The L.A. Nazi Shooting and
the System's Double Game

Revolutionary Worker #1019, August 22, 1999

Again! It has happened again.

Less than two months ago, Benjamin Smith went on a shooting spree across Illinois and Indiana--targeting Black, Jewish and Asian people. This time Buford Furrow Jr., a nazi hitman, pulled into Los Angeles from the racist compounds of the Northwest and opened fire in the North Valley Jewish Community Center.

On August 10, Furrow blasted the Community Center's summer day camp with a submachine gun--wounding three boys between 5 and 6, a 16-year-old girl and a 68-year-old woman. A few miles away and about an hour later, Furrow walked up to Joseph Ileto, a Filipino mail carrier, and killed him in cold blood with ten shots. Furrows just happened to spot Joseph Ileto delivering mail, and decided to kill him because he was "non-white."

Furrow has been an active member of the Aryan Nations and has ties to supporters of "The Order"--a racist clique that carried out assassinations in the 1980s. He supported the white racist religious movement called the "Christian Identity Church."

Again and again, armed men have been emerging from the twisted underworld of racist networks to unleash reactionary violence on people:

  • On April 19, 1995, a powerful bomb destroyed the front of Oklahoma City's Federal Building--killing 168 people and injuring 500. Most of the victims were ordinary people conducting their daily business, including children in the daycare center. The men imprisoned for this attack, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, were hardcore fascists and racists who had spent time together in the U.S. Army.
  • On January 29, 1998, a bomb ripped through a women's clinic in Birmingham, Alabama--killing one employee and severely wounding a nurse, Emily Lyons. A hardcore racist from North Carolina, Eric Rudolph, has been named as the likely bomber. He is also believed to have bombed gay clubs, a women's clinic and an Olympic celebration rally in Atlanta--injuring more than 150 people in those attacks.
  • On October 23, 1998, a sniper killed Dr. Barnett Slepian, a women's doctor in Buffalo. It is believed the killer was James Charles Kopp--a militant opponent of women's reproductive rights. Dr. Slepian was the fourth abortion doctor killed in six years by right-wing assassins.
  • In addition there have been shocking incidents of young white high school boys influenced by right-wing ideas opening fire on their fellow students. This last spring, two students walked into Columbine High School in the affluent community of Littleton, Colorado on Hitler's birthday--and killed 12 students and a teacher. A month later, a student wounded six classmates in Conyers, Georgia--reportedly in imitation of the Littleton attack.

    Bullets from the Racist Right

    Both Furrow and Smith--and the movements they belong to--embrace the racist theory that traditional, white-Christian society in the U.S. is being destroyed by "race-mixing" and the rise of Black people, non-European immigrants and other people of color. They believe that the United States is secretly being taken over from within by an international plot. And they believe in the Nazi theory that a hidden conspiracy of Jewish people is secretly masterminding a "Zionist Occupation Government" (ZOG) to create a satanic "New World Order."

    These twisted theories reveal once again the close connection between anti-Semitism (anti-Jewish beliefs) and Klan-style white supremacy. These theories have nothing to do with reality. (There is, after all, no international Jewish conspiracy or any secret takeover of the U.S. from within!) But these theories are useful for the system. They are views that have historically been used to prepare militant, indoctrinated armed forces to kill oppressed people on command. Furrow, Smith and the movements they belong to preach that there must be a genocidal war aimed at Jews, Black people and other people of color.

    In recent years, right-wing and racist networks have increasingly encouraged their militants to organize decentralized, individual attacks, raids, and assassinations. The plan is to use unexpected and unpredictable attacks to create a climate of fear among the masses of oppressed people, and to stop abortion by killing women's doctors and terrorizing the clinic workers. The expectation is that such attacks are only the first skirmishes of a civil war in which the future of this society will be decided on the battlefield.

    When Furrows turned himself in, he reportedly explained his daycare center attack saying that "he was concerned about the decline of the white race and he wanted this to be a wakeup call to America to kill Jews." Benjamin Smith, who sniped at people in different towns from his car window, saw himself as a killer in an emerging RAHOWA (racial holy war.)

    Oppressed people in the U.S. have had enough of racist killers. Their time is up! Their dreams of terrifying the people and enforcing white supremacy must not be tolerated. Their actions and plots and ties to the system must be exposed to the world and militantly fought. And, at the same time, it is important to expose those powerful forces in society who encourage, unleash and protect the fascist forces.

    Hitmen for the Politics of Cruelty

    Who is to blame for unleashing these reactionary, right-wing killers? The official media points its finger in all the wrong places. They claim that these are just a few lone nuts and psychos. They argue that this is a result of a laxness in society that can be solved with more police powers, more gun control and more political censorship. One article in Newsweek even tried to claim that reactionary murder sprees are caused by a lamentable breakdown in sex roles that leave men unsure of their place in society and the family!

    The truth is that powerful currents running through this society are churning up these hateful killers--creating them, indoctrinating them, manipulating them, and filling them with a twisted sense of mission.

    Black people, youth, immigrants and abortion doctors have been wildly demonized by leading forces with the U.S. ruling class. Campaigns have been launched by governors and presidents--to tighten the borders, to persecute immigrants, to restrict abortion, and to round up Black and Latino youth by the tens of thousands. Welfare has been attacked. Affirmative action has been slandered. An official "politics of cruelty" has sounded a call for the militant defense of "traditional values," of male-dominated patriarchy and the continued existence of a white majority within a conservative Christian America.

    Is it any surprise then, that sick, murderous cowards have been stepping forward again and again to kill defenseless people with bullets and bombs?

    The U.S. system has always cultivated networks of bigots--using them as enforcers of white supremacy, protecting them when they hauled out their lynching nooses and sniper rifles. Now well-financed conservatism and calls for "culture wars" help fill these networks with a fresh sense of urgency and self-righteousness.

    These thugs crawl out of the suburban woodwork and the backwoods--but they answer calls from the commanding heights of this society, its institutions and ruling class.

    Their Solution?
    More Repression and Police-State Powers

    In 1996, in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton pressed through the "Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act," crammed with reactionary new police measures and cruel attacks on prisoners.

    Now, after this latest shooting in the L.A. daycare center, so many different clampdowns were proposed that the media seemed to have trouble deciding exactly which ones were supposed to get the main attention.

    The Clinton administration pushed hard, as it now does at every possible occasion, for sweeping new controls on the right of people to own guns. Attorney General Janet Reno called for forbidding anyone with juvenile records of "violent offenses" from owning guns. She proposed national registration of all handguns. There are proposals to impose federal controls over "gun shows"--closing a "loophole" through which guns exchange hands outside official view. In the name of preventing violence among the people, they seek to ensure that their police forces have an unchallenged weapons superiority over the people.

    Lost in this latest push were the facts that Furrow himself had been a licensed gun dealer for years, and that the handgun used to kill postal worker Joseph Ileto came from the property room of a police department near the Aryan Nations compound in Idaho.

    Meanwhile, there were loud demands for increased political repression and censorship. Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, was given space in the New York Times to demand that the FBI more aggressively spy on people and organizations--based solely on their politics.

    A security mania among school administrators has heightened continually since this spring. The Los Angeles school system has put up signs in more than 600 schools warning kids that they can be expelled, arrested and brought to trial for making jokes that sound like "threats." In Louisiana a law was passed requiring children to say "yes ma'am" and "yassir" to teachers--resurrecting the enforced submissiveness of Jim Crow days.

    Millions of kids will return to schools this fall that are more prison-like than ever. Metal detectors have become standard. Lockers are being removed. Video cameras are becoming standard in hallways. Many students will "swipe" magnetic ID cards--to be tracked as they move from one part of the school building to another. Dress codes have proliferated--often forbidding styles like hiphop or goth. Police "substations" are being been established in schools--so that "discipline problems" now directly become "police matters."

    Meanwhile, government research shows that schools have not become more dangerous. A study by the federal "Center for Disease Control and Prevention" showed that "violence committed by teenagers" had declined throughout the past decade, including the number of weapons carried into schools.

    A dangerous double game is being played out. Terror attacks on the people are used to ratchet up police power over the people. These are cynical moves to tighten the controls of a whole society, to stiffen reactionary standards in the culture and to seize control of the future by terror, deceit and police action. They need to be exposed and fiercely resisted.

    This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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