Soldiers Must Refuse to Fight to End theWar

Anti-war actions

Karyn Pomerantz, 6-26-2022

Imperialist countries cannot wage war for global power without the tens of thousands of workers they recruit and arm to fight for their empires. To the ruling class and military brass, these workers are cannon fodder for their interests. WWI wasted millions of young men sent to carry out insane combat orders. The US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq relied on voluntary soldiers, some motivated by patriotism and more by the economy and difficulty finding jobs. Army recruiters prowled the halls of high schools and promised training and benefits. During the 1960s when the Vietnam War began, the Army instituted the draft, giving deferments and better positions to college students. This deferment ended as the Army required more soldiers.

Class divisions mirrored those in civilian life causing resentments and conflict. During the Vietnam War, most combat soldiers had working class backgrounds and a high school degree or less while the officers had high school and college degrees. Officers working in safety far from the fighting made the combat decisions and ordered the troops to implement them. As we will see, the draft of men who did not want to fight created a tinderbox of rebellion.

As earlier articles on this blog have explained, we, the working class of all nations, should not take sides in the war in Ukraine. Russia, the United States, and the EU are fighting for control of natural resources, minerals, oil, gas, grains, and pipelines. Russia has aggressively and inhumanely devastated cities in order to grab territory to assert power. The US is intent on weakening the power of Russia and boosting the number of NATO military bases around Russia. The US has intervened in Ukrainian politics since 2014 when it installed their new president. Russia has retaliated against these threats with horrendous attacks on civilians.

Capitalism kills, and war is the most extreme example. Capitalists send working class men and women into horrific situations and count success as the number of enemy troops killed and territory seized. These capitalists are willing to sacrifice our lives whether in Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, or Libya. As we see on the news, Biden is more than willing to shelter 100,000 Ukrainian refugees while deporting hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers who also face desperate situations in their home countries. He sends billions of dollars for military equipment to Ukraine, slashes funding for Covid relief, and maintains trade barriers on distributing vaccines to poorer countries with primarily black and brown people. This war is draining billions for arms (currently over $56 billion) from domestic social needs, such as healthcare, housing, and climate improvements.

On the “positive” side, soldiers have significant power by deserting, sabotaging equipment, and refusing orders. There are some reports of Russian soldiers deserting; over 30,000 have died! International Business News (June 22, 2022) reported that 200 Russian soldiers hid out in a village in Ukraine rather than fight. An officer shot himself in the leg to avoid combat, and another GI ran over an officer with his tank. The Russian Army released 100 national guardsmen who refused orders. Another soldier told a reporter that “none of us wanted this war.”

If soldiers on both sides refused to fight, they could end the war.  WWI and WWII led to revolutions in Russia and China. The role of the armed forces was instrumental for their victories; soldiers mutinied against their ruling classes and refused to attack the revolutionaries. However, this is not inevitable. Successful revolutions require people’s commitment to egalitarianism and anti-racism, and the organization of workers, students, and soldiers into a party.

This article recounts the GI rebellions against the War in Vietnam. Later articles will cover other wars during the 20th Century. Soldiers from Ukraine and Russia must follow these heroic examples to end the war.

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Fight Racism! Demand Universal Vaccine and Immigration Justice at the 2022 American Public Health Association Meeting

Karyn Pomerantz, 2-19-2022

Introduction

Public health activists in the American Public Health Association (APHA) have submitted a policy proposing universal vaccination, changes in global trade policy that protects manufacturers, and protection for asylee seekers and migrants. APHA must take a strong position for measures to prevent and treat Covid 19 and demand global working-class solidarity.

Adopting this policy will not guarantee action, but it gives credibility and science-based information to help advocates in the community, universities, and medical, health, trade, and labor sectors to organize more effectively. Writing it has given opportunities for more young public health students to learn about capitalism and to build relationships. What we learned:

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Racist Newark, NJ Police Attack Four Brothers

By Jen Wager

February 14, 2022

On June 1, 2021, Newark undercover plainclothes police attacked four young black men–the four brothers Branden, Justin and Jaykil Rodwell and Jasper Spivey– in front of their home in the South Ward of Newark, NJ.  According to the police complaint, the cops stopped the Rodwell/Spivey brothers because they were “wearing white T-shirts and dreads” — clearly racially profiling and targeting them because they were black. Without announcing themselves as police, the cops immediately began harassing and then roughing up one of the brothers. The other brothers, seeing their family being attacked by armed white armed men, rushed to their defense. The cops then violently attacked all the brothers, put them all in chokeholds, and arrested two and then filed serious aggravated assault charges against all four.

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Sudan: Coups, Imperialists and Resistance

by Ellen Isaacs

January 30, 2022

Like all the nations of the Horn of Africa that abut the Red Sea, the main passageway for the transit of Middle Eastern oil, Sudan has been a prize desired by many imperialist nations. (For a background summary of the region, see https://multiracialunity.org/2017/09/16/inter-imperialist-resource-rivalry-brings-devastation-to-the-horn-of-africa-and-the-middle-east/.) For 75 years, there has been a large leftist opposition within the country. Now another military coup has taken place and led to mass protests. We international anti-racists and anti-capitalists should take note, support, and assess what chance there is that these large, valiant rebellions with their great human costs will actually bring about the kind of worker run society we need and strive for everywhere.

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Rittenhouse

by Ellen Isaacs

November 19, 2021

U.S. “JUSTICE” MEANS WE NEED TO KILL THIS SYSTEM

White men with guns can kill at will.

White cops can shoot black men at will.

Black men go to prison without killing anybody.

It’s no surprise that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges for killing two protesters against the police shooting Jacob Blake 7 times in the back and paralyzing him. It’s no surprise that no charges were brought against that cop.

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REfund the Police – The American Way to Deal with Poverty, Racism and Disruption

by Ellen Isaacs

November 16, 2021

What happened during 2020-21 in the USA? Lots of cataclysmic stuff:

  • Over 750,000 people died from Covid, blacks at twice the rate as whites
    • Schools were shut for a year
    • Unemployment, poverty, evictions increased
    • Access to social services, mental health care decreased
    • Community programs for recreation, tutoring, and social support closed

At the same time,

  • A police officer was finally convicted of murder in the death of a black  man
    • Protests against racist policing and calls for defunding or abolishing the police grew nationally
    • Detainees in immigration and criminal jails protested dangerous conditions
    • Calls for bail reform and decarceration grew

There is no question that gun violence also increased during this period. Shooting deaths in 2020 were up from previous years, and in the first five months of 2021 alone 8100 people were killed in the US, an average of 54 deaths a day. There was also a big increase in gun sales, 23 million in 2020, which is a 64% increase from 2019.1 Many articles and newscasts attribute the increase in shootings to this increase in gun sales, which is an easy explanation, but research shows this is not actually the case.

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Pupils or Perpetrators? How “Safety Officers” Treat Students in US and NYC Schools

by Ellen Isaacs

October, 2021

Young black – and Latin, immigrant, and Native American – children in the US have been chained up and abused for centuries. Today in schools where poor and nonwhite students are the majority, students are targeted and attacked for misbehavior, much of it minor, some of it mere dissention, some of it nonexistent. If incidents have a basis in mental health or other needs of the child, there is little help available. If there is deprivation out of school, such as unstable housing or insufficient food, there is little help available. Because this is the US we live in, a profit-driven society that depends on racism to exploit and divide workers.

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HAITI: August 14, 2021

Students mobilize at site of collapse

Haitian communists in the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) let us know how they are affected and helping at the earthquake’s epicenter. Translated from French original.

8:30 in the morning, the sun is struggling to rise as the country’s problems pile up: Corona virus, five million starving, no functional institutions, no government. Haiti is in a coma.

8:31 am the earth began to shake like it did a little more than a decade ago. The departments of the South, Nippes and Grand-Anse are the most affected. The numbers are mounting of dead, wounded and especially displaced.

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Local Struggles Target Racism with Unity and Determination

Linda Green and Karyn Pomerantz, 6-25-2021

In Prince George’s County, Maryland, antiracist activists are bringing national issues into local neighborhoods by fighting vaccine inequities, police violence, imprisonment, and housing injustice. This blog advocates for multiracial unity and anti-capitalist politics. It supports organized, coordinated movements independent of electoral politics that include direct action and political education: walk the talk! While many activists participate in demonstrations and national and international campaigns, it is essential to recruit neighbors to sustain a mass movement against racism in their communities and on the job.

Mt. Rainier, MD Protest of Police Murder

This article describes several campaigns in this County and beyond, our challenges, and opportunities, and recommendations for other places.

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No Asylum for Haitians: Biden Deports Over 1000 Haitian Workers Fleeing Political Turmoil and Death

  

Karyn Pomerantz, May 17, 2021

UPDATE, May 21, 2021. Under pressure from immigration justice activists, Biden granted Temporary Protective Status, TPS, to Haitian asylum seekers who are in the United States by May 21, affecting 100,000 Haitians. Citing the political instability and violent uprisings in Haiti, the Administration reversed Trump’s denial of TPS. Could it be that it fears growing rebellion that could threaten the US’ exploitation of Haitian workers?

Demonstration, Feb. 21, 2021, against President Moise’s Illegal Rule

Since enslaved Haitian people abolished slavery in 1804, the imperialist nations, primarily the US, have attacked its economy and installed its presidents. They used Haiti as a cash cow, extorting reparations and interest payments on loans. From the beginning of Haiti’s liberation, France demanded reparations of $21 billion dollars in 2004 currency. The US CitiBank assumed the debt in 1911 in order to receive interest payments that Haiti repaid by 1947.

US troops occupied Haiti from 1915-1934 and supported the vicious governments of the Duvaliers under Papa Doc and Baby Doc. Reagan refused admission of Haitians to the US under the false assumption that they were likely to have HIV. US administrations overthrew the Aristide presidency. Clinton forced rice producing Haiti to import US rice, wiping out its rice farmers who then migrated to overcrowded cities where jobs were scarce. He established enterprise zones where foreign or international textile corporations employed Haitian workers, mostly women, who they grossly exploited with non-living wages and sexual intimidation under the guise of providing jobs. (See the article on migration here, Migration: A Reflection of Capitalism – The Multiracial Unity Blog).

The 2010 earthquake destroyed even more infrastructure that was weak to begin with. Over 300,000 people died, and survivors were forced into miserable refugee camps where little medical care or sanitation existed. Yet, tens of millions of dollars filled the coffers of NGOs who rushed their contractors to help Haiti rebuild. Known as the land of the NGOs, Haitian workers rarely if ever benefit from their programs. Organizations as revered as CARE were found to hoard the food sent to Haiti. The United Nations reported that NGOs and governments distributed only 43% of the promised $4.6 billion in aid for rebuilding. The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), a liberal economic think tank founded by Dean Baker, reports the discrepancies in the promises of foreign aid and its reality (Haiti by the Numbers, Haiti by the Numbers, Ten Years Later – Center for Economic and Policy Research (cepr.net):

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