On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks we re-publish the statement which we discussed and adopted in the leadership of the League for a revolutionary communist International (LRCI) immediately after this event. The RKOB continues the revolutionary tradition of the LRCI/LFI after its degeneration into left-centrism. (Editorial Board, 12.9.2011)
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The horrific attacks and the killing of thousands of people in New York on 11 September have shocked millions around the world.
Revolutionary communists condemn the attack on the World Trade Centre and massacre of civilians, because such actions will not take forward the struggle against US world domination by a single step.
It is not yet known who organised these individual terrorist attacks. But in the midst of the wave of anger and sorrow, one thing must not be forgotten.
The attack was a consequence of the fact that the actions of the US have earned the hatred and indignation of millions. This is because the rulers of the USA dominate the globe, consign millions to poverty and debt, back oppressive regimes and the violation of national, human and democratic rights. Over the last ten years the armed forces of the USA and their NATO allies have bombed and blasted the civilian populations of countries like Iraq and Serbia that dared to oppose it.
The Western media has rushed to blame the attacks on New York and Washington on forces who are fighting against US sponsored oppression in the Middle East. If this is true, revolutionary communists - who seek the overthrow of global capitalism and its US superpower - believe that isolated terrorist attacks and civilian massacres will actually set back that struggle.
Whilst we remain firm in our support for the Palestinian liberation struggle and all resistance against imperialism, we say tactics such as these play directly into the hands of the imperialist enemy.
The massive loss of life‹ of office workers, firefighters, ambulance crews‹ has given US President Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair every excuse they need to:
* Step up repression against liberation movements in the Middle East and around the world
* Rally the shocked and terrorised populations of the capitalist democracies behind their leadership
* Win backing for greater internal repression and increased military spending
* Accuse Islamists of being the 'greatest threat to world peace', distracting attention from the carnage, war, poverty, starvation and suffering caused by their global capitalist system of inequality
* Pose as men of peace, when in reality they and their immediate predecessors are directly responsible for bombings, deaths and injuries in Belgrade and Baghdad running into the hundreds of thousands‹ far exceeding the bloody toll of 11 September
* Prepare a sustained war on the peoples of the Third World, especially on those peoples who fight back.
Not everyone around the world has viewed these events with revulsion. Those who have suffered or witnessed the effects of US cruise missile attacks on the population of Baghdad or Belgrade, the families of the 700 or so Palestinians killed by US-supplied weapons, including Apache attack helicopters, have understandably rejoiced at proof of that the world's only superpower Is not invulnerable They see the World Trade Centre as a symbol of financial capital and the elite institutions that plunder the world's resources. They see the Pentagon as the command centre for the USA's ongoing war against Iraq, Afghanistan and for military support for Israel. Indeed, depending on who carried it out, the attack on the Pentagon may indeed be a legitimate target for forces engaged in resisting the US's attacks.
But terrorist methods‹ which alienate the US working class and confuse the anticapitalist movement, are not the way to defeat US imperialism. The attack on the World Trade Centre killed thousands of ordinary, often low paid, office workers and firefighters. The US working class today‹ like the antiwar movement of the 1960s‹ can enormously aid those fighting imperialism. For this reason such an attack was reactionary. Any members of the financial elite caught in the blasts can be replaced, office buildings can be rebuilt.
Sickening Hypocrisy But in his expressions of shock and his stern threats to exact retribution, Bush is guilty of gross hypocrisy.
He heads a state that‹through the IMF and the other global financial institutions‹ kills hundreds of thousands of children every year through poverty, preventable disease, and through weapons sold to all sides in the conflicts which erupt as a result of this impoverishment.
As the head of a state that backs Israel¹s every move to suppress the Palestinian people, to assassinate their leaders, bulldoze their homes and drive them step by step from their land, he has no right to lecture anyone about barbarism.
He is not alone in his hypocrisy. The European Union has immediately fallen in behind the US, supporting Bush's claim that the target of the attack was not US government, finance and military power but freedom and democracy around the world. It is a lie, one which underlines the European Union's complicity in the crimes of US imperialist policy around the world.
The media has dubbed this the worst act of terror in history. This is true only if one conveniently leaves aside the fire bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, and Hanoi, the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bombing of Baghdad in the Gulf War ‹crimes perpetrated by the USA and its imperialist backers.
In all their hue and cry, the capitalist politicians and commentators reveal their despicable double standards. They shed no tears when the USA killed 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions since 1991, when they bombed hospitals, TV studios, passenger trains and housing blocks in Belgrade. CNN or the BBC did not interview hundreds of the victims families nor did the tabloids show the material devastation of these cities.
The working class people and the radical youth of the USA, once they have recovered from the shock of events, must realise why the USA is hated: by so many people worldwide. It is hated as a world superpower and self appointed policeman, as the global economic boss which sets and enforces the harsh rules of the world economy.
Of course it is wrong to identify a whole people with its tiny ruling class.
But the example for doing this has been set by the White House itself, which has punished the entire people of Iraq for a decade and that of Cuba for forty years.
So long as the military might of the USA and its Allies overwhelms any resistance, so long as there is no justice for the Palestinians, there will always be militants who will use whatever desperate measures they can find to fight back. If the US people want to remove the possibility of future catastrophes, it must take up the struggle against its government and its imperialist foreign policy.
The working class and anticapitalist movement should reject Bush¹s self-serving calls for revenge. The victims he chooses will be based on the USA¹s number one targets for intimidation in the areas of its greatest economic and strategic concern‹namely in or around the oilfields of the Middle East. Bush Blair and NATO are plotting a bloody revenge for the attacks on the USA. The victims will be innocent, as were Clinton¹s victims in Sudan and Afghanistan, or Blair¹s in Kosovo and Serbia.
What the Labour and the anti-capitalist movement must do We call on all workers to combine mourning for innocent US workers who died on 11 September with commemorating the innocent victims of US foreign policy in Latin America, the Balkans, the Middle East and across the globe The best way to protect the ordinary people of the USA and the other imperialist countries against further attacks is to give to the already powerful anticapitalist movement a much clearer anti-imperialist direction, to mobilise hundreds of thousands against Bush and Blair's "war on terrorism", to support the Palestinian struggle against Israeli reoccupation of cities and towns in the West Bank.
The anti- war movement of the 1960s and 1970s must be our model. It acted , along with the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese, as a major deterrent to US military aggression for years.
The negative consequences of the events of September 11 will be felt in the USA as the humiliated FBI, CIA, and the states forces clamp down on democratic rights and launch witch hunts against supposed "terrorists". The anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia which is endemic in all the imperialist countries will be unleashed on Arab Americans. Abroad the Israeli state will be emboldened to take even more savage actions against the Palestinians.
The workers' movement and the anticapitalist youth around the world must come to the aid of those victimised or targeted for revenge by Bush and Blair. Those of us in the imperialist heartlands must expose the number one terrorists‹not Bin Laden or Saddam Hussain, but Bush and Blair.
Only then will our words have any meaning when we say to the angry and suffering victims of "civilised" mass terror and "democratic" imposed starvation policies that the workers and youth of North America and Europe are their best allies. Together, by means of mass struggle, we can help each other to win‹ to bring down capitalism and imperialism, not just its symbols.
A new period of economic crisis, wars and class struggle is opening The events of 11 September emphasise in the clearest way possible that globalisation and the USA's unrivalled domination of the world are not heralding a new era of peace and plenty. We are entering a period of dramatic instability, in which the hatred and revulsion engendered by imperialist policy, global inequality and national oppression rouse individuals to acts of desperate violence as well a to mass resistance.
The USA is sowing the seeds of further conflicts to come, ensuring that the 21st Century will be at least as violent and bloody as the last.
But individual terrorism is not the only and certainly not the most important resistance to US global hegemony. Around the world new mass movements are taking shape. Unlike the perpetrators of 11 September, these movements do not undertake actions against the mass of the people but against our capitalist overlords.
They do not work in isolated conspiracies but seek to mobilise millions in a mass movement. They do not hide their aims but declare them openly. They do not seek 'revenge' but freedom from the global system.
They name the true enemy - capitalism and imperialism. And they are organising globally, bringing together the working class, youth and poor of all nations in a struggle to free the whole world from capitalism.
It is on the success of this movement and its ability to overthrow capitalism that the fate of society depends. Unless this work is done, 11 September will be far from the last such to afflict the globe.
* Reject individual terrorism and civilian massacres as a method of struggle against imperialism
* Defend the Arab and Islamic populations of the USA and western Europe against witch-hunts and persecution
* Defend democratic rights against "antiterrorist" clampdowns
* No retreat from the anticapitalist movement¹s mobilisations against US and EU corporate power‹ intensify them, make them more anti-imperialist.
* Defend any state or people targeted for revenge attacks by the USA and NATO
* Withdraw all US and NATO bases and troops from the Middle east!
* Solidarity with the Palestinian people - victory to their Intifada!
* Build a worldwide mass movement against global capitalism, the real cause of inequality, poverty, conflict and war!
International Secretariat of the LRCI, 13.09.01