Socialist Equality Party campaign teams spoke to workers and young people last weekend in Michigan and Minnesota about the Obama administration’s renewed war drive in Iraq and Syria while promoting the upcoming nationwide lecture series, Imperialism and the Wars of the Twentieth Century.
A Socialist Equality Party campaign team visited Detroit’s Eastern Market Saturday to build for the October 6 lecture at Wayne State University, which will be delivered by WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North.
SEP supporters encountered strong opposition to the Obama administration’s plans for launching a new war in the Middle East. Many stopped to give their views on the question of war and its relation to the assault on the jobs, living conditions and democratic rights of working people in the United States.
Caren, a laboratory assistant, told campaigners, “I am not for another war. I have only one son, and I want to keep him. He’s going to school right now, and he is young.”
She contrasted the seemingly unlimited amount of funds made available for war with the starving of resources for social programs. “There are people in this country who cannot afford to eat,” she said. “Older people who are struggling. People who are in need. We need funds to help the mentally ill, people who cannot help themselves.”
Charles, a young worker, told SEP campaigners, “I think it is all about control of natural gas and oil. Then there is the conflict with Russia. They control pipelines in Eastern Europe. It is all about control and defending the interests of the people who are in power.”
He spoke about the conditions in Detroit. “What they are doing in Detroit is like what they did in Cyprus. It is an attack on citizens to steal all of their wealth. It’s like shaking down someone to try to get all of the coins out of their pockets.”
Karen Henry, a medical assistant at Providence Hospital in Southfield. “I’m totally against war, period. Why are we sending people over there to kill people we don’t know?”
Carol Shafranek said, “I am totally against this war. It’s a never-ending war. This is worse than Vietnam; at least that ended. It’s an insane war. All they’ll do is send our young men to get maimed and burned.”
Eric added, “I think it’s just another war to support the military industrial complex.”
Kelly, another young worker thought the justification for war against ISIS was being fabricated by the Obama administration. “They make us fight in wars that they are creating. They are going to spend all this money to control the resources in the Middle East because they think they are going to get a bigger return for themselves.”
She said that the money being spent on war was desperately needed by workers at home. “Look at what is happening in Detroit. People work all their lives and now they are telling them they are not going to have a pension. What are people supposed to do? Work until they die? The system has fallen apart. Basic needs are not being met. Simple things like water.”
“You can ride through the city and the lights are off and transportation doesn’t function. They are shutting off peoples’ water in a state that’s surrounded by water.”
Brent, a former student visiting Detroit from Australia, said that he had just heard about the so-called anti-terror raids carried out in that country. “The media portrays it as being about the ISIS issue and that they are trying to protect people. But they are using it as a precedent to detain people without charges when they have no evidence. They are just going on a hunch.
“The Australian prime minister is going in to the Middle East because America is going in. Our prime minister is a puppet basically. Meanwhile, they are arming people who a few years ago they were labeling “terrorists.”
A Socialist Equality Party campaign team also spoke to workers and young people in Minneapolis. The International Youth and Students for Social Equality at the University of Minnesota will be sponsoring a lecture by David North on October 1.
Rashid, a resident of the Cedar-Riverside housing project in Minneapolis, said, “What did we learn from Iraq? There were no weapons of mass destruction. That was all about money and oil and politics. The people who were dying were innocent, and the result is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. And what is going on with Israel? They're using my tax money to bomb innocent people.”
“We need to stand up and unite to go against this government, not only here but everywhere. The governments of the world all harm the poor.”