Social Justice Against Terrorism
[Statement issued by the Political Committee of Solidarity, September 13, 2001.]
SOLIDARITY CONDEMNS THE use of terror against civilian populations in all forms and circumstances. Today, that means first and foremost we must condemn the hijacking of civilian aircraft and the horrific bombings that have claimed thousands of lives. Like everyone else we are speechless in the face of the sheer magnitude of this act of mass murder, while also profoundly moved by the solidarity and cooperative acts of people in the streets of New York helping each other in the disaster.
As socialists who are revolutionary opponents of United States imperialism, we rely on the development of the consciousness of the population, particularly of the working class majority in society, to confront this system of exploitation and world domination. Our methods of struggle have nothing in common with those who wield terrorist weapons against society, whether they be home-grown fascists like Timothy McVeigh, perpetrators of state terrorism, or forces proclaiming themselves representatives of the oppressed peoples of the world.
The September 11 attacks are a world-class crime against humanity. We condemn without reservation these acts and those who perpetrated them, whoever they may turn out to be. The thousands of working people incinerated in the World Trade Center are innocent of the crimes of imperialism, just as were the hundreds of African civilians killed in the streets of Tanzania and Kenya in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies there.
As well as a slaughter of innocent people, these attacks are a severe blow against struggles for social justice-from the Palestinian struggle for self-determination to the mobilizations against the institutions of global capitalism.
We must also condemn acts of terror when these are perpetrated by our own government. Refugee camps and towns in Palestine are pulverized by American F-16 aircraft and helicopter gunships, supplied by the United States to the Israeli Defense Force. The U.S. bombing of Baghdad included the deliberate destruction of the water purification and electrical systems on which the civilian population depends. And the sanctions against Iraq have produced a death toll of 5000 Iraqi children every month-roughly equivalent to the estimated carnage at the World Trade Center.
Partisans of social justice must not forget that September 11 also marks the 28th anniversary of one of the great acts of terror in recent history: the U.S.-sponsored Pinochet coup in Chile, unleashing a regime of mass murder against the labour movement and the population of that entire country.
Those who perpetrated the September 11 attacks have nothing in common with the struggles of oppressed peoples. Yet it is a tragic reality that many people in the world-those who have lost hope of seeing a better life for themselves or their children in a world ruled by the United States-have found something to applaud in the "success" of these atrocities. Let us remember that those oppressed by racism and the institutions of global capitalism are among the victims, not the perpetrators, of terrorism.
It is therefore all the more critically important that the people of the United States must not give the U.S. government the free hand it desires to retaliate against the victims of U.S.-dominated global capitalism under the catch-all claim of fighting terrorism.
To repeat the most important point: The enormous crimes committed by the United States government cannot be redressed by violent assaults on the ordinary people of this country. Nor will any justice be achieved by U.S. military retaliation that victimizes the population in the countries of whatever governments may ultimately be deemed responsible for the September 11 crime. We call upon all people to resist media and government-manipulated hysteria calculated to give the political and military establishment of the United States that free hand for a new round of massive violence.
We should all fear, and not accept, the danger of severe restrictions on democratic rights in the name of national security, against the targeting of Arab-Americans for harassment and demonisation, and against the possible crackdown on global justice protest. This will inevitably include new repression directed against the rights of labour in the United States. The repression of democratic freedoms and civil liberties will be limited only by the population's will to resist. For partisans of social justice, now must not be the time to hide, but to stand up for democracy and the values of our struggle-a struggle for a world organized to truly value all human life, rather than profit.