Revolutionary Worker #1121, October 7, 2001, posted at http://rwor.org
From the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (CoRIM):
On September 11, thousands of innocent people were killed on United States soil. In the murky waters of terrorism and the intelligence services, where intrigue and double-dealing are the currency, it may never be possible to know exactly who organised the attack or their motives. But two things are clear: first, the victims in New York join the millions of direct and indirect victims of the policies and actions of the U.S. ruling class. Second, even greater crimes are in preparation.
The U.S. has declared a "war against terrorism". With this, they are declaring their right to attack any and all forces and governments in a wide arc stretching from the Middle East through South Asia. Targets will be determined by how well and how quickly one bows to U.S. dictates--a lack of democracy or a regime's use of terror against their own people or others need not exclude them from being an honoured U.S. accomplice, as we can see in Pakistan's sudden transformation from potential victim to a U.S. staging-ground. This war will be met with a storm of resistance not only in those countries designated as targets but throughout the whole world, including in the U.S. and other aggressor countries themselves. It is a reflection of the conflict that pits world imperialism led by the U.S. against the oppressed peoples and nations, the principal contradiction in the world today.
It is not surprising that many people moved by fear, ignorance or selfishness have been taken in by the attempts to march "Western civilisation" off to yet another bloodthirsty crusade. But even now, as the situation is just beginning to unfold, a growing number of people feel that the rulers are trying to hijack their sorrow at the loss of innocent lives to win support for a criminal war.
Why doesn't the U.S. tell the victims that America's designated "number one suspect", Osama bin Laden and his movement, were sponsored by the U.S. government: financed, armed and nurtured for a decade by the CIA, the United Kingdom's MI6 and their partners in the Saudi Arabian secret services, for use by the Western bloc against their Soviet rivals? Why don't they tell the world that the U.S. also had the thoroughly reactionary Taliban recruited and trained in a subservient Pakistan and sent Pakistani troops into Afghanistan to put them in power? And now the same powers that inflicted the Taliban on the Afghani people want to unleash even more punishment!
Bush originally called the U.S.' "new war" "Operation Infinite Justice", but it is infinitely unjust. After all, he represents a country that used the first atom bomb against the people of Japan in order to consolidate their empire at the close of World War 2 in a monstrous crime against humanity. It was U.S. bombs and soldiers that killed well over a million Vietnamese and 600,000 Cambodians, and it was the CIA that stood behind the massacre of as many as a million people when Sukarno was overthrown in Indonesia in 1965. The very day of 11 September was already carved into the hearts of the people of Chile and the world as the horrifying moment in 1973 when the CIA toppled Salvador Allende and applauded whilst Pinochet proceeded to slaughter 30,000 opponents in that small country. The U.S. government also backed the military and death squads who hacked and shot 150,000 people to death during the last four decades in Guatemala and provided lifelines for the infamous Contras in neighbouring Nicaragua and for the El Salvadoran regime's death squads in the 1980s. During the Gulf War it was U.S. planes that rained "death from above" on tens of thousands--perhaps as many as 200,000--Iraqis, including surrendering soldiers. The U.S.-led blockade as well as the systematic, planned destruction of the Iraqi economy has caused the death of at least half a million children according to UN statistics. Israel is the U.S.' well-fed guard dog in the Middle East; the U.S. has provided weapons and backing for each and every Zionist crime from the founding of the state of Israel on the land of others to the mowing down of Palestinian youth today and "smart" bombing of political leaders. Bush represents a country whose police wage a merciless war on its own minority nationalities, one that sends helicopters to patrol its own ghettos and even bomb its own people (the MOVE commune in Philadelphia in 1985, killing 11 men, women and children). It has 3,500 people on death row, including some of the world's best-known political prisoners. U.S. "democracy" has responded to the September 11th events by proposing laws to allow the indefinite detention of any non-citizen. Abortion doctors are murdered there, and the most fundamentalist religious fanatics have the ear of the president.
Why don't Bush, Blair, Chirac, Schroeder, Berlusconi and the rest of them tell us that this war will not be for justice but for empire? What is going on is not a "clash of civilisations" but the efforts of these barbarous rulers flying the banner of "Western civilisation" to consolidate their control and contend among themselves for regions of strategic importance and for world domination. Other imperialist powers are supporting the U.S. war moves while sometimes grumbling over the U.S.' heavy hand toward even its partners-in-crime--these are two sides of the same effort to protect their own place at the imperialist banquet table, where the labour and lives of human beings is the first, last and only course, washed down with the planet's natural resources.
In the last decade the basic tendencies of the world imperialist system have been intensified under the signboard of globalisation. The powers are exploiting every corner of the globe more deeply than ever before--and this has inflicted unbearable violence everywhere through both force of arms and the grinding out of profit in daily life. If this has brought some prosperity for some of the people some of the time in the imperialist countries, the decent lives and happiness they promised their own middle classes in return for silence have proved to be an illusion. In the oppressed countries, electronic gadgets and a taste of the worst of Western culture have been offered to a minority in hopes of purchasing their acquiescence, whilst the masses of workers and peasants are driven further into poverty and the dignity of nations is trampled into the dust.
The U.S.' towering crimes and its swaggering domination of the world made many people around the world glad that a big blow had been delivered at the heart of its empire. But those who want out from under the heel of the U.S. boot and not just a fleeting and degrading revenge must look to history when the masses of people were able to take on and defeat even the mightiest of enemies. Most important to remember today is the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people, which defeated the American army in the context of a worldwide revolutionary upsurge centred in Maoist China that not only rocked all the colonialist and imperialist powers but also saw unprecedented militant opposition and revolutionary mass movements in the rich countries themselves, including the U.S. That is a history lesson few dare talk about lately. But it is not just history. Maoist-led people's wars--wars that rely on the people and embody the whole new kind of society they aim to bring into being, without oppressive relations--are being waged today in Peru, Nepal and other countries.
While support for an attack on peoples of the oppressed countries is one goal of today's war fever, the other is a widespread suspension of many rights and freedoms within the imperialist democracies themselves, along with a sweeping crackdown against all opposition to imperialism in the countries run by their lackeys--all under the banner of suppressing terrorism. In some countries the authorities are proclaiming that they will no longer tolerate the kind of opposition they have so far been unable to squelch by more indirect means. Cowardly attacks on Muslims and foreigners are being unleashed in the U.S. and across Europe in an effort to create a generalised climate of fear.
Whether the resistance to the announced "crusade" advances as part of the worldwide battle to rid the earth of imperialism, or whether the struggle is hijacked by reactionaries, depends ultimately on what programme and vision lead the people's struggle. We can never allow people to be presented a false choice between exploitation and oppression in its modern, imperialist form and packaged as Western-style "democracy" or an impossible return to an oppressive medieval form of existence under the signboard of Islam or other religious movements. In the last two decades, history has proven again and again in Iran, Algeria, Afghanistan itself and elsewhere that Islamic movements will never liberate the people or defeat imperialism. On the contrary, history has shown that it is only when the masses have political power in their own hands, in socialist states or new-democratic republics led by the working class and its communist vanguard, that it is really possible to shape a new future.
The need for the communist vision of a world society based on the free and voluntary association of all human beings--no longer divided by classes and into oppressed and oppressor nations, no longer marked by the subjugation of women to men--cries out as never before. Even as we unite in struggle with masses who still embrace other ideologies, our scientific vision provides the backbone to stand firm in the crosscurrents of a tumultuous world and gives strength and courage to rally the people to meet the trials of the moment, to rise to the occasion.
The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement calls upon the people of all countries to unite in their millions to oppose and resist every act of U.S. aggression. Reject the hypocrisy of the imperialist enemies. Aim high and fight for genuine liberation. Remember that the darkest hour comes right before the dawn.
Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
24 September 2001
(For more information, write: BCM RIM / London WC1N 3XX / UK or contact a RIM participating organisation)
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