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PSL Statement: Massacre in Atlanta — racist, sexist terrorism and the capitalist system

Photo: Demonstration last weekend in Los Angeles against the rising tide of anti-Asian hate crimes

On Tuesday, March 16 at around 5 p.m., three Atlanta-area spas staffed by Asian workers were the targets of a racist and sexist mass shooting. Eight people were killed, seven of whom were women, and six of the women were Asian. The shooter, a 21-year-old white male, admitted to this heinous crime shortly after he was arrested later that night. Atlanta residents and Asian Americans across the country are horrified by this egregious act of terror. 

The Party for Socialism and Liberation extends heart-felt condolences and solidarity to all the victims and families of this despicable massacre. Anti-Asian and anti-women bigotry is a symptom of the capitalist and imperialist system. Unity and justice requires a commitment to fighting for a new system.

As of this writing, local authorities and mainstream media refuse to label this a hate crime. Four of the victims were of Korean descent, and according to South Korean news site Chosun, the shooter was heard saying “I’m going to kill all Asians.” 

The alarming rise of white supremacy and fascism cannot be overstated. Nearly three out of every four mass shootings can be linked back to right-wing extremism. Contrary to the misleading trope of Asian-Black conflict, community organizers have rejected this attempt to divide Black and Asian communities. We understand that the inextricable link between white supremacy, patriarchy, racism and the war drive is the root cause of this violent atrocity. 

We cannot make sense of this mass shooting without understanding the imperialist, sexist, and racist context in which we currently live. The shooter himself admits his fantasy of “eliminating [sexual] temptation” from places he frequented, which reveals the deeply misogynistic character of this crime.

For the sake of argument, even if the shooter does not admit to his racist motives — is the mass killing of women not a hate crime? Nearly half of all female homicides in the United States are committed by an intimate partner. The hyper-militarized patriarchal culture and violence against women is woven into the fabric of this brutal system.

This speaks to the centuries-old fetishization and hyper-sexualization of Asian women, not only in the United States but globally. Women of colonized nations such as Korea, China, Phillipines, Vietnam, etc. have historically been trafficked for sexual slavery during wartime, commonly known as “comfort women.”

This mass murder takes place during an upsurge in anti-Asian violence. Since COVID-19 was first discovered in December of 2019, hate crimes against Asian Americans rose exponentially due to the racist anti-China blame game which the corporate media and the Trump administration weaponized to deflect the gross mismanagement of the crisis here at home. To date, 3,800 self-reported hate crimes against Asian Americans have been documented. The outrage righteously felt by the Asian-American community against this violence has spotlighted the issue nationally. 

Over the last decade, U.S. foreign policy under the Obama Administration has shifted its military resources and focus toward Asia. The increasingly aggressive policy targets China as the ultimate adversary and competitor of the United States. Anti-China propaganda, which fuels intense hatred and racism against Chinese Americans and as a consequence all Asian Americans, is designed to justify confrontation and potentially war with China. The propaganda drive was restarted under the Obama administration and has only intensified with Trump’s racist bigotry. The solution to ending racism against Asian Americans must involve the end of the imperialist war agenda against China. 

With the election of Joe Biden and a new administration many hoped that the country would turn to a new chapter. The Biden administration publicly condemned anti-Asian hate crimes, but these gestures ring hollow so long as members of his administration intensify the war drive and contribute to anti-China fear mongering.

We send our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of this crime and to the Asian American community. We will not let the victims of this murderous crime die in vain. We will continue to organize against the dangerous cold-war against China and against racist and sexist bigotry.

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