The fight to curb gun violence is a working-class issue

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The Communist Party USA strongly supports efforts by grassroots organizations, local and state governments, members of Congress and the White House to curb the tragic scourge of gun violence in our country.

It is the 99 percent in our country - working families, people of color, low-income people, middle class wage earners and small business people - urban, suburban and rural - who are the primary victims of gun violence.

Horrifying mass shootings, as most recently the slaying of 20 small children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., shock the nation and world. And, perhaps less talked about but no less tragic, handgun shootings kill and wound thousands of Americans every year. The largest proportion of deaths from handgun violence are youth in communities of color where opposition to the proliferation of handguns is strong.

Confronting the victims and the vast majority in our country are an array of far-right forces aligned with the profit-making firearms industry. In the name of "freedom" and "constitutional rights," these reactionary forces, represented in government by the Republican Party, are attacking Americans' right to live free from the fear or threat of gun violence. This is a fundamental, constitutional, democratic right - the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

The Second Amendment was adopted to enable the new American republic, lacking a standing army or state national guards, to muster militia to put down domestic uprisings and repulse any attempted return by the British. Which is what it did in repressing slave revolts, Native Americans, and earlier to poor farmers during Shays' Rebellion.

The Second Amendment is now being used by right-wing, anti-worker groups and politicians to divide and conquer, in the process threatening the basic safety and security of all Americans. There is no basis for claiming this amendment was intended to permit unregulated personal acquisition of firearms, including amassing military-style weapons and private arsenals for "protection,"including "protection from the government."

These are the same forces, backed by the Chamber of Commerce and similar elements, that are attacking labor unions and Americans' fundamental, constitutional right of free association. They are the same forces that are pushing anti-worker "right-to-work" laws in states across the country.

These are the same forces that are attacking vital social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and working to cut and privatize public education. While they seek to slash accessible and affordable health care they are crying crocodile tears about "mental health" in an effort to divert the growing sentiment for gun curbs.

These are the same forces that oppose President Obama's stimulus program to create millions of jobs and rebuild infrastructure which would provide jobs for young people and the long-term unemployed.

These are the same forces that promote racism and attacks on the rights of women, immigrants, gays and lesbians.

These are the climate-change deniers who are backed by the fossil fuel industry.

It's this simple: If you support the agenda of the National Rifle Association and their political allies, you are supporting the enemies of America's working people.

And we want to make this clear: Personal possession of weaponry is not a revolutionary means to change the system in our country in the 21st century, as some self-proclaimed "revolutionaries" and some extreme right wingers claim. The great social changes that have transformed our society in the modern era have come about through the nonviolent mass organization and struggles of the American people. In unity there is strength. This is the way forward to progressive change as well as the path to achieve more basic transformation - a socialist society that is deeply democratic, egalitarian, and at peace with the world.

The battle now being waged for real steps to end gun violence is a major political and ideological battle against the ultra-right. It is a battle against their backward "free market capitalism" ideology of a "you're on your own" society.

The battle to curb gun violence is a working-class issue.

We urge everyone to help make these connections clear and get involved in this struggle - in the name of our families, our communities, and our country.  

People's World articles:

Guns, profit and Sandy Hook

Obama goes head to head with gun lobby

Gun control action will rely on grassroots organizing

Fight to end gun violence is key to defending democracy

The Second Amendment is a dangerous anachronism  

A hunter speaks for gun control

Gun control battle opens in Senate

Gun madness, solutions and people's movements

The woman whose name I carried

Walmart and gun makers, drivers of the right wing

Additional resources:

Take action: petition to support congressional legislation

One million Moms 4 gun control

Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence

How a gun control petition went from Tumblr to Washington DC

When it's easy for anyone and everyone to get a gun, this happens
 

Photo: (AP)