Seemingly unconnected events sometimes reveal patterns which are not immediately obvious. One such pattern is the re-emergence of racist and fascist ideas which had been consigned to history.
South of the border, the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston – the historic church of slave revolt hero Denmark Vesey – was not the act of a disturbed individual. The killer openly upheld the centuries-long “tradition” of white supremacy, which includes countless murders, rapes, lynchings and police killings against Black Americans. The Civil War victory over the southern slavocrats was not enough to root out their inhuman ideology, which survives in a modern United States where corporate profits are boosted by the exploitation and oppression of racialized minorities.
Across the ocean, Hitlerism was smashed on the battlefields of World War Two, with the Soviet people led by their Communist Party playing the decisive military role. But US imperialism refused to complete the task of eradicating Nazism, choosing instead to turn the remnants of the fascist machine against the USSR and its socialist allies. Today the followers of these fascists are in power in Kiev, and spreading xenophobic and homophobic terror across the rest of the continent.
Here at home, Stephen Harper stubbornly refuses to utter the “G” word, maintaining the shameful pretense that the genocidal policies imposed on indigenous peoples by colonialism were “mistakes” – not fundamental characteristics of the racist ideology of white European Christian supremacy. And at the “grassroots” level, neo-nazis are seeking to turn legitimate anger over falling living standards into violence against immigrants and refugees.
Such expressions of fascist and racist ideology are encouraged by a ruling class desperate to maintain control at a time of deepening capitalist economic crisis. These ideas must not be trivialized – they must be confronted and beaten back wherever they emerge.