As the Taliban Take Over Afghanistan and America Is Driven Out in Defeat...



As we wrote last week, nearly 20 years ago the fanatical Islamic fundamentalists of al Qaeda hijacked several airplanes and flew two of them into the World Trade Center, a massive office complex in New York. The center was destroyed and nearly 3,000 people were killed. They also attacked the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department.

In response, the U.S., under Republican President George W. Bush, declared war against the government of Afghanistan, which had allowed al Qaeda to stay in their country. The Afghanistan government was headed by a fanatical and repressive Islamic fundamentalist group, the Taliban.

The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan cost tens of thousands of Afghan lives, as well as those of several thousand U.S. and European invaders. While this mission was draped in all kinds of honeyed phrases about “spreading democracy” and “liberating women,” in its essence it was about two things:

First, delivering the Mafioso-style message to every other force in the world that if they dared attack the U.S. or even allowed an attack to take place from their soil, they would be destroyed with a vengeance a hundred times worse; and

Second, trying to radically and violently extend U.S. power in a much broader and deeper way into the Middle East and Central Asia and, beyond that, the world. Power that exists to defend a worldwide empire of exploitation, terrible oppression, and destructive plunder of the environment.

In Afghanistan, those “grand designs” of the U.S. empire were ultimately defeated. When the number one oppressor in the world suffers a defeat, that is positive for humanity.

This defeat occurs at a time of great conflict in the U.S. ruling class, unprecedented since the Civil War. While no one can say how any one event will play out, it is very possible that this will heighten the conflict within the ruling class overall and its core institutions of force (armed forces, CIA, etc). These conflicts are deeply explored in these recent works from Bob Avakian—A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity and THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY—and carry with them the possibility to be ripened into a revolutionary situation.

So, for all these reasons, this defeat should be welcomed.

This does not mean that things will automatically become easier for revolution. In the short term, the Biden administration may try to hit back harder elsewhere or in other ways to reassert U.S. domination. The fascists will pursue their own strategy, whether pressuring or attacking Biden or both. Both sides will foster the poison of patriotism, even as they will fight over the content of what that should be. The question here is whether those who see the need for and work for revolutionary change seize on this opening, when people are thinking about big things, to wage ferocious struggle and win people to see what is actually driving things here and what is at stake, and to side with the people of the world and NOT with one or another set of their own rulers.

Through all this, people must be struggled with to see that:

The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way.

BAsics 3:8

The articles in this issue give a living sense of that.

While the defeat of the U.S. is positive, the victory of the Taliban is not. Taliban in power will mean further suffering on top of suffering, in quite barbaric and horrific forms, with its sharpest spearpoint brutally directed against women. Islamic fundamentalism does NOT pose a liberating alternative.

Last week we quoted the following fundamental quote from Bob Avakian:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

BAsics 1:28

People cannot afford to be bounced between the poles of backing one or another of these reactionary forces. We need to bring forward another way, a revolutionary alternative.

That way exists. That way is revolution and a socialist society on the way to a communist world without the oppression of the exploited and dominated nations of the world by the imperialists like the U.S., or of women by men... a world without wars, without borders or even countries... a world community of people, unshackled from the chains of ignorance and suffocation, working together for the common good.

The vision embodied in this revolution and the strategy to make that revolution has not only been carried forward but in important ways reconceived and put on a more scientific, and firmer, foundation by Bob Avakian. As BA himself has said of the new communism:

There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.

The world cries out for this alternative. It is up to us to get it to people, to struggle for it and to politically support all those everywhere who do answer this call, in times that carry the potential for either great and liberating advance, or devastating and perhaps existential setback.

People flee Afghanistan. Screen grab.

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

“You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics.”

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE



Get a free email subscription to

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.