The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

40th Anniversary of the Murder of Vincent Chin

Jun 6, 2022

In Detroit, Michigan, numerous June events are planned for Remembrance and Rededication to honor the legacy of Vincent Chin and to expand the current struggle for Asian American civil rights.

June 19th marks the 40th anniversary of the horrific beating death of Vincent Chin, a 27-year-old Chinese-American draftsman, in Detroit, Michigan. Out with friends celebrating his upcoming wedding, he became the victim of a vicious hate crime. Instead of celebrating his June wedding, 400 friends and family members attended his funeral!

Vincent Chin was hunted down and beaten with a baseball bat by a supervisor from a Chrysler plant along with the supervisor’s stepson who had been laid off from Chrysler in 1979. The two had earlier yelled anti-Asian insults at Chin and his friends. They yelled, "It’s because of you little motherfuckers that we’re out of work!"

As the U.S. economy slowed down in the late ‘70s and fell into a deep recession during 1982, workers were battered by plant closings, mass layoffs, and wage and benefit cuts. The LIE was told that the import of vehicles manufactured in Japan was the cause of workers’ misery. The media, politicians, and companies all repeated these lies. These lies were also spouted by UAW officials. Some union officials even went so far as to organize workers to smash Japanese cars with sledge hammers at media events. The UAW distributed racist bumper stickers.

The murder of Vincent Chin was a kind of anti-Asian lynching. In this case, the UAW partnered with auto bosses in re-directing anger away from the responsibility of U.S. auto corporations. Most workers did not go out and murder someone. But the propaganda directed at auto workers, to place anger and blame for lost jobs on an ethnicity, hid the truth. As always under capitalism, it was the policies of the corporate drive for profits that destroyed jobs.

Today, there has been an up-tick in anti-Asian hate crimes. Covid—a pandemic where the first cases were reported in Asia—was followed by an increase in anti-Chinese statements made by politicians, far-right media and far-right organizations. This re-ignited the embers of anti-Asian hate that has a deadly history in the U.S. This time, lies channeled anger and frustration over a horribly handled pandemic onto the dead end of hatred toward Asian-American people. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism compiles hate crime data. They found a 339% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021 compared to 2020.

In past societies, rulers used all types of racial and national prejudice to divide the laboring classes. When rulers are a tiny number, vastly outnumbered by a population they don’t intend to share their riches with, all of the prejudices promoted allow them to divide and rule.

The U.S. ruling class, having risen to the heights of vast wealth, has learned that strategy well. They maintain and retain every prejudice to stay on top by dividing us. Those who look to stop this madness must work to destroy capitalism as they look to remove divisions.