The Monopoly of Arms

By Fernando Buen Abad on May 11, 2019

The hegemony of imperialism is based on the skillful camouflage of peace, democracy, humanitarian aid, justice and culture

Some “common sense” — disturbed by means of bayonets — taught us to postpone (or perhaps resign to) our right to know why such an extraordinary amount of money is spent around the globe on weaponry. It takes place without prior consultation or checks and balances. Long story short, it’s some sort of “understood value” according to which we are supposed to know that it is “necessary” and “good” to be subject to the world market of warfare merchandise manufactured by the transnational war industry. Nobody says a word when we read, “The world military expenditure increases 2.6 percent pushed by the United States and China: ‘It is a new arms race’.”

It is the norm now that we ignore the term “war hypotheses” used to justify the purchase of what warfare has to offer. What is threatening us? Since when? How? And where? How many are there of these “enemies” perceived by the “establishment”? How are they defined and how are they found? Who decides where to buy, which logic of “defense” or “attack” is used for it? What tactical and strategic ambushes turn us into hostages to the products of the war market’? Are they under guarantee? Do we get discounts? Do they have “seasonal sales”? How are they advertised? Or does the business consist of paying without asking about the planned obsolescence devised by the monopoly of arms according to their crises of overproduction too? Don’t we deserve to know how the money of the working class is spent, especially when the purchased arsenal is not free from the — real — risk of being used against the very people who pay for it? “According to recent data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), military spending increased 2.6 percent compared to 2017 up to 1.8 billion dollars, 87 billion more than the previous year. Nowadays, it is 76% higher than the historic minimum recorded after the Cold War in 1998.”

This is a commercial feast through which vast fortunes pass, mainly assigned to the businesses of: 1. Lockheed Martin (United States), with revenues of $47.24 billion in 2016; 2. Boeing (United States) with revenues of $29.5 billion (Division Defense, Space and Security); 3. BAE Systems (United Kingdom) with revenues of $25.6 billion; 4. Raytheon (United States) with revenues of $24 billion; 5. Northrop Grumman (United States) with revenues of $24.5 billion… They are the world leaders in the business of death.  No need to be very creative to understand the commercial plot in such a financial feast, where owners share businesses with the world banking industry and transnational media monopolies. The three largest “legal” businesses globally. We do not need too many words either to explain, besides vast “profits,” that these businesses result in death, desolation and planetary humiliation. Global Arms Industry: The United States Corporations Lead the top 100 List.

Under the legalized pretext of “State Secret privilege,” buyers and sellers represent a congregation of waste and death behind people’s back. Even against people. Not a small amount of that trade is the result of a broadly diverse blackmailing system that shelters a warfare culture infused everywhere. Movies, T.V. series, books, video games for children, songs, myths, and fetishes by the ton fill the collective imagery to complete the evil principles of the warfare logic turned into entertainment. Meanwhile, the world is drenched in the blood of innocents. “57 percent of the world’s arms trade is led by U.S. corporations.”

Trapped as we are in the logic of colonialist violence, oppressive powers oblige us to accept that we need weapons, armies, police and all sorts of spying and repressive forces. They oblige us to easily accept that there is something or someone threatening us all the time and that we should purchase all the new items of that are in fashion, continuously manufactured by the “genius” of death. They sell us the weapons and the training for how to use them; they sell us “advisors” and they sell us the needed ideology to maintain our loyalty to their market. And they sell us, even by installment, the sell-by date in their paraphernalia to drown us in the logic of “updating,” which they have programmed to destroy our domestic budgets and all human beings in the process. They also sell us the idea of punctual payment and that we should be “pacifists.”

On the other side of this story, we have the people who knew how to use weapons in their independence projects. All pro-independence struggles count on essential references who managed to and continue to take up arms to get rid of imperial dominations. Today, great peaceful revolutions, cornered by bourgeois war threats, can only find a solution by resorting to their armed population. And this is the key. It is not the same to arm gangs of professional mercenaries to kill the population than people armed to emancipate against all oppressive infamies… Whatever they are called.

In our education and in our culture, arms also play a significant role in economic and political systems. They are in our national anthems and in our leaders. There are avenues, streets and neighborhoods that pay homage to armed social struggles. We have music, paintings, sculptures and poetry referring to the battles against oppressors. Not a few monuments and statues refer to tools or heroes who defeated militarily and culturally, together with an armed population, the (old and new) oppressor who used treacherous arms against the poor who, in the end, funded him. The struggle between oppressors and the oppressed, class struggle, gives arms a radically opposite meaning. It is a contradiction where the awareness of freedom and the certainty of emancipation for a different world, in peace, without social classes, without lords, and without weapons is needed. A humanist one.

Source: Contrainformacion, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau