Five Minute Polemic №9: Armaments in the Hands of the People
Rifles and carbines and machine guns, pistols and revolvers, shotguns and rocket-propelled grenades- all in the hands of the People! This is what is needed. It is the masses that make history, and they must be led by communist revolutionaries in seizing the means with which to do so. The downtrodden working class’s tenacity and material need to revolt, a manifestation of the unjust contradictions of their existence, is more important to the struggle then any weapon, but it is by force of weapons that it can be made manifest as a tide of revolutionary fury unleashed against the state and bourgeoisie, and thus it is the duty of every sincere communist to work for the arming of the masses and against efforts by the state to disarm us.
Recently, Jayland Walker was murdered by the Akron Pig Department. He was shot, it is reported, over 60 times while running away from the pigs during a traffic stop. The pigs claim he had pulled a gun; this is contested by several independent parties who have seen body cam footage, who say he was unarmed. I would ask the reader to imagine how many seconds it takes to do anything sixty times, even just counting to sixty; it is not a momentary process. It is not a spur of the moment decision. It is conscious, persistent, deliberate action over time. Only the most pathetic, boot-sucking dog of the bourgeois state can argue trained “law enforcement” officers so terribly feared for their lives that it necessitated shooting an unarmed man over sixty times in the back. This was an unprovoked, unjust, unethical murder of an innocent man by the armed power of the state.
This murder comes, of course, after the “end” of the uprisings that came in response to the pig murder of George Floyd. It is very interesting, looking back, to autopsy those days of holy fury: we can spot the moment the cause failed. Overnight, leaders and organizers stopped demanding the pigs stop their violence, and instead started berating the People to vote democrat, on the phony promise that this would provide some solution. The communists tried to point out and disarm this ruse, but we did not have the reach among the masses to do this, and so the ruse worked: Biden was elected, and the protest placards were put away- and, unsurprisingly, nothing actually changed. The pigs keep murdering black proletarians. A misdirection of the People’s righteous fury into electoralism, the vain hope of changing the oppressive state through its own avenues, a means of change that never works, effectively killed the last uprising in this country. When the wave of righteous fury crests again, we will be starting from scratch, and we must find a better way to bring about our goals.
What is this better way? What is the weapon the cause must take up? Armaments in the hands of the People. Let us look to the example of the Black Panther Party and the movement of the working class- principally the black working class, but whites, Puerto Ricans, and others as well- which grew up around it. The BPP’s solution to police brutality was not to prostrate themselves before the false god of the bourgeois state’s phony ballot box, with its list of bought candidates united in hatred of the People. The BPP’s solution was the organization of armed community patrols to march through proletarian neighbourhoods, daring any piggy coward to try something. And this worked. There is a reason that then-governor Ronald Reagan was willing to change his tune on guns, losing allies among the big shareholders of the gun industry, to disarm the BPP in California. There is a reason the pigs had to murder the mighty Comrade Hampton. The reason was that what they were doing worked! They were revealing a potential path to dual power, or the construction of proletarian institutions, and ultimately to socialism. The parasites in power aren’t afraid of your vote, because all it does is choose which of them gets to spit on you next; what they do fear is armaments in the hands of the People.
And this is also why the spineless and slimy liberal bourgeois “left” is begging for disarmament, even as the reactionary right continues to escalate the scale of systemic aggressive violence against the people. There are now two significant explicitly fascist militia groups operating in this country and terrorizing the People: the Proud Boys and the smaller but more extreme Patriot Front†. Even as these hateful groups slander homosexuals, intellectuals, and transgender persons as being dangerous to children*, it is they who are sending thugs to harass children and their parents at such ostensibly politically charged events as, of all things, a local library’s children’s story time, suggesting that if anyone needs armaments to protect their children it is in fact us, the revolutionary progressive working class, and especially those of us who are queer. And while the institutions of the state are not yet themselves fully fascist in character, they are absolutely doubling down on violent restriction of freedoms for the People: attacking the female proletariat’s right to abortion on the level of the reactionary federal judiciary (and also floating the idea of attacks on queer rights at that level), and attacking on the state level, as well as that right, the basic dignity and right to medical care of the transgender proletariat•. Both on the streets and in the halls of the state, reactionary bourgeois or petit-bourgeois violence against the common People is only escalating. And yet the liberals call on us to lay down all means of self defense.
The fallacy of calls for “gun control” is twofold. In the first place, its central (il)logic is the idea that “civilians don’t need military weapons to defend themselves” because there are police. And yet these same liberals also claim to care about the ongoing problem of police brutality and murder, which in actuality proves the People cannot depend on the state to protect them, and must have the right to do it themselves. The idea that any time a person needs protection the state will be there, and that the thing they need protection from will never be an arm of the state itself, is an idea only people isolated in palaces of privilege can seriously believe. In the second place, the idea that the state can and should be the one to prevent great acts of violence is shown to be fallacious by the historical understanding that, in fact, states have always been the ones to commit the greatest acts of violence. Contrary to the liberal “night watchman” theory, no state is in its principal function a protective system; the function of a state is repression, rule on behalf of its dominant class over other classes, and this is a violent function more often than not. In the United States, the state we have is indisputably a bourgeois one serving the bourgeois class and so, far from expecting it to protect the working people from violence, we ought to expect it to be the chief culprit in violence against us. What is our recourse of defense against this? Armaments in the hands of the People.
In our time, reactionary violence against the People is ramping up. The liberals’ “solution” is the call for gun control; certainly more gun control would have some limiting effect on the fraction of reactionary violence which is carried out by individuals or small groups acting in terroristic ways without state support. This, though, is only a fraction of reactionary violence, and gun control will only take away the means for the People to defend themselves from the greatest perpetrator of such violence, the bourgeois state. The only real solution to this violence is the overthrow of the bourgeois state and the establishment of socialism, including a proletarian state that regulates and liquidates the reactionaries and capitalists in the name of the working majority, instead of the reverse. We must always have hope that this will come to pass, for it is a fact that history has always advanced toward more equitable political-economic systems, and will continue to do so, via class struggle. Many today are pessimistic regarding the future of the American Left, or remark that “the left is dead,” but we must be critical of these attitudes in the proper Maoist and Gonzalo Thought attitude of Revolutionary Optimism. Let us not forget that the heroic CPC, who led the revolution in China guided by Marxism-Leninism and the thought of Chairman Mao, had at their founding congress only 57 members; the genuine communist line in this country may be small and scattered, but there can be no doubt that our comrades and thinkers and mass organizations shall, through integration with the broad masses and careful application of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist philosophy, grow and blossom into a powerful movement to overthrow capitalism and bourgeois rule and build the socialist democratic dictatorship of the proletariat. And in the meantime, the weapon that can help us resist reactionary violence, both from fringe groups and individuals and from the state, is not the empty liberal call for gun control; it is armaments in the hands of the People!
I advise all communists who can to acquire firearms for personal and community protection. The fascists and the pigs will not be so quick to trample the proletariat if the proletariat has the means to trample them back.☭
†It is my view based upon what investigation I have done on the subject that these groups, and perhaps a few others, are the distillation of the last several decades of the fringe explicit ultra-right (that is, those fascists willing to call themselves such, basically) in this country, deriving in particular from the toxic soup of many small such movements that became visible to the public in the last decade after events like the 2017 violence in Charlottesville. I should say that I don’t believe these organizations will become dominant in American bourgeois politics- but then, the NSDAP wasn’t the main rightist party in Germany, until it very suddenly was (replacing the DNVP).
*It goes without saying that this bit of classic fascistic rhetoric, “______ is a pedophile/groomer/danger to children” as a catch-all slander to shout at enemies, is profoundly dangerous, and the reactionary right in this country is already having success using it to criminalize innocent groups (e.g. transgender persons and their doctors) under the false promise of protecting children. In reality, it is a danger to children.
•And this is a point I cannot emphasize enough: the attack on poor women’s right to abortion, the attack on trans people’s right to transgender care- these things are part and parcel of an attack from the reactionary forces and the state on the right of people, generally, to needed medicine, generally, whenever the need for it is not in line with superstructural social expectations. This is why they are so terribly significant for all of us, though for the direct victims most of all.