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Vol. 81/No. 16      April 24, 2017

(lead article, Socialist Workers Party statement)

US hands off Korea! US troops, fleet out now!

Militant/Seth Galinsky
Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York mayor Osborne Hart at Feb. 24 march in Massapequa, Long Island, protesting deportations of immigrant workers.

The following statement was issued April 14 by Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of New York.

I call on fellow working people to join the Socialist Workers Party in speaking out against Washington’s threats against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Hands off Korea! U.S. troops, warplanes and gunboats out of Korea’s waters!

Washington’s deployment of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier-led “armada,” as President Donald Trump called it, is a threat to both the Korean people and the People’s Republic of China.

This fleet includes a combined crew of some 7,500 troops, more than 60 warplanes, a cruiser armed with Tomahawk missiles, and two destroyers equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. At the same time, one of the largest U.S.-South Korean joint war maneuvers ever held is underway. And to send a message, Washington included the notorious imperialist hit squad SEAL Team Six — which assassinated Osama bin Laden — in exercises that include simulations of “decapitation” of the North Korean leadership.

Washington claims it has the right to target North Korea because the government there carried out a handful of missile tests and has been developing nuclear weapons. The White House says they have the right to take preemptive military action against Pyongyang. Like the recent U.S. Tomahawk attack on Syria, the White House’s provocative threats against the Korean people and Korea’s sovereignty are bipartisan, backed by Democratic and Republican politicians alike.

It is U.S. imperialism that has amassed a massive and deadly military force in Asia. Washington has the most deadly nuclear arsenal in the world. Sixty percent of the U.S. Navy’s 69 submarines are now based in the Pacific, many equipped with nuclear missiles. More than 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, and some 50,000 more in Japan are ready to back them up.

The Pentagon, despite objections from Pyongyang, Beijing and tens of thousands in South Korea, has begun installing Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile batteries and espionage station in South Korea, a threat to workers and farmers throughout Asia.

The U.S. ruling capitalist class has a long record of brutal assaults on the people of Korea. As part of seizing the fruits of their victory in the second imperialist world war, Washington forcibly intervened against popular mobilizations of the Korean people seeking an end to colonial rule, divided the Korean Peninsula and installed a brutal dictatorship in the south.

More than 4 million people were killed, including at least 2 million civilians, as a result of the 1950-53 Korean War, carried out by Washington, its imperialist allies and its client regime in South Korea — under the banner of the United Nations.

Washington dropped more than 635,000 tons of bombs, 32,557 tons of napalm and leveled the vast majority of homes, hospitals, schools and factories across northern Korea, and in large parts of the South as well. Ultimately, they were fought to a standstill, unable to defeat North Korea.

Today the U.S. government has imposed draconian sanctions on the North, seeking to sabotage its economic development and make working people there pay for refusing to do Washington’s bidding. They are pressing the Chinese government to tighten the screws on North Korea even more.

The Socialist Workers Party has a proud history fighting against Washington’s intervention in Korea. We campaigned against the U.S. rulers’ forced division of Korea in 1945 when U.S. troops landed and, together with the regime Washington put in place, killed, beat, tortured or jailed those who stood up to the U.S. occupation.

We opposed the U.S.-led Korean War, where Washington sought to reimpose capitalist rule on the entire peninsula. And we continue to back the demand of the Korean people for reunification. Korea is one!

Working people in the U.S. are battered by the deepening capitalist economic crisis today and by the attempts of the bosses and their government to make us pay to boost their declining profit rates. More workers in the U.S. are dying on the job as the bosses enforce speedup and attack our unions. Millions are unable to find work. Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other social rights workers have won in struggle face the ax. And our political rights are under attack.

The same wealthy families who are responsible for Washington’s war moves against working people around the world are assaulting our rights and living conditions here at home. And for the same reason.

We say: End Washington’s economic and financial sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! U.S. troops, ships, planes and THAAD out of Korea! For a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons!  
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