[image description: White-on-black graphic with a red border. A circle with three guns creating an A making an anarchy symbol]
This post is in response to the #MarchForOurLives youth liberation and anti-violence movement as well as an article I read, which can be found here: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/why-are-white-men-stockpiling-guns/
This is a very thought provoking article which brings up many issues near to my heart, especially as a Quaker. I have also been getting some very negative reactions from leftists concerning recent Friendly Anarchism posts which showed support for gun control and the student walk outs. Here are some of my thoughts:
I do a lot of contemplation on the interconnectedness between power and violence. I work towards a world with neither, and to me guns are a physical embodiment of both. I don’t like guns. Power is corrupting, and there is nothing more powerful than being able to kill or control another soul with such ease. I think the power felt in holding a firearm is a poor substitute for the sense of control that comes from a practiced strength of spirit. The article mentions that for the men studied “faith seems to reduce their attachment to guns.” This isn’t to say that religion is the answer, but we can use a spiritual framework to help us consider deeper truths about why we are violent and how that shapes our interactions with the tools therein.
I say I work towards a world with no power, but it may be more accurate to say “all power”. The ideal world is one where we are released from the bondage of the chains of capital and hierarchy and no person can be kept from accessing their Source of love and light. It is from this inner state of deep peace and empowerment that we can create an outward state of anarchic political equality. This is the ideal, but this is unfortunately not the current reality. We do not all have equal access to power, and every individual or community has the right to reclaim that power how they see fit. I have read many inspiring stories of how guns have helped disempowered women, trans folk, POC, and others reclaim some of the strength of spirit that had been taken from them.
I also believe very much in harm reduction and the willingness to use any means necessary to achieve peace. There is a direct causal link between gun control and the reduction of gun violence. I also worry that revolutionaries fall prey to the narrative in which we need guns because a good guy with a gun could have stopped massacres/start the revolution, when we see that the large majority of incidents deterred by gun control are domestic violence and suicide. We are, and/or work with, marginalized people in very stressful situations, and while some of us worry about the need for weaponry during a still largely hypothetical revolutionary scenario, people are dying right now.
I don’t think electoral solutions will ever be able to truly solve our problems, but I don’t believe that the right to bear arms is more important in this moment than the right for kids to feel safe at school, for women to feel safe at home, and for us to be more safe from ourselves when we’re alone in a dark moment. I am an anarchist, and I support gun control. This puts me in direct conflict with some people I really enjoy and have a lot of respect for, but I know that as a movement there is the paradigm of respecting a diversity of tactics and I think we can and should coexist while also having these conversations.