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On Bombing

To the Editors:

The bombings of the New York headquarters of General Telephone & Electronics, et al., have been accompanied by political statements attributing them to men and women of revolutionary persuasion. This may or may not be the case.

As an active partisan of Revolution, and as one who has, along with scores of others in this country, been arrested, jailed, clubbed, and gassed, I feel compelled to express some opinion on these Acts committed, it would seem, in the name of our Revolution.

Revolutionary intent notwithstanding, one result of the bombings, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, was the absurd spectacle of some corporation executives publicly announcing that their company has no defense contracts with the government.

Objects—in themselves—represent nothing. Their value (including their symbolic value) is derived from the social and political context in which they exist. The destruction of an object by an individual act of violence does not damage the political, economic, or social foundation, and therefore of course, does not attack the source of exploitation, oppression, racism, or war.

Such acts of violence are politically useless. More importantly they are counter-productive, generating as they do deep public fear and a further excuse for governmental reprisal.

The momentary disruption of General Telephone & Electronics indeed demonstrates its vulnerability in spite of corporate wealth and power. But to disrupt does not dismantle. The only tangible thing individual acts of terror bring down is the State—on us!

I do not oppose the necessary use of force to secure and defend the Revolution. However such force is not based upon the punitive acts of individual violence, but the decisive acts of a People advancing or defending their Liberation. Such force will be used when and as it is necessary.

This country is in the throes of an economic, political, and social crisis unparalleled in its history. There are three things the Left must do. Unify. Organize. Politicize.

The political and revolutionary consciousness of the People is the only basis upon which unity, organization, coherence, perspective, and ultimately Power can be attained.

The Socialist Revolution in the United States must express the popular will of its People. It must be conceived in the principles of Liberation, Humanism and Reason. Otherwise, what are we fighting for?

Bettina Aptheker

San José, California

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