We must build social power, not pretend we can hold the powerful to account. (on 9/11)

The day after the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks a discusion
broke out on the theory list of the wonderful “Philadelphia Socialists”[1]
group, triggered by a CunterPunch article that critiques 9/11 conspiracy
theory[2].

Cockburn’s article includes this important point:

“These days a dwindling number of leftists learn their political economy
from Marx. Into the theoretical and strategic void has crept a diffuse,
peripatic conspiracist view of the world that tends to locate ruling class
devilry not in the crises of capital accumulation, or the falling rate of
profit, or inter-imperial competition, but in locale (the Bohemian Grove,
Bilderberg, Ditchley, Davos) or supposedly “rogue” agencies, with the CIA
still at the head of the list.”

This is quite well said! Other than perhaps recommending a few other
critics of political economy to go along with Marx, I couldn’t agree more
with Mr Cockburn!

However, rather than continue this line of reasoning and give us a
materialist analysis of the events of September 11, Cockburn instead dives
head first into the Conspiracy theory muck. Cockburn unleashes a
bewildering number of arguments rooted in demolition logistics, air defense
and flight control procedures and the capacity and competency of
intelligence agencies, the military and the United States Government,
because unlike the wild-eyed Truthers, Mr. Cockburn, apparently, really
does knows what happened. Really. He does.

Not only are Cockburn’s claims just as much riddled with bias and fallacy
as those of the Truthers, but they also require us to make judgements
based on subjects most of us can not possibly be very literate in. But even worse, he misses his own point, as quoted above.

The trouble with Truthers is not that they are wrong, it is, exactly
as Cockburn writes, that they locate class conflict as being a consequence
of some bad-apple politicians and organisations, and not in the crisis of
capital accumulation.

Let’s be clear here, “Conspiracy Theory” is a bit of a misnomer. The
official version of events is that an underground network of Islamists
planed and carried out these attacks in secret.

Isn’t that a conspiracy?

So, the issue is not so much whether or not there was a conspiracy, but who was involved in it. Given the well documented inter-connections between intelligence agencies and terror networks it is clear that we can not possibly know how far or wide the network spreads. Certainly, whether by plot or blowback, the events of 9/11 must be connected to anti-Soviet geostrategy during the cold war. And clearly, governments world-wide have seized the opportunity to impose counter-insurrectionist police states and to justify interventions and wars.

Should we really be blaming the masses for being suspicious of the whole
thing? Should we really be berating the masses about the malleability of steel at
1000 degrees centigrade, the ideal timing of demolition charges relative to
aircraft impact, and disputing how long it really ought to take air
defense to intercept rogue aircraft? WTF? Can’t we just stick to politics
and leave the make-believe popular science posturing alone?

The botom line is even if we could know “The Truth,” we can’t hold the
powerful to account. They are not accountable to us. The illegal and
immoral is commonplace in the administration of class war and empire.
Knowing the incriminating details will not help us overthrow the class
structure. The Truth will not set us free.

Why should I care if the events of 9/11 where planned in Tora Bora, Camp
David or a Starbucks on Madison Avenue? They are clearly the consequence of
the struggle for Capital accumulation, regardless of the operational details.

In order to prevent such events we need to build social power and abolish
class. Instead of wasting our time telling people they are wrong about what
“really happened” how about we argue that such conflicts would not happen
in a society without classes, and that getting at “The Truth” is not so
important as building this new society?

In any case, we will certainly get to the bottom of it and figure out the
“Real Truth” tonight at Cafe Buchhandlung[3]. Personally, I’m convinced it
was Colonel Mustard with the Candlestick in the Billiard Room.

I’ll be there at 9pm as usual.

[1] http://phillysocialists.org/
[2] http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/02/the-911-conspiracists-vindicated-after-all-these-years/
[3] http://j.mp/buchhandlung

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