Hundreds of Thousands Show Solidarity
By Joseph Rosen
On March 15, a white supremacist Trump supporter carried out a brutal massacre of 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. These fascists think their actions will get popular support, but tens of thousands of New Zealanders, white and not, Muslim and non-Muslim prove them wrong. Along with thousands more across the world, they poured into the streets to show solidarity with Muslims. Like the recent Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and the deadly 2015 attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, this was an assault on families gathered in worship. In Christchurch, the terrorist also specifically targeted immigrants. Among the dead and injured were families who had fled to New Zealand seeking refuge from the devastation of the Western imperialist wars on Palestine, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The mass murderer cited Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” The Trump administration’s racist and anti-immigrant program has included a “Muslim ban” on travel and an expansion in concentration camps for undocumented men, women, and children whom Trump regularly dehumanizes as “criminal.” In the wake of the attack, Trump has downplayed the threat of white nationalism. In contrast, the New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Hearn stated that “as a nation, [we need] to confront racism, violence and extremism.” While this statement is a welcome rebuke of Trump, her hypocrisy needs to be challenged. Like Democrats in the U.S. who condemn Trump’s racist rhetoric but happily support and fund genocidal wars against Arab countries, Hearn’s own party is in a governing coalition with the right-wing “New Zealand First” party whose leaders echo the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant tirades of Trump and who, together with the Hearn’s Labour Party, support the U.S.-led wars and military occupations in the Muslim-majority countries of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Horrific as these individual fascists’ attacks are, U.S. wars for oil and profit on the Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East have cost the lives of millions more. The most obvious difference between the terrorist attack in New Zealand and George W. Bush’s self-described “crusade” against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan is that Bush is responsible for the death and displacement of millions of people. Another difference is that Bush’s wars garnered profits for his capitalist friends. Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton alone gained $17.2 billion in Iraq war-related revenue from 2003-2006. But rather than admit that these wars are fought for private profit, the capitalist-owned media promote the white supremacist idea that the “civilized” West is at war with its “uncivilized” other.
The capitalists can only carry out their wars for profit if they succeed in dividing the working class against itself. Their media outlets gave the New Zealand fascist the publicity that he sought. To win over a section of the workers to support, promote, fight and die in their wars, they will resort to the most hideous racism and lies. In countries such as the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Israel– all founded on the right of white settlers to the “spoils” of their government’s colonial plunder– white workers have been repeatedly duped by the racist myths and lies of their bosses. Yet their adherence to this hateful ideology hasn’t done anything to reverse the general decline in their living standards which continue to worsen under capitalism.
Workers cannot play into the hand of these would-be Nazis. We must organize ourselves through international solidarity and solidarity at home. This means opposing imperialist wars for profit and rejecting white supremacy.