The Manchester bombing

Statement from the PCC of the CPGB

Sickening attack

Monday night’s bomb attack on the Manchester Arena is both shocking and revolting. So far 22 people have lost their lives and 59 were badly injured. Police have named British-born Salman Abedi as the suspected suicide bomber. We do not yet know his motives, but Islamic State has reportedly claimed that Abedi was one of theirs.

Thousands of young people, many of them children, had gone to the Ariana Grande concert. They had one aim - to enjoy themselves. Their night out ended in horror.

Theresa May says the Manchester attack was an act of “sickening cowardice”. Sickening, of course. But it is clear that Salman Abedi was no coward. To strap on a suicide vest and then explode it is hardly an act of cowardice. Salman Abedi was doubtless a man who had found a cause … a perverted, dehumanised and thoroughly reactionary cause: Islamic State is not an anti-imperialist force - it is a Frankenstein monster.

Mainstream media and politicians have stressed the need for unity. If by that is meant not demonising the Muslim population then we can only but agree.

Certainly the response of Manchester’s population to the May 22 bombing is admirable. Parents waiting to pick up their children tended to the injured, helped those in wheelchairs and provided comfort. Off-duty medics rushed forward to give help. Taxi drivers gave free lifts. Restaurant and shop owners delivered food for hospital staff, who worked round the clock to treat the injured. People came forward with offers of blood.

All of that shows a humanity and sense of solidarity.

However - and here’s the rub - Theresa May’s Tories, Britain’s chief inspectors, the securocrats will use the Manchester bomb outrage as another excuse to bang the national-chauvinist drum and up the general level of surveillance, repression, militarisation, etc.

It is also worth stressing that what Manchester experienced on Monday night, people in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq experience on a daily basis ... not least as a result of US and UK drones, missiles and aircraft. US and UK bombs kill innocent men, women and children.

No matter what the country, no matter what the language, all human life is unique, all human life is valuable. The death of a child in Manchester is no different from the death of a child in Kandahar, Mosul or Raqqa.

And, of course, it is the US and UK that sponsored Mujahedeen terrorism in Afghanistan and then subsequently invaded the country, occupied and wrecked Iraq, brought about regime change in Libya and today arms, pays for and politically backs a range of vile reactionary and jihadi groups in Syria.

The human cost has been appalling. Tens of thousands - maybe hundreds of thousands - have died. Hence, when it comes to terrorism, IS is nothing compared with US-UK imperialism.

Another point. Historically the main sponsors of IS have come from the ruling elite in Saudi Arabia. However, where once Donald Trump denounced Saudi Arabia as “extremist” and behind 9/11, now he embraces Saudi Arabia as an ally against Iran and boasts about selling the kingdom arms worth $110 billions. And, of course, Turkey - a US-UK Nato ally - has for years aided and abetted IS.

So condemning the Manchester bomb, and expressing our outrage at the loss of young lives, cannot mean suspending political activity and issuing pledges of unity with the hypocritical ruling class, their reactionary allies and their murderous pawns.

CPGB Provisional
Central Committee