It is ten years today since in 2001 an outrageous attack killed 3000 innocent people and maimed hundreds of others in New York. This anniversary will be commemorated at a grand ceremony in New York where the US elite will gather in an outpouring of more pseudo-patriotism and chauvinism to dupe the working classes of the mightiest empire in history which is now plagued with economic disaster and social decay.
At the same time the mullahs will be blaring on about the victory of piety and faith against evil and immorality from the pulpits to whip up a religious hysteria that has wreaked havoc in the entire region. In reality the attack on 9/11 was a grotesque act of the fundamentalist bigots in which most of the victims were American workers already oppressed and exploited by crisis ridden US capitalism.
It is not just in the US where these religious fanatics have wreaked havoc but they have killed and maimed thousands of oppressed Muslims in Pakistan and other countries with a population of predominantly Islamic background. These forces of dark reaction are the product of a vacuum produced after the collapse of the left, an epoch of mild reaction with societies in the throes of a spiralling economic crisis and malaise that has set in with a relative lull in the movements of the youth and workers for radical change.
However, it is also true that this temporary phenomenon has been exaggerated and abused in their own interests by the imperialists. Rather than conducting a prophetic analysis of the horrific episode of 9/11, conspiracy theories have been proliferating. Mostly absurd and mysterious they were biased and merely expressed religious and racist prejudices. On the other hand the official report of the 9/11 commission is inarticulate and is conveniently vague in order to circumvent the motive of the perpetrators of this gruesome act. This has added to the confusion of the ordinary people not just in the US but around the world.
After the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union the glorified imperialist ideologue Francis Fukuyama came up with his thesis of the ‘end of history’. This ingenious thesis was demolished by history even before the ink had dried. Capitalism plunged yet again into a crisis that destroyed the notion of it being the ultimate destiny of the human race. Then his contemporary genius, Samuel Huntington came up with his reactionary idea of a crusade in ‘the clash of civilisations’ in 1997.
After the fallout with the fundamentalists in Afghanistan and elsewhere the Americans tried to inversely use this reactionary phenomena as an external threat to ‘western civilisation and use it to oppress the workers of the advanced capitalist countries to prop up exploitation and profits. They crafted Islamic fundamentalism and figures like Osama in such a manner that suited their propaganda machinery and inculcated fear in societies to subvert and retard the class struggle.
In his latest book, ‘The Rise and Fall of Al Qaida’, Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics writes the following, “Al Qaida was never the monster many imagined it to be. The only thing that keeps it alive is fear stoked by self-serving politicians and ignorant media. A decade after September 11, over-reaction is still the hall mark of the US war on terror.”
Al-Qaida and its ilk were not a unified axis as depicted by the bourgeois media. It was a fragmented and amorphous enterprise based mostly on personal relationships and megalomaniac delusions like the myth of the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan by the Mujahidin etc; bolstered up by the western media. After the Americans abandoned their fundamentalist protégés who were nurtured by the CIA in Afghanistan, it was the sponsorship of some state agencies in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other despotic states who wanted to use these frenzied fundamentalists for their own strategic manoeuvres, that has kept them running. The conflicts around the financial stakes in the black economy to which these outfits were wed instigated frictions that ended up in further splintering and fragmentation amongst them. The split-away factions defying the ‘agencies’ controlled outfits, had to be more ferocious and bestial to prove their worth. Hence the spiral of terror and barbarism unleashed further suicidal bombings and slaughter that are still devastating Pakistan and Afghanistan.
However, the imperialists have been using the thesis of the ‘clash of civilisations’ even more in the aftermath of 9/11. The Islamic fundamentalists have enormously benefitted from this policy. Even Jonathan Freedland confessed in a recent article in The Guardian, “A new foreign policy doctrine was hastily assembled. It said that the world faced a single, overarching and permanent threat in the form of violent jihadism... And the call went beyond foreign policy. Culture, too, was to be enlisted in a clash of civilisations between Islamism and the West...” Just a few years before 9/11 jihad and mujahedeen were exalted concepts in the western vocabulary. With honest hindsight, looking at the last 70 years it becomes more than clear that imperialism and fundamentalism are two sides of the same coin. After all they subscribe to the same economic doctrine.
But this war of attrition has been a very profitable venture for the military industrial complex especially in the US. A huge security empire was built up. Some 1,271 government organisations and 1,931 private companies work on programmes related to counter-terrorism. Companies from Martin Lockheed to General Dynamics and from Halliburton to DynCorp have made astronomical profits. The imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the sales to tension plagued India have boosted the armaments industries in the US.
But the working class in America has suffered tremendously. They face a wage freeze for 20 years, unemployment has soared to unprecedented levels and the US masses are facing draconian austerity cuts and more and more are being deprived of health benefits. But for how long will they tolerate such vicious attacks? The American people are losing the civil liberties they fought for and gained in the last two hundred years. The US president has given the Joint Special Operations Command a rare authority to select individuals to kill, rather than capture them.
Yet the US is another imperialism that is in historical decline. The Economist Editorial in its latest issue says, “The world-bestriding hyper power of ten years ago has lost its confidence and craves a chance to regroup.” Under capitalism that chance has gone. The mighty American proletariat will have to rise to take power and overthrow this system that is horror without an end. Trotsky wrote long ago, “The United States is the foundry of the future of mankind”. The working class and the youth in America have a historical task to accomplish. They have a pledge to redeem.