Terrorism

Marxism has always waged a struggle against the methods of individual terrorism (hijackings, bombings) as well as against state terrorism (the imperialist bombing of Iraq, Yugoslavia, etc.). Acts of individual terror do little but alienate the mass of the people from the cause you are supposed to be promoting. Bombing a market place where women and children are killed does not make the average working person too sympathetic to your cause. In fact, as the post-September 11 hysteria proves, individual terrorism only strengthens the forces of reaction. Our power and strength are in our numbers, not in individual acts.

The following excerpt from Leon Trotsky from the article "Why Marxists Oppose Individual Terrorism" puts it very eloquently:

"In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission. The anarchist prophets of the ‘propaganda of the deed’ can argue all they want about the elevating and stimulating influence of terrorist acts on the masses. Theoretical considerations and political experience prove otherwise. The more ‘effective’ the terrorist acts, the greater their impact, the more they reduce the interest of the masses in self-organisation and self-education. But the smoke from the confusion clears away, the panic disappears, the successor of the murdered minister makes his appearance, life again settles into the old rut, the wheel of capitalist exploitation turns as before; only the police repression grows more savage and brazen. And as a result, in place of the kindled hopes and artificially aroused excitement comes disillusionment and apathy."

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