Comments on WTC

Donal donaloc at peterquinn.com
Tue Dec 4 06:02:47 MST 2001


A Chairde,

I made a number of fairly uncompromising comments on the subject of the WTC
strikes and am pleased to see that attitudes to this issue have become more
understanding of these positions, with Ward Churchill's remarks at least
getting some consideration on this list (c.f. comments made on this list
about the SWP statement by Martin Koppel in September). Moreover, given the
benefit of hindsight many are now seeing the importance of not jumping on
the pro-imperialist bandwagon of selective condemnation or, of more
accurately, the need to listen to the views of the colonial masses (when
they gain expression). Exclusion of the colonial discourse and view as
espoused by native Americans, Arabs, or whatever is merely an element in the
exclusion of anti-imperialist experiences and worldviews.

In particular, I thought that Jim Craven's comments were excellent on this
subject. His feelings on the (ignored) numbers of people (living across the
world) who will not suffer the devastating effects of neo-liberalist assault
because of the strikes of Al-Queda go someway in putting words to my own
feelings. Perhaps it's that commonality of the experience of
colonial/semi-colonial populations and as he said (so truely) we can
sometimes take up even harsher positions to let them know how it feels one
time.

That's not to say we should not forget the sorrow of the working class
people who possibly formed the bulk of victims in the tragedy or of those
innocents killed on the planes; just that we need some perspective. That
perspective is rapidly being forced on all of us given the scale of the
onslaught which the imperialists are delivering and will deliver both abroad
and at home.

Also put in perspective is the difficulties of taking up positions whereby
first-world leftists taunt those with whose programmes for revolution or
national liberation they disagree as 'sell outs'. Whilst events in Palestine
are not yet clear by any means, I think that the dangers of such uncritical
name-calling exercises will come home to haunt those sitting pretty in the
first world. The comments from Danny Schlecter would sit well with my own
experience of the difficulties facing anyone who would advance the cause of
socialism in a colonial environment - things aren't always achievable and
some degree of responsibility in maintaining and expanding a support-base
are basic pre-requisites for long-term success.

In the course of the last few days, the PA has clearly been targetted by the
Israelis and although the situation is not yet totally clear, the
battlelines are being drawn. In Palestine, now is the time for unity of
action, even if one disagrees on the exact nature of the programme or
strategy.

Furthermore we remain steadfast in our understanding of our conception of
terrorism and of theirs. Ours involves the slaughter of innocents (e.g. WTC,
Iraqui Starvation, Bombing of Afghanistan's towns and villages) their
definition is anything threatening their hold on their empire or over the
passive working class populations who live in their country. We can never
align ourselves with terrorism, they will always call us terrorists.

As a last comment, I do not consider the war in Afghanistan to be over yet
by any means. There was a very interesting documentary on British television
two nights back detailing interviews with senior members of the Northern
Alliance including their President. What became clear was that they wouldn't
accept the former King, as he was considered too weak (it now looks like
they will accept one of his officers). Furthermore, most of the NA leaders
seemed to think that Bin Laden was maligned by the West and that he had
proven himself through Jihad - as such he should be cut some slack. Going on
what they said, it wouldn't surprise me that he was safely living in their
territorities. As to the collapse of the Taleban, they don't look like
moving too much more, they may cut their losses in Kandahar but they seem to
have very strong support coming from the local population there. The
corruption and bribery at the heart of the war was clearly documented, with
the NA leadership saying that they could buy off the entire Pastun tribal
(aka Taleban) leaders (apart from Mullah Omar) if they had sufficient funds.
I don't think the US is going to control that bunch too handy. And as for
the liberation of women - that's clearly a non-starter with the possible
exception of Kabul.

Is mise,

Domhnall.



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