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   Vol.66/No.35           September 23, 2002  
One year later: how communists responded
to Washington’s war drive and September 11

On Sept. 11, 2001, when the U.S. employers and their government accelerated their drive to war abroad and assault on workers’ rights at home, using as a pretext the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that day, the Socialist Workers Party released a statement by Martín Koppel, at that time the socialist candidate for mayor of New York, and currently the party’s candidate for governor of New York State. The statement was published on the front page of the Militant in its September 24 issue.

Socialist workers in New York and around the country, as well as in other countries from Australia to Sweden, immediately hit the streets with this statement, campaigning to present a communist perspective among fellow workers, farmers, and youth.

One year later, as the imperialist rulers continue to press their two-front war against working people at home and abroad, this statement remains an accurate presentation of the events that have unfolded and of the response to them by communist workers and youth.


Waving the banner that "America is under attack," that it has sustained "a second Pearl Harbor" in the wake of today’s assault on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the U.S. government will seek to advance its "right" to launch military assaults on other countries, as it has done over the past few years against the peoples of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan. The U.S. rulers will become even more brazen in their backing for the Israeli regime’s escalating war drive against the Palestinians.

Calls by capitalist politicians and apologists for stiffer measures to prevent future such "intelligence failures" are being played up nonstop by the big-business dailies, news agencies, and TV and radio networks. Anti-Arab and anti-Islamic bigotry is being cranked up to bolster this onslaught.

The Socialist Workers Party calls on workers, farmers, and all defenders of democratic rights to speak out against the U.S. rulers’ demagogic efforts, in the name of preempting "terrorism," to rationalize restrictions on political rights. We must oppose the campaign by the U.S. government--Democrats and Republicans alike--to curb the constitutionally guaranteed space for political organization and activity and to legitimize the use of the U.S. armed forces at home and abroad.

During its final months in office, following several years of preparations, the Clinton administration established for the first time in U.S. history a North American command--that is, the command structure for deployment of U.S. armed forces at home, aimed first and foremost at working people in this country. The White House appointed a commander-in-chief of this new homeland command, euphemistically called the Joint Forces Command. As part of its preparations, the U.S. government has over the past two years carried out simulated "antiterrorist" military operations--together with city, state, and federal police forces--in New Jersey, northern California, and elsewhere.

The Bush administration is now deploying these forces in their first domestic military operations. On September 11 the U.S. government placed U.S. armed forces worldwide on hair-trigger war alert. It called out an army regiment of light infantry onto the streets of Washington, D.C.; mobilized the New York National Guard; and deployed heavily armed FBI "counter-terrorism squads" and other special federal police units in Los Angeles, along the borders with Mexico and Canada, and elsewhere across the country.

In coming days, as the administration acts on Bush’s vow "to hunt down and punish those responsible," the labor movement and all democratic-minded organizations and individuals must be on the alert to protest government frame-up trials and oppose its trampling on the presumption of innocence; the right to due process; Fourth Amendment protections against arbitrary search, seizure, and wiretaps; and freedom of association without spying and harassment by government informers and agents provocateurs. The last four years of the Clinton administration, and the opening months of the Bush White House, have been marked by stepped-up bipartisan efforts to strengthen the federal death penalty, erode the rights of the accused and convicted, and increase the room for commando-style operations by the U.S. Border Patrol and other Immigration and Naturalization Service cops, the FBI, and other federal assault agencies.

Whoever may have carried out the September 11 operations, the destruction of the two World Trade Center towers, and the air attack on the Pentagon--with the resulting deaths and injuries of thousands of men, women, and children--these actions have nothing to do with the fight against capitalist exploitation and imperialist oppression. Revolutionists and other class-conscious workers, farmers, and youth the world over reject the use of such methods.

The U.S. government and its allies for more than a century have carried out systematic terror to defend their class privilege and interests at home and abroad--from the atomic incineration of hundreds of thousands at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the 10-year-long slaughter in Indochina, to the war against the Iraqi people in 1990–91, to the burning to death of 80 people at Waco on its home soil, to other examples too numerous to list. In recent weeks, the White House and Congress have stood behind Tel Aviv as it escalated its campaign of both random killings and outright murders in its historically failing effort to quell the struggle by the dispossessed Palestinian people for the return of their homeland.

Half a century ago the revolutionary workers movement and other opponents of colonial outrages, racism, and anti-Semitism in all its forms warned that by waging a war of terror to drive the Palestinians from their farms, towns, and cities, the founders of the Israeli state and their imperialist backers in North America and Europe were pitting the Jewish people against those fighting for national liberation in the Middle East and worldwide; they were creating a death trap for the Jews, which Israel remains to this day. By its systematic superexploitation of the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America; by its never-ending insults to their national and cultural dignity; by its ceaseless murderous violence in countless forms--U.S. imperialism is turning North America into a death trap for working people and all who live here.

The U.S. rulers know that as they press their assault on the living and working conditions of workers and farmers in the United States, they will meet growing resistance, as working people organize to defend their livelihoods and their rights. That’s why Washington is systematically strengthening its hand against the battles it knows are coming.

The Socialist Workers Party calls on workers and farmers in the United States and worldwide to speak out in defense of the struggle of the Palestinian people, the people of Western Sahara, the Puerto Rican people, the rights of the people of Cuba, and others the world over fighting for their national rights and against all the ways in which the world capitalist order presses humanity toward fascism and war. We must oppose U.S. military intervention anywhere in the world. We must oppose efforts by Washington to escalate an assault on the political rights of working people and the organizations of our class and its oppressed and exploited allies.
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