WAR on Terrorism = WAR on the innocent


The terrorist attacks on the US of September 11th which killed over 6,000 people have rightly outraged not only the citizens of the US but also the vast majority of the world's people. Anarchists are no different from anyone else in this respect. Despite our opposition to US imperialism and global capitalism we share nothing in common with those who would kill thousands of people in order to strike at them.

Those who hijacked the planes were not ignorant conscripts forced to do so by a mad man. They made a choice while they cut the throats of airline workers and flew planeloads of civilians into the WTC where they knew thousands were working. So now it's "the war on terrorism" or more simply revenge!

On Sunday 7th of October the US and Britain launched 50 cruise missiles at Afghanistan followed by several waves of fighter bomber each carrying thousands of kilograms of explosives. Then, in a sick piece of cynicism, which tells us a lot about the system we live in, they dropped 37,500 ration packs in a country where, according to the UN, 7.5 million people are going hungry.

Despite absolute press censorship on both sides news has already filtered out that among the first casualties were 4 workers in a UN office trying to deal with some of the 10 million unexploded mines left over from twenty years of conflict.

This is war - what is it good for?

Well, lots of things if you happen to be on the "right" side. Bush and Blair ride high in the opinion polls and Bin Laden's status amongst ordinary Muslims grows with every "smart" and "dumb" bomb that falls.

As innocent people are cut down the ability of the bankers, generals and politicians to impose their will on us has been massively strengthened. Civil liberties and asylum rights are being and will be cracked down on.

Never forget war is always good for business. In just one small example Irish company Parthus rose 16% in value on Tuesday 11th of September.

They have just developed a new system for mobile phones that allows the user's location to be identified by satellite. The US government has just ordered that all mobiles be fitted with such devices as part of the "war on terrorism".

The challenge is to create a world where the death of 6,000 individuals anywhere as the result of a economic or political policy is as unthinkable as the death of 6,000 people in New York before this attack. We do not simply want a 'peace' that is a return to the pre-war status quo where, for instance, over 1,000,000 Iraqis have died as a result of sanctions because the Western powers have fallen out with a dictator who has brutally repressed the people of Iraq.

We need to start a discussion around the forbidden question of 'Why'. George Bush wants to tell us that the only question is whose side are we on. We don't accept this. As we look at the western militarists who have created a world where 19,000 children die every day from lack of access to clean waterand basic medical care we do not see allies in a struggle for freedom. We see a system that, like the authoritarian religious states promoted by Islam and other organised religions, are a relic of history that stand in the way of freedom.

When it suited the West they turned a blind eye to the massacres of the Taliban and their oppression of women. As recently as May of this year the American government pumped 43 million dollars into Afghanistan as part of the "war on drugs".

It's not that those who rule the world are simply evil or indeed so stupid that they are incapable of seeing the hypocrisy. It is more that capitalism itself has a need for severe economic, political and social inequalities. Supporting brutal dictatorships is the cheapest way of ensuring that western business continues to keep the price of oil down while the populations of these countries are kept in their place and fail to reap any benefits from these resources.

The military coup of 1956 in Indonesia ended in the death of over one million people, many of them named on lists handed over by the CIA to the military. This ensured that Indonesia could be the centre of the sweatshop industries. Today these places churn out cheap clothes which brand name companies make super profits from.

There are some concrete demands we can raise in Ireland, these include:

Meanwhile Anarchists want to start a broader discussion about the causes of militarism and war. We need to break with the thinking behind state and religious terror. We need to build a world in which not only war but also social, political and economic inequality are abolished. In that world Bush and bin Laden alike will be historical absurdities like the kings and witch burners of the 16th century. Building that world requires a lot more than simply opposing this war but it does include building an anti-war movement.

Conor McLoughlin


Workers Solidarity

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This edition is No67 published in Nov 2001

Cover of Workers Solidarity 67

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