- AFSCME Local 444 negotiations assesment 1997
- Preparing for Revolution: A discussion document
- The Internal lives of Revolutionary Organizations
- Socialist Alternative members: Questions and Answers
- Sanders: Our Alternative
- The Nature of the New European Left
- Catastrophic Climate Change: Caused by Capitalism
- University of California workers and Unions
- An Invitation to Our Readers
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
This Blog Unconditionally Condemns Attacks in Brussels.
Afscme Local 444, retired
Once again I find myself having to condemn a terrorist attack and I do so willingly. The indiscriminate killing of innocent human beings in Brussels, mostly working people coming and going from work weakens the working class and feed the voices of reaction and fascism. They increase the support for people like Trump. They increase support for more repression and this will be used against the working class.
But they do not take place in a vacuum. Belgium has a history of colonial violence in Africa. The country we now know as The Congo was once known as the Belgian Congo. I recommend the book, Leopold's Ghost to our readers or Conrad's Heart of Darkness for a lesson in Belgian colonial terrorism and violence in Africa. The US and Belgium collaborated in the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese leader who was in the forefront of the self determination struggle in that country and installed the dictator Mobutu who murdered an estimated two million people. And now we have the continued Western invasions of the Middle East and in particular Muslim lands. Despite denials from the drone king Barack Obama, western imperialism is at war with the Muslim world.
This gets me to this question of terrorism. When I was young I would watch the news and see yet another IRA terrorist bomb attack on the so-called peace keeping British soldiers in the North of Ireland (still occupied by a foreign power) or on the police force that had no Catholics in it or in other cases Protestants. The Protestant para-militaries would respond with their attacks on Catholics. It would later come out that the British and Northern Irish state created death squads and also set off bombs without warning in crowded city centers. But never did I hear the term "state terrorism".
I recognize this might offend some of my American workmates and friends, but the greatest terrorist force and most destabilizing influence on the planet today is the US corporations, their bought and paid for government their state apparatus and their imperialistic foreign policy. Many many millions of Muslims have been killed in US invasions and wars. Look at the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are fleeing the wars in the Middle East, wars which arise from US foreign policy. Wars which are seeing the Middle East blown to pieces.
I traveled all through Iraq as a young man. I went all through Turkey, a major Muslim nation, through Northern Syria all the way through Iraq to Basra. I was never threatened. I was not harmed. In fact, despite the murderous role of British imperialism in the region I was welcomed. They were Muslims then as they are now so it's not the religion. Something else has happened.
On top of a few centuries of western meddling in the region including the creation of nation states out of an area composed of different tribes, nation states designed to benefit the interests of colonizing nations, we have had 20 or more years of bombing by the US. Read Robert Fisk's excellent article on the colonial powers creation of the present day Middle East. The US invaded Iraq without any justification at all. It has been destroyed as a nation state. It is not an accident that the countries the US has bombed with support from its European allies, are those in which industry is often state owned and a statist economy prevails. And then there is the Palestinian issue, an occupation that is only possible through US arms and money it sends to the racist Zionist regime. It is not dictators or nasty guys that the US has gone after. The Saudi's, the Bahrainian monarchists, Mubarak, Ben Ali and more, ruthless thugs all, have been supported with arms and money from the US taxpayer.
So while the map above in terms of numbers killed by terrorism may be accurate, it is only so if we leave out the terrorism of the US and its imperialist friends, if we leave out state terrorism, the most efficient kind. When we take into account state terrorism, then the US, Britain, France and other lesser former colonial powers and others they bribe to support them move to the front of the line. They are the greatest terrorists of all.
It is correct to conditionally condemn this terrorist violence such as took place in Brussels today. It is an obstacle to working class unity, an obstacle to peace and a gift to the forces of reaction. But we have to look deeper for the source than someone's religion.