Anarchist take on gun control

Submitted by JDMF on September 12, 2005

Comms,

I have had the pleasure to discuss gun control issues with an american anarchist.

he is in the position that gun ownership is an individuals right and people should be armed so not to give the state the monopoly of gun ownership. He also calls gun control laws "victim disarmament" laws (like all people are victims).

Anyways, I can see his points broadly speaking in theoretical sense. But since i am not into theory as much as i am into the real situation of working class people getting killed in their thousands per year in US, i am in favour of much stricter gun control and measures to get guns off the streets (recent example of what has been done in brazil is a good example and has already reduced the amount of gun deaths in the country).

Anyways, even theoretically speaking, i think widespread gun ownership should be accountable to the community and not based on everyone getting armed to the teeth and being suspicious of everyone as a potential rapist and murderer and calling everyone a victim furthering the atomisation of working class.

What are your thoughts on this?

PaulMarsh

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Theoretically your contact is quite right.

I can recall a debate on Urban 75 about this though, which brought home to me the problems between theory and reality.

Someone dug out the figures for the number of under 16 year olds killed by firearms in the USA each year, (where gun ownership is widespread) and the number of under 16 year olds killed in the same manner in Japan each year (where private gun ownership is virtually unknown)

The figures shocked me to the core, and were the best argument for gun control I had ever seen.

In this case, I would go with the reality and say bollocks to the theory.

Steven.

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

PaulMarsh

The figures shocked me to the core, and were the best argument for gun control I had ever seen.

In this case, I would go with the reality and say bollocks to the theory.

Yeah I think I would generally go with the theory - the state should not have a monopoly of violence. Paul, those figures don't tell the whole story. Gun ownership in Canada is higher than the US, yet gun deaths are virtually non-existant, like Japan or here. Like the NRA say - "guns don't kill people, people kill people" ;). Stupid obviously, but some truth in it.

Steven.

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

the problem with that theory is that it's not 1794 and the state is much more than armed groups of men. Surely we would seek to have demorcatic structures for the control of firearms, instead of this bourgeois individulist shit about the "right to bear arms".

Yeah I think that's fair enough, in a communist society that should be the case - although TBH I think arms should be spread as evenly as possible, because any group who controlled the collective gun stores, would basically de facto control society. The state now might be "much more than armed groups of men" but at its root that's all it is.

Deezer

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What john said. Two posts ago, I meant when I was typing this. The difference between Canada and the US is very important.

Overwhelmingly its not the legally held firearms that are used to kill people (if we remove the figures for state forces from the equation) its illegal ones. Barring suicides carried out with firearms of course - though if someones that determined to top themselves they'll probably use another method.

A lot of chucks have been demanding that people with shotguns (issued for vermin control and sporting purposes) in the north are disarmed - its not because loads of people get killed by shotgun wielding maniacs the problem of course is the perception that its only prods who have shotguns. While the figures may be disproportionate there are plenty of catholic farmers with shotguns who can also grant permission for others to shot on their land - and quite a few protestant farmers who don't mind what religion the bloke shooting magpies & rabbits on his land is.

I actually prefer Bernadette McAliskeys position that more people should apply for permits.

When you remember that some of the first militias set up in the states were organised by immigrant socialists, anarchists and trade unionists and you look at the right wing fuckers who are the militias now you have to wonder at the damage a lot of pc hand wringing has done.

And revol68 are you gonna democratically tell someone when its time to bag a few duck? I know local doesn't relate too closely to the type of shit people can own in the states (maybe that has some psychological impact on the difference between Canada & the US?). I mean some guns are for hunting, some for 'personal protection' and others are obviously for mowing shit loadsa people down (and if its individual self defence yer on about thats not what these are for either).

:@: :rb:

Steven.

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

i mean if they decided they were going to keep the arms all to themselves and stage some sort of coup, im sure the local commune/soviet would ahve something to say. And im sure they'd not be to good at shooting when they've not eaten in a week.

Well yeah but the point is whoever controls the guns can get whatever food they want - the Bolsheviks weren't too handy with the horticulture but they still ate pretty well.

But yeah agree re: licenses. Like no fascists, former businessmen or sex offenders allowed etc.

Mike Harman

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If gun control increases in the US, the trade would simply go underground and lots of people the control was aimed at would maintain ownership. Same as all the kitchen knives that turn up in amnesties here.

In the UK, I'm pretty happy with there being gun control, as long as the police don't get guns as standard either. That's going out as we speak, so I'm more interested in stopping the police getting guns than anyone else at the moment - what with Harry Stanley and de Menezes.

A libertarian communist mate in the US (stopped calling himself an anarchist ten years before this site), owns several guns, partly because he lives in a part of the US where lots of very right wing people also own guns, partly because bears, literally, shit in his woods.

Spartacus

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

haven't gun deaths in the uk gone up since they banned handguns? as goldie looking chain say "guns don't kill people, rappers do!"

Steven.

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

well if the gun store collective formed themselves into an elitist vanguard party aiming to establish a state im sure some people would have something to say. of course why the fuck would someone in charge of gun permits wish to do this is beyond me.

You're deliberately being obtuse here - cut it out!

Steven.

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

are you deliberately putting forward arguments from a 15 year old ANarkIst!!!111!!1 mindset.

It's not a 15 year-old an:@:rkist mindset to say that if you have a small group of people in charge of all the arms in society (NOT the licenses as you later decided you meant, then started talking about instead of arms to make my argument look silly), then that can cause problems.

Lazy Riser

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

I’m quite tempted by the idea that gun control is anti-working class, sort of like the Black Panthers’ position.

Loosening up gun control laws in the EU would certainly separate the men from the boys at those G8 protests, not to mention throwing out time in chav-town.

From where I’m standing, as tempted by the idea of my own AK as I am, I think more gun control in the States would be progressive for the international working class.

As for defending ourselves from armed reactionary and anti-social elements, I think I could live with a democratic professional military and an elected armed police.

Peace and Love. Sorry for dragging up an old post.

Chris

Mike Harman

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

what sort of retard would imagine there would be some sort of overarching "gun collective"?

Thats the kind of think catch would use as a critique of anarcho syndicalism. :wink:

:D

Steven.

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

what sort of retard would imagine there would be some sort of overarching "gun collective"?

You, I thought

:P

dot

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

this seems obvious, but gun control is bad.

more power to the state, anyone? it's just one more way that people are taught we can't solve our own problems.

and as has been pointed out already, it's the culture that is the problem, not the guns.

there's some interesting fundamental issue here about life and death, and how insulated we are (in the states certainly) from actual clear consequences. it's one reason why the abortion issue is interesting too, the idea that yes, we can kill, that death is a part of making choices in this world... but maybe that's getting too meta.

reminds me of "nature-lovers" who are part of the polarity of nature is good vs. nature brutal in tooth and claw (i'm probably butchering that quotation).

again, it seems like industrialized life is so much about mystifying the fact that we are animals.

Deezer

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

well when i said democratic structures i was kind of imagining they would be involved in the granted of licences and permits under democratically decided criteria.

fairy nuff.

:@: :rb:

Lazy Riser

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

I’m pretty sure the U.S. government gains more power by capitulating to the gun lobby than it does by antagonising it. A society that is habitually armed is not a sign of a working class full of confidence and optimism, rising to implement a programme of direct democracy and poverty elimination.

When U.S. style gun culture is presented in a positive light, it does make it harder to minimize the risk of firearms being let off by school children and the mentally disordered.

Love

Chris

dot

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I’m pretty sure the U.S. government gains more power by capitulating to the gun lobby than it does by antagonising it.

i don't think the status quo/state (which cannot be limited to the govt) gives much of a shit whether guns are legal or not. much in the way that illegal drugs make money and legal drugs make money. (you made a comment re: porn along those lines, didn't you?)

When U.S. style gun culture is presented in a positive light,

who was doing that?

are you chris day, by any chance?

cmdrdeathguts

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

dot

this seems obvious, but gun control is bad.

more power to the state, anyone? it's just one more way that people are taught we can't solve our own problems.

and as has been pointed out already, it's the culture that is the problem, not the guns.

no, it's the culture, combined with the fact that it has access to huge amounts of heavy weaponry that's the problem. getting rid of the guns is a pretty good short term solution.

there's some interesting fundamental issue here about life and death, and how insulated we are (in the states certainly) from actual clear consequences. it's one reason why the abortion issue is interesting too, the idea that yes, we can kill, that death is a part of making choices in this world... but maybe that's getting too meta.

a lot of people don't consider abortion killing.

Lazy Riser

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

who was doing that?

I was, for a start, with my Panthers point. You were too, by saying that gun control was bad and would increase state power. The impression I get from our news is that the American right (NRA etc) really despise gun control.

Having said that, I’m a fan of some NRA types, like Hunter S. Thompson and Charlton Heston, who I can’t really accept as a rightist. Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, fantastic.

Isn’t supplying a locale with cheap guns a good way of destabilising it? Didn’t the CIA pull something off in Norman Manley’s Jamaica along those lines?

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/sep01/jamaica.html

you made a comment re: porn along those lines, didn't you?

Don’t think so, but whatever’s cool with me.

are you chris day, by any chance

Is he good? Would you give him money? If so, then yes.

Best wishes

LR

888

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

the problem with that theory is that it's not 1794 and the state is much more than armed groups of men. Surely we would seek to have demorcatic structures for the control of firearms, instead of this bourgeois individulist shit about the "right to bear arms".

Anarchism starts off from individualism and builds up to communism. I dislike it when anarchists use individualist as a bad word. The individual comes before the collective, just as the collective comes before the federation. That's the meaning of "from the bottom up". This brings up the question of what should be an individual's right to decide and what should be the collective's. In certain collectives in Spain, members had to apply to a transport comittee to have permission to use a vehicle to visit another area - definitely a bad thing.

I should think that in an anarchist society (post revolution) everyone could easily be trusted to have their own guns... not that there'd be much need for them.

888

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

the individual does not exist before society, that is liberal bourgeois nonsense. the production of an individual requires a wider society. Society of course is not independent from the actions of individuals. And im sorry but you can't compare rural Spain in 1936 during a civil war to what a post revolutionary ideal would be like, im sure there were quite good reasons for such a decree.

Maybe, but I detected a hint of everything being up to the collective and people not being independent enough in certain of the descriptions of the libertarian collectives in Gaston Leval's book. I think there were still ways to increase individual freedom at no loss to everyone else.

Of course the individual does exist before society, in the sense that the right to secede is supreme in anarchism (see Bakunin). Anyway I explained what I mean by "from the bottom up".

Anyway my take on gun control in the current society is that it should be minimised, I can see the pragmatic issue of reducing accidents (control won't reduce crime) but can't abide strengthening the state. 15 year old anarchy rulez side note: I had the pleasure of firing an AK47 at an anarchist social a few days ago :D

Spartacus

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

888

I had the pleasure of firing an AK47 at an anarchist social a few days ago :D

that sounds like the sort of thing jack dreams of...

Steven.

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

888

In certain collectives in Spain, members had to apply to a transport comittee to have permission to use a vehicle to visit another area - definitely a bad thing.

Motor vehicles were very rare in 1936 spain though 888!

rebel_lion

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i'd like to live in a world without guns, or indeed any technology whose sole purpose is destruction of human life.

but i'd very definitely not like to live in a world where the state has guns and everyone else has not... which is what "gun control" is about, not the removal of guns from society altogether (whatever deluded pacifists think).

joe strummer said it best in "guns of brixton" imo ;) 8)

as to individual vs collective and the right to secede, i definitely believe the right to secede is a fundamental part of anarchism, and that the individual exists before society - the whole point of society is that legitimate society comes from the free and uncoerced agreement of sovereign individuals, surely?

in their attempts to distance themselves from right-wing "libertarianism" (which are understandable, because it's extremely crappy), imo too many anarchists run straight into the arms of authoritarian "communism", and neglect the "lib" element altogether... maybe we should be less afraid of individualism?

ursula le guin's "the dispossessed" has a very good critique within it of the unintentional tyranny of over-collectivism and over-suspicion of individualism... i recommend revol to read it and see what u think of it...

individual freedom and class struggle aren't mutually exclusive...

Deezer

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rebel_lion

i'd like to live in a world without guns, or indeed any technology whose sole purpose is destruction of human life.

The sole purpose of guns is not the destruction of human life.

:@: :rb:

Deezer

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As for the right to secede, ok here goes, call me a reactionary old fucker but I actually prefer the notion of "to each according to their need from each according to their ability".

I certainly don't wanna see a society thats got rid of capitalist exploitation allowing a loada drop outs the "freedom" to sponge off the rest of us while not contributing to that society. If people decide to secede and not to be productive why should they share in the wealth produced by society?

In a post-revolutionary society we'll need to hold onto some guns to shoot the fuckers when they try and start stealin' off us :twisted:

:@: :rb:

Refused

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Guns?

Heavens, such frightful things. I prefer talking things out over a nice cup of tea with some lemon meringue.

Lazy Riser

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

Guns aren’t special magical things. They require as much control as common sense suggests should be applied to any similarly dangerous product.

There’s no point in hoarding guns to use against the state come the revolution. If it comes to a fight with the military with their fighter planes and psychotropic toxins, all our precious firearms will be useless. I’d plan for the armed wing of the state to defect to our cause, after all they’ll have families caught up in popular revolutionary change as much as the rest of us.

Now let’s imagine “Anarchists” in the UK campaigning for less draconian gun laws, the logical consequence of taking a decisive position against gun control. I suppose with the right presentation it could come over as wittily subversive, but it would take skills that we have yet to display to prevent is from being marginalized even further from all but the most fervent Red Star Commandos.

Love

Chris

Vaneigemapprec…

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Perhaps the whole desire to hold arms is an admission that many people in america have little idea about how to assault the ruling class apart from with this romanticised view of baring arms against them?

Obviously it is not simply the fact that weapons are so prevalent in the states that leads to many people getting killed each year, if this was the case you'd have a similar percentage of peoples getting killed in canada, switzerland and other places which isnt the case, i really dont know what it is that makes gun deaths more prevalent in the sates, you could say a greater sense of alienation, a lack of responsibility, greater unemployment, a lack of a sense of power in the general say of things, but i really couldnt begin to back any of these statements up with any concrete theory or statisticts so i wont bother!

888

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lazy Riser

There’s no point in hoarding guns to use against the state come the revolution. If it comes to a fight with the military with their fighter planes and psychotropic toxins, all our precious firearms will be useless.

This often repeated argument ignores the entirety of military history. For example the mighty US military doesn't seem to have achieved complete victory over Iraq, does it? This doesn't mean that I'm some kind of revolution-through-military power nut, by the way, before anyone start making up ridiculous arguments.

Yea and apparently some of the CNT-fascists on the front lines made people follow ORDERS.

Fuck off you marxist wanker... What I was talking did not seem justified in the context it was in - but it's useless discussing this unless I manage to find the account again, and I don't have the book anymore (Collectives in the Spanish Revolution by Gaston Leval). Do you not think there is a potential for conflict between the freedom of individuals and the possibility of agreements decided by the collective being excessively limiting?

Boulcolonialboy - secession does not mean still enjoying the products of the federation you have seceded from (except maybe if there is large excess, which hopefully there will be, so that people genuinely work out of free choice rather than to survive).

JDMF

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

so we have a real life problem of gun deaths running into 30k/year in US and disproportionate amount of that is working class deaths.

Any practical suggestions of reacting to this slaughter?

I would say that my politics are flexible enough to not be too bothered about gun control in countries like Canada, but be very concerned about arming a society like Rwanda. And US fits into the last category.

I'm a crap anarchist in a way that sometimes when our class is getting butchered or is starving, i'm not too bothered if the fix for that pressing problem is not in line with anarchist theory (see my opinions about venezuela for instance...).

In finland there are only couple gun deaths/year, and the gun laws are what someone would say very "draconian", that is, no loaded guns are allowed to be transported and no hidden guns allowed and stuff like that. I don't feel particularly oppressed in that kind of situation ;)

So its not always about being for or against gun control, but also accepting that some kinds of restrictions on things like concealed weapons and carrying an assault rifle on the street are pretty damn sensible!

BB

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

revol68

are you deliberately putting forward arguments from a 15 year old ANarkIst!!!111!!1 mindset.

It's not a 15 year-old an:@:rkist mindset to say that if you have a small group of people in charge of all the arms in society (NOT the licenses as you later decided you meant, then started talking about instead of arms to make my argument look silly), then that can cause problems.

I suggest a duel at dawn, sir! I slap you both with a large trout!

Steven.

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jack

888

In certain collectives in Spain, members had to apply to a transport comittee to have permission to use a vehicle to visit another area - definitely a bad thing.

Yea and apparently some of the CNT-fascists on the front lines made people follow ORDERS. :roll:

Jack stop being a cock.

Refused

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

JDMF

so we have a real life problem of gun deaths running into 30k/year in US and disproportionate amount of that is working class deaths.

Any practical suggestions of reacting to this slaughter?

People should follow my advice! With the tea and the pie.

cantdocartwheels

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Is it really practical to argue for gun control in the US anyway? I don't know what the statistics are but i'd imagine a large number of people in the US would highly disagree with it.

And i'd imagine its a lot harder to smuggle guns into the Uk than the US considering the size of the two countries and their cultures, so even if guns were somehow made illegal in the US I think you'd still have huge numbers of weapons on the streets anyway.

Surely its far more important to be talking about confronting gang culture than worrying about an issue like gun control which for better or worse you're unlikely to have much of an effect on anyway.

Lazy Riser

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

For example the mighty US military doesn't seem to have achieved complete victory over Iraq, does it?

The U.S. picks and chooses it’s defeats based on political expediency. Those who we rather romantically refer to as insurgents play further into the U.S.’s hands with every strike. What makes you so sure the U.S. policy is as publicly presented? Isn’t a prolonged guerrilla war in Iraq in its best interests?

As with the British State in Ireland, the occupying forces in Iraq and their terrorist shadows are mutually dependant on each other for their survival and so, unwittingly or not, act in each other’s best interests.

Love

Chris

888

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think it's too early to say that's true in the case of Iraq, and it's absurd to claim that wars are to any large degree about two sides supporting each other through mutual destruction. Were the Vietcong mutually dependent on the US army as well? Bit of a weird take on war. While it could be saud that the US and USSR were mutally dependent on each other, they weren't actually fighting.

Lazy Riser

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

Were the Vietcong mutually dependent on the US army as well?

In a way. They certainly used the U.S. military threat to bolster their own authority. I’d go as far to say that Churchill was dependent on Hitler to rally workers behind the local bourgeoisie’s agenda, despite my position on WWII.

it's absurd

That’s a good choice of words. The U.S. state depends on the fear of armed criminals to justify its relaxed attitude to gun ownership. Authoritarian social control through sensationalised fear masquerading as “the right to bear arms”.

Bit of a weird take on war

What did you expect from the mighty LR?

Love

Chris

meanoldman

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I love guns. Shooting is loads of fun. At parent's place in Herefordshire for a couple of days so am going to try and kill defenceless pigeons tomorrow. :)

Come the revolution I'll be a sniper. :bb:

Steven.

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

meanoldman

Come the revolution I'll be a sniper. :bb:

With a shotgun? :shock:

Jack - I saw that. Doesn't mean you have to be a cock though.

meanoldman

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nah. Got a rifle. :mrt:

JDMF

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Vaneigemappreciationclub

Obviously it is not simply the fact that weapons are so prevalent in the states that leads to many people getting killed each year, if this was the case you'd have a similar percentage of peoples getting killed in canada, switzerland and other places which isnt the case, i really dont know what it is that makes gun deaths more prevalent in the sates, you could say a greater sense of alienation, a lack of responsibility, greater unemployment, a lack of a sense of power in the general say of things, but i really couldnt begin to back any of these statements up with any concrete theory or statisticts so i wont bother!

its actually one of the lies pro gun lobby uses all the time that there are more guns in countries like canada, new zealand or even finland. What they fail to mention is that in these countries carrying concealed weapons is very strictly controlled, carrying loaded guns is prohibited and so on. In many ways the gun culture and the legistlation is much stricter than in US.

This doesn't of course explain why there is so much working class on working class violence in US, but as a response to the pro gun lobbys favourite argument...

meanoldman

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How is it a lie? There might be (well there are) other factors they don't mention but calling something true a lie just makes you look hysterical.

enriquemessonier

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.abcf.net/tdc/

:bb:

redtwister

16 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is a question near and dear to me. I grew up hunting and shooting guns. I used to read all kinds of gun magazines as a kid and as a teenager in the sticks, I was briefly intrigued with the survivalist stuff in the early 1980's that really became the militia type stuff. i also live in a predominantly black neighborhood in a predominantly black city in a very murderous country. I don't oppose guns per se because a gun is a tool, just as any tool is a weapon if you know how to use it that way. But that tells us nothing about gun control. Let me try and complicate matters a bit.

One thing I have noticed that no one has mentioned is that in Canada, people mostly own shotguns and rifles aka hunting firearms. Most murders in the U.S. are committed with pistols and assault rifles, which have almost no other purpose than killing people. In the black community in the U.S., deaths are by handguns and modified assault weapons more than anything else (and mostly handguns.) I can't have a serious discussion with people about violence in our community without addressing handgun violence. Many of the people who own a handgun 'for protection' and are hardcore NRA-types are white working class racists (NOT all, of course) who are scared of young black kids, even if they never see any. That's one side.

Where do those handguns come from? Saying they are stolen is only partially true. At some point they were legally owned. Where do young black men and kids in the U.S., living in cities, legally obtain handguns? They don't. And you can't just steal that many. Fact is, the guns shows and some people at them make a nice buck from re-selling legally bought handguns illegally into the black community. and that's no conspiracy, that's business. That's another side.

During the civil rights and black power movements in the U.S., access to guns was vital to self-defense. If you can find it, read "Negroes with Guns" by Robert F. Williams, a fantastic book detailing the armed resistance to segregation in North Carolina in the late 1950's, with support from the NRA. Or the Deacons for Defense in New Orleans, about whom there is a decent movie now. Or the guy in Baltimore who in the early 1970's started killing off the big drug dealers and virtually shut down the heroin trade in black communities for about six months, leaving only a black star as his calling card. That's another side.

Consider that, as someone correctly said, owning guns won't do squat against the state. Either we take over the police stations and win over the majority of soldiers or we lose. We won't win fighting some guerilla war from the mountains in industrialized, mostly urban countries. For the somewhat romantic view, check out the movie "The Spook Who Sat by the Door". Its an interesting take on what if something like the Black Panthers really were a guerilla army (the BPP did much more and much less tha that and the romanticized notion of the BPP is harmful nonsense, in part generated by the BPP.) That another side.

As for whether or not people have a right to own guns, I have no idea what that abstract crap means. Its not a theoretical statement or analysis, its an abstraction that isn't worth agreeing or disagreeing with. We are for people taking control of their lives, of defending themselves, of running their own world, of living with respect and dignity. In any concrete situation, we can only start from there. To talk about 'the armed people' in abstraction from the political situation, from who "the people" are, is to refuse to make a distinction in theory from the KKK, the BPP, the Deacons for Defnse, miners on strike in the hills of West Virginia in 1920, etc. Another side.

I'm for disarming cops, but I am also from disarming the drug dealers and right now the drug dealers and gang bangers kill more people than the cops. But how do you get rid of the gang bangers and drug dealers? More cops? Obviously not. The spike in murders in the U.S. in the late 1980's was an effect of a market being established for crack. when the market was being established, lines of distribution created, etc. it acted just like any other form of primitive accumulation: drenched in blood from head to toe. However, consider this: no guns, how much less death? Thousands of young black men were killed in Los Angeles and other cities in a few years, but if they had to use knives and fists, how many more would have lived? Another side.

We know that the state will not disarm willingly. We also know that in every country, the professional gangsters and drug dealers can get and have plenty of guns. there is no gun control for those people. Yakuza have them. British mobsters have them. Should 8 year olds be able to get them, though? But what about 8 year olds in Gaza fighting the Israeli forces? another side.

What about the guerilla movements? They have, almost across the board, been nationalists. The IRA, PLO, Sendero Luminoso, FMLN, NLF, ANC, all have turned their guns on working class activists who disagreed with their nationalist politics. Every one of those groups has used guns to act as a new mini-state, to police the population, to assassinate political rivals. Another side.

Ask the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq right now what their position on this is, as they face being murdered by fascist insurgents. ask them how the militias act in relation to women's groups and striking workers. Then ask them if the women's groups and workers should be armed and organized into self-defense squads. I suspect the problem, the answers, and the discussion have little bearing on some abstract notion of whether we should be for or against 'gun control', and will have little to do with my concerns in the U.S. in Baltimore.

The best answer to this is to refuse to pose the question abstractly. Good theory, like good practice, refuses such abstractions and immerses itself in the conrete and tries to grasp the whole process of the concrete and show the complex links between all of the particulars, to illuminate what appears disconnected and chaotic, not to apply some abstract, exterior principle to it.

Chris

Merrie England

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

JDMF

Comms,

I have had the pleasure to discuss gun control issues with an american anarchist.

he is in the position that gun ownership is an individuals right and people should be armed so not to give the state the monopoly of gun ownership. He also calls gun control laws "victim disarmament" laws (like all people are victims).

Anyways, I can see his points broadly speaking in theoretical sense. But since i am not into theory as much as i am into the real situation of working class people getting killed in their thousands per year in US, i am in favour of much stricter gun control and measures to get guns off the streets (recent example of what has been done in brazil is a good example and has already reduced the amount of gun deaths in the country).

Anyways, even theoretically speaking, i think widespread gun ownership should be accountable to the community and not based on everyone getting armed to the teeth and being suspicious of everyone as a potential rapist and murderer and calling everyone a victim furthering the atomisation of working class.

What are your thoughts on this?

People have all kinds of dangerous things in their house - electricity, gas, bleach, kitchen knives, hammers. Peoples stupidity kills people, and with the advent of socialism, much of the reason people get killed - capitalism greed - will go.
Only dictators hate gun ownership.

daniel

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people." That's my attitude pretty much. as somebody mentioned, in Canada they got more guns than in the US and there isn't near as much violence. the people arguing for gun control in the US are the same interfering liberal tossers that are also trying to take away Yanks ciggs, booze and porno. Its that same Puritan bollocks all over again.

Somebody made the argument that the state is always gonna have bigger guns and thats true. But the thing is, that misses the point. Its a psychological thing. I've heard that pickets on the west coast (of America) have in the past kept guns in their cars. The cops knew this and gave them some space! Its kind of a matter of seriousness.

Also, if people have to rely upon the state for protection that binds them to it. We're seeing all this fucking scary shit on the telly, and people may criticize the government but its kinda hard to make a break with the state when it looks like its all that stands between you and serial killers or gang crime or whatever. If you can protect yourself and your family without relying on the coppers, you're that much more self-assured. The working class in America has a quite deeply rooted sense of this, as far as I can figure - owning a gun is tied in with freedom and responsibility.

daniel

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I also think redtwister's post was dead on. It isn't an abstract thing, this.

chuy

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

just got my first gun this weekend (.22 LR). it's a fukn blast to go out and shoot cans and such. i surely don't harbor any illusions of facing down the s.w.a.t., army, or even the local right wing racist thugs redtwister spoke of with it. but if remedying the working class genocide here in the states, or any other place for that matter, is a concern of libcommers i suspect there has to be a better avenue of action than supporting liberal calls for gun control.

R.R. Berkman

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"in Canada they got more guns than in the US and there isn't near as much violence. the people arguing for gun control in the US are the same interfering liberal tossers that are also trying to take away Yanks ciggs, booze and porno. Its that same Puritan bollocks all over again."

Well, yes and no. Canada surely does not have more guns than America; per capita this may be the case, but not in real terms.

In all seriousness, Canada has incredibly strict gun control, I know this because I come from a gun-oriented family, grew up hunting etc. The weapons that really kill people, the infamous Tec-9 (known as the street-sweeper) is an absolute case here. It is semi-automatic, very small, incredibly cheap, easily procured, and a great tool if one wishes to wipe out a crowd of people in a drive-by. It is impossible to legally acquire anything even remotely similar in Canada. This is true for all automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Indeed, no weapon in Canada may allowed to have a cartage capacity of more than 3. This makes for a slow slaughter.

Furthermore, Handguns are essentially illegal. One can own a handgun, but the restrictions on them are beyond the pale. Under almost all situations they must be kept at the gun club. If you are allowed to have one in your home (which is very rare) one has to have the gun locked up in a certified gun-locker with a locked-trigger guard installed as a back-up. In another locker, separate from the weapon one can have their locked and secured ammunition. The only place you're allowed to use your hand-gun in the gun club. To get to the gun club one has to drive the pre-determined route dictated to the owner by the police.

As semi-automatic rifles and pistols (et al) do the vast majority of the killing in the US, this binary between Canada and the State some folks have been positing is actually quite flawed. One simply cannot acquire them here, and the penalties for doing so are actually quite strict.

Before all of the "the underground economy" argumentation manifests, I'll preempt. The state deals with illegal guns very seriously, and is generally involved in constant sting operations., and generally does a fairly good job of keeping weapons 'off the streets' as it were. Pistols are socially useless, their only pretense for existence is "defense," and can only be used to kill other people. So I don't have a huge problem with anyone banning handguns, be it the state or the commune.

Another problem with this argument is that say, on our farm, we need lots of guns, because they are tools. We need a good 30.06 (high-bore rifle) with a scope to take out Coyotes who are going after cattle, a .410 (shotgun) to take out gophers (because they dig holes and break the legs of livestock, not pretty, but if you like your beef...) a .22 (small rifle) to take out small pasts/sport gun, and a 12 gauge to put down horses, sick cattle and dogs.

An oft forgotten problem with large numbers of nasty weapons kicking about is the police response. It allows police forces the pretense to acquire things which only the army 'should' have. Large armored vehicles, high-caliber automatic weapons, military grade explosives and on. This is one problem for the wider social; as the 'populace' gets more weaponry, the police 'must' respond in kind. This leads to the horrific level of hyper-militarization which is ever increasingly manifest in our police forces today. Even in Canada, the police are following their counterparts in America, which is absolutely farcical and incredibly dangerous.

Back to work,

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The only place in my state that has any real form of gun control is clark county. Automatic weapons are legal, silencers are legal, you can even by those little grenade launchers. The only place with any sort of gun violence problem is clark county. Perhaps its not the guns causing the violence but poverty and desperation?

fnbrill

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gun Control? Don't pull, squeeze.

yuda

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

chuy

just got my first gun this weekend (.22 LR). it's a fukn blast to go out and shoot cans and such. i surely don't harbor any illusions of facing down the s.w.a.t., army, or even the local right wing racist thugs redtwister spoke of with it. but if remedying the working class genocide here in the states, or any other place for that matter, is a concern of libcommers i suspect there has to be a better avenue of action than supporting liberal calls for gun control.

Don't underestimate the old 22lr. I've shot deer with an old ruger 10/22

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

yuda

chuy

just got my first gun this weekend (.22 LR). it's a fukn blast to go out and shoot cans and such. i surely don't harbor any illusions of facing down the s.w.a.t., army, or even the local right wing racist thugs redtwister spoke of with it. but if remedying the working class genocide here in the states, or any other place for that matter, is a concern of libcommers i suspect there has to be a better avenue of action than supporting liberal calls for gun control.

Don't underestimate the old 22lr. I've shot deer with an old ruger 10/22

.22 is the caliber of choice for mob executions.

revolutionrugger

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You can have it when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.

yuda

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bah, you can keep your sk knockoff

Feighnt

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

that looks really awkward to hold and fire! but, i know practically nothing about guns.

patchanga

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think it's a pretty rum deal if there are anarchists here asserting that it is quite understandable for the state to exercise any sort of control over people. What next? Drugs control to stop the Heroic Working Class from poisoning their minds? Would you be that exercised about gun control if the gun lobby wasn't run by Jesus-lovin' hillbillies?

The best thing to campaign for would be to close down the gun factories and the gun shops. Failing that, demand the right for state subsidies to buy guns so that even the poor can have a mini-armoury in the house. Slogan? GUNS FOR EVERYONE OR GUNS FOR NOBODY!

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

I dont think minor-capitalists should be allowed destroy communities by selling craic, heroin and hash with glass in it.

except legalisation and regulation would deal with the problem far better than the current set up whereby working class communities are under the unholy trinity of drug habit fuelled crime, violent gangsters and criminalisation by the state.

Whats this? Reform today? Is the revolution tomorrow?

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

thugarchist

revol68

I dont think minor-capitalists should be allowed destroy communities by selling craic, heroin and hash with glass in it.

except legalisation and regulation would deal with the problem far better than the current set up whereby working class communities are under the unholy trinity of drug habit fuelled crime, violent gangsters and criminalisation by the state.

Whats this? Reform today? Is the revolution tomorrow?

I know you're smarter than to mistake regulation with reformism so don't act the union blockhead. or don't you think libertarian communism will have regulation or laws?

This is like arguing wigth a little teeny me.

knightrose

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Actually I don't think it'll have laws as such. What it won't have as well is money, which will end the tyranny of buying and selling of anything. It will have customs and practice.

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

knightrose

Actually I don't think it'll have laws as such. What it won't have as well is money, which will end the tyranny of buying and selling of anything. It will have customs and practice.

Oh christ. The fear of common use language. If there's a consequence to violating the "customs and practices" its no different than regulations and laws. If there's no consequences then surely tyrrany will rise again (to paraphrase a famous american).

knightrose

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Revol - I'm more concerned by your implication that there will be buying and selling. And that's the essence of communism and the reason gangsters and politicians will lose their power.

knightrose

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How can there be a trade in anything without a market economy? If there is a trade then there is no communism.

I think your sloppy terminology is a problem. Of course there will have to be rules about how things are done. People will need to prove they can drive, for example, or prove they are fit to perform surgery. But who is going to enforce it?

Isn't it more likely that a communist society will lead to a change in consciousness and ways of working. I'm assuming you share a materialist understanding of the world and don't just think ideas drop out of the sky.

The problem with too many discussions on this forum is that posters have no conception of how human behaviour changes when material conditions change. (and that's called marxism, not liberalism)

In any event I'm in favour of gun control and have no problem with some drugs.

knightrose

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Are you positing a society based on buying and selling? Or one based on barter? Or equal wages? Or what?

Of course we won't just erase trade. But that will be what communism will aim at, surely?

I'd guess that communities that had the confidence and self consciousness to destroy capitalism would have within themselves the ability to control drugs.

knightrose

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I kind of imagine that a revolution will take an awful lot of effort by an awful lot of people. I also consider that consciousness changes as a result of activity. Hence revoltuion is the process that changes the way people think and act. Surely that's basic?
I guess that during the revolutionary process we'd probably find ways of dealing with gangsters and other capitalists who don't show the sense to do what they are told. Put any spin on that you want.
After a revolution consciousness will continue to evolve. Anyone trying to go back to a trading economy would have to be dealt with. Primarily, I'd guess by not trading with them. But also in a genuine society made up of social beings, then the confidence would exist to not say, "that's someone else's problem".
Probably the answer is that no drugs would be "illegal", but if society were less alienating we'd have less need of them.

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

knightrose

I kind of imagine that a revolution will take an awful lot of effort by an awful lot of people. I also consider that consciousness changes as a result of activity. Hence revoltuion is the process that changes the way people think and act. Surely that's basic?
I guess that during the revolutionary process we'd probably find ways of dealing with gangsters and other capitalists who don't show the sense to do what they are told. Put any spin on that you want.
After a revolution consciousness will continue to evolve. Anyone trying to go back to a trading economy would have to be dealt with. Primarily, I'd guess by not trading with them. But also in a genuine society made up of social beings, then the confidence would exist to not say, "that's someone else's problem".
Probably the answer is that no drugs would be "illegal", but if society were less alienating we'd have less need of them.

But trade would be "illegal" right? So there would be those pesky "laws" and such?

Tojiah

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

it will have fucking laws...

if some nonce is bucking kids they are in breach of the law...

Well, just so long that the fucking laws don't prohibit cunnilingus...

The_Accursed_Share

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

the problem with that theory is that it's not 1794 and the state is much more than armed groups of men. Surely we would seek to have demorcatic [sic] structures for the control of firearms, instead of this bourgeois individulist [sic] shit about the "right to bear arms".

It is very true that the state and its weapons cache make even the most packin' Utah militias look like a hippie commune, but the idea that the right to bear arms is "bourgeois individualist shit" and should be overridden by a democratic structure (i.e., a state) seems to me to be contrary to anarchist ideals and the product of a bourgeois individualist who wishes to impose his or her will on others.

mockbill

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

guydebordisdead: I COMPLETELY agree with you. The idea that we have to put the individual forward because the state is bad will not improve the state, only the individual egoism (and economic anarchy that characterized capitalism).

888

Anyway my take on gun control in the current society is that it should be minimised, I can see the pragmatic issue of reducing accidents (control won't reduce crime) but can't abide strengthening the state

I do not agree with you 888, I believe that you strengthen the NRA more than you strengthen the state. As the lobbies control the state in the USA, so I don't see the point.

And anyway, giving away guns does not even strengthen the state:

- cops also would have less of an excuse to kill people. It is easier to kill a black guy, escaping with a gun in his hand than to kill him without. Contrary to nowadays, it would be clear to everyone if using a gun was justified or not.

- if they have to use guns against people who don't have any, it only shows their failure and their weakness, look at the French police (who, contrary to bobbies, have guns). We don't need guns to protest. To you really feel that in the States you have more power than Europeans against the Government?

On the rest, I agree with revol68. Yes it is people who kill people, not guns, but without guns it would be much harder and less accidents [Edit: would occur], especially involving babies. (I know that in Rwanda machetes were pretty deadly, but still...). It is the pb of culture, yes. But gun culture lol.

Well my argumsentation is pretty shitty, mainly due to a lack of time, but never mind, there are some ideas i hope. All da best,

Mockbill

mockbill

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

sorry, i deleted part of the message and I did not re-read myself...and if the message criticizes the content, it is just because when i was younger, i was chocked by this poster pro gun control showing a child with a gun in his mouth.
In 1975, 495 deaths of 0-14's but now cut by half, so it wasn't that relevant anyway, don't focus on it please ;)

Vasak

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As an Alaskan, I like my guns. A lot. And I think that the average Joe should be able to own whatever armaments he wants; after all, more people are killed by cars than by guns, but we don't ban cars, do we? Instead of regulating ownership of firearms, I think we should regulate the sale of firearms; find out who is buying what. If a man with a crazy look and a history of crime wants to buy twenty rounds of ten-gauge shot and an Ithica, than something's wrong. We can give people the right to choose and the right to defend themselves without giving them the 'ego-trip' of feeling the need to kill others and themselves. How do we do this? Gun education.

In the States especially, we view the gun as a psychosexual symbol. It can solve any problem, fix any ill, defeat any invader. The idea of attributing emotions, feelings, or significance to an object is self-harmful to the extreme. If we are to take the gun, and educate the masses about it's use, purpouse, and obscura, less people will WANT to own one, and those who do will own theirs responsibly.

patchanga

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mmm...I guess one needs to get a feel for the spirit of a place before one joins in. I thought this site was all about liberatrian communism but I find it's really just a bunch of middle class kiddies calling each other wankers.

So, the anarchist society of the future will have law and trade, criminalise certain sexual practices, punish people for buying and selling drugs, control who has access to arms in society, be full of yahoos shouting down people who put forward intelligent debate, have the loudest voices shouting that things-will-be-as-I-say-they-will-be and attempting to sideline and eradicate disagreement through force.

It sounds like a truly revolutionary Brave New World. Where do I sign up?

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

patchanga

I thought this site was all about liberatrian communism but I find it's really just a bunch of middle class kiddies calling each other wankers.

Tag line

Joseph Kay

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

patchanga

Mmm...I guess one needs to get a feel for the spirit of a place before one joins in. I thought this site was all about liberatrian communism but I find it's really just a bunch of middle class kiddies calling each other wankers.

perhaps you were joking, but didn't you say shoplifting is your ethical shopping? ethical consumerism (paid for or otherwise) is the middle class shibboleth par excellance, so people in glass houses and that...

patchanga

So, the anarchist society of the future will have law

this has been under debate, there's hardly a consensus. the 'pro-law' position has been that if there are consequences to breaking 'custom' then it's a law in all but name, and if there aren't it's somewhat toothless. tut tut fred west, it's really not the done thing to murder your nannies and bury them under the floor. and you really should flush the loo after you ... obviously i'd hope there were far fewer serial killers and the like around in a libertarian communist society, but every society has rules whether written down or not, whether you call them laws is somewhat semantic.

patchanga

and trade

don't think anyone's advocating trade, just saying if you outlaw things a black market will appear if the demand is there.

patchanga

criminalise certain sexual practices

if english is your first language, you really ought to check for humour, revol used 'fucking' as an expletive, treeofjudas made a pun on it. if english isn't your first language, fair enough. still i fucking hope noncing is criminalised in a libertarian communist society, NAMBLA are counter-revolutionary.

patchanga

punish people for buying and selling drugs

i thought you were complaining people were pro-trade?

patchanga

control who has access to arms in society

if that society voted for it. i mean i don't think i have a problem with personal small-arms possession, but i don't think there's some inviolable right to bear arms, far less military-grade weaponary, tanks, nukes etc, and i'd certainly want to 'control' the dispossessed bourgeoisie from having access to arms.

patchanga

be full of yahoos shouting down people who put forward intelligent debate, have the loudest voices shouting that things-will-be-as-I-say-they-will-be and attempting to sideline and eradicate disagreement through force.

eh?

patchanga

It sounds like a truly revolutionary Brave New World. Where do I sign up?

have you not noticed that the amalgam you put forward isn't any one person's position, let alone a thread consensus? :confused:

patchanga

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

perhaps you were joking, but didn't you say shoplifting is your ethical shopping? ethical consumerism (paid for or otherwise) is the middle class shibboleth par excellance, so people in glass houses and that...

...shouldn't make flippant comments?

i thought you were complaining people were pro-trade?

What you thought is one thing. What I was doing is another. Each of the components of my amalgam have either been advocated on this list or exhibited on the list. Shouting people down with insults and wilfully erroneous summaries of what they have written is apparently par for the course, in answer to your 'eh?'. Similarly, reverting to witty irony (preserve of the aspiring middle class...see Billig 2005 for more on this) to attempt to negate valid points (tut tut Fred West).

As for noncing, I don't recognise this word as anything other than a Scare Word from the tabloid mentality. Perhaps you should define it: are adult-child sexual relationships forbidden in the anarchist society...or just those that are based on coercion? If the latter, I think the word is 'rape'.

I didn't complain about people being pro-trade...I just thought that the vision that people were painting bore a lot of resemblance to what we've currently got: laws, trade inequities, "society" (ie the State) controlling what people can or cannot do and seeking to sanction people who go against the 'law'.

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

patchanga

As for noncing, I don't recognise this word as anything other than a Scare Word from the tabloid mentality. Perhaps you should define it: are adult-child sexual relationships forbidden in the anarchist society...or just those that are based on coercion? If the latter, I think the word is 'rape'.

I don't like to put words in people's mouth so I'm wondering if this statement means you think there are situations where an adult and a child having sex could be other than coercive? Or was I just reading into it badly?

If you do think there could be consensual sexual relations between a child and an adult I'd beinterested in your thoughts on it as thats an argument I've never heard before.

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

are adult-child sexual relationships forbidden in the anarchist society...or just those that are based on coercion? If the latter, I think the word is 'rape'.

(oh we got a live one here! should be fun!)

it's not too hard to get consent from a 10 year old, it is however impossible to get meaningful consent to sexual relations as an adult due to the inherent power relation.

So in short, no you won't be allowed to nonce kids.

Revol, your open hatred for anything liberatory in society does nothing but shut down honest debate. Your childish antics are in fact as oppressive as the state itself.

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

i'd be interested in whether he thinks there can be consenual sexual relations between a human and a bear!

Hush.

Joseph Kay

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

patchanga

...shouldn't make flippant comments?

ok like i said i didn't know if you were joking or not, sorry if i misread but there's always this fella: ;) to clarify matters
patchanga

are adult-child sexual relationships forbidden in the anarchist society...or just those that are based on coercion?

if we define child as someone incapable of giving informed consent, i fucking hope it's forbidden.

anarchism does not mean 'no rules' and forbidding child abuse isn't any more authoritarian than hitting some guy who's trying to bottle you. i mean you seem to suggest rape would carry some sanction, unless i'm misreading, and so be 'against the law' however you want to paraphrase it.

patchanga

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Child-adult sex? Well, it doesn't do much for me. Perhaps we should leave the flippancy to one side....

The reason I raised this point was because of the "noncing" comment made earlier (in essence, there is no way this would be allowed). It reminded me of a anarchist discussion group I went to some years ago in Spain where the topic was "Free Love". I thought FL was getting it on with all and sundry...but then somebody raised the issue of adult-child sexual relationships. Could there be consensual sex between a child and an adult? I have no idea. In the current society that I live in, I'd say no...but, as has been mentioned on another thread, the individual in society is a social construct who is shaped by --and shapes-- the society and the culture in which they find themselves. So, might it be feasible in a future society that is, after all, as different from the current set up as you're likely to find? Possibly.

The real point I am trying to make is that this thread seems to be mainly about what should be banned, controlled, punished and legislated for in an anarchist society.

From my point of view, I would be against any sort of relationship, sexual or other, that was based on coercion. I imagine that in an anarchist society, the people would sanction this sort of behaviour. I don't think that this is the same as legislating. Legislation is usually understood as some sort of codified laws which are usually written down and which are then applied by a certain class of people. An anarchist society would presumably not want this kind of thing to happen. I imagine anarchist "law" as resting heavily on common sense and not requiring codification. I imagine that infractions of such "law" would be met either with spontaneous retribution or the measured and positive action of the community that had suffered as a result.

So, if we mean that coercion and violence against the greater number of people in an enlightened, anarchist society would be resisted and repelled, then I am in agreement. My concerns were more about how this thread was coming up with all the tabloid cliches: "we're anti-dealers, anti-nonces" blah blah blah. Surely, we are anti-coercion and anti-oppression (although from the general tone of these talkboards, I realise that that may be up for question)?

PS. I don't think I'd ever consent to being shagged by a bear...although in the new world, who knows?

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

patchanga

1. The real point I am trying to make is that this thread seems to be mainly about what should be banned, controlled, punished and legislated for in an anarchist society.

2. I don't think I'd ever consent to being shagged by a bear...although in the new world, who knows?

1. The subject of the thread is anarchist take on gun control so I'd imagine there wouldn't be much surprise if it ventured into other difficult issues around the same concept ie what limitations on the freedom of the individual may be necessary for the freedom of the collective group. No?

2. I gaurantee you won't be invited.

PS. You dodged the question on pedophilia without actually giving much of an answer.

patchanga

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You dodged the question on pedophilia without actually giving much of an answer.

I'm wondering if this statement means you think there are situations where an adult and a child having sex could be other than coercive? Or was I just reading into it badly?

Could there be consensual sex between a child and an adult? I have no idea. In the current society that I live in, I'd say no...but, as has been mentioned on another thread, the individual in society is a social construct who is shaped by --and shapes-- the society and the culture in which they find themselves. So, might it be feasible in a future society that is, after all, as different from the current set up as you're likely to find? Possibly.
The real point I am trying to make is that this thread seems to be mainly about what should be banned, controlled, punished and legislated for in an anarchist society.
From my point of view, I would be against any sort of relationship, sexual or other, that was based on coercion.

I speak Care Bear and am unlikely to be invited into a caring relationship with a bear? Maybe this just isn't my revolution.

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

patchanga

You dodged the question on pedophilia without actually giving much of an answer.

I'm wondering if this statement means you think there are situations where an adult and a child having sex could be other than coercive? Or was I just reading into it badly?

Could there be consensual sex between a child and an adult? I have no idea. In the current society that I live in, I'd say no...but, as has been mentioned on another thread, the individual in society is a social construct who is shaped by --and shapes-- the society and the culture in which they find themselves. So, might it be feasible in a future society that is, after all, as different from the current set up as you're likely to find? Possibly.
The real point I am trying to make is that this thread seems to be mainly about what should be banned, controlled, punished and legislated for in an anarchist society.
From my point of view, I would be against any sort of relationship, sexual or other, that was based on coercion.

I speak Care Bear and am unlikely to be invited into a caring relationship with a bear? Maybe this just isn't my revolution.

Quoting yourself isn't much of a clarification.

You have no idea, in the future it may very well be fine, your uncomfortable with social limitations of any kind including on pedophilia, but you're against coercive relationships although you can't really say what that would mean?

thugarchist

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

You have no idea, in the future it may very well be fine, your uncomfortable with social limitations of any kind including on pedophilia, but you're against coercive relationships although you can't really say what that would mean?

that kind of soft headed drivel drives me insane.

But did I translate it right?

gatorojinegro

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

patchanga:

From my point of view, I would be against any sort of relationship, sexual or other, that was based on coercion. I imagine that in an anarchist society, the people would sanction this sort of behaviour. I don't think that this is the same as legislating. Legislation is usually understood as some sort of codified laws which are usually written down and which are then applied by a certain class of people. An anarchist society would presumably not want this kind of thing to happen. I imagine anarchist "law" as resting heavily on common sense and not requiring codification. I imagine that infractions of such "law" would be met either with spontaneous retribution or the measured and positive action of the community that had suffered as a result.

I think legislation would be essential. That's because legislation spells out or codifies society's agreement on whatever the rules are. If it isn't allowed to hire people to be your wage slaves -- to work in some venture doing things but not having an equal right to a say in the decisions -- then this needs to be an explicit rule.

The social, collective self-management of a society is NOT enhanced if individuals can simply "sanction" (engage in violence against) others on their personal whim, without any authorization of a democratic public institution. Moreover, the vigilante conception ("spontaneous retribution" -- and how do you ascertain "spontaneously" someone's guilt, hmm?) of rule enforcement is not necessary for a classless society and would be likely to be quite destructive. It would be liable to being manipulated for purposes of personal revenge or factionalism. There needs to be a publically controlled institution that must adjudicate any and all accusations of violations of the society's agreed upon rules. There needs to be standards of proof, and proof needs to be presented. In other words, there will need to be trials to deal with accusations of criminal conduct. This is necessary precisely in order to protect the freedom of individuals in society, including the freedom of cultural and political minorities.

Moreover, forensics and investigative work, in regard to criminal actions, is a necessary form of work, and there is no reason for it not to be organized as a self-managed work group just like any other form of work. No reason for these people to have guns, tho.

If you don't like the word "law" for the basic rules that have been approved by a society's legislative authority (which might be simply a mass assembly in the case of a small town, or a plebiscite of numerous such assemblies for a city, or a congress of delegates, or whatever), we can invent a new word, call it an "ordinance" or a "public mandate" or whatever. It will still be an enforceable rule.

I'm not sure that banning civilian ownership of guns is going to solve the problem of murder and gun violence in the USA. How do you get the guns out of the hands of the criminal subculture? The murder rate in the USA is four times as high as Canada but the gun ownership rate in Canada is as high as the USA (both countries derive from a white settler "frontier" culture). The murder rate also varies regionally in the USA. The southern states have the highest murder rate, and the northern tier of states along the Canadian border have the lowest (and are more likely to NOT have the death penalty...so deterrence isn't the issue).

t.

patchanga

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Quoting yourself isn't much of a clarification.

You didn't ask for clarification. You said that I had evaded the question by providing "not much of an answer".

your uncomfortable with social limitations of any kind including on pedophilia, but you're against coercive relationships

You're powers of precis are somewhat lacking. Nowehere did I say I was uncomfortable with social limitations. Nowehere did I say I was uncomfortable with limits being placed on paedophilia. Nowehere did I say I was unclear what constituted a coercive relationship. You're arguing with what you imagined I said.

patchanga

15 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gatorojinegro
It's always difficult to hypothesise too much about the future society when we are plainly very far from it. I accept what you say about the types of laws etc that may exist. Looking at the Zapatista zones, infractions are dealt with in community assemblies and the focus is less on retribution and more on righting your wrong. I see nothing objectionable in this at all. Obviously, people who offend the community in whatever way need to be held accountable for their actions - but I'd still be wary about having any sort of a codified law. Where I work, we have a grievance procedure, but we don't have a list of possible grievances or causes of grievances. If somebody feels aggrieved by anything (in theory) they can raise a grievance which will be investigated in a set procedure (needless to say, it is investigated by the bosses, so I'm not advocating an exact replica). In short, the procedures for dealing with a problem are established and set down, but the problems don't need to be. This is, I would suggest, far more in keeping with a libertarian approach. It allows each case to be judged on its merits. It avoids the risk of law enforcers. It's a clean break with the current system --necessary because the current system has so many other disagreeable aspects that are intrinsically bound up with it.

Back to theoriginal question about guns: I was a bit too flippant perhaps in my original reply. As far as I'm concerned, 'gun control' is questionable when the people controlling the guns are the enforcers of law and "order" in accordance with the dictates of the political class. Somebody asked whether I was suggesting that we should just ignore the government. No. I'm saying that if anarchism strategy is about raising people's awareness of the values of direct action, relying on the government to control things is hardly the way forward. Much better to close down the gun shops...or at least be seen trying to do just that.

bootsy

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is my first time posting here, but I just want to say that I don't see why any person or group with revolutionary politics would actively encourage their class enemy to restrict possession of weapons and thus allow them to further consolidate power...

bootsy

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also it seems like there are two (or more) discussions going on at once; one about whether anarchists should support gun control now (as the original post seemed to be asking) and another about whether gun control would exist in a libertarian communist society. The answer to the first question seems pretty damn obvious, however I'm personally not too sure about the second.

Raskolnarchy

This is my first time posting here, but I just want to say that I don't see why any person or group with revolutionary politics would actively encourage their class enemy to restrict possession of weapons and thus allow them to further consolidate power...

It is a very old thread, so I am not sure that you will get much interest. The last post was over two and a half years ago.

I think that the whole thing about the 'right to bear arms' is an American cultural thing, which doesn't at all resonate in Europe, where most people have a very different attitude towards firearms, not one that considers individual liberty, but one that considers the welfare of the collective.

I live in a country where people have a tendency to shoot their guns in the air after finishing matches, which often leads to people being accidentally killed on their balconies. I can see that as one reason why people would argue for restriction of firearms.

The question of revolutionaries attitudes to state control is a different one though.

Oh, and welcome,

Devrim

Comrade Joe

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Communists should support the arming of the working class because any other position means they support the disarming of the working class by the ruling class, nuff said.

explainthingstome

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's a comic that shows my preliminary opinion about the idea that having no gun regulations will make anarchism a much more likely scenario: https://i.redd.it/itu25w1hm2a51.png

What criticism can be made about this view?

I currently support gun laws.

AnythingForProximity

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

explainthingstome

What criticism can be made about this view?

Barcelona, July 19, 1936.

explainthingstome

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

explainthingstome

What criticism can be made about this view?

Barcelona, July 19, 1936.

Those soldiers did not have the same kind of technological leverage over their opponents as the modern military has over people today.

darren p

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Barcelona, July 19, 1936.

Guns were controlled then. And half of the military and police fought against the fascist uprising. You'll have to say more.

R Totale

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

explainthingstome

Here's a comic that shows my preliminary opinion about the idea that having no gun regulations will make anarchism a much more likely scenario: https://i.redd.it/itu25w1hm2a51.png

What criticism can be made about this view?

I currently support gun laws.

In short, I don't think anyone halfway sensible thinks it's possible to win a shooting war with the US Army, I think the usefulness of guns would come more in dealing with non-state reactionary actors like the III%ers, Oathkeepers, Boogalooers, etc etc, who are likely to have access to guns but not to tanks, nukes, that plane Elon Musk's baby is named after and so on.

I think the other really important criticism that gun control advocates have to deal with is that any gun laws would be enforced by the same cops that we have now, in the same way as they enforce the laws we have now - that is, by turning a blind eye to those they generally look favourably on (which might well include members of those far-right groups mentioned above) and enforcing it super-strictly against those groups that they tend to enforce laws super-strictly on generally. So not so much "if guns are outlawed then only outlaws will have guns" as "if guns are outlawed, then only people who the cops are prepared to give a nod and a wink to will have guns".

I don't really have a neat answer to all of this, btw - I definitely don't think the US's status quo with guns is a good thing and think a bit more disarmament would be positive, I'm just not sure what the best way to get there is.

explainthingstome

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

I think the usefulness of guns would come more in dealing with non-state reactionary actors

During capitalism, you mean? I don't know...Are you sure it's a likely scenario that anarchists would be equal or superior to reactionaries in strength, knowledge or technology if they went out and bought guns?

R Totale

I think the other really important criticism that gun control advocates have to deal with is that any gun laws would be enforced by the same cops that we have now

Not necessarily. If we're talking about the United States, I don't think (but feel free to critique) that it's an unrealistic notion that the police can be reformed when it comes to recruitment.

I doubt that the percentage of racist or incompetent police of any Western European state is anywhere near the level of said people within the American police force.

All these killings of people who've often done nothing or done only a minor crime...surely they're not nearly as common in, for example, Britain? Those are my spontaneous opinions at least. And I would assume that that has something to do with the process of recruiting. Fix that and you'll have less awful people.

I think a lot of anarchists would say that I have a naive view of the "armed bodies of men", but I have a hard time accepting what appears to be the orthodox anarchist/communist view that the police are mostly terrible people. At least when it comes to Western democracies.

R Totale

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

explainthingstome

During capitalism, you mean? I don't know...Are you sure it's a likely scenario that anarchists would be equal or superior to reactionaries in strength, knowledge or technology if they went out and bought guns?

I mean, I'm not from the US so feel free to take my opinions on this subject with as many pinches of salt as you want, but I think that certainly that gap would be much smaller and easier to close than the same gap in force if they didn't go out and buy guns. I'm not really wildly pro-gun so don't want to argue as if I am, but I think that there is at least an argument that in a situation where both sides have guns, there is at least a bit of a "mutually assured destruction"-type thing where people are less likely to wildly escalate, whereas if you have a situation where the reactionaries are armed but no-one else is, they can throw their weight around a lot more.

Not necessarily. If we're talking about the United States, I don't think (but feel free to critique) that it's an unrealistic notion that the police can be reformed when it comes to recruitment.

I doubt that the percentage of racist or incompetent police of any Western European state is anywhere near the level of said people within the American police force.

All these killings of people who've often done nothing or done only a minor crime...surely they're not nearly as common in, for example, Britain? Those are my spontaneous opinions at least. And I would assume that that has something to do with the process of recruiting. Fix that and you'll have less awful people.

I think a lot of anarchists would say that I have a naive view of the "armed bodies of men", but I have a hard time accepting what appears to be the orthodox anarchist/communist view that the police are mostly terrible people. At least when it comes to Western democracies.

As I understand, I think the rate of killings in the US compared to other places is more to do with the cops being better armed. Anyway, while other countries might not have police forces quite as bad as the US, I don't think that anyone who's had much contact with British or European police forces would want to romanticise them much. There's a reason why the French say "tout le monde déteste la police", after all.

As far as police reform goes, I think the problem is less "police are terrible people" - I'm sure some of them are probably perfectly lovely when you meet them outside the job - and more "the job the police do requires them to do terrible things". So, even though British police might arguably not be as racist as US ones, there's still cases of them mass arresting hundreds of antifascists at a time, and if you go back further there's cases where they've beaten antifascists to death. That's not because all cops are terrible individuals who support the National Front or English Defence League, although I'm sure lots of them are, it's because it's their job to uphold law and order, and so in a situation where there's a lawfully protected fascist march and antifascists attempt to disrupt it, antifascists then become a threat to law and order, and so the enemy.

Similarly, even if you recruited less bigoted individual cops, that wouldn't change the fact of their basic job involving the protection of private property. So, going back to gun control, perhaps if you recruited nicer, less bigoted cops then they might be less likely to shoot unarmed black people on the grounds that they might have a gun, but it's harder to imagine a cop looking at a militia who declare themselves to be patriotic, constitutional, pro-law-and-order and so on, and then an "antifa mob" who the president has just described as terrorists, and judging them both according to exactly the same criteria and standards. Does that make sense?

explainthingstome

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

there is at least an argument that in a situation where both sides have guns, there is at least a bit of a "mutually assured destruction"-type thing

Do you think that there is a risk that they would target unarmed/weak friends or family members? I have no real evidence, but I suspect that neo-nazis would be less worried about that than other people.
R Totale

Anyway, while other countries might not have police forces quite as bad as the US, I don't think that anyone who's had much contact with British or European police forces would want to romanticise them much.

I have no experience with police so I guess I'd have to rely on first-hand testimony. Though maybe people here wouldn't like to share their personal lives? Maybe I'll find a Reddit thread.
R Totale

Similarly, even if you recruited less bigoted individual cops, that wouldn't change the fact of their basic job involving the protection of private property.

I guess this is somewhat off-topic, but my current attitude is a bit like this: the police are a reflection of society as a whole. Most people are (sadly) not in favour of abolishing private property.
So I don't bear any particular grudge against the police for arresting people who try to take over factories: they have the working class as a whole on their side -assuming of course they're not being like Southern riot police in the 60's.
R Totale

it's harder to imagine a cop looking at a militia who declare themselves to be patriotic [...] and then an "antifa mob" [...] and judging them both according to exactly the same criteria and standards. Does that make sense?

I don't know...I think you're correct when you say that they're here to enforce the law, but I don't know if they turn a blind eye to fascists that often.

ajjohnstone

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have known only one sole person who believed the revolution would mean armed struggle, a WRP member, and he joined the Territorial Army Parachute Regiment, to acquire his weapons training.

There was debate in the late 19th C and early 20th C concerning support for conscription and creation of militias rather than a voluntary standing army, even Engels endorsed the proposals.

The argument was that workers must be combat prepared but even more importantly it would also lead to a disloyal, disaffected military that the State could not rely upon.

Perhaps more influenced by the Paris National Guard and the Communards, rather than the National Guard units deployed in the cities of the United States.

R Totale

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I keep meaning to come back to this conversation because I'm aware I kind of dropped out of it, and I still intend to at some point, but just quickly:
I remembered a discussion around similar issues happening here relatively recently, and I've now found it was on this thread, from this post onwards, so that might be of some relevance. Also, see this recent Washington Post article for a fairly sensible argument on gun control that doesn't seem to be based on wild fantasies about outshooting the US Army.
On whether or not cops turn a blind eye to the far-right, I'd say that the relationship between Portland Police and Patriot Prayer is one recent example worth looking at; the Greensboro massacre is a much more dramatic, if somewhat older, one.
I don't really know where the best place to start would be, but a comparison of how the police treated Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries during the Northern Ireland conflict would be an interesting case study - like, from a brief google I was able to find:

Northern Ireland police accused of concealing data on loyalist killings
Loughinisland: Ombudsman confirms collusion between police and loyalist killers
And then see the wikipedia pages on the Stevens Inquiries and Pat Finucane for more - again, I don't think this is a case of the cops individually being bad people, I think this is a case of there being violent organisations that break the law while also pursuing goals that are in some way aligned with those of the state, if that makes sense?
Edit: And just to build on that a little more, you can contrast that with the undercover police operations targeting family justice campaigns like the Lawrence family (the family of a teenager who was killed in a racist murder, which the police failed to investigate properly), and the family of Christopher Alder, who died in police custody. So we can see the police behaving relatively lenient towards murderously violent organisations with aims that coincide with that of the state on one hand, and then running operations targeting entirely legal, peaceful campaigns with aims that would tend to undermine their authority on the other. I don't think that's either the result of individual bad apples who can be replaced, or the police just reflecting general public opinion, if you see what I mean.

explainthingstome

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I only read that Washington Post article once but it seemed very aimed towards Biden's proposal ("make guns more expensive") rather than gun laws in general.

Cops being happy about the far-right or being nasty to families of victims seems to me to be an issue of poor recruitment. It's nothing that the police are more or less forced to do just because of their profession; what I mean is that I don't think that cops have to break the law in order to be cops.

Innocent black people don't have to be shot for capitalism to be maintained, neo-nazis murdering people don't have to walk free for capitalism to be maintained, etc.

That being said, in some situations cops have to be bad. Like in a dictatorship, where people have to be afraid in order for the government to remain in power. But I don't think that's analogous to the UK of today or other Western liberal democracies.

ajjohnstone

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A group of heavily armed Black protesters marched through Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday demanding justice for Breonna Taylor

The NFAC - Not Fucking Around Coalition'

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-race-protests-louisville/black-armed-protesters-march-in-kentucky-demanding-justice-for-breonna-taylor-idUSKCN24R025

Scores of the demonstrators, carrying semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and clad in black paramilitary gear, marched in formation

adri

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

NFAC marched armed a few weeks back, only this time there were far-right Three Percenters in attendance, also armed. The "Grandmaster Jay" guy, founder of the NFAC group/milita, holds some antisemitic views, along with calling for the handing over of Texas for the setting up of some type of "black nation." Not sure to what extent everyone marching shares his views. I don't see why the armed-to-the-teeth thing is necessary or where exactly it's going.

ajjohnstone

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't see why the armed-to-the-teeth thing is necessary or where exactly it's going.

Militarisation of resistance will be met by superior numbers and be out-gunned

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/27/utah-militia-armed-group-police-black-lives-matter-protests

The Utah Citizens’ Alarm is only a month old, and yet it already boasts 15,000-plus members. The citizen militia’s recruits wear military fatigues and carry assault rifles. Their short-term goal, they say, is to act as a physical presence of intimidation to deter protesters from becoming violent. Their long-term goal: to arm and prepare the state of Utah against underground movements that they believe will incite civil war. Utah Citizens’ Alarm is now organized under the guidance of ex-military and ex-law enforcement on their newly formed board of advisers.

R Totale

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

explainthingstome

I guess this is somewhat off-topic, but my current attitude is a bit like this: the police are a reflection of society as a whole. Most people are (sadly) not in favour of abolishing private property.
So I don't bear any particular grudge against the police for arresting people who try to take over factories: they have the working class as a whole on their side -assuming of course they're not being like Southern riot police in the 60's.

I keep on meaning to come back to this, but I think this is one of the big important points of disagreement. I don't really believe in "public opinion" as a unified static thing in general, and I also think it's worth looking at situations where society's been very divided (say, France in '68 or the UK in 84-85) - in those situations, if the cops really did just reflect society as a whole, you'd expect them to be similarly split, instead of lining up behind the government. This contrasts with the armed forces, who I think are genuinely a bit more reflective, and do have more of a history of mutinies, forming veterans anti-war groups and so on.

explainthingstome

I only read that Washington Post article once but it seemed very aimed towards Biden's proposal ("make guns more expensive") rather than gun laws in general.

That's true enough, although I do think that KK is probably pro-guns in general as well, I think more so than I am. But it does at least show that it's not simply "gun control: for or against?", but that the type of gun control and how it's enforced is as important as anything else.

Cops being happy about the far-right or being nasty to families of victims seems to me to be an issue of poor recruitment. It's nothing that the police are more or less forced to do just because of their profession; what I mean is that I don't think that cops have to break the law in order to be cops.

Innocent black people don't have to be shot for capitalism to be maintained, neo-nazis murdering people don't have to walk free for capitalism to be maintained, etc.

That being said, in some situations cops have to be bad. Like in a dictatorship, where people have to be afraid in order for the government to remain in power. But I don't think that's analogous to the UK of today or other Western liberal democracies.

I mean, right now feels like a bit of a strange time to be making that particular argument. What about, for instance, COINTELPRO? Do you think that with better recruitment, the FBI would just have not done COINTELPRO? Because I think that was pretty much essentially part of their job, asking them to not do it would be a bit like asking them to not be the FBI.
And as for the "poor recruitment" thing, which seems to me to be like another way of saying "a few bad apples": doesn't it seem like a bit of a far-fetched coincidence that you have such poor recruitment for the cops in the USA to spark off a massive nationwide uprising there, and also such poor recruitment for the cops in the UK that they sparked off big uprisings in 1981 and 2011, along with various smaller/more local ones along the way, and such poor recruitment for the cops in France that they're having a huge movement against police brutality there, and such poor recruitment for the cops in Greece that they caused a huge revolt across the country there after they shot Alexis Grigoropoulos, and such poor recruitment for the German police that they're implicated in the activities of the National Socialist Underground nazi terror cell - at some point, doesn't it make more sense to say perhaps this isn't all just an accidental coincidence, perhaps there's something more structural about the nature of the police happening here?
Also, I think it's a bit misleading to describe the undercover spying operations as just "being nasty to families of victims". Anyone can be nasty, on an individual basis; but the undercover spying thing was official police business, something that was signed off by superior officers. Again, that points to it being something more structural than just bad individuals.

explainthingstome

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

I don't really believe in "public opinion" as a unified static thing in general

That doesn't mean that there's no such a thing as a majority in favour some variant of capitalism in Western states.
R Totale

if the cops really did just reflect society as a whole, you'd expect them to be similarly split, instead of lining up behind the government.

That's a fair point, but I think that, in many Western countries, the police, to a very good degree, is doing what most people want them to do. And that includes making sure that people don't break laws about, say, property.
R Totale

I mean, right now feels like a bit of a strange time to be making that particular argument. What about, for instance, COINTELPRO?

But we're talking about the police, not the FBI.
R Totale

And as for the "poor recruitment" thing, which seems to me to be like another way of saying "a few bad apples"

I think that some states and cities may very well consist mainly of racists. Poor recruitment could be really, really bad in some areas and less bad in others.
R Totale

at some point, doesn't it make more sense to say perhaps this isn't all just an accidental coincidence, perhaps there's something more structural about the nature of the police happening here?

I think it is probably the case that there are a larger percentage of far-rightists in the police force than in society as a whole.

The revolutionary left tends to not want to be part of any coercive state machinery under capitalism, whilst far-rightists see it as a chance to beat up commies. So revsocs are probably underrepresented while rightists are probably overreprepresented. (I don't have any figures, it's just an assumption that makes sense.)

What I have big doubts about is the idea that most cops are, in practice, legal criminals. Most cops have never shot a black kid in the face, or beaten up a homeless person, or been part of a fascist organization.

And I don't believe at all that George Floyd had to be murdered in order for the capitalism to survive.

radicalgraffiti

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ajjohnstone

I don't see why the armed-to-the-teeth thing is necessary or where exactly it's going.

Militarisation of resistance will be met by superior numbers and be out-gunned

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/27/utah-militia-armed-group-police-black-lives-matter-protests

The Utah Citizens’ Alarm is only a month old, and yet it already boasts 15,000-plus members. The citizen militia’s recruits wear military fatigues and carry assault rifles. Their short-term goal, they say, is to act as a physical presence of intimidation to deter protesters from becoming violent. Their long-term goal: to arm and prepare the state of Utah against underground movements that they believe will incite civil war. Utah Citizens’ Alarm is now organized under the guidance of ex-military and ex-law enforcement on their newly formed board of advisers.

obviously the state have better weapons, but i'm not seeing why they will necessarily be outnumbered, the article you post uncritically cites the group leaders claim to have over 15000 members, but if you look into it it looks like they are talking about members of a facebook group
i cant find any reports of them brings more than 20-30 people to a protest, there have been bigger protests by armed right wing groups, as a general rule they are not outnumbering black lives matter or antifascist protesters, but it seems like it is encouraging them to get armed

R Totale

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

explainthingstome

That's a fair point, but I think that, in many Western countries, the police, to a very good degree, is doing what most people want them to do. And that includes making sure that people don't break laws about, say, property.

OK, to look at property laws in a bit more detail, and examine why I don't really believe in public opinion: if you did a survey and asked people "do you think people should be able to live in other people's houses for free?", I'm sure that the vast majority would say no, that they'd agree with rent and evictions and all that. But, if you asked the same sample of people "do you think that it's right that your neighbour should be thrown out of their house just because they got laid off due to Covid, and that the same thing should happen to you if the pandemic shuts down your workplace?", you'd probably get a much higher proportion of people saying that evictions are wrong, which is what makes eviction defences possible. But the cops will still enforce very unpopular evictions just the same as popular ones.

But we're talking about the police, not the FBI.

That seems like a bit of a flimsy distinction. Like, if you look at the period of time that COINTELPRO was happening, it was the FBI officially running it, but there were plenty of examples of police violence against Panthers, and looking at, for instance, the killing of Fred Hampton, I think it's hard to say where the FBI stops and the police start.

I think it is probably the case that there are a larger percentage of far-rightists in the police force than in society as a whole.

The revolutionary left tends to not want to be part of any coercive state machinery under capitalism, whilst far-rightists see it as a chance to beat up commies. So revsocs are probably underrepresented while rightists are probably overreprepresented. (I don't have any figures, it's just an assumption that makes sense.)

I mean, it probably is true that right-leaning people are more likely to join the cops to start off with, but I also think that being in the police force is likely to turn people more right-wing over time. I mean, who sounds more sympathetic, the people who keep saying that you're bad for killing all those people, or the people who say you're great and heroic and we just need to repeal all that pesky human rights legislation that's holding you back?

What I have big doubts about is the idea that most cops are, in practice, legal criminals. Most cops have never shot a black kid in the face, or beaten up a homeless person, or been part of a fascist organization.

I mean, I think we should let the Atlanta Police Department answer that question. Looking at the scale of the unofficial industrial action that took place after Rayshard Brooks' killers were charged, there clearly are a lot of cops whose sense of solidarity with murderous cops is stronger than their devotion to the law.

And I don't believe at all that George Floyd had to be murdered in order for the capitalism to survive.

Well, yes and no. Sure, if you put it like that it sounds absurd. But, I think it is fair to say that the working class has to be divided in order for capitalism to survive, and to say that historically in the United States racial divisions have been among the most important ways of ensuring this. And, further, that for a really quite large chunk of US history, the division between black and white has been a legally enshrined thing, something written into the laws that it was the cops' job to enforce, and that since the 60s when that stopped being the case, those divisions have been maintained through things like the war on drugs and so on, which have had the effect of categorising/portraying certain groups as being inherently criminal, and so as being legitimate targets for police violence. I think there's probably a strong argument to be made that those kinds of division have become increasingly important as capital's got less able to provide actual material benefits. Even if there's not much else left to pay out as "the wages of whiteness", at least the system can still offer the reward that some people are much less likely to become the targets of police violence. Which, in turn, requires that some other people are more likely to have it directed at them.

explainthingstome

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

OK, to look at property laws in a bit more detail

Yes, if you change the question into a completely different question you might very well get a very different answer than you would otherwise.

R Totale

That seems like a bit of a flimsy distinction. Like, if you look at the period of time that COINTELPRO was happening, it was the FBI officially running it, but there were plenty of examples of police violence against Panthers

Plenty of examples of police violence against Panthers, so that means that the police is the FBI?..

There can be instances where they cooperate but to equate the two doesn't make sense. You might as well equate them with the military aswell, which you have characterized differently in your previous post.

R Totale

being in the police force is likely to turn people more right-wing over time.

Could be true but could be a minor thing aswell for all we know. You don't automatically become a fascist just because people call you a fascist.

R Totale

I mean, I think we should let the Atlanta Police Department answer that question.

Or maybe we shouldn't judge every police department based on what some police departments did? Most of these cops were probably men, does that mean that most men approve of murder?

R Totale

Sure, if you put it like that it sounds absurd. But, I think it is fair to say that the working class has to be divided in order for capitalism to survive

But that does not mean that there has to be tens or hundreds of shootings of unarmed minorities in every capitalist country. And that isn't the case in several capitalist countries by the way.

R Totale

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also, one more point on "recruit better": I think it's worth stressing that what we're seeing now is the outcome of several decades worth of "recruiting better", there's been a long historical trend of police departments hiring more black/poc cops, promoting more black cops to senior leadership roles and so on. I don't know if there's one definitive critique of this phenomenon to point you (beyond KRS-One's), but I think it is significant that you still get police brutality and uprisings against it in cities with very "diverse" management classes - including management of the police - like Oakland and Baltimore.
From Who is Oakland?:

In California some of the most racist policies and “reforms” in recent history have been advanced by politicians of color. We are not interested in increasing racial, gender, and sexual diversity within existing hierarchies of power – within government, police forces, or in the boardrooms of corporate America. When police departments and municipal governments can boast of their diversity and multicultural credentials, we know that there needs to be a radical alternative to this politics of “inclusion.” Oakland is perhaps one of the most glaring examples of how people of color have not just participated in but in many instances led – as mayors, police chiefs, and city council members – the assault on poor and working class black and brown populations. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan speaks the language of social justice activism and civil rights but her political career in city government clearly depends upon satisfying right-wing downtown business interests, corrupt real estate speculators, and a bloated and notoriously brutal police force.

There is no more depressing cautionary tale of the fate of 1960s-era politics of “changing the state from within” than the career of Oakland Mayor Quan. Quan fought for the creation of an Ethnic Studies program at UC Berkeley in 1969, and in 2011 penned a letter to Occupy Oakland listing an array of state-approved social justice nonprofits in order to justify mass arrests and a police crackdown on protesters attempting to establish a community center and free clinic in a long abandoned city owned property. In response to a season of strikes, anti-police brutality marches, and repeated port shutdowns in response to police assaults, the state offered two choices: either the nonprofits, or the police.

Quan and other municipal politicians are part of a state apparatus that is rapidly increasing its reliance upon militarized policing to control an unruly population, especially poor people of color in urban areas. Policing is fast becoming the paradigm for government in general. A white supremacist decades-long “war on drugs” has culminated in a 21st century imperial “war on terror.” The equipment and tactics of “urban pacification” are now being turned on American cities and on the citizens and non-citizens who are targeted by austerity measures which have for decades been applied to the Global South.

From Rites of Passage:

White aristocracy doesn’t always appear in such an obvious form. The city’s mayor, its police commissioner and state’s attorney, are all black. And, unlike in Ferguson, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is almost equally split between blacks and whites. What this shows it that today Baltimore’s aristocracy—along with what supports it—is not based on racial difference. Inclusion is not only compatible with management, but is a necessary component. Instead, the aristocracy is built on a logic of racial domination, on a material process that racializes incarceration, warfare, and violence regardless of the skin color of those who carry it out.

That information about the Baltimore Police Department is taken from the middle of an article about an anti-police uprising caused by the killing of Freddie Gray. I don't think more inclusion is the answer there.

explainthingstome

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wasn't talking specifically about more inclusion of black people but rather about recruitment in general, which can for example be about examining if the potentional employee's worldview is compatible with not killing innocent people.

Btw I have made this thread go too off-topic so I created a new thread about this issue.