In the News June 12
People in the U.S. Oppose More Police Powers and Demand Their Rights Be Upheld
Buffalo Shooter an Avowed Pro-Nazi
It is now well established that the mass killing which took place in Buffalo on May 14 was pre-planned. It is also known that the individual responsible for killing ten Black people and wounding three others is a racist connected with neo-Nazis and their white supremacist theories. This includes connections to neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Payton Gendron posted pictures of himself wearing symbols of the Nazi Azov Battalion. According to reports, the connections were such that the live stream of the killings was posted by these Nazis in Ukraine.
These are the same neo-Nazis funded and promoted by President Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and others who repeat their Nazi slogan of Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes. It is this support, and the example of the U.S. that violence and mass killings are the way to deal with problems, that pave the way for individuals like Payton and others involved in mass shootings. There is a culture of state violence, revenge and racism that defines U.S. society and is the main source of individual acts of violence.
People Respond on a Mass Scale to Support Families of Victims of Neo-Nazi Violence
People from across the city of Buffalo continue to show their support for the families of those killed and wounded in the planned mass killing on May 14. Fresh flowers, candles, drawings by children hanging on nearby trees, small gatherings and other means show the deep desire of all to stand together in rejecting the violent racist Nazi attack. While all remain traumatized by the event, there are also many signs that the people of Buffalo will not be silenced or intimidated.
Immediately after the shooting on May 15, hundreds gathered and expressed their demands for less policing and more funding for social programs, such as programs for youth and schools and for government to “stop trying to destroy our communities,” as one person put it. People are also determined to carry forward with Juneteenth celebrations on June 18-19, which bring thousands of people together to celebrate the end of the system of slave labour and the whole history of resistance to enslavement, inequality, and state-organized racism.
People also denounced the militarized response of more police at Black churches which also occurred in New York City (NYC) and statewide. They denounced the plans of NYC to have armed police stationed at every subway stop, meaning a major increase in the police presence. The Buffalo Common Council just passed a budget that included an increase in police funding by about $5 million while schools still lack nurses, librarians and counselors. Buffalo’s mayor has also called for increased police presence at Juneteenth. This is opposed by many who point out it will be used to undermine and disrupt the celebration.
Violence and Racism Are State-Organized
The specific viewpoint being promoted, referred to as the “great white replacement,” is a Nazi viewpoint supporting the superiority of whites and the necessity for violence to ensure “whites” remain in power. It is basically Hitler’s “Aryan Nation” theory, used by the Nazi propaganda machine to justify the extermination of any who did not fit the definition of a “master race.” The monopoly media has been used to widely promote the shooter’s support of this view, remaining silent about the direct links with neo-Nazis in the U.S. and Ukraine, and the fact that these elements are organized by U.S. military, political and intelligence agencies. More importantly, the U.S. state and the actions of its representatives like President Biden himself are imbued with this racism and outlook based on white supremacy.
Attempts to reduce the problem to lone gunmen who harbour hate and evil seek to divert from the role of the U.S. state and its structures which breed inequality, racism and hatred of those it discriminates against, whether in the United States or abroad. In this vein, in the aftermath of the shooting, President Biden said: “In America, evil will not win. Hate will not prevail. White supremacy will not have the last word.” He remains silent about the white supremacy that imbues the government and ruling elite.
The U.S. has the world’s highest rate of racist mass incarceration, at least 1,000 racist police killings every year and a war budget larger than the next eight countries combined. Biden has proposed that police departments, imbued with the government’s culture of racism and violence, use federal COVID funds to further militarize their operations. This stands directly against demands fought for across the country to stop militarization and use of tanks and automatic weapons by police and to provide funds to guarantee rights to housing, healthcare, education, and to provide resources for more social programs.
In this regard, everyone has witnessed how police managed to de-escalate the situation in which an avowed white racist killer armed with a loaded automatic weapon had just killed ten people but they declare that Black people are fair game. As one person put it, if it had been a Black person “armed with a fork,” or nothing at all, he would be dead. People have pointed out that at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, the police also treated the racist Dylan Roof with kid gloves. It is evidence that the police are quite capable of de-escalating a situation when they are so inclined.
Payton Gendron has now been charged by a grand jury with domestic terrorism motivated by hate and 10 counts of first-degree murder. The 25-count indictment also contains charges of murder and attempted murder as a hate crime and weapons possession. New York State has a law providing for the charge of Domestic Acts of Terrorism Motivated by Hate in the First Degree, which is punishable by life imprisonment without parole. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.
Buffalo Deliberately Chosen to Commit the Crime
It is reported that Gendron chose the Tops store on Buffalo’s east side because the zip code showed it was a majority Black area. He drove about 200 miles from his home in Conklin, New York, bypassing other zip codes with large majority Black populations closer to him in New York City, Syracuse, and Rochester. Many in Buffalo think it has more to do with trying to intimidate the people of Buffalo who are well-known for their firm stands against Nazis and KKK forces. Whenever the neo-Nazis have tried to raise their heads, the people have soundly confronted and defeated them. This includes in South Buffalo, where Trump supporter Carl Paladino has long attempted to foment a racist movement. A demonstration in South Buffalo’s Cazenovia Park in 2016, for example, brought hundreds out against the usual handful of neo-Nazis.
Buffalo also has a long history of standing against racism and for justice and equality, including as a main organizing area for the Underground Railway and many other struggles since. The size and scope of Juneteenth celebrations, among the largest in the country, reflect this long-standing culture of resistance and rejection of organized racist violence by police and neo-Nazis. In fact, the Tops store where the killings took place was established there based on vigorous struggle. It remains the only major grocery store on the mainly Black east side. It is state racism that keeps Buffalo segregated, like most U.S. cities, and chains like Tops reflect this same racism.
The people of Buffalo remain firmly united in rejecting state racism and a militarized response to racist killings. They are determined to celebrate Juneteenth and carry forward their tradition of standing for rights and justice.
(Photos: VOR, 716kid, R.J. Red)
TML Daily, posted June 12, 2022.