From the Editorial Board of the Virginia Worker on the recent US House and Senate votes approving Finland and Sweden’s admission into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NATO was founded as a military alliance of western capitalist regimes against the threat of communism. While the USSR has since collapsed, and with the remaining so-called socialist states such as China embracing market economies and exploiting their own working class for the global capitalist market, one would think the necessity of NATO was over.
But imperialist-capitalism always entails global conflict between capitalist states over which bloc has hegemony and the predominant spheres of influence across every corner in the world. The latest inter-imperialist rivalry has flared up between the Western bloc through NATO against Russian imperialism in the Ukrainian region.
It’s horrific what Ukrainian workers and Russian workers are subjected to for the benefit of NATO and Russian capitalists–not to mention Ukraine’s own homegrown capitalists– using them as pawns to expand their borders, their resources, and labor power just so a minority of the rich can become even more rich and powerful.
Western capitalists also benefit from such conflict as nations subsidize war corporations through government contracts to manufacture and maintain this growing military campaign, while escalating the looming threat of nuclear fallout.
None of this should come as a surprise for the global working class, but the machinations of capitalist regimes should never be aided by socialists who claim to represent worker interests. Cue the “democratic socialist” politicians in the US House and Senate.
These most prolific members and allies of the Democratic Socialists of America include Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Illhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Bernie Sanders – all have proven they are willing to sacrifice us for the benefit of US capitalist nationalism as most recently demonstrated in their votes to expand NATO.
The socialist movement historically has been against aiding imperialist war with the understanding it’s always workers who are forced to fight for the benefit of the rich. The famous socialist slogan of “not one penny, not one man” would mean never approving any aid for such endeavors against the interests of the global working class.
It’s only the opportunists within the socialist milieu who go against this principle to side with their national bourgeoisie, as was most infamously seen in the lead up to World War I, after the international socialist movement had agreed to turn imperialist war into revolutionary civil war so that workers could establish a workers’ democracy, and end the exploitative system of capitalism against the global working class. As WWI began, however, the parties of the Second International betrayed this stance and the working class and obediently followed their own capitalist classes into war.
And even though DSA’s toothless International Committee may have released some statements condemning NATO and Russia the membership has done nothing to hold their politicians accountable for aiding US imperialism and NATO, making them culpable.
Today we have the liberals and their hangers-on in the DSA lining up behind the imperialist United States to further its aims to amp up the conflict in Ukraine against the capitalist regime in Russia.
Even more sad is that these so-called socialists are being outflanked by Virginia Republicans who voted against expanding NATO, as they had enough sense to not inflame the conflict by admitting Finland and Sweden.
Republican Bob Good representing Campbell County said “adding two countries to NATO is only likely to escalate tensions with Russia and increase the chances President Biden will eventually be deploying American troops.”
Why are the “democratic socialists” not making this criticism and leaving it to Virginia Republicans? Why has there been no criticism of the tens of billions of dollars wasted in aid as those funds are feeding corruption and not going to the frontlines?
These billions of dollars could have been used to fund healthcare, housing, education, and welfare for US workers but instead are wasted on imperialist schemes. These “democratic socialists” are performing even worse than the Virginia Republicans who don’t pander to the working class.
It should go without saying that the Republicans in no way oppose imperialism. Their party, like the Democrats, lined up to cheer on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have endorsed the United States’ coups and dirty wars in places like Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
They, like the Democrats, have taken the nationalist, xenophobic position of incarcerating and deporting undocumented workers. These cruel acts are the antithesis of worker internationalism.
When the Republicans appear to be the voice of anti-interventionism, they’re able to drive a wedge through the working class, spreading confusion. Leading to a misguided contingent who identify as “patriotic socialists” to heap praise on the Republicans and claim that “real socialists” should support the GOP’s anti-worker agenda.
While the “patriotic socialists” and their Republican idols are worthy targets of criticism, the Democrats, and groups like DSA giving them cover, are also deserving of blame for their contradictory and weak stances against imperialism. When the left vacates the space of anti-imperialism, charlatans of all sorts fill the vacuum.
We need actual, principled fighters for workers in Virginia and beyond who are not going to line up behind regimes controlled by the rich. We need an independent workers party and movement now more than ever.
We must reject the opportunism of DSA politicians, we must not let Republicans assume the anti-interventionist position, and we must show the rest of the working class what an actual workers policy is both domestically and internationally.
US OUT OF UKRAINE
FUND SOCIAL WELFARE, NOT WAR
BUILD A GENUINE WORKERS PARTY
FOR WORKER INTERNATIONALISM