Terrorism - Can it be Ended?

This is the text of a leaflet published in 1988
by the De Leonist Society of Canada

TERRORISM -- Can it be Ended?

The De Leonist Society

Terrorism darkens every quarter of the globe. Who is not aware of the I.R.A.? the Mafia? Siberia? the P.L.O.? Sikh extremism? the death squads of Latin America? Threats and intimidation, torture, hostage taking, disappearances, killings and mass mayhem, are constantly taking place. What is worse, the scope of the problem is being immeasurably widened by the advance of technology; experts on terrorism now believe terrorists will use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by the turn of the century. In sum, NO ONE today has reason to feel safe from terrorism's reach.

According to the Christian Science Monitor: "Terrorist attacks are on the rise worldwide. And few terrorists have been brought to justice." What can be done? "Authorities on terrorism generally reject the notion that terrorism can be wiped out entirely. For the immediate future, they see it as a problem to be managed, not solved.... 'The single most important step,1 says Italian authority Franco Ferracuti, 'is international co-operation. ' But that is difficult, he cautions, because nations have different traditions, laws and economies." The admissions bode ill for the future, all the more so because the authorities are programmed to address effects rather than cause.

But terrorism can nearly always be linked to a political or quasi-political motive. In oppressive regimes it is frequently a tactic of the oppressed. In such case, while those who commit terrorist acts must be "brought to justice," is the oppressor to be judged innocent?

Less evident but nonetheless real is a link between terrorism and "the western democracies." We have only to look at this hemisphere. To the south is Latin America, where terrorism is much in the saddle as a tactic of tyranny. But who helped it there? "Democratic" U.S.A.! It is now known that C.I.A. intervention led to repressive pro-U.S. regimes in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Facts have also come to light of U.S. complicity with El Salvadore and Honduras against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, not the least of which was publication by the C.I.A. of guidebooks for terrorists! Nor are Canada's skirts clean; her muted response anent these clandestine operations makes her particeps criminis. Yet these "democracies" presume to declaim against terrorism!

Why the contradictory behaviour? Why the hypocrisy?

As stated above, terrorism will almost always be found to have some political connection. But there is more to it than that; political motives don't just spring from thin air, by and large their roots are ECONOMIC. And so it is here -- the claims of profit are at war with the claims of democracy and humanity. Thus while the policies (and the epithets) that issue from Washington are far from admirable they are nevertheless understandable. Party to worldwide capitalist decline, ailing U.S. capitalism demands that its administration lend it every possible support in its struggle to remain solvent, be that support open or clandestine, moral or immoral. The name calling (the gut association of the terms "evil" and "communist") can only be calculated to prejudice the public and blind it to the administration's subversion or attempted subversion of even democratic regimes that refuse to cater to U.S. capitalist interests.

A society that thinks it can "manage" terrorism is a society that will continue to live in dire peril. What can be done? Look to the cause, and look soon! Confront the basic proposition that terrorism is an evil whose roots - like the roots of poverty and unemployment, like the roots of pollution, like the roots of war and many another grave social problem-have their origin in the fact that society is economically class-divided. The wages system is the key to the train of cause and consequence. Wage exploitation not only dooms millions of workers to poverty, insecurity and frustration but sets employer against employer and ruling class against ruling class in ruthless and insatiable rivalry for PROFIT, the spoils of that exploitation. In a word, the wages system necessarily puts profits before society and society cannot afford to delude itself otherwise.

Terrorism CAN be ended -- but only on condition that class division is ended, only on condition that the wages system is uprooted. Naturally enough the task of freeing society from the curse devolves upon the working class - the class that has everything to gain, and not upon the capitalist class - the class that stands to lose profits, luxury and idleness. And here workers must be constantly on their guard against misrepresentation, falsehood and lies that are spread around the country by capitalist-controlled academia and media. It is all too easy to blame "Marxists" for terrorism, moreover in the context of violence it is all too easy to accept repressive measures as "the lesser of two evils."

Again quoting the Monitor: "At bottom, many observers agree that terrorism is a highly mental phenomenon. 'If we're going to prevent terrorism movements from re-creating themselves [says Paul Wilkinson, University of Aberdeen].... we have to win the battle of ideas.' To do that, he says, Western societies need to undertake 'a strengthening of democracy in all its various ramifications.'"

Truth, a question, and a fallacy, are contained in these passages. First: Certain it is that terrorism will not be eradicated unless its opponents win "the battle of ideas." Second: But WHAT idea has to win? WHAT idea alone has the power to sound the death-knell of terrorism? Third: So grave is the peril that it is not merely the hight of folly but shockingly irresponsible of the "authorities" on terrorism to suggest that "Western societies," as now constituted, could or would "strengthen democracy in all its various ramifications." Instead of strengthening democracy they can be fully expected to strengthen their attack on it. Existing "western societies" are CAPITALIST societies with CAPITALIST governments. It has long been evident that Capitalism and democracy have a conflicting, not harmonious relation; that the deeper the system sinks in its own economic contradictions (as today), the less can it tolerate political dissent-least of all dissent that dares challenge its rule! It should be obvious to even the "experts" that no capitalist class (or for that matter no soviet ruling bureaucracy) could ever be expected to hasten its own demise by helping promote ECONOMIC democracy, the basis of all true freedom and a concept hated and feared by the beneficiaries of class privilege on both sides of the iron curtain.

There is a REVOLUTIONARY idea in this ongoing "battle of ideas" that has been struggling against great odds to make itself known, an idea that must win out if mankind is to be saved from terrorism and much else that threatens to demoralize and destroy. It is the De Leonist Society's program of Socialist Industrial Unionism, a program of working class political and economic organization for a JDST social order - socialist industrial democracy. The biggest hope for tomorrow is that workers in North America will begin looking into this program today. The biggest blow against terrorism in the world would be the socialist reconstruction of society on this continent.

There is no time to lose!