U.S. Politics and the Economy

Bombs or Bread

By Bonnie Weinstein

I received a phone call Saturday, August 9, 2014, from a reporter at a local public radio station regarding my opinion of President Obama’s renewed bombing of Iraq. (I get calls from time to time about current events because I publish a blog, Bay Area United Against War Newsletter at that lists events and actions as well as relevant news articles geared to antiwar and social justice activists living in the Bay Area.)

My response to the question asked by the reporter was that the U.S. should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately. That bombing people into oblivion is no answer to any conflict.

The reporter then asked me, “Well what about the sectarian violence and the thousands of Iraqis trapped on a barren mountain range without food or water? Who will help them?”

I told him that the reason for this gross injustice—the sectarian fighting and violence—is due to poverty, the lack of jobs, the destruction and/or decay of the infrastructure, the environment, and the general unavailability of the necessities of life for the overwhelming majority of people—not just in Iraq, but everywhere.

The solution for people in crisis everywhere is to provide massive aid to be determined by those in crisis, not by their oppressors. The oppressors must be made to cover the costs.

In Iraq, and in all the violent conflicts across the globe that the U.S. is responsible for, and profits from, the U.S. should be forced to provide massive reparations, not only to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan for the death and destruction that resulted from its unjust wars against them, but to all those who have been plunged into poverty by the vicious quest for profits and control of the natural resources by wealthy U.S. corporations—the commanders of capital—who have been routinely plundering the world.

The only solution to poverty, injustice and war is to supply food, money, and materials to rebuild the lives of those living in poverty. And these funds should come out of the pockets of the CEOs of corporations—from the profits they have stolen off the backs of working people—not from taxpayers!

If everyone had gainful employment, housing, healthcare, education, a bright future to look forward to, we wouldn’t have all this hatred and violence.

Violence abroad, violence at home

The next day after that interview, Sunday, August 10, 2014, I read in the New York Times about the most recent police-murder of another young, unarmed Black youth, Michael Brown, 18, in a St. Louis, Missouri suburb. The article was titled, “Grief and Protests Follow Shooting of a Teenager,” by Julie Bosman and Emma G. Fitzsimmons. According to the article,

“The killing of the youth, Michael Brown, 18, ignited protests on Saturday and Sunday in Ferguson, Mo., a working-class suburb of about 20,000 residents. Hundreds of people gathered at the scene of the shooting to question the police and to light candles for Mr. Brown, who was planning to begin college classes on Monday. …At a candlelight vigil on Sunday evening, the heightened tensions between the police and the African-American community were on display. A crowd estimated in the thousands flooded the streets near the scene of the shooting, some of them chanting ‘No justice, no peace.’ They were met by hundreds of police officers in riot gear, carrying rifles and shields, as well as K-9 units.”

This article confirmed my comments made to the reporter. Again, the U.S. government’s answer to strife and conflict is to call out the police in riot gear, with rifles, shields and dogs—not to stop the police violence—but to punish those who protest it!

Their solution is to use violence as a first response to squelch any attempt by the victims to defend themselves—to organize their community against the constant police occupation, violence and oppression they live under.

There can be only one reason for this and that is to send a clear message to all those who dare to protest, that they, the U.S. government, its military and police will, by any means necessary, try, as Malcolm X said, “to turn the victim into the criminal and the criminal into the victim” just as they are doing across the globe whenever anyone rises up to defend their rights.

Capital’s greed and theft of the profits of the labor of others, and the privatization of all the world’s natural resources are the cause of all the violence and suffering in the world today.

The poverty and injustice capitalism breeds causes despair because it forces us to compete with each other for the necessities of life instead of cooperating democratically with each other to provide all with the things we need and want, while at the same time, preserving and cultivating a healthy and bountiful environment.

There is a clear solution to injustice and strife, and violence has no place in it! The military and police of the world commanded by capital and the weapons they control must be disarmed, destroyed and banned forever. And their obscene wealth confiscated and used to end poverty and injustice—to provide jobs, housing, healthcare, education—all the necessities and amenities of life to all. This is a socialist solution—the only solution.