Against Anti-Asian Violence and Racism

A solidarity statement from the Socialist Feminist Working Group of the Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America

The Socialist Feminist Working Group of the Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America stands in solidarity against Anti-Asian violence in America and across the globe. We condemn the hate crime that murdered six Asian women in Atlanta, GA on March 16th, 2021, and the lethal anti-Asian racism that encouraged it.

In the 16 largest cities in the U.S. hate crimes against Asian-Americans have spiked 145% from 2019 to 2020[1], and have continued to rise into 2021. We condemn the factors that caused this spike, including anti-Asian rhetoric in the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian politics yowling from the Trump administration, and historical, deeply-rooted systemic oppression targeting Asian-Americans.

On March 16th, 2021, a white man attacked two Atlanta spas, killing six Asian women and two white people. Four of the victims were of Korean descent and two others were of Chinese descent. Seven of the victims were women. Just hours before the shooting, the gunman bought his murder weapon at a local store. According to a report from Chosun Ilbo, a national Korean newspaper, an employee who escaped the shooting at the second location heard the gunman say, “I’m going to kill all Asians.” Three and a half hours later, the gunman was arrested en-route to Florida.

The racially-motivated murders happened amidst an aggressive rise in anti-Asian violence in America. This rash of hate includes murders, beatings, harrassment, deportations, discrimination, and other harm to Asian-Americans of all ethnicities and ages. Yet, national media outlets, alongside the Cherokee County Sheriff, try to hide the racism of the hate crime as fueled by “sexual addiction or the gunman having a “bad day”. This narrative is no accident: cloaking a racist hate crime as anything else is an act of white supremacy.

The Trump administration constantly stamped COVID-19 as the “Chinese-virus” or “kung-flu”. In fact, Trump insisted that the 2019 novel coronavirus was deliberately engineered by a Chinese laboratory, which is patently false. These racist lies scapegoated Asian countries and people for the failures of the Trump administration to control the pandemic, and inflamed anti-Asian racism.

Furthermore, the long history of fetishization of Asian women in American most certainly contributed to the gunman’s choice to target these spas, which were owned and/or staffed primarily by Asian women. Asian-American women are hypersexualized and fetishized by U.S. and European imperialism. As a result, white supremacists assert that Asian women are subhuman and subservient, which causes violence against against Asian women. Though there is inconclusive evidence as to whether the victims in Atlanta were sex workers, the media quickly painted them as such to devalue their lives and explain the murderer.

Let us be clear: whether or not the victims were sex-workers, they deserved to live and work free from fear, harm, criminalization, or violence of any kind.

We acknowledge the violent and oppressive role of police in discriminating against Asians and BIPOC of all backgrounds and ethnicities. Police exist to defend private property and the ideology of white supremacy, which devalues the lives of BIPOC and gaslights communities of color. Police rebrand hate crimes to serve their own agenda for increased policing, funding, and militarization of police forces.

We continue to call for defunding the police, for community control, and for complete abolition.

We send a deep and heartfelt gratitude to local organizations standing in solidarity with Asian lives, including Freedom Inc, the UW-Madison BIPOC Coalition, and the Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean-American, Chinese-American, Hmong-American, Filipinx-American, and Indian Student Associations. We urge all members of our communities, both locally and nationally, to continue standing in solidarity with Asian peoples by donating to support families of the victims, as well as organizations engaged in this work.

We stand in solidarity with the victims, their families, members of the Asian-American community, and all those whose lives are impacted by white supremacy.

Solidarity, The Socialist Feminist Working Group of the Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America

[1] The data comes from police data of reported hate crimes. We acknowledge that anti-Asian violence is likely far greater than these under-reported numbers, and that police disproportionately harm Asian communities. We use their data because of the lack of available statistics.

The Socialist Feminist Working Group of Madison Area DSA is organizing for a world without gender injustice, racial oppression, sexual persecution, or capitalism. To connect with the SocFem working group, find contact information and links to social media here. Their next scheduled meeting is Wednesday, April 7 at 7:00 PM. You can find meeting details as well as information about all Madison Area DSA events here.

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