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From School Shootings to Revolutionary Social Transformations
by Bob M (airbaron [at]
Sunday Feb 18th, 2018 1:51 PM
After the Stoneman Douglas shootings, students are calling for a walkout for gun reform. This article suggests the importance of revolutionary reforms, and the direction that some of such actions might be made.
In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, the high school students at that school and across the country are calling for a walkout on March 24th and again on April 20, the anniversary of Columbine shooting in 1999. From what I can tell, the students are calling for national leaders to listen to them, but as of yet they do not have demands other than getting AR-15s "out of the hands of people who should not have them."

Grassroots activism coming from the youth is very important to listen to. And addressing guns in some way seem obvious at this point. Even progressives/radicals seem to be shifting on their positions on guns, in that they see white supremacists stock-piling guns and being the prime users of such weapons. That said, I realize that many radicals still hold strong to the important point that de-arming must start with the cops, military, and not take away self-defense from oppressed communities - a point I whole-heartedly agree with.

Taking all this in, if young people are calling for de-arming and radicals understand the importance of only doing so from the top-down, it seems to me that pushing for revolutionary reforms is key at this moment in this issue.

According to longtime feminist anti-prison activist and scholar Karlene Faith "every reform raises the question of whether it is a revolutionary reform, one that has liberatory potential to challenge the status quo, or a reform reform, which may ease the problem temporarily or superficially, but reinforces the status quo by validating the system though the process of improving it."

So what is a revoultionary reform here? I believe that, as radicals, we should be a part of this inchoate movement and push it to revolutionary potential. That potential is supporting students' desire for gun reform, but that in order to push that reform toward revolution it must be in a feminst, decolonizing, abolitionist framework, i.e. that it de-arms cops and the military.

Meanwhile, a crucial aspect of this that we must focus strongly on is white masculinity. Gender is the leading risk-factor when it comes to mass shootings. Something like 99% of them are by boys/men, most of them are by white men, and most of them are done by men/boys who were bullied/gay-baited.

Thus, a shooter like the one in Florida is an archetypal shooter: white, male, bullied, an outcast, conservative with a history of domestic violence. And these archetypal white, male shooters (here and in Las Vegas) are becoming more violent in the Trump era. This is important because Trump and his regime are this type of brutish white patriarchal violence institutionalized.

A final important aspect that I want to weave in here is that at this moment when this throwback aggrieved white masculinity is in the white house, there is a crescendo of blaming this on mental health, which was not always so (remember that this used to get blamed on Marilyn Mason and video games). The intersection of recuperating and fortifying white masculine privilege at the expense of the disabled other is particular heightened at this moment.

Ultimately, I think its important for those of us with radical imaginations to push these movements toward revolutionary aims, while not dismissing reforms out of hand. This is not easy work and it often requires holding contradictions together, and according to Gloria Anzaldua, if we hold contractions together long enough a new identity can emerge. We need to be parts of these movements at all levels: in the streets, on social media, in the classrooms, within institutions, and in everyday conversations.

#NationalSchoolWalkout, #April20 and #April20Walkout