CPUSA condemns Arizona shootings, incitement


by: Special to the World
January 9 2011

tags: violence, ultra-right, racism, Arizona

The Communist Party USA issued the following statement Jan. 9
unequivocally condemning the shootings in Arizona and the ultra-right,
anti-government political atmosphere.

Saturday, Jan 8, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Federal Judge John Roll
and many others, including a nine-year-old girl were shot during the
congresswoman's constituency meeting at a Tucson, Ariz. Safeway
grocery store parking lot. As of Sunday morning six have been reported
killed, including Judge Roll, and 12 wounded, including Rep. Giffords,
who was shot in the head and is expected to survive.

In no uncertain terms, the Communist Party USA strongly and
unequivocally condemns this outrageous act of violence. We extend our
condolences to the family and friends of the victims. We hope for full
recoveries for all the wounded, including Rep. Giffords.

It is reported that law enforcement has in custody a 22-year-old white
man, Jared Lee Loughner, as the accused shooter. It is not clear
whether the shooter acted alone or with accomplices.

Many are dubbing this a tragedy, which undoubtedly it is. But it
doesn't end there.

While we do not yet know the motivation of the crime, many have
surmised that the motivation is political because of the atmosphere of
violent language and threats against Rep. Giffords and other
Congressional Democrats. Political or not, the extreme right-wing tea
party movement and their anti-government rantings and ravings helped
create an atmosphere that allowed or even encouraged this attack. For
instance, until the day of the event when it was removed, Sarah Palin
featured Giffords on her webpage with the congresswoman's district in
the crosshairs of a gun, targeting her for her support of healthcare

Political hate speech has consequences. Giffords herself said, "Palin
has crosshairs on our district; people have to realize there are
consequences to that." She said that in a TV interview after her
Arizona office had been broken into and vandalized after her vote for
the national health care reform bill. Giffords was a frequent target
of the tea party movement. Judge Roll, a Republican, had also received
threats from the right.

Yet, the link to rhetoric and violence doesn't end with the Palin and
her tea party. It extends to the political leadership of Arizona and
the Republican Party, who have fomented laws and policies that
logically lead to violence. Starting with the anti-immigrant SB 1070
and banning ethnic studies, leaders like Governor Jan Brewer, and
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio have to take as much responsibility
for this violence as Palin and her cohorts. All their condolences ring
hollow because of their callous inflammatory rhetoric and
romanticization of guns and "Second Amendment remedies".

Arizona is burning. It is Ground Zero for this extreme far-right, and
their corporate, multi-billionaire sponsors. In the words of Pima
County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik in responding to political mood leading
to the shooting shooting, "Arizona I think has become the capital. We
have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

In the hours after the shooting, some right wing elements seem to have
created fake social networking pages in order to associate Loughner
with the Left. The full story about the mental state and political
motivations for the shooter will hopefully come to light soon. The
attempt to paint this suspect as a leftist continues the far-right's
use of anti-communism and anti-democratic rhetoric to cover-up their
own role in continuing the hate until its logical violent conclusion.

It was Giffords father, 75-year-old Spencer Giffords, who wept when
asked if his 40-year-old daughter had any enemies, and answered,
"Yeah," to The New York Post, "The whole tea party."

This shooting marks a dangerous and sad day for our country. It's up
to the American people to say, "Enough" to the hate, the racism,
incitement to violence and the fascist-like behavior of
anti-government thugs. Political violence and assassination has no
place in our democracy.

Photo: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords speaks with the commandant of
University of Arizona in 2009. (uscgpress/CC)

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