Published the 28 November 2015 in War and Imperialism
On these pages we publish some internationalist statements on the Paris massacre of last November 13, in order of their appearance.
The first one has been written by one of our collaborators. The second is the statement from the Internationalist Communist Tendency. It is followed by those of the International Communist Party (Bordiguists) and of Internationalist Perspective respectively.
130 dead and countless wounded traumatized for life by the Parisian night of horror they experienced last Friday, November 13, 2015. That night of horror took place a few hundred meters from the newspaper Charlie Hebdo, where the cartoonists, Cabu, Charb, Wolinski, Honoré and Tignous had been murdered. It followed after 240 Russian tourists had been blown up by Al Qaeda or Daech over the Sinai.
This is not “artisanal” terrorism, but a guerrilla war behind the fronts between different capitalist states, large or small, whatever their ideology, jihadist, “democratic”, “totalitarian” “pan-Turkish” or “pan-Arab”.
This is not a war between the Islamic State (Daech) and the West, still less a clash of civilizations, and certainly not a new religious war on a global scale, mediated in macabre staging shots (beheadings, blasting the site of Palmyra, and the crucifixion of its archaeologist).
The war is now a given in a globally ubiquitous system in crisis: economic crisis, ecological crisis of the capitalist environment, mass migrations (driven by war or environmental disasters), decomposition of weaker states, civil wars repeatedly in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia (Afghanistan, Chinese Turkestan).
The new drawing of borders in the Near and Middle East after the US intervention in Iraq in 2003 is ongoing, punctuated by suicide bombings, the “sabers” of jihad, of aerial bombardments (Turkish, Russian, Western, in Syria and Iraq, Saudi in Yemen) and drone attacks, as well as military engagements on land, where yesterday’s enemies (Iranians, Russians, American commandos) are jumbled together.
This is no longer a war where the “theater of operations”, are far away, that expression dear to all the general staffs deciding whether to kill or destroy the few actors or the entire ‘theater’.
This war exists everywhere on this whole planet living through a veritable death agony. And all are responsible: States large and small, or in gestation, whatever their ideology, all hiding their war aims under a religious phraseology of “holy war”, “democratic” war against “terrorism” or even – ” Please do not laugh! “- “humanitarian “war” against “terrorism” (from Putin to Iranian Ayatollahs, whose emblem is the hangman).
Death exists now everywhere, not just in Paris, South Beirut, over the Sinai. There is no corner of this planet that in the coming decade cannot become a “theater of operations” of a capitalism spewing death.
The victory of terrorism and “democracies” or capitalist dictatorships (China, Russia) would be to present these attacks, including those in Paris, as just appetizers as in an ideological war. All these states, big, small or emerging (like Daech) are capitalist states. Their goal is to preserve, strengthen or develop through war their national Capital. Behind their Bible or Koran, there are the tablets of capitalist law: you kill until you have eliminated all your adversaries or competitors; you shall love your enemies as yourself once they have adopted or prostrated before the Mecca’s of Capital, adopting the holy laws of capital (private property, a commodity economy, creation-destruction of Nature as a commodity).
After the attacks, the speeches are, just as at the time of the attack against Charlie Hebdo, all about “national unity”, the “sacred union” [union sacrée].
The proletariat, which is by definition the anti-national, the universal class, (“proletarians have no fatherland”) can give only one answer: class war against all forms of capitalism, regardless of their labels on all class fronts against capital and its bourgeois, large and small, whether they wear the garb of the City or of Jihad.
Only the rapid awakening of the international proletariat can prevent the triumph of national unity on all the war fronts, which would lead to only one outcome: repeated local wars leading to a generalized conflict.
Acceptance of national union, in France or elsewhere, is acceptance of a programmed capitalist death. Those who adhere like sheep ready to deliver themselves to the sacrificial knife of capital would be better to buy their coffin in advance. Sales promotions under capitalism are a particularly good buy ….
Karlchen, Saturday November 14, 2015
Translation from French: Internationalist Perspective, November 19, 2015
The massacre in Paris has produced an outcry that it is a crime against humanity. The international bourgeoisie hovers between despair and indignation, between fear and calls for revenge. From all sides we hear cries for a "just war" to counteract "holy war". West versus East, Christian tradition against Islamic fundamentalism. France wants to avenge the victims by striking at the strategic heart of Isis. Isis attacks Paris to avenge the French government’s decision to enter the war in Syria. In reality the conflict is between a nascent imperialism that took its first tragic steps in "its" Middle East and those of the Western imperialist world where for years Middle Eastern oil has been the motive for its military interventions.
In fact this war has been going on for years. France, USA, Britain, today even Putin’s Russia, are warmongers who destroy the present to economically (oil and gas) ensure the future. Previously it was Iraq and Afghanistan then Libya. Today it is Syria and tomorrow it will be some other area or country which has a minimum of economic and strategic interest.
The hypocritical West mourns its innocent victims but forgets that the monster which has killed them came into being thanks to Western support and was only cast aside when it took an independent road by positioning itself between one imperialism and another. The West also forgets that such murderous outrage is also the result of its own imperialist barbarism. This has transformed the Middle East into a perpetual battlefield to strip it of its wealth, before abandoning it to the deepest misery. Surrounded by the devastation of war, much of the population faces hunger and the denial of any future other than that of escape to the countries which have caused the misery in the first place.
Isis’ barbarity stems from its economic and political interests, as a nascent imperialist state claiming to stand for the underprivileged masses who have accepted their religion as the only road to salvation and have sold their dignity as an exploited class on this earth for an unattainable happiness after death. Their barbarism involves fighting an "asymmetric" war against unarmed civilians, decimating them like animals for slaughter.
But barbarism also takes the form of Western imperialism which wages wars of total destruction, taking hundreds of thousands of civilian lives, solely to satisfy its own capitalist interests and perpetuate the life of an economic system which can only survive by creating economic crises, hunger, unemployment and the harshest exploitation for millions of workers. Such wars can only be fought against by the very exploited who have been reduced to destitution by the capitalist system.
The massacre in Paris should give pause for thought to all those who hear the tragic news without trying to go a little further:
1) The French ruling class, like the rest of the international bourgeoisie, will use the horrible carnage to intensify its war activities. Whilst everyone is apparently against Isis, in fact every imperialism is searching for its own economic advantage at a time of sluggish economic crisis where there are still no signs of a robust recovery.
2) The barbarism in Paris echoes the barbarity of the drones on the battlefields of Syria which are killing thousands of civilians, bombing hospitals and dishing out devastating "collateral damage" everywhere.
It is not a matter of talking about barbarism in the plural, of choosing who is more barbarous or who is the most evil. The question is not which is the most horrible for the media to transmit – the execution of prisoners or the slaughter of civilians in a football stadium or at a concert; or is it more terrible to learn in a tragic "video game" that some drone has destroyed dozens of families or burned a few hundred shepherds with their flocks. Barbarism is barbarism.
It is capitalist BARBARISM that has to be fought against, regardless of ideology and the religious instruments used by all sides whenever it suits them. Capitalism’s perpetual crisis which destroys productive capacity takes the shape of imperialist war and death. Capitalism creates crisis. As the crisis accelerates the effects of imperialist manoeuvres get worse. Imperialism creates imperialism in its own image and likeness. Barbarism creates barbarism in an endless cycle. The only one way to break it is by resuming the class struggle. The hundreds of millions of exploited workers who are innocent victims of massacres and wars need to distance themselves from these barbaric societies. They need to find a way of breaking out of the cage in which capitalist society has forced them. They have to think of an alternative to present-day society and its intolerable barbarity. They must think in terms of class, of war against war, the barbarity of war and those who incite it whilst asking for workers sympathy and understanding. And then there will be less warfare, fewer ideologies or religions to justify war, fewer massacres like the one in Paris or whatever else there is to come. This is the way, the only possible way, to develop the independent struggle of the exploited class against wars and the economic system that generates them.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Attacks in Paris:
“We are at war!”, is the leitmotif of government personalities like the politicians of various French parties after the murderous atrocities in Paris and Saint Denis.
But in fact it is not just since yesterday that French imperialism has been at war, although up until now the French people have not felt the repercussions in their flesh.
It’s been a little over a year since President Hollande announced with great fanfare the decision to participate in US bombings in Iraq, a decision that was followed by fielding dozens of “Special Forces” commandos; a few weeks ago the government decided to participate in the bombing in Syria; A few days ago he announced the shipment to the Persian Gulf of a marine battle group (aircraft carrier, nuclear attack submarine, with warships for their protection) to intensify its participation in the war in Iraq and Syria . Under the so-called “left” government French imperialism has demonstrated a surge in military aggression that has not been seen since ... the governments of the socialist Mitterrand.
Let’s remember however that it’s an old and sinister French imperialist tradition; under Sarkozy, the imperialist circles were behind the Libyan war that plunged the country into a chaos from which it still has not recovered. There have been a countless number of military interventions in Africa since the official end of colonialism; we will only recall the French responsibility in the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda which left hundreds of thousands dead. As for its colonial wars, they have also caused hundreds and hundreds of thousands of victims.
French imperialism is undoubtedly one of the most rapacious and bloody representatives of imperialism, this world system of domination by a handful of major capitalist centers and the States at their service; but, like its colleagues, it is also at war against its own proletariat, not hesitating to use the most brutal violence to maintain the bourgeois order and capitalist profits.
Without going back to the terrible massacres with which it responded to workers’ revolts throughout the nineteenth century, let us remember the slaughter by the police in October 1961 of hundreds of Algerian workers peacefully demonstrating in Paris. By the way, the government has declared a “state of emergency”, an exceptional measure created during the war in Algeria and which was also used in 2005 during the upheavals in the banlieues...
When the decision was made to participate in the bombings in Iraq, the government called for “national unity” to support a war in which it claimed to participate to protect the French as well as the Iraqi populations against terrorist crimes; these calls for union among all citizens have been reiterated ever since as they are once again today.
These are actually appeals to the workers to show solidarity with “their” national imperialism that is to say with the capitalists who exploit them while also exploiting and oppressing the proletarians and the poor masses of the dominated countries, the capitalist who plunder the planet and conduct endless wars. The national union only serves the bourgeoisie, the workers are still victims, whether being exploited in the workplace, or serving as cannon fodder.
All the so-called security measures which over the course of months and years have been continuously strengthened (Vigipirate – France’s national security alert system, mobilization of the army, massive spying on communications, etc.) were never established to protect populations, as demonstrated once again by the most recent attacks; they serve only to protect the interests of the bourgeoisie and defend the capitalist system through intimidation of potential “troublemakers” and especially proletarians.
The bourgeois state is one hundred times more effective in stopping workers from tearing the shirt off their boss than it is in preventing attacks against the inhabitants of Paris: a perfect demonstration that civilian casualties are nothing other than “collateral damage” to the imperialists undertakings, under the bombs in Syria and Iraq just as on the streets or in concert venues in Paris.
But the bodies of the victims are cynically used to power the campaigns of national unity and support for the state and its repressive forces, and to build support for military campaigns. Already the politicians of the right and left parties are multiplying martial statements. Nothing astonishing here: being loyal supporters of imperialism, they had already approved the recent French military interventions in Libya, throughout Africa and the Middle East; they are also unanimous in supporting the government’s actions and the call for interclassist unity.
The proletarians must not be misled by all such representatives or servants of the bourgeoisie; they should give no confidence to the government and the institutions of the bourgeois state, which are in the exclusive service of their class enemies. The bloody attacks in Paris and Saint Denis are the result of their criminal acts, the jihadists responding with individual terrorist acts to the large-scale terrorism of the imperialists.
Wanting to protect themselves from jihadist terrorism or to fight it by gathering behind the bourgeois state, would not only mean the proletariat allowing itself to be an accomplice of imperialist terrorism; this would also mean allowing itself to remain the eternal consenting victim of capitalism.
The bombings in Paris and Ankara, in Beirut or in Chad, like the wars in the Ukraine and the Middle East, are foreshadowing the future of poverty, widespread massacres and wars that capitalism in crisis reserves for the proletariat and the masses of the world.
To escape it, there is not one bourgeois camp to choose against another; there is no other solution than the destruction of capitalism, destruction that can only be accomplished through international communist revolution.
Because it is its exploitation which sustains capitalism, the proletariat has within itself the ability to do away with the capitalist mode of production and of the society of injustice and oppression, wars and massacres, built on its foundations: just refuse to continue to be exploited in order to bring down this colossal edifice.
It is the path of the resumption of the proletarian struggle, of the revolutionary class war against all bourgeoisies and all bourgeois States; it involves breaking the bonds which have been patiently woven over the decades in order to keep the proletariat locked in interclassism, breaking from the multiple forces and institutions of class collaboration, abandoning the illusions in national unity, democracy and the State, which are sustained by a range of social measures, in order to find the forces and class weapons class and reconstitute the political organization to lead the combat.
This is not an easy, fast and safe route; but the proletariat has already historically taken it when in the past it launched the attack on the capitalist citadels. It will necessarily take it again tomorrow, armed with the Marxist political, programmatic and theoretical positions tirelessly defended by the Communist Left, without being stopped or intimidated by the blows of the adversary. Then it will find the strength to avenge all the victims of capitalism by putting a definitive end to this infamous system.
No to capitalist wars!
No to national unity!
For the resumption of the class struggle!
For the international communist revolution!
International Communist Party
November, 14th 2015
“Allons enfants de la patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé…”
(“Let’s go, children of the fatherland, the day of glory has arrived…” –the opening of the ‘Marseillaise, the French national anthem)
The Marseillaise is popular again. The bloodthirsty song rises again from thousands of throats on French squares, before sport events and concerts, in the Sorbonne and in the parliament: “Amour sacré de la patrie, conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs!” (“Sacred love of the fatherland, lead, support our vengeful arms!”) On Facebook a campaign was started to exhort users all over the world to change their profile in the colors of the French national flag.
Do not sing the Marseillaise.
Do not change your FB profile into the colors of the French national flag.
Do not fall in the trap of the war-mongering media.
The terrorist attacks in Paris were horrific and repulsive. But nationalism is not the answer; it spreads the poison further. It may be true that most people who now sing the Marseillaise, or change their FB-profile into the French colors, only want to express their solidarity with the victims. But at a moment like this, it is important to know what the symbols, around which we are asked to close ranks, represent.
Under the French tricolor, millions were sent to their death, in wars for worse than nothing. Under this banner, atrocities were committed (in Algeria and elsewhere) that were even worse than those of ISIS, while singing the Marseillaise: “Qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!” (“May their impure blood water our furrows!”)
We don’t want to single out France: other national flags and anthems are equally blood-drenched. ISIS itself is not a religious movement; it simply uses religion as a flag and anthem to recruit cannon-fodder for its real goal: to control territory, to gain power, to amass capital. It seizes opportunities arising in the context of war and economic crisis in the Middle East to establish its own state. A state at war, and in war, as the history of France, the US, Germany and just about any other country illustrates: all is permitted.
What did ISIS have to gain from the attacks in Paris? Continuous recruitment is essential for the so-called Islamic state, it needs it to wage war and to control its territory. The attacks favor its recruitment in two ways: first, as a demonstration of power, which increases its appeal for young people who feel angry and powerless. Secondly, the attacks fan the hatred of Muslims and thus the ill treatment of Muslims, pushing more of them into the tentacles of ISIS.
Furthermore, ISIS needs to stop the exodus of refugees out of Syria. It cannot permit the emptying of the territory it controls or wants to conquer. Contrary to what’s often claimed, it does not get its main income from oil-exports or from Saudi subsidies but from the exploitation, in various ways, of the population in the areas it controls. So those who use the attacks to fan hatred for Islam and to keep the refugees out, do exactly what ISIS hoped they would do.
The problem is not Islam. The global system is in crisis and this crisis creates situations in which waging war becomes very profitable. The warring parties feed on each other. The civilian casualties of drones and missiles feed the Islamist propaganda; the Islamist atrocities feed the belligerent, nationalist, anti-other ideologies in the West which prepare the way for more war.
The first thing president Hollande did after the attacks was to send planes to bombard Raqqa, a large city that is said to be the capital of the IS. One wonders: had these planes “clean” military targets for what became the largest bombardment of Raqqa so far? If so, why weren’t they hit before? And if they were not, how many civilians were killed in Raqqa? Will the media tell us? Will there be a campaign on Facebook to put the flag of ISIS on our profile, in solidarity with the innocent victims that fell on its territory? Or will the mangled corpses only be seen on the Islamist social media?
Revenge. Reprisal. Retaliation. The deeper the crisis becomes, the more we risk to see of it. The wars, the terrorist attacks, the massive unemployment and uncertainty, the ecological catastrophes, the swelling stream of refugees, all show that the systemic, global crisis of capitalism brings with it ever more social disruption, violence and destruction. The real problem is in society’s foundations and as long as they remain intact – as long as capitalism survives – the spiral will only widen.
Changing the foundations, changing the purpose and means of human relations, ending capitalism, can only come as a result of massive collective struggle, which does not exist today.
Nobody knows what the future will bring. But we do know it’s not written yet. What we do or don’t matters. It matters that we don’t passively accept the logic of capital. It matters that we refuse to sing the national anthem together with those who exploit and oppress us. It matters that we stand in solidarity with the victims of wars and terrorist attacks, whether they are French or Turk, Arab or Jew, black or white, without embracing any of the war-making parties.
It matters that we raise our voices against the calls to close borders, erect walls, keep out refugees, and engage in more war. It matters that we say no! to more control, more police violence, more austerity in the name of national security. It matters that we refuse to help dig our own graves. It matters that we demonstrate that none of the problems facing society can be solved within capitalism. It matters that we speak, in the rivulets of revolt, of the power of the stream they could become.
Posted on November 19, 2015
Source: Down With These Flags !.