The Iraq War disaster, in which thousands upon thousands of Iraqis and Americans have been killed, wounded, tortured, and maimed will continue without end until we, the American working class stop it. After all, foreign policy is the continuation of domestic policy: the “War on Terror” is nothing but a war on workers and the poor at home and abroad. We are the only force on the planet that can end this madness once and for all.
The stakes are higher than ever. Millions of American workers are starting to realize that even in the “best of times”, the capitalist system simply doesn’t work anymore. All it can offer us is war corruption, greed, and mismanagement, which has reached unheard of proportions.
The Bush Administration is just the most glaring expression of this. Their arrogance and callous disregard for the people of the US and the world is just par for the course in a system that cares more about corporate profits than human needs. After all, why spend more on education when you can build cruise missiles instead? Why strengthen the levees around New Orleans when you can instead spend millions to spy on US citizens? Why provide quality health care access for everyone living in the world’s richest country when you can bail out bankrupt and inefficient corporations instead?
Of course, on paper, the U.S. economy is moving forward. But it is an expansion based on trillions in fictitious capital and the merciless squeezing of working people in the U.S. and around the world. If this is the “boom”, what will it be like when the economy inevitably sputters to a stop? In the meantime, billions are spent on war and domestic spying, the rich get mega-handouts and tax cuts, and social programs are cut to the bone.
Take for example the price of gas. Over the last year, gasoline prices rose from $1.19 to over $2.20 a gallon in some areas. In a country where the average worker drives more than seven and a half hours every week, these are huge increases. Exxon-Mobil announced that it made a 2005 profit of $36.13 billion, $10.71 billion in the fourth quarter alone - the highest ever annual profit for a US company and up 43 percent from last year. High gas and oil prices have a knock on effect throughout the economy and hit the working poor more than anyone.
It’s not that far-fetched to imagine gas riots at a certain stage if prices keep going up. If the poor of Paris revolted in 1789 over the price of bread, working people in the U.S. today could easily reach boiling point over the relentless price gouging at the gas pump.
So to put it in black and white, capitalism simply doesn’t work for the vast majority of society. And it’s no longer a question of this or that company’s profits, or of these or those workers getting laid off; what is at stake is the very existence of humanity itself. As rotten as he is, it’s not just Bush: it’s the entire capitalist system.
So what are we supposed to do? Most Americans are coming to the painful realization that neither of the bosses’ parties offers any real alternative. On all fundamental questions, the Democrats are the mirror image of the Republicans, and do not serve the interests of working people. What we need is a party by and for working people - a mass party of labor. We can’t trust the representatives of another class to defend our interests. We can rely only on our own strength and organizations to do this.
American workers and their brothers and sisters around the world are coming to the realization that capitalism offers only war, degradation, misery, racism, exploitation, and oppression. Now more than ever, we need to fight for the end of capitalism and for a system run by and for the working class majority of society. That system is socialism. Join the Workers International League in the struggle for a better world.
(See http://www.socialistappeal.org/flyers/only_working_class_can_defeat_bush.pdf for a PDF version)