To End the Wars, Get the Blood Money Out of Politics

Originally published, Jan 21, 2019

Martin Luther King was not just a triumphant fighter against the moral obscenity of Jim Crow. He also was willing to spend much of his political capital decrying the mindless, futile carnage of Viet Nam — a position for which a formerly supportive mainstream media excoriated him. In honor of MLK Day, I would like to offer this modest proposal:

Be it resolved: No employee of a company which makes weapons of war (as opposed to small arms used for personal protection or by the police) will be allowed to donate to any political campaign or political PAC.

Further, that no such company may make contributions to political PACs.

War is the utmost evil that humans inflict upon themselves. Prior to the end of WWII, there was a widespread sentiment that making money on war was downright evil. In the age of US Empire, that sentiment is no doubt considered “quaint”, rather like the laws against torture. But fundamentally, that sentiment is sound and profound.

While it would be more than problematic to try to turn U.S. war manufacturers into not-for-profit enterprises, it may be possible to minimize the impact of such companies on the political process. The politicians who often vote for wars, continual occupations, and the maintenance of our world-spanning empire of military bases, are more often than not receiving substantial campaign funding from war manufacturers. If that funding vanished, would they be less likely to favor carnage and domination? I suspect so! This wouldn’t eliminate all of the incentives for military foreign involvements — our capitalist class demands pliant governments in Third World countries that maximize their profit opportunities, and pro-Israel money will continue to goad our politicians into doing Israel’s regime-change dirty work for it — but it would eliminate much of the incentive.

Is this a strategy that anti-war true Progressives could get behind? As well as true Conservatives who resent the continual massive flow of our tax dollars to the war profiteers? What say you, Fellow Patriots?

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I think MLK, Jr. thought at first that containing the issue to equal rights, even equal economic rights, for black Americans would be wisest. After all, the NAACP had become much less of an irritant than the draft card and flag burners. But, then various groups convinced him that warring against people of color because they wanted Communism was very related to the work that he was doing.

Call me whatever you feel you must, I believe that his decision to go publicly after war, economic injustice and racism of all kinds got him killed. Abolition of Jim Crow was one thing--amd dangerous enough for Democrats--but no one with any power wanted someone as galvanizing as MLK, Jr. spearheading all that.

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Big Al's picture

I'm not a progressive, but very antiwar, anti-imperialism. One thing the MIC, which is more like the military/security/intelligence/law enforcement industrial complex, does is spread out it's operation among the fifty states to get as many politicians and citizens addicted to their products, and the money and jobs that comes from them, to prevent pushback. For instance, parts for the B-2 bomber has parts made in nearly every state. The same goes for military bases and installations across the country. So the tentacles of war, militarism and imperialism are everywhere and I doubt taking a single action like this would have any impact. Then you have to consider all phases of imperialism which includes economic warfare, which can be just as deadly as dropping bombs, as we saw by the half million kids killed in Iraq during the 90's due to US led sanctions. Like they're doing in Venezuela and many other places right now.

However, the idea of it could spur greater pushback against imperialism and militarism.

Smedley Butler wrote War is a Racket and in it included a significant part regarding who profits from war and how we need to take the profit out of war.

"WELL, it's a racket, all right.
A few profit -- and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.

The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation -- it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted -- to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.

Let the workers in these plants get the same wages -- all the workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers -- yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders -- everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!
Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those workers in industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.
Why shouldn't they?"

Times are different now, it's way more complicated and global. I read where the Russian and Chinese MIC's are also making a killing, and they're humans like the rest of us which means their MIC's will have and are having the same kind of effects there. The global MIC is so big now even Ike would probably be amazed.

Probably the only way to stop war is a people's revolution to force an end to all imperialism and militarism on the planet. It sure won't get done by relying on the duopoly to pass some measure restricting PAC money.

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