Paris attacks - another barbaric by-product of a barbaric system

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
18 November 2015

The terrorists who shot 129 people dead and injured more than 300 in Paris, last Friday, acted in cold blood, targeting a football stadium, a packed concert hall and busy restaurants, in order to kill as many ordinary people as they possibly could.

Nothing can justify such a massacre. Its only objective was to terrorise the French population. Whether or not the attacks were organised by ISIS, as the media keep repeating, makes no difference. Regardless of the cause they claim to defend, those who use such methods are enemies of the entire working class. And our solidarity should go unreservedly to their victims.

Remedies worse than the disease

But this does not mean that we should fall for the cynical hypocrisy of the G20 world leaders assembled in Turkey, last weekend.

From Obama to Putin, Cameron and Hollande, their response to these attacks is a "world coalition against ISIS" - i.e., yet more bombings in Iraq and Syria, meaning yet more civilians killed and yet more destruction. As if their bombs were not another form of terrorism, perpetrated in these countries which have already suffered far too much! As if the flood of desperate refugees fleeing the war zones into Europe didn't show that things have gone far beyond what can be tolerated!

But what do the leaders of the rich countries care? After bickering over the number of refugees they would take, only to leave them to rot in prison-camps where they are parked like cattle, they now want to force more Syrians and Iraqis out of their homes with their bombs! What's more, the G20 leaders are all stepping up repression in their respective countries. Hollande wants a 3-month state of emergency in France in the name of the "war on terror".

As to Cameron, having never concealed his ambition to join the fray in Syria, he is now planning to try it on, once again, in the Commons. In addition, he plans to recruit 1,900 more intelligence staff and to speed up and strengthen Theresa May's "snooping bill" to step up surveillance among the population here. As if creating a climate of suspicion against "foreigners" or anyone who happens to have the "wrong" skin colour, for that matter, could achieve anything - except generate even more racism and xenophobia in this country, where these dangerous prejudices are already rife!

No future under this capitalist system

Of course, the rule of ISIS in the areas it controls is the worst form of dictatorship. Its thugs subject the local populations to systematic racketeering and to barbaric laws borrowed from a distant past; they enslave women and kill all those who object to their ferocious methods - whether Muslim or not. For them, Islam is just a lever to conquer political power. But this monstrous militia didn't come out of thin air and it takes all the cynicism of the G20 leaders to dare to take the moral high ground in response to its crimes.

Who can forget how this part of the world has been dominated by brutal regimes - like that of Saudi Arabia, a member of the G20, or that of Israel - backed and armed by the rich countries to protect the profits of their oil multinationals?

Who can forget what these countries have themselves created since they launched their "war on terror", after 9/11? Far from destroying al-Qaeda, which was supposed to be its justification, their aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, only created dozens of fundamentalist siblings of al-Qaeda. Isn't ISIS itself a by-product of the struggle for power produced in Iraq by the US-British occupation authorities playing the Shia majority against the Sunni minority?

Each western intervention produced more of these monsters, by pushing more and more angry, vengeful youth into the arms of ambitious, brutal warlords - most of whom were themselves armed by one of the G20 countries, or their allies.

Predictably, the number of casualties in terrorist attacks is rising: from the 97 killed in a protest rally in Turkey last month, to the 224 killed in a Russian plane and the 45 who died in Beirut last Thursday. Last Friday's victims in Paris joined an already very long list. But we should not forget that these victims come on top of the estimated 135 Iraqi civilians and 500 Syrian civilians who have died every week since the beginning of the year.

Today's world is overwhelmingly dominated by poverty, injustice and violence - because it is dominated by a tiny number of profiteers who own everything, while the majority of the world's population lives in destitution. But no-one will ever be immune to the chronic built-in violence of this mad capitalist system until it is replaced by a social organisation which is designed to cater for the needs of all.