Anarchist take on gun control

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JDMF
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Sep 12 2005 09:58
Anarchist take on gun control

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?

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Sep 12 2005 10:11

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.

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Sep 12 2005 13:40
PaulMarsh wrote:
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" wink. Stupid obviously, but some truth in it.

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Sep 12 2005 16:20
revol68 wrote:
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
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Sep 12 2005 16:25

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).

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Sep 12 2005 16:35
revol68 wrote:
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
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Sep 12 2005 16:54

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.

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Sep 12 2005 16:58

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!"

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Sep 12 2005 17:22
revol68 wrote:
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!

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Sep 12 2005 17:31
revol68 wrote:
are you deliberately putting forward arguments from a 15 year old ANarkIst!!!111!!1 mindset.

It's not a 15 year-old ancircle Arkist 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.

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Sep 12 2005 17:42

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
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Sep 12 2005 17:49
revol68 wrote:
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:

grin

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Sep 12 2005 17:50
revol68 wrote:
what sort of retard would imagine there would be some sort of overarching "gun collective"?

You, I thought

tongue

dot
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Sep 12 2005 22:28

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
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Sep 12 2005 23:43
revol68 wrote:
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.

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Sep 12 2005 23:48

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
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Sep 12 2005 23:59
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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?)

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

who was doing that?

are you chris day, by any chance?

cmdrdeathguts
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Sep 13 2005 00:05
dot wrote:
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.

Quote:
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.

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Sep 13 2005 00:27

Hi

Quote:
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

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

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

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are you chris day, by any chance

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

Best wishes

LR

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Sep 13 2005 05:43
revol68 wrote:
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.

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Sep 13 2005 06:02
revol68 wrote:
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 grin

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Sep 13 2005 11:21
888 wrote:
I had the pleasure of firing an AK47 at an anarchist social a few days ago grin

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

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Sep 13 2005 12:46
888 wrote:
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
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Sep 13 2005 22:18

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 wink 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
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Sep 13 2005 23:33
rebel_lion wrote:
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.

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Deezer
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Sep 13 2005 23:40

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

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Sep 13 2005 23:49

Guns?

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

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Sep 14 2005 00:43

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

Vaneigemappreci...
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Sep 14 2005 00:47

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!

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Sep 14 2005 03:55
Lazy Riser wrote:
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.

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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).

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Sep 14 2005 07:37

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 wink

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!