Capitalist individualism and its culture of violence fueled the recent massacre in Aurora, Colorado. James Holmes, a loner entranced by movie mayhem, shot 70 people, fatally wounding 12 — a deranged and despicable act.
As the bosses’ media focused attention on his carnage, Holmes became the nation’s most notorious criminal. But there are far more lethal threats facing our class — from the capitalists themselves. Holmes’ mass murder, as horrific as it was, pales in comparison to the atrocities the U.S. ruling class routinely commits against its own workers. It is put in the shade by the U.S. war machine that mows down workers in the Middle East to secure the imperialists’ profits.
While pundits cry that gun control is the only way to stop Holmes’ brand of freelance slaughter, capitalism kills exponentially more people without breaking a single law. Profiteers create mass poverty. Lifesaving health care is denied to tens of millions unable to pay the insurance and drug companies. Massive racist unemployment, an integral part of the system’s perpetual boom-and-bust crises, sends millions more to an early grave. Racist cop murderers in New York and Anaheim, California, to name but the latest, sustain the rulers’ profit-making by terrorizing black and Latino workers and youth.
If we want people to treat each other as sisters and brothers, we must destroy the system that breeds these horrors and creates ticking time bombs out of people like Holmes. In short, the profit system has got to go. We need a communist society, free of bosses, exploitation, racism, sexism and profits. We need a workers’ society led by a mass, revolutionary communist party to guarantee that our class will share all the value we create, according to need.
“Gun control” can’t be the answer in a country whose profit-makers are the world’s biggest suppliers of military weapons and who invade more countries than the rest of the world combined.
Talk about mass murder! For eight years, President Bill Clinton ordered the U.S. Air Force to enforce sanctions that denied food and medicine to workers in Iraq. Besides killing more than a million Iraqis, the sanctions paved the way for George H.W. Bush’s 1991 invasion. George W. Bush’s 2003 “shock and awe” invasion killed a million more Iraqis. Then, Barack Obama’s occupation and maintenance of U.S. military bases served to protect Exxon Mobil’s seizure of the country’s biggest oil fields.
Remote-controlled U.S. aircraft drones currently liquidate dozens of workers at a time in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia — another example of racism on a global scale. Most are civilians, which doesn’t stop Obama from taking credit and pride in ordering the hits personally.
Now the U.S. Army has issued a directive that justifies slaying innocents on a scale beyond the imagination of solitary madmen like Holmes. On July 18, the Army’s top general, Ray Odierno, sent a “doctrinal publication” called “Civilian Casualty Mitigation” down the chain of command. While warning that killing non-combatants can create anti-U.S. feeling, the document essentially gives the go-ahead to the practice when the stakes are high enough. Odierno’s death warrant reads in part:
In most cases, civilian casualties are a type of collateral damage…. [that] is not… excessive in light of the overall military advantage anticipated from the attack….When conducting combined arms maneuver against an enemy force, the opportunity to take decisive action against the enemy may take precedence over protecting civilians.
Preventing Iran from competing for Mideast oil exports no doubt meets Obama’s and Odierno’s profit-driven “ethical” test. The liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on July 29:
U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon shared Washington's contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran with Israel's PM [Netanyahu], according to a senior American official....Donilon sought to make clear that the United States is seriously preparing for the possibility that negotiations will reach a dead end and military action will become necessary.
A separate piece in the same Haaretz issue said, “Romney's senior national security aide Dan Senor told reporters that the Republican presidential candidate would ‘respect’ Israel's decision if it were to ‘take action on its own in order to stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.” Romney would have Israel do the dirty work. For his part, Obama recently offered to bribe fascist Israeli rulers with advanced weaponry if they delayed a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites until after the U.S. presidential election in November.
Obama and Romney may both be posturing to demonstrate their “toughness” on Iran to U.S. voters, but their positions are more than mere show. Hundreds of thousands of workers in Iran could become “worthwhile collateral damage” in a U.S. or Israeli assault on Iran’s potential nukes. Five years ago, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) cautioned:
It is impossible to predict in advance the number of people that would be killed and injured in a full attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities....[E]ven a narrowly targeted military plan would have severe public health impacts…. The Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center….is… only four kilometers from the city of Esfahan with one and a half million people.
PSR warns of the “potential to kill nearby populations similar to the accidental explosion of the chemical plant and release of chlorine gas in Bhopal, India.” Obama’s unholy “collateral damage” doctrine would sanction these murdered Iranians’ sacrifices for the sake of Exxon Mobil’s profits. This policy is the heir of President Jimmy Carter’s 1979 doctrine that U.S. oil interests must be guaranteed by any means necessary, including armed force. Such are the murderous doctrines of the “lesser-evil” Democrats.
Capitalism means the murder of workers. The Progressive Labor Party advances international class war against these rulers. We’re fighting back on five continents to organize against racist terror and lead workers to a communist future.
This includes South Asia, where women workers in PLP lead the struggle to rebuild villages ravaged by so-called natural disasters and worsened by capitalist profiteers.
It includes Haiti, where the Party is organizing against the cholera epidemic set off by invading UN forces.
It includes Brooklyn and the Bronx, New York, where PL’ers are leading the fight against the murderous racist cops.
It includes Palestine-Israel, where Party members are fighting U.S.-backed Israeli billionaires who wipe out workers’ villages to build profit-making estates for the rich.
It includes Anaheim, where PL’ers are supporting rebels against racist police killings.
It includes Oaxaca, Mexico, where PL teachers helped lead the fight against government union-busting. In Mexico City, PLP led a struggle against government policies that flooded workers’ neighborhood.
Out of these struggles, workers are joining the revolutionary PLP to build a mass party that will ultimately wipe out the capitalist scourge that butchers the international working class. Our Party will usher in a communist society to free our class from racism and sexism, poverty and mass unemployment, exploitation and imperialist war — forever!