Monday, February 26, 2024

Self Immolation is not the answer


‘A man has been hospitalized in critical condition after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC on 25 February, the city’s emergency services said.

Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for DC Fire and EMS, told reporters that the man has been hospitalized with “critical life-threatening injuries.”

The man is reported to have said, “I will no longer be complicit in genocide” and shouted “Free Palestine.”’

It is thought that the twenty five year old man was a serving member of the American military.

He is now believed to have died from his injuries.

Self immolation for religious or political reasons has a long history.

Several Buddhist monks carried out this act in South Vietnam in the early nineteen sixties in protest against repression of majority Buddhists by a minority Catholic government.

As an act of protest it is an extreme one. Capitalism, historically, and at the present time, has engaged in extreme acts of violence against individuals and the masses.

We cannot know what compels an individual to commit such a thing. If the driving force for doing so emanates from actions by, and on behalf of capitalism, then the solution is to collectively fight for the abolution of capitalism and for its replacement by a social system where such deeds will never more be contemplated by anyone.

The SPGB’s response to a letter, the Socialist Standard, June 1970

... he more or less argues that any atrocities committed by the Viet-cong are justified because it was the Americans who started the war. This is of course a very old argument — it was used to excuse the obliteration of Hiroshima and in fact has always been used by capitalist states as part of their war propaganda.

It is true that the Americans interfered in Vietnam — in the same way as the North Koreans did in the South, and as the Russians did in Czechoslovakia, Finland and so on. In each case the inference has been justified by counter-accusations of threats from the subject of the interference. And so we go on — all the time avoiding the real issue, which is why wars, invasions and international interference take place. Why are they sometimes (not always) resisted? What interests are at stake? In Vietnam, we are seeing a struggle between rival capitalist groups for the control of an area of great economic and strategic importance. The interests in the war are those of capitalism; the people on both sides stand to gain nothing from the war and their interests are in keeping out of it as far as they can. Whoever wins, the people of Vietnam and of America will lose.

(He) accuses us of being deluded fools, thinks the North Vietnamese are fighting for freedom and justice. Is it part of freedom and justice to commit mass murder among the Vietnamese people? In war no one side is alone responsible for all the atrocities and this is widely accepted, with only a few people closing their eyes to the evidence.’

Editorial Committee


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