IRSP: On the Attacks on the United States

nidhighe at irsm.org nidhighe at irsm.org
Sat Sep 15 09:41:02 MDT 2001


IRSP: On the Attacks on the United States

The North American Coordinator of the Irish Republican Socialist
Party's International Department issued a lengthy statement in
response to the attacks against American targets in New York and
Washington, DC. The IRSP is re-issuing the message in full, despite
its length, because we believe that it is important that the IRSP
convey clearly its profound sympathy with the innocent working women
and men who died in these attacks and the friends, family and loved
ones of the victims, who must endure such a cruel loss. At the same
time, the IRSP's International Department and its support
organisation in North America, are equally concerned that they
express their sympathy and solidarity with the many, many nations and
peoples around the world who have endured violence and oppression at
the hands of US imperialism, but not shared in the great outpouring
of sympathy now being extended to the American people.

The IRSP believes that working class people possess the integrity and
creativity to create means for all nations to be given the security,
comfort and respect that we all seek for ourselves and those dear to
us. We believe the selfish exploitation of others and callous
disregard of humanity carried out against the other nations of the
world by the same class that lives as a parasite on the dignified
labour of American working people as well is not representative of
the actual interests of the vast majority of Americans, and it pains
us to see these people forced to endure the violence reaped from the
exploitation their government has sown in their name. For this
reason, in Ireland and around the globe, we call upon our class to
open up communication with the many different peoples of this world,
who also live not through the deprivation of others but through their
own honest toil, so as to ensure that never again will any nation be
forced to confront the needless tragedy that so many thousands of
Americans experienced on September 11th, 2001.

________________________

Statement of the North American Coordinator of the International
Department of the Irish Republican Socialist Party on the Attacks on
the United States

Allow me, as one living in the belly of the beast, to offer another
perspective to those most loudly being expressed regarding the
attacks made against the United States of America on Tuesday. The
Irish Republican Socialist Party and its members and supporters in
Canada and the US join you in grieving those innocents among the dead
and injured. We do not support targeting of civilian locations in any
form of warfare--conventional or waged through guerilla tactics or
the use of terror, even when, as in the case of the World Trade
Center, it is also a strategic economic target.

The Pentagon or Capitol Hill must be recognised as legitimate
military targets. Certainly the United States has time and time again
bombed such targets of other nations around the world. The Pentagon
is the strategy center of the American military services and can
hardly be argued to be anything other than a legitimate target.
Certainly one might have thought that the White House or the CIA
headquarters would have been more appropriate targets than the
Capitol Building, but who can say that in a military attack, the
center of the government is not a legitimate target.

We fear with near certainty that the American government's response
will not be measured nor calm. The American government has a long
history of reacting as though it was immune from the very actions it
so often perpetrates around the globe against others.

France, Germany, England, Russia, Italy, Vietnam, Japan, Algeria,
Sudan--all these nations have at one time or another experienced the
devastation of full scale war on their national soil. While hardly
shining models all, I think it is clear that all of these nations
show more restraint about jumping into armed conflicts than does the
United States. Other than a civil war fought in the middle of the
19th century, the US people and the US government have not
experienced the slaughter of innocents, the disruption of civil
society, the destruction of a generation that other nations have and
perhaps that has helped to ensure the American government's continued
arrogance.

For that reason, we imagine the actions taken on Tuesday in New York
and DC were a desperate attempt to get the US government and the US
people to look anew at what they are doing to the rest of the globe,
to the other nations and peoples of this planet. Let's hope that
rather than flying into a blind rage, instead the people of America
take this opportunity to see--to see through the eyes of others in
this world; to recognize the horror, the despair, and the rage their
bombs caused in Iraq, in Libya, in Yugoslavia, in Laos, in Vietnam,
in Grenada, in Panama, and the list goes on and on.

Let us hope that the American people and their government recognize
that it is impossible to gain justice for those slaughtered in New
York by slaughtering equally innocent people in Iraq, Libya,
Afghanistan or somewhere else. There are no bombs so "smart" they
will know how to seek out only those who killed civilians in New
York, while leaving unharmed the mother with her infant standing
beside him. It is not only Americans who feel the loss of loved ones
and the agony of violence. Humans of every nation suffer, die, and
lose the will to live from adversity to arduous to bear.

Let's hope that in looking at the horrifying images of New York, the
American people immediately are prompted to think back to the innocent
people on the streets of Baghdad when the US air force rained bombs
down on them, on their children and on the millenniums old Ziggurat
originally built there by one of the very first civilizations to
arise among humankind and rightfully a treasure of the whole of
humanity.

Let us hope they suddenly recognize how the Palestinians armed with
only stones feel when an Israeli helicopter fires a missile into
their home.

Let us hope that they are immediately granted an insight into the
feelings of the people of Laos, whose Plain of Jars the US bombed so
many times there was nothing but bomb craters left to be destroyed by
the new bombs falling. Let us hope that they translate their own
dread and sorrow into a recognition of how those in Hiroshima or
Nagasaki must have felt--before they were vaporized into shadows on
the sidewalks. Let us hope they learn what it must have been like,
when the civilians of Dresden had the air torn from their lungs by
the firestorm caused by the Allies bombs and then watched one of
Europe's most beautiful cities be erased in flame with their final
look out upon the world.

Make no mistake concerning our sentiments in the Irish Republican
Socialist Movement. We believe that violence and war are ugly. They
are brutal. They are inhuman. And we believe this is true, whether
they take place in the midst of New York's skyscrapers or in the
deserts of North Africa. We believe that no sane individual will
choose war over peace, if she or he can see another option available
to them.

For too long, America has acted as though the lives of thousands upon
thousand of human innocents were nothing when compared to their own
national interests. Millions of human lives were lost last year to
hunger, while the US government purchased vast quantities of
foodstuffs for the purpose of destroying them, to maintain the prices
of US agricultural products. Delicate and imperiled ecosystems were
pressed beyond redemption for future generations to use, because it
enhanced the quarterly earnings of this or that corporation. Unique
and proud communities of cultures whose history stretches across the
centuries were rendered unstable and unsustainable because doing so
provided--however briefly--a source of labour for sale cheaper than
in another spot 75 miles away.

The people of Iraq were forced to endure daily bombings for every
single day of a four year period for daring to exercise its
sovereignty in opposition to American designs. The people of
Palestine were told to refrain from defending themselves when Israel
broke its word in the treaty they signed, refused to negotiate, and
unleashed a wave of ongoing violence against the long exploited
Palestinian people. The people of Yugoslavia suffered loss of life,
or loved ones, or the chance for a life free of fear because of the
relentless bombing by America and its NATO allies, yet no one seemed
to weep for these mothers as they buried their murdered infants.

Likewise, America said nothing when the Guatemalan government failed
to honour its word to the indigenous majority of that nation, despite
the URNG keeping theirs. The American people didn't clamor for
justice for the mothers of the disappeared in Argentina or Chile, nor
did they appear  concerned when the masses of South Africa were still
being told they must wait for the promise for a better life that had
been flashed before them after their courageous struggle against
Apartheid had.

Let us hope that from here forward, the working people of America
will have cause to think carefully before they respond to some other
nation differing with American policy by raining devastation from
sleek and expensive, state-of-the-art aircraft--never having to pause
long enough or get close enough to see the blood and twisted limbs or
hear the cries and screams that are left in their wake.

Not forced to think twice because they are now riddled with fear, as
many US pundits have suggested--we do not need more people in the
world living in terror--but forced to think twice because they have
been so vividly reminded that innocent human life is precious and
that we are most human when we are moved by our concerns for the well-
being of other people, not by the bloodthirst for vengeance or the
callousness of brutal self-interest.

While we in the Irish Republican Socialist Movement, both in North
America and across the Atlantic in Ireland or England, believe that--
as Malcolm X warned the US long ago--the chickens have now come home
to roost. We take no pleasure in making that observation. Like all
people with the capacity for caring, our thoughts are above all with
the husbands, daughters, sons and wives, friends, co-workers, team-
mates, lovers of the thousands of innocent, working class women and
men whose lives were tragically cut short for sins not their own, but
transgressions made in their name, without their consent by a State
that undercuts continuously their ability to legitimize the pride
they so long to feel for the land of their births. The tragedy we
see, is that callous disregard for innocent human life by the US
government was answered by equally cynical disregard for more
innocent human beings, so that none can lay claim to justice having
been done, but only others having joined US imperialism on the path
to barbarism.

But, as true as it is that such violence is barbaric, base, and vile,
let us also remember that there are things even more dehumanizing.
Such as the experience of being confronted by another with the
capacity for terrible violence, being forced into submission and
being too frightened to do anything but live as a slave, in
degradation and oppression without answering this injustice. If
violence is used to hold a people in unjust and humiliating bondage,
then as abhorrent as it is, violence must often be used in response
to gain back ones freedom, dignity, and humanity. No nation, no
class, no people should ever feel that they are free to use violence
for their objectives while claiming those against whom they direct
this violence against have no right to do the same. So long as the
weapons that America wields in its military and sells to virtually
every repressive regime on this planet serve to exploit and violate
another people, those people will have no recourse but to use the
same in their quest for justice and liberty.

A State standing with gun in hand and innocent blood up to its elbows
is ill-advised to select that time to lecture to another nation on
the sanctity of human life and concern for the grieving of widows
and orphans. One is reminded of the British government, its
occupation of six Irish counties punctuated with the presence of
thousands of armed soldiers and police or loyalist paramilitaries,
fresh from hurling bombs at five or six year-old girls adopting tones
of self-righteousness while telling Irish republicans and republican
socialists that their is no room for the gun in Irish politics--
preaching the imperative of decommissioning weapons used to defend
the terrorised members of the nationalist working class communities
while insisting that their own, far more massive, stockpile of
weapons remain outside any discussion of threats to peace and agents
of terror in the hearts and minds of the people of Ireland. If so
convinced of the correctness of dialogue and the barbarism of brute
force, let Britain and America show the way by ending their
international weapons trading and provide a model to the rest of the
world by relying on the compelling force of their arguments, not the
coercion into agreement by threats and violence. Convince us of the
claim to leading human civilization by their willingness to trust in
the benefits of their vision to gain their desired goals and
foreswear any attempt to gain acceptance of their rule if it becomes
necessary to employ steel, fire and blood to obtain it.

Until that time, however, the power of the truth to set men free and
the superiority of reasoned dialogue over brute force will retain the
hollowness of promises made with fingers crossed. The instance by the
United States of its right to treat other nation's with cruelty and
contempt will remain a key source of carnage, regardless of who
wields the weapon.

The old adage remains true that it is better to die on one's feet, as
a human being, than to live on one's knees. So it is the best
interests of preserving the humanity of all, that those who presently
bully so as to exploit for their own benefit the toil of the people
of another nation, stop now. That they instead extend their strong
arms and hands in comforting embrace and selfless assistance to those
who have yet to enjoy the prosperity created in the course of their
exploitation by others. Because the working people of this planet,
whose brain, muscle, creativity, and commitment has made possible
every advance in improved quality of life, scientific
breakthroughs, development of the arts, and expansion of human
liberty and justice, are rewarded with degradation and violence, they
will feel compelled to respond in kind. In the process, we will
experience the additional tragedy of these honourable and well
meaning working people being forced to sacrifice some of their self-
esteem in order to not stand idle in the face of outrage and
inhumanity.

Peadar Baile

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