War Is a Racket

Cover Art by Zohar Lazar
I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
— Smedley Butler, War Is a Racket
Front Matters

Front Matters

Basic training.

Party Lines

From Swords to Ploughshares

We’re held hostage by a political and military elite that exploits us to fuel its endless wars.

David Broder

Struggle Session

Dismantling the School-to-Soldier Pipeline

Inside the fight against JROTC, a Pentagon program that targets working-class teenagers at public schools.

A Conversation with Nancy Cruz, Barbara Harris, Rick Jahnkow, and Seth Kershner

Breaking the Chains of Command

David Broder

Far from simply a question of foreign policy, the fight against militarism is a battle to undermine the basis of ruling-class power.

National guardsmen pose by an artillery barricade in the Place Vendôme. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Means of Deduction

Means of Deduction

God created war so that Americans would learn geography.

Uneven & Combined

The Armored Archipelago

The United States has 800 military installations in dozens of countries around the world. They all must be dismantled.


Death Drive

Eighty years of American nuclear weapons policy.

Reading Materiel

Reading Materiel

Declassified but redacted for national security.

Canon Fodder

An Empty Tale

Daniel Bessner

The foreign policy establishment is responding to Trump-era brutalities by demanding more, not less, aggression and empire.

Canon Fodder

Ike & Hayek

Tim Barker

Eisenhower’s warning about the “military-industrial complex” marked an era when the American right feared militarism could bankrupt the country and plunge it into socialism.

Field Notes

The Wolfowitz Doctrine

In 1992, the Cold War was over. But the Defense Department was already planning for the next one.


The Online Left Goes to War

Photos courtesy of Stefan Bertram-Lee

Stefan Bertram-Lee was an internet leftist. And then they went to Rojava and got a gun.

Illustration by John Karborn

By Owen Hatherley

All Dad’s Armies

British politics have become a strange form of World War II cosplay, where the European Union are the Nazis, 1945 is a betrayal, and Boris Johnson is the new Winston Churchill.

Cultural Capital

Cultural Capital

Wholesome and patriotic entertainment.

Red Channels

Broken Barry

On HBO’s new tragicomedy, a veteran plumbs the depths of his combat record for the stage — but ends up painting a portrait of middle-American desolation.

Eileen Jones

Red Channels

Hollywood and the Pentagon

Some of your favorite movies were probably made with help from the Department of Defense.
Now we know which ones.

Bass & Superstructure

Who Cares What Army?

Though their time as a band was brief, the Monks represent a “what if” of the convergence between GI resistance and the 1960s counterculture.

Alexander Billet

Ways of Seeing

The GI Bill Made Art

The GI Bill is proof: if people have access to education and the means to live, they’ll create meaningful art.

Ben Davis

Once Upon a Time ... in Kashmir

Pankaj Mehta


Illustration by Cristina Daura

The Endless Frontier

The military sets the agenda for scientific research.

Nicole Aschoff

The University of Phoenix Army

For-profit colleges are making Wall Street firms even richer. Bush’s 2008 GI Bill helped make that possible.

Illustration by Yeyei Gómez
The Tumbrel

The Tumbrel

Improving troop morale.

The Worst Estate

Selling Tony Blair’s War

Working people knew the war in Iraq was a mistake — but they didn’t have a media to speak for them.

Dawn Foster


UN Peacekeepers Are Not Your Friends

Even for the United Nations, bombs and troops are increasingly the solution to problems created by an unjust global economy.

Branko Marcetic


Camera in One Hand, Gun in the Other

With its celebration of mercs rampaging through Africa, no healthy society could produce a magazine like Soldier of Fortune.

Jonah Walters

The 7th-Inning Stretch Under Socialism

Liza Featherstone

It’s possible to elevate the working class without the jingoism.



Military surplus.

The Dustbin

The First March on Washington

A. Philip Randolph called for a March on Washington to force President Roosevelt to abolish Jim Crow in the war effort, and shaped the trajectory of the postwar left.

Paul Heideman

War Is a Racket