The Truth Behind the “War on Terrorism”:

An Inter-Imperialist War


Marxism provided the clue which enables us to discover the laws governing this seeming labyrinth and chaos, namely, the theory of the class struggle.

                                                                Lenin, Karl Marx



I. The Weapon to Dispel Confusion


            The US state and its propaganda organs continue to generate enormous confusion about current world developments and the so-called “war on terror.” American workers cannot make sense out of what is really happening because they are not armed with the science necessary to understand the political reality and to reject the myth-making and misinformation spread by the bourgeois politicians, ideologues, and journalists. They also lack the class outlook based on the science to take a democratic stand towards U.S. state monopoly capitalism’s criminal policies at home and abroad.

This lost science is Marxism-Leninism, perennially forbidden in the American education system and viciously banned from the nation’s public discourse. Whatever the American working class knows about the science comes from the calumnies heaped upon it by monopoly capitalism’s propaganda machine and its mouthpieces on the “right” or from the caricatures perpetrated by fraudsters and their pawns on the “left.” The neo-fascist state and its agents constantly patrol the parameters of the larger political spectrum. They permit a “diversity” of organizations and voices from ultra-reactionary to ultra-“revolutionary” while at the same time forming a cordon sanitaire against any that would carry the proletariat’s revolutionary politics into the people’s ranks. This operation is integral to the strategy of imaging the U.S. as a democracy while strictly “controlling internal dissent.”  It has been most beneficial in restricting the working class intellect to bourgeois outlook and “knowledge,” while molding workers’ minds to fit the economic and political needs of US imperialism.


II. Class Structure and Contradictions


Marxism-Leninism and its laws, especially those of the class struggle shed light on the “seeming labyrinth and chaos” of both national and world developments. They provide American workers the knowledge, outlook, and class stand necessary to defend their interests in solidarity with the interests of the international proletariat.

Two major classes: the working class and the bourgeoisie have been at the center of the political stage for over 150 years. Since the turn of the last century the monopoly capitalists, who own and control the key sectors of industry and finance have gradually assumed absolute economic and political power over and above the capitalist class in general. The financial oligarchy comprises representatives of factions and affiliated circles of big capital, forming the social class base of imperialism and subjugating the most important levers of the state to serve its interests. This state monopoly capitalism manifests itself in a variety of reactionary dictatorships from pseudo-democratic to ultra-fascist, all functioning as organs to oppress and exploit the working class, which constantly struggles to liberate itself from wage slavery(1).  

While the contradictions between the working class and the bourgeoisie constitute the motor force of historical development, there are other social and class contradictions endemic to modern capitalism. One of special importance is that between the capitalists and primarily between the imperialist themselves. Scientific analysis shows that the most acute contradictions in the world today are those between the most powerful and predatory imperialist states.


III. The Matrix of Inter-Imperialist Contradictions


At the matrix of these contradictions lies the fundamental economic law of modern capitalism formulated by Stalin: the maximization of profits (Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R: “The Basic Economic Laws of Modern Capitalism and Socialism”).

            To secure maximum profits, monopoly capitalism not only engages in the most ruthless exploitation of its “own” working class, but also pursues an endless drive for foreign markets to export capital and goods and for plundering the cheapest sources of raw materials. The contradictions between monopoly capitalist groups and between monopoly capitalists from different countries over world markets, etc. express themselves on the international plane as inter-imperialist struggles and rivalries. Today these rivalries are sharpest among U.S., Russia, Germany, Japan, France, Great Britain, and Italy. But China too, having accumulated huge reserves of finance capital for export, figures as yet another imperialist player and global competitor. Most significantly, antagonisms among all these countries have grown since the demise of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the “bi-polar” world order, in which the two super-powers (the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.) had divided up dependent states and colonies between themselves and achieved a certain “balance of power.”

Historically, the imperialist camp has been unable to sustain a balance or equilibrium for very long. Imperialists are never satisfied with the distribution of spheres of influence because they are bound to pursue maximum profits at the expense of the other. The division of the world is determined by the respective strengths of each grouping or country. Consequently, when the “bi-polar” order came unraveled, the equilibrium was not only upset by the intensified conflicts between the two super-powers. Other big imperialist states, notably France, Germany, and Japan, maneuvered to gain markets and spheres of influence in tandem with their growing economic power.


IV. The Scramble for a New Re-division of the World


 So even before, but especially after the breakup of the Soviet bloc, there has been a constant maneuvering by the big imperialist states to re-divide the world. However, the neo-fascist propaganda machines camouflage these dirty wars of conquest with demagogy and false slogans. For example, during most of the years of the so-called “Cold War” (1956-1990), the U.S. ran its aggressive foreign policy as a noble crusade to defend democracy and the free world in the “fight against Communism.”

With the “evil empire” gone from the scene, this no longer worked. Different external enemies had to be found. The U.S. and its most subservient ally, Great Britain, assumed a decidedly more bellicose foreign policy to contend in regions that were hotbeds of inter-imperialist rivalry. But this required them to manufacture conditions to justify their aggression. In the early 90s, they provoked Iraq into annexing Kuwait, and in the mid 90s they, along with other big powers, sponsored “separatist” and terrorist groups in Yugoslavia that threw the country into bloody civil war and a reign of terror. Taking military action against countries as “aggressors,” or “rogue states sponsoring terrorism,” possessing “weapons of mass destruction,” and “violating human rights” became the new casus belli for Anglo-American imperialism.  Although Washington and London ostensibly launched these wars in “cooperation” with some other imperialist powers, forming U.N. approved “coalitions,” both were straight out inter-imperialist conflicts in which the Anglo-American bloc’s main aim was to gain stronger positions in if not hegemony over Yugoslavia and Iraq.  


V. Failure of the Anglo-American Bloc:  Its Response


These aims were not realized, however. Iraq remained decidedly outside of the Anglo-American sphere of influence, still very much tied to Russia and France with China quietly insinuating itself in the country through business deals in the oil sector. Yugoslavia was divided up differently, more in accord with the favored “multi-lateral” approach of the Russian and Western European powers.

The American financial oligarchy found these defeats intolerable. During the 90s The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, was formulated. As the “sole superpower” with unchallengeable military might, the main platform of this “project” was to expand the U.S.’s spheres of influence not through diplomacy, compromises, and “multi-lateral" agreements with its rivals but through unbridled aggression and endless war.

War is the extreme response of capitalism in crisis and decay when it is immersed in irreconcilable inter-imperialist contradictions. Nevertheless, it has been unleashed repeatedly in regional theaters as well as on a world scale over the last century in vain attempts to resolve them. However, imperialism must resort to another extreme to both wage war and to resolve the other major contradiction of modern capitalism, that between itself and the working class. Fascism arrives on the scene, sharply exposing that  imperialism itself is the embodiment of the most ferocious extremism.

Fascism in the U.S. is nothing new. Having been fully installed in the early 1950s, the dictatorships continuously intensified their anti-popular and anti-democratic features, becoming even more pronounced and oppressive, not to mention bizarre as these deformities of the body politic were and still are passed off as virtues of “the greatest democracy in the world.”  Over the years U.S. neo-fascism stripped labor of its means to defend itself against capitalist encroachment. The largest unions have been reduced to cogs in the corporate state apparatus and strikes of any significance crushed, manipulated, or banned. With the workers completely disarmed, the capitalists are free to brutally exploit labor to maximize profits. Tens of millions suffer impoverishment and ruin. It grows worse by the day. Such is the one-sided class struggle in America, “land of the free” – vicious, uninterrupted war by the bourgeoisie against a work force totally suppressed and unable to effectively respond to these offensives.

The PNAC laid the groundwork and plan for an even more open and reactionary form of fascism, turning decidely toward militarism. This plan was fully implemented after the “9/11 attacks,” which conveniently gave the U.S. the exact pretext it needed to shift to a more open war mode. Now with the ruse of a “war on terror,” American imperialism was free to pursue its imperial dream of a “new world” order under Washington’s dictate “unilaterally,” giving itself license to attack and occupy any country that it labeled a “threat” and in need of "regime change" that will bring security to the U.S. or its “friends.” 

It is no accident that the calls for “endless war,” and unrestrained aggression through the “pre-emptive strike,” were two notorious planks in the German and Italian fascist platforms of the last century. This frankly fascist foreign policy, though still shamelessly proclaimed “democratic,” necessitated increased repressive measures to secure the “homeland” (another striking parallel to the Nazis, who used the term Heimat or native land to evoke a mystical and crazed chauvinism among the German people).

A quiet home front and a population supportive of wars of conquest are not that easy to achieve with such huge contradictions between the interests of the oppressor and oppressed. After the election of 2000, in which the Bush-Cheney junta was installed by legal chicanery, American workers, having had there labor and living standards degraded for decades, were disgusted and disillusioned with the government. “Intelligence” determined they did not possess the right psychology to back new adventures of U.S. imperialism, but the "9/11 attacks" produced a traumatic national crisis for the junta to instill a war psychosis in the population, stifle opposition to its policies, and provide a pretext for open aggression.

There is little doubt that these "attacks,” designed from the Nazi Reichstag fire template, were an elaborate black ops that gave the U.S. the carte blanche for launching pre-emptive strikes against any country the U.S. considered “terrorist,” namely against any country where the U.S. wanted to extend its imperialist tentacles. This "new Pearl Harbor," also handed the junta a perfect justification to further curtail any rights that might be of use to the working class to resist the fascist dictatorship. For example, the Patriot Acts pave the way for a more draconian police state than has existed since the start of the “Cold War.” When the government claims that these measures are necessary for the “security of the American people,” it really means for the security of the monopoly capitalists. To be sure, these acts simply and directly illustrate the Marxist-Leninist thesis that the state is nothing other than political power in the hands of one class to facilitate its class struggle against other classes. The latest variety of the U.S. fascist state has expanded its political power into new mechanisms of suppression, terror, and manipulation to subjugate the entire population to the dictate of the financial oligarchy.

This dark episode of American history figures as a new low for the U.S. ruling class, and exposes just how pernicious and dangerous it is both to the American and world’s peoples. Since the end of World War II, the blood of millions of innocent people has been running off its hands, but this is the first time in recent memory it had turned on “its own people,” on “its own soil,” to cause such destruction and loss of life. It was to be expected. Even the more “benign” face of American fascism, the Clinton regime, fiendishly declared that the death of a half million Iraqi children that resulted from the U.S.-led sanctions against Baghdad during the 90s was “worth it.” Certainly, if U.S. imperialism’s interests stand above the deaths of half-million Iraqi children, casualties in the low thousands, Americans notwithstanding, would not deter its "vital interests." On the contrary, the human toll together with the chilling effect of the collapsing twin towers facilitated what the ruling class needed to further them.


VI. The Real “War on Terror”



Not surprisingly, the countries U.S. imperialism has targeted most for aggression and/or annexation in this “war on terror” lie mainly within the Russian or European spheres of influence. Thus, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Georgia, Chechnya, the Ukraine, and the “Stans” of Central Asia have all become hotbeds of rivalry in a conflict which has engaged all the big imperialist states. Antagonisms within the imperialist camp continue to intensify as U.S. unilateralism, belligerence, and unbridled aggression upset even its “friends,” so dramatically seen in the politely dubbed “Trans-Atlantic Rift.” At the same time, big powers which are not all that friendly, such as Russia and China are forming political and military ties that may soon constitute the foundation of a bloc to rival Anglo-American imperialism.(2).

An objective assessment of these developments shows unequivocally that the United States’ war on terror has nothing to do with fighting terror and terrorists. It has nothing to do with making the “homeland,” or other countries safe. It is no more than a subterfuge through which U.S. imperialism drives for global expansion and hegemony over countries that were previously the “turf” of other imperialist states, and it is especially geared to seize countries most rich in energy and other valuable natural resources. With world energy demand soon to outstrip production capacity, the monopolists who control the oil spigots will control the world economy. It is also no coincidence that this offensive comes at a time of the deepening of capitalism’s general crisis which has spurred major economic dislocations in many countries, shrinking markets for the export of capital and goods. Taking all these factors into consideration, it becomes very clear why the annexation of Iraq was an imperative for U.S. imperialism(3).


VII. Who are the “Terrorists”?


Contrary to the “official truth” coming out of Washington and its state controlled media, not only is the U.S. not waging a war against terror, it is actually a perpetrator of international terror. The Scientific Socialist program explains how the “terrorist” card is played in this latest “grand game” of imperialist re-division.


Throughout the world, the imperialist states and ruling circles that are in contention sponsor terrorist and reactionary groups of every stripe (nationalist, religious, tribal, etc.)  as proxies to defend their respective interests in reactionary civil wars, where entire countries are turned into madhouses of butchery and destruction.


Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and Chechnya are prime examples of how imperialism employs terror as a tactic to gain ground against rivals. It has been well documented how these countries and their peoples have been ravaged by terrorist groups masquerading as freedom fighters, nationalists, and separatists at the behest of interfering powers that financed, armed, and directed them. How hollow and hypocritical then the calls for a “war on terror” from the imperialist states that have unleashed hideous forms of terror all along, particularly the U.S. and the UK, and who have created a revolting mess of death and destruction in the country they most recently “liberated” and “made safe for democracy” – Iraq. 

Terrorism and terrorist organizations have nothing in common with genuine democratic or liberation movements. They are creatures of contemporary fascist-imperialism. Behind the operations of religious extremists, separatists, and death squads, whether they occur in the Middle East, the Balkans, Central Asia, Central and South America, or on the streets of New York, Madrid, and London, lies the hand of the intelligence services and black-ops of the big imperialists. They are tools of reaction in the class struggle. Each big power or power bloc uses them against rivals in the on-going inter-imperialist war for re-division of the world. At the same time, fascism unleashes them against the genuine democratic and revolutionary forces in monopoly capitalism’s continuous class struggle against the working class and people. In other words, terror and terrorism are integral tactics of fascism and war in this particular phase of the new imperialist conflict.


VIII. The Proletarian Internationalist Stand towards War and Fascism


Such, in broad strokes, is the analysis of Marxism-Leninism on this issue based on its theory of classes and class struggle. Scientific Socialists encourage those who are partisan to the cause of the working class to find their way through the labyrinth and chaos of current national and international crises by embracing and applying the Marxist-Leninist science. There is no alternative.

It is encouraging to see genuine progressives and independent thinkers take positive stands and offer accurate views about the imperialist nature of U.S. adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan or effectively expose the fascist tendencies of the junta. Nevertheless, they are unable to see the forest from the trees because their conceptions lack the concrete and logical proletarian revolutionary outlook that provides the coherent truth that we are living under a fascist dictatorship disguised as a democracy and that the U.S. is surrepticiously engaged in an inter-imperialist war with its biggest rivals.

As in the case of the dismemberment and re-division of Yugoslavia in 1995, we do not have many important facts on the specifics of this latest chapter of inter-imperialist conflict at our disposal. It is a disadvantage, but Marxism-Leninism has amassed facts over a century of imperialism’s existence and raised them to a theory that concretely explains the current situation. This theory arms us with the only principled internationalist stand for the American proletariat to take, and that is to struggle against these predatory wars of conquest and the systemic fascism that unleashes them. Fascism needs war because as the servant of imperialism, it pushes for finance capital's "freedom" to maximize profits at any cost. The junta issues sermons about a "fight against evil," and "for freedom" but what does it mean by these? The "evil" it has in mind is not really "terrorism" but the restrictions that the general crisis, imperialist rivals, and the peoples' struggles place on the financial oligarchy's "freedom" to exploit labor and pillage natural resources at will. Fascism is totally indifferent towards the real "evils" that plague the working class: mass unemployment, poverty, crime, disease, and cultural degradation, in other words, towards all those grueling characteristics inherent to the rotting capitalist system that it has been spawned to defend. Thus, for the working class and people to strive for real change, it is of paramount importance that they unite in actions which go beyond the reformist and pacifist politics of the anti-war movement. It is not sufficient to just "bring the troops home" or to end a particular occupation. What is needed is a conscious, militant, and organized line of march against fascism and imperialist war in a many-sided and revolutionary struggle for New Democracy and Socialism - the only alternatives that will rid the world of such barbarous regimes and conflicts once and for all.



(1) It is decisive to grasp the nature of state monopoly capitalism for understanding the configuration of classes, the class struggle, and fascism in modern capitalism. Despite its length, we quote a passage below from an article entitled "Reality and the Revolution" from the Fall 1994 issue of Scientific Socialist to assist those who seek clarity on this important area of Marxist theory:

"State monopoly capitalism, where the biggest and most powerful organs of the state exclusively serve the financial oligarchy, emerged with the rise of imperialism at the start of the century. In the United States, it expanded rapidly during and after World War I and consolidated itself after World War II. Throughout this process the nature of the state as a machine in the hands of the dominant exploiting class to oppress the masses did not change; however, the class content of this state shifted from capitalist rule to monopoly capitalist rule. Hitherto the state was mainly the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in general. Now it became mainly the dictatorship of the monopolists in particular. That is, with state monopoly capitalism the bourgeoisie as a whole can and still does utilize various state levers to effect its interests, but control and influence over such levers are strictly determined by the magnitude and power of capital, and precisely for this reason monopoly capitalism predominates to exercise its hegemony over the supreme mechanisms of the state, which in turn dictate to the lower level bodies in the interests of the financial oligarchy. This dictatorship of the oligarchy over the federal, state and even municipal levels becomes more absolute with the growing preponderance of big capital, steadily usurping the shrinking power of the smaller monopolists and non-monopolist bourgeoisie, which are more and more reduced to minion classes economically and politically. What occurs then is a natural evolution of political power going over to the economically dominant section within the capitalist class. But what results is a quite unnatural form of class rule. Lenin broached this phenomenon as early as 1918 when he wrote in his pamphlet, The State and Revolution:

The imperialist war has immensely accelerated and intensified the process of transformation of monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism. The monstrous oppression of the toiling masses by the state, which is merging more and more with the all-powerful capitalist associations, is becoming ever more more monstrous. The advanced countries are being converted - we speak of here of their 'rear' - into military convict prisons for the workers.

What Lenin is referring to here was shortly later to acquire the name fascism."

In considering the above, it should be added that although the financial oligarchy consolidates its domination over the bourgeois class during capitalism's monopoly stage, the fight to impose a hierarchy within this class begins long before this. Marx makes the following interesting analysis of the June-July 1848 Revolution in France:


After the July Revolution, when the Liberal banker, Laffitte, led his godfather, the Duke of Orleans, in triumph to the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall), he let fall the words: "From now on the bankers will rule." Lafitte had betrayed the secret of the revolution.

It was not the French bourgeoisie that ruled under Louis Philippe, but a fraction of it, bankers, stock exchange kings, railway kings, owners of coal and ironworks and forests, a section of the landed proprietors that rallied round them - the so-called finance aristocracy. It sat on the throne, it dictated laws in the Chambers, it conferred political posts from cabinet portfolios to the tobacco bureau.

Class Struggles in France 1848-1850

(2) Bourgeois ideologues like to speak of the "world's love-hate relationship" with the US, but it is the imperialist sector that has succumbed to this abnormal relationship. The oligarchies of all the big states recognize the valuable role the US plays as the spearhead of international reaction and the most counter-revolutionary force on the planet. How can world imperialism not benefit from this "outstanding model of modern capitalism" - a super-power that crushes the working class movement, banishes democracy, and derails civilization into a swamp of corruption and degeneracy? Nazi Germany was loved by the imperialists too and for precisely for the same reasons. However, selfishness, greed and inter-imperialist contradictions disrupted this affair. America's role too will decline in value as Washington's arrogance and ruthless adventures drive US interests without a consensus from the imperialist camp. Knocking out a big competitor on the world market has its own worth.

(3) Then, of course, was Iraq's plans to sell its oil in Euros rather than dollars and China's schemes to reconstruct the country's devasted oil production facilities. Where would these these moves have left the US? Any plan by the oil monopolists to seize the black gold would have been indefinitely delayed, profits from trading in dollars lost, and the petro-dollar system undermined. Iran is now in the process of devising an alternative system for trading its oil on the world market. Interesting, and most likely the US's real reason for screaming about the need for "regime change" there, not Iran's nuclear power projects.