BAN THE BOMB! NO TO NUCLEAR WAR!
17-06-2017 – “There’s a bomb hangin’ over our heads”….this familiar refrain from the era of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is unfortunately even more relevant today. However, today there is no Soviet Union to offset the capricious destructive power of the US Empire. This does not mean the US behemoth encounters no opposition to its plans for global plunder. In Syria, Russia – at the invitation of the Syrian government – has effectively blocked US led efforts at regime change. Iran and Hezbollah have given assistance, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at least voted against moves for regime change at the United Nations (UN). The US led campaign for regime change had active support from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Australia and others.
The fact that this regime change operation was blocked, at least for now, has not stymied the US rulers’ appetites for regime change, in Syria or elsewhere. Economically, the global capitalist system is in terminal decline, and this drives ever more reckless wars of regime change, invasions, bombings, funding and arming of death squads to bring down sovereign governments, and much more. The USA, the leader of capitalist-imperialism, thus has its hands drenched in blood from current or completed or attempted regime change operations in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – also referred to as “North Korea”), and many others. US troops are stationed in over 130 countries around the world. Canberra, heading up the vassal Australian state, politically or practically backs, or participates in, all such operations.
Ongoing threats to the DPRK
Today’s day of action has been organised to call on the Australian government to sign up to a global ban on the production and use of nuclear weapons. The governments of 130 nations have signed up to endorse this agreement. Working people should certainly not oppose such an agreement, were it possible to sign and have it enforced. The objectors at this stage include the governments of the US, Australia, Russia and China. Despite constant demonization by Western governments and their media, the DPRK was an enthusiastic signee. This fact demonstrates that despite the corporate media depiction of the DPRK as a mad “rogue state”, in actuality it would prefer not to have to spend resources in the development of nuclear weapons. The only reason it does, is that it is threatened with annihilation, nuclear or otherwise, at any moment, by US imperialism and its allies. Consequently, as Mike Whitney wrote: “There’s no country in the world that needs nuclear weapons more than North Korea”.
This is why there is no contradiction between the DPRK signing up to a proposed ban on nuclear weapons, and the DPRK actually developing nuclear weapons themselves. It is purely a matter of survival. The ferocity of the US Empire’s war on Korea in 1953 left an indelible mark on the whole construction of the DPRK itself. The DPRK is more aware than anyone else of the unfathomable barbarism visited upon them during that war. Around 4 million Koreans and Chinese volunteers were slaughtered, bridges and power stations were reduced to rubble, relentless volumes of napalm were dropped on civilian targets, and that was just for starters. It is estimated that Pyongyang was reduced to a population of 50 000 during the war, whereas before the war it was 500 000. To DPRK citizens, these horrific memories are as clear to them as yesterday.
Despite this, the DPRK has repeatedly stated, time and time again, that it is ready to “conclude an agreement to end its nuclear programs, put them all under IAEA inspection and conclude a permanent peace treaty to replace the ‘temporary’ cease-fire of 1953.” The DPRK has consistently stated that it will end its nuclear weapons program if US forces are withdrawn from the southern half of the Korean peninsula, and if the annual “military exercises” conducted on the doorstep of the DPRK, where the US military and its allies practice for a regime change invasion, cease. This entirely reasonable offer has been stated time and time again, only to be ignored by the US state.
Threats to China, Russia
US designs for regime change in the DPRK are also aimed at the neighbouring People’s Republic of China (PRC), perhaps even more so. It was largely to contain the 1949 socialist revolution in China that the US launched the war against Korea in 1950-53. Today, China’s dominant socialist economy is leaving the capitalist economies for dead, outstripping it in ongoing GDP growth, driving spectacular investment in infrastructure development, and even offering other countries the opportunity to take part, with its One Belt One Road program. The US, with a declining economy and crumbling infrastructure, is well on the way to being overtaken as world number 1. The US ruling class knows that it must take action against Red China sooner rather than later to prevent this from happening. Hence we have the irrational threats against the DPRK, and relentless provocations by the US in the South China Sea. The installation of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missiles in South Korea are also patently aimed at China, given that they will be virtually ineffective against a conventional missile strike from the DPRK. These very real threats are the precise reason why the PRC itself needs its own nuclear arsenal.
The threats of the US Empire towards Russia are no less serious. Russia, as well as China, is being encircled by a swathe of US military bases. The relentless expansion of NATO, along with military hardware and missiles being installed right up to Russia’s border in Eastern Europe, means that Russia, regardless of its wishes, must also maintain and develop its nuclear weapons stockpile. To not do so would result in extermination. For example, the forces of NATO members Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), France and Denmark, which have recently been deployed, are part of an “Enhanced Forward Presence” in the Baltic states, as well as Poland. In excess of 4000 NATO troops are building what are in effect permanent bases in these countries, menacingly pointed towards Russia. At best, these developments violate an express agreement signed in 1997, that NATO would not seek to establish permanent bases in the nations closer to Russia. At worst, it greatly heightens the danger of an accident which could trigger a military, or nuclear, confrontation.
From where do the threats of war arise?
While working people should not oppose universal bans on nuclear weapons, i.e. a commitment by ALL countries, imperialist or otherwise, not to produce or stockpile nuclear weapons, we should be clear that the threat of nuclear war does not arise because some states are armed with nuclear weapons. The threat of war, nuclear or not, is present due to the day to day operation of the system of capitalist-imperialism. Leading this system is the ruling class of the United States, which is currently threatening nuclear world war via its simultaneous regime change threats against Syria and the DPRK. Any more US moves to take down the Syrian government, could activate Russia, which is doing its utmost to defend Syria and prevent such a potential nuclear war. At the same time, any more US moves to strike the DPRK, would of necessity bring in the PRC in self-defence, but also could lead to nuclear war.
This is why, despite laudable efforts to ban nuclear weapons, while US imperialism exists, anti-imperialist, socialist and independent states (e.g. China, Russia, Iran, DPRK) will need nuclear weapons to defend themselves. In fact, despite the demonization by the Western corporate media of the DPRK, the very existence of the DPRK’s weapons stockpile is actually part of what is currently preventing a nuclear war. Many attendees at today’s rallies are ironically enjoying a peace which the nuclear weapons stockpile of the DPRK (and China and Russia) ensures. It is only the nuclear deterrent existing in these states which currently prevents them, and large parts of the world, from being obliterated by the US juggernaut – inevitably with the backing of Canberra.
This situation of a delicate balance, where the nuclear weapons potential of the socialist or independent states is used as a defence against the nuclear weapons potential of US imperialism, unfortunately can’t last forever. Capital, the mainstay of the “free enterprise” system of the West, has to expand or die. It has to accumulate not only profit, but an adequate rate of profit. Once the opportunity for capital expansion has expired within the home country, it must seek others in other parts of the globe. If other countries do not allow foreign capital plunder, sooner or later the drums of war begin to beat, talk of “humanitarian intervention”, “democracy” and “human rights” grows louder and louder. The US and the NATO monster are switched on, and voila! Regime change is here again. This is one reason why war itself will not be removed until the planet is able to rid itself of capitalism.
Hands Off the DPRK, China, Syria, Russia, Iran
As it was during the First World War, the struggle to stop world war is also a struggle for the overthrow of governments prosecuting wars. This requires a politically aware working class, and a workers’ party prepared to lead this struggle. We can begin to assemble such a party now, even if the subjective conditions for it do not currently exist. Right now, it is important that working people raise and organise around such demands as Hands Off the DPRK, China, Syria, Russia and Iran – putting the political heat squarely on those who currently threaten to unleash World War III – the governments of the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and their allies, including Australia. To do this, working people will need to apply pressure to their own Union leaders – many of whom are thoroughly tied into the system which provides them well-paid careers, and thus are tied into Australian government foreign policy. These positions flow from Australia being an imperialist power in its own right, albeit a minor one.
The Australian people are overwhelmingly against a world war. This does not mean, however, that a “broad” peace movement is all that is needed to somehow prevail. In fact, rather than uniting the peace movement, such as it is, what is required is for pro-worker elements to break away from those who wish to direct appeals to the very rulers who are enabling the conditions for world war. That is, the anti-imperialist elements need to break away from the pro-imperialist sections. For no matter how many words political forces such as the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the Greens and NGOs may offer against war, the fact is that they are a strong pillar of the capitalist system producing it. Many of the members of these organisations would strongly campaign against imperialist war, and such folk should be welcomed. A problem arises when representatives of the liberal side of the ruling class are openly asked by peace campaigners to be “stars”, or special guests. Doing so cripples the politics to such an extent that it the movement becomes one which is appealing to the very purveyors of war itself – the Western ruling classes. Imagine in feudal times appealing to the King’s forces to stop waging war against the next fiefdom, which were conscripting peasants by force to do so. Every rank and file worker today would understand that that appealing to the King would be fruitless, and that the only hope would lie in a generalised peasant revolt.
Today we no longer live in such times, and we have the advantage that the modern ruling classes, the bourgeoisie, often prefer to rule by manufactured consent rather than by force. Breaking this manufactured consent cannot be done, however, while political forces hostile to independent working class action are allowed to dominate the “peace” movement – whether they be ALP or other politicians, NGOs, or conservative Union leaders. The danger of world war is real, and it emanates from the very system which “our” politicians preside over. These politicians are not “ours” in the slightest. The working class must produce its own leaders, and its own party, if we are to stand a realistic chance of preventing war through ending the rule of capital, and establishing workers rule. NO TO WORLD WAR!
PO BOX 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012
 “North Korea’s consistent message to the U.S.”, President Jimmy Carter, Washington Post.