The ruthless slaughter of thousands of civilians in New York and Washington, the majority of them workers, in the very heart of the USA, of capitalism's number one economic and military machine, was not only an abominable war crime. It also marks a giant step in the decomposition of the existing social order.
For this was not, as the propaganda merchants tell us, an attack on civilisation 'from the outside'. It was further confirmation that this capitalist civilisation, which not only reigns in the 'west' but over the whole planet, is a civilisation in decay which threatens the very future of humanity.
The events in the USA show that the free-for all military tensions which have racked the globe since the fall of the blocs a decade ago can no longer be kept to the margins of the system. From the Gulf in 1991 to the Bosnian war, then the bombing of Belgrade in 1999, the reality that 'capitalism means war' has been written in blood in one of its main nerve centres.
And how is the US ruling class - supported by Blair and the 'democratic allies' - exploiting the natural solidarity that millions have felt for those who died so horribly in the hi-jacked planes, or amidst the rubble of the World Trade Centre? By using it to drum up support for slaughter on an even bigger scale - for massive military action aimed at defending the most sordid imperialist interests.
There is much talk about a 'second Pearl Harbour' and the comparison is accurate. In 1941 the US state - which had been informed of the Japanese plans well in advance, and did nothing to stop them - used the attack to drag a reluctant population into the second world holocaust. Today the US ruling class will cynically use these events to try to stop the decline in its global 'leadership' (i.e., imperialist domination).
It's also the Gulf war replayed, on an even bigger scale: then Saddam was used as the whipping boy, but the USA's real motive was to make a huge display of military power, aimed at persuading all other countries in the world that it is the boss, the world cop. Prior to the terrorist assault on the US, America was facing increasing hostility from its former allies in Europe, over the Kyoto agreement, 'Son of Star Wars', and all the rest. Today America is using the crusade against 'international terrorism' to build a new coalition where countries like France, Britain, Germany and Japan will have no alternative but to fall in line behind the US.
And once again, as the US and NATO prepare a new round of carnage, the exploited and the oppressed of the world will be asked to take sides: for 'civilisation', for 'democracy', for 'national security'; or, if they live in the so-called 'Muslim' countries, they will be asked to support the 'holy war' of Bin Laden, or Saddam, or Hamas.
But Bush, Blair and Bin Laden are all cut from the same cloth. The only difference between them is that those who run the major states of the globe have much more firepower. The terrorists who attacked America killed thousands; the 'democracies' which bombed Baghdad and Belgrade killed hundreds of thousands, and have been doing the same thing all over the world, for almost a hundred years, from World War I to Hiroshima and Dresden, and from Vietnam and Cambodia to all the massacres of the past decade.
To understand the sickening hypocrisy of the 'anti-terrorist' democracies, you only have to look at Afghanistan, which is likely to be the main target of the USA's military response. This poverty-stricken country has already been through over 20 years of war. Bin Laden, the current devil incarnate, was set up by the CIA to fight Russian imperialism; and the Taliban regime which now shields him was also supported by the US against other Islamic factions when it first came to power. Furthermore, the extensive military action that the US and NATO are now planning for Afghanistan, and probably other parts of the Middle East, will only deepen the chaos in this war-torn region, just as it did in the Gulf and the Balkans. And once again, the victims of this 'punishment' won't be Bin Laden or Saddam, but the vast mass of an already desperate population.
But the fact that the US and the 'democracies' are the world's most powerful terrorists is no reason to support the Saddams and Bin Ladens of this world. They are not fighting capitalism and imperialism; they are part of it. Capitalism can only be only fought when the working class struggles for its own interests, which are the same in all countries.
The workers of the world have no state or country to defend. Against the war cries of their exploiters, our only interest is to revive the class war against exploitation, and finally to put an end to a 'civilisation' which is pushing humanity towards barbarism. 13.9.01