Detroit Workers' Voice #29. The following article is from Detroit Workers' Voice #29, February 20, 2002, which is published by the Detroit Marxist-Leninist Study Group. It is reprinted in Communist Voice, vol. 8, #2, issue #29, June 20, 2002,
. The Bush administration is using the September 11 atrocity to justify a new series of wars and military adventures abroad and police-state repression at home. While Bush and the corporate media assure us that they are just trying to save innocent people from terrorism, they are sending billions in military aid to help Israel massacre the Palestinian people fighting the occupation of their territories, sending U.S. "advisors" and weapons to help the Colombian government and right-wing death squads slaughter the masses and sending troops and military hardware to the Philippines to help the government there continue its efforts to crush revolts of the oppressed. In other words, Bush supports state-sponsored terrorism, provided it's carried out by a regime he likes. Meanwhile, in his "Axis of Evil" speech, Bush again made it clear that any regime he considers unfriendly to the U.S. ruling class will be threatened with destruction, regardless of whether it had anything to do with the September 11 events. The regimes in Iraq, Iran and North Korea are rotten, but fighting oppression is not Bush's goal, only eliminating certain rival oppressors.
. In order to rally support for this so-called "anti-terrorism", the government, the TV networks, and the big newspapers tell us since Osama bin Laden is evil, therefore what Bush does is supposedly good. They don't want the working masses to look into the real goals of the "war on terrorism" but instead create an atmosphere of blind obedience to Bush's policy by telling us "America stands united" and seeing who can wave the most flags.
. But the truth is hard to hide forever. The longer the "war on terrorism" goes on, the more its ugly nature is exposed. The more its class nature comes into question as well. After all, while the ordinary masses are supposed to unite behind the government, who actually runs "our" government? As the Enron scandal shows again, it is nothing but the bought-and-paid for tool of big business. Hardly a Republican or Democrat can be found who was not on the Enron gravy train -- and Enron is only one of the giant capitalists who essentially have put the entire government on their payroll. Nor can the post-September 11 flag-waving hide the fact that Bush's head of law enforcement in the U.S. , Attorney General Ashcroft, is an arch-opponent of civil rights for blacks and women, and democratic rights in general.
. While we are told that "America stands united", in fact, the rich are still carrying out their class
war on the poor both at home and abroad. And the more the so-called "war on terrorism" unfolds,
the clearer it becomes that rather than being a means to end terrorism, it is a means to further the
domination of the world by "our" billionaires through endless wars and the destruction of
democratic rights at home.
. The first target of the "war on terrorism" was Afghanistan. While the Bush administration and the Democratic "loyal opposition" portray their conquest over the Taliban as "anti-terrorism", it is really the victory of the world's most powerful oppressor over a weaker upstart terrorist. Neither side in this conflict cared about the Afghan people. The U.S. would have been content to have the Taliban rule if only they didn't shelter the Al-Qaeda forces and were more subservient to the U.S. rulers. Indeed, the U.S. government is largely responsible for turning bin Laden and his fellow Islamic fundamentalists into a powerful force. Under Reagan, billions of dollars began to be channeled to these warlords so that they would eventually dominate the struggle against the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union. Thus, after the Soviets were driven out, the Afghan people lived under the brutal tyranny of rival gangs of warlords. Eventually the Taliban trend emerged and conquered the other warlords. Now the U.S. military has toppled the Taliban. But what has this meant for the Afghan people? There is a bit more freedom than under the Taliban, but the basic Islamic fundamentalist oppression remains. The Taliban thugs are deposed. But the new government is a mish-mash of the old U.S. -backed warlords who ravaged the country when they ruled, and some elements of the unpopular monarchy which was forced into exile decades ago. Karzai, the new U.S. -installed leader, only a few years ago was making overtures to the Taliban. The warlords have been given a new image, but haven't given up their old habits. Thus, already one section the new pro-U.S. "anti-terrorist" government apparently assassinated a rival government government official.
. Meanwhile, U.S. military action resulted in the slaughter of 1,000 civilians even according to
conservative estimates and may well have surpassed the number of civilians killed in the World
Trade Center according to other studies. The U.S. bombing created a huge new wave of refugees
and interfered with humanitarian relief efforts. Now that the Bush administration has satisfied
their bloodlust, they are going to toss a few crumbs of reconstruction aid. But this can't make up
for the past (and continuing) support for warlords who have laid waste to Afghanistan for the last
Plotting a second oil war
. From the start, Bush's war on terrorism was not aimed only at those who actually had something
to do with the September 11 attacks, but against all nations or groups who did not align with U.S.
imperialism. In line with this, Bush has now been threatening what he calls the "Axis of Evil",
consisting of Iraq, Iran and North Korea. North Korea is an oppressive state-capitalist regime
masquerading as communist. But it has nothing to do with September 11 nor has it shown the
slightest inclination to launch a military attack on the United States. As for Iran and Iraq, they are
oppressive regional powers in the Middle East, but neither is responsible for September 11. Bush
opposes them mainly because the U.S. bourgeoisie does not want to see its domination over
Middle East oil challenged. That's what the Gulf War was about and a decade of brutal economic
sanctions that have taken a massive toll of death and hardship on the Iraqi people. Now,
"anti-terrorism" is the excuse for Bush's plans for a second oil war.
U.S. -backed terror: Palestine/Colombia/Philippines
. The complete hypocrisy of Bush's war on terror can be seen in the fact that it is being used to support terror carried out by reactionary pro-U.S. regimes against the oppressed masses. The Palestinian people have been under a terrorist siege by Israel for decades. When Israel was created in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted from their homes because of terrorist attacks by Israeli forces and since then the Palestinian people have been reduced to refugee status. But the U.S. has long financed Israeli terrorism because Israel looks after U.S. imperialism's interests in the region. These days Israeli president Sharon is continuing Israel's reign of terror. Since 2000 over 900 Palestinians have been murdered. He is threatening to eliminate the Palestinian administration of Arafat and some Israeli officials are advocating the forced removal of all Palestinians from the region. While Arafat scrambles to conciliate Israel, the Palestinian masses are resisting the Israeli tyranny. Most of this resistance is militant mass activity directed at the Israeli authorities, but some have committed terrorist atrocities against Israeli civilians. But the Israeli government considers any militant struggle against them as terrorism and covers up that they have created the climate that has driven some Palestinians to desperate, indiscriminate acts. Of course if Bush were opposed to Israeli terrorism, he could cut off the billions of dollars of aid that props up Israel. But he supports Sharon no matter how many crimes he commits.
. Meanwhile, following in the footsteps of Clinton, Bush is stepping up military aid to the Colombian regime which is trying to crush a decades-long struggle by the workers and peasants against poverty and repression. The Colombian military collaborates with paramilitary death-squads and each year they carry out the slaughter of hundreds of trade union activists, peasants suspected of sympathy with the anti-government guerrillas, and opposition politicians. But Bush denounces resistance to this as "terrorism" since it's directed against the tyranny of a U.S. ally.
. As well, U.S. imperialism is now using the "war on terrorism" to send 660 U.S. troops and tons of weapons to the Philippines to help the government there carry on its war against the poor. The impoverished Muslim minority concentrated in the southern islands of the country have long been fighting for independence from the national government which has abused and carried out bloody repression there. Officially, the U.S. aid is only going to be used to hunt down the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf. But Abu Sayyaf is a tiny group of bandits with no mass support among the oppressed Muslim population. The ultimate target for the Filipino government is to bring pressure to bear on the larger independence guerrilla groups as well the Maoist New People's Army (NPA) which is part of a national radical mass trend. The NPA is considered "terrorist" by the U.S. State Dept. , not because it has anything to do with September 11, but because it has opposed abuses against the workers and peasants and has a following among sections of them.
. What sort of "war on terrorism" is it that threatens war against any regime which doesn't align
with the U.S. regime? What sort of "anti- terrorism" supports terror against the masses by
pro-U.S. regimes? The "war on terrorism" is not anti-terrorist, but for a U.S. monopoly of
Anti-Arab racial profiling and police-state measures
. While Bush claims the "war on terrorism" is against those who would deny democratic values, he is creating a police-state in the U.S. The Patriot Act, passed with near unanimous bipartisan support in October, broadens the definition of terrorism to include any struggle not endorsed by the CIA, makes it easier to imprison non-citizens on the slightest pretext and allows the whole population to be secretly spied on.
. Immigrants, especially Arabs, are already victim of a witch hunt. Over 1,100 people, mainly from Arab countries, have been imprisoned to allegedly save us from terrorism. What was their crime? Even the government admits that only a few of them may have had something to do with September 11. Many are still imprisoned after several months without charges or held under some trumped-up technicalities, while others have been deported without a chance to defend themselves. What was the evidence against the imprisoned? That's "secret" says the government. Moreover, the prisoners are often denied access to legal counsel and contact with their families. The public is denied access to the hearings against them. The Bush administration now promises to round up and deport 6,000 more Arab immigrants, ostensibly for overstaying their visas. And already the government has tried to chase down 5,000 young Arab men for "voluntary" questioning.
. Well, the apologists for these policies claim, aren't the Sept. 11 terrorists from Arab countries? But such racial profiling is no less racist than that which has long been used against blacks and other minorities. Just as black motorists are often pulled over by the police for "driving while black" so the whole Arab community is being treated as potential criminals. The fact that the September 11 terrorists were from Arab countries does not justify the profiling of Arabs any more than a crime committed by a black person would justify rounding up thousands of people in the black community. That would be an atrocity against the whole community in the guise of fighting crime just as the profiling of Arabs by the government is an atrocity committed under the guise of fighting terrorism. When McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma, there was no roundup of white males. But Bush OKs scapegoating all Arabs.
. The case of Rabih Haddad and his family illustrates the brutal treatment of Arab "suspects. "
Haddad and his family have lived in the U.S. for a decade, moving to Ann Arbor in 1999. He
spoke out publicly against the September 11 attacks. Nevertheless, on December 14 he was
arrested for overstaying his visa though he was in the process of applying for permanent
residency status. Since then he has been held in solitary confinement, currently in Chicago.
Haddad was a founder of the Islamic charity, Global Relief Foundation (GRF). The government
claims GRF is somehow tied to terrorism, but they refuse to produce the evidence and have
barred the public (even liberal imperialist Congressman John Conyers) from a hearing on his
case. The secrecy of the government's case is such that even the reactionary newspaper the
Detroit News has joined others in a lawsuit to make the government proceedings public. Now the
authorities are going after Haddad's wife and children, threatening to deport them.
The police-state and "anti-terrorism"
. The fact of the matter is that not only is the "war on terrorism" itself terrorist, but it will by no means make ordinary people safe from terrorism from other sources. Look at Israel. It's promoted as the model of "anti- terrorism. " The whole society is militarized, it restricts the movement of the entire Palestinian population, its intelligence agencies routinely torture prisoners, etc. Yet, after decades of this, the average Israeli citizen is less safe than ever. The more abuses heaped on the Palestinian population, the more desperation drives some Palestinian youth to become suicide bombers.
. True, while the Palestinian masses are bravely fighting for justice, bin Laden and co. are not
freedom fighters but are oppressors themselves who are cynically using the suffering of
oppressed people to advance their medieval agenda. But so long as social and national oppression
reigns, and so long as the genuine efforts of the masses to organize themselves against it are
crushed, so anti-people terrorists like bin Laden will be able to pose as the champions of the
The imperialist system = war and repression
. The horrors accompanying the "war on terrorism" are not simply the product of the Bush administration, though certainly it has been the standard-bearer of the most extreme measures. The Democratic party politicians have bowed down to Bush "anti-terrorism" measures. (Likewise, the sellout AFL-CIO leadership. ) If the liberals have any quarrel with Bush's foreign policy it's over which country to invade next and when, and they applaud increased repression in the U.S. , too.
. Both parties agree with war and repression because both are parties of the big capitalists. The Enron debacle shows not only the carnage caused by the capitalist drive for profits, but also that the government is the servant of the corporate giants. It is the billionaires who really call the shots. And the "war on terrorism" reflects their class interests, not those of the workers. Imperialism is the product of modern capitalism which seeks to enrich itself through ruining workers here and imposing its domination over resources, markets and "cheap labor" around the world. U.S. imperialism wants nothing to interfere with these goals, whether it be the struggle against oppression, or rival oppressors. That's the class interests behind the "war on terrorism. "
. Workers and activists should oppose all the atrocities being committed under the banner of
Bush's "war on terrorism. " We must organize against the endless wars and repression it is
bringing. In so doing, we should spread the truth that it's not just Bush or even some bad
bipartisan policies that are the problem, but the capitalist-imperialist system itself which cannot
survive without perpetuating terrorism, war and repression. Our interests are served not by
joining in Bush's reactionary unity with the capitalists, but in uniting to revive militant class
organizations. Our unity is not with the servants of the Enrons, but with the working masses of
the world. The spread of trends militantly fighting for the class interests of workers here and
overseas is what is needed to fight the terrorism and other injustices perpetrated by imperialism.
It is also the only real way to undercut the terrorism of those like bin Laden who seize on the
present disorganization among the masses to promote their own horrific goals.
Last changed on June 26, 2002.
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