Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/339/5684
Capitalism Means War and Terror:
Build The Socialist Alternative
"YOUR WAR - our dead" chanted crowds on the streets of Spain last weekend. The mass outpouring of grief and rage at the horrendous Madrid bombings became intertwined with anger at the government.
Aznar, then Spanish Prime Minister, led Spain into the Iraq war in the face of opposition from over 90% of Spaniards. Last Sunday his party paid the price. But losing the election was a small enough price to pay compared to the 200 people who, almost certainly, paid for Aznar's policy with their lives.
There is horror in Britain and the world at the events in Madrid. But Blair's horror is of a different order. He knows Aznar's fate could be his own. If the worst happens and we suffer an attack in Britain, millions of people will hold New Labour and the rest of the warmongers responsible.
The Socialist Party condemns the barbaric attacks on the Madrid commuter trains, as we condemned 9/11 and the killing of ordinary civilians in Iraq. These acts of 'mass terrorism' aim to kill ordinary people who bear no responsibility for the policies of their rulers. The perpetrators claim to be acting in the defence of the victims of imperialism. But they only create more victims and do nothing to further the struggle against imperialism.
As the statements of former US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill made clear, Bush wanted to go to war on Iraq from the moment he was elected. But it was 9/11 that gave him the possibility of winning public support for his brutal war.
THE MADRID attack has immediately weakened, rather than strengthened, the warmongering politicians, because they are seen to have laid the basis for this atrocity. But it has also led to an increase in racism against North Africans and other minorities.
It will also undoubtedly lead to further attacks on democratic rights, in the same way that 9/11 has been used to justify the locking up and torturing of innocent people in Guantanamo Bay.
Because there is a deep-seated anger at imperialism in the neo-colonial world, and particularly given the lack of a mass alternative, some will be driven to the desperate methods of terrorism. Of course, anger with imperialism did not begin with the latest war on Iraq - it is a consequence of endless years of economic and political oppression.
But the war itself has massively increased the anger and humiliation of the Arab masses throughout the Middle East, which has in turn increased the likelihood of horrific terrorist attacks.
In Iraq itself, quality of life has plummeted for the great majority. Young people face a life of grinding poverty and unemployment. And the numbers being killed, either by the 'state terrorism' of the US-led occupiers, or by the attacks on Iraqi civilians from various terrorist groups, surpasses the horror of the Madrid tragedy.
If al-Qa'ida was not able to organise in Iraq before the war, they certainly are able to do so now.
The anti-war movement must combine the call to end the occupation of Iraq with a campaign to force the warmongers out of office. It is they who are responsible for the deaths of many thousands of Iraqis, hundreds of coalition soldiers and scores from other countries.
And it is also, as millions of Spaniards so rapidly grasped, their 'war on terror' that means the inhabitants of every major city in Europe are living in fear of a terrorist attack.
However, it is not enough to drive Blair and Co. from office. We have to find something to replace them. New Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories are all parties of big business, who stand for the protection of the profits of the big corporations like British Petroleum, whilst destroying public services and attacking the living conditions of working class people.
We need a new mass party that stands up for the interests of working class people.
The Socialist Party is fighting for such a party - a party that brings together the anti-war movement, trade unionists, anti-privatisation campaigners and the anti-capitalist movement. And we are fighting for a socialist alternative to war and terror.
In The Socialist 20 March 2004:
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