It is no secret that violence and murder committed by racists, xenophobes and outright Nazis in this country has been on the rise — and not just since the 2016 election of Donald Trump.
In June 2015, white supremacist Dylann Roof gunned down nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, S.C. It was not an isolated incident. Nor was the Nazi rally of August 2017 in Charlottesville, Va., when a white racist drove his car into a multinational crowd of protesters, injuring many and killing a white woman protester.
Armed militia groups, which in the past have boasted of killing migrants, now say they are heading to the southern U.S. border to stop the caravan of Central American refugees that is trying to reach the U.S. These racist vigilantes will join 5,000 U.S. troops Washington is sending there to intercept Honduran families fleeing poverty and violence. And why are the Hondurans leaving their homeland? Because a U.S.-backed right-wing coup in Honduras in 2009 has made their lives unbearable.
And just this Oct. 24, a heavily armed white racist shot and killed two Black people in a Kroger’s supermarket near Jeffersontown, Ky., after he had failed to gain entrance to a nearby Black church with 70 people inside.
It is in this political climate of racist, fascist violence and scapegoating — which has been encouraged over and over again by the pronouncements of capitalist politicians, from Trump on down — that an attacker entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27 and killed 11 Jewish people, most of them elderly. The accused shooter, Robert Bowers, reportedly told police he “wanted all Jews to die.”
Fascism is the most extreme form of imperialist ideology and practice that justifies any crime in pursuit of world domination. Anti-Semitism has been integral to fascist ideology for nearly a century, along with the myth of white Christian “superiority.” Anti-Semitism is also part of the creed of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.
Progressive Jews vs. Zionism
Zionist politicians invoke the horrors of the German Nazis’ extermination of Jewish people to justify their own violent expulsion of Palestinian people from their homes to create the state of Israel.
This was made clear when Naftali Bennett, an official envoy of the Israeli government, rushed to Pittsburgh to speak at events commemorating the heinous murders of Jewish people there. He equated the anti-Semitism of U.S. fascists with the liberation struggle led by the Palestinian organization Hamas.
But many Jewish people do not buy into this scapegoating logic and are in solidarity with the Palestinian people. A vigil protesting Bennett’s presence was held a few blocks away from where he spoke. It was organized by IfNotNow, a group of Jewish people opposed to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
Addressing the vigil, Moriah Ella Mason, a Pittsburgh activist with IfNotNow, said: “Tonight our Pittsburgh Jewish community heard from Naftali Bennett, the far-right, racist Israeli politician whose party has openly advocated for ethnic cleansing, described African migrants as ‘infiltrators,’ and bragged about killing Arabs. These are the same types of policies and rhetoric espoused by Trump, and the same types of policies and rhetoric that have unleashed violence against my community.” (Haaretz, Oct. 29)
When Trump the next day announced he was going to Pittsburgh, at least 35,000 people signed an open letter from progressive Jewish leaders, telling him: “For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence. … Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted. You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.”
Marcy on the Klan
The largest extralegal terrorist organization to function in the U.S. has historically been the Ku Klux Klan, originally an instrument of the ruling class in the South to virtually re-enslave Black people after Reconstruction ended. The Klan, like today’s Nazis, flourished under the patronage of the rich.
In 1981, after the election of Ronald Reagan, the Klan was making a resurgence. Sam Marcy, founder of Workers World Party, wrote an article in this paper on Jan. 25, 1981, titled “Neo-fascism in the 1980s: Where It Comes From.” We think the following excerpts are as relevant today as then:
“The Nazi-KKK menace in the U.S. is a symptom of a profoundly significant disease which has become congenital to the entire social system of capitalist exploitation and oppression.
“If the growth of the KKK and the Nazis were an isolated phenomenon divorced from the degenerative effects of monopoly capitalism, if these groups had no ties to and were not supported, encouraged, and promoted by formidable sections of the ruling class, they would be merely a sterile and stagnant combination of racist thugs. … But that is not at all the case.
“The growth of fascism everywhere has been securely tied to big business; that is its lifeline. …
“The two most formidable and preponderant elements in the capitalist establishment — Big Oil, that untrammeled octopus which pervades every nook and corner of social existence in the country, and the unbridled military — are the most prone to promote lawlessness and extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, and paramilitary force to gain their ends. They, together with the military-industrial complex, are the very infrastructure of contemporary capitalist society. …
“It is they who finance the growth of a thousand-and-one single-issue reactionary organizations and who cannot but look benignly upon and covertly finance KKK and neo-Nazi thugs. To them it is just one more covert operation which for public purpose is out-of-bounds of the legal framework of the capitalist government.
“The array of giant multinational corporations that compose the monopolist bourgeoisie are all connected in one way or another with the military and Big Oil. …
“The struggle against fascism, which is only in its embryonic form at the moment, must entail the perspective of involving the broadest social forces of present-day society in the struggle against capitalism. Capitalism is the fountainhead of political reaction in general and of KKK and neo-Nazi terror in particular.
“It is impossible to conduct a consistent anti-fascist policy unless one takes into account the key and decisive factor in overwhelming and destroying the fascist menace; it is the working class, the oppressed people and their allies.
“There can be no substitute, however one tries, for involving the broadest masses of workers and oppressed to overwhelm the fascist threat.”
(Full article: tinyurl.com/yaadkjsn)