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Violence is No Way of Life

By Bonnie Weinstein

Fight Back

Fightback!:
A Collection of Socialist Essays

by Sylvia Weinstein


Throughout history, from the very first domination of the haves- over the have-nots, violence and the threat of death have been the modus operandi of the haves to protect their power and wealth from the masses who create that wealth with their labor. And in today’s capitalist world, none is more violent than the United States. It will take a mass movement against the violence that capitalist inequality and oppression breeds to save humanity.

Violence abroad

According to thesoldiersproject.org, “There are roughly 750 U.S. foreign military bases; they are spread across 80 nations! After the U.S. is the UK, but they only have 145 bases. Russia has about three dozen bases, and China just five. This implies that the U.S has three times as many bases as all other countries combined.”

In fact, according to infoplease.com, since the end of WWII, the U.S. has been in combat in Korea (1950-1953), Cuba (1961), Vietnam (1961-1973), Dominican Republic (1965), Lebanon (1982), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991), Somalia (1993), Haiti (1994), Bosnia (1994-1995), Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2001-present), Iraq (2003-2010), Libya (2012-2019), War with ISIL (the Islamic State) in Iraq and Syria (2012-2019), Syria (2017-present.)1

And unfortunately, the U.S. government is preparing for even more violence abroad.

According to a March 28, 2022, New York Times article by Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Alan Rappeport, titled, “Biden Aims to Boost Military and Social Spending in 2023 Budget,”

“Mr. Biden will request $813.3 billion in national security spending, an increase of $31 billion, or four percent, from 2022, according to people familiar with the proposal. Funding for the Defense Department will also include $4.1 billion to conduct research and develop defense capabilities, nearly $5 billion for a space-based missile warning system to detect global threats and nearly $2 billion for a missile defense interceptor to protect the United States against ballistic missile threats from states like North Korea and Iran.”

Violence at home

The extent of gun violence here in the U.S. is unsurpassed anywhere in the world. According to gunviolencearchive.org, here in the U.S. there have been over 20,348 gun deaths since January 1, 2022, including 274 mass shootings—at least 20 more mass shootings since Payton Gendron killed ten Black people in Buffalo, New York on May 15, 2022, and Salvador Ramos fatally shot 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022.2

And, to sum it up, according to a May 25, 2022, BBC News report titled, “America’s gun culture—in seven charts,”

“Firearms deaths are a fixture in American life. There were 1.5 million of them between 1968 and 2017—that’s higher than the number of soldiers killed in every U.S. conflict since the American War for Independence in 1775.”

Majority of people are in favor of gun control

On NPRs June 9, 2022, “All Things Considered” it was reported that a large majority of adults want more control on the sale of guns:

“Following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and an earlier one in Buffalo, N.Y., a majority of U.S. adults say it’s more important to control gun violence than to protect gun rights, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. The 59 percent-to-35 percent margin is the widest in favor of controlling gun violence recorded in a decade...”3

Yet both the Republicans and the Democrats have been unable to pass any significant changes in gun possession laws. Military grade automatic assault weapons are still readily available to anyone 18-years or older.

A new antiwar/antiviolence
movement is necessary

In the wake of the horrific mass shootings, my mind is momentarily in shock. Recently someone on Facebook circulated a photo of a circa 1950s cowboy cap-gun—silver, with a white, plastic “ivory” handle and a roll of red “caps” that we kids played with. The game was “cowboys and Indians.” Cowboys had the guns; the Indians had the bows and arrows (I always wanted to be an Indian.) It’s kind of like Palestinian kids with rocks and slingshots, and Israeli soldiers with assault rifles.

It just hit me—the violence taught to kids on so many fronts and from such an early age, for such a very long time, mimics the violence of capitalism from its very inception.

Our children have witnessed continuous wars, bombs dropped by drones whose “pilots” are thousands of miles away and out of harm’s way. And kids are playing video games that have been designed by the military to teach them how to control those drones when they grow up! This is our culture.

Toy guns have been around for a very long time. And they have become very authentic looking. This led to the death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, CA on October 22, 2013, as he was walking to join his friends to shoot off their air guns. He was shot by Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus (who worked for the agency for 24 years and was a firearms instructor and expert) who couldn’t tell a toy gun from the real thing. Gelhaus was never prosecuted. And on November 22, 2014, Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback arrived on the scene. Loehmann got out of his patrol car, shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was holding a toy pellet pistol, within 1.5 and two seconds after arriving on the scene. Tamir’s 14-year-old sister, Tajai, who was at a recreation center nearby heard the gunshots, ran out, and saw it was her own brother on the ground. She raced to his aid but was immediately grabbed, handcuffed, and placed in the back of the police car. She had to watch as the police offered no aid to Tamir as he lay bleeding out on the ground—he died the next day. On December 28, 2015, the grand jury declined to indict either officer.

The police won’t protect us

The truth of how the cops failed to protect the kids in Uvalde, Texas is being revealed. The cops were waiting outside the door of the classroom for 78 minutes until the shooting stopped! What cowards! They claim they were waiting outside the door for the school janitor to bring the key instead of breaking the door down immediately—like they did to Breonna Taylor and so many others who died during no-knock break-ins by police. And they couldn’t manage to break down the door in an elementary school with kids clearly under fire? The police are part of the problem not the solution.

How do we end this violence?

I’m pondering all of this—trying to visualize how the working class can win against such daily violence in our lives and against a capitalist class that’s armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction—while military-grade weapons are available to any nut who wants to take out their frustrations by murdering as many people as possible.

Do we station armed guards around every supermarket and school—around every street corner? Do we arm everyone with an AR-15?

We must eliminate the root of violence

Mass shootings, police violence, the trillions of dollars spent on continuous wars and the total inability of any wing of the capitalist class anywhere in the world to solve any of the problems we workers face in our daily lives will eventually produce a massive response that we must be ready for.

Food, housing, healthcare, and education—all the commonalities and needs of human beings—above all, peace, equality, and justice—must become our unifying rallying cry across the globe.

A new kind of antiwar movement

Although it will be essential for the working class to organize an effective defense against violence—the first step is to organize nationally and internationally against the production and sale of weapons of war and violence of all kinds.

How can we provide security against AR-15s? We must demand these weapons—all weapons—not be used, sold, manufactured—including the entire capitalist military arsenal. We must take the power of death and destruction out of capitalism’s greedy hands.

We can’t win against the U.S. military by buying a gun—even if it is an assault rifle. Our revolution will only come when the masses of workers realize that, indeed, it’s the economic system of capitalism alone—that is preventing everyone from living in a world of peace, justice, social, and economic equality.

Our only hope of surviving the violence of capitalism is by disarming the capitalist class!

The only solution is world revolution

In our revolutionary socialist family, we had a common joke. My dad, Nat Weinstein, always predicted the revolution would happen “in five years.” And he also always said that once workers become conscious of the fact that the capitalist system is the cause of their misery, the revolution will spread instantaneously like wildfire.

Well, the years went by… But there was a grain of truth to his prediction. The world is ripe for revolution.

The socialist revolution—to succeed—will have to rise from less onerous conditions than a total catastrophic world war, which is where capitalism is leading us right now.

The people of the world are miraculously connected as never before. Cell phones and the internet—with all their drawbacks—can be powerful unifying tools, too. We can even speak to each other through translation apps! Think of what advantage this is for unifying the working class.

A united working-class movement against violence and weapons of mass destruction will win our sons and daughters in the military—the capitalist’s cannon fodder—to our side.

This is humanity’s only hope—to disarm the capitalist class worldwide and dispose of all the weapons of death and destruction on the planet.

It could become a new kind of antiwar movement against all weapons of death and destruction from personal guns to military drones and weapons of mass destruction.

Social evolution is socialist revolution! It’s the only way to end all the violence that capitalist injustice fuels.

Bombing, murder, and the mayhem of war is never the answer. That’s why we want socialism.



1 https://www.infoplease.com/history/us/major-military-operations-since-world-war-ii

2 https://www.gunviolencearchive.org

3 https://www.npr.org/2022/06/09/1103661684/gun-control-npr-pbs-marist-survey-uvalde-buffalo-biden