Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Letter to The Organizer: More on the SALT II Debate [and Organizer response]

First Published: The Organizer, Vol. 5, No. 9, September 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Dear Friends:

I am surprised that such an astute, communist newspaper as the Organizer would print the Quinn-Griffin article on the SALT 2 debate. One purpose of a communist newspaper is to unmask the ruling class by digging to the roots of an issue and exposing the myths that blind people to the truth. In this case, the myth of democracy was reinforced by the Organizer instead of being exposed as a sham.

It should be quite obvious that there is no split in the ruling class concerning the issues behind the SALT 2 Treaty. Let’s look at the context.

A few years back, President Nixon began to develop the nuclear weapons needed for a surprise attack against the Soviet Union. The plan included the Trident missile and submarine, the Mobile-X intercontinental missile in trenches, and the cruise missile in bombers. Each of these systems have the accuracy to wipe out the Soviet Union’s retaliatory forces with the exception of their nuclear missile submarines. But Nixon also began development of the necessary anti-submarine sensors and weapons to eliminate them as well.

Of course, President Ford followed in Nixon’s footsteps, but so has Carter. This should have given Quinn and Griffin an inkling that there was no conservative/liberal (or Republican/Democrat) split. All three presidents were following the same plan – the ruling class’ plan for nuclear superiority. How do the SALT Treaties fit into this plan?

Neither of the SALT Treaties have limited the nuclear arms race. All of the nuclear weapon treaties negotiated by the US and the US.SR (including SALT 1 and SALT 2) have had the function of restricting the arms race to agreed boundaries. As your article pointed out, SALT 2 will not restrict the Trident missile submarine, the cruise missile, nor the Mobile-X missile in trenches. Nor will SALT 2 restrict the Pentagon from developing the capability to wipe out Soviet nuclear missile submarines.

So where is the split in the ruling class? If the conservatives manage to whip up enough anti-Soviet sentiment to stop the SALT 2 Treaty, they will have no problem getting the money for their surprise attack weapons. If the liberals manage to stop the conservative drive, it will only be done by paying them off. The cost of SALT 2 ratification will be the cost of the nuclear weapons needed by the ruling class.

It is like watching a perverted football game in which the teams (liberals and conservatives) are both racing for the same goal line (a nuclear, surprise attack against the Soviet Union). It really doesn’t matter which team makes the touchdown because there is only one name on the scoreboard: “The Ruling Class.”

So for the life of me, I can’t see why Quinn and Griffin want to help either side carry out the wishes of the ruling class. It would be more in keeping with the role of a communist newspaper if the Organizer were to educate its readers about the charade called “democracy” taking place in Washington, D.C. It would also help the cause if the Organizer would agitate for a solution to the real problems: in this case, the huge Pentagon budget, the nuclear, surprise attack strategy; and the weapons being purchased for the Pentagon at the expense of the people’s needs.

Chris Robinson, Editor, RECON

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The Organizer responds:

While we respect Chris Robinson as a knowledgeable analyst of the arms race, we don’t understand how he can conclude there is no split in the ruling class over SALT II. If there is no split then what is all the contention about? Of course this split is limited to tactical questions of how to pursue the arms race as opposed to a division between those who are for peace and disarmament versus those who are for military build-up as the article made perfectly clear. But the split is real nevertheless. Otherwise we would have to conclude that the heated debate in Congress is simply a charade, an attempt to fool us by pretending there are differences where there aren’t. Certainly we should expose the pro-SALT II wing of the bourgeoisie which claims to be for “real peace.” But we also must exploit the tactical differences between this wing and the anti-SALT lobby.

We agree with Robinson that there is a dangerous likelihood that SALT II will only be passed through “concessions” which will significantly escalate arms spending and production. Our response to this is to support SALT while simultaneously opposing measures like the Nunn amendment calling for a 5% increase in the military budget. We also made clear we think SALT does little to cut existing levels of weapons production. But again support for SALT in no way ties our hands, or anyone else’s, in agitating for genuine reduction of weapons spending and opposing the deployment of both existing and projected weapons systems. The demand for Congress to ratify SALT should be accompanied by the demand to scuttle the Trident Submarine and the MX missile projects.