Workers’ Voice Statement Regarding the March 16 Shootings

Workers’ Voice Central Committee
On Tuesday, March 16th, a white man murdered eight women and injured more in a series of shootings at massage parlors and spas in the Atlanta area, and was arrested while driving several hundred miles south to Florida to continue murdering. All available evidence suggests that the victims were targeted due to their gender, their Asian ethnic backgrounds, and their places of work. While mainstream tabloids wring their hands about the killer’s personal woes and life story, as they do with all white mass murderers, we unequivocally condemn this vile murder for what it is: a racist and sexist attack.
The last few years have seen a dramatic rise in racist attacks against Asian people. Conspiracy theories promoted by the Trump administration regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a more bipartisan phenomenon of increased anti-China rhetoric, have poured fuel on the smoldering fire of white supremacy. Practices of discrimination and exclusion of Asian immigrants and Asian-Americans have been a foundational aspect of how America society operates for workers of color: hyper exploitation of their labor reinforced by obstacles to political franchise and the threat of extralegal racist violence. Misogyny also played a role in these murders, and the particular intersection of anti-Asian racism and misogyny that disproportionately objectifies Asian women hangs over this tragedy. Asian women, especially those doing care work and sex work, are severely impacted by precarious labor conditions, bigotry, and criminalization. The murders occurred on the 53rd anniversary of the My Lai Massacre committed by US troops in Vietnam, a historical instance of horrific sexual violence against women in Vietnam that stands out not because it was uniquely barbaric but because it was widely reported in US and international media, setting it apart from the hundreds if not thousands of other similar atrocities committed by the US military during that war and others since that were shielded from the public eye.
Workers’ Voice stands in solidarity with the victims and their families, as well as all other people who live in fear of similar attacks. We condemn the undue amount of sympathy extended to the murderer by the police and by national press outlets such as the New York Post. Racist, sexist violence will not disappear on its own, and it is necessary for our communities to take up the question of how we defend ourselves from white supremacist violence, discussing safety and self-defense measures in our workplaces and community organizing centers.

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