This issue marks the anniversary of two events that impacted the class struggle in the U.S. — the al-Qaeda attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., in 2001 and the social catastrophe unleashed on working people following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We are reprinting major excerpts from the statement by Martín Koppel, then candidate for mayor of New York, released Sept. 11, 2001, by the Socialist Workers Party.
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. [Within a matter of weeks, the U.S. imperialist rulers launched a massive bombing campaign and ground invasion in Afghanistan, a war that lasted 20 years with devastating consequences for working people. — Ed.]
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.
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.
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 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.