U.S. and World Politics

Capitalism’s Never-ending Wars

By Bonnie Weinstein

Capitalism wages wars against people in many ways—by military and police occupation and violence—but also by environmental catastrophe brought about by wanton disregard of the effects of for-profit production methods that have caused global warming, poisoned the oceans, land and air we breathe, and threaten the very existence of life on Earth.

Just in the last several weeks—from the U.S. drone strikes in Somalia, and Afghanistan, to Brazil’s police violence targeting its Black citizens, to U.S. businesses placing their poisonous industries in the poorest communities here in the U.S., and around the world—it is clear the commanders of capital will stop at nothing to control the world’s resources.

To accomplish this, they must exploit working people—both as cheap labor and as cannon fodder—to continue to fill their coffers with untold wealth.

Military wars

A July 20, 2021 New York Times article by Eric Schmitt and Declan Walsh titled, “U.S. Military Conducts a Drone Strike Against Shabab Fighters in Somalia,” reveals the real purpose of the U.S. drone strikes:

“The United States conducted a drone strike against Shabab militants in Somalia on Tuesday… ‘…U.S. forces were conducting a remote advise-and-assist mission in support of designated Somali partner forces.’ … The Somalis and Kenyans are at odds over several issues, including ownership of a triangle of oil-rich waters in the Indian Ocean.”

This has been the impetus for the U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and throughout the world. Control of the world’s resources by any means necessary, including war—has been the modus operandi of the U.S. commanders of capital since its inception.

Since the very first European stepped foot on this continent, the capitalist class has succeeded in tipping the economic scales in their favor through violence, extermination, and occupation.

Police wars

In an August 15, 2021 New York Times article by César Muñoz Acebes titled, “From Rio, a Cautionary Tale on Police Violence,” reveals how Brazil’s police force copies the racist U.S. police force by promoting racism and targeting its Black population:

“Black Brazilians are almost three times as likely to be killed by the police as white Brazilians are. Last year, according to the Brazilian Forum for Public Security, the police killed 6,416 people countrywide. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, one of Brazil’s most violent, 1,245 died at the hands of the police alone. …When it comes to the use of lethal force by the police, there are, in effect, two sets of rules: one in middle- and upper-class neighborhoods to shoot only in self-defense and one in poor communities to shoot first and ask questions later.”

The U.S. has had economic relations with Brazil since 1822. And more recently, “According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the United States had invested $68.34 billion in Brazil as of 2017.”1

The U.S cares nothing about Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s brutal treatment of people of color and the poor, or his selling-off of the environmentally crucial Amazon rainforest to the highest bidder.

The U.S. cares about their business interests in Brazil. What Bolsonaro does is just “business as usual” to the U.S. capitalist class.

War on the environment in the U.S.

An August 16, 2021 New York Times Op-Ed by Margaret Renkl titled, “Everyone Will Breathe This Polluted Air One Day,” describes an oil pipeline to be placed under an aquifer for drinking water—as just one example of racist industrial pollution-for-profit. In truth, it is widespread:

“The Byhalia Connection pipeline was to be a joint venture by Plains All American Pipeline and Valero Energy. As The Commercial Appeal in Memphis reported in March, Plains All America was already plagued by environmental problems, including a major oil spill on the California coast in 2015. Meanwhile, closer to Memphis, a leak of crude oil and benzene—a known carcinogen—occurred in 2020 near the place where the proposed pipeline was set to join an existing storage site. Despite these companies’ terrible safety records, the proposed pipeline, which was first announced in December 2019, would have been routed directly beneath a fragile sand aquifer that supplies much of the drinking water in Shelby County, Tennessee, where Memphis is. Adding insult to injury were the strong-arm tactics that pipeline representatives employed against holdout neighbors in Boxtown, which was established by formerly enslaved people shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation. When residents refused to sell family land for the pittance they were offered, the companies sued for rights to the property under eminent domain….‘There’s the stench of sewage in a historically Black neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. The proposed grain elevator would turn a historically Black community in Louisiana into an industrial complex. The natural gas facility in Virginia that would aid the extension of an oil pipeline through a historically Black community in Pittsylvania County. The creosote contamination in a historically Black neighborhood in Houston. The toxic coal ash moved from a predominately white community in Tennessee and dumped in a predominately Black community in Alabama.’”

The capitalists care nothing about the people living in these dilapidated, impoverished communities that they poison. It’s simply a matter of the fact that the land is cheaper there, so they can make more profits by putting their poisons, refineries, pipelines, and processing plants, etc. in those communities.

U.S. war on the environment throughout the world

As if it’s not bad enough that U.S. industry, led by the military industrial complex, which is the most polluting in the U.S., they spread and concentrate polluting industries and poisons in the poorest parts of the world.

In fact, in a 2019 Guardian article by Erin McCormick, Bennett Murray, Carmela Fonbuena, Leonie Kijewski, Gökçe Saraço?lu, Jamie Fullerton, Alastair Gee and Charlotte Simmonds titled, “Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America’s dirty secret:”sar M

“A team of Guardian reporters in 11 countries has found: Last year, the equivalent of 68,000 shipping containers of American plastic recycling were exported from the U.S. to developing countries that mismanage more than 70 percent of their own plastic waste. The newest hotspots for handling U.S. plastic recycling are some of the world’s poorest countries, including Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia and Senegal, offering cheap labor and limited environmental regulation.”

So, the U.S. not only exports their most poisonous manufacturing to the poorest communities in the world, they also export their garbage.

The system of capitalism is catastrophic to the world

These examples of the universal destructive forces of capitalism show how the system is leading us into a downward spiral toward the destruction of life on the whole planet.

The capitalists maintain their power through the private ownership of the means of production and the wealth produced by the labor of the working class.

The capitalists pay the lowest wages they can get away with; workers get paid as much as they are able to unite, fight for, and win.

The power of the working class

The members of the capitalist class are a tiny minority of humanity.

Workers, united in solidarity for the benefit of all, have the power to flip the scales in favor of freedom, justice and economic equality, the preservation of the planet, and of the future.

Workers do the work. We should have complete democratic control over the means of production and share the wealth we produce—to each according to needs and desires, and from each according to individual skills and talents—production for human needs, not private profits.

We, the overwhelming majority of humanity, have the same interests in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

Through unity and solidarity, we have the power to achieve these interests in common.

United together we can create a society that ensures that each person can develop their talents to the fullest—a socialist society that puts human life, and the health and safety of our planet, and all the other species that share it, above all else—a society that can achieve the best possible life for all.

1 “U.S. Relations With Brazil,” January 29, 2021, U.S. Department of State: