Washington, Paris ramp up war moves, attack rights
BY NAOMI CRAINE
Washington, Paris and other imperialist governments have seized on reactionary Islamic State’s deadly attacks that killed 130 people in France to widen their military and diplomatic efforts to shore up their interests in the Middle East. The war drive is coupled with the capitalist rulers’ deepening assault on political rights and the working class — first and foremost targeting Muslims and Arabs.
Since the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks by Islamic State, French forces have stepped up bombardment of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital, and other targets in Syria. Paris deployed aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle off the coast of Syria, tripling its airpower in the region.
Washington has stepped up bombings against IS targets and says more U.S. special forces are on the way. British Prime Minister David Cameron met with French President Francois Hollande Nov. 23, asserting his “firm conviction” that U.K. forces should join in the bombing.
Moscow has also intensified bombings, hitting nearly 500 targets over the Nov. 21-22 weekend. The Russian government has targeted not only Islamic State, but used most of its firepower to bomb other opponents of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, including forces backed by Washington.
The challenge of putting together a “grand alliance” of capitalist powers with competing interests was highlighted Nov. 24 when a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane that Ankara says entered Turkish airspace. Turkey — a NATO member — had been demanding Moscow stop bombing Turkmen forces on Syria’s northern border opposed to Assad’s rule.
Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened “serious consequences,” saying Moscow had been stabbed in the back by “the accomplices of terrorists.”
Hollande met with President Barack Obama Nov. 24, urging closer collaboration with Moscow in the fight against Islamic State. He travels next to Moscow to meet Putin.
Even before the assault in Paris, the White House had been seeking ways to forge a bloc with the Russian and Iranian governments to stabilize Syria and Iraq and impose a new balance of power in the region.
Obama faces bipartisan calls to take more aggressive military action. Democratic Party presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton called on Congress to authorize expanded use of military force against Islamic State Nov. 19, saying, “We should get this done.” Three days later Dianne Feinstein, top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, “I don’t think the approach is sufficient. … We need to be aggressive.” Republican Sen. John McCain called for sending ground troops to Syria, as have many of the Republican presidential candidates.
Paris extends police powers
Immediately after the terrorist attacks on civilians at a rock concert, a soccer game and several restaurants, Hollande imposed a state of emergency, giving authorities broad power to search homes, place individuals under house arrest, ban demonstrations, dissolve organizations deemed subversive and block Internet sites they claim advocate terrorism.
The French National Assembly voted 551 to 6 Nov. 19 to extend the state of emergency for three months. “We believe the extension is warranted and necessary,” said André Chassaigne of the Communist Party, placing the party’s Left Front parliamentary bloc firmly in defense of the French capitalist state.
Heavily armed police have been breaking down doors in Muslim communities across France, interrogating people at will. As of Nov. 23, police say they have carried out 1,072 warrantless searches, detained 117 people and placed about 180 under house arrest.
Cops searched thousands of workers’ lockers at Air France Cargo, FedEx and caterer Servair at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. L’Express reported they found “elements of proselytizing and some signs of radicalization,” such as prayer rugs and copies of the Koran “annotated along radical or fundamentalist lines.” Authorities revoked security badges for 58 workers, effectively putting them out of work.
The state of emergency has been used to ban a large, union-sponsored environmental rally planned for Paris Nov. 29, on the eve of the U.N. summit on climate change in the French capital, and a “Rally with Muslims of France for Peace and National Unity,” organized to oppose both the Islamic State attacks and scapegoating of Muslims, planned for Nov. 20 near the Grand Mosque in Paris.
A similar rally was allowed to go ahead in Toulouse the next day and drew 10,000 Muslims and others.
Most workers who are Muslim despise Islamic State and its terrorist methods. “These people are fanatics and have nothing to do with any religion. My neighbors say the same thing,” Abdel Kheddouma, an auto assembly plant worker near Paris, told the Militant.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve Nov. 16 vowed to increase surveillance and shut “mosques where hate is preached.”
Widespread police raids are also taking place in neighboring Belgium. Authorities locked down Brussels, the capital, closing schools, stores and the metro transit system for several days, after Prime Minister Charles Michel claimed there was a “serious and imminent” threat of an attack.
Scapegoating of Muslims
In Washington the House of Representatives voted by a two-to-one margin to suspend the government program that allows refugees from Syria and Iraq to enter the United States. Governors of 31 states, Democrats as well as Republicans, have said they want to prevent Syrians from coming to their states.
Since the attacks in France, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has put anti-Muslim demagogy at the center of his campaign — calling for registering Muslims in a government database, closing mosques and claiming that “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey cheered the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Rival candidate Marco Rubio said the government should be able not just to shut mosques, but “any place — whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an Internet site — any place where radicals are being inspired.”
Democrat David Bowers, mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, issued a statement Nov. 18 in support of barring Syrian refugees as a security measure comparable to the decision to “sequester Japanese foreign nationals” during World War II. When it got wide publicity, Bowers backtracked, apologizing.
“We must never let another group of people be singled out and punished because of their race or religion,” Roz Tonai, director of the National Japanese American Historical Society, told the Militant Nov. 23.
Mosques in Omaha, Nebraska; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Portland, Oregon, have been vandalized or threatened. Some 200 residents of all nationalities rallied in solidarity with the Islamic Center of Pflugerville, Texas, Nov. 21 after worshipers found the doorway splattered with feces and torn pages of the Koran.
Campaign against imperialist war! Protest attacks on Muslims, mosques!
New York meeting: ‘Join fight against US war drive’
(front page, Socialist Workers Party statement)
Campaign against imperialist war!
Protest attacks on Muslims, mosques!
The following statement was released Nov. 25 by Norton Sandler, chairman of the New York Socialist Workers Party.
The New York Socialist Workers Party protests the mounting witch hunt by both Democrats and Republicans and by the state and federal governments against Muslims in the U.S., and Washington’s war drive. The party calls on workers, farmers and all defenders of political rights to join in opposing this campaign by the rulers, which has big stakes for the working class.
In the wake of the reactionary Islamic State terror attacks in Paris, politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties are cranking up anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry to bolster the propertied rulers’ drive to war and escalate Washington’s military intervention in Syria and the entire Middle East. Simultaneously they seek to create a pariah status for Muslims as they increase spying on Muslim organizations and infiltration of mosques. With this they are moving to restrict political rights of all at home and increase use of spies, frame-ups and cop disruption.
◆ Calls for the New York Police Department to step up spy programs initiated after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that sent undercover cops into Muslim neighborhoods to spy on conversations and compile detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped. Mosques are a special target in this effort.
◆ 31 governors — Democrats and Republicans alike — say they will not accept refugees from Syria in their states.
◆ The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill which, if enacted into law, would delay acceptance of Syrian refugees until each individual is signed-off on by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence. The rulers already have in place a vetting requirement that takes two years before a refugee can get in.
◆ Leading Republican presidential contender Donald Trump calls for registering all Muslims in a special government database, says that cops should infiltrate the mosques and forcibly shut down those they deem suspicious and favors reintroduction of waterboarding while interrogating suspected terrorists.
◆ The Democratic Party mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, backing measures to restrict the entrance of refugees, pointed to the example of the internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese origin during World War II.
In this atmosphere, threats and attacks on Muslims are spreading from San Diego to Brooklyn.
There are some 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. The U.S. rulers argue through their big business media that Islamic State and its supporters are growing like wildfire. But the reality is that the reactionary outfit is a tiny cult, hated by Muslims worldwide. Muslims have mounted protests against the IS attacks in Paris itself and from India to Belgium.
Muslims and Arabs are the biggest victims of IS terror, and of Washington’s brutal response.
When a section of the population comes under attack as Muslims are today, the working-class vanguard must immediately come to their defense. We oppose the U.S. rulers’ campaign to curb the constitutionally guaranteed space for political organization and activity and to step up the use of U.S. military intervention in the affairs of working people abroad.
The ultimate target of the rulers’ assault on Muslims is the working class.
The New York Socialist Workers Party, and the Socialist Workers Party nationwide, is taking this fight against Washington’s war drive and in opposition to their witch hunt against Muslims and mosques to working-class neighborhoods across New York City, to workers fighting for $15 and a union, participants in Black Friday protests at Walmart stores demanding higher pay and regular schedules, to those protesting assaults by the cops and ultra-rightists, and more.
Washington, Paris ramp up war moves, attack rights
New York meeting: ‘Join fight against US war drive’