On July 7th, during the morning rush hour when millions of people were travelling to their places of work or study, the centre of London was rocked by a series of bomb blasts on the public transport system – three on the underground and one on a bus. At the time of writing the official casualty figures are 49 dead, 25 missing and 700 injured.
The internationalist revolutionaries of the Trotskyist Fraction for the Rebuilding of the Fourth International – of which the PTS is part of – condemn these kinds of indiscriminate attacks that cause death and injury to ordinary working people, students and immigrants. We extend our sympathy to those who are injured and to the relatives of the dead. At the same time we denounce Bush, Blair and the heads of state of the imperialist powers for their hypocrisy. They are quick to ‘lament’ what happened and blame Al Qaeda for the attacks, arguing that they are carried out by ‘barbaric people’ and that they threaten the ‘values’ and ‘freedoms’ of Western society, but in fact Bush, Blair and their allies in the so-called ‘war on terror’, under which they justify the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, bear the main responsibility for creating the conditions for the attacks in London, as well as those in Madrid.
Gathered in Scotland for the G8 Summit, the leaders of the most powerful and rich countries in the world discussed how to continue the domination of the semicolonial world.
They immediately tried to take advantage of the attacks by pushing forward their ‘anti-terrorist’ repressive policies and laws that attack basic civil liberties, that authorise states to hold in prison those who are considered ‘terrorist suspects’ even when there is no evidence against them, and allow the ill-treatment of detainees, thus legalising state terrorism against immigrants, Muslim communities and ultimately those that protest against their imperialist policies. This could in turn unleash racist attacks against these communities.
Today, those who allied themselves with Bush in the war against Iraq and those who opposed unilateral military action, seeking instead a UN resolution, put their differences aside with the aim of ‘collaborating in the fight against terrorism’. They cover up the fact that the true cause of the bomb blasts in London is imperialist oppression, of which the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by two of the most powerful armies in the world – which up to now has caused the death of 100,000 civilians – is only another aggravated expression. This aggressive policy has had the effect of increasing to levels never seen before hatred of American and British imperialism.
But attacks like those in London are not the way to defeat these imperialist policies: not only because the victims in general are ordinary workers but also because indiscriminate bombings provide arguments to reactionaries to justify repressive measures, and eventually will enable warmongering governments – in many cases discredited ones like Blair’s – to try to regain a social base for their ‘war on terrorism’. At the same time, they are a blow against the international unity of the workers and oppressed of the metropolitan countries and their counterparts in the semicolonial world – a unity that is essential if the warmongering policies of the imperialist powers are to be defeated.
As we said after the attacks in Madrid on March 11, 2004, the words of Leon Trotsky, co-leader of the Russian Revolution and head of the Red Army, are still valid: “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 Marxist Position on Individual Terrorism’, in Leon Trotsky, Against Individual Terrorism, Pathfinder, 1974) What’s more, Trotsky was referring to terrorist groups in Russia and other countries that targeted individual members of the ruling class and security forces, not the civil population in general as is the case with the current attacks. Although the authors of the attacks have not been identified, it seems that they were sympathisers of Al Qaeda, a reactionary organisation led by ex-members of the Saudi ruling class, and an enemy of the self-organisation and struggle of the Muslim masses.
Only the international unity of the workers and oppressed, and their organised struggle, will be able to put an end to the abuses, the exploitation and the wars of oppression driven by capitalism and imperialist governments.
Britain has been one of the centres of opposition to Bush and Blair’s war against Iraq. In London, on February 15, 2003, we saw the largest demonstration in British history with nearly two million people on the streets, shouting ‘No to War!’ and ‘Bush and Blair are the real terrorists!’. In the recent general elections, Blair’s parliamentary majority was reduced as voters punished him for his unconditional alliance with Bush.
So far, there has not been a wave of protests against Blair after the bombings, and it remains to be seen whether the mood following the attacks will be favourable to Blair or whether it will stimulate opposition to the war and demands for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.
We call on workers, students, youth, immigrants and all those who oppose the war to fight against any harassment of the Muslim community in Britain, and to redouble their support for the Iraqi people in their efforts to defeat the imperialist occupation of their country, for the national liberation of the Palestinian masses, and for the withdrawal of imperialism from the entire Middle East.