[Marxism] Re: Bombs in Madrid

Andy Coates esquincle at capital.net
Fri Mar 12 20:55:06 MST 2004

In political terms, I will be forever grateful to Fidel Castro for his 
speeches following September 11th, 2001, still a political compass for 
me, and I'm grateful to Walter tonight for reposting those excerpts in 
the present context.  I further agree with him about those chickens.

I agree also with Ed George about the politics of today's mass 
mobilization in Spain, putrid really -- from mixed messages to 
unprincipled combinations to frank deadly reaction:  evidently not 
something to join or support.  Yet I wonder if there might be another 
element in these demonstrations of millions "against terrorism" (see 

On the question of terrorism itself, I think old Farrell Dobbs hit the 
nail on the head (from testimony at trial on FBI spying):
Winter: Does the SWP have any view on whether that revolution you have 
just referred to can be brought about by terrorism?
Dobbs: Yes.
Winter: And what is that view?
Dobbs: It is the view of the Socialist Workers Party that terrorism is 
the antithesis of what is required to bring about a fundamental social 
   Terrorism implies that self-appointed individuals can substitute 
themselves for the great mass of the people--and by acts of terror 
bring about a change while the mass stands around as onlookers, as 
though they were merely interested onlookers--watching something like a 
Super Bowl game. A concept of that nature is directly contradictory to 
what is needed--that is the cumulative process of the education and 
organization of the working class as a class, to act as a class in its 
own behalf. That is the only way that a social transformation can be 
brought about.
   In addition to that, acts of terrorism serve as a pretext for the 
ruling class to impose restrictions on the democratic rights of the 
working people in building their own organizations and in carrying out 
their policies.  
(http://www.themilitant.com/2002/6603/660349.html   ...I offer this not 
to refute anyone's argument that the (once my) SWP has successfully 
transformed its 'semi-sectartian existence' into wholly sectarian 
existence, but because I believe the Dobbs' 
terrorism-as-mass-spectator-sport analogy remains a particularly useful 

What happened in Spain today?  When millions of people fill the streets 
in solidarity with the anonymous victims of a hideous metropolitan 
crime (also hideous victims of an anonymous crime), what does it mean?  
Yes, there is hatred, hysteria, and yes, the reprehensible leg up for 
the coming slap-shots of reaction against Basque activists and others, 
rippling here in the US already...

Could there also be, in such an outcry, an affirmation of everyday 
human solidarity -- the mute but real trust we offer each other, 
anonymously and daily, for instance in any mass transit situation, a 
trust at once pedestrian and beautiful, upon which we see our very 
existence depend, found in every country, a cultivated resource with 
which we collectively survive this monster?  To embrace such an idea 
might be more than a rejection of terrorism,--   might it be the 
beginning of politics?

Andy Coates

Fidel Castro (quoted by Walter):

> ... none of the problems
> affecting today's world can be solved with the use of
> force, there is no global, technological or military power
> that can guarantee total immunity against such acts,
> because they can be organized by small groups, difficult to
> detect, and what is more complicated, carried out by
> suicidal people. Therefore, the general effort of the
> international community must be to put an end to a number
> of conflicts affecting the world, at least in this area. It
> is indispensable to put an end to world terrorism
> (APPLAUSE) and build a worldwide awareness against
> terrorism. I speak on behalf of a country, which has lived
> through more than 40 years of Revolution, and has gained
> much experience, a unified country with a high cultural
> level. It is not a country of bigots. Here, it is not
> fanaticism that has been cultivated but ideas, convictions
> and principles...

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