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Statement From The Black Radical Congress Regarding World Trade Center And Pentagon Attacks

Terror Attacks of September 11, 2001

During this extremely sad and traumatic time, we extend our
sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families and loved
ones of all those who lost their life on September 11th. We
also wish for the speedy and full recovery of those who were
injured, and we hope and pray that in the aftermath of the
attacks, rescue crews can find as many people still alive
as possible.

The Black Radical Congress (BRC) strongly condemns the
horrific terror attacks which occurred on September 11th,
2001. The brazen murder of countless thousands of civilians
cannot be supported or condoned.

It is without question that US imperialism has brought
genocidal levels of death and destruction to people around
the world. Whether one looks at the situation in Iraq with
the continual blockade and air bombardments, the situation
in Palestine where the US continues to give virtually
uncritical support to the Israelis in their national
oppression of the Palestinians, the economic blockade
against Cuba which aims to undermine its economy and
weaken its population, or any number of other places,
one clearly sees the callousness and evil intent with
which US imperialism treats the lives and property of
others, especially non-white peoples around the globe.

Yet, even with a firm understanding of the causes of the
desperation, fury, and hatred of US imperialism, turning to
terrorism to fight global oppression and exploitation is not
an acceptable strategy. A clear and unambiguous distinction
must be made between radical/revolutionary political action
on the one hand, and terrorism on the other, regardless of
whether the causes that *appeared* to inspire the terrorist
action(s) are just. Open and unmitigated attacks on civilian
targets do not advance radical/revolutionary causes and must
be repudiated. Rather, such attacks inevitably antagonize the populace, weaken any existing popular support, and help
legitimize heightened levels of repression by the imperialist state against *all* progressive/radical/revolutionary political
activity, including increased restrictions on the civil rights of the people.

We already hear, in the voices of those in power, calls for
war and vengeance. War and vengeance without a precise target,but striking out blindly, is nothing more than self-serving jingoism. Given the track record of the US, this could include indiscriminate bombings or missile attacks, such as the attack against the Sudanese pharmaceutical laboratory two years ago, which was later found *not* to have been connected with any sort of terrorist activity.

The dangers presented by the September 11th terrorist acts
do not restrict themselves to the external threat. We hear
on television and radio calls for changing the laws and
regulations in order to make it easier to conduct
surveillance and to carry-out covert operations against
potential opponents of the US. Rather than accomplishing
anything in terms of reducing the threat of terrorism, such
steps will eliminate basic civil liberties and strengthen
the existing tendency toward a racist and classist police
state. The police are already out of control and on the
rampage in communities across the country. We cannot afford
to further unleash their undemocratic and frequently
murderous behavior in the name of national security.

We should add here that the terrorist attacks have also
brought potential damage to the growing anti-capitalist
globalization movement. The ruling class has been making
noise for months about the demonstrations that accompany
the gatherings of capitalist globalizers. They have inferred
that these demonstrations will get increasingly out of control. There is no question that the events of September 11th will be used as a pretext to both discourage activity, as well as to clamp down on any and all popular outrage with neo-liberal globalization.

It is also critical in moments such as these that we
as human beings fight and resist popular impulses toward
scape-goating and racism. From almost the moment of the
first attack on the World Trade Center, there has been an
assumption floated within the media that Arabs or Muslim
fundamentalists were behind the attacks. The reaction to
the attacks is reminiscent of what we witnessed immediately
after the Oklahoma City bombings. There was a widespread
assumption that Arabs or Muslims were behind the attack on
the Federal Office building. Few establishment observers
expected, or led any of the public to expect, that the
terrorist could be -- and was -- a homegrown, white
American right-winger.

Therefore, it is important to reserve judgment until a more
thorough investigation is conducted. This is particularly
important given the anti-Palestinian/anti-Arab/anti-Muslim
bias of the media. The automatic assumption of the US media
is that Palestinians specifically, and Arabs generally, are
animals, or at best, fanatics with no concern for human
life. The just and righteous Palestinian cause is rarely
given credible time, and when offered, generally dismissed
by allegedly objective (but really pro-Israeli) commentators. Therefore, in the current situation of horror following these criminal acts, we must actively oppose any and all witch- hunting and stereotyping which is bound to emerge.

Yet another danger we currently face will be xenophobia
and, general anti-immigrant sentiment. This will almost
inevitably be directed at immigrants of color and
particularly those who "look" like they might be of Middle
Eastern (North African) origin. The attacks on immigrants
and the condemnation of entire communities must be stopped
before they escalate out of control. We already see some of
this happening with numerous reports of anonymous death
threats sent to Arab and Muslim institutions, as well as
the spray painting of racist slogans and direct, personal
threats and attacks on individuals who are assumed to be
from the Middle East (North Africa). We call on all
clear-thinking people to be especially vigilant at this
time in making sure that in the aftermath of this tragedy,
another tragedy born of pain, anger, and hatred does not
occur. True anti-racism may require us to put ourselves
at risk physically in order to defend Arabs and Muslims
from unwarranted attacks.

Lastly, Black America must not condone or be indifferent
to the horrendous loss of human life resulting from this
tragedy, nor can we allow these horrific acts to be used
as an excuse to further repress Arab-Americans, Muslims, or
those perceived to be opponents of capitalist globalization.
As a people that has survived over 400 years of genocidal
oppression on these shores, we are all too familiar with the
human suffering caused by both terrorism and racial hatred.
From the amputations, beatings, and rapes of Chattel Slavery, to the New York City Draft Riots of 1863, to the post- Reconstruction terrorism of the Klu Klux Klan, to the
Tulsa Race Riots of 1921, to the government sponsored
Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) of the 1960s,
to the contemporary state-sanctioned police murder and
brutality we are fighting today, we as Black people have
lots of experience with the horrors of terrorism in the
US, as it has too frequently been directed against us. That
is why we must show our full and unqualified support and
compassion for all those suffering as a result of this
horrible tragedy, most of whom have come to experience
terrorism for the first time, as we continue our 400+
year struggle to rid ourselves of this evil, both
domestically and around the world.

Black Radical Congress
National Office
Columbia University Station
P.O. Box 250791
New York, NY 10025-1509
Phone: (212) 969-0348

Friday, September 14, 2001

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