The Spark

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

The atrocity in Spain

Mar 15, 2004

One day after the terrorist bombings in the Madrid subway took about 200 lives and wounded over 1,400 people, protests throughout Spain drew an estimated 11 million people, or one-quarter of the entire population. It was an enormous outpouring against an unspeakable atrocity. Carried out in the middle of morning rush hour, the bombings were aimed at inflicting the maximum amount of death and carnage against ordinary people jammed into subway cars simply trying to make their way to work or to school.

Who carried out this attack? No one knows. The government and news media have suggested that it was either a Basque separatist group called the ETA or some group with supposed ties to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda. But in fact, the attack could have been carried out by anyone, even those with ties to one or another government or police agency, Spanish or U.S. CIA or British MI5. After all, these spy agencies have a long history of sponsoring dirty tricks and terrorist attacks of all sorts all over the world in order to further the interests of their respective governments and ruling classes. After all, who gave Osama bin Laden his start – if not the U.S. government?

But no matter which terrorist group is behind this horrible attack in Spain, the main terrorist threat against ordinary people all around the world are the big imperialist powers, which constantly instigate wars and occupations against ordinary people on every continent. The list of this imperialist terrorist violence is endless. As some examples, first of all, the U.S. and Britain (with the help and support of Spain) are now occupying Iraq after carrying out two wars since 1991, as well as a murderous economic embargo that resulted in the deaths of millions of Iraqis. There is Afghanistan, which the U.S. bombed, invaded and is now occupying, along with other NATO powers. There is the Israeli war and occupation of the Palestinian territories, which the U.S. has financed and supported, taking so many Palestinian lives, as well the lives of some Israelis. In Colombia, U.S. troops along with private U.S. mercenaries have been carrying out wars against the peasants and trade unions, under the guise of a fight against drug trafficking. And, on and on.

Given this murderous drive of the big imperialist powers and the apparent lack of an effective mobilization against them, some terrorist groups have sprung up and grown. But these terrorist groups' actions simply play into the hands of the imperialist powers, by providing them the cover to carry out even more wars and repression. Just look at how not just the Bush administration, but the entire government and capitalist class in the U.S. were so quick to use the 9/11 attacks to justify anything and everything to advance their own agenda – from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to setting up a concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay, to pushing through a smorgasbord of repressive legislation and legalized police spying and abuse, to the demands that the population make sacrifice after sacrifice.

Certainly, in the days after the terrorist bombing in Madrid, there was already the rush by the politicians of all stripes to take advantage and profit from the sense of outrage of the population. There were the different political parties positioning themselves for the election that was set to take place only days later. There were the police agencies immediately naming the ETA as the terrorists in order to carry out a massive crackdown on that group. And, there was of course, the U.S.'s very own President George W. Bush on television trying to tie the Spanish government even more firmly behind the war in Iraq, even though more than 90% of the Spanish population has consistently opposed the war!

Certainly, the terrorist attacks in Spain are a terrible tragedy. But let's not forget who the biggest terrorists are: the capitalists and their government in Spain, the U.S. and the other big imperialist powers.