[Marxism] Al Qaeda

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Mar 23 16:50:24 MST 2004

Louis wrote:
> Even when the movement is relatively accountable to the
> masses,
> such as the PKK in Turkey or the Provos in Northern Ireland, these
> peoples
> have not benefited from a single bomb going off.

Well, I don't know about the PKK, but I do totally disagree with Louis here.

I remember once being at an internal Sinn Fein conference and someone 
who was climbing the leadership ladder, an ex-leader of the Irish 
section of the Fourth International, said something very similar.  She 
actually claimed that the struggle had not benefited by the death of one 
single RUC member.  A lot of us just looked at each other in amazement 
that anyone in Sinn Fein could possibly hold this view.  A few of us who 
discussed it after put it down to that comrade's long involvement in 
Trotskyism.  (Interestingly, it is people like her who are now central 
leaders of SF.)

In fact, it is impossible to wage a national liberation struggle without 
bombs going off.  The reason that the FI (and the rest of the Trotskyist 
currents) have never led a national liberation struggle is in no small 
part due to their lack of understanding of the role of revolutionary 
violence in such situations.

When part of Ireland was under imperialist occupation a movement which 
failed to utilise forms of armed struggle, including bombs, was never 
going to be taken seriously by the oppressed.  This is why Trotksyists 
in Ireland recruited school teachers and social workers, while the 
worst-off sections of workers joined the various wings of the Republican 
Movement and the Republican Socialist Movement.  (The exception was 
Militant, which attracted some workers in the South on economistic 
politis, but which failed to amke any real headway in the nationalist 
working class ghettoes in the north).

Bombs in the Irish struggle could never *win* the struggle, but the 
struggle itself was not possible without them.  Bloody Sunday was the 
proof of this and the hunger strikes merely proved it doubly.

None of this in any way legitimises Al-Qaeda, who are *not* a liberation 
  movement and has nothing poltically in common with any liberation 

Philip Ferguson

More information about the Marxism mailing list