Reprint from Volume 34 Issue #18 of The Worker newspaper - published by The Workers Party U.S.A
The Program of "Peace Through Strength" Promises Decadence and Vast Wealth for the Capitalists and Exploitation and Misery for the Working People
October-20, 2020 - The candidates of both parties are using the elections to beat the drum for protection of the home market of the U.S. capitalist class and for its conquering of foreign markets. As part of the capitalist program of wage-cutting and the so-called re-industrialization of America, the candidates are calling for a program of "peace through strength" in order to "increase the international competitiveness" of U.S corporations.
“Peace through strength” is a package deal involving "trade war" and the build up and use of U.S military power anywhere and everywhere in the world to project the interests of the U.S. multinational corporations.
Because they do not want to foot the bill for more “rationalizing,” "downsizing," and “modernizing” of American industry themselves, U.S. monopoly capitalists are using COVID-19, the threat of relocation, growing trade rivalry amongst the big powers, and other pretexts to demand government handouts for venture and high tech capital to "revitalize" their operations. Additionally, in order to control sources of raw materials, maintain its strategic spheres of influence and investment, to plunder the resources and super-exploit the labor of peoples throughout the world, U.S. monopoly capitalism seeks to foment tensions and assert its hegemony on the basis of military might, including its doctrine of pre-emptive war, forward military deployment, nuclear superiority and blackmail. It is in order to accommodate these desires that all the politicians of the Republican and Democratic Parties are calling for the program of "trade war" and "peace through strength" that will "regain and preserve America's dominant position in the global economy.”
Today, the U.S. monopolies are demanding that all the resources and economic infrastructure of the globe be put at their disposal. It is in order to "protect" this empire and suppress the movements of the people for national liberation and social emancipation that U.S. imperialism keeps struggling to establish a unipolar world with itself as the sole superpower. The slogans of "trade war" and "peace through strength" are being used by the capitalists to represent their program of economic penetration and domination of the entire world. The billionaire bankers and multi-national corporations who control both political parties are making it known that they are preparing and launching an anti-social offensive against the entire working class and people.
In order to aid the capitalists to step up their offensive to increase the exploitation of the workers, dominate the economies of every country and divide the wealth of the world amongst themselves, both parties are organizing lavish pay-the-rich schemes. The difference between the economic program of the two presidential candidates boils down to the fact that Trump wants to carry out this capitalist offensive in the name of American exceptionalism while Biden wants to carry it out in the name of a responsibility to American society and the global environment.
For each individual capitalist and for each group of national capitalists, survival in the dog-eat-dog jungle of capitalism is based on the ability to most thoroughly exploit the labor of “their own workers.” Today as the permanent crisis of capitalism deepens, the fierce rivalry between competing capitalist states to expand or perish is increasing. The U.S. monopoly capitalist program of "trade war" and "peace through strength" in order to “restore America's competitiveness” is targeted, first, last and always, squarely against the American working class. By creating an ever-growing caste of absolutely desperate people the capitalists want to increase competition for the limited number of jobs and drive down wages. It is a call for the workers to accept starvation wages and declining living conditions while being offered the consolation that the fortunes of the American billionaires are growing even faster than the fortunes of foreign capitalists.
The ultra-reactionary focus of this year's elections is a forcible reminder of the fact that the capitalist system is caught in an all-sided and unresolvable crisis. Capitalism is, of course, a system of the exploitation of the many by a few. The whole vast productive mechanism of U.S. society (the modern industry and technology, the advanced communications and transportations systems, the cooperative labor of a hundred million workers ) is set in motion not in order to meet the needs of society as a whole but only to produce profit for a few thousand (or at most a few hundred thousand) capitalist parasites. Today this fundamental contradiction inherent in capitalism – the contradiction between the socialized character of the productive forces, on the one hand, and the private ownership of these social productive forces, on the other – is tearing society apart and ruining the lives of millions and tens of millions of the working masses. The needs of capital – which long ago became international and monopolist – are grinding the masses of people into the dirt and destroying the productive capabilities of our society and the whole globe.
The government is playing the role of making things worse by preparing handouts of tens of millions of dollars to the rich through various tax cut schemes, through lucrative research and development grants, and by taking infrastructure currently belonging to the public as a whole and turning it over to the private sector. Just as in the period of primitive capitalist accumulation when the capitalists got started by robbing and plundering the entire continent and the indigenous peoples, so today monopoly capitalism is reverting to this method by directly relying on the state to guarantee and enhance the monopolies' profits and to plunder our country of its public assets.
Instead of using our country's resources to make all the planned investments needed to guarantee the economic rights of the people, the social programs which benefit the working people are cut to the bone and trillions are invested (read: wasted) in the budgets for the Defense Department, for Homeland Security, for the CIA, for nuclear weapons, etc.; trillions more go into stock swindles and financial manipulations of all sorts. In the meantime, tens of millions go without health care, children are condemned to understaffed schools, millions of workers are homeless, 30-40 million workers can only find part-time or temporary jobs, tens of millions are unemployed, 50 million are condemned to literal hunger, and the conditions of the entire working class are steadily deteriorating.
Our country has all the economic resources needed and the government itself has more than enough resources to guarantee all the economic rights of the people. These rights are denied not because of economic scarcity, but because of politics – because the class interests of the Democrats and Republicans are to serve the capitalist exploiters. Thus, there is always plenty of money for the various programs through which the government underwrites the investments and modernization plans of the capitalists. At the same time, even while responsible for producing all the material blessings through its cooperative labor, the working class foots 75% of the yearly tax bill used by the government to sponsor welfare programs for the capitalist billionaires.
Furthermore, in industry after industry, the multi-billion dollar corporations have been claiming poverty, crying about “foreign competition” and promising to save workers jobs by imposing wage cuts and concessions contracts on them. On the one hand, the capitalists simply use the increased profits that flow from the concessions to line their own pockets, modernize plants and cut even more jobs, to engage in speculative buying and selling of other companies, or to shift production to non-union areas of the country. On the other hand, the employed workers are being mercilessly sped-up and over-worked.
The capitalists invariably use the introduction of new technology as an excuse for cranking up the speed of the assembly line, for combining jobs and instituting changes in work rules to sweat ever more work out of fewer and fewer workers. In order to shift a greater burden of the economic crisis onto the people the capitalists are cutting wages and imposing new and more intense forms of exploitation on the workers. Two-tier and three-tier wage systems have been imposed not only to immediately slash the wages of younger workers but to undermine the standard of wages and benefits achieved by the older generation of workers. By relocating factories from one part of the country to another and by contracting out, the capitalists replace higher-paid unionized workers with non-union workers. Restructuring and downsizing include an all-out attack on work rules created to prevent extreme overwork and injury, etc., etc.
The trade union bosses, who always subordinate the interests of the workers to those of the capitalists, are telling the workers to join with their bosses to “revitalize” industry and are lobbying the government for more hand-outs to the capitalists. In return for all this treachery the trade union bosses are hoping that the capitalists will give them a few more seats on the Boards of Directors or in governmental agencies where, side by side with the capitalists, they can preside over the exploitation and impoverishment of the working masses.
Meanwhile, through the sold-out leaders of the AFL-CIO and various social-democratic and opportunist political sects, the workers are fed the super-chauvinist and pro-capitalist line that since the system of exploitation of human beings is the only “realistic” way to organize modern economic life, people simply have to accept the unemployment, recurring crises, war and economic insecurity that arise from this system. In fact, everyone who stands up for any progressive change is told that “communism failed everywhere it was tried,” as if people can be made to believe whatever the ruling class wants them to believe if it is repeated enough times.
This hysterical anti-communism of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and its opportunist and revisionist class collaborators is the leading edge of the attack on the working class and its movement for emancipation. At all costs the bourgeoisie want to deprive the workers of consciousness of their own history, consciousness of the causes of their exploitation and oppression, and of their role as the grave diggers of capitalism and the builders of the new socialist and communist society. The bourgeoisie want the workers to resign themselves to the "fate" of being exploited and oppressed. The sole point of the distortions and attacks on communism by the bourgeoisie is to "prove" that social development has come to an end.
This entire line is a bluff and a diversion. From the point of view of the working class, it is useless to try to deny that the workers are exploited by the capitalist system based on private property in the means of production; to deny that our society is divided into antagonistic social classes. The very starting point for the workers is the struggle against the system which is built on the exploitation of wage-labor. The only way out for the workers is through the class struggle against the capitalists. The recognition of the social character of human society and human existence is growing from every pore of contemporary society.
Now is the time to develop the growing political consciousness and the fresh shoots of independent activity and organization of the workers themselves which provide the sound basis for advancing the working class struggle for emancipation. More and more people are coming forward to assert their rights. More and more people are coming out in struggle against capitalist exploitation and imperialist domination and to express the aspiration and vision for a truly human society.
The fact is that today humanity stands at a crossroads. The U.S. monopoly capitalists class continues its counter-revolutionary offensive, stripping away the rights of people at home while imposing super-exploitation and domination on the peoples of other countries. Imperialism's program of "peace through strength" and "trade war" is a program of exploitation and reaction at home, domination and war abroad.
Yet humanity has reached a point that puts us on the threshold of bringing in a new era of freedom and emancipation for the peoples. Economically, we already have created all the productive forces needed to guarantee the rights and well-being of everyone. But these vast productive forces remained owned by a few – by the capitalist class. It is this class and its political power which is preventing the people from asserting their rights, winning their emancipation and taking control over their lives and the direction of society.
The continued rule of the capitalist class can only mean the continued decay of our society, more wars for profits and empire, and greater and greater exploitation and oppression for the masses. What this means is that the situation can only be changed through the independent, self-conscious organization of the working class – the class which represents the future. This is the independent working class political task on the agenda for the remainder of this year and the coming ones.