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Panic on the streets of London

July 7, 2005

I woke up this morning to news that there have been terror attacks on London. The latest is that there have been seven explosions and some people are dead, but no one is really sure what is going on. The authorities think it’s Al Qaida. Personally, I don’t believe Al Qaida exists; I believe it’s just a catch-all name for otherwise unidentifiable Islamic radicals. Giving them a name and making them our society’s biggest boogeyman gives people something to focus their fear and anger on, but doesn’t bring us any closer to understanding or solving what is going on.
Having said this, I think it was probably committed by radical muslims, and not the French protesting against not getting the 2012 Olympics.
I have mixed feelings about the attack. For one thing, I am not surprised: it was relevantly easy to do, and Britain cannot expect to send troops to Iraq to murder people without consequence. So it is a case of chickens coming home to roost, and to be quite honest, they came off lightly compared to the people of Baghdad.
But I hate terrorism. As the anarchist argument goes, “you can’t blow up a social relationship”. Terrorism is a tactic of extremists whose views are not popular enough to have mass support, and of course it is ordinary people who suffer the most. Yesterday, we shut down a city by blocking its high street with our bodies. The terrorists did it with bombs, because they didn’t have enough bodies, and didn’t want to take the personal risk.
Also, the attack draws attention away from the G8 and the issues surrounding it – including the attack on civil liberties and our right to protest – while everyone runs around panicking about London.
Further, it strengthens the Right and pushes Britain further into the US camp as a country that has experinced domestic terror and must ‘stand firm’, and eradicate terrorism. It really just reinforces the view of the warmongers. Already the rhetoric is the same: Blair saying that “our way of life will prevail” sounds suspiciously like it was scripted by Bush’s script writer, and is a pretty cynical thing to say, considering that it is “our way of life” – mass, execesive and unaccountable consumerism – that is destroying the world.
I have heard reliably that the Israeli secret service sometimes lets suicide bombers succeed, even when they could be stopped, because the attacks will further polarise people and manufacture consent for a military rather than political solution. I think the same dynamic is at work here: this attack will certainly benefit Bush.
But how stupid of the authorities: they send all the cops in Britain to Scotland to beat up peaceful protestors, and while they’re away, Islamo-fascist bastards stage an attack in London. Almost predictable….

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Alan permalink
    July 13, 2005 1:59 pm

    Almost ironic in view of your previous post, Walton. I’m not saying there’s contradiction but it makes you think about the grotesque moral compromises you make when you take on violence for liberation. see necklacing. see pub bombings. see also cuban and vietnamese revolutionaries executing prisoners with their own hands.

    I totally agree with your reasons for terror (incidentally I also agree that Al-Qaeda doesn’t exist – or not in the form that it’s sold to us – see also ‘A group with ties to Al-Qaeda’).

    The armed resistance brings respect – see the black panther party. See also Umkhonto wesizwe. But the peacemakers bring actual change. See Dr. King. See also the jailed Nelson Mandela.

    Aldous Huxley said, “the means determine the ends.” But peace needs a lot of bodies. And war needs only one.

  2. Alan permalink
    July 13, 2005 1:59 pm

    Almost ironic in view of your previous post, Walton. I’m not saying there’s contradiction but it makes you think about the grotesque moral compromises you make when you take on violence for liberation. see necklacing. see pub bombings. see also cuban and vietnamese revolutionaries executing prisoners with their own hands.I totally agree with your reasons for terror (incidentally I also agree that Al-Qaeda doesn’t exist – or not in the form that it’s sold to us – see also ‘A group with ties to Al-Qaeda’).The armed resistance brings respect – see the black panther party. See also Umkhonto wesizwe. But the peacemakers bring actual change. See Dr. King. See also the jailed Nelson Mandela.Aldous Huxley said, “the means determine the ends.” But peace needs a lot of bodies. And war needs only one.

  3. Walton permalink
    July 13, 2005 2:46 pm

    I don’t believe in armed revolution and don’t believe there is a violent solution to the world’s problems. However, I have mixed feelings about pacifism and eel that sometimes people use it as an excuse to refuse to challenge power.
    When I talk about taking on the police, I am not suggesting shooting them or using real violence – more overcoming their efforts to control us by sheer force of numbers: pushing them out the way more than anything else. But if they start whacking brothers upside the head, I’m not sure I have an ethical problem with lobbing a brick back. They have helmets, shield and protective suits, for goodness sake.

  4. Walton permalink
    July 13, 2005 2:46 pm

    I don’t believe in armed revolution and don’t believe there is a violent solution to the world’s problems. However, I have mixed feelings about pacifism and eel that sometimes people use it as an excuse to refuse to challenge power.When I talk about taking on the police, I am not suggesting shooting them or using real violence – more overcoming their efforts to control us by sheer force of numbers: pushing them out the way more than anything else. But if they start whacking brothers upside the head, I’m not sure I have an ethical problem with lobbing a brick back. They have helmets, shield and protective suits, for goodness sake.

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