Recent terrorist attacks in New York & Washington
1. By now everyone throughout the world is well aware of the tragic events that have taken thousands of lives and caused tremendous destruction to the City of New York, the so-called 'capital of the world," and the Pentagon, headquarters of the American military in Washington and symbol of the might of US capitalism. The senseless death of thousands of people (many of them workers), the material destruction, the total disregard for human life, the madness of the people who executed these acts, since they died themselves -- are all expressions of the dead-end of a social system which is each day sinking humanity more and more into a bottomless spiral of barbarism, as it sinks further into decomposition. Never before has the US population experienced a man-made catastrophe of this magnitude on its own territory; war and destruction have always been the fate of "others" --especially in the cases when American imperialism has been the power behind the devastation and obliteration of countries and their populations. Thus, in the wake of these events, there is among the American working class and the population at large a veritable feeling of terror, impotence and desperation, compounded with a feeling of solidarity for the direct victims of these barbaric events. However, what is more and more dominant in the social ambiance today is the cynical manipulation by the dominant class of the situation created by this tragedy to stir up hatred and patriotism, to incite the most base nationalistic feelings in order to unite people behind the State, and thus make the population accept the militarization of society and the sacrifices required by the American imperialist adventures around the world.
2. There is not doubt that the dominant class is having an immediate success on turning this tragedy to its own advantage. The most sickening xenophobia and revengeful bloodthirsty attitudes are been expressed in all sectors of the population. National unity, the identification of the population with the State has not been this great in a generation. There is a great danger of acceleration and escalation of all expressions of social barbarism. In this context the working class -the only social force that can put an end to the present madness of world capitalism-is faced today with enormous responsibilities. It cannot allow itself to be drawn permanently into this ambiance of social of patriotism. It needs to understand the present situation from its own working class perspective.
3. Revolutionaries have always condemned terrorism as foreign to the methods of the working class struggle against capitalism. They have always denounced terrorism - when it is not the product of manipulation of people in high spheres of the state apparatus itself- at best as an act of desperation by strata of society without future, that have nothing positive to offer to society at large, and the working class in particular. In the final analysis terrorist acts do much to reinforce the State, especially its control over society and its repressive apparatus, which the terrorist acts were "supposed" to be attacking in the first place. Terrorist actions against the state have always been used by the dominant class to reinforce its domination over society. On the one hand, the state inevitably acts to expand repression under the pretext of fighting terrorism, thus giving cover to the militarization of society characteristic of decadent capitalism. And, at the ideological level, the state uses the anger, anguish and terror caused by terrorist action as a means to rally the population ideologically around the defense of the national state, relying heavily on its mass media for this purpose. These old lessons are being confirmed by the recent events. If there is one beneficiary from the carnage that has just taken place, it is the American state. First, we are experiencing an increase in militarization of society and repression as we have not seen in our generation without hardly any questioning at all. Secondly basing itself on the feeling of patriotism and national unity stirred around this events, under the banner of "defending civilization" against terrorism the American bourgeoisie is preparing to go to war -in reality not to fight terrorism but to defend its more sordid imperialist interests-and asking from the working class, without shame, the sacrifices necessary for this adventure. Thirdly, in a time of deepening economic crisis and with its accompanying perspective for potential social unrest and class struggle, which had recently caused concern to be expressed by high ranking business leaders about the president's "leadership style," the ruling class has found the perfect excuse to make workers accept their worsening life and working conditions in the name of national unity. The worsening economic recession and the suffering it will bring will now be blamed on the terrorist scourge, not the capitalist system itself.
4. In its drive towards war, the dominant class cynically wants to portray itself as the representative of civilization against barbarism, as a peaceful nation, driven by the best principles of "democracy", "liberty" and many other wonders of capitalism. On the other hand they want the population, and particularly the working class which is the one who will bear the brunt of the sacrifices imposed by the war, to see the "enemy" as barbarians, driven by "evil," "fanaticism" and madness. The working class has nothing to gain by choosing one side against the other. Capitalism is ill-placed to portray itself as the personification of civilization - not after plunging humanity into a century of mass death and destruction which included two world wars, numerous proxy wars which sacrificed the lives of more than 100 million people, an accelerating social decomposition of society and a total denigration of the environment. And in reality it is capitalism itself that breeds and manipulates terrorism. In essence there is not difference between the destruction and killings caused by the terrorist acts of the Islamic fundamentalist groups and states, or the IRA in Ireland, on the one side, and the destruction and obliteration caused by the imperialist adventures of the civilized democracies of the world. They are both a clear statement of the dead end of world capitalism. In this sense the real significance of the tragedy in New York and Washington, touching locations at the center of the world capitalist system, which had up to know been spared the worst effects of capitalism decomposition, is that we are witnessing a qualitative new level in the downward spiral of capitalist society. From now on there won't be any "safe heavens." The centers of capitalism itself will begin to experience the same chaos and madness that has already being suffered for decades by the places in the periphery of the system. 5. The blood-thirsty hypocrisy of the "anti-terrorist" democracies, who are at this very minute preparing for war against poverty stricken Afghanistan for supposedly providing a safe haven for Osama bin Laden and his followers, is revealed by the fact that it was U.S. imperialism and its CIA that trained and financed Bin Laden and the Taliban in their proxy struggle against Russian imperialism in Afghanistan in the late 1970s-80s. Inevitably the real victims of this war against terrorism won't be the terrorists, but the thousands of innocent peasants and poverty stricken people whose deaths will be dismissed with the cliché "collateral damage." These deaths at the hands of western imperialism will only serve as a basis for more terrorism against the metropole countries, further accelerating the descent of humanity into barbarism under the auspices of world capitalism. The workers of the world have no state or country to defend. Against the war cries of our exploiters, against their sordid attempt to distort the genuine drive towards human solidarity into the most despicable nationalist chauvinism, our only interest is to revive the class war against exploitation, and finally to put an end to this so-called "capitalist civilization" that is pushing humanity towards barbarism and the destruction of humanity.
September 16, 2001
U.S. Section of the International Communist Current Post Office Box 288, New York, NY 10018-0288