Democratic Socialists of America condemns the perpetrator of the mass killing and wounding of innocents at the LGBTQ night club Pulse in Orlando Florida this past weekend on Latin night. We stand in solidarity with the victims and their families and the LGBTQ and Latinx community of Orlando and beyond.
This was not a random shooting, but one motivated by the homophobia and hypermasculinity that characterizes all fanatical ideologies, be they Islamist or Christian extremism or far-right anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political movements. Rather than attacking the actual sources of injustice, violent extremists target those who do not conform to conservative and patriarchal conceptions of social life.
DSA condemns all authoritarian movements and extremist religions that favor imposing their ideologies through the armed violence of the state or of vigilantes. We find it particularly hypocritical of the religious right to condemn this attack as one upon “American values,” when the far right espouses a worldview that demonizes the LGBTQ community, immigrants and people of color. DSA stands for the building of a democratic civil society that affirms the humanity of all; the Right’s current hate campaign in favor of transphobic bathroom bills stands in stark opposition to that commitment.
In the United States, extremist individuals can act out their violent hatred through ready access to military-style weapons whose only purpose is to inflict massive, instantaneous casualties. The majority of the U.S. public favors banning assault rifles and stricter regulation of access to fire arms. Until we defeat the power of the undemocratic NRA, the United States will continue to lead the world in random mass killings – a much greater threat to our collective well-being than is organized terrorism.
Ideologically motivated mass shootings in the U.S. in recent decades have been carried out by individuals acting in isolation. When the actor is an individual white racist, as in the Charleston, South Carolina shootings, we do not condemn all whites in the U.S as adherents of the shooter’s racist ideology. The same refusal to hold an entire community to blame for the act of an individual fanatic must also apply to the Muslim community in the United States. These acts of fanatical harm of innocents can only be curtailed through a continuous struggle for a society that embraces freedom of sexual expression and the right to freely choose whom one loves, as well as full rights for all immigrants, regardless of their nominal legal status.
Issued by the National Political Committee of DSA, June 13, 2016