United States: massacres of El Paso and Dayton

Xenophobia and alienation: two scourges caused by the US ruling class.

The murder of 22 people, mostly Hispanic, in the city of El Paso in Texas at the hands of a white supremacist has unleashed a wave of repudiation in the US and the world against the racist and anti-immigrant policies of Donald Trump. A few hours later, a new massacre in Dayton, Ohio, finally tore the nerves of the American people. The solution of the Democrats and other opportunists is the control of weapon sales. They hide the roots of the problem: the alienation caused by the deep contradictions that cross US society and the racism historically encouraged by its ruling class, now aggravated by the xenophobic diatribes of its current president.

The assassin who killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart is Patrick Crusius, a young white supremacist and admirer of Trump, who had published a manifesto expressing his fear of an alleged “Latino invasion” that would replace Anglo-Saxon white Americans and that he had to kill enough of them to stop it. While the images of those killed and injured by Crusius were still fresh, an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service of the United States) raid arrested 680 undocumented workers in a Mississippi chicken slaughterhouse.

This action by ICE, in compliance with Trump’s order to organize massive raids to expel undocumented migrants, caused tremendous despair among relatives, colleagues and friends, and fundamentally in the small children of affected families, whose parents are being expelled to their countries of origin.

The outrage against Trump after the massacres stopped him from visiting the cities where they took place with the excuse of accompanying the families of the victims, disguising his responsibility. The protests of the relatives and the people of these two towns showed the opposition to his presence.

The clearly racist attack of El Paso was followed by the violent massacres, within a week, in Dayton and at the California Food Fair. These attacks have created a climate of fear and prevention in many Americans that led, for example, to an exhaust backfire of a motorcycle in New York generating collective panic in Times Square, with over 12 injuries product of the stampede of people fleeing in terror, believing that they could be victims of a new shooting. The rise of extreme violence, murders, massacres, with an important part of them caused by xenophoba, are indicators of the current social tension in US society.


El Paso is a Texan town in which most people are Hispanic (8 of the dead were Mexican immigrants). As Fernando García, director and founder of the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Texas, says in the DW interview on 06/08, “it was an attack against what El Paso represents (…) We have opened our homes, our churches, our community, to receive migrants. Because we are immigrants, 80% of El Paso are Hispanics of several generations. El Paso has resisted each of the president’s racist and xenophobic attacks. Here, in El Paso, children were separated from their parents, this is where the program to return refugees to Mexico began, and we have resisted every attack with great dignity.”

Reflecting that the problem comes from the previous governments but has now worsened, Garcia continues: “We have had many administrations, we had many problems in terms of border policy before Trump. But with Trump what we see is that migrants are criminalized, how migrants are called rapists, we are called criminals, we are told that we are a threat to national security, the militarization of the border is being expanded. There are militias coming here. Just before this incident, a few months ago, armed white supremacist militias came here saying that they were responding to Trump’s call to stop the invasion. And this is what this shooter did. He responded to Trump’s call. What happened yesterday was the result of racist and xenophobic politics, the President’s child.” (1)

It was not simply the reaction of madman on the loose. In the US, the bourgeois sector represented by Trump uses the crisis of poor people to use their desperation against immigrant workers. There is a clear connection between this armed attack and the raid of undocumented workers in the Mississippi factory.

Decades ago, in order to divide the US working class, the bourgeoisie used hatred against black people, who had to fight hard to conquer their civil rights and not be treated as second-class citizens. That is why in the US “Americans” are Anglo Saxon whites, while Black or Hispanic citizens are “African-Americans” or “Hispanic-Americans.”

A situation of great social tension

There is a great social and political polarization, a product of the serious economic crisis that ended the “American dream” in 2008. The growing increase of social inequality dominates political and social life. The rich concentrate the greatest fortunes, they are an increasingly corrupt elite that monopolizes money through different forms of financial crimes against social sectors that will never again have the levels of well-being that their parents had.

This resulted in the questioning of the old political establishment of Democrats and Republicans (Trump can be considered an outsider) and a growing political polarization to the right (Trump) and to the left (reflected by the emergence of millions of socialist millennials and the distorted rise of Sanders in the democratic primaries).

In this situation, Trump’s attack on immigrants serves to encourage the vote of his electoral base, which thinks that immigrants go to the US to take their jobs and long for their old middle-class and working-class privileges of an imperialist country, now impoverished by the economic crisis. It is also very useful to continue exploiting the most precarious and exploited sector of the US working class, Latino migrant workers, while also pressuring and exploiting the rest of the US workers, whose jobs have lost their historical quality despite the “economic recovery”.

Migrant Jose Gonzalez described life in the strawberry fields: “Long days, long hours in the scorching heat, without access to water, not even a toilet”. Gonzalez went to night school to learn English and managed to find a job outside the fields. “Not everyone is lucky,” he continued. “Some die trying to cross the border. Those who are lucky enough to cross, have a bad time. Some people take advantage and pay migrants below minimum wage. They deceive us with immigration agencies so we say nothing, nor fight for anything, we do not get paid.”

One study found that 34% of undocumented immigrant workers were denied minimum wage. 84% do not receive mandatory time and a half when they work overtime. And that is just wages: for undocumented immigrant workers, poor working conditions are almost a universal reality. Daniel Costa in the New York Times said: “This gives employers extraordinary powers to exploit them while paying them a lower wage. When immigrant salaries are suppressed, so are the wages of American workers competing for similar jobs. (quote from Jacobin 08/07/2019) (2)

The complicity of the Democrats and Lopez Obrador

Analysts point out that Trump has intensified his xenophobic speech, some say that he is “playing with fire” since it would favour him in his voting base in the pre-electoral period. Democrats use this also: while accepting his main policies, they take distance from their more irritating aspects, like the construction of the wall or the separation of children from their migrant parents. However, the rates of deportations during the presidencies of Obama uncover their lying speech. The former democratic president deported 3 million immigrants in seven years, something that Trump is far from achieving, despite his anti-immigrant speech.

Another case of extreme cynicism is the current center-left Mexican president Lopez Obrador, who developed his political career with a nationalist and anti-imperialist speech, but after Trump´s first threat to tax imports from Mexico, immediately deployed the Mexican National Guard to the border with Guatemala to stop and deport the Central Americans who must go through Mexico to reach the US. In relation to the current massacre of El Paso, he only demands the extradition of the terrorist to his home country.

The campaign for “gun control”

The proliferation of “lone wolves” -who, as we pointed out, are not so alone, since they are oriented by official propaganda- has allowed the Democratic Party to relaunch its campaign against the free sale of weapons to Americans, demanding its regulation. They are accompanied by numerous bourgeois and petty bourgeois sectors, who, with a pseudo pacifist speech, want the monopoly of arms to be left in the hands of the greatest terrorist state in the world: the United States.

Trump himself has pointed out that he is not against taking the debate of greater gun control to the Congress, but he does not see a “political appetite” to ban assault rifles. A statement that seems to be serious becuase the American National Rifle Association, the most important lobby in defence of the free sale of weaponry, immediately criticized it.

Unfortunately, this objectively functional position to maintain the control of weapons in the US imperialist state has also infected leftist currents who, like Anticapitalistas in Spain, published an article on their website Viento Sur by Ryu Spaeth titled “The culture of weapons has always been the essence of white supremacy” in which he promotes this pseudo-pacifist campaign. (3)

The origin of the constitutional right that each American can freely purchase weapons is a democratic right that goes back to the democratic struggles that gave birth to the American nation. That the bourgeois US imperialist state does not have the absolute control over weapons is a great conquest of the people. Going against that right by supporting arguments “on the left” does a great favour to the bourgeois imperialist state, one of whose fundamental powers is precisely the possession of the weaponry.

The access to weapons does not cause the massacres, it is the tremendous violence and alienation that US society bears, responsibility of the policies of its imperialist ruling class and a xenophobic speech launched from the very core of power.

To end racism, defeat xenophobia and capitalist exploitation

The struggle for the democratic rights of migrants in the United States and their rights as workers is a fight that must unite the working class and defenders of human rights in the United States and the world.

It has a great importance in the struggles of the working class of the world against the imperialist capitalist regime because it is a struggle in the heart of the imperial monster and its weakening favours the struggle of the peoples of the world.

This is why there is a unity of the struggle to defeat US supremacist gangs and their mentor president Trump, the conquest of democratic and labour rights that are denied to Latino workers and the struggle to defeat the real cancer of the US society: the decaying capitalism of the Democrats and the Republicans.

Against the attacks of the right, the struggle of women and for gender rights, of migrants, teachers’ strikes, the phenomenon of the “socialist millennials”, fill us with great enthusiasm. We see in them a great source of the human material that can create a political tool to fight for a different society without racism or xenophobia, without oppression of migrants, racial and gender minorities, of women and the youth, without capitalist exploitation for the majority and great fortunes for a few, a socialist society.

Gustavo Giménez

  1. https://www.dw.com/es/el-paso-ha-resistido-cada-uno-de-los-embates-racistas-y-xenof%C3%B3bicos-de-este-presidente/av-49903818
  2. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/08/xenophobia-immigrant-worker-exploitation
  3. https://vientosur.info/spip.php?article15034