The following statement was issued by the League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP-U.S.) on October 8, 2001. It is also available in Spanish, Russian and Ukrainian.
On October 7 the world’s richest and most powerful country went to war against the poorest and most devastated. The U.S. ruling class and its British lapdog began bombing and missile attacks on Afghanistan – targeting, we are told, the military installations of the Taliban government and the hideouts of Osama bin Laden. All past history tells us that under the cover of supposedly selective bombing, Washington is now murdering untold numbers of innocent Afghans in cold blood.
Bin Laden is reportedly the architect of the vicious terror attacks on the World Trade Center that killed so many thousands of people on September 11, mostly workers. Terrible enemies of humanity though the Taliban and bin Laden are, they are far outmatched by the mass murderers of U.S. imperialism. It is only necessary to cite the incineration of hundreds of thousands of civilians in non-military targets during World War II and the slaughter of millions in Korea and Vietnam in the past. Currently, the ten-year war of bombing and sanctions against the people of Iraq has murdered hundreds of thousands more. U.S. imperialism has proved itself to be the greatest terrorist power on earth.
Indeed, the U.S. capitalist class bears the ultimate responsibility for the existence of both bin Laden and the Taliban. They were “Made in the U.S.A.” Both were trained, financed and armed by the CIA when their murderous character suited U.S. imperialist designs. (Bin Laden was one of the CIA’s chief organizers in the insurgency it promoted against the nationalist regime in Afghanistan supported by the Russian Stalinists.) More fundamentally, it is capitalist imperialism that enforces poverty, exploitation and oppression on billions of people around the world. The criminal terrorists exploit the masses’ seething hatred of imperialism to win support and converts to their right-wing clerical-capitalist cause.
An uprising of the oppressed masses of Afghanistan that overthrew the Taliban would be an event to celebrate. But if imperialism wipes out bin Laden and the Taliban, that will be no gain for humanity. One set of monsters will be replaced by another, more – for the moment – to imperialism’s liking. Now the imperialists are arming and supporting the so-called Northern Alliance, the assortment of war lords, murderers, drug runners, thieves, rapists, and fundamentalists, whose terror allowed the Taliban to assume power in the first place. Their rampages so destabilized the country after they forced the Russians to leave, that the U.S. rulers turned away from these elements and aided the other thugs, the Taliban, to take over.
The Northern Alliance, now being backed by the U.S., could very well produce some of the next batch of terrorists who inflict themselves upon the masses in the East and in the West. That such dregs of humanity are the best “solution” that Bush and Blair can come up with proves once again that imperialism offers only escalating terror for the working people of the world, including those in the United States.
The imperialists are seeking again to install an Afghan government they can buy off to protect the pipelines they wish to build to carry oil and gas profitably from the ex-Soviet Central Asian countries. But far more importantly, their aim is what it always is when they wage war against small and weak countries: to intimidate the masses, to convince them that there is no alternative to passively accepting the domination of imperialism. The main enemy of the U.S. ruling class is not the Taliban or bin Laden, but the mass struggles of the workers and oppressed of the world. Bush’s agenda is to use the WTC and Pentagon attacks as a cover for pushing back mass struggles everywhere.
Afghanistan will not be the only target. U.S. officials speak of a “massive, long-term war” and have openly discussed reviving the all-out war on Iraq to finally oust Saddam Hussein. Washington’s “you are either for us or against us” line is aimed at forcing its pawn governments in the Muslim world into line. U.S. imperialism has enforced the interests of American corporations across the world not only by use of its military might but also by backing “friendly” dictatorships. It is the bloodiest empire in history.
Washington is rightfully hated throughout the world for its reign of exploitation, oppression and terror. It is particularly despised in the Arab world for its defense of Israeli colonial-settler terrorism against the Palestinian people. So-called “moderate” Arab governments really dependent upon American power rule over masses who are deeply angry over Palestine’s fate as well as their own oppression. These regimes only hold power by balancing between the anger of their masses and their need to please the U.S. Now they are being pressured to support American imperialism. The White House is giving them the comfort of propaganda claiming the attacks are not against the Afghan people or Islam, in the hope that this will help preserve these local regimes against the coming uprisings.
Workers in the U.S. are also the targets of Bush’s war, as are workers abroad. Under the cover of the superpatriotic campaign for “unity” now being whipped up by the politicians and the media, the capitalists are re-energizing their attack on the working class in the U.S. In particular, this one-sided and concealed class war is being waged against workers of color and immigrant labor. But all sections of the working class are being hit under the cover of patriotic unity. As Black people in Cincinnati can testify, patriotism is already being used to stifle protest against racist police brutality.
The terrorist attack is being used as the reason behind the growing waves of recession and unemployment. In fact the terror attacks only accelerated the downturn, which was already happening. Social security funds are being raided while capital gains taxes on the rich are being cut. The deepening recession in the U.S. was already giving rise to greater resistance by threatened workers; now, as with the strike by government workers in Minnesota, such acts are being smeared as unpatriotic while the bosses cash in.
The ruling-class politicians are already at work undermining immigrants’ rights. Starved for low-paid workers to exploit, the system needs immigrant labor. As the recession deepens, under the cover of homeland defense they are already taking major steps to undermine even the elementary rights of immigrant workers.
The present “security” mania aimed at curbing terrorists is providing a handy cover for attacks on civil liberties and privacy. And like past so-called anti-organized crime laws, the new anti-terrorist measures will inevitably be used to further undermine trade union rights in particular.
After the World Trade Center was destroyed, union and non-union workers heroically put in long days to dig out the rubble and rescue victims. In a bitterly ironic contrast, the clean-nailed, well-dressed capitalists rejoiced at the re-opening of the New York Stock Exchange by immediately devaluing industries across the board. Thereby they ensured that hundreds of thousands of workers would lose their jobs. Bush & Co. used the patriotic fervor to pour millions of tax dollars into bailing out the airline industry just when the airlines were laying off over 100,000 workers. Washington is throwing tax money into a ludicrous missile defense system which will protect nothing from terror except the capitalists in the armament business who feared a dip in profits.
Even more ironic is the ugly fact that while tax dollars are being funneled into the wallets of the rich bosses, when it comes to aid for the victims of the terror, rescue workers and the grieving families, the ruling class asks for charity appeals! And of course, most of the response comes from fellow workers.
The ruling class has once again proven that it will use terror and terrorists when doing so serves its interests. It will also use the “war on terrorism” to attack workers at home and demand increased subservience from the masses abroad. The only class fundamentally opposed to terrorism is the working class of the world. The just anger felt by American workers at the slaughter of their brothers and sisters must be aimed not at the peoples of the Middle East and Central Asia, but at our common enemy, the imperialist class which exploits and oppresses both them and us.
Clearly those immediately responsible for the attacks are the terrorists themselves. But George W. Bush and the rest of the scum who rule America are angry for a reason different from that of working people. Somebody humiliated them; their place as the world’s most powerful and seemingly invincible terrorist was challenged! New York received a taste of what the people of Baghdad, Belgrade and elsewhere have suffered on a far greater scale at the hands of the U.S. military. The masses abroad are now just beginning to receive a bloody response which will dwarf past atrocities and reestablish who has the only “God-given right” to engage in mass murder on this planet. Terror does rule the world, and Bush is making it clear who is going to exercise it.
The so-called anti-war movement now developing is dominated by pacifism. But pacifism is no answer to the inevitable armed conflicts that capitalism now creates. Nor does pacifism provide an answer to the rightful anger of American workers. Pacifism is an indulgence that only privileged do-gooder fools can embrace. U.S. workers must recognize who their most deadly enemies really are, and join with workers abroad to turn the current war into a war against the imperialists.
The pacifist left wants to avoid any thought of a mass struggle against the powers that brutally rule the world, yet they also know they must somehow appear to have an answer to American workers’ desire to bring the terrorists to justice. So they raise the idea of some independent international tribunal judging the terrorists as the alternative to U.S. military actions. There is no such independent tribunal, nor will there ever be. Such calls only raise illusions in the possibility of the masses winning justice by sidestepping a struggle against imperialism and achieving it through peaceful channels.
Such pie-in-the-sky illusions are an obstacle to building a movement of the masses against U.S. imperialism’s attacks because they ring hollow to most workers, who are at some level aware of the realities of the system. They are an even greater obstacle when they are insisted on as prerequisites for unity in action by middle class leftists bent on preventing protests from going further than their preferred pacifist limits.
Mass actions against the imperialists’ attacks are needed, in which all who simply agree to oppose the U.S. attacks can unite in struggle. In the course of such actions, we revolutionary socialists will explain that the only solution to imperialism and bloody terrorism is the workers of the world finally deciding that the capitalist system which foments these horrors must be demolished.
In recent years, the world working class has been slowly but surely moving to reassume its revolutionary mission. Class struggles were breaking out in a variety of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, showing the way to the rest of the world. Soon they will begin again in the new circumstances. The “caution” now being widely attributed to Bush in the days leading up to the war testify to the rulers’ fearful recognition of that danger. Armed with a strategy for the overthrow of capitalism, these struggles offer a way out of today’s horrors.
The only way to bring terrorism to an end is to eliminate the conditions that breed it over and again. No capitalist power will of its own choice cease to exploit and enslave workers wherever it can; imperialism is not just a policy, it is the nature of the decaying capitalist system. The only way out of the nightmare of the growing crisis of imperialism and its economic decline is through socialist revolutions led by the working class. Capitalism in its own brutal way has built an international economy which is capable of producing abundance for all the world’s people. The profit-grubbing system itself is the only barrier to actually producing all that people need to house, clothe and feed themselves well.
The struggle to overturn imperialism and build a new classless society of peace, abundance and freedom demands the leadership of an internationalist revolutionary party spearheaded by the most class-conscious workers of the world. We, in the League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP) in the United States fight side-by-side with our comrades abroad in the Communist Organization for the Fourth International (COFI) for the re-creation of the World Party of Socialist Revolution and its national sections in every country.
As authentic communists and internationalists, we disdain to hide our views. Knowing that imperialism is the greatest enemy of the working class, we stand for the defeat of American imperialism in its present war against the people of Afghanistan. We stand for the defense of the Middle Eastern and Central Asian masses from the onslaught. We will do everything we can to defend workers at home and abroad against the attack being waged upon them by the American ruling class, our main enemy and the main enemy of working people everywhere. We will do everything we can to fight the current patriotic hype now sweeping the United States and we will seek to turn the imperialist war into a working class war. We are secure in the knowledge that, given the reality of the unceasing war that capital wages against labor, workers will soon see through the phony unity. Patriotism is usually short-lived. We will fight against the stream as we have in the past. We will do everything we can to forward the struggle to re-create the Fourth International, the hope of humanity in these critical times.