The bloody events in Texas over the weekend—eight victims gunned down in a mall in the Dallas suburb of Allen, and eight more run over by an SUV as they waited at a bus stop in Brownsville on the US-Mexico border—have horrified the American public and the world.
These massacres are not only disturbing tragedies, the products of a deeply dysfunctional society, they reveal the direct connection between fascist politics and mass violence.
The gunman at the Allen Outlet Mall, Mauricio Garcia, was a fascist. He wore an emblem on his chest with the letters RWDS, a fascist acronym for “Right-Wing Death Squad.” His online activity revealed he was a fan of the white supremacist and antisemite Nick Fuentes, who was recently Trump’s dinner guest at Mar-a-Lago. Nearly all those he gunned down, including three children, were Asian or Hispanic.
In Brownsville, George Alvarez taunted a group of Venezuelan migrants outside a migrant shelter and then drove into them at high speed in his Land Rover. The Brownsville attack has largely disappeared from the news and Alvarez has been charged with only manslaughter.
The killing of eight migrants took place amid a political frenzy against “illegal” immigration whipped up by the corporate media and Republican politicians, aided and abetted by the Biden administration, which has mobilized 1,500 regular troops for duty at the border. This measure, taken in violation of longstanding “posse comitatus” restrictions on the use of soldiers for law enforcement, comes only days before the May 11 expiration of Title 42, the bogus restriction on asylum seekers on the grounds they may be carrying COVID-19 into the United States. Title 42 is just one of a raft of anti-immigrant measures first invoked by Trump and then continued under Biden.
A huge surge of migrants is expected from Thursday on, and tens of thousands of desperate migrants, fleeing political repression, gang violence and excruciating poverty have assembled at the border hoping to enter the United States and make claims to asylum. Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbott denounced Biden’s dispatch of 1,500 troops, saying the number should be 150,000, and he ordered National Guard troops to the Rio Grande as reinforcements.
While the connection between the racist witch-hunt against migrants and the homicidal attack in Brownsville may be indirect, there is no such qualification in relation to the mass murder in Allen. Garcia was directly inspired by the fascistic ravings of representatives of the ultra right, many of whom participated in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and most of them linked to ex-President Trump and the Republican Party.
The fascist gunman killed eight people, three of them children, and wounded seven more when he opened fire with an assault rifle at the Allen Outlet Mall Saturday afternoon. Garcia evidently selected the location because of the large non-white population in the surrounding area—40 percent Asian, Hispanic and African-American. He chose the busiest time of the week, after watching traffic over nearly a month and posting photographs of the mall on his social media account.
He may also have chosen Allen because it was the hometown of another fascist gunman, Patrick Crusius, who slaughtered 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas in August 2019. As the WSWS wrote at the time:
Crusius wrote in a manifesto before carrying out his slaughter: “I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.” With this, he was taking his marching orders from Trump.
Texas has become a testing ground for an array of fascist measures aimed at creating a constituency for a violent assault directed at the working class.
This is being orchestrated at the highest levels of the Republican Party. Governor Abbott is less well known than Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, but the two states are running on parallel tracks, as though each governor and Republican-controlled state legislature were seeking to outdo the other in the destruction of democratic rights. Abbott has pushed through significant restrictions on voting rights, effectively banned abortion and sent state police and National Guard troops to the border.
Legislation passed by the state Senate, but not yet finalized, would allow the state to override election results in cities, which are mostly islands of Democratic Party control, and order new elections. Another bill being discussed in the legislature would allow citizens to join a “border protection unit” with the power to “arrest, detain, and deter individuals crossing the border illegally including with the use of non-deadly force.” There are also bills to require public schools to display the Ten Commandments in every classroom, and to ban citizens of China, Iran, North Korea and other “enemy” countries from buying and owning land in the state.
Florida is matching these bills—the state House recently passed legislation to ban Chinese citizens from owning land in the state, as well as citizens of Russia, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. The state has banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and DeSantis has declared his support for new legislation that would ban abortions after six weeks. On immigration, the state requires employers to use the federal e-Verify system to check immigration status, and another bill would require medical facilities to do the same for patients. Both would have to report “illegal” immigrants to the state.
The response of the Democratic Party has been to adapt to this right-wing movement, as evidenced by Biden’s deployment of troops to the border. This is aimed against the democratic rights of the whole population, as indicated by Biden’s decision to sign a reactionary bill repealing minor reforms in bail laws in the District of Columbia.
The administration is preparing to make further concessions to the ultra-right agenda as part of its effort to obtain an increase in the federal debt ceiling to avoid any disturbance to the financial markets. Biden’s main focus is to ensure Republican support for endless spending on the war against Russia in Ukraine. All measures to curb state restrictions on voting rights or enact limited restrictions on police violence in the wake of the murder of George Floyd have been abandoned.
There will likewise be no serious investigation into the connections between mass violence and the fascistic views promoted by Republican-led state governments and ex-President Trump. The social media accounts of Mauricio Garcia provide ample evidence, ranging from shirtless photos of Garcia posing with tattoos of a large swastika and SS lightning bolts, to approving reposts of the comments of antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes.
Fuentes was one of the instigators of the “stop the steal” campaign that prepared the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, as well as the fascist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, where an anti-fascist demonstrator, Heather Heyer, was murdered. In November 2022, Fuentes and rap billionaire Kanye West were Trump’s guests at Mar-a-Lago, shortly after West began to publicly declare himself an antisemite.
Neither of the two capitalist parties will confront the ultra-right, fascistic character of attacks such as the massacre in Allen. The Democrats repeat their incessant calls for restrictions on gun ownership as the solution to all problems relating to violence, despite the fact that nothing they have proposed would have stopped Garcia and other mass killers. Republican officials like Texas Governor Greg Abbott declare that mental health is the real issue. Of course, the Republican Party has played a leading role for decades in gutting mental health services at both the state and federal level.
For the working class, the events in Texas last weekend must be taken as a warning. The deepening social crisis in America continues to produce one violent atrocity after another. The Allen, Texas mass shooting was the 200th such event in the US so far this year, for an average of 11 such events per week. The majority of these events are brutal expressions of underlying social tensions, without an explicit political content. But increasingly, the gunmen are embracing a fascistic outlook.
This is a symptom of a greater danger: the deliberate promotion of fascism by the American ruling class, which looks upon the working class and socialism as the main enemy. It is impossible to fight this threat within the confines of the capitalist two-party system and the pro-capitalist trade union organizations. The working class must develop its own independent political movement, based on a socialist and anti-war program, and fight for power and an end to the capitalist system, the root cause of the fascist threat.