference in the affairs of other countries. For the U.S., the fundamental principle of non-aggression by one state against another NEVER applies. This has been the declared policy of the Obama administration from day one.
The U.S. is fomenting tensions and intervening in Syria because U.S. imperialism wants to redraw the map of the world and grab new markets, new sources of raw materials and spheres of economic dominance.
In 2001, with the launch of the so-called “war against international terrorism,” U.S. imperialism declared that every government must “stand with” the U.S. or be “treated as terrorist.” The U.S. refused to call for Osama Bin Laden’s extradition and instead waged an aggressive war with the aim of “regime change” and “nation-building” in Afghanistan.
Syria was one of the other governments named as a target in U.S. imperialism’s so-called “war against international terrorism.”
Then, in a nearly unanimous vote in late 2004, The U.S. Congress passed the “Syrian Accountability Act” as a first step towards war against Syria. The law imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria with the aim of pressuring it to accept U.S. dictate.
Seven years later, by executive “prerogative,” Obama initiated a witch-hunt by starting a series of new trade-related sanctions, including sanctions blocking the personal property of senior officials of the government of Syria.
One year later in Istanbul, several allies calling themselves the “Friends of Syria” opened a series of conferences to supervise intervention against Syria. The “Friends of Syria” is currently an alliance among the UK, the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and a “National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces.”
State-organized intervention coordinated by the “Friends of Syria” was not only military but also included: calling for the establishment of a transitional governing body; demanding constitutional reforms; issuing statements condemning the outcome of Syria’s elections; issuing statements condemning Syrian officials for “interfering” with the agenda of the “Friends of Syria;” declaring Burhan Ghalioun (from France) and then Abdulbaset Sida (from Sweden) the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people” etc., etc.
From the start, this has been an imperialist war which aims at taking over Syria.
It is an aggressive war which tramples underfoot international law and the sovereignty of countries.
It is a war that is opposed by the masses of people everywhere.
To end the government’s aggressive foreign policy, to stop the capitalists from making war, the people must break their political power.
We must bring to power a new government – a people’s government.
This battle for power begins with organizing and strengthening our own independent political movement, in opposition to and struggle against the parties of war and imperialism.
Peace and friendship with all the nations and peoples of the world is the sacred aspiration of the people everywhere. But this aspiration can only be realized when the people themselves are in charge of political affairs and governmental power.
Don't vote! They're all the same!
The capitalist election circus aims only at giving the appearance of democracy and claiming that the people give their consent to a government which, in reality, is of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. The long, drawn out process is being used only to prepare public opinion for the agenda and candidates chosen by the capitalist class.
The Democrats and Republicans will keep on following the same old politics. These two parties stand for more exploitation and impoverishment of the people, for more aggressive imperialist wars, for intensifying racial discrimination and national oppression, for slashing social investments and privatizing public services, for more attacks on civil liberties and suppression of democratic rights.
In order to defend their rights and put our country on the high road of progress and civilization, the working people must create a new political culture and a new political unity amongst themselves. The marginalization and de-politicalization of the people must be overcome by giving expression to the independent class aims of the workers.
The workers cannot allow the Republicans and Democrats to monopolize the political discussion and political agenda. The workers must use the election period as an occasion to vigorously develop their independent class role and bring their own program to the center of the political life of the country. This is the only way to build up the new political forces necessary to defeat the capitalists’ anti-social agenda and open the path for the democratic renewal of our country.
Nothing new will come about in our country until the tens and hundreds of millions of people currently excluded from politics come into the political arena to assert their role as decision-makers and creators of the society they live in.
From the Program of the Workers Party
The Workers Party calls on all progressive people to use the election period and beyond to join with us in strengthening the political party of the working class and rallying people around the independent program of economic rights, democratic renewal, a democratic foreign policy and socialism.
Every person, simply by virtue of her/his humanity is entitled to certain fundamental economic rights:
– the right to food, clothing and shelter;
– the right to a job or a livelihood, including income security in retirement or in the event of accident or injury;
– the right to comprehensive, free health care;
– the right to the best possible education from pre-K through the university.
The very starting point of the economy and the economic policy of the government must be to guarantee these rights in practice.
Democratic Foreign Policy
– The immediate end of all aggressive wars waged by the U.S. government and the withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad;
– An end to U.S. interference and intervention in all its forms, including an end to U.S. support for reactionary regimes and military alliances;
– Recognition of the sovereignty and equality of every country and people;
– An end to the militarization of the our country.
– The political stranglehold of the monopolies must be broken and new means found to empower the people. The people must have a direct role in governance through referendum, initiative and recall. Political parties must be deprived of the privilege of nominating the candidates and this right must be returned to the people.
– Every individual, regardless of sex, nationality, country of origin, belief, must be guaranteed, in practice, equal rights in all spheres of life.
– The oppressed and minority nationalities must have the right to develop their own language, culture and identity. The oppressed nations, such as Puerto Rico, must have the right to self-determination, including the right to secession.
U.S. Nuclear Double Dealing
Despite empty promises of “negotiations and compromise” from the Obama administration, the U.S. government is not acting anywhere in the world as a proponent of “de-nuclearization,” “peace” or “negotiated solutions.”
Today, not only all-out war, but also military blackmail and intimidation have become part and parcel of the reactionary economic and political program of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class. This program is the product of the all-sided crisis of the capitalist-imperialist system. The capitalist politicians are seeking to escape the crisis by shifting the burden onto the workers at home as well as onto the dependent and colonial countries. The pre-emptive doctrine of the Democrats and Republicans has also sharpened inter-capitalist rivalries as every imperialist power seeks to grab new economic territories and spheres of influence at the expense of its rivals.
In this situation, the U.S. military continues to tear down the edifice of international law and declare a “first-strike” doctrine as its official policy. This includes a first-strike nuclear “hit list” in which specific countries are named as targets.
In this situation, the Energy Department continues to spend billions of dollars to upgrade and expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal by replacing nuclear warheads and delivery systems with new and more deadly ones.
In this situation, Obama continues to deploy U.S. nuclear weapons in the Western Hemisphere and across the entire globe.
In this situation, the White House acts as the world’s policeman and charges other countries with threatening the world with “weapons of mass destruction.”
For example, even though Iran and the U.S. are partners in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Iranian people are a target of the first-strike military doctrine and are repeatedly told that the first-strike nuclear option is “always on the table.” At the same time, U.S. officials accuse Iran of plotting treaty violations.
This is nothing but the old trick of the bank robber who cries: “Stop Thief!”
Obama is keeping nuclear weapons at the ready and honing them in order to protect the empire of the U.S. multi-national corporations, which plunder the resources and super-exploit the labor of peoples throughout the world. To control sources of raw materials, maintain its strategic spheres of influence and domination, and protect its investments, U.S. imperialism, relies, in the final analysis on military might, including its policy of nuclear superiority, blackmail and intimidation.
Driven by their economic and strategic class interests the U.S. monopoly capitalists continue to picture a unipolar world with themselves as the sole superpower. While all the objective developments of the contemporary world undermine the positions of U.S. imperialism, the U.S. monopoly capitalists continue to rest their hopes on fomenting tensions and waging war. U.S. imperialism foments tensions and seeks to militarize every situation in order to assert its hegemony on the basis that Might Makes Right.
Thus, when Obama tries to prepare public opinion for war by drumming up the phony charge that other countries are “terrorists” threatening the world with “weapons of mass destruction,” we must remember that it is the U.S. monopoly capitalists who are the nuclear war criminals, a class – so narrow and anti-human in its outlook – that it is willing not only to threaten, but also to commit any atrocity to maintain its imperialist empire.
Clearly, in order to defeat U.S. imperialism and to stay the hands of the warmakers, the anti-war movement must be organized as a genuinely proactive movement. We must bring anti-war, anti-imperialist politics to ever-broader sections of the people.
A decisive task is to expose the real class interests – the interests of profit and empire – which drive the war program of the capitalist class. We cannot let U.S. imperialism – which has committed innumerable crimes against humanity – pass off any of its program in the name of “human rights,” “democracy,” “humanitarianism,” etc. The struggle against American chauvinism includes unmasking the demagogy of imperialist pacifism – of talking about “peace” while waging war, of promising “negotiation and compromise” while imposing U.S. dictate, etc.
The people who are already and actively fighting against chauvinism and militarism know that every day – in fact, in almost every discussion – the people are winning. We know that being active – by standing up for what is right – we advance and win. We know that the aspirations of the American people to live in a world of peace and friendship are unconquerable.
The Workers Party says that only the peoples can stop the war program of U.S. imperialism and the decisive thing is to build the independent political movement of the workers and people. As the capitalists prepare for new wars, let us lay down the foundations for a broad, popular front against war and imperialism which fights for a democratic foreign policy – for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops abroad, the withdrawal of the U.S. from all aggressive military pacts and alliances, such as NATO, an end to the militarization of U.S. society and an end to U.S. interference and intervention against other countries in any form – economic, diplomatic, political, military, etc.
A democratic foreign policy demands and end to Big Power interference and intervention against sovereign nations, and the democratization of international relations on the basis of recognizing the inviolable right of every nation to determine its own affairs. Every nation must be recognized as equal.
The Struggle for Higher Wages
Between 1973 and 2004, average real wages, figured on the basis of the minimal cost-of-living calculator of the U.S. Labor Department, fell 20%. When we include the added cost of health care premiums which employers shifted onto the workers over these years, real wages fell by 28%. After further including tax increases (including state and local sales taxes), the decline was even greater. The trend continues.
Wages are so low because the workers receive only a small portion of the value they produce (and, for the last 40 years, a constantly decreasing portion).
In 2000, manufacturing workers created $1,900 billion in new values but received in wages only $363.3 billion (see Commerce Department's “Annual Survey of Manufacturing”). Thus workers created the value of their wages in about 1 and 1/2 hours out of an 8-hour working day. Workers received less than 1/5th of the wealth they produced while the capitalists grabbed the other 4/5ths as surplus value (profit). The average rate of exploitation in manufacturing was 427% (surplus value divided by wages).
Very early on in the history of capitalism, the workers learnt that the first, decisive step in their struggle against exploitation is to come out together; to rely on their collective strength.
In strike struggles, the workers, collectively withhold their labor-power, forcing the capitalist to confront the question of either acceding to the workers’ demands for better wages and working conditions or to have production and profit-making halted altogether.
Turning Things Around
For several years now, wages and living standards have been falling for the vast majority of the people. With poverty and economic insecurity increasing, people are looking to the future and asking: what does it take to turn things around?
The only answer which the capitalist politicians give is that things will continue to get worse before they get better. The politicians insist that corporate restructuring and downsizing (which mean unemployment, part-time jobs, lower wages, and cutbacks in benefits for the workers) must continue in order to “increase the international competitiveness of U.S. capitalism.“ The capitalist politicians insist that any and all restrictions on big business must be removed in order to “unleash the free market.” The workers are told that even though today and tomorrow they will be victimized by the “free market” and the drive to “increase international competitiveness,” sometime in the future some small part of the superprofits of big business may “trickle down” to the workers.
In other words, even while insisting that the workers have no choice but to accept the capitalist system, the politicians are admitting that under this system, the workers have no rights whatsoever. Workers are nothing more than wage-slaves of capital. Even the most basic right – the right to a livelihood – is not recognized and the workers must accept the fact that the needs of capitalist restructuring can wipe out their jobs at any time. It is the need of capital to increase its profit which is and must remain the controlling factor in economic life. And, of course, capitalist profit is increased precisely by increasing the exploitation of the workers.
For the last 35 years and more, the capitalist politicians have been telling the workers to accept wage cuts and growing unemployment, while “waiting” for things to “trickle down.” But nothing has “trickled down” yet, except more exploitation and poverty. And the plain truth is that the workers can wait another 15 or even 50 years but the results of capitalist restructuring and the “free market” system will still be the same – more poverty and exploitation of the workers.
The fact is that the capitalist system is caught in an all-sided and unresolvable crisis. This crisis arises from the fact that the development of monopoly capitalism brings to the bursting point the basic contradiction inherent in the capitalist system – the contradiction between the socialized character of the productive forces and the capitalist social relations based on private ownership of these social, productive forces. The economic base of our country – including its vast natural resources, its largescale factories, its transportation and telecommunications systems, its modern technology, as well as the social division of labor amongst 120 million workers which sets all these social tools in motion – is subordinated to the profit-drive of no more than a handful of big monopoly capitalists.
This contradiction becomes sharper with every new economic development. Thus, for example, as new technology stimulates the capitalists to rationalize and restructure production, workers find their jobs permanently eliminated and tremendous downward pressure is exerted against wages. For the last several years, the crisis of capitalism has become so severe that even in periods of so-called economic upturn or boom, unemployment keeps rising and wages keep falling.
In fact, these days the monopoly capitalists can only maintain their exploitive system and their profit margins by attacking society as a whole. It is the monopoly capitalists and big bankers who have been plundering the public treasury, receiving trillions of dollars in interest payments in the last decade alone; it is the monopoly capitalists who are draining our country’s resources by the continuous militarization of the economy. It is the monopoly capitalists who are the source of the extremely reactionary, anti-social agenda of the Democratic and Republican parties which insists on stripping away any gains made by the working people in order to put all the resources of the country at the disposal of big business. It is the monopoly capitalists who have set our country on the path of preparing new imperialist wars in order to expand their markets and spheres of influence – their super-exploitation and plunder of other countries and peoples.
The issue is that the workers must have no illusion about the future of capitalism. Restructuring and rationalization will not eliminate but only intensify the contradiction between the social character of the productive forces and private capitalist ownership. “Increasing the international competitiveness of U.S. capitalism” will not eliminate but only intensify the anarchy of capitalist production and the intense rivalry between big monopolies groups and capitalist states. The only thing which will “trickle down” to the workers is more exploitation and more poverty.
In other words, in the course of resisting the capitalist offensive, the workers cannot aim their struggle at simply “hanging on” to a system which has reduced them to wage-slaves. Even less can the workers subordinate their aims to the program of “saving capitalism.” The workers face the task of carrying forward a complete transformation of economic life. The program of the working class can be nothing less than creating an economic system which guarantees all the inalienable rights of the people, such as the right to a secure livelihood and to wages commensurate with our country’s high degree of development; the workers must create an economic system which eliminates altogether the exploitation of human beings and which, on a planned basis insures uninterrupted development for our country while continually improving the material and cultural well-being of the people. This is the program for the socialist transformation of the economy and it is the only program which can open the path for the progress of our country.