Capitalism After September 11


Table of Contents:

Oil War and Racist Police State

Oppression of Women From Kabul to Washington

American Public Health Association Resolution Opposing War in Afghanistan

Major General Smedley Butler, U.S.M.C.: 'I was a racketeer for capitalism'

Imperialism Makes War Inevitable

Racist Ideology Justifies War


Even though, the Taleban and Al Qaeda-Osama bin Laden are not longer in control of most of Afghanistan, the war continues. The contradictions that began this war are still pretty much in place.

The following is part of a pamphlet that will be out in print the first week of December 2001. Besides the article below, it contains articles published in the Oct. 3-17-31-Nov. 4-17 CHALLENGES (which can be found in this web page).

Printed copies of the pamphlet are available for one dollar each from PLP, GPO Box 808, Brooklyn, NY 11202.

Checks or Money Orders should be made payable to Challenge Periodicals.

The terrorist attacks that murdered thousands of workers and others in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania have given the U.S. ruling class an excuse to launch its latest war for world domination and to begin governing with an iron fist on the domestic front. At the heart of the agenda is the control at gunpoint of oil supplies in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Oil isn’t crucial to U.S. bosses simply because the U.S. now imports over half of the fossil fuels its own economy uses. Oil is the lifeblood of every capitalist economy and governs its ability to field an army. Capitalism needs maximum profit. This means that U.S. imperialism’s ability to retain "super power" status depends on dictating the supply, transportation and pricing of oil, over-riding the rules of all other countries.

Every war in which the U.S. has been involved since 1991 reflects this contradiction. Bush Sr. slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi workers in 1991 to prevent Saddam Hussein & Co. from challenging the regional supremacy of U.S. oil companies. U.S. sanctions since then have caused the death of a million or more Iraqis, mostly children, for the same purpose.

From 1979 to 1989, the Carter, Reagan and Bush, Sr. administrations ran a proxy war against the former Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan — a war which, as Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski boasted, the U.S. provoked by organizing Islamic fundamentalists to invade six months prior to Soviet intervention. This CIA-funded army later gave rise to the same Taliban that Bush Jr. is now trying to smash. Osama bin Laden, the U.S. demon of the moment, functioned as a CIA contract employee for the duration of this war.

In 1999, Clinton bombed the former Yugoslavia for three months to prevent Russian and German oil companies from building pipelines free from U.S. and British control. The immediate issue was the pumping and marketing of Caspian region oil. The longer-range issue remains the control of all oil and gas supplies, from the Caspian and the Middle East throughout Central Asia. U.S. imperialism’s stated goal is "full-spectrum dominance," total energy supremacy.

Bush Jr.’s war in Afghanistan is a further bloody step in this direction. It was planned well before the events of September 11. One can see that the logistics alone — of moving 80,000 military personnel, as well as ordinance, supplies, airplanes, aircraft carriers, cruise missile ships and battleships — would require months of preparation. In fact, two U.S. aircraft carriers were stationed off the coast of Pakistan on September 11.

The bosses themselves spilled the beans a few days before that date when the U.S. Energy Information Agency published a report that began: "Afghanistan’s significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes the possible construction of oil and natural gas pipelines through Afghanistan…"

The heinous terrorist acts of September 11 gave the rulers an excuse to launch a war they had already plotted anyhow. As Bush and his advisors have repeatedly warned, this war has no end in sight. Far more than Afghanistan is at stake. U.S. imperialists, led by Rockefeller’s Exxon Mobil, need to grab the profit bonanza that can come from fueling the East Asian energy boom anticipated over the next decade or so. The grander strategic design is nothing less than U.S. control of the entire Eurasian land mass and the sea-lanes that serve it.

This goal was most clearly explained by Brzezinski in a 1997 book entitled The Grand Chessboard: "For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia…. [It] is…the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played." (p. 31) His "teaching" appears to serve as a blueprint for U.S. strategy and tactics in this period.

The bosses have camouflaged their imperialist was plans as a crusade against "global terrorism." They are using the September 11 attacks as an excuse to move rapidly toward the consolidation of a police state on the home front, which they are disguising as a "Homeland Defense" operation.

As the articles in this pamphlet show, this move was also planned long before September 11, by a Clinton-appointed commission of top Democrats and Republicans — the Hart-Rudman Commission —which admitted that only a catastrophic loss of life on U.S. soil could serve to "galvanize" the population for the needed war effort.

Whoever may have funded, trained and aided the September 11 attackers, the attacks themselves play directly into the big bosses’ hands. The same is true in the case of the ongoing anthrax atrocity, which appears to be homegrown, very possibly the handiwork of neo-nazi groups within the U.S.

The anthrax attacks give the bosses a further excuse to pass laws extending the control of their state apparatus over every aspect of life. In the name of "protecting" us, they are preparing to jail people who rebel against their policies, to open our mail, tap our phones, spy on our Internet use, restrict our travel, make torture an acceptable method of "interrogation" and ruthlessly suppress class struggle against them. As usual, racism, in the form of scapegoating Arab and Muslim workers, provides this attack with its cutting edge.

The "war against terror" is in fact a plan — which parallels the plan for imperialist war — to launch a reign of terror against the U.S. working class and eventually against those would organize our class to rise up and overthrow this rotten system. Our Party will therefore — sooner rather than later — become one of the rulers’ primary targets.

They have temporarily won a large number of workers to back them. We must not underestimate the advantages they enjoy. But the imperialists’ strength is only one side of reality. It also contains the seed of its opposite.

U.S. rulers are the biggest wholesale murderers in history. Their terrorism against the world’s workers has earned them the mass hatred of hundreds of millions in every corner of the globe. At the moment, this hatred is most clearly expressed in the self-defeating form of nationalism and religion. But workers can ultimately be won away from these deadly errors.

The rulers are also finding that it’s easier to bomb and kill from the relative comfort of the air than to conquer and hold hostile ground. Their war in Afghanistan isn’t going brilliantly, and their immediate plans to invade most of formerly Soviet Central Asia and maintain bases there is sure to encounter many similar difficulties.

Their Middle Eastern oil empire stands on very shaky ground. They have already lost Iran. The biggest prize — Saudi Arabia — is a potential powder keg, as the corrupt, bloody, U.S.-backed House of Saud faces a serious internal threat from rival bosses sick of seeing Exxon Mobil et al. gobble up the lion’s share of Saudi energy profits.

A U.S. invasion of Saudi oil fields looms as a distinct possibility, with no guarantees of victory. Despite U.S. imperialism’s great "success" in murdering Iraqi workers and children, Saddam Hussein continues to hold power and to maneuver oil deals with Exxon Mobil’s Russian and French competitors.

The so-called "coalition" Bush brags about is a fraud. U.S. imperialism’s only semi-reliable ally is Great Britain, and even the British bosses aren’t fully trustworthy, because British oil firms have interests that conflict at times with those of the U.S. majors. The only real coalition in the present war is the growing tactical unity of imperialists who want to stop the U.S. from extending the present war into Iraq.

The bosses continue to bicker within their own ranks. The fighting is fueled by partisan interests that aren’t easily resolved. As the economy moves deeper into recession, the rulers are arguing bitterly about how to deal with the downturn. They don’t agree whether on whether or not to use the anthrax attacks as an excuse to attack Iraq, and that argument also reflects partisan interests.

The ruling class hasn’t yet managed to unite fully on its plans for a police state. It will eventually do so, probably after a sharp, potentially violent internal struggle.

But the need for a police state reflects a deep political weakness: ultimately, capitalist rule must depend on terror.

In other words, U.S. imperialism has many weapons at its disposal and can, for the foreseeable future, continue inflicting horrible damage on the international working class.

But it also can be defeated. Our job as a revolutionary communist Party is to ensure this defeat by winning workers and others into the PLP and becoming a force to be reckoned with. This goal is both necessary and possible.

It will take a long time. We must never allow ourselves or our class to become discouraged by the size of the task before us, by the obstacles we face, by our present relative weakness, or by the ruthlessness of our class enemy.


We can take heart from the history of great revolutionaries who preceded us. We can learn from the valiant Soviet Red Army, which crushed Hitler’s racist Nazi beasts. We can absorb many vital lessons from the exemplary heroism of Chinese communists in World War II, who turned a strategic retreat into an unstoppable wave that crushed both Japanese imperialism and U.S.-supported Chinese fascists. We can derive inspiration from the impoverished Vietnamese workers and farmers who ground the mighty U.S. into the dust not so long ago.

All these magnificent revolutionary efforts met defeat, not because the enemy outside was too powerful, but rather because of the old communist movement’s own internal political weaknesses. Instead of winning workers to fight for communism, the leaders of this movement sold the workers short and led them back into the trap of capitalist values and politics.

We do not have to repeat this fatal blunder. The PLP and the working class can take heart from the inspiring examples set by our forerunners and at the same time win workers to see that communism is the only purpose worth fighting, dying and living for.

As this oil war develops, many other contradictions will sharpen. Eventually U.S. imperialism will have to confront its biggest rivals for world supremacy. We can’t predict the timetable, but war between the U.S. on one side and China, Russia and virtually every other imperialist on the other, will eventually erupt.

What will result from it? Only two solutions are possible: either a new world imperialist order with more war, terror and death for us, or else a world organized on the basis of fighting to destroy the profit system. The road ahead forces us to make this choice. Our Party must learn to help workers see that our class really has no choice other than the struggle for communism, however long it takes.

Oppression of Women from Kabul to Washington

Laura Bush’s Nov. 17 speech "championing" the rights of Afghan women shows how hypocritical bosses are. When it comes to oppress women, U.S. bosses are number one at home and overseas. Mass cutbacks in health care, welfare, education, etc. in the last two decades under Reagan-Bush Sr., Clinton and now Bush Jr. have driven deeper into poverty millions of women (particularly black and Latin) in the U.S. The continuous bombing and embargo against Iraq have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, particularly the children of working class women. And when it comes to Afghanistan, the U.S. new allies, the Northern Alliance, is no different from the Taliban in treating women as sub humans.

"Women might also remember back 20 years when the U.S. was supplying arms" (New York Times, 11/19) to the same thugs that became the Northern Alliance.

Then, when the NA turned against each other and killed tens of thousands in their turf wars, the U.S. allies in the Pakistani and Saudi rulers decided to form what is now the Taliban to defeat the warring warlords. For many years, the U.S. did not see anything wrong with Taliban who they now paint as "worse than Hitler."

According to a just-published book, Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth by two French intelligence analysts, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, this is the same Taliban that the White House began bargaining with in January, offering political recognition and economic aid in exchange for the delivery of bin Laden.

The last meeting took place in August, five weeks before the September 11 attacks. The book’s authors say that up until that time, the U.S. government saw the Taliban "as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia" from the rich oil fields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean.

U.S. rulers weren’t so worried about the enslavement of Afghan women at that time!

Interestingly enough, the Taliban had even hired a PR representative in Washington to help these negotiations along, one Laila Helms, whose uncle is none other than Richard Helms, former director of the CIA.

The Northern Alliance, Bush’s "liberators," is the same crew that, as the mujahedeen, took Kabul in 1992 — supported by the U.S. even then — and proceeded to "legislate the first limits on women’s rights" (Counterpunch, 11/16) while killing 50,000 people in four year of maneuvering for power.

These "freedom fighters" have now taken control of 80% of Afghanistan’s heroin trade. "Many of those mujahedeen," reports the Times, "now make up large parts of the Northern Alliance, America’s current ally," being fundamentalists who "despised" the actions of, "The Soviets [who] built schools and educated women."

The NA warlords are so hated that the Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women wrote in Counterpunch (11/19): "Thousands of people who fled Kabul during the past two months were saying that they feared the coming to power of the NA in Kabul much more than being scared by the U.S. bombing."

Novelist John Ringo wrote in the NY Post (11/20): "There are plenty of Pashtun women who would love to get their hands on a…{NA} soldier for a while. They have been sharpening their knives for 10 years…It is better (for these women) to wear a burqua than to be raped and murdered."

The Taliban, the Northern Alliance, U.S. bosses — pick your poison.

Opposing War Is Good for Public Health

The resolution below was passed by the governing council of the American Public Health Association at its recent national convention, attended by about 12,000. Prior to the convention there had been limited discussion by email. At the convention, there was mass leafleting about the war and oil and many copies of the resolution were distributed. The leadership had Bush’s Secy. of Health and Welfare Tommy Thompson and Surgeon General David Satcher as main speakers. The resolution passed with almost no opposition and is now official organization policy. Although the APHA may not publicize it, others can and will.


Opposing War in Southwest Asia

The American Public Health Association,

  • Affirms its historic mission of promoting the public health; and,
  • Acknowledges the catastrophic levels of disease, injury and death caused by modern warfare and economic sanctions;
  • Additionally condemns the staggering levels of death and human suffering brought about by attacks impacting civilians such as the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. on September 11th, 2001; and,
  • Specifically condemns intentional killing of civilians as a crime against humanity;
  • Reaffirms its opposition to wars motivated by economic objectives, such as dominance over regions rich in petroleum reserves, as stated in Policy Statement 99236; and,
  • Considers that economic conflicts on this scale are not in the interests of ordinary civilians or the soldiers of the countries concerned, rather that these economic conflicts serve the needs of energy corporations interested in exploiting resources in the region of conflict;
  • Notes the strategic position of Afghanistan as it relates to important oil pipeline routes: Afghanistan’s significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes the possible construction of oil and natural gas export pipelines through Afghanistan, which was under serious consideration in the mid-1990s. The idea has since been undermined by Afghanistan’s instability. And the huge oil reserves in Iraq; and,
  • Notes the dismal health status indicators of Afghan people, including an average life expectancy of 46 years, an infant mortality rate of 165 per 1,000 live births, and an under-5 mortality rate of 257 per 1000 live births, and their need for humanitarian aid;
  • Reflects on the intense alienation of other potential friends and allies throughout the world, especially Muslims, brought about by military action against Afghanistan; and,
  • Expresses concerns about the expansion of military action in other oil rich countries, notably Iraq, which is becoming the object of renewed military interest;
  • Further notes that the reordering of US budgetary priorities for war will result in dramatic cuts in a number of urgently needed domestic programs, especially those for low-income families;


1. Endorses in strongest terms the efforts of international organizations to bring the perpetrators of all terror attacks to justice; and

2 Declares its opposition to military actions against Afghanistan and other nations as an undertaking that runs counter to the health and well-being of our populations; and,

3. Calls on federal authorities to end military actions and begin offering humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan on the massive scale now required rather than in a token fashion; and,

4. Calls on Congress and the President to authorize new programs that dramatically increase training and deployment of public health personnel in less developed countries, including federal grants for tuition and other educational expenses, replacing aggressive military actions with humanitarian assistance, offered in a manner consistent with local culture and beliefs.


‘I was a racketeer for capitalism….’

(Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, United States Marine Corps)

"War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Imperialism Makes War Inevitable

The profit system impels groups of capitalists to defend or capture resources, markets and the exploitation of workers from each other, ultimately by going to war. To compete successfully, each capitalist must fight for maximum profit and control against rival capitalists.

To keep its super-power status, the U.S. ruling class is fighting to control the world’s most important resource, oil — its supply and shipment, via pipelines and oceans. The U.S. ruling class’ major imperialist rivals, China, Russia, the European Union and Japan, are dependent on this oil or need to control it. Since it represents the lifeblood of these capitalist rivals’ industries and armies, they will spill the blood of millions of workers to obtain and control it. That’s the logic of the murderous system of exploitation for profit.

The war in Afghanistan is part of the build up to another world war. Globalization is just a euphemism for modern imperialism. Each ruling class is fighting for its own interests, and trying to win workers to identify with those interests (which the bosses call "patriotism" and the "national interest").

These brutal wars for profits cannot be ended by replacing one politician with another or by hoping for "more enlightened" policies from governments controlled by the ruling class that owns all the factories, mines, mills, mass media and resources of the society. Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, will always lead to war.

The role of communists is to organize workers and soldiers to turn these imperialist wars into revolutionary struggles to crush capitalism. The world’s workers need communism, where we’ll organize production and technology to meet the needs of the international working class.

Racist Ideology Justifies War

The following is part of a leaflet put out by Progressive Labor Party students who participated in a West Coast conference early in Nov. to build an anti-war movement.

"Underneath all the attacks capitalism uses against the workers is RACISM. Without racism how could the bosses convince workers that the deaths and super-exploitation of workers overseas is acceptable?

The ruling class needs racism to portray all Arabs as terrorists so soldiers will kill and die in the Middle East. Racism was essential to the attacks on welfare and social security. Black and Latin workers will be the first workers laid off in the declining U.S. economy in the U.S. The universities are some of the main places in which racism is taught, promoted, and practiced.

Most of the racist ideology that the ruling class puts into practice can be found in our own classrooms. Many community colleges, where most students are black, Latin, or immigrants and come from a working class background, are not suited to accommodate their student bodies. They lack the proper funding to build and maintain adequate facilities.

And they are increasingly becoming overcrowded because racist attacks on Affirmative Action have made universities more inaccessible to black and Latin students. In response, army recruiters have taken the opportunity to target community college students.

At the universities much of the same is occurring. Many state colleges are active recruiting ground for the armed forces and the KKKops. In education classes we are told that, for whatever reason, the working class and especially blacks and Latins can’t learn.

On top of this, history, philosophy, and social science classes teach that imperialism and capitalism are the best of all systems. Cultural classes leave out most of the contributions of blacks, Latins and women, even though, sometimes they will throw in a Black studies or women’s studies course on the side for those who already reject the most disgusting aspects of racism and sexism.

This, however, is not even the worst. Most schools teach classes that specialize in Nazi propaganda. Classes in "Sociobiology" or "Evolutionary Psychology" are popping up again on campuses around the country. These courses teach that everything from intelligence to violence to sexism to patriotism is all part of the genetic code. These nazi courses excuse racism and imperialist war as a necessary part of humanity while they libel all those incarcerated in the racist jail system as genetically inferior or deviant.

These same courses tell us that people in the US are "civilized" and people in the Middle East are "barbarians". These are the ideas that the universities teach us and these are the ideas that the ruling class uses to justify their horrific attacks on the international working class.

Progressive Labor Party encourages students everywhere to fight racism and imperialism. Students on every campus should organize actions against army recruiters, ROTC, and racist ideology being taught in schools.

By focusing on racism while still attacking imperialist oil war and lay-offs we can expose how our schools are complicit with the ruling class’ imperialist actions. More importantly, however, we can draw the connection between racism on our campuses and imperialist war and show they are both part of the capitalists’ attack on workers of the world.

We must use our struggles against racism and imperialism to point out the fundamentally murderous nature of capitalism. The only way to end war and racism for profit is to get rid of the racist profit system!

The solution we have before us is to build a mass communist Progressive Labor Party to tear down capitalist relations and to build the egalitarian communist society where workers will produce to meet the needs of the international working class, not for capitalist warmongers’ profits."

(All References on request)