It’s not hard to condemn the actions of Sept. 11, but it is hard to oppose a war machine bent on world domination at every level. The goal of this paper is to put forth an alternative not just to the “War on Terrorism,” but to the causes of war and social problems themselves. We seek a freedom based on popular power where the people run society at all levels instead of being run by others. Our vision stands in opposition to the doctrines preached and practiced by the state and its war, an un-freedom based on greed, racism and domination.
Immediately following Sept. 11, there was much confusion over why the attacks occurred and what an appropriate response should be. People across the globe organized to draw attention to imperialist-based foreign policy, media manipulation and social inequities within the United States as a way of figuring out why the attacks happened and formulating an appropriate response.
This paper, a supplement to the Winter 2001-2002 edition of ONWARD is a continuation of that dialogue. We cannot rely on the state or the corporate-owned media to tell us anything but what furthers their white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal and imperialist agenda. Though this paper, due to space, is only skimming the surface on important issues, enclosed are perspectives that the state and for-profit media try to silence.
The truth is that the attacks of Sept. 11, the events that led up to them and the response ever since, impacts everyone. It is not a question of whether we choose to take a stand on these issues; it is a matter of what stand we will take. The government has opted to take a reactionary response that will create more violence worldwide – including in and against the United States. (As we go to press in mid-December, the number of dead Afghani citizens is estimated at 3,500.) Their response is based on fear, hatred and greed. It is the belief that people are not smart enough and do not deserve to make decisions for themselves, whether those people are Afghanis or United States citizens. In the eyes of the U.S. government, both need to be protected from themselves, or killed.
As anarchists, our position is based on direct, face-to-face democracy; countering racist assaults in whatever form (from comments to physical attacks); resisting attempts to curtail our minimal amount of liberties; and fighting for a new society based on our beliefs.
No media is objective. Just because they don’t state their agenda doesn’t mean that they don’t have one. By ignoring voices of the left – voices that call out for human rights, self-determination and an end to war, racism and all domination – and uncritically covering the responses of the state, mainstream media has made their view clear. The purpose of this paper is to inform, add to the worldwide discussion of responding to Sept. 11 and to continue to build and strengthen a movement to build a new society.
What happened on Sept. 11 was an abomination, and it’s not hard to condemn an act of heartlessness. The events that led up to Sept. 11 – marked by greed, racism and exploitation on the part of the United States – are beyond the scope of our imagination in their insidiousness. We do not feel the impact of them because they are largely hidden from public view and discourse, but out of sight does not equal out of mind. The war that has been raging since early October is a continuation of these cruel policies, as is the attack against all people in the United States, especially Arabs, Muslisms and other people of color and non-Christians. As we go to print, the United States is busy at work carving up a new government in Afghanistan, one that suits its own interests after the Taliban, another U.S. creation, has outlived its usefulness to this government. More than 1,000 Arabs have been rounded up and languish in prison, though few have been charged or are even suspect of any wrongdoing. Law after law curtailing liberties are being passed with record speed and bombs continue to drop. Hunger; poverty; race, class and gender hatred; police brutality; lack of democracy; denial of health care and a multitude of other issues continue to plague our society with no recourse or concern from those at the top. When everyday people like you and me get together and organize, however, we can make revolutionary changes, and that is our goal.
As we strive to fundamentally change the way in which society is run, we, as a movement, are often left only with each other to fend for ourselves. While this issue is free, it comes at a great cost to our already shoe-string budget. Any donations are much appreciated and go right back into publishing anarchist news, opinion, theory and strategy of today. If you are interested in getting bulk copies to hand out in your area, see our distribution prices below. For more information on ONWARD, check out p. 8, our website (www.onwardnewspaper.org) or get in touch.
Don’t let this paper be your only exposure to anti-war and anarchist news and opinion. Worldwide, anti-war and anarchist organizing are on the rise. If there’s not already an anti-war, anti-racist and/or anarchist organization in your area, start your own! By organizing with others to take control over our communities and our lives, we can stop the war machine dead in its tracks and build a truly free society.
Thank you for reading this issue.
In Solidarity and Struggle,
The Onward Collective