As a global recession kicks in, fuel, energy, and food prices are still on the rise. Yet, does the US government attempt to alleviate its people’s suffering? Of course not! We’re going to take a little look and discuss the things the federal government DOES choose to spend money on. Namely, defense spending, and privatized contracts that make arms manufacturers billions of dollars.

First, the US Army approved the next-generation replacements for the M-4 and the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon. I’m not gonna bore you too much with specific differences between the firearms other than pointing out that not a hell of a lot has changed in the rifles themselves, but the Army developed a new caliber of ammunition that’s spurring these changes. The reason? They learned in Afghanistan that the 5.56mm NATO rounds currently fielded weren’t lethal enough at distances greater than 300 meters. 

Interesting take, when politicians and liberal activists say that the AR platform is “designed for war” and “don’t belong on our streets” yet it ISN’T DEADLY ENOUGH to continue being fielded. The new 6.8mm round designed by the Army is obviously a fair amount larger than its predecessor, with a farther effective distance and more ballistic damage than the 5.56mm rounds. The specific ballistics or effective range weren’t reported that I have seen. However, Army Times has stated that it has “further range” than 5.56mm rounds and “greater long-range accuracy” than the 7.62mm round.

The new Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) will be referred to as the M250 (replacing the M249) and the new assault rifle will be called the M5 (replacing the M4) It features M-lock handguards, a Picatinny Rail, an ambidextrous safety, a left-side charging handle and a collapsible buttstock.

What makes the situation even MORE alarming isn’t just the deadlier platform, but how quickly it’s being rolled out! Early 2023 for “close combat forces” which includes special operations, infantry, scouts and combat engineers. That’s a very quick rollout! Makes one wonder what the rush is. With the M16 in 1964, the obvious rush was the war in Vietnam. Is the US government literally gearing up for war with Russia? China? OPEC?

On top of that, that the US state is spending a whopping $4.7 BILLION for the weapons contract and another $2.7 BILLION for the new sight technology! Someone at Sig Sauer is making a pretty penny off of this venture, that much we can be sure of.

What draws my attention far more than the M5 or the brand-new round is the NGSW-Fire Control which is a computer-assisted optic (sight) that wirelessly links with soldier devices and includes aim correction, a first focal plane optic, a disturbed reticle, a ballistics computer and a laser rangefinder. I don’t think I have to tell you why this is disturbing! Rangefinder, ballistics computer, aim correction. Sounds like it’s out of a dystopian Sci-Fi movie to you? It sure does to me!

I would imagine that the specifics of the sight (such as how the aim correction or the automatic zoom works) are probably still classified, given that no details on these things were given. However, with the fact that it’s computer assisted, has an “aim correction” feature, links with “other devices” (which weren’t specified) and a whole host of other Sci-Fi-esque features, I can imagine that this “sight” basically makes you a top-notch marksman with very little effort or expertise required.

It also stands to reason that it would show dangers and threats from other sources (think like the drone UAV in Call of Duty, for example) or perhaps warn when “friendlies” are in a specific direction. Of course, for this all we have is speculation. But we see our speculation as reasonable. This sight tech has probably been in development for decades!

Even in the most stripped-down configuration with no computer it has 1-8x variable zoom, an etched backup reticle and more. These weapons and sights are a huge step in the technology factor, but these aren’t used to fight for global good… 

They’re tools of oppression, used by the oppressor to maintain imperial hegemony, continue a stranglehold on the resources of the global south, and threaten other nations into submission. (Let’s not forget that the US government is also consistently threatening Russia with nukes and conventional warfare, China with economic and/or military force, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with naval force, drones, missiles, etc. and maintains an economic stranglehold on the island nation of Cuba since the mid-to-late 1960s)

These new weapons will be used to crush dissent globally, put enemies of US hegemony on the defense, and likely used on our borders and eventually in our cities. A soldier doesn’t even have to be a good shot at this point. It isn’t a matter of having the “best-trained military money can buy” but more so a matter of buying equipment that does the work itself, so they can rule by force, by fear, and increasing their odds of maintaining their leadership of the global capitalist hegemony.

All the while, Europe is in the midst of an energy crisis, the globe is slipping into a massive recession (which Joe Biden is conveniently, currently, stating doesn’t exist when the facts show we’re already in one), and American oil producers stand to make huge profits off of the energy crisis in Europe. They don’t mind if thousands freeze to death if it means they make billions!

On to the rest of our military budget… back in the early days of FWAM, we talked about Trump’s record-setting military budgets through his 4 year stay at the White House. Biden never had any intention of lowering the defense budget. At the end of the day, Biden and Trump agree on the same basic things. They’re both capitalists, they both are “law and order” type right wing white men.

The final military budget under Trump’s presidency was $738 Billion… in 2021, the number stayed the same under Biden…until he asked for additional funding. In 2022, Biden has asked Congress for billions of dollars multiple times to send arms to Ukraine (I’d imagine that given the new rifle platforms, it’ll only be a matter of time until we’re sending our M16’s, M4’s and M249 SAW rifles to Ukraine as an excuse to equip our entire military with the new technology)

The defense budget that the Biden administration inherited from the previous administration is higher, when adjusted for inflation, than what the United States spent at the peak of the Cold War under President Ronald Reagan. That said…. It was $738 billion in 2020. For 2021, total military spending amounted to $801 Billion. That’s a massive increase! And for 2022 the approved budget was $778 billion, not counting the arms, equipment, and funding sent to Ukraine. I haven’t dove too deeply into the (temporary) FY 2023 funding yet (but we will, in time) but I would expect the continued trend of higher and higher military budgets.

The capitalist press keeps discussing how Russia and China’s defense spending is unsustainable…yet China has a MASSIVE population, and only spends ~$252 billion per year. Russia’s budget for defense is much smaller than that, at only ~$61.7 billion per year. That’s an inability to look in the mirror, to the fullest. American defense spending is going to bankrupt the working class to benefit the rich.

Anyone know who the third largest military budget in the world goes to? The US police forces. The US police forces, prisons, and court systems get TWICE AS MUCH public monies as welfare programs (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, EBT food stamp benefits and supplemental Social Security payments) according to spending data compiled by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman for their book “The Triumph of Injustice” which used data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis to come to this conclusion. In 2020, the United States collectively spent $115 BILLION on policing. That’s nearly DOUBLE Russia’s annual defense spending.

In recent decades, we’ve seen a serious militarization of the police nearly everywhere inside the borders of the United States. At this point, most police forces are equipped with full SWAT equipment, military grade firearms and body armor, vehicles (like “mobile command centers” surveillance boats, and even sometimes things like personnel carriers or armored vehicles) I think it’s safe to assess that these new technologies will find their way to the police forces across the US in a quite quick manner.

I believe that all of these upgrades to military equipment and all of these constant increases in military spending are preparing for a major global event, or even widespread revolt. The US imperialists will use any and all means they can to extract as much profit as possible from areas around the globe. They’ve been doing it for decades.

It’s on anti-imperialists inside the US (or as Che Guevara referred to it, “inside the belly of the beast”) to struggle and resist these budgets, among other oppressive institutions, such as the US policing system, which was born out of runaway slave patrols. We must build base areas of dual and contending power. Political, Economic and Social power. We must call for an end of legal slavery in the form of the 13th amendment, which makes slavery legal for punishment of a crime. We must call for an end of for profit prisons. We must call for an end to these privatized defense contracts. We must call for an end to imperialistic endeavors, as a whole, and for an end to the cold-war-esque antics of the Biden/Harris administration. 

All Power to the People!

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