British PM Cameron’s response to the Woolwich killing:
“In Britain, we have had these sorts of attacks before. We never buckle. The terrorists will never win because they can never beat the values that we hold dear.”
What values is Cameron talking about? Are they the values that the British Army brought to Iraq and Afghanistan? Those are the values of torture chambers and death squads. They are the values of death dealt on innocents from above at the click of a button. They are the values of those who destroy entire societies and kill hundreds of thousands based on conscious lies.
These are values that Cameron and most of the British political establishment do indeed seem to hold dear. And Cameron is entirely correct when he says that Islamic terrorists can “never beat” these values. Two lads with machetes, with a few camera-phones trained on them, versus the British and American military terror-machines with budgets in the billions – it’s no contest.
Imperialism creates Islamist terrorists when it blows up innocent people or occupies their countries. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/22/umbrellas-and-drones/) Islamist terrorists help imperialism when they commit acts of terrorism in the imperialist countries. (For evidence, see any mainstream or far-right reporting on the Woolwich attack.) Military terror and individual terror reinforce each other in an endless cycle of death. David Cameron is, for once, telling the truth: British imperialism will not buckle. The English Defence League were on the streets in the blink of an eye. Individuals attacked mosques.
These two killers wanted to strike a blow against imperialism. “The only reasons we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day… You people will never be safe. Remove your government. They don’t care about you.” This is all true. But a lot of the other things they said stank of putrid theocracy, which nobody in Britain wants, even most Muslims.
The British people are capable of removing their government, fighting Imperialism and building a world free of racism and chauvinism. But a terrorist attack like this strengthens all elements and tendencies in British society that militate AGAINST any progressive development.
Revolutions are not made by handfuls of angry people conspiring and then striking violently out of the blue. Revolutions are made by the organised, democratic action of the masses, no matter what their colour or background. The terrorist fears the people, and strikes at the people murderously. At best the terrorist kills cops, soldiers and politicians for reasons that are not as immediately clear to the people as the immediate clarity of the horror of violence and the natural human sympathy this arouses.
This is especially true when the attack is reported on by a millionaire-owned media which ignores the killings of thousands in other countries by the British armed forces, and treats only one death with the sorrow and anger merited by every death. Nor is there any recognition from the media that British soldiers sign up knowing there is a risk of death and a likelihood that they will kill in an equally savage way. And killing in a deluded attempt to hurt the butchers of Iraq and Afghanistan is obviously less disgusting than killing for oil and imperialist pissing contests. I won’t write any eulogies for the dead soldier, not because I lack human sympathy but because I didn’t write any damn eulogies for any individual dead Talibs, insurgents or innocent civilians either.
The media might touch upon some of this context, although the politicians definitely won’t. Even the trick of shouting slogans into people’s phone-cameras won’t manage to convey any anti-imperialist message. Rather a bastardized, simplified version of what motivated these terrorists will be forever associated with, and discredited by, the horror of the individual death and the use of machetes. This is what the media will emphasize and this is what people will remember.
The values that Cameron and the likes of Cameron hold dear – the rule of the rich, imperialism, chauvinism – will withstand this attack, unbroken, unbowed, in fact strengthened.
The imperialists kill off-duty jihadis with drones (along with villages full of innocents). The jihadis kill off-duty imperialist troops with machetes.
The imperialists proclaim their reasons for killing through massive PR machines and media empires in print, on TV, online and in Hollywood. The jihadis have to ask passers-by to film them making statements with bloody machetes in their hands and a dead body in the background.
I have no desire to support either side in their campaigns of blood and destruction. The greatest threat right now is not that more British people will be blown up or hacked to pieces by terrorists, but that working people will be divided along colour, religious and ethnic lines, and fear and racism will fester. And those in power will puff out their chests as champions of some abstraction called “Britain”, and laugh all the way to the bank.