In the first decade of “the end of history” and the “new world order” the “only super power” in the world is yet again engaged in another major war of aggression. As the missiles and bombs of the imperialist assault devastate the already ruined and rugged landscape of this unfortunate country, its impact will go far beyond the borders of Afghanistan. The echelons of power and the regimes across Asia are trembling in their shoes. These already decaying states are being shaken to their foundations. Starting from the Pakistan dictatorship the rulers of the whole region terrified about the fate of their rule.
The obscene arrogance of the US ruling class now intrudes into the territory of insanity. And yet this madness is not accidental. The brutality stupidity of George W. Bush and his colleagues have been a source of consolation for Mullah Omar and the Taliban leadership. By their actions George Bush, Tony Blair and the ruling classes of the West are trying to prove that the rulers of the most advanced economies, most cultured societies and most developed civilizations can be as cruel, tyrant and obtuse as those of the most primitive societies like Afghanistan.
The leaders of the post cold war world are no less despicable and vicious than the legendary tyrants and despots of the last century. This is not accidental. Nor is the coincidence of the world economic meltdown and the terrorist attacks in USA and the imperialist aggression on Afghanistan.
The political crisis during the presidential election and the present US adventure are the dialectical products of the economic and social crisis the USA was going through at the end of the 90s and beginning of this century.
But this is not a clash of civilizations. It is neither a conflict between Christianity and Islam, nor it is a war between religions. This is the outcome of a process in which a historically obsolete and economically redundant system-capitalism-has been imposed upon a world that has gone far beyond its limits, viabilities and capacities. Hence it had to go wrong with catastrophic consequences for the workers of New York and the destitute and humiliated women and children of Afghanistan. And this spate of misery is not restricted to just these places.
The rhetoric of crusades being used by Bush and the insanity of Jihad being propagated by the fundamentalists cannot hold on for long. Both represent the ugly ramifications of a rotting and bygone system, which has become a curse and a malignant tumor for mankind. It has to be surgically removed. That is the only cure.
The masses are bewildered. They have been left with almost no choice. On one hand they face a bleak future of unemployment, price hikes, violence, poverty and disease under capitalism. On the other they have experienced extreme betrayals by the Stalinists, social democracy, popular leaderships and leaders of the trade unions and their traditional organizations. In this despair and disillusionment their pain and moral distress aggravates. With this dark future ahead, their deprivation becomes desperation and they try to console their battered souls by eulogizing the past. That is where Islamic and other forms of fundamentalism come in.
In an epoch dreaded with drudgery, exploitation and misery, the slogan of peace against war doesn’t satisfy their quest for change. Reforms, democracy and liberalism start to stink of maintaining the status quo. The fundamentalists’ rhetoric and fanaticism only leads them to disaster and death. It can fill the vacuum for a very short period of time but cannot endure the real issues of life. There is a famous saying in Pakistan-“every body has the wish to go to heaven, but nobody is in a hurry”.
People want to live. And that instinct for survival, when it takes a collective form and shape, it gives rise to the most momentous and forceful movements in history-which change its course. Gigantic events and rapid changes in society stir the stale thinking and smash routine which becomes a burden on the consciousness of the working class.
Such events are now taking place. The people abhor and detest the imperialist aggression on Afghanistan. At a rally in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil there were several protest banners and on one of them we could read: “ A minute of silence for the America’s dead. 59 minutes for the victims of America’s policy.”
But Islamic fundamentalism (created, nourished and bred by US imperialism) has not got an overwhelming support on the part of the majority of youth and workers in Islamic countries either. The first ones to face the menace, physical attacks and brutalities of Islamic fundamentalists were and are the workers and youth of the Islamic countries. Hence both are condemnable. The so-called liberty of capitalism is a farce and a tragedy; the piety of fundamentalism is a façade to protect the interests of another section of capital, mainly based on the black economy. This illegal sector of the economy may be a cancerous outgrowth of capitalism; but it is still a part of the body of capitalism, they live and die together. These events, which are the result of the contradictions of capitalism itself, will inevitably bring new explosions, conflicts and wars.
Yes! The world will never be the same as before September11. There will not be and there cannot be, any peace, prosperity and tranquility under capitalist rule. The masses will rise, events are shaking them up and forcing them to move, whatever barrage of propaganda is hurled upon them- they have no option but to find their way out of this nightmare.
War or peace, they cannot tolerate the present setup anymore. And once they enter the arena of history-not as a class in itself but as a class for itself-they will sculpture the leadership, the means and the methods, to attain their destiny of emancipation-by overthrowing capitalist oppression through the Socialist Revolution. The third world war has to be and will be a class war. Its victory has to be prepared and fought for. History is on our side, the side of the proletariat. Capitalism is a system of the past. Socialism is the only future, which can save humanity from barbarism and guarantee the total emancipation of the future generations to come
Editorial of the Autumn 2001 edition of the Asian Marxist Review