A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Català_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Türkçe_ The.Supplement
First few lines of all posts of last 24 hours || of past 30 days | of 2002 | of 2003 | of 2004

Syndication Of A-Infos - including RDF | How to Syndicate A-Infos
Subscribe to the a-infos newsgroups
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) Ireland: Workers Solidarity #81 - Thinking about Anarchism - State Terrorism

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 29 May 2004 09:06:04 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

Terrorism is one of the favourite pejoratives of our society. I don't
wish to dwell on the old cliché that "one man's terrorist is
another man's freedom fighter" which seems pretty self-evident.
Lets just accept the term for now and use the most inclusive and
most obvious definition- that terrorism is the use of violence with
the object of striking fear and horror into a population to achieve
political objectives. So it seems reasonable to classify the
murderous attack on ordinary people in Madrid on March 10th as
an act of terrorism and that is precisely what we should call it.
We are all familiar with this form of terrorism-the nihilistic and
desperate act of the suicide bomber, arsonist or assassin. We are
rarely asked to consider the actions of various governments as
terrorism. But if we examine history and look at current events in
the world we are confronted by a multitude of examples of state

If the past century teaches us anything at all it that the various
competing states and empires of the world do not recognise any
limit to the amount of torture, cruelty, fear and destruction they
are willing to inflict on their own or other state's populations. The
history of the modern state is bound up with the history of the
calculated use of terror through political repression and war. The
most obvious and extreme examples of this are the Nazi death
camps and the Soviet gulags but what should we call the
massacre of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the bombing of
Dresden, Coventry, Hiroshima and Nagasaki except terrorism?
The pointless slaughter of millions of conscripts and civilians in
wars from Flanders field to Vietnam has always involved state
terrorism by whatever means the state deems necessary and at
whatever cost they think ordinary people should pay.

Contemporary events in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and more
recently and specifically in Falluja show that the phenomenon of
the systematic use of state terror against civilian populations by
"civilised" states is flourishing. Through the blizzard of
falsification and lies we can just about discern the true state of
things in Iraq-the electricity and sewage systems have been
bombed and the civilian population is terrorised and kept in

If we accept the definition of terrorism as being use of large-scale
violence on a population, we can go one step further and include
the whole bloody history of colonisation, slavery and empire as
state terrorism. For example in 1876 and 1899 in India the
country was swept by massive famines. The immediate cause
was natural but it was the reaction of the British State, which led
to the real harvest of death. As in Ireland in 1845 their reaction
was to extol the virtues of Laisez-faire capital-ism. This lead to
spiralling prices and increasing grain exports while millions died.

The whole modern "Third World" has its origins in the massive
famines that swept Africa at the turn of the century. Far from
do-ing any thing to help, the British, Portuguese, German,
Belgian and French governments saw an opportunity. They
calmly stood back while two of the four horsemen of the
apocalypse, namely starvation and disease, struck down millions.

As anarchists we believe that state terrorism is a direct
consequence of the concentration of wealth and power in the
hands of the few. One of the primary functions of the state is to
defend the status quo and that is why powerful states spend so
much on the machinery of war and death. Any state will resort to
terrorising its own people or other nations if it feels the interests
of the elite are threatened. As we have seen with the prisoners in
Guantanamo Bay a powerful state like the US will even dress up
brutality as their moral right if needs be. It is not enough that
such elites can determine the way we live and even the way we
should die- they have also asserted their right to a monopoly over
vio-lence and a monopoly on the right to moralise about violence.

So terrorism can come in many forms but the question remains,
which is more vicious -a small group with masks or bombs or an
armed, wealthy state bent on the destruction and colonisation of

by Conor McLoughlin

Useful links

* Thinking about anarchism
Thinking about Anarchism is a regular column in the Irish
Anarchist paper Workers Solidarity
which explains many of the basic slogans and ideas of anarchism
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'.

We also provide PDF files of all our publications for you to print
out and distribute locally http://struggle.ws/pdf.html

Print out the PDF file of this issue

****** The A-Infos News Service ******
News about and of interest to anarchists
INFO: http://ainfos.ca/org http://ainfos.ca/org/faq.html
HELP: a-infos-org@ainfos.ca
SUBSCRIPTION: send mail to lists@ainfos.ca with command in
body of mail "subscribe (or unsubscribe) listname your@address".

Options for all lists at http://www.ainfos.ca/options.html

A-Infos Information Center