New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden called it one of New Zealand's darkest days. As Muslim worshippers gathered at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, for their Friday afternoon prayers on March 15th, 2019, an Australian white supramacist walked in and gunned down 50 worshippers as he live-streamed it on Facebook. Prior to this heinous terrorist attack the terrorist posted a ranting manifesto on various hate sites and sent a copy to the Prime Minister. This atrocity was the worst terrorist attack in New Zealand history and it has left New Zealand in a state of shock. How could this happen in a country like New Zealand?
To a large extent New Zealanders felt that because we are such an small obscure country that sometimes gets left off world maps that the major events of the world does not effect us. However, the internet means that reactionary ideologies can be advocated with little, or no, attempt to monitor them by the billionaire technology giants based in the Pacific coast states of the United States unless ordered to do so by the United States government. Poisonous ideas such as white power and Islamophobia can be promoted almost with impunity.
New Zealand was not immune to Islamophobia. Granted, it was not entrenched among New Zealand's political and business elites but many, if not most, Muslims had encountered discrimination or hostility at some point. However, with the election of the racist Donald Trump as President of the United States, many white power groups, fascists and Islamophobes have been emboldened to become more violent.
One of those people who were emboldened to carry out a terrorist attack was a 28 year old white Australian male named Brenton Tarrant. In what was clearly a carefully planned and executed attack. Tarrant cited Donald Trump, the fascist scumbag Anders Brevik who murdered 72 people including dozens of young people attending a socialist camp in Norway and the Bosnian Serb butcher Radovan Karadzic who committed genocide against Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian conflict in the early 1990s as inspirations for his actions.
Tarrant wanted to commit this atrocity to provoke an over-reaction from Muslim immigrants, whom he called invaders, so that the white people of New Zealand would rise up and drive these so-called “invaders” out of the country. What he achieved was the opposite: New Zealanders from all walks of life came together to condemn the actions of Tarrant and to rally in support of New Zealand's Muslim community.
Vigils have been held throughout New Zealand and more are scheduled for the following weeks. In the meantime the government has announced tighter gun control laws which are almost certain to result in a ban on semi-automatic rifles. This will do nothing to deal with the root cause of racism that provided the motivation for the attacks, the capitalist system itself.
The government has also announced an investigation as to how intelligence agencies and law enforcement in both Australia and New Zealand handled the terrorist attack and why Tarrant was able to remain unknown to them. It is disgusting that the various intelligence agencies focused on trade union activists, environmentalists, Maori nationalists, peace activists and Muslims but paid little attention to the hatred being peddled in many publications and on social media by the fascists and white supremacists.
Despite many incidents of violence and vandalism targeting immigrants, especially Muslims, there appeared to be little monitoring of either individuals or groups from the far right. A cynic might claim this was a case of institutional racism or closet fascist sympathies in certain circles within the intelligence agencies. The more plausible explanation is that intelligence agencies and law enforcement are part of the bourgeois state so they put their class interests first. Organised labour, in particular, is a threat to the ruling class and therefore warrant greater attention than thugs who intimidate and even beat up non-whites, including Muslims.
It has been a common tactic of the ruling class to use Islamophobia and xenophobia to divide the working class. It has been more successful in Australia than New Zealand where the spirit, if not necessarily the substance, of egalitarianism still exists in much of our country. Workers here aren't interested in irrelevencies like race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. What New Zealanders care about is whether or not they will stand in solidarity with us when it comes to fighting for their rights, defending their freedoms and improving their lives both within the workplace and outside of it.
The International Marxist Tendency, which Socialist Appeal is part of, is made up of workers from around the world from many different cultures, and nationalities. We are united by our common bond of being working class people fighting for a better, socialist, future for New Zealand, Oceania and the world.
This cowardly attack upon our fellow New Zealanders will never be forgotten and the names of the fallen must never be allowed to become little more than names on a memorial that will quickly be forgotten. AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!