Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Choosing Sides

The leaders of the Socialist Alliance met on Sept. 20, 2001, to state its position on the terrorist attacks on America. Here's a result:

We do not believe that the use of the word ‘condemn’ is appropriate in relation to the tragic events in the US.

Clearly we do not support the attacks on working class people and it should go without saying that we oppose the strategy of individual terrorism. This would be our preferred way of stating our case. But the language of ‘condemnation’ is that which is always required of socialists and national liberation movements by the media and the ruling class. It would have been better to avoid it for this reason.

The most important task of socialists is to patiently explain why the US government is hated so much and why there are people who are prepared to kill themselves and many others in opposing the US. The answer is US imperialist foreign policy.

At the moment we are in the eye of a media storm directed at mobilising international and popular domestic support for a bloody and destructive imperial intervention. We should not allow either the really terrible events of September 11 in New York or the media campaign that has followed to drive us to use language that we may regret when the real balance of terror is revealed by the war the major powers are now planning.

There are lines to draw here - we believe the Socialist Alliance should be part of an unstinting and principled opposition to US and western imperialism and the further mass murder Bush and Blair intend to unleash on the world.

Good work, guys. Deliberate hijackings of jetliners full of civilians and plowing them into skyscrapers are "tragic events." Such attacks are not to be supported -- when they involve "working class people." Presumably if you could have sent the dishwashers home from "Windows on the World" before imploding the building, leaving only stockbrokers to die at their desks, the socialists would be fine with the whole deal.