The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Brussels Terrorist Attack – Barbarism and its Roots

Mar 28, 2016

This article appeared in the March 25th issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

On March 22 in Brussels, terrorists killed at least 24 and wounded 200. Once more it aroused horror in the midst of Europe, barely four months after the Paris attacks.

Whatever were the motives which animate those who carry out and order these terrorist attacks, these killings can only provoke revolt and disgust. The Islamic State organization which takes credit for them presents the acts of these suicide bombers as heroic. In reality, they’re nothing more than cowardice. For it’s cowardice to organize and carry out these crimes which aim at passengers taking a plane, those who accompany them to the airport, those working there and at a packed subway station at rush hour filled with men, women and children.

Men who kill in this way are the worst enemies of the oppressed and the population in Syria and Iraq, on whom they have imposed their domination. The same evening as the attacks, Syrian refugees in Greece denounced the terrorist attacks with the means at hand, small placards written in English, propped up before the cameras. They recall that it is precisely the horrors of war, including those of the Islamic State, that they’ve fled.

The barbarism of the Brussels attacks didn’t fall from the sky. The great powers, notably the U.S. and the European countries, by all their diplomatic maneuvers, their military interventions and their bombings where they kill blindly, are in great part responsible for the chaos in Syria and Iraq. And more fundamentally, for more than a century, they have made the Middle East the grounds of their rivalries to seize its natural resources, like oil, and all the markets that it represents, beginning with arms sales. For more than a century, the maneuvers of the great powers have torn apart the peoples and driven them against one another. They nourished wars by arming one clan in power against another and by using various militias to service their interests at the moment.

In Iraq and Syria, for five years, the populations have paid with hundreds of thousands of war dead, which devastated their territory. Certainly, they are the victims of Islamic State barbarism, certainly, but above all the victims of the imperialist policy of the great powers. Today, the populations in the capitals of the rich European countries are equally the victims. For an entire region can’t be put to fire and blood without that ricocheting back here, in one manner or another.

For this reason, the Brussels victims and those of November in Paris are indirectly the victims of the policy of the European leaders. It is precisely their policy in the Middle East which contributed to generate the Islamic State monsters and continues to generate others.

The workers can’t let themselves be swept up in the policy of national union that French President Hollande and his Prime Minister Valls are quick to relaunch. Union with whom? With the right wing parties which wreaked desolation in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan? With the left wing parties who also are responsible for the policy of war in this region of the world? With the far right who wants to close all borders, stirring up reactionary and anti-immigrant prejudices?

The workers must not accept any of these leaders who are responsible for the rise of barbarism thousands of miles away, and the recent explosion here, leaders who claim to speak in their name.