[Marxism] Re: Al Qaeda-Emerging New International Resistance to Imperialism

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 20 14:55:37 MST 2004

I am neither 'infatuated' with Al Qaeda nor with 'terrorism', as Lou states. 
But I deliberately used the term 'dirty war' instead of the bourgeois smear 
word, 'terrorist'. And that was for the simple reason, that warfare today 
involves civilian casualties, or 'incidental casualties', as people like 
Donald Rumsfield are inclined to say.

I also never suggested that the US ruling class will ever 'cede power 
STICTLY as a result of terror', Lou.   But I do not think that terror is the 
principle mode of attack of the Al Qaeda army. Notice that I use the word 
'army' here. Al Qaeda is a renegade brigade from an American formed army. 
It's approach is a military approach to winning a war by economic sabotage, 
not through just individual acts of terroristic 'justice' started by some 
civilian 'Red Brigade' or another.  Al Qaeda thinks that it can make the 
economic price too high for imperialism to continue to occupy Muslim 

'Dirty war' is a form of warfare usually pushed off onto colonial reistance 
armies, because the occupation troops they fight against, begin to use 
techniques to provoke mass fear against the rebel armiy's civilian base. Al 
Qaeda is no different in this regard, and their struggle comes from a point 
of origen that began 3 decades ago in colonial resistance warfare in 
Afghanistan. Preaching Gandhi to them from a marxist perspective is hardly 
persuasive to either Al Qaeda, or their civilian base of support.

Gandhi was not the world's greatest general, and Al Qaeda is certainly 
involved in combat at this point. They are not merely a civilian effort to 
arouse a sleeping population to resistance, and cannot be that, even if they 
were to try.  Al Qaeda has been involved in active combat for quite some 
time now, and to merely consider Al Qaeda to be an organization based on 
'terrorism' is rather simplistic.

It is precisely these martial origens of Al Qaeda that concerns the US so 
much. If they were merely  a'terrorist' grouplet of any old sort, the ruling 
elite would not be taking the current measures they are employiing.  But Al 
Qaeda was a US funded army that has now gone astray (from the US angle). And 
further, it is an army that has found its own way, to a  form of self 
recruitment and funding via Islamic religion and the mosques around the 

Further, the combat strategy of Al Qaeda is not conceptualized around terror 
alone, but around economic sabotage.  So far, the main military and economic 
center of US imperialism was attacked (WTC and Pentagon), and an attack on 
the ability of the US to mobilize proxy troops into their battlefields was 
launched. The methods used haved caused hundreds of billions of dollars of 
economic loss to the imperialists, and have interrupted communications and 
transport to some small degree.  There have been attacks on US embassies 
that hamper the US ability to intervene into the politics of other 

The lines between military warfare and individual acts of terrorism are 
sometimes cloudy.  "Terrorism' as classically thought of, was where some 
group or individual, delivered 'justice' to a chosen person or group that 
was considered guilty of some sort of crime by the assassin.    Now, the 
word 'terroist' is just a word that the capitalist press uses for people or 
groups it wants to label as being naughty.  It is never used in regard to 
the actions of their own armies or henchmen.

I use the term 'dirty war' for the type of warfare that Al Qaeda is waging. 
When civilians are hurt it ii incidental to the military engagement.  A 
colonial army might decide to issue an edict that police will not be allowed 
to patrol a barrio without coming under fire. If a cop is then shot, it is 
part of an effort to keep a barriop secure for the resistance, not an 
individual act of terror alone.
Similarly, an army may shut off a highway, or declare to mayors that their 
local jurisdiction is dissolved because it is under martial law.

Al Qaeda, similarly has told the imperialist world that as a military unit, 
that Al Qaeda must insist that populations elsewhere withdraw their 
governments from having troops inside the Muslim dominant regions. It is a 
simple enough edict to comply with. There is no real animosity there against 
civilians in the imperial centers. Al Qaeda is simply saying, that if your 
government is involved where our people live, then you too live in a war 
zone. Granted, not a particularly popular message to be received. But still, 
it is mainly the call to act to reign in one's governemnt from hurting those 
elsewhere., and not a desire to slaughter American civilians in their own 

Once upon a time, The Red Army, most certainly took harsh measures that were 
called 'terror' then, and would be called 'terrorism' today. It is important 
to understand that there is a difference between warfare and individual 
terrorism though.  No matter how much that difference might get blurred over 
at times. Al Qaeda sees itself in a struggle similar to that of the war to 
obtain the independence of the USSR, or the war to kick out the invading 
fascist forces from Germany.

Al Qaeda knows that difference between warfare and pure 'terrorism', and it 
pertty much looks like almost all their activities will have some direct 
military value to trying to restrain the US, or trying to strangle the 
smooth function of the economies in the imperial centers, most principally, 
the US.  Al Qaeda is a religion based, anticolonial movement.  It is 
fighting an internationalist crusade to stop the repression of people in 
Muslim countries by Christian imperialists, as it sees the situation. 
Certainly this is not the program that marxists support.  But in happening 
to wage their war for regional independece from foreign religon, Al Qaeda is 
also trying to defeat US imperialism, a goal that marxists do support.

Al Qaeda is a brigade that came out of an extemely vicious civil war, where 
both super powers at the time alongside their proxy armies, fought using 
their dirtiest techniques.  No amount of preaching about respect to 
civilians has any meaning at this point.  But throwing the word 'terror' 
around  is no more the explanation to Al Qaeda, than it is the explanation 
of what the Chechen Resitance to Moscow might be about.

Colonial repression has gotten incredibly brutal in the 21st century, and 
the resistance to it is too.  And because some of the military strategy of 
Al Qaeda is so effective, its continued success in the field represents a 
real danger to Rome. Al Qaeda has power because it has produced change.   
Others might seek to copy such a strategy, and the US government is dead 
serious about how much it fears what the results of not taking effective 
action might be.

Tony Abdo

<<Tony Abdo wrote:
    One can easily see the potential danger here for the US ruling class 
that has grown fat and comforable with little to fear of the chickens coming 
home to roost. Now, they have begun to have fear, that say, a FARC brigade 
from Colombia might decide to take out Jesse Helms and crowd using the 
tactics of Osama bin Laden? Localized dirty war has now gone international, 
and the cowardly US ruling elite is running scared.   They are used to 
others always taking the hits.

Lou's response...
And I thought that Tony's notion of 'value' was anti-Marxist! This 
infatuation with terrorism makes my jaw drop. It is one thing to not enlist 
in "humanitarian" wars on terror. It is another to suggest that the US 
ruling class or any other ruling class will ever cede power as a result of 
terror. Serious social and political change, even short of a revolution, 
requires mass participation. Al Qaeda is distinquished by an utter disregard 
for the masses and an unwillingness to systematically disseminate its ideas, 
such as they are.>>

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