Friday, 20 July 2007

Terrorism and Leftism

Terrorism and Leftism
Paddy Hackett

The prevalent view within left liberal to radical left circles is that the Mujahadeen and later the Taliban including Bin Laden are a product of the CIA, Pakistani ISI and Saudia Arabia. These facts are used to morally discredit Washington and its so called war against terrorism. They also suggest that a large scale intensive war involving bombing will do more harm than good. It will, they argue, lead to further terrorism and even increase regional and perhaps even global instability. They claim that the civilian population will suffer most --thousands to die from bombs, guns, starvation and disease. They argue that instead of seeking revenge through mass terror Washington should seek to identify the conditions that determine terrorism. Washington, they say, must learn that its foreign policy is the source of this terrorism. By eliminating these conditions they eliminate terrorism and many other problems.

The above leftist/liberal conception constitutes a rather utopian notion of capitalism. It suggests that imperialism can adopt a rational procedure that will lead to the elimination of terrorism within capitalist society. Such is an anti-communist position. It is clear that if it is possible, under capitalism, to eliminate the conditions that breed terrorism then communism is superfluous and not a historical necessity. It also implies that terrorism is a problem for capitalism and that it will benefit from terrorism's demise.

This utopian perception also suggests that the issue of terrorism is a moral question as opposed to a political question --a class question. It is a perception that tacitly suggests that US imperialism's war against terrorism is morally questionable given that it created the very terrorist leader, Bin Laden, it now wants to eliminate.

This argument of liberal and left intellectuals ignores the significant fact that the spurious war against terrorism is merely a hegemonic figleaf for imperialism's attempt to enhance itself geopolitically in its relentless struggle to both defend and advance its class interests. The latter is the essential morality underlying its policies.

In other words it possesses no real concerns over the morality of terrorism. It merely deploys moral ideology as a means of disguising its real aims and the politics that flow from them. It will create an Osama Bin Laden today and eliminate one tomorrow. Its actions merely exist in the context of money relations --the maximisation of profit. It exploits Sebtember 11th within the same (monetary) context. It cares no more nor less about the conduct of a Bin Laden than it does about this or that fireman killed in the collapse of the WTC skyscraper. Each is viewed within the perspective of exploitation, profit and its geopolitical conditions.

Capitalism, as a system of exploitation and oppression, inevitably produces the conditions that lead to terrorism. Consequently to eliminate the conditions that breed terrorism is to eliminate capitalism. Capitalism is the condition that leads to terrorism. Capitalism cannot eliminate itself.

Since it will not eliminate itself it is left with no alternative but the use of force in its attempt to eliminate terrorism. Its use of force is somewhat successful in containing terrorism. If it were not Washignton would not use it.
Clearly its limited success has a contradictory character. While it contains terrorism it also breeds it. The genesis of Taliban constitutes the concentrated essence of that contradiction. While capitalism wilfully created the Taliban it now seeks to contain it and even crush it. Even if it succeeds in this it will need future Talibans of one sort or another. A similar situation can repeat itself again. This is in the nature of capitalism. Capitalism both creates and destroys terrorism. This is capitalism inherently contradictory character --its albatross.

The crucial point is that terrorism is not essentially a problem for capitalism. Capitalism produces terrorism because it needs it. Its validity is viewed within a functionalist logic -- this is its morality. Capitalism, in itself, is not concerned if terrorism is responsible for the deaths of over 6000 people in the US. Indeed sometimes it exploits such atrocities. These deceased mean no more to it than the deaths of a similar number in any third world country. This is why the argument from the liberal/left intelligentsia that a US worker has more value than a third world worker is false. To capitalism one is of no more significance than the other --their significance is their insignificance. Capitalism is only concerned about them from the standpoint of its exploitation of their labour power. Any stronger response by the US bourgeoisie concerning US deaths is merely an appearance designed to deceive in the interests of maintaining and increasing its exploitation and oppression of the world working class.

Capitalism needs terrorism to obstruct the development of a communist working class that can effectively challenge and overthrow capitalist relations. Terrorism is an expression of the absence of communism within the working class. As communism grows within the working class terrorism will tend to correspondingly diminishes. However under conditions of a growing communist movement the bourgeoisie deliberately fosters terrorism as a device to disarm and undermine the growing communist movement. Consequently Bush's declaration of war on terrorism is a war that he cannot and does not want to win. If anything what Washington seeks is the control of terrorism in the interests of capital. His politics has been the protection of Washington regulatated terrorism by attacking terrorism antagonistic to his imperialist interests.

To conclude: The only way terrorism can be eliminated is by replacing capitalist social relations with communist ones. This means social revolution. I care about the thousands of workers killed and injured in Afghanistan and Manhattan. This is why I am a communist.

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