The months leading up to Labour Day brought terrifying news about the increasing danger of war and militarism. The world’s attention has been focused on the Korean Peninsula and the wider East Asia region, and Donald Trump’s bombastic warnings that the US military is “locked and loaded” and prepared to rain “fire and fury” on the DPRK (North Korea). Not surprisingly, as a country which suffered millions of casualties in the US invasion of 1950-53, the DPRK considers its arsenal as the only meaningful form of deterrence against such an attack. Many global voices are calling for a negotiated solution to this crisis, including de-nuclearization of the entire region, a peace deal to finally end the Korean War, and removal of US troops from South Korea.
Not satisfied with its threat to destroy the DPRK, US imperialism continues to ramp up other preparations for aggression. This includes Venezuela, where democratically-elected President Maduro faces Washington’s anger for convening a National Constituent Assembly, under the provisions of the country’s constitution. Most recently, Trump has dropped his campaign rhetoric about pulling out of the Afghanistan quagmire, announcing that 4,000 more troops will be sent to bolster the US occupation. The sovereign government of Syria also remains in the cross-hairs of Washington.
Amidst this war-making, the terrible cost of global militarism remains unchanged. The world now wastes over a trillion dollars a year on preparing for and conducting wars, and the US is responsible for the majority of this spending. The working class must address this issue, particularly in countries like Canada, where official trade union participation in the peace movement is virtually non-existent. Peace is not just a dream, it is at the heart of the working class struggle for a better world. This Labour Day, we urge the labour movement to put peace back on the agenda!