Global War for the World Order (Part I)

Submitted by redtwister on December 16, 2005

Behind the attacks of September 11 weren't the pauperized and exploited of this world, and the bombing of Afghanistan isn't aimed at the alleged masterminds of the attacks. Both incidents belong to the strategy of worldwide control of labor power and protection of the global valorization of capital. So it does not have to do simply with profit making in the economic sense, but rather with the protection and penetration of capitalistic relations, i.e., of a specific class relationship. This class relationship, as the core of a historic form of society, finds itself in crisis, and must today be defended with war.

In discussions over the past weeks, a whole series of background information has been gathered together, on the attacks just as much as on the war in Afghanistan, which, taken for themselves, are all correct, but which, however, account only for facets of a global class struggle: the role of petroleum in the Caspian Sea and the pipelines, the geopolitical wrangling for the Central Asian territory, the instability of the regimes of the Middle East, the religious and ethnic fissuring of society, the international migratory currents, the dramatic crisis of the capitalist world economy, crisis phenomena in the industrial countries themselves, the world market for drugs, the contradictions of so-called globalization, the new orientation of US and NATO war politics, the transformation of democracies into security states. But instead of supplying the connections among these particular aspects in the capitalist character of the contemporary world, in the antagonistic form of social relations, in discussions they are isolated, counterposed, and therefore mystify more than they explain.

In part one, we observe the character of war and the social content of the twenty-year war in Afghanistan, and explain the meaning of the Central Asian region by means of the role of petroleum for class relations in capitalist industry and by means of the political dilemma of the oil regimes of the Middle East, from which also the attacks of September 11 arose. In part two (in the next issue) we want to examine the meaning of the Taliban, the decision for military attacks on Afghanistan and the concrete course of the bombings, and to situate this in the military, political and economic perspectives of the world order. (See also our First Theses of September 26, 2001, On the Attacks in the USA and the War.)

Part I:
The Proletarianization of the World
and the (Oil) Machine of Capital

As the city of New York, in the middle of December, put the number of victims of 9/11 at 2,922, an unknown professor at the University of New Hampshire presented a meticulously worked out examination of the number of civilian dead in Afghanistan, in which otherwise no one had shown any interest. For the eight and a half weeks after the beginning of the bombing, he came up with 3 767 civilian dead, from which he excluded all those who only later succumbed to their injuries or died of other results of the war. [1] There are no comparable estimates of the number of dead soldiers or prisoners, though about 10 000 are spoken of.

Many have become outraged over this high number of civilian victims, reproached the USA for inhuman war waging, or advised against the use of certain weapons like the notorious cluster bomb. In spite of or precisely because of such appeals, the notion is maintained that war is simply a means for some determined political goal: overthrow of the Taliban regime, elimination of Al Qaeda terrorists, or also access to petroleum, or for geostrategic purposes.
War as Social Politics

War is never simply a means for something else. It itself is a determinate social relation that expresses in an extreme way what the role of proletarians is supposed to be: impotent objects of events occurring over their heads. In the Washington Post, on December 16, military-psychological considerations on the role of massive bombings from the air were taken into account, based on experiences in the Gulf War of 1991 and the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, but also based on knowledge of World War II [2]: It's not only about physical destruction, but the total demoralization of the attacked. Especially effective were bombings from such a height that no airplane could even be seen. These bombs, which, for the bombed, seemed to come out of nothing, and against which there was no possibility of defense nor escape, created not only the feeling of fear, but of a total senselessness and impotence; superhuman abilities were attributed to the enemy. These feelings were further strengthened through isolation and the lack of water and food. (We can add that the attackers of 9/11 also could have been privy to such knowledge: Their bombs came just as much out of nothing, and allowed of no defense; their putative causer was just as much furnished with superhuman powers, that were supposed to leave those threatened by such attacks no other choice than to submit themselves to a higher power.)

Marc Herold put the high number of civilian dead down, not to the imprecision or failure of the weapons system, but to this manner of war waging. Like already in the Gulf and Kosovo wars, it is the highest goal of war waging to avoid all losses. Thus the bombing from heights unreachable for the Stinger rockets always at hand in Afghanistan. [3]

High-intelligence weapons that only hit the bad guys are pure fairytales: They often enough land right next to them, but because of cost factors they make up only a small part of bombings. A cruise missile costs 1 up to 1.5 million dollars, a cluster bomb a laughable $5 000. So, nonmilitary targets were aimed at, like waterworks and dams; the telephone system was taken out of commission, the broadcast system destroyed. Several times, aid warehouses were bombed and employees of aid organizations were killed - after the third time not even the Red Cross took it for an accident anymore.

"As the USA warplanes on October 22-23 shot up the village of Chowkar-Karez, 25 miles north of Kandahar, with AC-130 cannons, and killed at least 93 civilians, an officer of the Pentagon said "the people there are dead because we wanted to have them dead." The reason? They sympathized with the Taliban." [4]

There is an officer that at least once let the truth slip out. The civilian deaths are no regrettable collateral damage but intentional. To all - the Taliban, the civilian population, and above all the militia of the Northern Alliance it should be made clear that they have to follow the dictate of this power; that this power can deliver death unto all. Statehood arises only in the recognition of a power monopoly - in this sense Afghanistan is practically being bombed into statehood. The massacres that the militias or Taliban committed over the years before do not distinguish themselves in the number of dead from the massacre of this bombing campaign but the latter has another meaning; it mediates the existence of a pre-eminent power. Like when, after the liberation of the cities in the middle of December, fighting broke out in the north between two militias of the Northern Alliance, and the USA didn't hesitate to end the battle with bombs from the sky.
War as Business and Transformation of Society

The USA has waged no war, but thrown bombs. The ground struggle it has left to the militias of the Northern Alliance. They have waged war for many years: against the Soviet Union and the regime in Kabul, together, and amongst themselves; and then against the Taliban, but always also amongst themselves. In the media, the chaos in Afghanistan becomes insoluble, and the constant failure of the peace negotiations is always lamented. But, in this case, who ever wanted peace?

To explain the twenty-year war in Afghanistan, to which at least 1.5 million people have fallen victim and by which more millions were made refugees, ethnic and religious conflicts as much as the competition of the interested states bordering the region, have been cited. All this has hindered a solution. Which solution? War was for a long time the solution. It was in no way total chaos, but rather a stable economy for those actively participating, on which their profits turned, and it was a process that radically rearranged the social relations in spite of all opposition. [5]

This war had in twenty years the effects that earlier development dictatorships and reform programs had not succeeded in achieving. The war in Afghanistan can be described as an almost textbook example of »primitive accumulation«, i.e., the ripping of humanity from its subsistence relations and the establishment of capitalistic relations. The ethnicization was only a means of holding the war in place. It had its basis not in the populations (see article from NZZ, quoted below), but rather served the militias in the legitimation of constant war waging. The warlords have nothing to do with the old »tribal leaders« but rather represent a new political and economic elite.

The Ethnic Construct in Afghanistan
"In opposition to the general representation that ethnic groups already existed for an indeterminate time, most of the ethnicities in Afghanistan were only created in the course of the twentieth century. Driven by scientific enthusiasm to classify people on the grounds of cultural qualities, ethnologists created a whole series of ethnic groups: Thus the Nuristani, Paschai, Aimaq, or Farsiwan. The concept of »Tadjik« originally came from residents who would not let themselves be ethnically classified. Therefore today we speak of the ethnic group of »Tadjiks«. Because of the various scientific claims, its unclear how many ethnic groups there are in Afghanistan today. While a German treatment comes to about 50 ethnicities, the Russian counts 200.

There are no concepts that say how an Uzbek, a Hazara, or a Pashtun has to be. Whoever claims that all Pashtuns are Sunnis errs grossly, where there are in the territory of Kandahar and in the Afghan-Pakistani border region also Shiite Pashtuns. Whoever claims that all Pashtuns speak Pashtu errs as well. Thus Tadjiks in Jalalabad or Hazara in Ghazni also speak Pashtu. In opposition to the governing Kabulers, who insist on their Pashtun identity but sometimes speak not a single word of Pashtun. The fallacy of Western politics, however, is to equate the ethnic groups with the military-political movements, and to interpret them as a unified bloc. In the contemporary debate it goes unnoticed that in spite of the ethnicization of the war, an ethnicization of the masses is nowhere to be found. Because to most Afghanis all the war parties are equally hated. Also the ethnic problematic for them is of no importance. Thus it goes wholly into oblivion that for the Afghani population, not the ethnic group, but rather, as before, the family, the clan and the village create the essential identity reference. Even the relevance of ethnicity as a military-political peg remains limited in the Afghan war: Innumerable commanders and battle units change fronts out of political opportunism and economic incentives independent of ethnic category".

(Conrad Schetter: The Chimera of Ethnicity in Afghanistan, Die Neue Zürcher Zeitung, October 26, 2001.)

The social transformations of the twenty-year war in Afghanistan can be gathered together as follows: [6]

* The previous agrarian subsistence economy and the nomad-grazing economy were permanently destroyed, beginning with the clearing of the fruit farms by the Soviet Army as a counterinsurgency tactic, up to the prevention of the grazing economy through the division of the land into militarily controlled areas and the mining of the countryside.

* Afghanistan experienced a rapid urbanization, in large part through the formation of refugee camps in Pakistan, which developed into proper cities; with 3.5 million refugees, the Afghans count as the largest single refugee group internationally, as this always forms one of the first stages of proletarianization.

* The militias just as much as the urban population became dependent on foreign deliveries and payments; the arms deliveries just as much as the international food aid are an income source for the many middlemen who enrich themselves and become »entrepreneurs«.

* For the first time, the economy, which previously stood 50 percent outside of money relations, has been wholly monetarized.

* Where agricultural production can be taken up at times, it is arranged around cash crops (i.e., products that can be sold on the world market) - here, above all, poppies for opium and heroin production.

* Transport and smuggling of commodities, above all from the duty-free harbors of Dubai (United Arab Emirates) to Pakistan and into the Central Asian states, has become an important source of income; here also arises an economic sector based on wage labor and profit.

In the subsistence economy and the social and political order based on it, there is nothing to beautify. The power inside the clan- and village-structured order turns on a feudal-like rent system, on which different attempts at land reform have broken their teeth in vain. These patriarchal structures oppose themselves to development models from above equally whether from a Western or a Soviet orientation.

With the transition toward the war economy up came a new elite, whose power was no longer based on disposal over earth and water, nor in any respect on the local population. The customary description in the press of warlords as »tribal leaders« or »clan chief« is totally misleading. The permeation of the new economy was above all unavoidable because of the fact that a new power structure arose that was no longer based on traditional relations. This change was furthered by the decision of the USA, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to support not the traditional landowning elite in the struggle against the Soviet Union, but rather only the Islamist parties. In the same scale and manner in which the militias and their agents were based on weapons and money deliveries from foreign countries, they were autonomous from the local communities, out of which they perhaps had arisen. For the farming population, whose subsistence foundations had been destroyed, the militias formed the next-best form of wage labor: soldiering - often only as a transitional halfproletarianization, as can be read in the firm ritual of summer offensives and the cessation of fighting for the harvest time, along with the opposition to forced recruitment in the villages.

Only in their independence did the militias discover their »ethnic« ascriptions as Tadjiks, Pashtuns, or Hazaris, in order to be able to possess their own »tradition« and naturalistic identity [7] - these identities were practiced and demonstrated in downright massacres in the style of ethnic cleansing. Everybody participated in them: Dostum's troops against the Taliban (already by then a container being used as brutal means of mass death, as has now occurred again in November at Mazar-i-Sharif), the Taliban against the Hazaris, or Massud against the Hazaris in Kabul.

The constant shifting of coalitions, groups, and fronts in this war - that goes just as much for the warlords as for the influence-grabbing states - seems irrational only to those believing in the warlords' ethnic, religious or tribal camouflages. The whole time it has had to do with maintaining this war as a period of transformation and as an income source, and it was literally that which the apostles of globalization preach: insertion into the world market.
The War in Afghanistan as a Catalyst for the Transformation of Central Asia

The participating great powers - above all, the USA and Russia, but also Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and India, and Iran and China - are there in order to maintain their access to the Central Asian territory. Of significance are not only the transport routes to the Caspian Sea and its oilfields, but also the whole political-military and economic orientation of the five states having become independent since 1991: Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, and Kyrgyzstan (together these form an area about 10 times that of today's Germany, with 55 million inhabitants). The Afghanistan of the warlords forms the operative base for Islamist groups in those countries and forced their regimes to insure themselves of the support of either Russia or NATO.

The constant war in Afghanistan was thereby simultaneously a moment of destabilization and social change in these countries, and narrowly tied together with similar wars in Chechnya, Tadjikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. In that the Afghanistan war was supported by all sides with money and weapons, it stabilized the instability of all Central Asia, which was its purpose. The usual description of this and similar wars as »proxy wars«, in which the different great powers of the region haggle over their influence, is superficial, and overlooks the class-forming and thereby capitalizing dimension of military conflicts as such.

»The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis. There'll be Aramco, pipelines, an emir, no parliament, and lots of Shariah. We can live with that«. A US diplomat, on January 20, 1997. [8]

Only in the middle of the 1990s did considerations ripen to come to a stabilization regarding Afghanistan, in order to harvest the fruit of the preceding social destruction - the first hope were the now-ostracized Taliban. Already in the Kosovo war it was made clear that NATO's aims lay in the East, in the Caucasus and the Central Asian region. [9] During the 1990s the interests in the oilfields and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea moved ever more strongly into the forefront. The political shakeup in the region in 1990/91 had triggered high expectations of a new income source in the oil branch, which also looked just as much to Siberia. Chevron has been active since 1997 in the Caspian Sea, and cooperated from the beginning with Tenghiz Field, the biggest development project. In spite of that, the oil world remains skeptical. [10]

For the strategic interests of the USA and the NATO states in these oil sources, their meaning as a possible alternative or complement to oil exports out of the Middle East became decisive - not because the exhaustion of the oilfields was feared, but because the prime oil producer, Saudi Arabia, and the other regimes on the Arabia peninsula could withstand less and less pressure from the proletariat. Wars are not led on the grounds of geological predictions for the next thirty, forty or fifty years, but on the grounds of immediately tangible problems. One such pain threshold was the OPEC decision of March 1999 to cut back crude production after a long phase of low prices, in order to drive the price back up. This was Saudi Arabia's most obvious renunciation of its previous role in oil price regulation in the sense of the capitalist world conjuncture - and simultaneously it was clear to everyone that it could not be handled otherwise, because of class pressure. [11] Around this time, fundamental decisions for a greater military operation in Afghanistan and a more direct presence in Central Asia may have been made.
The Special Commodity Petroleum

»Even an idiot understands the principle. We need the oil. It's nice to talk about freedom, but Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are hardly democracies, and if their main export was oranges we would have chucked the whole thing in August over in Washington«. [12]

In the debate on the war in Afghanistan, the role of petroleum is especially controversial. The project of a pipeline from the Caspian Sea through Afghanistan, that the competing oil firms Bridas, out of Argentina, and Unocal, out of the USA, have striven for since the mid-1990s and then began to put into action in 1998, moved to the center of interest, and the »great game« for the Caspian oil reserves is in everyone's mouth. It will be objected that such a military action cannot be explained simply by the fact that Bush, because of his participation in the oil business, wants to bomb his way into a pipeline. But it actually doesn't have to do with this special pipeline - although we shouldn't underestimate the influence of private interests in government policy. Only the democratic illusion has it that government actors represent some sort of embodiment of the general will. But the interest of the oil industry from the beginning has been in a »high number of pipelines«, in order to be dependent on no single route. [13] Not only is the USA interested in the Caspian oil but also, just as much, the west European states, Japan, and the two most populous nations on the planet, China and India, whose oil needs are increasing terrifically fast, and who both border the Central Asian region. This general interest is based on the meaning of oil for the circulation of capital. Oil is the central component of the capitalist machinery and of all reproduction in contemporary capitalism. Energy can be won from thousands of other sources, but oil is today the basis of valorization of capital. The run on the Caspian Sea has nothing to do with the steadily exhausted reserves or other »limits to growth«. There are »limits to profits«, which have bound the oil interests so tightly to war and bloodbaths since its establishment as the central energy source.

The whole technological organization of production, and the composition of the working class, is today bound up with the fact that petroleum began to replace coal as the central energy source at the beginning of the last century. Both world wars were the decisive break for this gigantic technological reorganization, with the introduction of tanks and airplanes. And by driving back coal, capital disempowered that part of the working class that since the second half of the nineteenth century had symbolized the revolutionary threat: the miners. The so-called »Fordist« phase of capitalism - car production, mass transit, assembly lines - was based on the nearly inexhaustible availability of oil at low prices. In distinction to the demand for coal, the petroleum-driven capitalist industries were based on an extremely large geographical division between the petroleum and the industrial workers of the world.

After 1973, and in connection with the ecology debate, many alternatives were argued over - not least because into the position of the miners a petroleum-producing proletariat had stepped, whose combativity was increasingly felt. [14] But as long as oil let itself be used in an adequate quantity as a component of the capital circuit, it would remain in the center [15] - especially as a greater part of the total fixed capital (machinery, transportation vehicles, electricity and heat production) that is supposed to be valorized is bound to this energy form and is based on precisely this strategy of dispersal of production segments to supplier firms, and the scattering of production with heavy transport vehicles.

But how does oil form a center of the capital circuit? In capitalism, commodities are not simply commodities, but moments of the total circuit of capital, which fulfills itself through the chain of exchanges between particular capitalists and between capitalists and labor powers. Not only is the availability of cheap oil important, but also the ability to be able to influence the price of this central commodity. So, the first »oil price shock« of 1973 was no pressure maneuver of the oil sheiks, who wanted to stick it to the West, but rather a component of an international crisis strategy against the working class - a brake on growth and simultaneously a gigantic diversion of proletarian income to profit. [16]

The price of the commodity oil appears in all capitalist accounts: Oil itself is a capitalistically produced commodity; it doesn't only come out of the ground, but is just as much pressed out of the labor power of the petroleum-producing proletariat (in this we indicate the totality of the proletariat, which is necessary for oil production, inclusive of the service, transportation, and construction workers); it embodies not only value, but also first and foremost surplus value. [17] Besides that, it contains a component of the (fixed) capital that was first invested in the form of explorations, drilling machines, pipelines, etc., and which through the sale of the commodity must flow back again, thus succeeding in the valorization of these capitals - today, in essence, a couple of huge multinationals. The oil price increases of 1999 were in the compelling interest of these capitals, whose profits and investments had sunk dramatically in the phase of cheap oil in the 1990s. [18] They stood, however, in opposition to the valorization possibilities of the remaining capital, for which oil is a cost factor that determines its composition: If oil is cheaper, then with constant technological relations of oil, raw materials, machinery, and labor power, relatively more of these other »ingredients« can be bought; it mostly has to do with labor power, out of which alone surplus value can be pressed. Cheap oil eases accumulation in these sectors; price increases slow it down. For that matter, oil forms a large component of the reproduction costs of labor power itself - transport, heating and petrochemical products make up a large part of proletarian expenses today. Summer 2000 showed the world how high oil prices lead to massive wage pressure on the working class - in Europe the governments were confronted with the frightening perspective of a Europe-wide struggle movement. [19] On the other hand, the national budget and social-state insurance of the living standard in countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia, for example, depend on the fact that the oil price does not fall too far.

The meaning of oil and its price for capitalistic development therefore moves by means of contradictions. Oil should not be sold »too expensive« or »too cheap«, i.e., it should be able to suit the needs of the conjunctural cycles of the world economy. Oil and its price can change nothing about the crisis-prone nature of capital, but on the grounds of its centrality, it offers an important lever to intervene to change things in the course of crisis and class struggle. Therein lies the distinction between oil and oranges, so self-explanatorily assumed in the opening quote: in its meaning for the global class struggle.

But what does all this have to do with Afghanistan, where there's no oil yet? Or we can ask: What about Chechnya? What with bin Laden?
The Saudi Arabian Oil Price Buffer No Longer Works

The strategic alliance of the USA with Saudi Arabia since the end of the Second World War [20] was based on the fact that it was made out to be the ideal deliverer of petroleum for the appropriate conditions: a low-population country with enormous oil reserves, under strict control of a feudal kingdom, that the local population, in largest part still Bedouin, was content with, and which could exploit and control the above all immigrant population in oil production. Like no other country, Saudi Arabia could increase or decrease its oil production and thereby influence the global oil market. The enormous wealth that the country achieved, mainly after the oil price increase of 1973, was in no way used against the USA - on the contrary, it was the major financier of the USA, supporting its policy. It bought the most modern weapons systems of the USAmerican military contractors and helped out all over the world as a donator to US foreign policy: for the Afghan mujahedeen, the contras in Nicaragua, the armament of Iraq against Iran after 1979, the 1991 Gulf War of the USA against Iraq. Furthermore, the petrodollars from the oil sales became the most important driving force of the international financial markets. Saudi Arabia became a »swing producer« on the world oil market, which could, with extreme production movements (from a maximum of 10 million barrels per day in 1981 to 3.5 million in 1985), influence the oil price. [21]

Since the end of the 1980s, what is now an unalterable certainty at the end of the 1990s, has become more and more visible: Because of changed class relations, Saudi Arabia is becoming unable to play this role any more. Therefore the military hunt for another oil source, which expresses itself in the bombing of Afghanistan just as much as already in the massacres of the Russian military in Chechnya.

Saudi Arabia could play this role as a »swing producer«, because, in distinction to other countries, on account of its financial reserves ($100 billion in 1981), it could handle losses of income. It could change its output and export quantities to influence the price on the world market and in the sense of the world conjuncture, even when this entailed a diminished income. This situation has turned into its opposite today: In 2000, Saudi Arabia was over $150 billion in debt, which surpasses its gross domestic product. Saudi oil politics based class relations on a »social pact«, which promised to the local proletariat a nearly work-free income, and proceeded with repression in production and oil output against the extremely disfranchised and exploited immigrant workers and against any form of opposition. But the oil income combined with high »special expenditures« (e.g., $26 billion for Iraq in the war against Iran, and $55 billion for the bombing of the same Iraq by the USA and England) did not keep up with the cost of this »social pact«. Saudi Arabia had an extremely high population growth of three to five percent yearly. At the beginning of the 1970s, as the »social pact« began to develop on the basis of the oil billions, about 5 million people lived in the country; today there are over 20 million, of which 28 percent are foreigners.

As the oil price fell to a historic level in 1998, Saudi Arabia was on the verge of a difficult financial crisis. The regime was forced to drive the oil price back up, with no regard to the world conjuncture of capital. In March 1999, OPEC decided on a production cut of 2 million barrels per day (for which Saudi Arabia was responsible for a fourth), which, together with the unexpectedly quick increase in demand from Asia after the 1997/98 crisis led to a strong increase in the oil price and which allowed the Saudi regime slight breathing room.

But the social crisis in Saudi Arabia sharpened further and led to a heavy struggle inside the ruling elite - of which the bin Laden faction is only one expression. With the politics of terror acts against US-American targets [22] (on August 7, 1998, embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, on September 11, 2001, the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon), they aimed at internal Saudi power politics: via the aggravation of a confrontation between the »Islamic« and the »Western« world, the now-ruling clique is to be deprived of its most important allies and its support from the USA. The local proletariat is thereby promised the reinstatement of the previous »social pact«, which was supposedly only endangered by giving away the oil too cheaply.

The people who were the victims of the attacks on 9/11 were »collateral damage« in this Saudi Arabian power poker (which also similarly occurs in the other oil-producing lands of the Middle East) just as much as the Afghanistan civilians bombed to death were victims of the opening up of the Caspian Sea oil reserves and the stabilization of the Saudi regime.

Part II: The Way to War and the Search for Empire

[1] Marc Herold's examination can be found at

[2] »Impact of US Bombing Is Felt in Many Ways«, Washington Post, December 16, 2001.

[3] In the 1980s the USA gave the mujahedeen several hundred Stinger rockets for their war against the Soviet Union. After 1992 the CIA sought unsuccessfully to buy back the noncommitted rockets.

[4] According to Marc Herold. This is in fact the same logic that bin Laden uses, in order to justify his attacks on civilians: in the opposition between »Islam« and »the West«, all are soldiers. And who's to deny that from time to time they »sympathize« with their government.

[5] In the discussion about 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, this moment has only been emphasized by »Materialien für einen neuen Anti-Imperialismus«. See »Antiterrorismus - die Politik sozialer Feinderklärung« and »Ã–konomie des Krieges? Krieg der Ökonomie« at

[6] One of the few representations of the social process in Afghanistan is found in Barnett R. Rubin: »The Political Economy of War and Peace in Afghanistan«, Sweden, June 21, 1999 (

[7] These modern forms of war economy are in no way limited to Afghanistan, but rather find themselves everywhere that, out of a strategy of »low-intensity warfare« as containment policy, warlords arose, whose power is based above all on their contact with the world market for weapons, petroleum, precious minerals or drugs. See, e.g., Michael Böllig, »Zur Ökonomie des Krieges: Die Gewalt und die Geschäfte der Afrikanischen Warlords«, Frankfurter Rundschau, January 9, 2001.

[8] Ahmed Rashid: Taliban. Oil , War and the New Great Game in Central Asia, London, 2000.

[9] See Sean Gervasi, »Why Is NATO in Yugoslavia?« (1996) and »Geopolitische Aspekte des Kriegs in Jugoslawien«, Wildcat Zirkular #50/51, Mai/Juni 1999. In the background, there already stood a pipeline project for the transportation of oil from the Caspian over the Balkans to Western Europe.

[10] From the beginning it was clear that a time would come when the oil multinationals would be able to stake their claim: to the one, no quick solution was expected to the question of security of property, to withdrawal of profits and to social stability, i.e., to the regulation of the class struggle; to the other, the question of transportation in the Caspian just as much as in Siberia remained open. »That's a marathon and no sprint«, as an oil manager put it. »Why Soviet Oil Wells Won't Be Gushing Soon«, BusinessWeek, September 9, 1991.

[11] See Gregory Gause III, »Saudi Arabia: Over a Barrel«, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2000, and George Caffentzis, A Essay on the Events of September 11, 2001 - Addressed to the Antiglobalization Movement.

[12] A George H.W. Bush adviser in August 1990, during the preparations for war against Iraq, according to Ferrucio Gambino: Migranti nella tempesta: flussi di lavoratori senza diritti e di petrodollari del Golfo Persico, in: altreragioni, no. 1, 1992 - German translation in Thekla No. 17.

[13] »Why the West May Come Up Empty in the World's Biggest Oil Patch«, BusinessWeek, May 30, 1994. The route through Afghanistan doesn't merit a single mention in this article yet.

[14] See TheKla 14, 17; Wildcat 54, 55 and 57.

[15] Between 1970 and 1998 the component of petroleum and gas in world energy consumption has gone down a little, still, however, amounting to 60.7 percent (35 percent oil, 25.7 percent gas) with numbers growing again today - in comparison to 64.8 (45.3 oil and 19.5 gas) in 1970. This decline is based almost exclusively on the increase of nuclear energy, from 0.1 percent in 1970 to 7.4 percent in 1998, whose share is now decreasing; coal's share has further gone back from 32.9 to 28.7 percent; a slight increase has been given to alternative energy sources like water, etc., from 2.2 to 3.2 percent (Yearbook of World Energy Statistics, United Nations).

[16] See, e.g., »Der Energiesektor als Strategischer Sektor im Klassenkampf«, Autonomie NF, No. 11, in TheKla 14.

[17] Theoretically observed, commodities embody value only because they are moments of the capital circuit, and thus are bearers of surplus value; the value form of the commodity entails its function as a capital particle.

[18] »Big Oil's Priority: Pump Up the Stock Prices«, Business Week, September 25, 2000.

[19] See Wildcat-Zirkular 58, December 2000. In English the section: Struggles over oil prices in summer 2000 on our website.

[20] Michael T. Klare, »The Geopolitics of War«, The Nation, November 22, 2001.

[21] See Gregory Gause III, op cit.

[22] Or of refering to such attacks, of which we might never learn who committed them, in an affirmative way.