Red Flag Express №33

Down with the Imperialist War!

According to a 2008 report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, spending for the war in Afghanistan will reach the sum of $18.1 billion in 2011. This represents over $200 million per month, or $1,500 per household. Among all these expenses, the military component accounts for 71% to 77%.

According to Prime Minister Harper, “this mission is very difficult, but we are there for the right reasons.” With the death on December 18 of Cpl. Steve Martin, more than 154 Canadian soldiers have been killed since the mission began. Today, this war is taking place under the pretext of “humanitarian aid.” But this aid is intended mainly to enrich the capitalists and consolidate the domination of the imperialist powers.

Haiti is a good example of this supposedly humanitarian war; in fact, it is the largest recipient of Canadian aid for “development” in the Americas. Nine Canadian police agencies are represented in Haiti. Since February 2010, Canada has gradually increased from 85 to 150 the number of Canadian police and experts from provincial and municipal police forces deployed in Haiti. Is to be noted that Chief Superintendent of the RCMP Marc Tardif has been appointed Deputy Commissioner of Operations for MINUSTAH (the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti).

A statement from the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Department stated: “Following the earthquake, the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) coordinated the Government of Canada’s comprehensive humanitarian response, and provided experts to assess how to build better policing, courts and corrections in the quake’s aftermath. START’s Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF) increased its annual contribution from $15 to $25 million for 2010-2011”.

Canadian imperialism provided 100 patrol vehicles and supported the fleet maintenance of the Haitian National Police. In addition, it provided portable classrooms for the Haitian Police Academy to increase its capacity to train new police officers, including correctional staff to fill posts at the new Croix-des-Bouquets jail, also funded by Canada. But not a penny of the $400 million pledged at the International Donors’ Conference in March 2010 has been transferred to the fund that will see the reconstruction of the country. All this while as of mid-October, only a few Haitian people (18!) has yet arrived in Québec under the Special Humanitarian Sponsorship Program that was announced with great fanfare after the January 12 earthquake…

Decidedly, capitalist barbarism has no limits. According to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Canadian military spending has jumped over 30% from 2006 to 2009 (from $17 to $ 22.3 billion), placing Canada at the 13th rank at the world level. By the way, while the whole world was talking about the economic crisis, we learned that $1,531 billion has been spent across the world for military activities in 2009, that is 5.9% more compared to 2008…

It was the Obama administration—the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize—which toped the standings with 43% of world military spending. That year (2009), Washington spent $661 billion in military, an increase of 7%. China was second with $100 billion of military spending. But this is only an estimate because it does not publish official figures. It was France who ranked third.

While this orgy of spending occurs, cutbacks in education and social services continue. Rent and public transit increases are common. Capitalist governments have invested hundreds of billions of dollars to fight the recession, mainly through subsidies to large companies. Through the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the world bourgeoisie has dictated “recommendations” that each country must follow; and Canada has followed them to the letter. A recent OECD report welcomes the fact that “the Canadian government responded quickly by implementing a package of policy measures to ease the effects of the recession on the labour market.”

Now that the capitalists got what they wanted, it remains to be seen who will pay the bill. According to the Conference Board of Canada, if the federal government continues with spending restraints, it should be able to balance its books a year earlier than expected. To achieve this, the Canadian bourgeoisie does not hesitate to pull any punches. We saw that at the G-20 summit last June, where the Harper government pledged to accelerate the pace of deficit reduction created by the measures adopted for helping the capitalists. This is the same summit where they took over a billion dollars from our pockets and mobilized more than 20,000 armed men to suppress and silence the people’s protest…

In light of such a deployment and militarization of Canadian society, what position should we take? Some say they oppose war, but suggest measures that favor it anyway. Thus, the Comité de Solidarité de Trois-Rivières, who runs the “Let’s Stop Military Spending” campaign, supports a military budget “sufficient enough to ensure the security of our territory” and upholds Canada’s participation “in valid peacekeeping missions under the United Nations.”

This campaign is supported by the Échec à la Guerre coalition. This group, which organized most of Québec anti-war demos since 2002, carries the same illusions about the UN and its “peacekeeping missions.” In its platform, it suggests that Canada should work “to strengthen the role of the UN General Assembly to deal with the new international situation and obstruct the military hegemony of the United States.”

It should be recalled that the UN is an organization of criminals as well as the G-8 or G-20 and that we must oppose not only the military hegemony of the United States, but the military hegemony of all the imperialist powers, whether from Canada, Germany or any other power whatsoever. Similarly, we must emphasize that there are unjust and just wars. The imperialist war in Afghanistan, for example, is an unjust war. The people’s war in India or the Philippines, meanwhile, are just wars.

It is obvious that capitalism is a murderous system. Each time it was reformed, it was done to deceive the exploited masses. Liberation from the yoke of oppression will never come from the bourgeoisie. It will come from our struggle—in short, we can say that it will come from the people, by the people and for them!

To end the imperialist war, we must end imperialism itself!

Lucho Victoria Rojas
(A prior version of this article was published in Le Drapeau Rouge, No. 92, August 2010.)
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