On 9/11, and maintaining a class political focus
Organizing a working-class resistance to the bipartisan class offensive of the bourgeoisie is as much an issue today as it was during the months of imperialist flag-waving in late 2001.
Who all was behind the Sept. 11 terrorist atrocities, how was the criminal act carried out, etc., is a question that has been vigorously debated these past 3 years. And, according to one poll, about half of New Yorkers now believe that the Bush Administration "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act". This represents a healthy skepticism toward the government, and the military and intelligence establishments---proven liars, all of them. Yet the question of what really happened re: the 9/11 attack itself can be a diversion away from dealing with the broader political questions: The American bourgeoisie used 9/11 as pretext for militarily settling accounts with bourgeois rivals and would-be rivals such as Saddam Hussein, and bin Laden and the pan-Islamic capitalists he represents, AND for stepping up it's imperialist crusade against the workers and other oppressed people both abroad and at home.
This is a bipartisan CLASS offensive. Hence the democrats' lined up behind Bush in 2001, and three years later they remain lined up behind his program. Kerry, for example, says that he'll have U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of his term if he's elected, he's said that he would have attacked Iraq even if he had known there were no weapons of mass slaughter in Hussein's hands, he's criticized Bush for not sending enough troops, and at times said he would send more, etc. More, Kerry (and the most liberal wing of his party) has consistently attacked Bush from the right on the "war against terror", i.e., his party will be wiser leaders of this program of American imperialist resurgence. At home they will be wiser leaders of the growing police state, perhaps cropping out a handful of the most notorious provisions of the Patriot Act (hence, according to Kerry, it's fine for the Feds to snoop in library records, as long as its covered with a court order!) while keeping 95% of it, and even adding new features.
Organizing a working-class resistance to this bipartisan class offensive of the bourgeoisie is as much an issue today as it was during the months of imperialist flag-waving in late 2001. (And, alongside theoretical work, I think it is the main issue.) The exposure of Bush and Co. as mortal enemies of the workers and all progressive humanity has gone a long ways during this period, and it should be continued. But the exposure of the role of the liberals in undermining every step toward a class political independence and in serving the class offensive of the rich headed by Bush is also a task. (To put it vulgarly, you can't effectively hit Bush and his program without also hitting the liberals.) Put together, these are essential components of genuinely left work among the masses of people. But in an article currently featured on PDX Indymedia the left is scourged, it allegedly "has proven (once again) its moral and intellectual bankruptcy", not because of its activities in organizing resistance to the imperialist offensive we're living (and dying) under, but because it has not answered the writer's desire to know the details of what happened on 9/11.
Of course the writer considers "The Nation" as left. But "The Nation" only represents the extreme left wing of the imperialist bourgeoisie. As such it's on the "anybody but Bush" bandwagon, mildly complaining about Kerry is conducting his campaign, etc. But there is another left than this, a revolutionary left be striving to unite the workers around a politics independent of and against the politics of the bourgeois establishment (as it must do if it is truly revolutionary). The article featured on Portland Indymedia ignores this left. For sure it's small, fragile, cannot pursue every issue, and shouldn't be expected to have the answer to every question (regarding 9/11, or other). But during the last 3 years it has taken further steps along the path I've mentioned, and this is the decisive work if there is going to be any real and lasting change.
This said, and on this anniversary, I would like to repost the 9/15/01 statement of the editor of Communist Voice ( http://www.communistvoice.org). I think it reads well today.--W.
On the Bush administration's response
to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11
By Joseph Green
Sept. 15, 2001
The terrorist atrocity of Sept. 11 caused thousands of deaths. Since then, the Bush administration has vowed to retaliate by committing its own atrocities against a substantial part of the world. In the name of fighting terrorism, the Bush administration intends to step up military imperialism around the world. It is taking aim at a wide variety of forces, from the struggling masses in Palestine, Colombia and elsewhere, to reactionaries and former U.S. allies, such as bin Laden, who have since bit the hand which once fed them but have NOT thereby become friends of the working masses and who may be butchers in their own right. This step-up of militarism and war will only increase the atrocities, racist attacks, and repression against the working masses around the world and in the U.S. It will not relax world tensions or bring freedom to the world's people. It has nothing to do with ending terrorism, with terrorists such as bin Laden having gotten their start with encouragement from the CIA. What the Bush administration is aiming at is not ending terrorism, but monopolizing it; not ending bloodshed, but channeling it in accordance with current White House objectives; not ending assassinations, but authorizing them; not ending retaliations against civilian populations, something for which U.S. imperialism has long been known, from its sponsoring of dirty wars to its constant recourse to economic blockades, but stepping them up. This is a united objective of the establishment parties and trends, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. They are putting aside their usual squabbles and eagerly displaying their true colors as great-power bullies, eager to trample on the rights of the American workers and minorities and the very lives of working people around the world. The only answer to this is for all progressive people to dedicate themselves to the long-term work of rebuilding an independent proletarian movement which can stand against imperialism and the bourgeoisie, both the arrogant, swaggering bourgeoisie of the big-powers and the local reactionary factions, and which can support struggles for freedom and economic survival by oppressed peoples everywhere.
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