Socialist Worker

Terrorism cannot rid the world of oppression and injustice

Issue No. 2250

The killing of Bin Laden will not stop terrorism any more than the preceding ten years of the “war on terror” did. It may even increase it.

The Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky argued that terrorism arose because of the tyranny and oppression of our rulers.

“We understand only too clearly the inevitability of such convulsive acts of despair and vengeance,” he wrote.

But “individual revenge does not satisfy us”.

Moreover, Trotsky argued that as a political strategy for change, Marxists were “irreconcilably opposed” to terrorism.

To rid the world of oppression and injustice requires not assassinations or blowing people up, but tearing up the roots of the capitalist system itself.

Faced with the reality of imperialism, some people feel desperate enough to lash out and strike back in any way they feel possible.

Socialists do not deny the working class and the oppressed the right to use violence against their oppressors.

We know that the ruling class will not give up all their power, wealth and privileges without a struggle. But that struggle cannot be conducted by individuals or elite groups “behind the backs of the masses”.

Opposition to our “own” imperialist rulers involves recognising that the defeat of imperialism and the overthrow of capitalism are bound together.

The only force that can achieve this is the collective struggle of workers.

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