An American massacre on July 4

On Monday morning, a gunman opened fire during the July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago. Six people have died so far and dozens are injured. This is the latest in a series of horrific mass shootings that continue to tear American society apart.

A stretcher is seen after a mass shooting during the Highland Park July 4 parade in downtown Highland Park, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, Monday, July 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

More than two dozen were hospitalized, including a child in critical condition. The ages of those shot ranged from eight to 85, including at least five children, with minor to serious injuries.

According to reports that have emerged, the gunman opened fire from the roof of a business on the parade route. Heavy gunfire can be heard in videos captured on social media as a marching band performed. Hundreds of parade goers fled in a massive stampede. Others who remained helped paramedics tie tourniquets to the victims. A number of passers-by described the scene as “a war zone”.

In a moving statement to ABC 7 Chicago, local physician Dr. David Baum described the murderous scene he witnessed a few hundred yards away. “You saw massive amounts of bodies in the corners where the shooter just picked people up,” he said. “These bodies have been decimated, they are eviscerations of body parts. The people who left had horrible injuries. The kind of wounds you only see in times of war…”

Police say the suspected shooter is 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, who fled the scene. A massive manhunt by police and federal law enforcement began in suburban Chicago, and the suspect was arrested and taken into custody by early evening.

More information will be revealed about the specific motivations behind this latest act of deadly violence in the coming days, although there are initial indications that Crimo holds far-right political views. Ten months ago he released disturbing music videos, including one showing footage of a man with a gun in a video titled “Toy Soldier.” There have now been multiple reports of Crimo also attending a 2020 Trump rally and appearing to cheer on a 2021 Trump motorcade.

Highland Park also has a large Jewish population. Although it is unclear whether Crimo’s motivations were anti-Semitic at present, in April a number of anti-Semitic leaflets were scattered around the city and other northern suburbs.

This event must be placed and analyzed in its broader social and political context. The United States is a society plagued by unprecedented levels of social inequality, police violence, massive levels of exploitation of the working class, endless wars, the cult of the stock market and the indifference of the ruling class to the needs of the people.

Mass violence is now part of American life. When Charles Whitman, known as the “Texas Tower Sharpshooter”, indiscriminately fired into a gathering of people in 1966, it was a truly shocking event in American society. Such mass shootings happen almost daily now.

Today, according to Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 307 mass shootings in 2022 so far in the United States, on track to surpass more than 611 mass shootings in 2020, a figure that is approaching two incidents of this type per day. Mass shootings have increased every year since these events were tracked. In 2014, there were 269 mass shootings, 335 in 2015, 382 in 2016, 346 in 2017, 336 in 2018 and 417 in 2019. More recently, the Uvalde, Texas massacre in May sparked revulsion and widespread anger. Chicago itself is a city plagued by violence.

President Biden didn’t even bother to reference the horrific events in Highland Park in his remarks at the White House yesterday. He gave a number of military anthems instead in a pre-planned speech in which he said the United States is “a great nation. … I’ve never been more optimistic about America than I am today. An optimism that digs deep, that never gives up. It’s America.

Biden’s delirious remarks about the state of American society as well as his indifference to yet another mass shooting are in line with the interests of a ruling class that is fully absorbed in preparations for endless war and the maintenance of a policy of mass infection that has led to over one million deaths in the United States from the COVID-19 pandemic. The lives of the masses in a society for the ruling class have become expendable and cheap, a year since Biden declared “independence” from the virus.

Merely mentioning the horrific mass shooting that took place just hours ago would have given a jarring note to Biden’s statement that “We are a great nation. … I’ve never been more optimistic about America than I am today. As with the pandemic, the American ruling class’ solution to social problems is to simply ignore them.

Police in the United States also kill thousands of people with impunity each year, such as the horrific latest shooting of Jayland Walker, who was shot more than 60 times by police.

America’s 400 richest people control over $3 trillion in wealth because half of Americans don’t have even $400 in savings to cover a sudden emergency. Such levels of inequality, across the country and in the Chicago area, are utterly incompatible with democracy, as has been clearly demonstrated with the Supreme Court’s shredding of abortion rights as well as a host of other decisions that will pave the way for the eradication of the democratic rights of the population.

Biden and the Democratic Party have nothing to offer except the prospect of war with Russia and China, largely due to acute levels of social tension at home. In response to continued high gas prices that are destroying working-class families, Biden told the media that he would fight the US-NATO war in Ukraine against Russia “for as long as it takes”, threatening the danger of nuclear war and planetary suicide.

The promotion of political reaction, carried out by all government institutions, has been accompanied by the incitement of right-wing violence. As sections of the ruling class in the Republican Party prepare for dictatorship by stoking fascist groups, right-wing terrorism, and racist and anti-Semitic attacks.

For their part, Democrats have adopted a political strategy of accommodating their fascistic Republican counterparts, calling them “colleagues,” even as Trump and much of the state conspired to carry out a coup on January 6. .

Democrats have also begun to run an election strategy in which they boost far-right candidates, part of the playbook used by Hillary Clinton and the media in 2016 against Donald Trump. Democratic Governor JB Pritzker recently spent millions on ads to boost Trump-backed fascist multi-millionaire Darren Bailey. Bailey spoke in the nearby suburb of Skokie, Illinois (site of a fascist march in the 1970s), where he said in response to the shooting in Highland Park, “Let’s move forward and celebrate the independence of this nation”.

The latest gruesome mass shooting should be taken as a warning. Fascist violence is seeping from every pore of capitalist society, and democratic forms of government are collapsing under the weight of America’s massive social inequality. The fight against fascist violence and the defense of fundamental democratic rights require the building of a socialist movement of the working class.