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Vol. 81/No. 48      December 25, 2017

(front page)

Gov’t uses NY subway bombing to attack immigrants, workers’ rights

AP Photo/Andres Kudacki
Hundreds of cops converge on Port Authority and Times Square after Akayed Ullah partially detonated pipe bomb. U.S. rulers are using attack to undermine democratic and political rights.
NEW YORK — Officials in Washington and local authorities here are using the Dec. 11 reactionary terror attack in the New York subways, the second attack in the city in two months, to ramp up calls to restrict the rights of working people.

Taking advantage of the fact the attacker, Akayed Ullah, a U.S. resident, was born in Bangladesh, President Donald Trump called for new restrictions on immigration. Others called for increasing government spying and surveillance, and used the incident to try and boost support for further unleashing the cops. New York cops increased their heavily armed presence around the city after the partially detonated pipe bomb attack.

Ullah hoped to kill and maim hundreds of commuters at the Port Authority station during the morning rush hour. He survived and told cops he acted for Islamic State. His botched explosion injured three others.

President Trump called for an end to extended-family migration. Building on anti-working-class measures by previous Democratic and Republican administrations, this would block family members in another country from joining their relatives living here.

This proposal, along with stepped-up deportations and moves by the administration to end the Temporary Protected Status for Haitians and Nicaraguans, is aimed at reinforcing the bosses’ efforts to deepen divisions among working people. The propertied rulers use their government to turn immigration on and off depending on the rise and fall of capitalist production and trade.

New York Police Department spokespeople said they will increase the deployment of heavily armed cops, expand checkpoints and haul more people over for bag searches. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would double the number of State Police troopers at transportation hubs. Mayor Bill de Blasio used the blast to try and bolster the image of the cops, saying workers here are “blessed with the finest law enforcement.” But the cops are widely distrusted by working people, many of whom have had experience with stop-and-frisk shakedowns and police abuse.

New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill blasted Silicon Valley bosses for resisting demands that the cops have greater access to cellphone and internet data for targeting “terror” suspects. Such measures would give the cops greater cover for their spying and frame-up operations against Muslims, mosques and others, including workers leading resistance to the bosses’ assaults.

Pointing to the 23 people killed in May’s terror attack in Manchester, England, Wall Street Journal editors criticized the 2013 closure of the NYPD’s covert surveillance program targeting Muslims, urging expansion of cop spying operations.

Ullah’s family issued a statement saying they were “heartbroken” by his terror attack, but also condemned the cops’ abusive interrogation of family members. They say a teenage relative was pulled out of high school and questioned without a lawyer or his parents present.

Capitalist governments around the world have used terror attacks to promote the false notion that workers and bosses share common interests in fighting against such assaults, including for measures they seek to impose that restrict workers’ rights — from increased spying to expanding “conspiracy” laws to imprison people who haven’t committed any crime.

French rulers used the killing of 130 people in terror attacks in Paris in 2015 to declare a state of emergency and then ban a union-sponsored protest. It was extended several times over two years, then replaced last month with measures that give the cops greater powers to stop and search suspects, use wiretaps, and close down mosques and other venues that the authorities claim are a haven for “preaching hatred.”

Days prior to the attempted bombing in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the enforcement of the government’s travel ban targeting the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Except for North Korea and Venezuela, the affected countries are majority Muslim.  
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