An injury to one is an injury to all: Mikhail Bakunin’s social conception of freedom

by Harald Beyer-Arnesen, ASR #62

May 30, 2014, marked the 200th anniversary of Bakunin’s birth. The following is the text of bulleted notes for a presentation delivered in Boston a few years before Harald’s death, and recently discovered tucked inside a copy of Maximoff’s anthology. It has been lightly edited for publication; no doubt, Harald would have made more substantive revisions and elaborated several points.

The watchword of the Industrial Workers of the World, “An injury to one is an injury to all,” should not only be understood as a moral imperative, or what the English historian E.P. Thompson referred to as a working class moral economy, but as a social fact of life. Fully understood, the IWW watchword contains a whole program and a social revolutionary strategy.

It also perfectly illustrates the core of the social conception of freedom that existed within the mainstream of classical anarchism, first and maybe most clearly articulated by the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, as for instance: “I am free only when all human beings surrounding me – men and women – are equally free.”

Positively, Bakunin defined freedom  as “consisting in the full development of all the material, intellectual and moral powers latent in every human being.” To Bakunin, freedom as individuality was a historical and material fruit of society, of mutual and thus social interaction and collective labor, and not of separation or isolation. The latter he perceived as a state of nothingness or absolute slavery, a knowledge not unknown to the master of the art of torture.

Bakunin’s conception of freedom was strongly influenced by the philosophy of Hegel, but maybe most clearly articulated through a critique of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the latter’s notion of the general interest or will, where every particular freedom was to be sacrificed and negated by an abstract common good, embodied in the sovereign state, and in accordance with the principle underlying any Mafia, traded for a real or imagined security. According to Rousseau, human beings could only be free outside of society, in separation, in a primitive natural state. Bakunin claimed that outside of society no one could be free, absolutely or relatively.

Whatever the specifics of Rousseau’s concept of freedom, which was to strongly influence the Jacobins of the French Revolution, who gave us the Justice of the guillotine, it shares with all statist conceptions of freedom – including that of so-called state socialists – in that the freedom of each is seen as limited by the freedom of all.

From such a perspective, the freedom of each might be said to be in a state of war with the freedom of all and it becomes hard to see how any freedom could survive at all. If this may seem absurd, it is none the less the generally accepted and dominant conception of freedom, and an understanding of freedom that has in the latter decades also made its inroads into self-defined anarchist circles, not least in regions with relatively weak anarchist traditions historically.

Such a conception of freedom could, in its classical bourgeois form, be illustrated by the example of a fiesta, a ball or dance party, where each and every guest was delegated their own separated square yard of freedom to be confined within (their own ghetto of private property), free to call on the guards should any other person violate their restricted square yard of freedom, their private cell. Here surely the freedom of each would be delimited and negated by the freedom of all others.

Contrary to this, Bakunin claimed – and it is often overlooked even by anarchists what a radical turn this was – that the freedom of others constituted the very precondition for and the concrete extension of the freedom of each, and not its limitation. That, on the contrary, it was the unfreedom of others that limits and threatens my own, and that their unfreedom in the next instance becomes a weapon of oppression against me. Or in other words, in a social world an injury to one is in fact an injury to all.

Bakunin also claimed, despite the critical role he gave to the class struggle as a necessary means toward generalized human emancipation, that even our masters could not be free due to the very oppression and exploitation they imposed on us all. Something that is very well illustrated by the conditions in many U.S. cities, where the fear for the anger of the poor in dramatic ways  restricts something as basic as the freedom of movement of the high and mighty, and where the absurdly overgrown prison industry even by normal capitalist standards forces the rich to turn their own homes into prison-like institutions.

Such a classical anarchist conception of freedom, if taken seriously, has radical implications for one’s understanding of the social struggle and how you agitate within it. For instance, it logically implies that the freedom of men will be advanced by the emancipation of women, or posed negatively, that the oppression of women also serves to uphold the oppression and exploitation of men, and to restrict their freedom in real life terms. Likewise, as the history of the labor movement in the United States so sadly illustrates, the oppression of and discrimination against the so-called “black” workers simultaneously becomes, as the IWW realized from the very beginning, a tool in the hands of our masters for the oppression of all workers. An injury to one worker sooner or later returns in all reality as an injury to all workers.

Of course, if you operate within the absurdity of a zero-sum game, this would not make sense, or even within a perspective – so typically within capitalist relations – that has lost the ability to see beyond the instant moment.

Unlike what is the case of bourgeois concept of philanthropy, solidarity within the classical labor movement – if not within the American Separation of Labor, AFL – implicated the understanding of common interest, where self-interest and common interest walked hand in hand. If such an understanding is now weak, it needs to be recreated as a fundamental building stone of a working class moral economy, on the road to abolition of the wage system, and thereby the state and class society as such.

Syndicalism in Norway

The following interview with Lonsslaven (Wage Slave) co-editor Harald Beyer-Arnesen was conducted October 17th. Lonnslaven is an independent anarcho-syndicalist journal published in Oslo, Norway. It has been extensively edited.

LLR: Could you describe the situation in Norway?

For many years, since the second world war, we have had a social democratic party in the government called the Labor Party – not all of the time, but most of the time. And you can say in one way that you have one big union in Norway, which is not completely true because you’ve got another one that’s pretty big. But most workers are in the union, and the great majority among them are organized in what is called L.O., the country organization, which has very strong ties to the labor party. This is a long tradition, from way back, because the labor party started before the L.O.

But we have a social democratic government at the moment, and have had for a long time, and the policies of this government are pretty right wing. Which is not surprising because of course they’re a government in a capitalistic system, and a capitalistic system that has grown more and more international. So they can’t in reality do so very much different that a conservative governments, because they’re of course pro-capitalism, though they want to have an icing.

What used to be a social security that people took for granted is slowly being taken away from people. Their life is much less secure, you have high unemployment, people can’t pay the rent for their apartments and are losing their apartments. Since the second world war that’s a new situation for Norway, and the same thing is happening in Denmark and Sweden. Since the war we had had this sort of deal between the government and the unions that there should be some sort of social security, and then we’ll be quiet. I’m not using this as a technical term, you still have social security benefits, but they’re cutting and cutting.

As more and more people lose their jobs they don’t feel very secure. And the social democratic party says that the methods they used before in the 40s and the 50s can’t be used now; they talk more and more in terms of markets, which have of course always been there. There’s more privatization, more talk that everything has to be profitable – also social services and things like that – and in general that people should work harder and crave less, while the employing class in reality is getting richer and richer. Which the social democratic government again says of course they must because they must have much more capital if they’re going to compete on a world basis.

Many old-time social democrats don’t recognize this language. Because even though the social democratic party has long been pro-capitalistic, if you don’t go way back in history, their language has always been different from the conservative party, but now they even begin to sound like the conservative party. So you have growing opposition among members of the labor party and sympathizers with the party who might have been members almost their whole life, because they feel that the leaders of the party have become leaders more for the rich than for the working class.

Much of this opposition is inside the unions. Within this opposition are also different left-wing groups. So this opposition is a very mixed group. It could even be people working for the conservative party, but the majority would be people that we could call left social-democrats…

LLR: What prospects do you see for syndicalism?

I think the prospects are greater than they have been for many, many years, for many reasons. One is that people aren’t as satisfied as they seemed to be before, which of course doesn’t make them anarcho-syndicalists but it can make them ask questions that they didn’t ask before and be more open to alternative ideas. At the same time that the system in Eastern Europe has crumbled, the old regimes — you can call them state capitalist, whatever term you choose, they certainly weren’t very pleasant — people are seeing that the capitalist system doesn’t function very well either.

They see what’s happening in Norway, they see what’s happening in Sweden, they see what’s happening all over the world. And they certainly see that the free market in Eastern Europe doesn’t function at all. Which gives anarcho-syndicalist thoughts an opportunity to spread. In general, I feel that people are more open to them now than they were before. Because of course we don’t have this Stalinist tradition, we didn’t slaughter all the people, we can say that we have always been for democracy — what we want is more democracy. The only one of these capitalistic rights we want to get rid of is the right of property. Freedom of speech we’re for, and always have been; it’s not just something we say now when it’s crumbling over there in Eastern Europe.

I think there is a potentiality if people who have these ideas – and they’re not so many, not many people in Norway call themselves anarcho-syndicalists – but if those people who do exist manage to work together, which doesn’t mean they have to agree with everything, but at least not waste their energy fighting between each other, I think you would have a slow growth. I don’t think anything will happen overnight. The people who will be interested in these ideas in the beginning will be “impure”; they won’t accept at once all our dogmas, all our proofs, because understanding both this society and the future and the history takes time.

Anarcho-syndicalist groups for a long time will be a small minority in Norway, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to spread ideas and practices that tend to point in our direction. And in reality it’s not the most important thing what people call themselves, but what they do. So if you can get more people to use direct action methods that point to a better society when they can see that what they do is not just to some extent points to a future and gives them at least for a short time they obtain something. I think those things are important. The spreading of ideas is more a long process, but spreading ideas is important for doing these concrete things, they sort of work together.

LLR: Your paper is called the Wage Slave. Could you explain how it began?

A couple of us had worked with the Norwegian Syndicalist Federation making a couple of papers together with them. Then came a discussion of what the next issue should contain and we found out that we wanted different things. So instead of quarrelling about that, it was better to part as friends and they make their thing and we make our magazine.

Broadly, we want to create in Norway a space, a social space for libertarian views and ways of looking at things – propaganda, but propaganda that doesn’t just repeat old truths. So although we call it an anarcho-syndicalist paper, it’s open to different kinds of anti-state socialism. The magazine’s subtitle is “For the abolition of wage slavery and anarcho-syndicalist ideas and action,” which is not an exact translation from Norwegian because the word we use for action has a slightly different meaning, it means more practice.

We try to do half and half theoretical stuff and more concrete struggles. But the perfect article for us is one that takes a concrete struggle and from that derives the theory — you don’t separate the two things. We have written very little about strikes in Norway, but there’s a reason for that. To say that there was a strike, which most people know from before, we don’t find very interesting. If something special happens which means that this isn’t just one of those ordinary strikes – almost like a ceremony, you know what will happen before it begins and no one could really care that much because they know they will get this 50 or something and it’s all organized from above. But, we’re always looking for strikes or struggles that go a little further than this. Like the strike in Melbourne in January 1990, I think, where the people working at the trams said, “Well from today the trams run free.” And they took over the whole tram system. That sort of gives a direction that says much more than all those little strikes that go on. So we are looking for strikes and struggles with qualities that point in the direction we want to go. And then its much easier to pin the theoretical thing to it — it’s much easier to communicate that way.

We think its important that, if you want to change the society, you must understand it too. Which means that we also print stuff that some anarchists might think a little bit far out. For example, we would include thoughts from the Situationists, because we feel some of the stuff, not all of it, shows how many left-wing groups sort of become a part of the establishment – become one more commodity that doesn’t really threaten the society. Especially the so-called punk groups — I use punk in a very wide way — which tend to think that if there are a few people out there in the streets fighting with the police, which is of course making a lot of pictures for television, that they’re really changing things by doing that, besides maybe getting us more police. They tend to believe that if you’re seen you change things — if things are spectacular you change things — but they seem to become just like another movie. It can be very amusing…

In the longer run we would also like to, together with NSF or anyone else that stand for the basic fundamental things that we stand for, do some practical work too. It could be in support of strikes and things like that, to have more concrete influence on the working-class struggles in Norway in a small way — basically trying to use direct action methods which would be some kind of propaganda by the deed, but not in the sense of bombs. What I mean is direct action, where there’s a direct connection between what you do and what you attain. You don’t go calling to the government, saying “can’t you please change this.” You try to change it directly. I think that also would help people better understand what we write.

LLR: Could you give us a sense of what the NSF is doing?

I’m not a member, and they should really talk for themselves. The NSF prints information about anarcho-syndicalist tendencies in the workers movement earlier in Norwegian labor history – anarcho- syndicalist ideas had some influence in the early labor movement in Norway, though they never grew as strong as they did in Sweden, but very few people knew this. If you look back at the 20s the ideas that were put forth were much more radical than you would find today. So they give a historical approach, and then put forth how they believe that you can build a more democratic union; not that they believe that they can make the L.O. an anarcho-syndicalist organization, but they hope to at least move the rank and file movement in that direction, and more power down to the shop floor.

Many people are getting tired of the union bosses up very high, who don’t think to give them anything. And not only by so- called left wing people, but in a situation where you’re getting much more unemployment in Norway, you’re getting less social benefits and so on, people tend to expect more of the union, that they should do something, which the union bureaucracy of course doesn’t do.

So within this movement the NSF tries to spread anarcho- syndicalist but also more democratic ideas. Although much of this opposition, as far as it’s organized, is organized by union officers at the local level, shop stewards and leaders of the local union and so on. So the organized part of it is not really a rank and file movement, although they have sympathy. They try to bring more democracy into the unions, but also to distribute anarcho- syndicalist ideas….

LLR: What role do you see for international solidarity?

I take it as obvious that capitalism can only be fought globally. For example, Norway has always been a big shipping nation, and since shipping is international by nature Norwegian ships recruited sailors from all parts of the world. Ten years ago, Norwegian shipowners decided that Norwegian sailors were too expensive, so they began flagging out to evade their agreements with the sailors’ union. Now only the captain and top officers are Norwegian – the rest are from India, the Philippines, etc. There is an apartheid system on these boats. The union fought for laws, but didn’t succeed. Now it’s almost impossible for Norwegians to get jobs on Norwegian boats. The reason is because the sailors never fought an international fight — they accepted that the wages of foreign sailors should be lower. If you really have an international trade, than the only answer is to organize internationally.

Today all industry is like ships that sail the oceans with an international crew, and the only way to fight is to make the fight global. That’s why you got unions in the first place — to keep workers from being pitted against each other. First they were local, then national. Now unions must be global.

In the past century, the social contact of activists around the world was much greater than it is today. Even though information is exchanged, the personal aspect is neglected. Its much easier to understand solidarity when its real people, rather than just some number or name. Workers should be encouraged to visit unions around the world to build personal ties, perhaps as part of their vacations. Rank and file workers, not union leaders. It could be fun, too.

LLR: Today many socialists, and some anarchists, say we have to rethink our approach to markets; that some form of market or voucher system may be necessary to avoid the bureaucracy of centralized planning…

Market socialism is nonsense — no sense, it does not make sense. Labor vouchers are a primitive form of money, to call it by another name doesn’t change the reality. Vouchers raise a basic question: Who is going to control? The only reason for vouchers is that we don’t trust people, that somebody has to make sure that each gets his fair share and decide what that is.

Money also means that somebody has to give the products a price, which means for example that you count labor hours. But that doesn’t really say anything because one person can create a thing in four hours, another eight, it depends on the machinery you use which means that you always are dependent upon thousands of other people even to produce the most simple things.

These labor vouchers are a very primitive form of money and they’re not very practical. If you want a pair of shoes, you have a voucher for a pair of shoes, and then you want something else you need another piece of paper. People would very quickly find out that you have to have something that can be exchanged for everything; if not you really get a bureaucracy, it would be much worse than you had in the Soviet Union. If somebody is going to sit somewhere and write out notes for all the possible things that people can buy, and how are they going to count all the things that do exist?

The use of money also implies that you don’t see things as a whole. If you’re going to make a house you need nails, you need a hammer, you need a lot of tools. They’re a lot of people involved in this. If you are going to have nails you have to get iron from somewhere. Someone made the hammer, what did he make the hammer from? What equipment did he need to make the hammer? Who made the equipment that made the equipment that made the hammer? Then you have to eat of course, and who grew the food. From the beginning you have a lot of people involved. If you were to do all these things yourself, even if you worked 24 hours for the rest of your life you probably wouldn’t ever build the house.

And anyway, if a socialist or anarchist society, whatever you call it, is a society where people control their own lives, that means that they also have to control what they produce and what they produce must be directly related to their needs. Which means that you don’t begin with the production, you begin with the needs. People have to define their needs, and then find out how they will satisy these needs. While money implies that you go the other way around.

Money is based on social and geographical isolation between people, and isolation between their needs — it’s based on isolation and it also perpetuates it. It’s difficult to use money in any human sense. If you visited a friend and had to pay for a cup of coffee it would be a different relationship at once. The extent and ease of travel today makes money even more ridiculous. Neighbors always helped one another out without pay. Through communication people talk with each other and make agreements, not by counting but in meeting each other’s needs.

The work and creativity of others to a large extent is our freedom — it gives us more possibilities than if we do everything alone. Freedom means possibilities if it has any meaning at all. If people can’t see that their needs are interconnected it’s not possible to build a socialist society. A socialist society is not just a technical organization – it’s based on human beings, and on human beings controlling their own lives. Without that it’s not socialism.

Capitalist terror and madness

Capitalist terror and madness:
George bin Laden & Osama son of Bush incorporated.
Towers may blow up and crumble, while fortifying the very social structures they stood as a symbol for. The words You can’t blow up a social relation, ring truer than ever.

There are good reasons to begin talking about terror as such and within a global context. To a large extent terror can also be viewed apart from whatever motives that may hide behind particular expressions of it, or whether it is carried out of states or not. If the end result is the same, in both a shorter and longer term perspective, such distinctions become less important. Which does not mean we should overlook the question of ideological legitimization It is no coincidence that terror has formed such a central part within fascist movements. Nor that words such as class are absent in Osama bin Laden’s as well as George Bush’s legitmization of terror.

Terror has a long history in the service of counter-revolution, and will always work towards undermining the very foundations of a new, free, postcapitalist, society, or even one where forces of death, oppression and exploitation are significantly weakened. The Red Terror orchestrated by the Bolsheviks, directed against, they claimed, the old rulling classes, had essentially two effects, apart from that of immediate, indiscriminate death. It brought into existence the repressive forces of the new state which were again redireced against the workers and peasants, and served as the most “vital” recruiting ground for the White Army (or armies). For the rest of the Civil War period, the terror within these two armies, combined with and constituted a precondition for the terror directed against workers, and even more so against the peasants masses. This produced an even greater army of deserters, but also a situation where two camps, becoming increasingly indistinguisable from each other, in effect recruited solidiers for the other side. The Red Army victory was finalized through a massive war against the peasantry and the working class, and the greatest famine that the Russian Empire, had seen. Five million starved to death. Further down this historical blind alley, followed the rule of Stalin.

Terror can be reduced to the following: To rule through fear. The target is not the persons directly hit but those who fear they might be the next. Thus the more indiscriminate the better. Terror produces or reinforces counter-terror, and imposes internal terror in both camps. In the late Yugoslavia, this Rule was played out as civil war. On another level, in Northern Ireland, the sectarian killings are not only in themselves a manifestion of terror but also its trueborn children. While having roots and precendents further back in Irish history, organisational terror of more recent date have been effective in reproducing this madness. Any terror group, even those who start out with social revolutionary pretensions, will tend to reproduce the state from within, as well as reinforcing the one whose power they set out to “ex-terminate;” a favorite expression of Lenin, who tended to confuse social relations with biology. However, to have assisinated Hitler during World War II or Stalin in his might, would not have consitituted terror if carried out from the conviction that their removal alone could lessen sufferings and save many more lifes. These are two of the rare historical cases where this very likely also would have been the result.

In what follows it is important that readers clearly distinguish between Islamism as a political project (with numerous historical precedents in the history of European Christianity, the time when such a term still had a real meaning as a Rule and not only exception) and muslims as fellow workers and friends.

The abstract words of justice and honor of Islamists such as Osama bin Laden and feyadeen of Imperial Order, as George Bush, turns to corpses within and without the United States. Like the national socialism of the Ba’th, Islamism shares with the governments of the United States of America and Israel, in being far more effective in taking the lifes of “muslims” – or human beings of flesh and blood and lifegiving kaffir (heathen) dreams, as I would say – than other such human creatures, as Israeli “jews,” or U.S. “christians.” That is not likely to change. Nor is this a coincidence.

In 1981, Lafif Lakhdar wrote in Khamsin: Journal of revolutionary socialists of the Middle East:

“In a Moment of frankeness, Hasan al-Banna’ admitted in 1947 to the members of his [Muslim] Brotherhood [in Egypt] that the first obstacle they would meet on the path to the re-Islamisation of secular Muslim society, in his opinion, would be the hostility of the people. ‘I must tell you,’ he said, ‘that your preaching is still a closed book to the majority. The day when they discover it and realise what it aims for, they will resist violently and oppose you tentaciously.'”

This the Taliban knows, and this is also the reason for their state-building terror. What they do not recognise is that they in a longer perspective are paving the road for the McDonaldisation and secularisation of Afghanistan. Thus Lafif Lakhdar could write 20 years ago about a country bordering Afghanistan: “Contrary to what Islamic propaganda claims, and many western leftist believe, today’s Iran does not represent the reinvogation of Islam but its swan song, except that it lacks any beauty”

Our social revolutionary friend made another significant observation:

“The cult of death may well fascinate a large number of middle class youths, who are the victims of emotional blocks, and are frightened of freedom and and libertarian ways. It is however no solution in the face of the real problems which shake the very foundation of the Iranian society. A person such as Khomeini, who suffers from historical scleroris, and who in his book “Islamic Government” deals with such serious problems as the buggery of a poor donkey by poor muslims, and who is incapable of creating an Iranian bourgeoisie, can only return to to the American fold or fall under Soviet influence. “We are less independent today,” admits Badi Sadr, “than we were under the Shah. Our budget depends on the credit of foreign banks. Our dependence on arms and foreign military experts is quite simple tragic.” Has Bani Sadr, the spiritual son of the Imam, finally grasped that in a world unified by the violence of the laws of the market Iran cannot be independent, whether the Imam is present or absent, likes it or not? …. The middle classes, who first idolised Khomeini in the belief that they had found in him an universal miracle cure, now turn away from him to await the coup d’Ètat. The sub-proletariat who served him as cannon foder, now suffer more than ever with the repression of the Khalkhali. The proletariat are engaged in a permanent struggle in their workplaces to counter the intervention of the Islamic committees, and only stop specific strikes to return their permanent go-slow.”

Through one of those ironic twist of history, Osama Bin Laden and Taliban are preparing the incorporation of Afghanistan into the “American fold.” If a further tens of thousands of Afghanis do not die in the process, it is through no merit of theirs. Nor should we thank them if September 11 does not produce an inflation of death, carried further to other countries and continents as massacres, civil wars, pogroms and famine, nationalist and religious hysteria, foreign military intervention and terror. Whether or not the verdict of history will show al-Qaeda was directly responsible for the World Trade Center graveyard is not the question here, but that this expression of Islamism have been disseminating a Culture of Death, Terror, Oppression, Self-oppression and Stupidity, which nutures such acts. All with the complicity of global financial institutions, the governments of “the West,” as well as of of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the military regime of Algeria, Iraq, and others. In implicating all these other actors, I am not promoting some weird conspiracy theory, but an understanding of how social forces de facto tend to reinforce each other, knowingly or unknowingly. The extremely central role Saudi Arabian petroleum money has played, and very likely will continue to do, is almost comical but also very telling.

The World Trade Center massacre must be comprehended within an agenda of nuturing xenophobic hysteria. As a means for ends that geographically lie elsewhere. That the airborne suicidal guiders of the will of God were human beings with crushed dreams, and victims of capitalist alienation as much as everyone else whose lives exploded, like the numerous children who suffer a far less spectacular death in Iraq under the rule of Washington, D.C. and Baghdad, does not change this.

Within such an agenda, US might and wealth and the settler colonialism of Israel, become the best of allies, but can only function as such by being portrayed as the incarnation of “Satan” within an endless rhetorical monologue, where the distinction between rulers and ruled, and every class perspective, is wholly blurred. Just as the US propaganda apparatus never can make any real critique of Islamism, the Islamist leaders, as the Panarabic before them, cannot put forth any real critique of the global social order that the United States is a manifestation of. This would have undermined their own power basis and ends. Instead their “anti-imperialism” and Jihads serve as a means to enslave their “own” working classes: to reproduce “Satan,” as the rule of fascist terror within an Islamic or nationalist ideological framework, even more oppressive in many aspects than “Satan himself.” Only to soon be fully reintegrated into the capitalist world order they always were a particular expression of. And in the meantime, all social struggles pointing beyond the present order, all efforts of bringing into life a confederation of globalised wokers-to-workers solidarity, is undermined.

Terror works in seemingly mysterious ways. If looked at not from the perspective of New York, but from people coming from regions where Islamist terror forms part of, or is on the verge of becoming, part of daily fear, the message of September 11 spoke loud and clear. The turning of the World Trade Center into a graveyard was from this point of view a de facto declaration of war by rulers and would-be-rulers against the masses in the Middle East and Central Asia, North Africa and beyond. Not a struggle against oppression and exploitation: but a call for total submission through terror, and an expression of inter-capitalist competion. A terror that did not start and will not end in New York, which never was its real target. Which is yet another reason to oppose NATOs war-efforts.

Simultaneously this act of terror is exploited as a means to impose “security” on the working class of “the North,” and throughout the globe. Around and within Fortress Europe, and all the other Fortresses of the world, the walls are now being built taller, and a whole new level of control is being imposed. Refugees, legal and illegal immigrants – and those who from their appearance can be suspected to belong among “Them” – will be hit worst. Increasingly they will become victims of a more subtle terror, a phenomenom which started long ago but which now has gained force. Without ever reaching the headlines, a greater number of human beings seeking a better future for themselves and their children, trying to reach the shores of Spain, Italy, Australia and elsewhere, will drown, be shot (as happens on the US-Mexican border), or die for other reasons. Increased “security” will extend worldwide, and lead to the full imposition of a global capitalist world (dis)order.

Nothing of this is predetermined, but such an agenda has gained force after September 11, 2001. It has been become even more critical to wage also an ideological struggle against forces of terror, state-sponsored or not, on a local and global level. We are all part of the one same bloody civilisation, of alienation and silent and spectacular death and boredom, but also of compassion, love and broken hearts, tears and laughter, hopes and dreams, and a capacity for globalised solidarity.

The capitalist world order is an order that rules by being everywhere, and increasingly so, and not only in a restricted economical sense. If all its force was concentrated in the Pentagon it would have been easy to overcome. Instead it rules as much through small and large Ayatollahs, small and large Saddam Huseyns and Assads, Milosovics and Tudjmans, Sharons and Arafats and, as well as through the “humantarian” rulers of the Scandinavian countries. The latter is true as well. But terror is still among the phenomenoms that most effectively reproduces the monster, state-sponsored or not. Afghanistan has been one of this centres of capitalist world disorder in the last decades. There another manifestation of modern alienation was born, created out of many worlds, of old and new ones, linked to the global market in numerous ways. That the Taliban soldiers, together with Pakistani border guards, in these very days are being bribed to turn their heads the other way, so to let refugees pass a closed border, and that this is all organised as an enterprise, selling the fear of famine and death for what amounts to several months salary, is just another example on how the force of commodity production and the spirit of George Bushs is very much is alive in the realm of Taliban.

The world is increasingly moving towards a triadic American-European-Asian Empire. The enforced alliance-building we are now seeing around the Pentagons campaign of Infinite Terror (which magnitude is still quite unclear), and the seeking of legitimation for this through the United Nations, is not just a facade. We are moving towards a global order, also politically, in a whole new sense. Just as the the increased speed and magnitude of communication and transportation on a global level is increasingly also furthering a blurring between terror, policing and war. But we should also be aware of the new positive possibilities for a struggle of global resistance founded on solidarity this opens for us, with a potential to take us beyond capitalism.

Capitalism is a complex, globally interlinked social system that only can be surpassed through a collective creative effort on the basis of human communication and practical, non-hierachical and globalised solidarity of the working classes. There never was and never will be any other road. Now less than ever.

A last word about terror. In a play of words: Out of the ruins of anarchy, anarchy cannot arise, only the rule of the Market and the State in their most brutalised, authoritarian manifestations. In its proper sense, anarchy of course does not signify disorder and the struggle of each against all, however common such a belief may be, but the overcoming of the Rule of the Siamese Twins of Market and State through the human creation of a global classless society, where people in cooperation rule over their own lifes and destinies, and the freedom of all becomes the condition of the freedom of each, as the freedom of each is the condition for the freedom of all.