[lbo-talk] Platypus: what we are, what we do, and why

James Heartfield Heartfield at blueyonder.co.uk
Thu Apr 8 16:37:03 PDT 2010

Chris C. writes: 'James Heartfield wrote about the problem of the "mirror image" of anti-imperialism being the anti-Islam sentiments one finds in fears of Islamist terrorism. While the threat can and is exaggerated, it does exist... Does this mean that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was justifiable as "self-defense?" In certain terms, yes...'

But once you buy into the exaggerated and absurd fears of the worldwide terrorist conspiracy it gets very hard to abstract yourself from the outright assault on people's rights that follows. What I find disappointing in this is that the astonishing war on civil liberties in the US and Europe as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan carried out under the rubric of the 'war on terror' is not addressed at all.

How is it a blow against Al Qaeda for the security services in Britain to gun down a Brazilian man on the underground, or for innocent people to be held for years without lawyers, or for US military to torture people in Iraq? All of this is a profound assault on precisely those progressive aspects of developed societies *in the name of* fighting terrorism. But in truth it is a war on the people of not just Afghanistan and Iraq, but also America and Europe. A left that fails to address that is indeed not worthy of the name.

You cannot fight for what needs to be defended in democracies, if you are prey to the same paranoid delusions as the conservative fearmongers.

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list