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El Paso: White supremacists kill again

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On August 3, 22 people were killed and 24 injured when the 21 year old white supremacist Patrick Crusius targeted an El Paso Walmart popular with shoppers from a Mexican background. Crusius, like Brenton Tarrant who shot dead 51 people in the Christchurch mosque attack, posted a manifesto on the far right hate website 8chan, railing against the so-called "Hispanic invasion of Texas", and the “cultural and ethnic replacement” of whites.

Among the victims were Jordan Anchondo, killed while shopping for school supplies, and her husband Andre, killed in a futile attempt to shield his wife, who in turn was shielding their newborn baby. The old were not spared either. Raul and Maria Flores, both 77, who retired to El Paso two decades ago, and 90 year old Luis Alfonzo Juarez were also murdered during the rampage.

The wanton murder of these innocent people, dehumanized by the politics of their killer, shows that, in Donald Trump’s America, people with Latin American roots have joined Black and Jewish Americans on the hate list of the far right. In a country built of immigrants, continued immigration has been battened on by the sinister forces of fascism and exploited of by the unscrupulous demagogue in the White House.

Trump’s hate campaigning
Trump’s open hatred of Mexicans and immigrants from Latin America is brazen and repeated on an endless loop. During his presidential campaign he infamously said:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best…They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people.”

Less than two months ago he tweeted:
“The problem is that Mexico is an “abuser” of the United States, taking but never giving. It has been this way for decades. Either they stop the invasion of our Country by Drug Dealers, Cartels, Human Traffickers… Coyotes and Illegal Immigrants, which they can do very easily, or our many companies and jobs that have been foolishly allowed to move South of the Border, will be brought back into the United States through taxation (Tariffs). America has had enough!”

As New York State Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said:
“The president is directly responsible for what happened in El Paso.”

She is right.

These provocations, which, along with his sexist abuse of female politicians, were a key plank of his first campaign, are calculated to galvanise his supporters for his second term campaign. This racist incitement against Mexicans and refugees “invading the USA” is a direct cause of the horrific violence meted out by individuals who take it as license to vent their private grievances and complexes, real or imagined, against minorities. And Trump doesn’t mind one bit. To this president, the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue, El Paso, Charlottesville and others, are just collatoral damage.

ICE racist raids
The Trump administration’s state sanctioned racism was demonstrated in the raid which targeted poultry processing plants around Jackson and Canton, in Mississippi on 7 August.

This was the largest ever raid in a single state conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE. 680 workers from mainly Mexican backgrounds were seized in a raid carried out by an army of 600 heavily armed ICE agents.

Dozens of their terrified and distraught children, some only toddlers, had to be picked up from school and taken to makeshift shelters by strangers. 300 workers have since been released. ICE field offices across the country have been instructed to identify at least two locations in their regions as potential targets for workplace enforcement operations, and Trump has said raids like those in Mississippi are a "very good deterrent" for undocumented immigrants.

Fighting Trump and racism
Trump’s response during his cynical visit to El Paso, where the surviving victims naturally refused to see him, was to blame the antiracist, antifa network equally with killers like Crusius. This is of a piece with his remarks after Charlottesville where he refused the condemn the fascist murder of activist Heather Heyer, incredibly claiming that the Unite the Right and antifascist demonstrations “both contained good people”.

Whilst Trump himself is not a fascist, he is happy to use the far right, including real fascists, to build his popular base, revelling in the racist chants at his rallies across America; for example, asking what should be done with the Mexicans gathering at the Texas border and grinning when the answer comes back “shoot them!”

Trump is a classic US racist populist who is willing to target Latino people, Black youth, Muslims, and women who dare to call out his misogyny, making this abuse an essential part of his permanent campaigning. And the “respectable” wing of the Republican Party is willing to go along with it, perhaps with a bit of criticism of his worst excesses but usually in silence. If Trump fails in 2020 the “movement” he has generated could turn really nasty, in fact, actually fascist.

The networks of predominantly young and white antifascists collectively known as Antifa, plus the left wing armed groups, show that some people are prepared to challenge the fascists when they try to take the streets. Clearly they can do little to stop “lone wolf” mass shooters, but, as Boston showed, if they mobilise with the Black Lives Matter movement and if the union locals and DSA chapters join them, the far right ascendancy can be demoralized and stopped in its tracks.

Finally, the task of revolutionaries is to organize self-defence of all those communities under attack whether from the fascists or from the police and immigration agents. The labor movement should take the lead in opposing the racist ICE posses hunting for “illegals” by organising mass unionisation drives in the "right to work" states and amongst migrant workers.

Coordinating a nationwide struggle which unites labor activists and the anti racist and women’s movements is the first step to building an independent workers’ party that can unite the resistance on the basis of a common program for working class power and socialism.

• No one is illegal: equal citizenship rights for all
• Disband the ICE units
• Labor movement commissions to investigate the detention camps
• Self defence against racist raids and deportations