Pentagon’s contradiction and imperialist decline
Published Nov 19, 2009 9:28 PM
The following excerpted talk is by WWP Secretariat member, Sara
Flounders, at the Nov. 14-15 Workers World Party National Conference in New
Twenty million people a year in the U.S. get sick from contaminated water.
Forty percent of the water is dangerously polluted. This is a sign of
infrastructure decay reaching life-threatening proportions.
Opening Plenary Session: The capitalist crisis, the coming class struggle, the Obama administration, and the fight for a socialist future. Speaker: Sara Flounders.
The U.S. military budget is larger than the rest of the world’s put
together. This is a superprofit subsidy to the wealthiest CEOs and stockholders
of the military corporations.
Boiling our drinking water is the real cost of the Pentagon budget, along with
the millions who were unemployed, even before the global capitalist crisis.
Now, since the global crash, there is more than 20 percent unemployment and
over 50 percent for Black and Latino/a youth.
The largest prison population in the world is a byproduct of the Pentagon
budget. And so is the one-third of youth who don’t graduate from high
school. As Hurricane Katrina exposed in a natural disaster, tens of thousands
of people have nowhere to turn and racism is intensified. All of these social
catastrophes while 1 trillion dollars this year alone is spent on U.S.
wars—past, present and future.
Half of all our federal taxes go to the Pentagon. The total amount and the
military proportion of the budget go up, up and up every year. Yet no serious
debate, discussion or challenge is allowed.
This is supposedly the richest country in the world. U.S. workers have the
highest rate of productivity and yet the workers are becoming paupers. They are
getting a smaller and smaller share of what they produce.
Every year while the Pentagon gets more, in order to balance the budget, there
are cuts of 10 to 15 percent a year in what goes to states and cities as block
grants. This creates crises in health clinics, homeless shelters, schools,
Congress or the White House, regardless of who is in office, won’t
challenge funds to the largest corporations, or their fraudulent cost
overruns—hundreds of billions a year in government handouts or
superprofits—without producing anything of value or use.
Corporate power is addicted to it. This is an unsolvable contradiction of
If they don’t get this giant subsidy, the entire capitalist system will
go into crisis. They can’t do without it, but it is killing them. The
sheer weight of the military is dragging the capitalist system down.
Decades of handing billions of dollars to the military-industrial complex has
gone from being a stimulant to the capitalist economy to a sick addiction.
The giant funds to the military are no longer enough to soak up capitalist
overproduction, to sponge up huge surpluses. They are no longer enough to
restart the capitalist economy the way they once were able to.
Military spending does not create jobs. It destroys millions of jobs in the
When the global capitalist crisis hit last October, the system needed a direct
infusion of an additional $700 billion just to provide immediate life-support
to the biggest banks.
As our founder Sam Marcy explained, this huge military apparatus and the
corporations dependent on it overwhelm all civilian institutions and endlessly
press toward military solutions.
The Pentagon is the largest military machine on the planet. There are over
1,000 bases and fantastic high-tech weapon systems that can destroy the
But they can’t defeat the poorest country in world—Afghanistan. Why
can’t they pull it off?
They are incapable of improving any of the conditions of life, or bringing any
progressive social change. It is impossible to win hearts and minds if you can
only destroy. The think tanks and planners can’t solve it or change
The imperialist military is built to serve the profit system, to provide
superprofits and to enforce exploitation. Now it is so thoroughly corrupt and
bloated that it can no longer function effectively to defend the system.
There are more contractors and mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan than there
are U.S. military forces. A recent Congressional committee couldn’t find
out how many contractors there were or where they were or what they were doing,
except getting paid.
The Pentagon militarizes the very air we breathe, increasing repression
manyfold. Police and military units are everywhere. They intentionally create
The targeting of Muslims in the U.S. and the charges of terrorism and
manufactured government stings are all to justify a climate of war, racism and
On Nov. 13, the big news story was the seizure of four mosques, Islamic schools
and an Islamic charity. Federal prosecutors claimed they were secretly
controlled by the Iranian government. They bragged it was the biggest
collection of counterterrorism seizures in U.S. history. This attack was timed
to coincide with new sanctions on Iran.
This is ominously part of the continuing danger of a massive strike against
Iran. There are continuing drone attacks on Pakistan that are widening the war.
Along with continuing massive military aid to Israel is an effort to stamp out
the heroic Palestinian resistance.
But it is not succeeding anywhere. It is igniting more resistance
The future of their global system of imperialist domination is unraveling. That
makes them more dangerous, desperate and unpredictable. But the Pentagon does
not have enough soldiers, and they don’t have enough collaborators or
“allies” to fight their wars.
We have to link the fight against endless war and militarism with the fight for
jobs, against foreclosures, for health care and the struggle for everything we
need and have a right to.
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