Jun 22, 2009
On June 10, James von Brunn walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and opened fire with a rifle, killing Stephen Johns, a security guard. Other guards shot von Brunn, stopping him from killing more people.
Von Brunn is a virulent anti-Semite, who denies the Holocaust and the extermination of six million Jews during World War II. The Holocaust was carried out by the Nazis. But the Nazis could not have killed so many people without the support, or at least tacit acceptance by other governments and world leaders, including those in the U.S. None of them did anything to disrupt the slaughter. They didn’t even condemn it when it was going on – which is documented very carefully, by the way, in the Holocaust Museum.
Of course, someone like von Brunn comes out of a racist extreme-right-wing current, which spews its hatred against other minorities, starting with black people and immigrants. But what they blame the Jews for is a secret international conspiracy that they say owns and runs the capitalist economy. These racist ideas come not just from the Nazis and Hitler. They were also fostered by the likes of Henry Ford, the U.S. auto magnate, who published anti-Semitic attacks in his very own local newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. Most famously in the 1920s, Ford dug up and published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery earlier manufactured by the Russian Tsarist Secret Police in their own witch hunt against Jews. Ford later had the Iron Cross award pinned on him by Hitler.
Of course, the capitalists and those who represent them always foster racism and prejudice in order to divert ordinary people’s anger from the real cause of their problems, that is, the workings of the capitalist system itself. But in a more desperate time period like this, with so many people hit by the worsening economic situation – as well as the worsening wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Pakistan – racist views are being pushed on the working class, who are under attack by the capitalists.
These racist and dangerous ideas must be confronted wherever they are spouted. But that is not enough. The working class must find ways to organize itself to fight against the real cause of the job losses and cuts in ordinary people’s standard of living. And that means once again taking up the fight against the bosses and their government.