A response to the Sept. 11th 2001 terrorist attacks
It is tragic that, in a world half-mad and wholly chaotic, emotion seems to have overwhelmed reason. The good, the intelligent and the humane side of women and men has been drowned in a sea of lies, ignorance and cruelty, and many of those who seek freedom and well being for all humanity grow discouraged and apprehensive. Yet hope remains alive as long as we can stop, reflect and ask ourselves hard questions and do not accept the current alternatives as being the only ones available.
The Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA) condemns the World Trade Tower attack on September 11, 2001. The WSA has always condemned attacks on innocents and workers. The thousands of working people who were killed here in the USA, — clerical workers, airline workers, construction and restaurant workers, rescue workers — died in a horrible act of terror. Immigrants, communities of color, the entire diverse yet interdependent web that makes up the American working class was attacked.
There are real and pressing problems for many people in the world today, particularly in what is generally called the Middle East. Many live in despair, poverty, and see no hope at all for a better life. But those who were killed in this insane act were not the people responsible for the policies or actions that caused this, nor will their deaths change it.
Now the war drums beat loudly, and the flag is waved everywhere, and the emotions of those who grieve are submerged into a call for “national unity”. Yet it is our view that this is the very thing that got us into this mess, and it will not solve the problems, but simply make it worse. Nationalism, patriotism, militarism — the idea that somehow both the rich and poor can be wrapped in the same flag and thus have the same interests has led to untold tragedy throughout history. It is not the bodies of the rich and powerful who will be sacrificed on the battlefields. Yet the State and the bosses whose interests it serves will call, as States and bosses have throughout history, for workers to submerge their interests in the name of “national unity”.
Nor is it the responsibility for what happened on September 11 of the untold innocents and workers in other lands that may be slaughtered as the US and its allies unleash their war machines. The people of Afghanistan suffer horribly under the rule of the Taliban, as do the other peoples of the region live under the thumb of brutal and oppressive regimes. To kill them solves nothing, any more than the use of terror here does anything to make their lives better.
It must be remembered that the US government has poured money into the very organizations it is now ready to hunt down, and manipulated these groups in an endless game of power in that region. This is nothing new, for the government of the United States, like all other governments, has been an exponent of terrorism since its inception. The thread starts with the massacre of Native Americans and kidnapped labor of Africans, to he repression and killing of working people who fought their bosses and the recent “interventions” that the American state has engaged in since the end of World War Two.
The American rulers are not alone in this dangerous behavior. Ruling classes, religious fanatics and States have been and will be as long as they are allowed to exist, terrorists by definition. This is why, as workers and advocates of radical social change, we cannot trust or advocate warfare as a solution to the senseless attacks on New York and elsewhere. Just as World War I did not make the world safe for democracy, just as World War II did not root out fascism from the face of the planet, this new war that faces us will not end terrorism. Instead, our sons and daughters will be stolen from us, our labor power wasted on murderous toys, and the world will not be a better place for it.
Those who can end terror and war are those who are forced to die in it and produce it, the working class, both here in the U.S. and in the “enemy” countries. Even in the midst of the madness we hear some voices calling for a new peace movement. Building on the recent mobilizations against corporate control, activists serious about blocking further destruction must reach out to, and more importantly, listen to working people. Workers serious about fighting for a society without bosses must not fall prey to the current jingoism and war drumming. The real war for us must be class war, not military conflict. As body bags begin to pile up, it is also time for workers and anti-militarists to talk with each other, work together in an effort to end the mad rush to possible world destruction.
As workers and peace activists, we must continue to build links across borders and cooperate with, not as some will advocate, agents of local elites and would-be States, but those fighting for liberation from fear, violence and oppression. Working cooperatively, resisting cooperatively, the working class can and will end the cycle of violence and oppression.
For Liberty, For Peace, For Revolution
Workers Solidarity Alliance
339 Lafayette Street - Room 202
New York, NY 10012