Vol.59/No.17           April 31, 1995 
 
 
Socialists Respond To Oklahoma Bombing  

The following statement by the Socialist Workers Party National Committee was released to the media April 19 by SWP national secretary Jack Barnes.

Working people, youth, and all defenders of democratic rights should reject the anti-Arab and anti-Islamic campaign being whipped up by politicians on both sides of the aisle in Congress and sections of the big-business media following the April 19 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City .

A barrage of television news stories, radio shows, and newspaper articles have relentlessly pressed such a campaign, even casting suspicion on a national Islamic convention held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last week.

Immediate comparisons have been made to the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and current trial in New York of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and 10 others on charges of sedition for conspiring to wage a "war of urban terrorism." The anti- Arab hysteria and frame-up methods in those cases are a hint of what the administration has in mind in the wake of the Oklahoma bombing.

Attorney General Janet Reno used the bombing as a pretext to bolster the bipartisan drive to widen use of capital punishment. "The death penalty is available," in a case like this, she said, "and we will use it." President Clinton asserted that "justice will be swift, certain, and severe."

These remarks by Clinton and Reno came two years to the day after the massacre they ordered in Waco, Texas, against scores of members of the Branch Davidian religious group - an example of what the White House means by "justice" that is "swift, certain, and severe."

In the days ahead, the labor movement and all supporters of democratic rights must be on the alert to protest the trampling of hard-won rights that will mark their "investigation" - the presumption of innocence; the right to due process; protection from illegal search, seizure, and wiretaps; freedom of association without infiltration by police informants and agents provocateurs; and many others.

The bombing of the building housing federal offices in Oklahoma City and the killing of scores of men, women, and children - whoever organized and carried it out - has nothing whatsoever to do with the fight against exploitation and oppression. These methods are ones that revolutionists and other class-conscious working people and fighting youth reject.

It is important never to forget that the U.S. government and its allies are the greatest perpetrators of terror around the world - from Waco on its home territory to Vietnam, Iraq, Nicaragua, and countless other parts of the world just in recent decades.

Working people must oppose efforts by the government to utilize the Oklahoma City bombing to further restrict democratic rights; stereotype and demonize people based on their national origin, religious practices, or "features"; and rationalize its own responsibility for the oppression and violence inflicted on working people the world over day in and day out.  
 
 
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