Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Munich 1972


In July and August the Summer Olympic and Para Olympic games will take place in Paris. We shall be returning to this subject nearer to the time.

At the 1972 Munich Olympics the Palestinian Black September group accessed the Olympic Village and took members of the Israeli Olympic team hostages. Two Israelis were killed and in the failed rescue attempt nine hostages also died. Since then there have been many instances were innocent bystanders at public events have also lost their lives. This has also been the case with airline hijackings.

These insane murders, whether political or religious, are to be condemned no matter what “vindication” the perpetrators use as justification for their heinous actions.

It is to be sincerely desired that no such iniquitous monstrosity's happen in Paris.

‘A Socialist Standard article from September 1984 with the apposite title 'Billion-dollar games' concerns the Olympics. The athlete Carl Lewis who won four gold medals said that "the Olympics are about money and not much else". US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher disagrees: for him they"..represent the noblest elements of humanity.. a beacon of light shining upon mankind's higher aspirations.."This is so much global warming, as is his call for the United States to boycott the Beijing Olympics. Perhaps there will be a boycott, and like reformism in general, it will serve to distract workers from their true interests. No, the Olympics are"..a further example of the way capitalist rivalries and priorities pollute and distort every aspect of life under the present social system."

Such rivalries often lead to workers murdering others in their masters' interests, and this was true at the Munich Olympics on this day in 1972. The Socialist Standard of October that year carried the following comment.

"Since it has never happened before, the killing of the Israeli Olympic athletes helped foster the idea that we are living in times of special cruelty and disarray, and that guerilla tactics are something of an innovation. It needs only a little effort to recall many examples of similar tactics, sometimes by small bands of killers and sometimes by larger, more organised groups. If the Arabs showed great courage in their raid, it was not the first time that bravery has been used to murderous ends. Capitalist States are always organising the courage of their peoples in a massive effort of destruction. At such times they use any weapon they can, including that of the ultimatum. The famous demand for unconditional surrender in the last war was no more that a threat to murder and destroy on a savage scale, if the other side did not give way - and it was a threat the Allies carried out. The men who plan and implement such ultimata are not called terrorists and murderers but there is nothing to choose between them and those who did the killing at Munich, or indeed the Israeli nationalists who waged so ruthless a guerilla campaign against the British occupation in the years after the war. Capitalism is a mass of conflict, springing from the competing economic interests of many rival groups both national and international. In one way or another, force is always applied in these conflicts and capitalism continually conditions its people to accept the use of force, often on a terrifying scale and intensity. The Arabs at Munich acted as they have been conditioned to. The outcome of violence is never pleasant, whether it is eleven dead bodies at Munich or a hundred thousand at Hiroshima. But if the working class are not clear on the issue, if their ideas on it are confused by the illogicalities and the violence of nationalism, they can have no hope of ending a victory of which bloodshed is so integral a part."’


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