Manchester Arena: a massacre used cynically to strengthen the so-called «sacred union» between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 14; Autumn - Winter 2017)
Over the past two years, terrorist attacks by militants linked to Islamist extremism have multiplied. Defining themselves in a number of ways, but organized mainly by Isis or Al Qaeda, they have generally been classified into the category of jihadism (jihad = holy war), with religious roots in the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam.
Why religious roots?
It is now evident that this is a seemingly «noble» justification, not a «down to earth» one for violent acts presented as a reaction to the much greater violence of the imperialist powers; as a species of «right of retaliation» for the «victims «of these attacks. The Capitalist, Christian and Imperialist West, for its part, has every interest in cataloging «International Terrorism» as terrorism on an Islamic matrix; It allows Imperialism to oppose to this «evil» the «good» of a «civilization» which claims to spread economic and social progress, democracy and peace in the world ...
Except that this economic and social progress is based on the exploitation of the human labor force whose slavery, which in the major industrialized countries is mitigated by the crumbs granted to the masses and masked by the democratic system, is much more violent and beastial in the less developed countries, where there is an overabundant labor force to exploit at its mercy or to throw away as unpurchased commodities.
Why do attacks with the Islamist imprimatur, and years after those of September 11, 2001 in the United States, now strike in Europe, the cradle of civilization (the cradle of capitalism, colonialism, imperialism)? Why do they strike at the place where the factors of economic, technical and financial progress have been formed and developed, which were then spread to the whole world – together with all the factors of competition, of struggle for the conquest of markets, of wars of rape and pillage that have characterized the world since the anti-feudal revolution put an end to the domination of absolutism and the old aristocratic classes?
The European countries, which for centuries have plundered and colonized entire continents, to the detriment of their populations, having accrued the gigantic advantages by which they were able to construct their economic expansion, could only be a coveted destination (facilitated by the knowledge of the language and habits of the former bosses) by the masses of migrants fleeing the misery, repression and devastation left to their countries by colonization and bourgeois decolonization. Jealous of their national «identity» and attached to the privileges that their world domination guaranteed to a certain extent to the former colonizers – mainly Great Britain, France and Belgium – the European bourgeoisies have always played a double game. On the one hand receptivity, insofar as this low-cost labor power was and still is necessary for their industrial and commercial companies; on the other hand, repression against unwanted immigration deemed unnecessary and treated as «clandestine». Somewhat similarly to the enduring situation of the black population in the United States, African, Middle Eastern and Eastern immigrants have never really been «integrated» into the countries where by force or by chance they have established themselves. Not because they would not abandon the culture, habits and customs of their countries of origin to adopt those of the country where they live, but because capitalism, the dominant mode of production, with all its contradictions and its social antagonisms is based on division and not on union, on domination and not on equality, on war and not on peace. The division into antagonistic classes is not an invention of Marxism, nor a temporary historical situation that could be overcome by measures of economic, social and diplomatic policy. It is a historical material condition resulting from capitalism, which can only be overthrown by a revolution much deeper than that which suppressed feudalism, a revolution that will be made by the only class in this society which has nothing to lose but everything to gain: the proletarian class, the class without reserves, of those who can live only by being exploited under the conditions imposed by capitalism.
But the fact is that this class, especially in the most wealthy countries, has been so intoxicated, crushed, and subjugated in a hundred years of imperialist domination, that it has not yet regained the strength to recognize itself for what it is, materially and historically: the class antagonistic par excellence to capitalism, the only one which possesses a historical task, condensed in the program of revolutionary communism. This proletariat demonstrated its strength in the nineteenth century in the revolutionary episodes throughout Europe in 1848 and in the Paris Commune, in the twentieth century in the Russian Revolution and the revolutionary movements which in the 1920s attacked the established order not only in Europe but in Asia. But at the end of a long class war it was crushed by the counterrevolution, by democratic, pacifist and opportunistic petty bourgeois influences causing it to lose the genuinely communist program and transforming its organizations into agents of the bourgeoisie.
Once beaten, the European proletariat was subjected to the policy and demands of the imperialism of the various countries; the bourgeoisies put in place the «social shock absorbers» to meet basic needs and, following the example of fascism, they adopted a policy of class collaboration enshrined in the law. Their aim was not to improve the plight of their proletarians by applying the rights that are democratically inscribed in all the Constitutions, but to make them support capitalism and accept all the consequences of its economy, including the most disastrous in periods of crisis and war. The European and American proletarians, and those of other developed capitalist countries, have been accustomed to defend their interests, to use the bourgeois political and economic instruments (elections, parliament, freedom of enterprise, etc.); but also to use them in the framework of a class collaboration, which goes even beyond the limits that the old reformism offered to interclassism.
Why did we recall these explanations when writing about the tragedy in Manchester?
When the antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie disappears from the scene (although the bourgeoisie never stops its war against the proletariat), bourgeois and petit-bourgeois antagonisms appear even more violent and chaotic. The bourgeoisies are constantly engaged in competition and struggle; the struggle between competing bourgeois factions within the same country is also a permanent factor. The action of terrorist groups and networks occurs within the framework of this constant confrontation within the competing bourgeois and petty-bourgeois strata, sometimes speaking peacefully, politically, sometimes violently, including recourse to criminality; it is the expression of interests opposed to those of the great States which, by their military interventions, have destroyed the existing equilibriums; the chaos provoked by the wars sets in motion many local groups seeking to secure seats of power and to take advantage of the exploitation of potentially present natural resources, proletarians to exploit, communication channels to be controlled, etc. ; and these groups seek to affiliate themselves with certain capitalist or imperialist powers that hold the purse strings.
It is obvious that the militants of Isis or Al Qaeda need strong ideological and material motivations – just as do the proletarians mobilized for the defense of the homeland, of national interests, in peacetime or in war. The soldiers who went to their massacre during the first or Second World War received the blessing of the priests to save their souls while they were going to massacre and to be cannon fodder. So the terrorists we are talking about receive the blessing of their Imam before going to blow themselves up to spread terror among their designated enemies.
The difference is that armies in general clash with each other as these terrorist fighters massacre crowds who are being entertained or trying to live peacefully in a normal daily life. But these terrorists have an additional motivation: they respond to the bombing and military interventions that destroy thousands of lives, men, women and children, sowing in the heart of the sparkling European metropolises the terror experienced for years in Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul, Baghdad, Tripoli, Homs or in the villages of Afghanistan. The fact that the perpetrators of these attacks are almost always European citizens of Libyan, Syrian, Iraqi origin, etc. , second or third generation, demonstrates on the one hand that the famous «integration» did not take place because in this society equality does not exist (either between the living or between the dead); and on the other hand that the persistence of wars and massacres in the former colonies continues to provoke not only fear and terror, but also the rage and determination to react by unleashing violence where it will do most damage – and all the better if they symbolize a lifestyle of insouciance towards the dramas that are constantly repeating themselves on the margins of opulent Europe.
We have already said that this type of terrorism has a social and ideological matrix of the petty-bourgeois type. There remains the fact that the ruling class finds an additional reason for calling the proletarians to l’union sacrée, the sacred union, defending Occidental democracy, culture, traditions and customs, in other words defending the Western States and a system responsible for all injustices, for all oppressions, for all wars.
That is why the proletarians must refuse solidarity towards a homeland which has always used the same terrorist methods as those of the «Islamic terrorism» groups, but at an unprecedented level and efficiency. In solidarizing with their capitalists, the proletarians would be only be supporting the fomenters of the clashes between bourgeois, while turning their backs on the only way to put an end to oppression and exploitation: the path of the resumption of the class struggle, independent proletarian organization for the exclusive defense of their immediate and future class interests.
The proletarian response is undoubtedly the condemnation of these terrorist acts, but from a class point of view, that is to say, from the point of view of organizational, political and ideological independence vis-à-vis all the organizations, policies and ideologies of the bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeoisie, which are its enemies.
On the other hand, the resumption of the class struggle will also have, as history has shown, the power to attract the outbursts of anger provoked by social despair among the petty-bourgeois layers and to frame them in the revolutionary classist perspective, giving them a perspective not ideological nor moral but concrete and material: it will not be a question of saving souls or of attaining some beyond of peace and serenity while in the lower world a bloody system of misery and injustice persists; but to participate in the struggle to change the world and pave the way for a rational social organization oriented towards satisfaction, not of market demands, but of the needs of the entire human species.
May, 25th 2017
International Communist Party