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

Far-Right Extremism Is behind Many of the Mass Shootings

May 15, 2023

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 6 a gunman opened fire at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, killing eight others and injuring seven. This was the 22nd mass killing of at least four people in the U.S. so far this year. It puts the number on pace to set a new record if it continues, according to researchers at Northeastern University who keep a database of such killings.

The shooter in this case was 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia. Garcia was wearing a patch with the initials “RWDS,” according to officials, which stands for “Right Wing Death Squad,” a term used by white supremacists. Garcia had a history of posting "rants against Jews, women, and racial minorities," and had posted on far-right online forums like 4chan, including content from white supremacists like Nick Fuentes, known for his antisemitic views and for his meeting with Kanye West and Donald Trump.

Certainly there are different causes behind the different mass shootings that are taking place; nevertheless there have been many in which the shooter was similarly inspired by the far-right. July 4 of last year, Robert Crimo opened fire on an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing seven and wounding 48. Highland Park is known for its large Jewish population, and Crimo had previously been asked to leave when he entered a Jewish synagogue. He had made antisemitic posts online and was seen in a video of a “Stop the Steal Rally” in support of Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election had been stolen. He and his friends were seen doing Nazi salutes, making anti-communist statements and referring to “Antifa scum” and Black Lives Matter “monkeys.”

Last May, 18-year-old Payton Gendron opened fire with an assault rifle modified to accept high-ammunition magazines at a Buffalo, New York supermarket. He killed 12 people and injured seven others. All of his victims were black. He livestreamed the shooting. He had written a 180-page manifesto describing himself as an ethno-nationalist and a white supremacist and motivated to commit acts of political violence. He posted the manifesto online shortly before the shooting. He also had kept a diary about his plans and discussed initially setting a date to coincide with the anniversary of a shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019.

In response to the high number of mass shootings, politicians, the media, and some law enforcement officials almost exclusively point to the widespread availability of guns and call for background checks to prevent potential killers from being able to easily purchase weapons. Certainly, access to guns in this country contributes to the rise in mass shootings, but the increasingly widespread influence of the far-right behind many of these attacks gets little mention. The fact that the far-right is being supported by wealthy billionaires gets even less attention.

Those who wish to stop mass shootings like these should not look to politicians who serve the wealthy ruling class to do what’s necessary to stop the spread of right-wing ideas behind many of them. That requires the organization of the working class to fight against the many divisions the right-wing encourages.