Letter to the Editors

To the Editors,

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students organized themselves into a national movement for effective gun control. These students made it clear that living in fear, drilling, and bringing more armed personnel into schools, prepping for the next massacre, shouldn't be part of the U.S. educational experience. Instead, rallies marches and meetings linked up with African-Americans who endure killings of their men, women and children by armed racist police were organized.

A slogan came out defining this movement-"Your right to own a gun does not outweigh my right to live." Who in their right mind would deny a child the right to live without the threat of gun death in their classroom? The NRA and legions of weapons owners and their media talking heads, pilloried these brave students with slander. Ted Nugent called Marjory Stoneman students "soulless." Thanks to sharp Parkland students, Emma Gonzales and David Hogg, a lot of these accusations and slanders were turned right around and these pro-gun forces were exposed as liars and fanatics who would put an individual's right to own weapons with high capacity magazines over the lives of millions of U.S. school children.

After these school massacres, we are Second Amendmentized into a fatalistic silence by firearms owners and traders who take joy in collecting personal arsenals stocked with high capacity magazine rifles and pistols that grossly exceeds what a normal person would need for home protection and hunting. Unfortunately, responsible weapons owners and traders are unable to keep their exotic firearms out of the hands of their deranged loved ones and customers. What a colossal farce this is. The youth of this country, not impeded by lock step conformity, know that their rights to a safe classroom are compromised by an over-armed society.

Our dirty Second Amendment is enshrouded by an eternal covenant ideology. Noah Webster, a founding father and America's foremost scholar of Webster's Dictionary fame speaks:

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword because the whole people are armed."

The American ruling class has had the ability to carry out as much injustice as it needed to maintain their rule over this armed-to-the-teeth American populace.

The 1877 railway labor strikes were violently put down when American workingmen wanted to be paid a living wage for their long and dangerous hours full of work. Thomas Alexander Scott, of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, mocked striker hunger, smugly declaring that strikers "should be given a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread." President Rutherford B. Hayes sent in the Army and Marines to shoot down the strikers and their sympathizers until they were pacified-Noah Webster's vision crushed by reality.

Nothing creates more freedom than that most precious commodity-time. An eight-hour day was denied the American working class until the U.S. ruling class could not stem the tidal movement stirred by the working class. In 1886, four innocent Chicago Anarchist leaders were executed by the state of Illinois.

An armed free people could not get the eight-hour day. Instead, the weapons-issue was used by the ruling class to temporarily derail the eight-hour movement. The bomb that went off at the Haymarket Meeting worked to the ruling class's advantage. The eight-hour day movement wasn't won by an armed working class; but by a mobilized working class that, by sheer numbers of assembly, intimidated the ruling class and their Democratic and Republican politicians into surrender.

Whenever firearms have been introduced into the class struggle, the American working class has taken a profound beating. In Centralia, the IWW attempted to defend their union hall from being attacked by the American Legion during an Armistice Day Parade in 1919. Gunfire was exchanged and the IWW lost a member to a lynching while the other Wobblies served atrociously long years in prison until the commutation of their sentences during the '30s.

For the American working class, it will take a fighting anti-capitalist party and huge numbers to defend the party and its program by an uncompromising mobilization of our class in the street, intent on guarding the inviolable principle of class independence along with the ability to alter tactics, defending ever-increasing working class power.

Native Americans had to use weapons to defend themselves at Wounded Knee from the FBI and Tribal Chairman Dick Wilson and his "GOONS" in the early seventies. Dick Wilson's paramilitaries embraced the insult adopting it as an acronym for "Guardians Of the Ogalala Nation." Once again, the Second Amendment didn't guarantee Native Americans the right to defend themselves against government over-reach. Leonard Peltier, an American Indian Movement (AIM) activist, lives out his life deprived of decent food, adequate healthcare and mobility in federal prison in Florida.

The working classes and Native Americans have been forced to use arms because this American ruling class was hell-bent on depriving life and liberty. The wellspring of violence of any democratic and economic struggle since the United State's founding has been this ruling class that Noah Webster hoped would be kept at bay by an armed American populace.

Any hope that African-Americans could achieve economic parity and civil equality with Caucasian America by working within the system was violently dashed when the FBI encouraged police forces across the United States to take extra-legal measures to smash the Black Panther Party. Fred Hampton's bullet ridden body was the proverbial stone tossed to African Americans when they asked for bread. Fred Hampton was a dynamic leader within the Black Panther Party.

Then Governor Ronald Reagan, with support of the NRA, signed the "Mulford Act" in 1967, preventing the public carrying of weapons. This was in direct response to the Black Panthers following police around with their weapons with intent to protect African-American neighborhoods from police brutality. Carrying weapons by the Black Panthers was a stand taken against systemic racism and economic deprivation.

After the smashing of the Black Panthers, living conditions have deteriorated to intolerable levels in the inner city. African-American schools are closed down or maliciously under-funded. Michelle Alexander's eye-opening book, The New Jim Crow-Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Color Blindness, along with Bryan Stevenson's, Just Mercy, and Mumia Abu Jamal's, Have Black Lives Ever Mattered, exposes the U.S. government's use of the police, judicial system and private prisons to warehouse African-Americans rather than give in to their demands of economic and civil parity with whites.

The Black Panthers laid down their lives trying to break out of the deplorable conditions of economic segregation and arbitrary killings by U.S. law enforcement still so rampant today. Mumia Abu Jamal endures immeasurable cruelty in the "Incarceration Nation." Malcolm X's quote, "By Any Means Necessary" applies here as African Americans do whatever it takes to protect themselves and break out of the sordid conditions and violence this American ruling class has placed them in.

Since the 1980s public schools have been singled out for attacks by the American ruling class. Teachers have been slandered as lazy, underworked and over paid. The program, "No Child Left Behind," is a sordid title for a long-term assault on public education leaving children behind in the claws of for-profit charter schools. Standardized testing has sapped the creative ways teachers had for making their classes fun and inspiring places to learn.

Coinciding with the assault on public schools has been the driving down of working middle-class wages and benefits, requiring both parents to work. Now add to the mix the neurotic fascination with weapons and violence-Hollywood making millions off these frenetic films blazing with gunfire. A youth becomes a loner-loser acquiring an accessible weapon in which he can exact revenge on his hated school and peers-the deranged view of the school as a target of weaklings worthy of massacre.

When students mobilize in large numbers and gain victories in popular opinion and dignity on the street, they will stand as a force and not be sitting ducks. Perhaps the mentally ill will not see them as such an easy target to vent their rage.

Marjory Stoneman students' mobilization for gun control is a fight waged against social decay. The students don't want schools to be turned into prisons with armed guards and teachers. They resisted the transparent plastic backpack decree as both genders stuffed their packs with feminine sanitary products. Without compromise or hesitation we need to support the American student mobilization against high capacity magazine pistols and rifles.

The Democrats and Republicans will betray these youth with bad compromises and urge them to accept this violent status quo. As students mobilize for their survival, they will set out on bold paths. They will listen to long buried radical points of view, long smothered by seemingly invincible American capitalist prosperity. This movement could also wither and die since mass movement energy can get diverted or burn out.

The bloody Second Amendment unified the original 13 colonies, whose very existence depended on paramilitary formations of men to seize Native lands and keep the slaves from rising up. Conquest and slavery is what inspired the Second Amendment. This nation is built upon the extermination of the Native peoples. Much of U.S. wealth was accumulated by the unpaid labor stolen from Black slaves by Southern planters. As Zionist Israel seized rolling stock and lands, driving the inhabitants from their homes into refugee camps, the United States, desensitized by the protestant teachings of John Calvin, was founded by violent colonists who believed they were God's chosen to vanquish the Indians, predestined for eternal damnation.

Supporting the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas students' fight for an end to high capacity magazines and rifles vs. the Second Amendment fanatics, really shouldn't present a difficult choice. Let's take a class struggle analysis of individuals attracted to gun activism.

When the Second Amendment partisans assemble, what are their points of contention? We have read where armed groups of self-appointed militia have gone into the U.S. Southwest desert to harass migrants with their arms. In 2009 you had a spate of armed demonstrators showing up around rallies where Obama was speaking. Second Amendment partisans will rally with weapons in hand when it is time to put away a Confederate General's statue. A take away I got from reading Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's book, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, is that gun liberty takes the place of lost economic opportunities. Rather than focusing on the accumulation of huge concentrations of wealth in the hands of the few-refuge is taken in the Second Amendment and gun ownership. With the embracing of gun liberty people make common cause with the Koch Brothers, the very capitalists driving down living standards for the majority of U.S. Citizens.

An anti-capitalist movement uniting people into what would eventually be a labor-lead socialist party is the only way we can combat the civil decay imposed on us by this capitalist economy.

The American ruling class uses the Democratic and Republican Parties to pacify the people and most importantly to have their interests protected. The two-party system is coming to an end. There is, once again, a prevailing need for people to mobilize for their very survival. We can't let the Democratic Party make a comeback as some kind of way to restore a balance. It shares as much if not more to blame for the way things are today.

Street mobilizations, committed to keeping their independence from the two-party system will be our best chance to weather these manifestations of social rot until we win a majority to our side. As the economy tumbles, our environment is destroyed, our civil rights curtailed and when the economy collapses to the point we can't feed ourselves, an assembled, uncompromising, educated American citizenry pining for civility and economic equality will be an awesome power for this ruling class to contend with.

I am convinced that Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school students kicked off the renewed struggle for a just society. Their aspirations will be realized in small victories until the U.S. working class and their allies begin the revolutionary struggle of building a better society based on peace and equality in all aspects of a good life.

-Brian Schwartz