USA, Feb. 21—Eighteen school shootings since January 1st. Seventeen killed – mostly youths—by a young male white-supremacist with an assault weapon in Parkland, Florida. Masses are grieving. Students are planning walkouts for gun control.
“The promise of safety and security failed us,” said a survivor whose parents fled to the US from war-torn Lebanon
None of us will be safe until all of us are safe. Until we build a society based on mutual love and respect, instead of exploitation and profits. Until we are mobilized to meet everyone’s needs, emotional as well as physical. Until the material basis of racism and sexism – the wage system– has been destroyed. That is, until we build communism – the only way to end the organized mass racist violence of capitalism-imperialism everywhere.
But is gun control the solution? Sadly, no.
US Capitalism-Imperialism: Legacy of Racist Violence
From the very start, European colonists planted the seeds of capitalism in North America at gunpoint and watered them with the blood of nearly twelve million indigenous people.
Capitalist slave traders killed at least four million Africans in the horrific Middle Passage. Their guns suppressed rebellions on about one out of every ten slave ships. Guns, whips and torture wielded by capitalist landowners forced enslaved men and women to work under the most brutal conditions.
And still enslaved people rebelled. When the Civil War began, many rushed to the front lines, seeking guns to turn on their oppressors. Black regiments were decisive in defeating the slaveocracy.
After the US Civil War, the organized violence of the capitalist state expanded its reach overseas. US rulers built a global empire out of the barrels of Winchester repeating rifles, Colt revolvers, and the M-16 automatic weapons that gave rise to the AR-15s used in Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Sandy Hook.
It’s true that there are few (if any) mass shootings in capitalist countries with strict gun-control laws. But the US is different mainly because it’s an imperialist superpower in steep decline, amidst a profound capitalist crisis of overproduction. Its rulers can only rely on hard power – guns – to confront rival imperialists and to control the masses at home. But they can’t even control their guns.
Global Capitalist Crisis Fosters Racist, Sexist Violence
Capitalist crisis is what’s behind the US fascist culture of violence with its “action flicks,” its video games, its music and even its football, which systematically inflicts traumatic brain injuries on players, including young children. This celebration of violence is unbreakably linked to a viciously sexist concept of “manliness.” And it’s linked – as in the case of the Parkland shooter – to the worst kind of racism.
The Parkland shooter was known among classmates for his abusive treatment of women and his hatred for Jewish people (40% of the school population), Muslims, and black people. This warped fascist mentality can’t be written off as “mental illness,” however disturbed he was. Mental illness does not make its victims commit hate crimes! Capitalism causes hate crimes!
Communist Revolution Will End Capitalist Violence
Societies ruled by a tiny minority who brutally exploit the masses rely on a “state” (government) that claims a monopoly on the use of force. Since January 1st, US police have shot and killed 175people (16 in Florida alone). At least 19 were mentally ill. At least 3 were minors. Where is the call to disarm the police? It’s the communist call to mobilize for revolution.
In communism, nobody will be allowed to exploit or oppress anyone. Our International Communist Workers’ Party will recruit massively and mobilize even broader masses to ensure our own safety and security. Our Red Army will use the weapons made by the workers to defend the workers and to suppress any racist-sexist-fascist groups that try to disrupt our new way of life.
Communist production for need (not profit) will replace wage slavery, the material basis of war and alienation as well as of sexism and racism. Communist culture will foster collectivity, mutual respect and deep connections with each other and the earth. Violence against each other will become as unthinkable as cannibalism is today.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 3000 adolescents die every day – 1.2 million per year worldwide – from largely preventable causes. Capitalism can’t prevent these deaths, but communism will.
Only violent revolution can destroy capitalism. This may be a hard thing to say to students and others who are grief-stricken by the wave of school shootings. But it is true. It must be said.
Young comrades of ICWP must take this message to classmates, to workers in the factories and fields, and to soldiers, sailors and Marines. In the US, let’s prepare now to bring communism into the high school walkouts and marches for “gun control” planned for March 14, March 24 and April 20. Let’s use them to mobilize for a communist May Day!
Industrial Workers Talk About Florida Shooting
On my lunch break at work on Thursday night I was watching CNN commentators debate gun regulation again after the latest school shooting which left 17 students dead in South Florida. My coworker and I started to discuss it ourselves.
“Well, Steve, you being a communist and all I’m sure you must feel that they need to take all our guns away and that will solve everything. Am I right?” said Stan,
“No,” I replied. “Actually, my communist politics don’t involve the government disarming the masses because in order to over throw this system we need arms.”
Stan just looked at me for a second after I said this. Then he tried to persuade me that mass mobilization isn’t what we need. “If the masses were so tired of this system, the great part about living in the US is that we can overthrow our government if we’re dissatisfied.”
I pointed out to him that martial law and other such methods have kept that from happening up to this point.
“Guns are a problem under this system but also our social structure. If this were a communist society, this would never have gotten this far.”
For the remainder of our lunch hour, Stan listened as I explained to him how social relations would be under communism. “Someone would have intervened and said something to prevent this anti-social behavior. This society breeds racism and individualism, which teaches us to mind our own business. These are the issues which led up to the shooting in Florida.”
“Well, Steve, you have a point there,” said Stan. Although he told me he wasn’t all the way sold on communism just yet, he at least agreed that it sounded like a better solution that what we have now.
Shandong, China, 1965—Rather than the private individual ownership of guns, communism will train masses of workers to use guns for the defense of the revolution. During war or not, deciding how and when to use them will be a collective political decision like all social decisions, not left in the hands of individual owners of arms. Communist collective responsibility is the best antidote to killings like those in Florida.