The massive turnout for the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington on March 24 has given rise to hope that a new youth movement can spur a social transformation in the United States, write Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
The eruption of youth protests over gun violence in schools and other issues is another indicator that the 2020s could be a decade of transformation where people demand economic, racial and environmental justice as well as peace. Students who are in their teens now will be in their twenties then. They will have experience in how protests can change political culture.
Some view the youth awakening in these protests as reminiscent of youth movements in previous generations, others are less optimistic. We cannot predict the role this generation will play, but throughout the history of mass movements, youth have been a key factor by pushing boundaries and demanding change.
One of the slogans in the actions against gun violence is “adults failed to solve the problem.” The truth is, as many youth are aware, those currently in power have failed on many fronts, e.g. climate change, wealth disparity, racial injustice, never-ending wars and militarism, lack of health care and more. These crises are coming to a head and provide the environment for transformational changes, if we act.
Beware of Democratic Party Co-option
One of the challenges youth, and older, activists face is the Democratic Party. Democrats have a long history of co-opting political movements. They are present in recent mobilizations, such as the Women’s March and March for our Lives, which both centered on voting as the most important action to take.
Big Democratic Party donors, like George and Amal Clooney, provided massive resources to the March for Our Lives. The corporate media covered the students extensively, encouraged attendance at the marches and reported widely on them.
As Bruce Dixon writes, “It’s not hard to see the hand of the Democratic party behind the tens of millions in corporate contributions and free media accorded the March For Our Lives mobilization. 2018 is a midterm election year, and November is only seven months away. The Democrats urgently need some big sticks with which to beat out the vote this fall…”
Democratic politicians see the gun issue as an opportunity for the ‘Blue Wave’ they envision for 2018, even though the Democrat’s history of confronting gun violence has been dismal. When Democrats controlled Congress and the presidency, they did not challenge the culture of violence, confront the NRA or stop militarized policing that is resulting in hundreds of killings by police.
Ajamu Baraka writes, “Liberals and Democrat party connected organizations and networks have been quite adept at getting out in front of movements to pre-empt their radical potential and steer them back into the safe arms of liberal conformism.” Indeed the history of the Democratic Party since its founding as a slave-owners party has been one of absorbing political movements and weakening them.
For this new generation of activists to reach their potential, they must understand we live in a mirage democracy and cannot elect our way out of these crises. Our tasks are much larger. Violence is deeply embedded in US culture, dating to the founding of the nation when gun laws were designed for white colonizers to take land from Indigenous peoples and control black slaves.
When it comes to using the gun issue for elections, the challenge for the Democrats is “to keep the public anger high, but the discussion shallow, limited, and ahistorical,” as Bruce Dixon writes. Our task is to understand the roots of the crises we face.
Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz describes this in her new book, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. The culture of violence in the US goes beyond the horrific shooting in schools to the militarization of our communities and military aggression abroad. The US military has killed more than 20 million people in 37 nations since World War II.
One step you can take in your community is to find out if there is a Junior ROTC program in your local school and shut it down.
Potential for Youth to Lead in Era of Transformation
One of the reasons we predict the 2020s may be an era of transformation is because issues that have been ignored or mishandled by powerholders are becoming so extreme they can no longer be ignored. Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report writes the gun protests present an opportunity to highlight all the issues where Democrats (and Republicans) have failed us.
Youth are already involved, often playing leadership roles, in many fronts of struggle. Rev. Jared Sawyer, Jr. writes that when racial violence arose at the “University of Missouri in recent years, student athletes and scholars united in protest, prompting the administration to take action. Organizations like Black Youth Power 100 have arisen in the wake of police” violence against black people. Youth are on the front lines of the environmental movement, blocking pipelines and carbon infrastructure to prevent climate change. Youth are leading the movement to protect immigrants from mass deportation.
This week, Hampton students took to the streets over sexual violence, housing, food and other problems on campus. Students at Howard University started HU Resist, to “make sure that Howard University fulfills its mission.” They are in theirthird day of occupying the administration building.
At March for Our Lives protests, some participants saw the connections between gun violence and other issues. Tom Hall reported that those who “attended the rally had far more on their minds than gun control and the midterm elections—the issues promoted by the media and the Democratic Party. Many sought to connect the epidemic of mass shootings in American schools to broader issues, from the promotion of militarism and war, to poverty and social inequality.” Youth also talked about tax cuts for the rich, inadequate healthcare, teacher strikes, the need for jobs and a better quality of life. He noted those who attended were “searching for a political perspective,” and that, while it was not seen from the stage, opposition to war was a common concern.
Robert Koehler writes, “This emerging movement must address the whole spectrum of violence.” He includes racist violence, military violence, mass incarceration and the “mortally sinful corporate greed and of course, the destruction of the environment and all the creatures.” What unites all of these issues, Koehler writes, is the “ability to dehumanize certain people.” Dehumanization is required to allow mass murder, whether by a single gunman or in war, as well as the economic violence that leaves people homeless and hungry, or for the violence of denying people necessary healthcare and to pay people so little they need multiple jobs to survive.
Movements are Growing, Now How Do We Win?
We have written about the stages of successful social movements and that overall the United States is in the final stage before victory. This is the era of building national consensus on solutions to the crises we face and mobilizing millions to take action in support of these solutions.
Protests have been growing in the US over the past few decades. Strong anti-globalization protests were organized under Clinton to oppose the World Trade Organization. Under the Bush administration, hundreds of thousands of people took the streets against the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. The anti-war movement faded under the Obama administration, even though he escalated US militarism, but other movements arose such as Occupy, immigrant’s rights, the fight for 15, Idle No More and black lives matter. Erica Chenowith posits that current youth activists “did their first activism with their moms. It’s a quicker learning curve for kids.”
At present, large drivers of mass protests are reaction to the actions of the Trump administration and the Democrats using their resources to augment and steer anti-Trump anger into elections. To prevent what happened to the anti-war movement under President Obama, people will need a broader understanding of the root causes of the crises we face, not the shallow analysis provided by the corporate media, and will need to understand how social movements can be effective.
To assist in this education, Popular Resistance is launching the Popular Resistance School. The first eight week course will begin on May 1 and will cover social movement theory – how social movements develop, how they win and roles people and organizations play in movements. All are welcome to participate in the school. There is no cost to join, but we do ask those who are able to donate to help cover the costs.
For more information on the school and to sign up, click here. Those who sign up will receive a weekly video lecture, a curriculum and an invitation to join a discussion group (each one will be limited to 30 participants). People who complete the course can then host the course locally with virtual support from Popular Resistance.
The next decade has the potential to be transformative. To make it so, we must not only develop national consensus that issues are being mishandled, that policies need to change and that we can change them, but we must also educate ourselves on issues and how to be effective. We have the power to create the change we want to see.
I wonder. Does the author truly believe what he is writing? Brother
Too little power, too late. Let’s not waste our energy on empty hopes for ineffective movements to effect the major changes we need.
Progressives have been led to believe the issues are equal rights, discrimination, immigration, gender equality, etc., while forgetting the core issues, not only of the left, but of most Americans now: well paying (manufacturing) jobs for all and peace in the world. Trump (and Sanders) ran on these issues with sensible policies: 1) WTO & trade agreements unfair for US workers and responsible for exporting manufacturing jobs; 2) negotiate rather than threaten Russia; 3) stop Bush and Obama policies of overthrowing stable governments; 4) stop illegal worker entry into the US & stop work permit programs which replace American workers. Trump won and he is doing everything he can to fulfill these election promises. Impediments to this are multinationals raking in obscene profits from exporting US jobs; MSM anti-Trump propaganda so bad that Glen Greenwald said Breitbart provided more unbiased information; Dem & GOP pork doing everything possible to undermine Trump, including passing legislation removing Trump’s power to remove sanctions from Russia; an array of NGO news feeders paid privately and by the US State Department to discredit Trump; and the US state apparatus used first to exonerate Hillary, then to fabricate evidence of collusion with Russia. When you consider this active opposition as well the absence of reliable advice he is receiving, then he is doing remarkably well sticking to his agenda (with wide detours). His supporters are not mainstream Republicans who care more about free trade than jobs, nor are they Democrats who would rather build their own wall of ignorance than support Trump’s more progressive policies. As to the near future, there is no hope of building up another party of progressives. Both Democratic and Republican party cores are too dependent on pork and lobbyists from large banks, multi-nationals, and the military-industrial complex. American voters, will accept Republicans and Democrats but are also too easily swayed by labels – be they communist, socialist, neo-Nazi or racist, to vote for a new party. So, despite his foibles, I see Trump in a unique position to counter pro-WTO/free trade, anti-Russia, and pro-war propaganda, and at least continue educating the country. Now, despite the propaganda, I see workers of both parties supporting renegotiating unfair trade agreements, being vocal about companies moving production to low-wage countries, questioning the anti-Russian NATO propaganda. I’ve seen President Trump pinpointing the major impediment to health care – insurance companies, and I’ve seen Americans wonder why Democrats did not propose their own health care plan to improve on Obamacare, or agree to Trump’s offer to accept DACA in exchange for a wall to solve the issue once and for all. Throughout the world, economics studies in universities have been hijacked by WTO and free trade propaganda to such an extent that they can’t see what’s in front of their own eyes – WTO and free trade has benefitted the very rich to the detriment of workers and smaller companies everywhere. For all the grandstanding about global warming, not a single free trade agreement has mandated allowances for environmental pollution of any sort, and rather than identifying major polluters such as China or Mexico, environmental groups have ignored free trade agreements and even granted undeveloped countries exemptions. Enough ranting – my suggestion to Trump is to hold monthly fireside chats with the American people to bypass the propaganda, and explain what he wants to accomplish, and who in the establishment parties is impeding this.
Robert – well said! You nailed exactly what is going on and why. Excellent post. Thank you.
There are 30,000 gun-related deaths per year by firearms, and this number is not disputed. The U.S. population is 324,059,091 as of June 22, 2016 (the last searchable census numbers). Do the math: 0.00925% of the population dies from gun-related actions each year. Statistically speaking, this is insignificant! What is never told, however, is a breakdown of those 30,000 deaths, to put them in perspective as compared to other causes of death:
-65% of those deaths are by suicide, which would never be prevented by gun laws.
-15% are by police.
-17% are through criminal activity, gang and drug-related or mentally ill persons.
-3% are accidental discharge deaths.
So technically, “gun violence” is not 30,000 annually, but drops to 5,100. Now let’s look at how those deaths spanned across the nation:
-480 homicides (9.4%) were in Chicago
-344 homicides (6.7%) were in Baltimore
-333 homicides (6.5%) were in Detroit
-119 homicides (2.3%) were in Washington D.C. (a 54% increase over prior years)
So basically 25% of all gun crime happens in just 4 cities. All 4 of those cities have strict gun laws, so it is not the lack of law that is the root cause. This basically leaves 3,825 for the entire rest of the nation, or about 75 deaths per state – an average because some States have much higher rates than others. For example, California had 1,169 and Alabama had 1.”
The statistic that jumped out at me was 3% accidental discharge deaths. That’s 900 people a year. I had to be small arms qualified for my job, and I’ve always thought that the time spent learning gun safety was well worth it. I believe we should at least make a license and a gun safety course a requirement. I would also like to know how many of those 900 are kids who get their hands on an unsecured firearm. People need to be more careful than to leave a gun lying around.
Skip Scott – yes, of course a license and a gun safety course should be mandatory. Just like driving a car.
Yeah, and what type of parent would leave a gun lying around where their six year old could pick it up and accidentally shoot his sister? This really makes me angry. If there ever was a need for a license, it should be on how to be a parent!!! That society holds together as well as it does is a god-damned miracle. Of course, there is no perfect parent because it’s hard to tread the fine line between being too authoritarian and being too lenient, but having even a little education before having children might go a long way towards stopping the gun violence, the drug epidemic, the suicides.
And 65% by suicide? That’s about 20,000 offing themselves per year. What a shame. Obviously no sense of belonging. Perhaps our loss of community has done this?
I’ve come to think that dropping some of the useless subjects they teach at school and replacing them with some real good psychology courses (a broad overview) might help a lot. If you don’t understand yourself, don’t see how your history has influenced your behavior, if you are unable to be reflective and see your own role in what’s become of your life, then you’re probably going to build up anger and blame someone else. Out comes a gun or a knife, a truck is driven into a crowd, a bomb is planted at a school.
Sorry, I’ve strayed off course here. You brought up accidental discharge deaths, and I went everywhere. Good talking to you, Skip.
Yeah, the suicide stats are very disturbing too. I don’t know how many are PTSD vets, but I imagine it’s a significant number.
Also, the devastation of the middle class, our consumer culture, and the emphasis put on body image by our media culture are triggers of depression that lead to suicide. I think overmedicating with pain pills, ADHD drugs, and antidepressants plays a role too.
I believe you are right that education could be part of the solution, along with boosting the middle class to the point where it only takes a single income to raise a family (like when I was a kid) so one parent can be home to actually raise the children.
The schools are hamstrung when the kids come from an addicted/abused/broken family life.
Thanks for your input B.E. Always good hearing from you.
Evangelista, you are not serious are you? You really think the students are wrongfully blaming war killing machines that can rapid fire with bullets that shatter bones and explode internal organs?
Nobody under 30 should vote, and many people are too indoctrinated but to be anything but deleterious to politics. See parkland loudmouth kids.
Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.
Despite many people who urge us all to vote, as a civic duty, the purpose of elections is not participation. The purpose is to select individuals for offices, including President of the United States. Whoever has that office has our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the fate of the entire nation in his or her hands.
An election is not a popularity contest, or an award for showmanship. If you want to fulfill your duty as a citizen, then you need to become an informed voter. And if you are not informed, then the most patriotic thing you can do on election day is stay home. Otherwise your vote, based on whims or emotions, is playing Russian roulette with the fate of this nation.
You will be unable to convince many that a particular age is a criterion of knowledge or good intentions, any more than race, religion, sex, or income. Democracy is a sloppy process, but it is unstable when not inclusive.
The problem is that most arent informed. Why? Because the media lies and withholds important information for the voter.
True democracy only works if the people are informed objectively. And that they are not. Not even close.
Protecting our borders, reducing our welfare-warfare state, and lowering taxes[1-3] will do more for this country than propagandizing youth who should be growing their knowledge and experience to improve their (and our) future. This is not a service to Generation Z. It is something I prefer not to describe of a PHD,… unless it’s the derogatory expansion of the acronym,… twit. I’ve met the type before,.. ones who don’t have a rational argument and rely on passionate appeal to an uninformed audience. I challenge her to tally the numbers that make war profitable and focus her energies on reducing that number rather than advocating for the disarmament of the public and empowering the police state. Treat the cause, not the symptom, for without the willing finance of war for profit, it would not flourish.
 Alternative Proposals Reform, May 11 2005 | Video | C-SPAN (second 5-minute speaker)
 Taxation for the 21ST Century: The Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax | SSRN
 APT Tax | Youtube
Correction to my above Comment:
To: Independent Comment
Yes, yes, by all means save these concerned youth from the corrupted tentacles of the useless Democratic Party.
Any of you who have read my comments will know how I have hoped for too long, that our children and their children might rise up one day to protest the wrongs of our government, and now here we are. These young protesters, whether they know it or not, are being used by certain political entities for political fodder. This is what I hope the ‘Popular Resistance School’ may prevent from happening.
Political fodder–and uneducated fodder at that. A revolution to give up more rights? Who are the people teaching these kids? I think we need to do a better job teaching history… Math and science are great vocations, and will get you the money, but if you are uneducated…
“Movements are Growing, Now How Do We Win?”
For one, treat voting as a right. No minimum voting age, no way to lose that right due to felony or any other reason.
Also: standardize elections; make election day a national holiday; allow early and write-in votes for all citizens.
If we make election day a national holiday (great idea!), in my opinion we ought to do away with the early voting stuff except for the most exceptional cases. I don’t think I’d want actual felons sitting in jail cells to vote, though I agree when they’ve served their time they immediately regain the right to vote.
Do a partial reversion to the old days where you’d write your signature beside your typed name in a big book. Now you’d paste your thumb print beside the signature, and smile at the camera which photographs both the print and your face. At that time you’d be given a PAPER ballot, a #2 Pencil, and a private booth to mark that ballot. At the end you’d fold it and put it into a large transparent ballot box. None of the nonsense Voter ID crap the Republicans have been using to squelch Democrats and Black citizens.
That is utter bullshit. You need ID to do many things in modern society, from riding a greyhound to seeing a doctor, to buying antihistamines at wallgreens. Voter ID discriminates against nobody actually functioning within society. Stop drinking the koolaide. It is rotting your brain.
A point made by insult is an argument against your own point.
TB – exactly.
Translation: Republican voter suppression is great and must continue.
It’s actually an insult to black people to say they don’t have IDs–they do….The lack of requiring an ID only encourages Voter Fraud and the Left is good with that as we can see with the the voter registration rules in California that actually encourage non-citizens to vote…..
How is it you don’t see a combination of a fingerprint and a photograph as an ironclad ID?
In this propaganda piece ‘article’, the rabble-rousing ‘authors’ write:
“The eruption of youth protests over gun violence in schools and other issues is another indicator that the 2020s could be a decade of transformation where people demand economic, racial and environmental justice as well as peace.”
Starting with the second assertion, “…[T]he 2020s could be a decade of transformation where people demand economic, racial and environmental justice as well as peace.”, anyone who takes a real, aka objective, look and listens reasonably and rationally to the current,financed-by-whom-has-not-yet-been-discovered “Youth Protest Movement” will notice that there is anything but “racial and environmental justice, or “peace” apparent in the protestors’ advocacies. There is rampant racism and rampant sexism and foaming-over antagonism for “others” in the rhetoric, along with a dearth or rationality, reason, or awareness of actuality, factuality and history, both well past and recent.
The element that is going to bite the protestors firstest and hardest is going to be that the initiate for their protesting, the Parkland student shooting incident, was NOT a ‘gun violence’ problem, but a system failure problem: A person who had handled weapons successfully before, who had been enrolled in a military training program, and so had been taught use of weapons, began having mental problems. In other words, the person began showing symptoms of illness, mental illness. The person evidenced his problems and verbalized his problems, and telegraphed by behavior his problems well before he went ‘around the bend’ and acted-out. Those around the person had relayed information to local, county, state and federal authorities, alerting them that the person was showing symptoms of mental breakdown or illness.
The authorities who were responsible to take actions, to help the individual and to protect the community, including the students shot at, shot up and killed, failed to take action. The crux of the incident is that those relied on in the community to prevent actions like what occurred failed to do so. That a firearm was used is only incidental.
The sponsored student ‘reaction’ action is being channeled against the firearm. The sponsors of the student reaction actions are deflecting attention from the failure of the system and the component in the system that are responsible to protect. Whos responsibility is greater when the citizens of the community relying on them have repeatedly informed them of a pending danger.
What is the last line of defense in situations like that, when those who take public money in wages in exchange for promise to protect do not fail to, but ignore and don’t bother to?
Answer: The last line of defense is for someone in the community to engage to at least attempt to stop the endangering activity. Some who were not armed with firearms attempted that, but were unable to do anything but get themselves hurt. What was needed, as nearly everyone who has addressed the case has noted, was fo someone carrying a firearm, legally or illegally, to have engaged with the sick and over the edge individual and stop his rampaging.
What we have are persons like the ‘authors’ of this piece luring children below thinking age to advocate against the only thing that in the circumstance of systemic failure such as was occurred in Parkland, would have had any chance to prevent at least some of the carnage. This is putting political advocacy ahead of public safety.
The “eruption of youth protest” is a manipulation of youthful ignorance. Post emotional eruption exploitation the manipulated youth, most of them, are going to begin thinking in logic sequence and come to recognize the foolishness of the protest positions they were manipulated to advocate, and that they were manipulated to advocate self-endangerment, coercing greater reliance for protection on a ‘protection’ system that failed them, and whose failure was the actual cause for the deaths and sufferings they were deluded to blame on inanimate tools that cannot act, or bear responsibility, except in fairy-tale imaginations.
Yes, I think you are right that the present “movement” could be misdirected. Its leaders must guide the upset youth to see the broader faults of their society as well as the failed institutions and corrupt popular culture.
There was virtually no media coverage of the Great Mills shooting in Maryland, where the system (or at least the School Resource Officer) worked and the shooting ended with two dead (including the shooter) and one injured vs the 17 dead and 17 injured at Parkland.
The glorification of school shooters and their numbers by MSM will fuel the next shootings. No one will remember Austin Rollins, while Nikolas Cruz will be celebrated by anti-hero dead-enders just as these shooters (and the MSM) idolized Harris and Klebold, and prior generations Bonnie and Clyde.
Thank you, great points. Yes, propaganda piece–but the writers no doubt believe it. I have always been sorry that Robert Parry was not a big 2nd Amendment guy–I share a lot of his views, but on gun control I never liked his thinking. That said, I do not know just how much of a gun control person he was, and I have a feeling that he was not opposed to right of the people to own firearms. Common sense gun control makes some sense, except that because of the slippery slope issue, I don’t think we want to give up any gun rights. I believe that too many teachers in this country are not armed for the most part with much historical knowledge or context, and I think far too many teachers are teaching a liberal, trust-the-government (my employer) approach, rather than a healthy skepticism of the government, which you will find much more with self-employed people who perceive the government not as their sole employer and provider, but often as an out-of-control bureaucracy which too often yields unthinking and uncaring power over the individual. The teachers have dropped the ball; give them raises? Hardly. Let them teach the subject matter.
It pains me to say this, but trying to tie everything into a single bundle means none of them will be solved. All you’ll have is a meandering Noble Crusade which can be co-opted by an ambitious politician or wanabee politician. Somebody like George Clooney. Here it is again in a recent piece titled “CHANGE IS COMING” By Robert C. Koehler, Commonwonders.com March 31, 2018
High school and middle school youth are on a bridge between being kids and adults. Almost all of them are going to adopt the politics and beliefs of their parents until such time they learn enough to change. The ONE THING they can all agree on is that they don’t want to be living in fear every single second they’re in school. If mom and pop are gun nuts, those people are going to have a hard sell with junior after the next horrific school shooting. “Buck Up and Be Brave!” “Back in the old days when we had to walk uphill (both ways) along muddy tracks to our non-computer schools, WE didn’t whine about “safety”. Only a very backward offspring is going to buy into that BS.
KISS – keep it simple, stupid. Focus the young people on solving the gun problem. That’s the one which directly affects them, and they have a whale of a lot of leverage on the issue. In the event they can prevail, they’ll form some attitudes and gain some skills useful for other social issues.
“KISS – keep it simple, stupid. Focus the young people on solving the gun problem. That’s the one which directly affects them, and they have a whale of a lot of leverage on the issue. In the event they can prevail, they’ll form some attitudes and gain some skills useful for other social issues.”
I wish they could do that….
If they could do that, they’d have a pretty good chance to banning guns in the US. Unfortunately, the movement is already extending in to other aspects of life in the US and as such, it started fracture or loosing steam. By the midterm election, it’ll be closer to blame everything on republicans, Russians, etc., and people will vote for democrats. It’s not like that having a democrats owned congress is different, nor will it change much for most people. It’s just different oligarchs pulling the strings in the background….
The authors are on shaky historical ground in their contention that ” Violence is deeply embedded in US culture, dating to the founding of the nation when gun laws were designed for white colonizers to take land from Indigenous peoples and control black slaves.” While it clear that we need to do some serious soul-saarching at the cheapening of life that permeates our society which is in danger of becoming the new Sparta, rather than the new Athens intended by its creators, the genesis of the Second amendment is not what was stated herein. Must every action of the founding fathers be seen in racial terms, itself a condemnation of them? The founding fathers were wary of a standing army and in the wake of Shay’s Rebellion, and then the Whiskey Rebellion, neither having anything to do with race, wished a strong militia to “ensure domestic tranquility.” They rightfully feared foreign invasion as well domestic rebellions and every member of the House who commented on the adoption of the Second Amendment did so in the context of the need for an armed militia, its duties carefully described in the constitution itself.
Yes, it is better to teach that the modern abuse of power, while having roots in earlier history and human propensities, dates from the rise of oligarchy, particularly their economic control of mass media, devaluing of the lives of workers, fear of communist movements threatening the rich, sympathy with foreign oligarchies confronted by socialist revolutions, and corporate greed.
While violence is now “deeply embedded in US culture” the 2nd Amendment was designed primarily to ensure that military power was distributed among the people, who were also not about to give up their means of hunting and domestic defense.
We should try to understand (but of course not rationalize) how the Europeans misunderstood native populations, and stumbled into violent cultural clashes, often without initially intending to subjugate others. Of course the worst characters of each group do intend subjugation.
The violence against native Americans was a clash of European notions of property and civilization against native lifestyles and understandings, as well as a seizure of largely unproductive lands by the overpopulation of Europe, which seemed quite fair to Europeans, particularly after the ritual of meaningless coerced treaties, and land purchases from government, made them feel that they owned the land.
The negation of slave rights was also a clash of European notions of civilization with the early tribal population of Africa (already enslaved and sold by coastal Europeans there) which seemed to them savage, ignorant (of whatever Europe valued), and better off anywhere else. Not to excuse the slave traders or original owners, who surely knew how unchristian their acts were.
In both cases, the reasonable notions were elevated to an excuse for exploitation, much as people today ignore the fact that their meat consumption requires killing animals, and their cheap consumer goods requires economic slavery of impoverished millions. Even the exploiters as individuals usually had neither a reasonable alternative path within the culture they understood, nor a practical means of organizing to understand and implement more just institutions, so they were substantially forced by circumstances to go along with their subculture.
As late as the Civil War, there was no debate at all in Congress or in the press about peaceful ways of eliminating slavery, just another clash of demagogues who represented subcultures that refused to see the rights, interests, and limitations of the others. While those “ignorant armies” were no more idealistic than the vast wars of the 20th century, their leaders thought that they were fighting for essential interests of their groups.
With the rise of oligarchy control of mass media, the aggressor interests become ever more hypothetical and unrelated to the interests of the groups at war. The mass media culture ever more explicitly and systematically drowns out the voices of sympathy and constructive cooperation, and elevates the mass killer as game hero. The pressure for war becomes nothing more than an expression of oligarchy interests, the result of a culture of corruption that can never be reformed, and must be conquered. Our vastly improved ability to understand and cooperate with other cultures is completely ignored and ineffective. Our vastly improved ability to understand aberrant parents, youth, and distressed and angry unfortunates, is ineffective where oligarchy has made the popular culture purely exploitative, unsympathetic, and without expression in domestic policy.
So I think that we would have overcome those initial limitations but for the rise of economic concentrations, and their dominance of the institutions of democracy, and substitution of the dictatorship of the rich. That is the enemy, not private gun ownership.
I agree that one motive was to create a militia because there was no standing army at the time, and lots of sentiment against one, but why can’t the other motives for the 2nd A also be valid: “to take land from Indigenous peoples and control black slaves?”
Excellent reply. Old Americans seem to have been tightwads almost beyond understanding, and that was a factor in the cultivation of the fantasy “citizen soldiers” could eliminate the need for a standing army. There wasn’t much money in the Federal Budget because the sole source of income appears to have been some variation of tariffs.
So “stingy” and “cheap” were the order of the day. A search says Revolutionary War soldiers didn’t get any pensions at all until 1818, and at that time an enlisted man with proof of service received a whole $8/month. An XX-great grandmother of mine lost several sons in the Civil War. Afterwards her husband died, she fell and broke her hip, and in her application for assistance the stalling was ferocious. She actually had to get documentation to prove she was legally married by sailing-ship mail from Ireland. If I recall, when the money started arriving it was less than $400/month in today’s dollars.
A private navy obviated the need for much of a real navy. Fact, not fantasy. https://m.usni.org/magazines/navalhistory/2014-03/yes-privateers-mattered
I’d rephrase that to say that the US swarms of legalized pirates compensated for the absence of a genuine navy. The militia fantasies could be held for a while because there was a period when the small weapons owned by ordinary people were not inferior to those of the Armies. Indeed, the rifled barrels of the Rebels in addition to the wild and primitive state of most of the landscape gave the Rebels an advantage in many cases.
When all ships were wooden, and arming civilian ships was a piece of cake, private navy operations were again a temporary success.
I’m not quarreling with the link you posted, but rather with the general attitude of the Proceedings these days. On a whim I put in “USS FORD” in their search bar and up popped an article urging immediate deployment of the ship without waiting for “shock” tests to see if it holds up under stress. The author was a rightwingnut retired Captain. BTW, the Navy is wanting to block-buy MORE ships of the Ford class despite the massive failures of the first one and the growing uselessness of aircraft carriers in general.
What the Libertarians and 2nd Amendment guys don’t understand is that times have changed. Against a company of disciplined Army or Marines a battalion of fat gun nuts would be wiped out in short order. Come to think of it, I’d bet my money on a platoon of regulars against the civilian heroes. And how well would a bunch of “privateers” have worked out against the Imperial Japanese Navy?
The illegitimate motives were no doubt in the minds of those without principle, and may even have been mentioned privately among those whose principles were too flexible, but were not advanced as arguments or even asides in the Federalist Papers arguing for the Constitution, or in public debate to my knowledge. One can imagine southern representatives arguing for “security” on the plantation, and certainly settlers near hostile natives were concerned about “defense” but no one would have printed an argument for land theft or subjection as a rationale for the 2d amendment, as that would contradict the other amendments.
Shays & the Whiskey Rebellion we’re happenings, but everyday life and it’s requirement for a white citizen to own a gun was to vanquish the indigenous off of their land, as the gun was used to control the African slaves. While you are parsing the articles authors colonialists use of the gun in a racial sense, you leave that fact out to point to the need for a gun was to quiet riots when both reasons add up to why the early American frontiersmen use their weapons for both. Although I’m glad you made your valid point I feel the author’s also used the reference appropriately. Peace Joe
The Youth of America should start their own Political Party, this youth movement against gun violence & for more gun control, could be just the impetus to start something bigger? The youth are going to inherit the future & they now have a real voice & chance to fight for change? You can forget about the abysmally corrupt & incompetent Democratic Party & the warmongering Republican Party, this two party dictatorship are just two heads on the same snake with exactly the same goals & agendas? The American Youth Party has a nice ring to it & could be a great alternative, at least they know the status quo just can’t continue as it is? American domestic gun advocacy & it’s sick mentality of killing its own Citizens is like a demented proving ground & also explains a lot about America’s endless wars around the World? It starts locally then this gun violence is exported to other Countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria etc! Democracy at the end of a gun barrel, that’s the American way? Time to rip up that stupid Constitution & it’s right to bear arms & get the youth to draft a new, better Constitution!
“Time to rip up that stupid Constitution & it’s right to bear arms & get the youth to draft a new, better Constitution!”
The Constitution is not “stupid” per say; it’s the people, who let their government violate the Constitution all the times. In the US, it’s way beyond a “youth movement” fixing this….
Most of the problems in the USA can be solved by a 10th Grader, all we need
is to have the will to ACT. All we need is the political will to close all of our coal plants
open our borders, scrap the Trump tax cuts and double them on corporations,
scrap the Trump tariffs and take down Vladimir Putin before he destroys our
democracy, get in Universal Basic Income and free Health Care as a human right
and a few other things.
Now we have the kids mobilized to do this we need to act now before Trump forms
the “Trump Youth” which will be just like the Hitler Youth is we let him.
strgr-tgther – exactly what a 10th Grader would say. You’re kidding, aren’t you?
Apparently you are a Soros fan.
strgr-tgther: Universal income/check. Free Health care/check. Everything else you wrote/ no check.
Ah Yes.. must take down the evil Vlad who is single-handedly destroying our democracy. Not quite sure how, but those Ruskies are evil, evil, evil. Let’s nuke ’em!
I chuckled at this post, presuming that strgr-tgther is in 12th grade or college, thinking about some issues but on some points accidentally repeating others’ views. There are some good points on domestic policy, but s-t should be more skeptical of the mass media deception on Putin.
Our democracy is already destroyed by the rich: we do not have free media, fair elections, or honest political parties, which is why direct action by young people is needed more than voting.
Let us by all means mobilize, but remember that when the policy decisions are made, there are many potential errors caused by hasty emotional decisions, so it is better to let those who have long experience in analyzing the problems decide the details. They may not have the strength and enthusiasm of youth, but they know the path very well.
Certainly young people should abandon the Dems and Reps and support new parties that truly represent their members and can form coalitions to beat the duopoly. Experienced and mature thinkers should derive the policies and make the decisions, and they must rely upon the energy and desire for truth and justice among the young. We need all ages to restore democracy! But they must all watch where those donations come from.
While pondering a new Constitution can set people thinking upon the reasoning and failures of the old, it is wiser to repair the old one very carefully, in part because it can work well when its institutions are protected from economic power, and because most people are afraid of radical change for good reason. Radical policies usually lose the middle by failing to provide stability and confidence.
Sam F – “Experienced and mature thinkers should derive the policies and make the decisions.” Agreed, but only after a particular policy is pulled apart and fought over, turned upside down, shaken, squeezed so hard that the idealogues rear their ugly heads. Things are never simple, even for the mature and experienced.
Saw this yesterday: “The intelligentsia pay no price for being wrong.” Over and over they get things wrong, and because they do, they are often chosen as front men for corrupt vested interests, becoming their useful idiots. They’ve got book smarts, but no street smarts, no strategy. They don’t see the big picture.
Yes, intellect, experience, and honesty are not guarantors of truth, but only qualifications for debate. That is why I propose the College of Policy Debate to conduct moderated textual debate among university experts of all disciplines and regions, representing and protecting every point of view however disliked, for those often turn out to be true. The CPD would make debate summaries commented by all sides available in an internet public access layer with blogs.
By this means everyone can hear all challenges to all views debated completely, with all side issues generating further debates, changes generating new debates, etc. Citizens need not search laboriously for views of a faction, the media cannot bury a viewpoint, and politicians unaware of the alternatives and unable to defend assertions can be shown to lack credibility.
Also by this means, young people who demand action can familiarize themselves with the real geography of each problem, avoid the pitfalls and propaganda, and act with the wisdom of the experts already on their side, if they immerse themselves in each problem as they go. They can become masters of the terrain without waiting so many years for divergent views to emerge in conversation and readings of one-sided tracts.
give up your right to own guns to the government? You are quite young I presume? That’s a freedom, and you might not notice it is a freedom until it is gone–regardless of whether you own a gun or not. More people are killed by hippos in Africa every year than law abiding Americans are murdered by guns, true story. The vast majority of gun deaths are suicides (approximately 20,000); and the next highest statistical group is of criminals killing each other in drug and turf wars (approximately 8,000). Leaving about 2,000 remaining deaths, miniscule to the Opioid overdoses (60,000), drunk driving deaths (10,000), alcohol related (90,000) and tobacco related (500,000). Ban hippos?
Have you any idea how crazy this sounds?
Yeah but it’s true.
About 3000, sooooo given his break down then yes…His list forgot to mention police murders by firearms.
As to sounding crazy…….punishing mostly law abiding citizens for the actions of a few lawbreakers seems pretty crazy to me….
America has WAY BIGGER problems than gun control ATM IMO.
Tannenhouser – “America has WAY BIGGER problems than gun control ATM IMO.”
Yes, and the suicides, mass shootings and opioid crisis are just symptoms of those “way bigger” problems.
Backwards evolution. They may also be ‘engineered’ crisis to deflect from the real problems. Removal of PRIVATE control of the PUBLIC sphere is paramount IMO
It’s marvelous to witness such massive turnout among the youth but I think many progressives would find it even more heartening to see the rallies geared toward the kitchen table bread and butter economic issues that are really at the core of most of the problems the United States is currently experiencing.
What a wonderful world it would be if we could get these kinds of numbers to:
1.) Halt the Washington-Zio-militarists war machine dead in its tracks
2.) Rein in the plutocrats and oligarchs on Wall Street who are nothing more than a parasitic elite bent on living in gated communities as the rest of us desperate workers fight among ourselves based on gender and race
3.) Push for the prosecution of the Sackler criminals who have poisoned vast swaths of the heartland with their “medicine”
4.) Eliminate Taft-Hartley to make forming strong and democratic unions much quicker and easier
5.) browbeat every single congressperson to pass single-payer national health insurance or turn them out to pasture
6.) urge a peace budget by taking billions of dollars from the Defense [sic] Dept and transforming it into a federal jobs program that includes infrastructure upgrades to include much needed work on wind and solar energy projects
7.) advocate for a serious increase in the minimum wage to at least $17 per hour
8.) prosecute, jail and publicly shame every single judge, lawyer or legislator who worked to eviscerate the Voting Rights Act which was a central pillar of the black civil rights marches of the 1960s
9.) Adequately fund Medicare and Social Security by soaking the top .0001% of the parasitic financial elite
10.) democratize the establishment press and mainstream media, many of which use the public airwaves for free
11.) prosecute and jail all the talking heads, politicians and scribes who a.) propagated the Saddam WMD whoppers in 2002/early ’03, b.) are currently propagating all of the terrifying and absurd groupthink and Russophobia over Russia-gate, and c.) while we’re at it, prosecute and jail the executives and politicians who repealed Glass-Steagal which led directly to the 2007/08 crash and subsequent recession which struggling working folks still haven’t recovered from
12.) Debt forgiveness for student loan debtors whose lives have been ruined b/c they followed the American ethos of getting a higher education when they were 19 to 25 years old and didn’t quite know the reality of the global economy and exploitative ruling class
13.) Completely cut off all financial aid, grants and assistance to the criminal racist state of Israel, and stop providing diplomatic cover for the Israel Defense [sic] Forces to assault children playing soccer, farmers tending an olive grove or kids walking to school
14.) Prosecute and jail all the psychiatrists who have turned to doing nothing more than merely pushing psycho pharmaceuticals and anti-depressants on their hard luck patients
Really, you didn’t hear the alarm clock? :)
None of the people currently in position, warmongers, oligarchs, politicians, media, etc., will allow any of this so called “youth movement” make changes in their reign. Oh sure, all of them are quite adapt for turning this wind behind their sails, with limited agenda of getting more democrats in to the congress. If they cannot, the “youth movement” will be quickly turned in to something similar like Occupy Wall Street. The US is beyond the point of rescuing itself. It needs to go belly up and that will not happen without the, quote from REM:
“Its the end of the world as we know it…”
Occupy wall street was wildly successful in that it brought “the 99%” vs. the .01%into the national vocabulary. It was also a striking lesson on how violent the owner class gets with even a symbolic resistance. Don’t sell it short.
Ah yes, the National Vocabulary! What a huge win! Let’s all put our pink pussy hats on and have a big party!
I have worked in the Wall Street area, not on Wall Street, when the Occupy movement started. At the beginning, the protest has been peaceful and people, including myself, were sympathizing with the movement. There had been no issues with getting to and work, but that changed when the protesters turned nasty. They started to harass people, especially the ones who wore suit, tie and carrying a briefcase. The police blocked off Wall Street area and people were required to show company IDs just for getting to work. That in itself was not fun, nor were the cops nice about it. The protesters lined up right at the edge of the blocked area.
Imagine that you get out of the subway in corporate attire, suit, tie and briefcase, right in the middle of the protesters. As soon as you got out of the subway, they were yelling at you and at times, throwing things at you. Then you needed to cross Broadway and that is when the booing really started. Some of the people crossing the road flew the “bird” at the protester, but that was a mistake for number of reasons. One is that the next day, the chances are they were thrown things at them. Right or wrong, the occupy movement lost the sympathy of people, who worked in the area.
Yes, the Occupy Wall Street has been “wildly successful”. In a sense that the owner class had no issues with minimizing this movement and making the people look like violent thugs. Initially, the owner class had been surprised, but they quickly took action. They utilized local, state, and government resources to make the protesters life miserable. Moreover, once the media emphasized the criminal elements of the movement, it was pretty much over at this point. The movement certainly had a valuable lesson for the owner class about dealing with popular movements.
I believe Skip summarized the result the best, quote:
“Ah yes, the National Vocabulary!”
I agree, as these are many of my favorite points of political change.
Amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited individual contributions would get us on the right track, but we cannot get those peacefully without those tools of democracy. Where there is no peaceful path, the 2nd Amendment will be necessary to restore democracy, and it will not be pretty.
The Dems can readily co-opt the anti-gun youth movement to disarm them for the future, will be paid to do so by the oligarchy, and will be happy to stage a few more mass shootings to keep the ball rolling. No more guns for the people, so we can have endless foreign wars, propaganda, surveillance, and fake political parties!
But I agree with Al that the US will have to “go belly up” with the DemReps announcing that no more can be done for the desperate, before the youth or anyone else take to the streets, let alone bring fear of violence to the oligarchy. Nothing but happy-talk, dreamworlds, threats, suppression of dissent, and false promises will happen until then. These young people would be far better off if they were protesting for more guns to bring fear to the oligarchy. That will likely be the next generation at the earliest.
That’s a great list Drew!
Agree on the list!
We should abandon calling the Democrats the “Democratic Party”. They are no more democratic than are the Republicans. I have noticed recently that Ajamu Baraka speaks of the “Democrat Party”, not the “Democratic Party”.
That’s silly. at the local level the Dems run from fair to excellent, even if the DNC is republican light. t’s not my Democrats that are obstructing going rights or gerrymandering themselves into permanent rule
should read “voting right.” Also, there is a big difference between my state’s conservative judges and those deemed to be Democrats. A big big difference.
Is it your Democrats that has become the war party? Libya, Syria, Yemen, coup in Ukraine restarting cold war–is that just the Federal democrats and not your local peaceniks?
If they plan on going forward in Democratic Party politics, these “fair to excellent” local dems always hop on the national bandwagon of war and “national security.”
I was hoping that this article would advocate for young activists/progressives to leave the utterly corrupted Democratic party and rally over to the Greens. Bernie’s caving to the Clinton machine should be a lesson that there is no answer within the two party system. All efforts to change it from within will fail. We need an inspirational, energetic, intelligent young person to lead the charge. If they can find their way to 15% and get on the national TV debates, victory could easily be theirs. Forty percent didn’t vote in the last election, probably because they saw no one to vote for. Add them to the “lesser of two evils” voters and the end of the Republicrats corporate rule is over. Goodbye war machine, and hello future.
I agree Skip, there is a hunger for change, and as we both know we won’t find it inside of either party the Dem’s or Repub’s.
An other avenue of change in a different perspective:
the Greens control .02% of all elected offices in the USA and Dr. whatshername doesn’t smell like a rose when she’s seen at the table with Putin and Flynn. A third party would be great but the greens would first need to be purged of the greens
Ah Yes, the evil Vlad again. You and Strngr-tgther should get together for lattes.
Will our fellow American citizens Skip ever let go of this demonization of Putin? I think more folks should stop getting their Vladimir news from our lying MSM, and read Putin’s speeches.
Absolutely agree. The more I see of Putin’s actual words versus what the mainstream media says, the more I realize how much of a BS narrative the MSM is selling. If I were to judge just on his words and actions, I would have to conclude that the guy is a fantastic leader who has practiced more restraint than most; though we have pushed and prodded, he has responded always with restraint.
Good to see this rejection of Putin as Hitler narrative. Regarding this current nonsense about the spy in Britain, do people really think the Russians are that dumb? Why would they poison someone with something that could be attributed to them? But like all stupid people, the CIA thinks everyone is as dumb as they are, and most people are. But not ALL people.
Grow up, Will, and do a little reading. I’ll suggest Killing Hope by William Blum if you want to see the U.S. at work IN THEIR OWN WORDS (his sources are the very people who have committed the crimes). No one who actually reads this book will accept Putin as Hitler (whereas you might accept Trump as Hitler, Obama as Hitler, Bushes as Hitlers, Clintons as Hitlers, etc).