AS THE war against Iraq drew to a close, an opinion poll in Britain found that a majority of people, including those who supported the war, thought it would make the world a more dangerous and unstable place to live. Within weeks this view has been brutally borne out by an escalation of deadly terrorist attacks internationally.
At least 34 people were killed and hundreds injured in three co-ordinated attacks on compounds where foreign workers lived in the Saudi capital Riyadh. In Casablanca, Morocco, four bombs killed 41 people. The targets appeared to include a Jewish synagogue and a Spanish cultural centre. In the same week, 80 died in two separate suicide bombings in Chechnya and at least nine were killed by suicide bombers in Israel.
Whole swathes of the world are now on high terrorist alert. Intelligence reports say terrorist cells, loosely linked to al-Qa’ida are reorganising and about to step up attacks against ’soft’ targets, which include western civilians, abroad.
So much for Bush’s claims to be winning the ’war against terrorism’. President Mubarak of Egypt warned that the Iraq war would create "100 bin Ladens". Terrorist attacks stem from a variety of often interlinking causes, including poverty, exploitation and national oppression, especially that of the Palestinians. But there’s no doubt that ’revenge’ or ’payback’ for the imperialist war and occupation of Iraq will feature strongly amongst the motives of those planting bombs or willing to sacrifice their lives in suicide attacks against ’western’ targets.
The socialist opposes terrorist tactics, but we also oppose the US’s war and occupation for oil and global dominance. We explained that the ’war against terror’ is fuelling not eliminating terrorist threats. At the same time, the repressive legislation that has been passed in its name threatens the democratic rights of workers in the US, Britain and elsewhere.
Eradicating terrorist attacks and making the world a safe place to live would require a ’war’ against capitalism and imperialism which engender poverty, conflict and the oppression of national rights.
This would need to be based on a mass movement of workers and poor people internationally to challenge the economic control of the capitalists, and replace that with a planned economy democratically run by working-class people.
Unfortunately, in the absence of mass parties which can represent the real interests of the working-class and poor, especially in the ex-colonial countries, some people will turn to terrorism rather than mass action in search of a ’solution’ to capitalism’s problems. This offers no way out but is a path that many are doomed to tread as long as capitalism remains in place.
We are faced with a clear choice – continue with war and terror or build the organisations that can fight for a socialist society based on equality and co-operation worldwide.