[OPE-L:5903] Re: Report from Ground Zero

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Wed Sep 12 2001 - 10:08:06 EDT

In the rubble and debris that was once the World
Trade Center, rescue and recovery efforts continue. A handful of
firefighters and
police who were on the scene and were buried alive when the buildings
collapsed have been
rescued. There is little hope for the thousands of
others (estimates range from 5,000 - 50,000) who were in the buildings when
they collapsed. Of
course, all those aboard the airplanes were killed
on impact.

Yesterday, I saw many office workers, covered in
dust and smoke, walk northwards -- stunned and
shaken -- out of lower Manhattan. Throughout
the City -- and in many other places of the world,
I suspect -- small groups of strangers meet and
exchange views (mostly shock and disbelief).
Despite this, there was no real panic. Indeed, there
is an eerie kind of calm here.

It is possible now to get out of Manhattan but it
is close to impossible to get into the borough --
especially by car. Police and army troops are at
just about every corner here directing traffic.
All businesses below 14 St are closed today and unless you are a resident or
an emergency worker,
admittance is denied.  The clouds of  (toxic) smoke that filled the sky over
lower Manhattan (and were blown into Brooklyn by the prevailing
winds) have diminished.

Public schools are closed. Wall Street and the
financial markets are closed and it is not known
now when they will re-open. (NB to listmembers
from NYC: it is still hard for people to call over
the phone into NYC. If you haven't called loved
ones to let them know you are OK, please do so.)

What are the likely consequences? Here's my

1) increased repression, especially against Arabs
and Palestinians, in the US. For the time being,
the "Bill of Rights" will go out the window in the
nationalist hysteria that has swept across the US.
This means increased repression against
the US Left and anti-imperialist movements here.

2) Bush will get funding approved for his multi-
trillion (?) dollar "Star War" plan.

3) People will rally around the flag and there will
be a growth of nationalism here -- which can only
mean bad things for workers here and

4) The US and world capitalist economies will
slip further and longer into an economic slump.

5) The US will bomb one or more countries in the
world (irrespective of the facts). [NB:A little while ago, a former US
Secretary of State who was
interviewed on "ABC News", mentioned the
possibility of using NUCLEAR WEAPONS
in retaliation!!!]

All of these are very significant negative consequences. Putting aside the
issue of the attack
 on the Pentagon (which I see as a legitimate war target), what did the
attack on the
WTC accomplish?

Some anarchist friends of mine *cheered* when
they heard about (and in some cases, saw) the
attack!  What is there, though, to cheer about?

The terrorists when all is said and
done destroyed a *symbol* of US capitalism.
Yet, that's all it really was -- a symbol. Indeed,
there were other 'lower-profile' targets nearby,
such as the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, which
were more important in real terms for the
financial and economic system in the US. Indeed,
no one believes that the loss of the WTC will
profoundly disrupt  over the long-term the logistics
of financial markets in the US.

And what of the thousands of people killed? Most
of them were office workers.  No doubt, a lot of
other workers perished as well who happened to
be in the wrong place at the wrong time (subway
and PATH lines were running directly below the

While we might be able to understand the
frustration of people around the world who are
victims of US imperialism, terrorism is not the
answer!   Underlying all terrorists movements
is an *elitism*: the belief that a small group of
individuals can 'scare' the powers that be into
changing policy.  What is really needed, though,
are *mass movements of the working class*.
It is arrogance in the extreme for a small group to
decide to blow up a building with an indifference to
the suffering that this will mean for potentially
millions of workers internationally. It is, of course,
easier to be a terrorist than to engage in the serious
and hard work of building revolutionary movements and parties. Yet, the
latter (while often less dramatic and more 'hum-drum') is what is required.
Only the working class
can liberate the world!

In solidarity, Jerry

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