Shooting at Club Q reflects rising fascist terror

A vigil held at Club Q for those killed in the 2016 Pulse shooting.

We must unite against the right in a mass workers’ movement

Nov. 20: Last night’s attack on Club Q in Colorado Springs is a result of years of anti-LGBTQ fearmongering in federal election campaigns, state legislatures, local municipalities and school boards, and across the capitalist media. 

Even though most people support LGBTQ people and our rights, the rich have spent millions funding politicians who spread hate. These anti-LGBTQ campaigns are part of a program to divide, disenfranchise and attack the working class. United we can defend LGBTQ rights and fight back on every issue affecting the working class, from immigrant rights to abortion access to ending U.S. wars for profit.

Anti-LGBTQ violence funded by billionaires and hate groups

Billionaire-funded hate groups posing as foundations and think tanks—including the Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and others—have drafted hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills and policy proposals for state legislatures and school boards. These same foundations push attacks on abortion rights and anti-racist education and have blocked raises to the minimum wage. 

They push laws that target healthcare, sports, and bathroom access for trans people, especially trans youth; policies forbidding discussion of LGBTQ-related subjects and people in schools; and attempts by the state to take trans children away from their parents. As healthcare for trans people has come under heavier attack, suicide rates for trans people—especially trans youth—have risen.

That the Club Q shooting occurred the night before Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience is hardly a coincidence. The past few years have seen a rise in anti-trans violence and record murder rates, especially for Black trans women. The more the capitalists push anti-LGBTQ policies through the government, the more the far-right is emboldened to carry out terrorist attacks.

Capitalist media has helped stoke the flames

The media has been complicit in anti-LGBTQ campaigns, promoting the division and lies the politicians have been spreading. From Fox News to the New York Times, the media has spent years amplifying those who equate being queer or trans with being a sexual predator, including politicians and celebrities like billionaire JK Rowling.

Armed queer people standing guard at an event in Denton, TX, while police guarded the Proud Boys.

More police are not the answer

After many mass shootings, politicians and their wealthy backers take the opportunity to call for more funding for the police. But customers took down the shooter at Club Q, not the police. And when police have been on the scene, they have protected far-right, anti-LGBTQ hate groups. 

Recently in New York, police escorted a rally of far-right, anti-trans demagogues, which was met by counter-protestors defending LGBTQ people. This week, police in Denton, Texas, provided protection to Proud Boys and Christian nationalists who targeted an event where trans people were reading to children.

Police do not prevent mass shootings, and they don’t exist to protect us. They serve the rich and powerful. Heavily armed by the same weapons dealers making fortunes off war, many police forces include members of the same hate groups targeting LGBTQ people and other oppressed people. During the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, police waited outside for hours, refusing to help those trapped inside. In Uvalde, Texas, police stood idly by while children were murdered.

In the last few years, local, state, and federal politicians have gone out of their way to increase funding to the police. Last year Biden urged city and state governments to spend $350 billion worth of COVID relief money on cops and jails. At the same time, the cost of living has skyrocketed, unemployment has worsened, and no relief has come from the government. 

The rich fear a scenario where these conditions lead to outright rebellion, as they did in 2020 in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd. The funding of fascist forces and the attacks on LGBTQ people, immigrants and activists are meant to divide and weaken us. They don’t want us to challenge—much less overturn—the system of exploitation and oppression that is the basis of all their hoarded wealth.

Anti-fascist counter-protesters at an anti-trans event in New York. SLL photo: Melinda Butterfield

Voting and the courts are not the answer

While Republicans openly run on platforms of hate, the Democrats offer empty promises. They have already given up on a federal bill to protect abortion rights after the midterms. And they have largely stood by as voting rights of millions—especially Black people—have been stripped away by the right wing. 

The Democratic Party blames voters for their losses and inaction rather than admitting that they have failed to address fundamental issues affecting all workers. They have failed not because they did not have support from voters or because of some broken Congressional procedure. They failed because they do not serve the people; they serve the rich.

Even if politicians could help us, we cannot afford to wait for the next election. Women and others who can bear children cannot access abortions right now. Immigrants are under assault, especially in Texas, where Governor Abbott has invoked invasion clauses to call in the National Guard. And no protection will come from the unelected, undemocratic Supreme Court, a panel of nine millionaires who stripped many rights last session and have openly proclaimed their intention to re-criminalize homosexuality, interracial marriage and birth control in future rulings.

Mourners in Colorado Springs Nov. 20.

We need a movement – NOW

The only answer to this violence is a united front against rising fascist terror. We can build a mass, militant movement to make it clear we will not be divided and intimidated by their violence. 

To do this, we must go to our fellow workers directly and dispel the lies spread about LGBTQ people, stand in solidarity with immigrants, and speak out against the warmongers and parasites who profit off our suffering.

Source: Workers Voice

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