On Events in Paris

Updated January 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


On Wednesday, January 7, two gunmen associated with Islamic fundamentalist forces stormed into a meeting of the editorial board of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. They sprayed the room with bullets. Within minutes, a dozen editors, cartoonists, and others lay dead. Eleven more people were wounded in the attack, and four people died in an incident two days later where someone identifying with Jihadist forces took hostages at a Jewish store in Paris.

We will have more to say at revcom.us and in the pages of Revolution on these events, but right now, some things are clear.

ONE: The murder of people for expressing disagreements is an outrage. This is true no matter who does it—whether it is the imperialists themselves (who have a long history, including in this country against the Black liberation struggle as well as around the world, of silencing and, yes, murdering critics), or those who claim to be opposed to them.

TWO: Whoever was behind this and whatever their intent, besides causing the deaths and suffering of innocent people, the event has actually benefitted the imperialists. These killings will now be seized upon to further repress people and justify any actions, however unjust, undertaken by the governments in response, as well as the demonization of whole sections of people. The act in Paris can in no way be seen as justifying yet more acts of aggression or repression—yet more drone bomber strikes against civilians, as well as other forms of aggression which take the lives of more innocent people, more repression against immigrants, more spying and surveillance—all or some of which will very likely be mounted “in response.”

THREE: The imperialist system itself is the cause of massive suffering in the world and ultimately bears responsibility for creating conditions that give rise even to very wrong-headed and cruel actions in opposition to it. This can be seen by taking a day to study the history of France and the literally tens of millions of people not only heartlessly exploited and tortured, but murdered in North and West Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere—throughout history and down to today. And the same could be said of the U.S., Britain, and other imperialist powers. But things like the attack in Paris are most definitely NOT in the interests of masses of people all over the world, and can in no way be justified.

FOUR: What is urgently needed right now—in opposition to these kinds of harmful acts—is, in countries like the U.S. (and France) and all over the world, the building of massive political resistance and opposition to what the imperialists, led by the U.S. imperialists, are doing—the many crimes they have committed and are continuing to commit—and to the way in which they will seize on this incident to seek to justify and carry further these crimes. This should include resistance against repressive measures directed at immigrant communities and opposition to demonization of immigrants—measures and demonization which had been gaining momentum well before this incident.

FINALLY: A genuinely emancipating revolution—a communist revolution—involves millions and millions of people who are determined to bring about a radical change in society and the world. This communist revolution aims to overturn the grotesque and horrific systems and relations in the world that cause such untold and unnecessary suffering for literally billions throughout the globe, and which themselves also give rise to and are ultimately responsible for grotesque forms of opposition to this. The nature and aim of this revolutionary struggle is nothing less than the conscious and determined struggle of millions and ultimately billions, throughout the globe, to bring into being a whole new world without exploitation, oppression, and social inequalities.

As is pointed out in “Some Crucial Points of Revolutionary Orientation—in Opposition to Infantile Posturing and Distortions of Revolution:”

In a country like the U.S., the revolutionary overthrow of the system can only be achieved once there is a major, qualitative change in the nature of the objective situation, such that society as a whole is in the grip of a profound crisis, owing fundamentally to the nature and workings of the system itself, and along with that there is the emergence of a revolutionary people, numbering in the millions and millions, conscious of the need for revolutionary change and determined to fight for it. In this struggle for revolutionary change, the revolutionary people and those who lead them will be confronted by the violent repressive force of the machinery of the state which embodies and enforces the existing system of exploitation and oppression; and in order for the revolutionary struggle to succeed, it will need to meet and defeat that violent repressive force of the old, exploitative and oppressive order.

In short, revolution—truly fundamental change, truly uprooting oppression—is a serious thing and it must be approached in a serious way—soberly, with science, commitment, and maturity.



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