Mar 18, 2019
On Friday, March 15, a “white supremacist” Australian man walked into two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch and opened fire on prayer services. Fifty people were killed, and another 50 were injured. This monster was actually so proud of this horrific act that he live-streamed the entire thing to Facebook, Instagram and other websites before the videos were taken down.
The suspect, Brenton Tarrant, 28, had published a 78-page “manifesto” in which he heaped praise on other white supremacists who carried out terrorist massacres around the world, leaving little doubt that he was trying to emulate them. He praised Anders Breivik, the Norwegian man who killed 77 people in 2011; and Dylan Roof, who murdered nine black parishioners in a South Carolina church in 2015, as well as several others who carried out racist attacks in Europe in recent years.
The manifesto also echoed and paid tribute to a number of right-wing politicians who have expressed racist views, including Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, and Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister. He gave special mention to Donald Trump, who, he said, is “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
The politicians he praised are only the tip of a very rotten iceberg. Extreme right-wing racist politicians have been popping up all over Europe, and elsewhere. As Muslim/Middle-Eastern immigration has increased, politicians have blamed this immigration for unemployment and stagnant wages in the European countries. As Viktor Orban has, they drum up fear about a destruction of “white Christian culture” through the increase of multiethnic societies. This rabid language has reached Australia too; after the Christchurch attacks, an Australian senator, Fraser Anning, blamed the attack on the victims – “the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
Just who the hell are the real dangerous fanatics here? Not the immigrants!
There is a vast humanitarian crisis that has spurred this migration; and it has been created by U.S. and European imperialism, which have devastated so much of the Middle East, from Afghanistan through Iraq to Syria and Yemen, in its never-ending quest to control Middle-Eastern oil and the people of the region.
So, after the U.S. and its allies have murdered millions of lives and destroyed homes and families and whole cities, desperate people without a home try to travel to a place of relative safety and comfort.
It is the same pattern we see played out at the U.S. southern border where the U.S. and its corporations have destroyed so much of the economies of Central America. It’s that destruction that drives the migration.
Trump, of course, is the most visible racist in the world at this time, and he himself has piled on with the same sort of language. He warned that Britain was losing its “culture” and that immigration was changing “the fabric of Europe – and unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was.” He has pounded on the idea that Muslim immigrants are an existential threat, saying “I think Islam hates us.” (Who, exactly, is “us”?) And he has tried to use fear of Islam in his propaganda for a border wall, making up stories about Muslim terrorists hiding in immigrant caravans “flooding over the border.” Trump’s rhetoric, just like all these other politicians, is just as vile as this murderer’s manifesto. And Trump and the U.S. policies bear a direct responsibility for this racist violence.
A longstanding ploy used by the ruling class and its politicians around the world has been to foment fear and hatred between different populations, different groups in the working class. And the worse conditions get for working people – in the U.S., in Europe, in Australia and around the world – the more that ruling class benefits from fomenting that hatred and those divisions.
In the absence of a sustained, unified working class fight for what we need to build a better life, the right-wing poison of these politicians goes unanswered and can more easily find fertile ground.
But the opposite is also true. When the working class begins a united fight to push back the attacks, on the basis of a policy that truly addresses working class interests, these fights can sweep aside the divisions fed so consciously by the representatives of our true enemies.