Yet another atrocity in the name of religion. Islamic State, to which the perpetrators owed allegiance and on whose behalf they carried out the atrocity, is at war with various capitalist states – Syria, the United States, Russia, Britain, and France as well as others. Deliberately targeting civilians is against the Geneva Convention but not, apparently, against their peculiar version of Sharia law.
There will be no peace while the economic and political motives for killing are implanted within the very social order which dominates our lives. Capitalism or peace — it must be one or the other. Terrorism is as old as capitalism itself, although most people believe it to be something to have arisen with the IRA and ISIS. Who remembers the Stern Gang, the Zionist terrorists of the forties? The current Islamic fundamentalist attacks have resulted in an appalling loss of innocent life which no sane person could condone.
Right now the world is suffering from international acts of terrorism at a level unprecedented in recent times; hardly a day goes by without an act of terrorism - or certainly the threat that one might occur. The groups contemplating acts of terrorism of the violent kind generally take their cue from the tactics of their State enemy who have engaged in acts of terrorism against them or their people. In the case of Al-Qaeda their enemy set them up in business to conduct terrorist action against the Russians in Afghanistan. Many Islamic extremists were trained and armed by governments to overthrow Syria's, Assad.
Acts of terrorism by individuals and small groups are in response to their warped rationale. This, unfortunately, suggests that the only way they can place get their objective on to the world agenda is to kill people. Here the media, who love to shock and scare us, duly aid the rise of the political/religious thug. Now thanks to their outrages and notoriety their views on the Muslim religion has been made representative of the majority of peaceful Muslim. The aim of ISIS has nothing to do with a “clash of civilisations”, as some have suggested. Instead, it is merely a tactic to force members of the “host country” (the country they seek to influence by acts of terrorism) to heed their demands and to pressurize their governments not to do what irks them and to leave them be to set their own standard of life, in the part of the world where they live. They seek to use their crude weapons to maximum effect: imposing costs, in terms of chaos, fear, disruption and increased security, on their foes to the point at which they will find the cost too great to continue with their current policies. Governments, of course, possess horrific means of destruction which they deployed in Aleppo and in Mosul. They too have slaughtered fellow-workers in pursuit of their ends.
The Socialist Party opposes terrorism, individual, group or state. As socialists, we can fully empathise with the feeling of popular revulsion that follows acts of mass murder. The victims in Manchester and London were innocent and without any influence over the agenda that motivated the murderers; they were simply people out enjoying themselves. Slaughtering innocent people simply because you oppose the actions of those you perceive to be their leaders is a barbaric act that cannot be justified. Nevertheless, to raise the question of the ongoing wars in the Middle East is in no way to imply sympathy with the terrorists but it is reasonable to look at the violence and warfare that capitalism generates. The reaction and result of this terrorism have been a reinforcement of nationalism and of the false union between the interests of the workers and the foreign policy of the ruling class.
The suicide bomber has to be morally reinforced with the idea that their god is on their side. God as Allah is indeed a vital weapon in the psychological make-up of the terrorist; a guarantee that sacrifice will be rewarded with eternal happiness. For someone not utterly deluded on the belief of the inseparability of god and cause, the idea of committing suicide in order to take the lives of other anonymous people is too utterly sick for contemplation. Allah is a demanding and cruel god and without him and the imagined comfort of eternal salvation, it is hard to imagine the foul practice of suicide bombing existing.
The politicians try to make out that they are different to the terrorists in that they hold certain values. They do not target civilians deliberately though they unleash the destructive power in the full knowledge that innocent civilians would die as collateral damage. The truth of Manchester is that there is no essential difference, that the victims of that bomb were as equally human as those dead Syrians and Iraqis.