A horrific mass shooting by a lone racist and antisemite left 10 dead at a supermarket in the Black community of Buffalo, New York, May 14.
This tragedy is being used by the Democratic Party and liberal media to promote their view that the biggest problem in the U.S. and the world today isn’t capitalism in crisis — tearing at the jobs, conditions and rights of workers and our families — but right-wing violence and “white supremacy.”
“The Socialist Workers Party condemns the shooting in Buffalo in the strongest way possible,” Sara Lobman, SWP candidate for Senate from New York, told the Militant. “Anti-Black violence as well as Jew-hatred are a deadly danger to all working people and need to be fought. The answer to all those who seek to divide working people by skin color, religion or sex is to stand together, to build fighting unions, to fight for working people to take political power into our own hands.”
The liberals hope to parlay outrage over the massacre into votes for Democrats by claiming Republicans are racist proponents of the reactionary “white replacement” theory espoused by Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old killer.
Gendron’s ravings blame Jews for seeking to “replace” Caucasians with Blacks and immigrants. He says that a key goal of his attack was to incite “retaliation and further divide” Blacks and immigrants from Caucasians. These rightist views can be found widely on the internet.
Democratic Party politicians from President Joseph Biden to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Sen. Charles Schumer are also using the killings to push through measures that undermine political rights in the name of combating “domestic terrorism.”
To promote these steps, the liberals cover up basic facts, including by trying to block access to the vile 180-page manifesto written by Gendron.
Jew-hatred permeates Gendron’s manifesto. As the crisis of capitalism deepens, the rulers will increasingly use Jew-hatred to divert attention from the real source of the problems working people and the middle class face, which is capitalism. The fight against Jew-hatred is crucial to the working class.
Buffalo shooter calls for war on Jews
“The real war I’m advocating for is the gentiles vs the Jews,” Gendron wrote. “Jews are the biggest problem the Western world has ever had. They must be called out and killed, if they are lucky they will be exiled.”
While articles in the press referred to Gendron’s “antisemitism,” few, if any — outside of the Jewish press and some media in Israel — quote what he actually said. That’s because to do so doesn’t advance their “narrative” that the targeting of Blacks by white supremacists is the biggest problem in the U.S. today.
The New York Times ran an entire article May 16 on Gendron’s writings without mentioning Jews or antisemitism even once! Yet Gendron’s manifesto refers to Jews more than any other group.
The intertwining of Jew-hatred with attacks on the fight for Black rights is nothing new. Hatred whipped up against their Jewish lawyers was a big part of the racist campaign against the Scottsboro Boys — nine Black teenagers framed up on charges of rape of two Caucasian women in the 1930s.
Racism is an integral part of capitalism — used by the rulers today to try to divide the working class and drive down wages. But the mass Black rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s that overthrew Jim Crow segregation transformed working people and social relations, and cannot be overturned without a bloody counterrevolution.
The horrific massacre in Buffalo is far from the only recent mass shooting over the last several years. They’ve come from both left, right and people destroyed by capitalism who have no political motivation.
In 2017 a fan of Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders shot up a baseball practice by Republican congressmen, nearly killing Rep. Steve Scalise. Quick action by two of Scalise’s security prevented a worse disaster.
That same year, for motives still unknown, a lone gunman killed 58 people and wounded 489, mostly Caucasians, at a country music festival in Las Vegas.
The liberal press prints article after article blaming supporters of former President Donald Trump and other Republicans for the Buffalo massacre, claiming their anti-immigrant views are equivalent to “replacement theory” and that this is at the root of Gendron’s actions.
In fact it is a wing of the Democratic Party that openly calls for getting as many immigrants as possible to become citizens, hoping they’ll vote Democrat and tip elections that way for years to come. That’s the heart of a widely circulated 2002 book The Emerging Democratic Majority by liberal pundits John Judis and Ruy Teixeira. They call Democrats “the party of transition” as “white America is supplanted by multiracial, multiethnic America.”
Using immigration for partisan political advantage with the aim of manufacturing anti-Republican voters undermines the fight for amnesty and the rights of undocumented workers. And it gives anti-immigrant, anti-worker forces a handle for their reactionary conspiracy theories.
More gov’t power a threat to workers
Just as dangerous for the working class are attempts to use the massacre to undermine constitutional protections embodied in the Bill of Rights.
The day after the Buffalo killings, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said he hopes to charge Gendron with a federal “hate crime,” which would make possible the death penalty. Gendron has already been indicted for first-degree murder by a New York grand jury. A federal indictment would be double jeopardy under the Bill of Rights, which bars being charged for the same crime twice.
Maya Wiley, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, backs some of the government’s measures. But she told the Washington Post she opposes asking for the death penalty because Blacks and other oppressed minorities are disproportionately targeted by capital punishment.
Gov. Hochul used the massacre as a pretext to sign an executive order creating domestic terrorism units in the state police, giving the cops even more leeway to go after working people. The Justice Department had already done the same earlier in the year.