Armed to the teeth, a fascist set off to attack the synagogue of Halle, Germany, on Yom Kippur, an important Jewish holiday. His aim – to kill dozens of Jewish people. When this failed, the perpetrator shot a passer-by and a customer at a nearby kebab-restaurant. Our solidarity is with the victims and their families. The fight against Nazis and racism is more urgent than ever.
By Sebastian Rave, Bremen
The killer may have committed this specific attack alone, but he was not just an individual. In a “manifesto” for like-minded people, he announced the crime in several Nazi forums. He streamed his attacks on the internet via a helmet camera.
He repeated the ideological fairy tales of the new and old right including that ‘the Holocaust did not happen’, ‘feminism is to blame for the decline in the birth rate’ and that this decline has caused the “great exchange” – the replacement of the white majority population by Muslim migrants. And behind all this, they say, lies Judaism. These are not the ideas of a lonely psychopath, they are the cornerstones of far right ideology, shared not only by open and militant Nazis, but also by far-right AfD or white nationalist activists.
Destruction – the core of right-wing ideology
These people play down the anti-Semitic part of their crude worldview, at least in public. The Holocaust and other crimes of fascism are still too vivid in the memories of large parts of the population for the far-right to promote the mass hatred of Jews. But it is clear that right-wing anti-Semitism remains alive.
The “bad reputation” that Nazi ideology has created a paradox: the murderer first denied the Holocaust in his livestream, by claiming that the mass murder of Jews never happened, but then he himself put into practice what the German AfD, the Austrian FPÖ and the neo-facist Identitarians preach.
The apparently more moderate spokespersons of the far-right naturally distance themselves from these actions. The far-right journalist and activist Elsässer, describes the murderer as a “lone wolf” Another, the far-right ‘identitarian’ activist Sellner on YouTube called him a “disturbed and crazy” person who “assists our political opponents” and prevents “an open, democratic, peaceful and broad movement against population exchange and replacement migration”.
Their fear is that this ‘idiot’ is destroying their claims that they are ‘peaceful’ and ‘democratic’. The violence exposes right-wing ideology for what it is: an ultimately murderous division of people according to origin, religion or imaginary ‘race’ to promote inequality. Even if these modern ideologues of the right no longer openly speak of ‘Aryans’ and ‘sub-humans’, the conspiracy-theory nonsense of their sinister “great exchange” ideas provoked the fascist murderer of Halle, who regarded himself as an “Internet SS’er”.
Organized Nazi scene
The perpetrator was undoubtedly a fully convinced Nazi. There are indications that he was initially organized only online. His weapons, which were homemade using construction plans taken from the internet and which, fortunately, often failed, suggest that he was not involved in militant Nazi networks in his area. Otherwise, he would probably have caused an even greater bloodbath.
Militant Nazi groups hold considerable arsenals of weapons. During house searches of the Nordkreuz group, part of a nationwide Nazi network of former security service officials, in the aftermath of the nazi-murder of CDU politician Walter Lübcke earlier this year, 10,000 rounds of ammunition were found. In a nationwide raid against the “National Socialist Knights of the Ku Klux Klan”, more than a hundred weapons were confiscated. In Rhineland-Palatinate several hundred weapons, parts and explosive devices were seized in March. Every month there are more discoveries of weapons in Nazi hands. And repeatedly, evidence for Nazi structures in the Bundeswehr (army) and police appears. These indicate the danger that emanates from organized Nazis who adhere to a murderous ideology, are heavily armed and know how to use weapons.
In the Halle case, a relatively new form of Nazi activist has emerged. Men ideologized by the “new” right, organized through right-wing Internet forums, and deeply alienated from social structures, who, like the Christchurch assassin or Anders Breivik, put into practice what AfD, FPÖ and the Identitarian activists preach: the “defense” of the white, male, Christian westerner, if necessary with arms in hand.
Against any racism
The Halle assassination was supposed to be a bloodbath. It is just by accident that “only” two people lost their lives and not dozens. It is a clear signal that can no longer be ignored. The polarization of society is increasing dramatically. Fascist terror kills. It is necessary to organise, by uniting in action all those opposed to these fascist thugs – to defend workers, youth and all minorities who suffer these brutal attacks. Self-defence structures are needed not just because of the seriousness of the violence, but also because the police, the army or the state in general is infiltrated by the far-right and cannot be trusted. Antifascist committees must be connected with trade unions and other parts of the workers’ movement in order not to end up as isolated anti-fascist groups.
We need to organise to stop the whole far-right. AfD, identitarians and others and their dangerous policies. No demonstration, no poster, no public event can remain unanswered, they must be blocked and prevented. They must be driven back into the rat-holes from which they have crawled.
But we also have to step up work, both during demonstrations and with more general explanations to combat all variants of racism, anti-Semitism, agitation against refugees, racist state practices such as deportations and islamophobia, and also against the bourgeois media whose reporting helps to create the atmosphere in which these so-called “individual perpetrators” flourish.
The root cause is capitalism
Every day we are told that there is no alternative to the obscene wealth and power of a tiny minority of major shareholders and the super-rich. When we say that the wealth should be divided more fairly, they limit the discussion to one about how a few miserable crumbs can be distributed among the great mass of people, among those who do not possess wealth but have to work for their livelihood. That is why they try to divide us: Germans against migrants, young against old, men against women.
We must fight against this division, for our common interests. In our fight against fascism we must not remain silent about capitalism. The left and the workers’ movement cannot fight the Nazis by accepting or even defending the capitalist status-quo based on inequality. The dissatisfaction of broad sections of the population on social issues is justified – and it will increase with the next economic crisis. Only if we succeed in fighting for a humane life for all people, regardless of ethnic origin, religion and gender, can we defeat the extreme right-wing terrorists and their ideological backers.
So alongside, and an integral part of the struggle against racism and fascism, it is necessary to build a powerful movement based on the trade unions and working class, uniting all workers and youth of all nationalities for decent wages, against precarious work, in defence of education and healthcare and for the socialist transformation of society.