Patriotism Protects Profits

The present and future mass slaughters on all sides of a coming oil war should help the world’s workers learn the bitter lesson that “patriotically” uniting behind any capitalist means mayhem or death for us.

U.S. rulers are attempting to mobilize workers here to sacrifice our blood for the “national interest.” It is clear that our class has nothing to gain from backing the terrorist atrocities that killed thousands on September 11. But we have even far more to lose by marching off to fight and die for Exxon’s super-profits.

The bosses are spouting one big lie after another to win our loyalty. The latest is their media’s hero-worship of the racist police, whose main job is to serve as the profit system’s first line of defense against workers in the class struggle. Suddenly the capitalist newspapers and television are idolizing the same blue-suited, armed Klansmen who have been gunning down black working-class youth for years under orders from above, and who will ruthlessly break strikes, as they always have. The U.S. “national” interest is the interest of the Exxon Mobil gang that holds state power. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be suckered into confusing our class interest with the rulers’ flag-waving lies.

The same principle applies in evaluating the bosses now lining up to fight U.S. imperialism. The bin Laden terrorists and other factions in the Muslim world can wrap themselves in the justified hatred millions of oppressed workers everywhere feel toward the murderous U.S. ruling class. Many people worldwide, as well as some here who sincerely oppose U.S. imperialism, are rooting openly or secretly for the defeat of the U.S. Empire in the present struggle.

But this is a fight among bosses. No worker anywhere should choose sides when capitalists do battle to realign the pecking order among them. There is no “lesser evil” capitalist. The laws of the profit system have an iron logic, regardless of the nationality or religion of the capitalist who dominates at any given time. This the logic of maximum profit. Replacing the barbarous, brutal Saudi royal family with another group of exploiters won’t reduce the misery of workers in the oil fields or diminish the inevitability of imperialist war. Replacing the pro-U.S. Shah of Iran with the present regime of holy roller nationalist mullahs hasn’t improved the life of Iranian workers one bit — and the threat of oil war involving Iran is as great as ever.

Workers who want to smash imperialism must not choose sides among imperialists or would-be imperialists. All-class unity behind any boss is a deadly loser. Our job is to build revolutionary unity among the workers of the world, across all borders and against all bosses.

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