Editorial: Capitalist tinderbox of war

03 February 2024 343 hits

On January 27, a drone attack by an Iran-backed militia killed three U.S soldiers and wounded more than 30 at an outpost in Jordan, near the border with both Iraq and Syria. It marked the first killings of U.S. troops since Israel’s mass murder and ethnic cleansing in Gaza began last October. “Genocide Joe” Biden promptly promised retribution. Two days earlier, the United Nations’ World Court cowardly failed to call for a ceasefire in Gaza while warning Israel to “prevent” the genocide already happening (, 1/26). It’s a ruling the Israeli Zionist bosses and U.S. imperialists will simply ignore. And six days earlier,  the U.S. and UK launched the eighth missile attack on Yemen in the last two weeks, in retaliation for the Iran-backed Houthis’ attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea.

The bloodbath in Gaza is no longer a contained proxy battle between Israel and the nationalist misleaders of Hamas, with the U.S. and Iran funneling arms from the sidelines. The U.S. and British militaries are now directly involved in an expanding regional war, and the risk of more armies jumping in grows higher by the day. As inter-imperialist competition intensifies, war and more war continues to slaughter workers in the Middle East. As history has shown, only war can solve the capitalists’ contradictions. As the rulers scramble to protect their profits over workers’ dead and mangled bodies, the Progressive Labor Party calls on the international working class to join us and fight for a communist future.

Benefits and crisis for Iran’s callous bosses
So far, over 26,000 have been murdered in Gaza to date (, 1/30). Besides Hamas, Iran’s opportunist rulers are backing Hezbollah in Lebanon. They also stand behind Yemen’s Houthis,  the small-time war criminals striving to assert control over Red Sea shipping routes. The Houthis started as an opposition group to Yemeni bosses allied with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s most powerful regional enemy.  Over the last 10 years, as the Houthis won control over Yemen’s capital, more than 300,000 people have been killed and millions are suffering from starvation (, 1/12). The Houthi leaders’ anti-Zionist cover aside, they are no friends of the working class.

All things considered, Iran is the biggest beneficiary of the current Middle East conflict. The war has stalled a pending U.S- brokered deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia to form an anti-Iran alliance–a huge victory for Iran’s bosses. Israel’s genocidal response to Hamas’s October 7 massacre has moved millions across the globe to march against the Zionists’ savagery and oppression. It may also hurt Biden’s re-election chances, as young U.S. workers–and Black workers in particular–are repulsed by the Democrats’ blank check for Israeli genocide (New York Times, 1/28). Our class gains nothing by electing candidates who represent one set of bosses or another. Only communist revolution to smash the capitalists’ state will allow workers to free themselves from wage slavery, racism, sexism, and imperialist war.

Meanwhile, imperialists on all sides are adding fuel to a fire that none of them completely controls.  The Chinese bosses are complaining to their Iranian allies that the Houthis are menacing Chinese ships (Reuters, 1/25) And like all capitalists, the bosses in Iran have pressing internal problems. Last year, hundreds of thousands of young people there, encouraged by the U.S. bosses, joined anti-government demonstrations after security forces killed a young woman for wearing her hijab improperly (Congressional Research Service Rports, 1/26).

War is coming, and U.S. bosses aren’t ready
Since the formation of Israel in 1948, the Middle East has seen almost constant war over oil and control of critical shipping routes. But today we are living in a different period. The collapse of U.S. dominance, the rise of imperialist China, and the worldwide crisis of capitalism is triggering massive instability. With the U.S. bosses now directly involved in the latest imperialist bloodbath, and China and Russia perhaps not far behind, the world is on the edge of a far broader conflict. The U.S. may soon face a three-front war it cannot win: in the Middle East, against an Iran backed by both Russia and China; in Eastern Europe, with the Ukraine-Russia war; and in the South China Sea and Taiwan, in a battle over shipping routes, naval dominance, and semiconductors.

As the world's capitalists reshuffle their alliances and prepare to redivide the globe,  internal divisions in the U.S. ruling class are undercutting a credible army. Over the last few years, the U.S. Army has tried to promote more Black and Latin officers and shut down some of the open white nationalism that mushroomed during the Donald Trump administration. As a result, the U.S. Army can’t find enough bodies. New white recruits have dropped by over 20 percent, and there aren’t enough additional Black and Latin recruits to compensate (, 1/10). In a sign of just how weak the U.S. has become, Biden has admitted the bombings of Yemen won’t stop the Houthis’ maritime attacks– but vowed to keep bombing all the same. This volatile tit for tat could be the prelude to World War Three, where the bosses will force workers to kill their class sisters and brothers on a sickening scale.

In the face of this insanity, it’s a positive development that so many workers have taken to the streets. At the same time, the weaknesses of the Palestinian national liberation struggle are many and deep. Today’s mass movement is at best soft on the brutal, anti-worker Hamas leadership. If they succeeded in winning real power, these Islamist nationalists would betray the heroic armed resistance in Palestine with a state modeled after the workers’ hell in Iran. But there is another, brighter future before us. If our class harnesses our righteous anger, we can turn the bosses’ wars into the fight for communism. Put your confidence in the international working class! Now is the time to build a revolutionary communist movement. Now is the time to choose between the rising fascist tide and a world where everything is shared to meet workers’ needs. The bosses are parasites who create nothing but misery for the international working class. Join us in the final conflict to build a new world without them!