Special Onward Editorial: America Under Attack?
By Dan Berger
Shortly before press time, four American commercial airplanes were hijacked and crashed in what is being heralded as the largest terrorist attack ever. Two planes demolished the World Trade Center, one hit the Pentagon and one was forced down in a crash outside of Pittsburgh. Thousands have died and many more are injured. Everyone is on edge and wondering ‘what does this mean?’
These are dangerous times and we have to be clear on what has happened, what is currently going on and what the future holds. The attacks are being blamed on anti-American, CIA-trained, Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden. The as of yet unknown assailants’ attacks are indefensible; many of those killed or affected by these actions are working class people with little role in US policy. If it is to be done and done right, armed struggle must be doubled with a revolutionary strategy based in a deep sense of humanitarianism and respect for human life.
While the methods used were certainly careless in the brutality they inflicted on unsuspecting and innocent people, if the attack was indeed carried out by Arab nationalists, we must be clear as to why this incident occurred. As anarchists, we must be loud and present on the role of US imperialism, militarism, nationalism, capitalism and racism. As anti-racists, we must be vigilant in standing in solidarity with Arabs, Arab Americans and other peoples of color currently being assaulted for their race, ethnicity and/or skin color. The state and its media are relentless in their references to Pearl Harbor (even though the current attack was not planned by a nation) and their persistence in claims of Arab involvement. Just like the days following Timothy McVeigh’s attack on the Oklahoma City Federal Building, people of color throughout North America are being assaulted. We must be active in pushing back this racist, militarist assault.
Amidst cries of “God Bless America,” “Revenge,” and an unending stream of American flags and reports of feeling “closer to fellow Americans,” it is clear that much of the distress over what happened on Sept. 11 is not because thousands of people died, but because thousands of white Americans (the two are often used interchangeably) died. The sanctity, safety and privilege of being a ‘white American’ have been shattered. The United States has and continues to perpetuate acts of immeasurable cruelty and violence against predominantly people of color throughout the world. Now that a measurably small number of those people have struck back at the world bully, the United States and its citizens are calling for blood. We must be clear that the US started this through its settler-imperialist policies that date back to the genocide of Native Americans.
We are sorry for all the lives that have been needlessly and carelessly lost in this event. We are angry at the loss of lives that spawned this event and we are raging at the deaths that are likely to occur from modern-day lynch mobs and/or US-sponsored war. We remain, however, hopeful about the potential for mass resistance to the onslaught of racist militarism and the possibilities for a mass movement capable of bringing about revolutionary change throughout the world.
Our task as revolutionaries, as anti-racists and as anarchists, is to fend off the racist calls for blood and “heightened security” (read: the taking of civil liberties and the open squashing of all dissent). We must counter the state and media propaganda with a revolutionary analysis and strategy. Now is not the time to bury our collective head in the sand. We must continue our fight for a new social order based on freedom, direct democracy and the elimination of all hierarchy. That is our task. It’s time to build.
For up to date information and analysis, see http://www.indymedia.org, http://www.zmag.org, http://www.ainfos.ca, http://www.commondreams.org, http://www.alternet.org, and http://www.infoshop.org (this is by no means a complete listing).
Dan Berger is a community organizer, student and member of the Onward Collective.