The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Individual Terrorism, State Terrorism—Their Target Is the Same:
The Population

Sep 24, 2001

We may never know exactly how many victims the attack on the World Trade Center took–but its direct victims will be in the thousands, with everything that means for their families and friends. Its indirect victim is the American population.

With complete indifference, the organizers of this attack set out to kill people, people whose only crime was to work in those buildings or to travel on those planes–people who left home that morning thinking only that they were going to work.

Up until now, no one has claimed responsibility for this act. The U.S. government says that its author is Osama bin Laden and those directly connected with him. Whether or not this is true, one thing is obvious: no cause can justify such an action.

Whoever carried out the attack was ready to kill indiscriminately and randomly in order to demonstrate that symbols of American power could be attacked. Attacked the symbols may have been. But symbols can be replaced. The people killed and wounded cannot be.

Those who directed and carried out this disgusting attack are enemies of all the people, including the people they pretend to defend. People in Afghanistan and Pakistan were among the first to be attacked by them years ago.

The attack on September 11 may well serve to make American workers feel they have no choice but to give Bush a blank check to carry out the policies he today proposes: new wars overseas, more repression at home, and a demand for sacrifices made in living and working conditions. This would be a mistake. It’s the policies of U.S. governments which have finally led to this tragedy.

The news media showed us pictures of crowds in Gaza cheering the news of the attacks in New York and Washington. If there was such a reaction, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Palestinians have suffered for over a half century the bloody consequences of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The terrorism, the daily repression, the violence they have suffered at the hands of the Israelis has been paid for by the United States. If the U.S. is hated in many areas of the Middle East, it is precisely because the U.S. government carries the biggest responsibility for the destruction and desperate impoverishment of the Middle East.

Look at what Bush proposes today. He may say that the bombing strikes or other actions he intends to carry out are directed against bin Laden and the Taliban. But, in fact, like all terrorists, Bush is proposing to attack a whole population–the Afghan people–in order to get at their leaders.

This is nothing but terrorism, carried out with all the means of violence at the disposal of the most powerful state apparatus in the world. It is the very same state terrorism which the U.S. has carried out for ten years against the Iraqi people. The Gulf War–supposedly aimed against Saddam Hussein–not only has not toppled him from power, it was not even carried out in a way to do so. It has led to the deaths of more than one million Iraqis, half of whom were children under five. The whole Iraqi people have been held hostage to terrorism–caught in buildings bombed to rubble, burnt up, starved to death–so that Saddam Hussein, a former agent of U.S. policy in the Middle East, could be taught his lesson and put in his place.

Ever since the Gulf War, those who direct foreign policy have tried to convince us that the U.S. could carry out wars, attack people in other countries, without the U.S. paying a price. Well, a price has now been paid–and it wasn’t paid by Bush or Clinton or any of the never-elected people who, in the shadows, formulate U.S. foreign and military policy. The price was paid by the people who died or were wounded in the attacks in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania.

What the people of New York so terribly suffered on September 11, the people of Iraq have faced for 10 years and the people of Palestine for almost 60 years. This does not lessen the horror of what people here experienced. It does show the real and complete consequences of U.S. foreign policy.