% include "/var/www/vhosts/newyouth.com/httpdocs/yfis-head.asp"; %>
Q. What Do Marxists Think About Terrorism? A. Marxism has always waged a struggle against the methods of individual terrorism (hijackings, bombings) as well as against state terrorism (the imperialist bombing of Iraq, Yugoslavia, etc.). Acts of individual terror do little but alienate the mass of the people from the cause you are supposed to be promoting. Bombing a market place where women and children are killed does not make the average working Joe too sympathetic to your cause. Our power and strength are in our numbers, not in individual acts.
While we can all certainly sympathize with people being frustrated by the oppressive conditions they live under, these methods have nothing in common with Marxism, and have historically proven to be impotent at bringing about any serious change. Take for example the terrorist acts of the PLO in Israel/Palestine in the last decades. These bombings and hijacking did nothing for promoting working class unity between Jews and Arabs against their common oppressor the ruling class which keeps them divided in order to continue to oppress them. The ruling classes in the Middle East do not want real peace, they just want the tension lessened so that they can continue with their business without interruptions. If there were actual "peace" then the workers of all ethnicities and religions would unite against the ruling class. The terrorist methods of the PLO got the Palestinian people nowhere. It was only with the Intifadah (uprising) of the masses of Palestinians that the Israeli ruling class feared the movement and began to give concessions. This is why we need to condemn individual terrorism.
Another example is the current war in Chechnya. The real reason for the war is that the Russian military is sick of being humiliated by the West since the fall of the USSR (10 years ago NATO would NEVER have bombed Russias ally Serbia!). They want to make an example of the Chechen people to show the other peoples of the former republics (especially in the Caucuses and the Caspian Sea region which is rich in oil, gas, etc.) what happens if they mess with Russia. But what was the excuse given for the war? To fight terrorism. There were some bombings of working class apartments allegedly instigated by Chechen terrorists (though it was more probably done by the ruling class itself as an excuse for the war), and this is the excuse used to raze a whole country. Whether the Chechens bombed those apartment buildings or not, the point is that individual terrorism does not promote cultural and ethnic unity, but rather gives the ruling class an excuse for further repression.
In addition, it is not very comforting to think about the heightened border security (another indication of growing isolationism and nationalism in the U.S.) and police/FBI presence due to the supposed "terrorist" plots around the Millenium. It is entirely possible that there are some plots, and we would oppose these acts of terror, but the government is using the hysteria over this possibility to slowly reduce our civil liberties. They are using it as an excuse to perhaps begin a tracking system for all foreign nationals who visit this country! This is scary, and yet the press (which is a mere mouthpiece for the ideas of the ruling class) gives these stories front page billing. If a socialist group were to commit an act of terrorism the ruling class would use that as an excuse to shut down our websites, newspapers, meetings, etc.
I think the following quote from Leon Trotsky from the article "Why Marxists Oppose Individual Terrorism" puts it very eloquently:"In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission. The anarchist prophets of the propaganda of the deed can argue all they want about the elevating and stimulating influence of terrorist acts on the masses. Theoretical considerations and political experience prove otherwise. The more effective the terrorist acts, the greater their impact, the more they reduce the interest of the masses in self-organisation and self-education. But the smoke from the confusion clears away, the panic disappears, the successor of the murdered minister makes his appearance, life again settles into the old rut, the wheel of capitalist exploitation turns as before; only the police repression grows more savage and brazen. And as a result, in place of the kindled hopes and artificially aroused excitement comes disillusionment and apathy."
Back to Marxism FAQ<% include "/var/www/vhosts/newyouth.com/httpdocs/yfis-foot.asp"; %>