Behind the façade of the European Union lies trade competition and war!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
April 29, 2024

“Europe could die”; “It is surrounded by aggressive regional powers”; “Countries around the world are rearming faster and faster”: Macron is concerned his party will suffer a defeat in the upcoming European elections and is trying to gain support by posing as the number one defender of Europe. He recently gave his approval for the development of a European antimissile shield, a project he had refused to consider up until now.

If war is reaching Europe, Macron and other imperialist leaders are the ones to blame. They defend a system where there is a constant trade war between rivaling countries to gain access to natural resources and to win over market shares. The rivalry between these countries explains why the world is on the brink of a global war.

Putin invaded Ukraine in an attempt to prevent Western capitalists from monopolizing the trade markets and natural resources in a country that was born of the Soviet Union. Ever since, NATO has sought to prolong this fratricidal war which is destroying the country and decimating its population in order to ensure that Ukraine remains a semi-colony of Western capital.

The competition between major imperialist powers to dominate the world is the cause of many of the ongoing wars in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is the root of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Indeed, the British favored the creation of a Jewish state at the expense of the Arabs to ensure their influence in this oil-rich region strategic for international trade.

Then the United States took over, making Israel their unwavering ally to defend their interests in the Middle East. So if there is indeed a regional power that is “uninhibited”, it’s Israel. With impunity, Israel is massacring Palestinians in Gaza, hunting them down in the West Bank and provoking both the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran with the risk of setting the whole region ablaze!

There is also a trade war going on between major imperialist powers that are supposed to be allies, that is between the United States and different European powers. Among them, the only rule that counts is the fight for power.

Thanks to their power, the United States are the ones to pay the most so they attract European industrialists who leave Europe to settle there. Because the American market is vaster and less fragmented, capital is leaving Europe for America.

As for European political leaders, they all hand out huge state subsidies, each one taking good care to finance their own national automotive manufacturers, electricity producers and big construction companies – all in the name of transitioning to sustainable energy or bringing industrial production back into the country.

This constant economic rivalry explains why it is impossible for Europe to become truly unified within capitalist society.

The same is true when it comes to the military: “European Defense” exists only in Macron’s speeches. The defense and arms industry make up a very profitable market where the trade war is particularly ferocious.

For example, Germany doesn’t buy Rafale fighter jets from French manufacturer Dassault but American F-16s and France doesn’t consider buying German-made Leopard army tanks. Nexter, Thales, Safran and other French arms dealers demand that the French army buy exclusively from them.

Yes, the trade war is everywhere. With an economy in crisis, where the capacity to produce goods on a large scale exists but where the markets are completely saturated, the trade war is getting worse. It could turn into an all-out armed conflict at any time.

Preparations for a war between the United States and China are openly underway. In order to maintain their role as the world’s police officer, the United States spent 900 billion dollars last year. That’s 40% of the world’s total military spending and four times more than China.

Whether there be a trade war or an all-out war, the capitalists and their political servants always make the workers pay: first, by racing to stay competitive and by making cuts to healthcare and education in order to buy missiles; then, once war breaks out, by sending them onto the battlefield.

War is inseparable from capitalism. In order to have peace, workers must prepare for a revolution. They must expropriate the capitalist class and place society under their own direction.

We must affirm this prospect during May Day demonstrations and by voting for “Lutte ouvrière – le camp des travailleurs” in the European elections on June 9.

Nathalie Arthaud