Re: The London bombings
- By Bob Gould
I'm in considerable sympathy with Rohan Pearce's post in the last hour
Socialists in Australia should study carefully the brief statement by
the British Socialist Worker cancelling the Marxism event for the day.
The bombings are a particular concern for Rohan Pearce because he has
family in London, and it's also no doubt a concern for the British SWP
because the Marxism event attracts thousands of people from all over
Britain and the world to central London. It's clear that many
intending participants in Marxism would have been travelling on public
transport at the time the bombs went off.
The point made in the Socialist Worker statement is important: London
is the centre of antiwar and anti-capitalist sentiment in the British
Isles and it's a particularly vicious anti-working-class act for
anyone to engage in indiscriminate bombings against the working
I've just watched Ken Livingstone speaking about the bombings in
Singapore before he boarded a plane for London. His shock and anger
was quite clear, and he made the same point as Socialist Worker: that
it was a political act directed not at prime ministers, high
politicians, military figures or kings, but against ordinary working
people going about their business in central London.
It's not absolutely clear at this point who the perpetrators are. In
the mysterious interpenetrated world of terrorists and different state
apparatuses, things aren't always exactly as they seem.
Whether this turns out to be some kind of Byzantine state provocation
or a totally misguided "political" act by some group, socialists
should condemn it unreservedly and explain that this kind of action is
thoroughly counter-revolutionary and an attack on the working class.
My political instinct says to me that while the masses are grieving
about this event we should concentrate mainly on condemning it and its
perpetrators, and avoid drawing too long a bow about the ultimate
responsibility of imperialism, etc.
Like Rohan Pearce I've been glued to the television this evening as
I've sat in my shop working, and I haven't done much work. I
automatically try to put myself in the place of ordinary people going
about their day-to-day work, and or the socialist comrades on their
annual holidays going to Marxism, who may have been killed or seen
Those who have carried out this event are barbarians and opponents and
enemies of the working class.
- --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobgould987"
> By Bob Gouldthough the British SWP refuses to use the word condemn as they refused
> Whether this turns out to be some kind of Byzantine state provocation
> or a totally misguided "political" act by some group, socialists
> should condemn it unreservedly and explain that this kind of action is
> thoroughly counter-revolutionary and an attack on the working class.
to use it after S11
- Like many Australians, for the last hour (hour-and-a-half? Two hours? I
can't for the life of me tell) I've been watching the TV coverage of the
explosions in London. Every channel except for 7 (which has kept on
broadcasting the cricket interspersed with the news) and 10 (which seems
to still be showing whatever inane program it had scheduled for tonight)
are broadcasting reports of the attacks.
At this stage it seems almost definite that the series of seven, perhaps
more, blasts were the result of coordinated terrorist attacks on buses
and train stations.
Most media outlets report two dead, although apparently an ITV report
claimed there were 20 fatalities. Some 90 people have been confirmed
injuried, some having severe damage to limbs and others being in a
Socialists mourn any tragedy that kills and maims working people. In
this case, however, the tragedy is biting particularly keenly -- my
brother, his partner and his partner's child live in England and I
haven't yet been able to get in contact with them. Of course I'm far
from being alone in this situation -- tens of thousands of Australians
have relatives or friends in the UK (I know at least one other member of
the Green Left staff has relatives over there; probably more do).
The reality is that it's almost inevitable that some of us will be
affected by these reactionary attacks in a very personal and immediate way.
The mobile phone network in Britain is swamped with calls and who knows
how long before we can confirm whether our friends and family are
alright. In the meantime we're treated to the visage of Tony Blair
(looking, as a comrade pointed out, as if he was trying to cry and
failing) -- fresh from the G8 meetings where the rulers of the most
industrialised countries have been plotting how to make sure that
capitalism goes on going on -- declaring: ``It's important ... that
those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our
values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause
death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism
on the world.''
At a time like this, what can one say? We could talk about Farqad
Khinaisar, shot to death by occupation forces in Baghdad on May 29, we
could talk about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and the misery and
violence visited daily on the majority of the world's population by
imperialism, but what's the point.
Working class people's lives have been shattered by this attack --
through grevious injury, through the loss or maiming of loved ones,
through the terror of not knowing a loved one's fate.
So instead let's talk about those bastards Blair, Bush and Howard, for
whom this will be not a tragedy but an opportunity. For them there will
be no self-reflection, no soul-searching. Instead, they'll publicly
greet this latest tragedy, like the Madrid train bombing and like 9/11,
as a sign that we need to ``stay the course'' that ``we've got them on
the run'' and that drawing any connection between their imperial designs
and what happened today would be abetting the atrocities in London.
To even question their failure to protect working people from terrorism
-- by pursuing policies that make such attacks more likely -- will, from
this point onwards, no doubt be considered a mortal sin by capitalist
politicians and the corporate media that have collaborated with the
crusade of the ``coalition of the killing''.
I think I've had all the TV coverage I can deal with for a while -- I've
already had to deal with the spectacle of the UK House of Commons'
hollow rhetoric, all of the politicians no doubt champing at the bit to
make political capital out of today's tragedy. So instead I'm going to
switch off and wait by the phone hoping that my brother will call.
I apologise for such a rambly and self-indulgent post, but it's been a