The murder of nine people in two shisha bars in the German town of Hanau by a fascist gunman is the third fatal right-wing terrorist attack in the country in just nine months. But as Sasha Staničić (Sol – CWI, Germany – national spokesperson) explains, the laments of establishment politicians over such attacks will not eradicate the far-right threat. On the contrary, their anti-working-class policies have created a fertile soil for the growth in racist parties like the AfD.
Anti-AfD protest in Germany, photo Niels Holger Schmidt/CC, photo Niels Holger Schmidt/CC

Anti-AfD protest in Germany, photo Niels Holger Schmidt/CC, photo Niels Holger Schmidt/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

The racist murders in Hanau are part of a chain of right-wing terror attacks and racism. They are not caused by the sick brains of individual perpetrators, but by a capitalist society that produces racism and right-wing forces on a daily basis. And a state in which networks of racists, fascists and right-wing populists can operate.

Just recently, a fascist terror network was discovered – the so-called “Gruppe S” – which involved a police administrator. Right-wing networks exist in the Bundeswehr – the German army.

Last October, there was the antisemitic attack on a synagogue in Halle. The racist mob attacks on ‘foreigners’ in the streets of Chemnitz was only a year and a half ago.

The network of Nazis and Verfassungsschutz – domestic security service agents – suspected of being behind at least ten National Socialist Underground (NSU) murders between 2000 and 2007 has still not been fully uncovered.

The threat from fascists is growing daily, but the state authorities arrest people who fly a Kurdish flag. And FAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a conservative paper – denounces left-wing ‘extremist’ activities in the left party Die Linke.

After the recent events in Thuringia’s state parliament, where for the first time the conservative CDU and liberal FDP deputies elected a state prime minister together with the far-right populist AfD, one commentator after another falsely equated the left and the right.

One thing is clear: regardless of whether ‘Tobias R’ committed the Hanau crime alone or as part of a group – his actions were prompted by the AfD and all those who incite against migrants.

It is no coincidence that the gunman chose two shisha bar places for his murders. For months there has been racist incitement against such places of migrant culture by the AfD, and also in the capitalist media.

The fact that this atrocity took place in Hanau, in the state of Hesse, should not really be a surprise. Hesse was a focal point of the NSU murders and the scene of last year’s murder of CDU politician Walter Lübcke. In Hanau itself, there is an active Nazi scene which has attacked left-wingers and migrants.

Now there has to be a clear response. It is necessary to get organised – against the Nazi murderers and against those who have lit the fuse with their political actions.

A central role must be played by the trade unions which, with six million members, are the largest multi-ethnic organisations. Their primary task should be to combat the social causes that give rise to racism. They should mass leaflet workplaces and invite people to workplace meetings.

On this basis, they could organise a nationwide demonstration against right-wing terror and racism together with the #unteilbar-Bündnis (‘Indivisible – alliance’), Die Linke (the Left party) and migrants’ associations, and combine the fight against the right wing with the trade union and wider social struggles. Or why not even strike in protest against right-wing terror?

Divide and rule

There is no capitalism without racism, said Malcolm X, the US civil rights activist. The capitalists need racist divisions in order to exploit the wage-earning class. ‘Divide and rule’ is the old familiar motto. That is why there are special laws for migrants, and that is why not only the AfD agitates against non-Germans.

For years, we have seen campaigns by the Bild newspaper, other media, and the capitalist parties against immigrants. So, those who have capital and power can also distract attention from the fact that they and their system are the real causes of social problems such as unemployment and cuts in services.

It is these social problems that are the root cause of the rise of the AfD and growing racism. This, in turn, strengthened the militant Nazis in their thinking and further radicalised them.

The capitalist state promotes racism and usually lets the fascists do their thing. Whoever believes that the state – whose security service is obviously connected to the series of NSU murders, and that pro-capitalist politicians – who have undermined the right of asylum and carry out daily deportations, will effectively do something against right-wing extremism, also believes in fairy tales!

The investigation of the murders must not be left to the state which, especially in Hesse, is itself knee-deep in the ‘brown’ swamp.

Sol demands the formation of an independent committee of inquiry consisting of migrant associations, the local population and the trade unions, in order to clear up the background of the crime and to identify possible further dangers. These must also have the right to inspect all police investigation findings.

The left must not, however, limit itself to moral indignation and expressions of sadness about the Hanau murders. It must not refrain from naming the deeper causes of the right-wing terror and the arsonists in pinstripes and pantsuits.

We now need joint mass mobilisations and actions of trade unions, Die Linke, and social movements to stop the right, and for social rights and a better life for all.

The best fight against racism, fascism and right-wing populism is the common fight of wage earners, young people, and socially disadvantaged people for higher wages, better working conditions, lower rents, decent social benefits, against precarious working conditions and exploitation, and for equal rights for all people living here. This cannot be conducted with the established parties responsible for ‘Agenda 2010’ – raising the retirement age, horrendous rents, etc.

Socialist challenge

Getting to the root of the evil also means questioning the capitalist system and discussing alternatives to the power of capital and concentration of wealth in a few hands.

Sol says: as long as the banks and corporations are privately owned by a few, and democracy ends at the factory gate, social problems and fears of the future will drive people into the arms of right-wing criminals.

Only a socialist democracy in which the banks and corporations are in public ownership and democratically controlled and managed by the working population, can solve social problems, put an end to the capitalist crisis, and halt the environmental destruction.

We need a strong, socialist, workers’ party that does not play the game of the established parties but consistently represents the interests of the majority of the population, regardless of skin colour, religion, and nationality.