Fight terrorism. Fight fascism!

Arah Juang – March 16, 2019
Protest opposing radicalism and terrorism (Suara Pesantren)
Protest opposing radicalism and terrorism (Suara Pesantren)

The following is a statement by the Organisation of Socialist Youth Groups (OKMS) on the terrorist attack against worshipers performing Friday prayers in Christchurch New Zealand.

The OKMS condemn the terrorist attack by four fascists who fired on a congregation conducting Friday prayers at the Linwood and Al Noor mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing at least 49 Muslim worshipers.

We wish to convey our deepest condolences to the victims and survivors of this terrorist attack. Let us join together in solidarity and at the same time build a cross-religious mass movement of ordinary and working people to fight terrorism and fascism.

Fascism and white supremacy are a sickness in modern civilisation. They spread Islamaphobia and blame immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers for the problems which are in fact caused by capitalism.

In the case of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, we have already witnessed how the conservatives and right-wing reactionaries are instead blaming the victims. This attitude not only reflects the bias of the bourgeois politicians, but also shows they’re lack of consistency in eradicating terrorism, let alone fighting against fascism.

We can also see a similar thing in Indonesia. We have not forgotten how on the morning of Sunday May 13 last year, when Christian congregations in the East Java city of Surabaya were conducting morning mass, at least three churches were bombed.

The series of bomb blasts were believed to have been carried out by the terrorist-fundamentalist groups Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) – the largest faction of ISIS supporters in Indonesia. The group was established by pro-ISIS ideological follower Aman Abdurrahman and Jamaah Anshorul Tauhid (JAT) leader Abu Bakar Baasyir. The attack killed 28 people and wounded 57 other, including children.

Terrorist acts and the sectarian killing of other religious communities do not just come out of nowhere.

Rather, they are a domino effect and at the same time a higher level on the same pyramid as the use of the politics of racism and bigotry by the oppressive class to divide and play the people off against each other for the sake of the power struggle between sections of the political elite.

Dividing and playing the ordinary people and the working class off against each other by the oppressive class is legitimised by all kinds of means. Including by spread of hoaxes and slander.

The oppressor class has never really has an interest in the truth – they are more interested in justifications so that they can maintain their power and continued their exploitation. Truth is only used if it suits their interests and is tossed out when it is no longer needed. They are not adverse to producing and spreading lies, and even fear and panic if needed.

The most recent example of this in Indonesia can be seen in the spread of anti-kafir (unbelievers) sentiment, particularly in the lead up to the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial elections. In the West meanwhile, Islamaphobia is peddled endlessly as a justification for imperialist wars disguised a fighting terror.

The impact of this is even greater and more widespread because of the monopolisation of the mass media by a small number of media tycoons. One notable example of this is the mass media monopoly under the capitalist Rupert Murdoch. Just in 2017 alone, newspapers such as The Australian, the Herald Sun, the Daily Telegraph, the Courier Mail and the Adelaide Advertiser published as many as 2,891 articles vilifying Islam.

These articles – almost 3 thousand of them – associated Islam and or Muslims with words like “violence”, “extremism” or “terrorism”. This clearly and blatantly feeds Islamaphobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in Australia (the country the perpetrators of the terrorist attack in Christchurch originated from).

Racism and bigotry (from the hidden to the vulgar), including in other forms (such as sexism, homophobia, heterosexism and anti-Semitism) is just one of the rungs in a ladder up the pyramid to a higher levels – from discrimination to incitement, to attacks and mass killings.

There is an assumption which has been propagated that fundamentalism is a natural development of religious teachings where religious teachings are associated with the principles, political perspectives and behaviour of fundamentalist groups. As if what is done by fundamentalists groups is a reflection of religion itself.

This racist outlook is actually propagated by fundamentalist terrorist groups as well as the bourgeois class itself. They both use religion for their own economic and political interests.

Over the last year, the political elite from all camps have used religion to garner electoral support. One by one they travel around the county meeting with religious leaders and begging for their support. They then race against each other to offer money for a flood of programs for religious institutions.

Meanwhile the mass media industry continues to present and make films with religious themes for the sake of ratings and advertising money, even inviting religious leaders to appear on talk shows who openly promote terrorism.

Second the bourgeois camps contesting the 2019 presidential and legislative elections propagate racism to gain electoral support. Incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo chose Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his vice presidential running mate, the person who was the brains behind the racist 411 and 212 actions against then Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama – an ethnic Chinese Christian.

Prior to being banned by the government, the hard-line Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) repeatedly invited senor members of the military to its declarations and events. President Widodo’s Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs, Wiranto, who was commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) during Suharto’s New Order dictatorship, was behind the establishment of hard-line Islamic groups such as Pam Swakarsa and the notorious Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).

Chep Hernawan, head of the ultra-conservative Islamic Reform Movement (Garis) and supporter of the rival presidential ticket of Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno, is a fundamentalist as well as a supporter and financial donator of the fundamentalist terrorist organisation ISIS. Hernawan has never been tried for convicted for this.

Indonesia’s police and military have a long history of collaborating with fundamentalist groups. The New Order was once involved in an intelligence operation along with the United States and Britain to send arms to the Mujahidin to overthrow the Saur Revolutionary regime in Afghanistan.

Thus the bourgeois politicians and security forces have never really been consistent in fighting terrorism, fundamentalism or fascism because from time to time they use them for their own benefit.

Specifically with regard to fascism, Indonesia itself has a dark history. This started with collaboration with the colonial fascist Japanese forces resulting in widespread suffering, forced labour and sexual slavery to the 1965-66 anti-communist purge and the New Order fascist military dictatorship led by Suharto.

To this day the remnants of fascism in Indonesia have never really disappeared. Militia and paramilitary thugs are still maintained by the bourgeois elite and militarists.

Meanwhile anti-fascist fighters such as Tan Malaka, Widarta and Amir Sjarifudin have never been honoured and their historical role in Indonesia and have been censored by reactionary, anti-communist sentiment. Fascist books such as Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf are sold freely everywhere while leftist and anti-fascist books are raided and confiscated.

Nevertheless, it has to be understood that the attack by the fascist killers on the mosques in Christchurch is also grounded in their frustration over the inability of fascist and right-wing reactionary groups to build a mass movement. This is because every time they emerge anti-racist groups obstruct and fight them.

These fascist killers shift from trying to build a mass movement to acts of terror by individuals or small groups because they have been defeated and forced back in the streets.

These fascists, including those from Australia, are unable to build a mass movement of the same size as the recent movements against climate change. The anti-fascist struggle has pursued the correct path of organising mass actions, counter-demonstrations and class struggle.

But as long as capitalism still stands the seeds of fascism will exist. Because of this therefore, let us fight together not just against terrorism and fascism but also to overthrow capitalism and all forms of oppression.

Let us build solidarity with working people to fight for world peace, to fight for democracy, to fight against terrorism, fundamentalism, chauvinism, militarism, capitalism and imperialism, and replace them with socialism. The first step that we must take to do this is to join in a revolutionary political force.

Arah Juang

Arah Juang (Direction of Struggle) is the official website of the Political Congress of the Working People’s Organisation of Struggle (KPO-PRP), which brings together ideas and initiatives of the people’s movements to build and anti-capitalist political force.

[Translated by James Balowski. Edited slightly for readability. The original title of the article was “Lawan Terorisme, Lawan Fasisme!!!”.]