January 15, 2023

Using War to Save American Capitalism

B Arjun

THE old year has passed into history, leaving behind war, inflation, recession, and relentless attacks on working class rights and democracy by right wing goons. The ecological disaster created by capitalist modes of production and consumption is converging with all other elements created by the crisis of capitalism to give the global youth a bleak future.  

The political system in America, the heart of global capitalism, is crumbling. Recently, America experienced  the longest speakership election in 160 years as the deeply-polarised Republicans took 15 rounds of voting over four days to defeat the right-wing, anti-McCarthy rebellion.

The Alt-right, neo-fascist plague unleashed in Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021 has afflicted other nations as well. Thousands of radical backers of far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro breached and vandalised Brazils presidential office building, Congress and Supreme Court on January 8 in the new year. Like Trump, Bolsonaro had spent months predicting mass fraud and then refused to concede defeat after losing his October election. Washington Post reports      “In August 2021, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaros son traveled to Sioux Falls, S.D., to meet with some of the most prominent purveyors of former president Donald Trumps false claims of mass election fraud.” The flag hoisted by the far right supporters outside the National Congress building, read intervention” – a reference to calls for the military to depose Lula government. 

The intersecting elements of the world capitalist crisis have reached the point where both the government and central banks are finding it extremely difficult to control and contain the crisis. The reckless and irrational policies of the ruling elite are further aggravating the crisis.  

People across the developed world are growing uncomfortable with the economic foundation of capitalism and gradually reorienting their politics around socialism.  

The system works for and against whom, is the question people are asking. Why does the government which pumps in several trillions of dollars as stimulus for the financial markets to support rich bankers, too-big-to-fail financial institutions and hedge-fund billionaires become stingy when it comes to workers' pay and pensions?

The US national debt now stands at a staggering $30 trillion. Trying to cover these debts with an increasing volume of government notes is one of the main factors behind the new inflationary wave. To a large extent, this huge debt has piled up due to the vast expenses incurred on futile wars and overindulgence in international aggression. 

In the US, almost 20,000 workers have been laid off in mass job cuts so far in 2023. Last year, more than 90,000 jobs were slashed from public and private tech companies ostensibly to confront rising inflation rates and a tumultuous stock market. The high-profile tech companies, including Facebooks Meta, Twitter and Amazon are driving the increase in job cuts in the tech sector. 

In the United Kingdom, the Rishi Sunak government has refused pay hike for this year despite the working classes bearing the brunt of high cost of living. In addition, the Sunak government is coming out with a new anti-strike legislation to enforce minimum service levels” in key public sectors including the NHS, fire, ambulance, rail and schools. The new law will empower the government to dismiss union members who refuse to work under the minimum service requirement. The Labour Party is saying that the legislation is not workable.

Capitalism is mired in an unending crisis. And like before, it is seeking refuge in war to save itself from the growing wrath of people. The US-NATO proxy war in Europe continues unabated. The US is making no efforts to de-escalate war in Ukraine and reduce the burden of soaring energy bills on the people. The Ukrainian ruling elite has placed the nation at the disposal of US and European imperialism with an aim to fragment Russia, usurp its natural resources and weaken the counter hegemonic movement that threatens the US primacy in global affairs. 

Recently, Ukrainian president Zelensky visited Washington DC. His secret journey  began with an overnight train journey to Poland before boarding a US Air Force plane, reportedly supported by a NATO spy-plane and an F-15 fighter jet.  Rejecting the idea of just peace” Zelensky believes that the war would end only once Ukraines sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity were restored, as well as the payback for all the damages inflicted by Russian aggression.”

The worst consequences of the proxy war has been the growing acceptance of nuclear weapons as a legitimate instrument of geopolitical conflict, completely ignoring the misery and mayhem it will unleash in the lives of billions of people.

The crisis of capitalism is becoming more acute. The politicians are out there to profit from the discontent of the people without really addressing the root of the crisis. The ruling class is going all-out to convince the masses that there is a recovery” taking place. They are making a desperate attempt to restore the confidence of people in a decaying and dying system, by trying to cover over continued unemployment, increasing inflation, and the intensified impoverishment and oppression of people. 

Ever since the 2008 financial meltdown, the crisis of the entire capitalist system has shown no signs of genuine recovery. The system itself is the cause of the crisis. We are going farther away from recovery,” getting mired in a deeper crisis that is bringing us to the precipice of another world war. The crisis has grown out of the cyclic nature of capitalism, which has produced periodic crises of varying intensity since the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is not necessarily the final crisis of capitalism” nor is it just another crisis.” It is a malignant crisis which contains the seeds for even deeper recession, wider unemployment and more chaotic financial markets than we have yet seen.