|No to Political Assassinations! Let’s Make
a Democratic Revolution!
by Andrea Pason & Billy Wharton - co-chairs Socialist Party
behalf of the Socialist Party USA, we send our sincerest condolences to
the families of the people killed today in the shooting in Tucson,
Arizona. This was an attempt at political assassination as the
shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, reportedly shot Rep. Gabrielle
Giffords (AZ, D.) in the head before turning his gun on the
crowd. The dead include a 9 year child and five others, with
twelve people wounded. Rep. Giffords remains in critical
As socialists, we say unequivocally that political assassination has no
role inside of a democratic society or our movement. Throughout
American history, assassination has been a tool primarily used by the
right-wing. The death by execution of strong leaders such as
Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. stand as testimony
to the damage done to our cause. We are democratic socialists and
we seek to make a democratic revolution. A revolution that places
people in control of their own lives. Political assassination has
no role in such a movement.
The same cannot be said of the far-right. Right wing activists
have consistently engaged in acts of assassination and in rhetoric that
reinforces and encourages such acts. We can note the murder of
abortion rights activists such as Dr. Barnett Slepian as well as the
violent and hyper-masculine language consistently promoted by the
right-wing media. Loughner was reported to be heavily influenced
by these ideas, motivated by the call to arms being issued by the
And he did not have to look hard for motivation to attack
Giffords. During the recent mid-term election, Sarah Palin’s
Political Action Committee produced a chart that targeted
Democrats. The chart employed cross-hairs to identify the
electoral opponents and utilized language like “We'll aim for these
races,” “This is just the first salvo” and “join me in the
fight.” While Sarah Palin did not pull the trigger, she certainly
holds a significant amount of guilt for creating the conditions in
which such as act was possible.
Now is the time to reject such politics both here in the US and
globally. A fitting tribute to the innocent victims from the
Tuscon shooting would be to end the US occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan
and to end the bombings in Pakistan. The US military has, through
targeted assassinations, extraordinary renditions and drone attacks,
made political violence an everyday part of life in this region.
As we learned in Tuscon today, such violence creates real human
tragedies. The lives of innocents lost in the Middle East to
political violence are of equal value to Loughner’s victims.
As socialists, we aim to create a non-violent world. A world
where the great wealth of society is used to satisfy human needs.
Ours will be a democratic revolution where the great majority of
working people are finally able to express their desire for things like
jobs, peace and freedom. There is no place in this process, in
the transition to a democratic socialist society, for political
assassination. This is the political tool of the right and only
serves to re-enforce the presence of the repressive apparatus of the
government. We want freedom and believe that mass non-violent
political protests are the means to acquire it. We invite you to
us in this struggle for a better world.