|Written by IWL-FI|
|Monday, 03 October 2011 04:34|
|Ten years after September 11, 2001 a broad discussion issued in the media about the meaning and the importance of the raid on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
There is no doubt that 11S has been a landmark in recent history. It is true that on the 10th anniversary of that date finds the USA in a deep economic and political crisis and with greater difficulties to control the world as a hegemonic imperialist power. An important part of the facts that led to this crisis began to interweave precisely on that day. It is very important to discuss the relation between the facts and the crisis, the consequences of these facts on what is happening now in the world.
Many analysts believe that the Al Qaeda has been the main figure of the process and that even the very economic crisis was due to the direct effect of the 11S raids. But they are wrong. The truth is that imperialism used the raids to launch their offensive of the “war against terror”. The effect of these terrorist raids was to draw the American people closer to their government. This popular backing strengthened Bush to put his project into practice and to obtain the initial success in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early years of the decade. In the same way as Bush used the raids to achieve greater popular support in his country, things changed when world masses took the centre of the stage in resistance to the offensive. Massive actions and not terrorist raids halted and defeated the offensive. Unlike what many analysts say, it was the workers’ struggles and revolutions that drove imperialist into that difficult situation they are in now. If isolated terrorist actions draw the bourgeois together, revolutions produce the contrary effect: they divide them. That is why in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, they are the bourgeoisie’s great concern.
That is why Al Qaeda played an insignificant role in the Arab revolutions and today, they are not a reference for the massive movements in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya or Syria. Inasmuch as the masses are the protagonists of revolutions, the “terrorist apparatuses” – not connected to them – lose weight.
Bush used the raids
There is still a debate underway on the attitude of the Bush administration regarding the preparation and carrying out of the raids by the Al Qaeda commandos, organization headed by Bin Laden. There is the suspicion that the government knew what was about to happen and just let it be so as to be able to use the impact it was going to produce on the American public opinion in favour of political project expressed by Bush. Perhaps we shall only learn the truth in many years’ time. What we can already see very clearly is that is thoroughly used the raid in order to launch the project.
The New American Age Project grouped a wing of the extreme right of the Republican Party, very critical to the hen Democrat President, Bill Clinton as well as to the traditional republican conservatives for being “soft” and unable to revert the “Vietnam Syndrome”, take the offensive and so ensure strict American dominion over the world. Face with a process of economic crisis in the USA, revolutions in Latin America and the 2nd Intifada in Palestine, they considered it necessary to change the policy and launch a Bonapatist offensive. What they proposed was aggressive and militarised foreign policy to revert the crisis and to grab oil and other sources of energy. This sector won the Republican primary elections and then the presidential elections.
But the Bush administration was born weak: his election was queried (because he won in the polling station with the vote in Florida with accusations of fraud there). Bush used the aids in order to create conditions to win strong popular support and so develop it on massive extent by presenting it as a policy for “defence” of a country that is being assaulted. (At that time 75% of Americans supported the invasion of Afghanistan.)
In October 2001, American troops invaded Afghanistan and ousted the Taliban administration, accused of being the foothold and the backing for Al Qaeda and Bin Laden.
The Bush government also took advantage of the raids in order to increase the “defence” budget and investments in the military industrial complex. In this way he combined his armament policy with anti-crisis measures: thanks to the new contracts, such companies as Boeing shifted fast from standing on the verge of bankruptcy to enjoying huge annual profit. Together with other measures, such as lowering bank rates, he achieved a few years of economic growth. He also advanced in the process of recolonisation of several Latin American countries by applying the FTAs.
Mass movement defeated Bush
The swift triumph obtained in Afghanistan drove Bush to double his stake. In 2003, American troops together with European imperialism and minor puppet countries invaded Iraq and defeated Sadam Hussein. The project was to attack all the counties that were not entirely submitted, whom he called the “axis of evil”. Bush did not admit any kind of resistance. At that moment, these countries were Iraq, Iran, Syria and North Korea. The downfall of the Ayatollahs’ regime was meant to be the next step to follow Iraq, with whom the American imperialism had unsettled accounts since the 1979 revolution. But it was there that problems began. The Bush project and his international offensive clashed against an unforeseen element in the “equation”: the resistance of the mass movement began to prepare his defeat. In Latin America an ample anti-AAFTA movement swept across the continent and several neo-liberal administrations were defeated in the poll-boxes and in the streets. In 2002, Bush mounted a coup in Venezuela against the president Hugo Chavez. Chavez and all his ministers had already surrendered when the coup was defeated by the reaction of the masses.
However, it was in Iraq where Bush had made his highest bid and where the fate of this project was at stake. The occupation war, seemingly triumphant, had swiftly turned into a war of liberation of the Iraqi people against the forces of occupation and taken an increasingly unfavourable course. Inside the USA, the opposition to the war accrued and forced Bush to decide to reduce the number of soldiers and promised to withdraw them altogether.
Consecutive plans to stabilise and control Iraq kept on failing until Obama decided to withdraw the troops and leave the Iraqi administration to an extremely unstable government, consisting of Shiite and Kurdish sectors that cannot guarantee the stability for their armed forces to deal with the unruliness that country has been turned into. There is no disorderly getaway of American forces the way it was in Vietnam, there is an orderly retreat and maintenance of several thousand men in the super bases. But the country remains in a state of chaos.
American imperialism did not achieve any of the political, military and economic targets proposed when they invaded the country and that is why they recoil defeated. It is not a coincidence that now the “Iraq syndrome” is mentioned here and there: the fear of carrying out new land invasions that will turn into long wars and political-military mires. That is why, Iraq is a point of inflexion in the “war against terror” and the entire Bush project. On the other hand, this is the balance sheet drawn by most bourgeois analysts and even the American people: Bush lost the legislative elections in 2006 and the Republicans the presidential in 2008.
The results in Iraq made an impact on Afghanistan.
Also in that country, the war of occupation soon turned into a war of liberation of an increasingly unfavourable for imperialism course and the Talibans who are the leaders of this struggle today control most of the territory and are risking raids and military operations in the capital, Kabul. Analysts agree that in the current political and military conditions, this is another war that “cannot be won”. Obama’s policy is actually restrained to try and gain some strength so as to be able to negotiate the withdrawal in better conditions and the very withdrawal may impose the coming back into power of the Talibans. To make matters worse, a strategy ally of imperialism, Israel, has also suffered a bad defeat in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon in this case under the leadership of Hezbollah.
A different face to suit new tactics
To make things even more difficult for imperialism, the failure of the Bush project made it impossible to achieve the necessary control of the sources of energy, which was his aim and this, combined with the deep contradictions of the capitalist system that have been accumulated for decades, led to the beginning of a deep economic crisis initiated in 2007, with a depth that was not known since 1929. The defeat of Bush initiated a deep crisis in the political leadership of the American imperialism. In 2008, facing the double negative reality (two wars in very unfavourable situation, deep economic crisis), a majority sector of American bourgeoisie staked with Obama on a “change of face” fit for new tactics: to achieve, with negotiations and “consensus” part of what they have been losing in the struggles of the masses as a consequence of the economic crisis. In this way they tried to obtain the time to seek a solution while sailing the rough waters at home and abroad.
Obama did obtain some results: within the international scope, to negotiate partial and orderly withdrawal from Iraq, and reach some agreements such as the restructuring of the GM without any social outbursts at home. He managed to avoid the depression in 2009 and then a partial recovery. But this recovery was not enough to overcome the structural issues that had caused the crisis. Obama failed at his attempt to overcome the economic crisis at home and abroad.
This lack of solutions is the reason for which American bourgeoisie is divided on practically all the important issues: how to cope with the economic crisis, how to intervene politically and militarily in the world, whether to keep on investing in China or not; concentrate on a new “national” investing wave taking advantage of a bad defeat of American workers, or not; privilege aiding banks or back the military industrial complex…
These divisions are expressed in a deep political crisis as became evident in the legislative debate on the broadening of the limits of the public debt where Obama was visibly defeated. But the most serious consequence as far as the American bourgeoisie is concerned is that the political regime as a whole (based on the equilibrium between Republicans and Democrats and between the President and the Congress) is not any better for the wear and tear, and people regard it with increasing misgivings.
This strong dispute inside the American bourgeoisie is reflected in the doubt whether the majority of the bourgeoisie will stake on maintaining the profile of “a change of face” as in 2008 and re-elect Obama or if they will consider that this model has already been eroded and that all the juice in it has already been used up. There will be an answer not earlier than next year for it still is not defined if there is a real and credible alternative among the Republicans.
What is totally clear is that the crisis of political leadership, produced by the defeat of the Bush project, is still open and in several of its aspects it is now worse than before because the “Obama card” is quite worn out. This fact alone would be enough to define that the decade has been fraught with setbacks for imperialism. To obtain these defeats, the world mass movement has played the starring role.
Enter Arab Revolution
It is impossible to understand fully the balance of the 10 years since S11 without referring to the extraordinary revolutionary process taking place in the Arab world and spreads like bushfire. We might say that this process represents a new defeat for the Bush project, because now imperialism must cope with the tremendous revolutionary ascent in that region.
One of the central aims of the Bush project was, precisely, to control firmly the Arab and Moslem countries and their strategic reserves of oil (60% of the world total). The defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan have already begun to demolish this target.
Now, the revolution in the Arab world jeopardises the heart of the entire imperialist operational scheme in the region. They have already reached a key country (Egypt) and a country that is very rich in oil (Libya) and threatens the two most strategic allies of imperialism in this region. Israel is going through a very important crisis, more and more isolated internationally, with Palestinian people carrying out massive that “perforate” the frontiers and with a sector of Jewish Israelis (the annoyed) demonstrating for economic demands. Powerful and strategic allies, such as Turkey, who has had excellent political and military relations with Israel ever since its foundation, or Egypt that had been the central element to guarantee the frontiers and the Gaza wall since the peace treaty signed by Answar Sadat. As an outcome of the revolution and the repudiation of the Zionist actions, the government threatened with revising the Camp David agreements. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia watches with concern how the revolutions in other countries keep on enclosing the reigning petromonarchy.
Apart from that, these revolutions represent another defeat for imperialism: this one is ideological. After 11S, they had launched a fiery campaign to represent the struggle of the Arab and Moslem countries as a war headed by “religious fanatics” and “terrorist apparatuses”.
But the Arab revolutions, where youth, workers and toiling masses once more placed the great mobilisations and massive actions as a possible factor of historic transformations. Their struggle is no longer regarded as “the ghost of terrorism” and became a very attractive reference to be followed by workers and youth of the world, as we have seen in Spain, Greece and even USA, at least within the vanguard scope in debates.
Within this panorama a fundamental negative aspect subsists and it explains why the processes do not advance till imperialism is expelled and power is seized by workers. That is the absence of an alternative of a revolutionary leadership. It is this absence that allows imperialism to keep on manoeuvring and trying to deviate and halt the revolutions and so keep on maintaining their dominion in spite of the revolutionary earthquake.
Here we include the events in Libya, where revolution developed into a tough civil war. This revolution has been aimed against the local agent of imperialism, Gadafi. In exactly the same way as they had done in Egypt when they had to get rid of Mubarak, imperialism tries to interfere with the process as from the intervention of the NATO forces and the pro-imperialist character of the CNT. They even took advantage of the lack of revolutionary leadership to get an important sector of the Libyan rebels to regard this intervention as “aid” and not as a counterrevolutionary meant to recover control and stabilise the situation. But this reality, even if it great danger at present, cannot conceal the fact that it was a revolution where armed masses were protagonists what toppled the dictator Gadafi, until just a few months before, “their man” in Libya and that was a defeat of imperialism.
From every point of view, imperialism is worse off now than it was ten years ago. The economic crisis drives the imperialists to show their worst features and deliver increasingly cruel blows against the living conditions of the workers and peoples, even in their own central countries. The “new American age” lasted less than a decade. Bush fell with it and Obama is getting mired in the slippery mud left by his ancestor. The political crisis corrodes it all and the struggle of the youth and workers of Europe occupy the centre of the stage.
And yet, the negative factor subsists: the lack of an alternative of revolutionary leadership with a massive import. But this world situation, with all the difficulties that imperialism has to cope with, offers the possibility of advancing in better conditions for its construction. That is why, in better objective condition than ten years ago, the construction of this revolutionary leadership is still the task to which the IWL-FI is dedicating all our efforts.