Bob Gould, 2005

The London transport bombings

Source: Ozleft, July 7, 2005
Proofreading, editing, mark-up: Steve Painter

Green Left Weekly discussion list

I’m in considerable sympathy with Rohan Pearce’s post in the past hour or so. Socialists in Australia should study carefully the brief statement by the British Socialist Worker cancelling the Marxism event for the day.

The bombings are a particular concern for Rohan Pearce because he has family in London, and it’s also no doubt a concern for the British SWP because the Marxism event attracts thousands of people from all over Britain and the world to central London. It’s clear that many intending participants in Marxism would have been travelling on public transport at the time the bombs went off.

The point made in the Socialist Worker statement is important: London is the centre of antiwar and anti-capitalist sentiment in the British Isles and it’s a particularly vicious anti-working-class act for anyone to engage in indiscriminate bombings against the working population.

I’ve just watched Ken Livingstone speaking about the bombings in Singapore before he boarded a plane for London. His shock and anger was quite clear, and he made the same point as Socialist Worker: that it was a political act directed not at prime ministers, high politicians, military figures or kings, but against ordinary working people going about their business in central London.

It’s not absolutely clear at this point who the perpetrators are. In the mysterious interpenetrated world of terrorists and different state apparatuses, things aren’t always exactly as they seem.

Whether this turns out to be some kind of Byzantine state provocation or a totally misguided “political” act by some group, socialists should condemn it unreservedly and explain that this kind of action is thoroughly counter-revolutionary and an attack on the working class.

My political instinct says that while the masses are grieving about this event we should concentrate mainly on condemning it and its perpetrators, and avoid drawing too long a bow about the ultimate responsibility of imperialism, etc.

Like Rohan Pearce I’ve been glued to the television this evening as I’ve sat in my shop working, and I haven’t done much work. I automatically try to put myself in the place of ordinary people going about their day-to-day work, and or the socialist comrades on their annual holidays going to Marxism, who may have been killed or seen others killed.

Those who have carried out this event are barbarians and opponents and enemies of the working class.