Photo: Forensics team enters one site of the shooting rampage in Hanau, Germany
By Jakob Stein
On February 19, a fascist named Tobias Rathjen murdered nine people in Hanau (in the German state of Hesse), and injured another five. He deliberately targeted immigrants by attacking two different hookah bars in the area; while some victims did have German citizenship, the majority were immigrants from the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
During the attacks, Rathjen’s vehicle was identified by an eyewitness. When police searched his home, they found both his corpse as well as his mother’s. They also found a far-right confession letter and video, in which the attacker advocated for genocide.
According to revolutionary German news source Dem Volke Dienen (DVD), “a right-wing terrorist cell was also arrested by the police just earlier this week. They planned to create civil war-like conditions in Germany with attacks on mosques and similar targets.”
While some have attempted to downplay the fascist nature of the attack by emphasizing Rathjen’s mental health issues, he made his racist beliefs clear in numerous videos posted to his website. He also displayed a tendency to indulge in conspiracy theories popular among fascists and reactionaries.
In the aftermath of the attack, over 10,000 people gathered in Hanau to mourn those who were killed. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that “racism is a poison” in Germany, and many others have denounced the attack and attempted to shift the blame solely onto the ultra-reactionary Alternative for Germany (AfD) party due to their anti-immigrant rhetoric and politics.
While the AfD does represent increasing reactionization within the state and constitutes a wide base for fascist recruitment, it is ultimately the decay of German imperialism and the reactionary culture that reproduces it which is at the root of Rathjen’s racist rampage.
“Violence always has a class character,” another DVD article states. “The bourgeoisie knows that and we know it. This fascist orgy of murder is a direct expression of the intensification of the fundamental contradictions in the world and above all a sign of the deepening of the crisis of bourgeois democracy, i.e. it is a reflection of material reality.”