Terrorists or Terrorists
Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:07
Originally written: 10 August 2005
In the wake of the 7 July 2005 bus and subway bombing in London, there is much discussion about what constitutes terrorism, and whether terrorism is justified.
Some say that if a single Islamist or relatively small group of Islamists bombs busses and subways, they are terrorists. Socialists agree.
Some say that if a national military of a “good” country bombs the people of another country into submission, that nation is a terrorist organization. Socialists agree.
The first finds easy agreement with most people. The second is explosively contentious. To agree that war, even if conducted by supposedly good nations, is a terrorist act, results in vicious accusations of being a supporter of terrorists and of hating the United States. Socialists oppose all nation states, so yes, socialists do “hate” the United States as much as any other country. Socialists do not hate the people of the United States, or Iraq, or the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Canada, Cuba, Japan, Poland, Australia, or Indonesia, or anywhere else. That is an extremely important factor when discussing “hate” of nations (also known as states).
The “good or bad” distinction between hopping on a bus in London and having your body torn apart by a bomb, and sitting at home in Baghdad and having your body torn apart by a bomb, completely evades Capitalism’s Gravediggers, and most likely the families of those in Baghdad who were (or will be) blown apart. Whether the killer is a United States soldier or an Islamist by some definition, the mothers, fathers and children are equally dead and maimed. There is no justifiable distinction acceptable to anyone who does not like the idea of blowing people apart.
Terror is terror. It is terror in a London subway, or in a neighbourhood being carpet-bombed. The words do not change the terror of those in either situation. But the words are important. War has become a relatively acceptable concept. That is why people care to differentiate. War is not seen as being as bad as “terrorism.” That is a sickening condemnation of capitalism. The terrorism of war (for those not being slaughtered right now) is psychologically much more acceptable than the terrorism of “terrorism.”
Wake up. Since the Second World War, about 100,000 people have died every year in wars. How many millions, each year, have been terrorized by war? War is terror on a grand scale.
There are countless justifications given for the terrorist acts of the “good guys.” Those justifications come from whoever thinks the particular terrorist or terrorist organization is “good.” The same people attack the humanity of the “bad” terrorists and terrorist organizations. Every killing, by every side, generates “justification” for retribution. It does not really matter much whether it is United States President George Bush deciding who is good and who is bad, or Osama bin Laden deciding who is good and who is bad. Both of them have their fingers on the remote controls of those who slaughter innocents. Both of them have squads of believers in the justice of their cause. Both of them send young men and women off to die. Both of them are vile murderers who slaughter innocents. And both of them are considered heroes by their supporters.
It does not really matter that socialists would much more likely to be slaughtered by Osama bin Laden if he controlled the world. It would matter to socialists, but it is just an issue of who gets killed. In a world ruled by Osama bin Laden, there are other people who are much less likely to be killed. What matters is that class divided society breeds hatred and terror, and that the end of hatred and terror is no closer today than it was before or after any war in history. What matters is that you may be the next target.
Socialists do not line up behind anyone whose strategy, tactics, or solutions are based upon terrorizing people. As long as the vast majority does line up behind them, terrorism will be a fact of life and death.
Socialists know that terrorism cannot be ended today. But we also know that it can be ended. To end terrorism we must eliminate its cause. That will not happen today. Some people tell socialists that if socialism comes, they will be onside. The trouble is that socialism is not going to meander down the street and set up shop. Unless people build socialism, there will be terror until the end of our days.
Some people believe that the worst problems of the world will not affect them. If you are willing to ignore indirect effects, that may be so. On the other hand, how many of those affected by the slaughter at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma, or the World Trade Center slaughter, or the London transit slaughter, thought they would be affected? Now it is too late for them.
Every minute that you wait increases the likelihood that it will be too late for you or your children. If people had established socialism 10 years ago, none of these slaughters would have occurred. But people did not. War’s terrorism killed about a million people in that ten years. If terrorism was on your doorstep would that be reason enough to do something? If so, it would be too late.
No matter how difficult and unlikely socialism may seem to you, it is the only way to end terrorism. Every time you reject the solution, you increase the likelihood you will be terrorized.
Nobody can answer every question in a single article.
Some think it is incumbent on socialists to convince you that socialism will work. Not so. It is incumbent on you to learn. Socialists can only provide the evidence, and answers to your questions. You have to consider the evidence and ask the questions. Then you have to decide if you want to solve the problems inherent in, and impossible to solve under, capitalism.