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ISIS, Imperialism, and the Anti-Refugee Backlash: How the "War on Terror" Made the World More Dangerous

  • Portland State University SMSU Room 333 1825 Southwest Broadway Portland, OR, 97201 United States (map)

Wael Elasady - Palestinian-Syrian activist and member of the International Socialist Organization.

In the days following the horrific attacks in Paris, our rulers have responded with a narrative and actions that have become all too familiar. French President Hollande immediately vowed to wage "merciless war" against ISIS and launched an intensive bombing campaign in Syria. He has implemented a "state of emergency" that grants exceptional powers to the state. Meanwhile, politicians jin the US and the media are already ramping up a scapegoating campaign against Syrian refugees and Muslims.

If all of this feels too familiar, it is because this is precisely what happened after the attacks in the US on 9/11. And yet, the US-led wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, and the accompanying attack on civil liberties and racist backlash against Arabs and Muslims, has done nothing to make our world safer. Instead, it has left a trail of devastation and created greater instability and danger. In fact, it is the "war on terror" that has created the conditions in which ISIS could develop.

The state terrorism of the US, France and their allies and the terror of ISIS share a logic - that this is a clash of civilizations and that there is no alternative between imperialism and reaction. The Paris attacks - directed not at the state but at young, multi-racial and progressive gathering spots - only highlight this point. They were designed to invite repression and push back the possibility of solidarity between Muslims and non-Muslims, refugees and French-born.

It is the urgent responsibility of the Left to reject this narrative and to build an alternative based on solidarity and opposition to all forms of racism,imperialism and reaction. This was the hope we saw in the wave of actions in support of refugees in recent months. It again showed its face when French mourners drove fascists away from a vigil in the wake of the attacks.

Come to this meeting of the Portland International Socialist Organization to talk about the background to the recent attacks, how we can resist the tide of war and racism, and what we can do here to contribute to the building of a genuinely internationalist alternative.

PSU Smith Building Room 333 at 6:45pm