A brief note on 'terrorism'

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Sep 13 07:32:17 MDT 2001

Lou Paulsen:
>people do a large amount of damage.  They used the term 'terrorism' for
>attacks on US army and marine barracks in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia for
>instance, or the attack on the Cole, which I HOPE we would realize that
>socialists can NOT treat as the kind of 'terrorism' that Marx and Lenin were
>writing about.  It's a different phenomenon completely.

No, it is exactly the same phenomenon. In fact one of the greatest
obstacles to genuine anti-imperialist revolutions is the use of terror,
since it puts the masses into the position of bystanders.

>chances unnecessarily.  But if some group of people is not composed of
>socialists, and does not have any such hopes, and rather believes that the
>U.S. workers are part and parcel of their oppression, or at any rate will be
>indifferent to their oppression for the foreseeable future, and views things
>in entirely military terms, how are they going to act?  Can we call this
>'murder' (there's no class content to this term) and 'terrorism' as some
>people have already done?  Anyway, to use Lenin's writings against Narodniks
>as justification for blanket "condemnations", which blur indistinguishably
>into the imperialists' "condemnations", is just bad argumentation.

You should not make the mistake of projecting moral categories into the
term "terrorism". Our problem is not with killing, what the bourgeois press
calls "murder", but with substitutionism.

Louis Proyect
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