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The Socialist Position on Guns by poasterchild The Socialist Position on Guns by poasterchild
Please disseminate widely, thank you! This does not give permission to alter or claim credit for this re-mixed work, for which I retain all copyrights. The original illustration is by Docrock and he retains the copyright to that work.

If you disagree with the views expressed here, please be sure to read my Policy Statement BEFORE you post: [link]

Just in case you do not happen to know, George Orwell, the author of "1984," was an ardent anti-war British socialist.
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(1 Reply)
:iconqwertywithak:
qwertywithak Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
And this is what I try to explain to people. I believe in the right to bear arms, I'm an extremely patriotic American socialist. The constitution is something I will defend.
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:icondeathlesslegends13:
DeathlessLegends13 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Student Writer
George Orwell? anti-war? I distinctly remember him participating in a war and then going on later supporting war against Hitler, stating that :
“Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me'.”
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
As he wrote in "1984:"

"The primary aim of modern warfare is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations. And in fact, without being used for any such purpose, but by a sort of automatic process — by producing wealth which it was sometimes impossible not to distribute — the machine did raise the living standards of the average humand being very greatly over a period of about fifty years at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction — indeed, in some sense was the destruction — of a hierarchical society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.

To return to the agricultural past, as some thinkers about the beginning of the twentieth century dreamed of doing, was not a practicable solution. It conflicted with the tendency towards mechanization which had become quasi-instinctive throughout almost the whole world, and moreover, any country which remained industrially backward was helpless in a military sense and was bound to be dominated, directly or indirectly, by its more advanced rivals. Nor was it a satisfactory solution to keep the masses in poverty by restricting the output of goods. This happened to a great extent during the final phase of capitalism, roughly between 1920 and 1940. The economy of many countries was allowed to stagnate, land went out of cultivation, capital equipment was not added to, great blocks of the population were prevented from working and kept half alive by State charity. But this, too, entailed military weakness, and since the privations it inflicted were obviously unnecessary, it made opposition inevitable. The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare. The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built.

In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another. By the standards of the early twentieth century, even a member of the Inner Party lives an austere, laborious kind of life. Nevertheless, the few luxuries that he does enjoy his large, well-appointed flat, the better texture of his clothes, the better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his two or three servants, his private motor-car or helicopter—set him in a different world from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party have a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we call ’the proles’. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival."
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:icondeathlesslegends13:
DeathlessLegends13 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Student Writer
I seem to have forgotten that part ^^;

Also, i remember that the quote i mentioned was before the 2nd world war, and since the book was written afterwards, I can understand his switch in position.
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Yes, exactly. His views evolved over time. Let me add one more thought: I abhor violence. However, even His Holiness the Dalai Lama has stated that there is no moral imperative to permit oneself to be murdered in the name of nonviolence. He has said, rather, that in such circumstances one has the right if not the obligation to resist using force.
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:iconravajava:
Ravajava Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I've said it before and I'll say it again, you and your friendo's with some AR-15's aren't going to fair too well against M1A2's and B-52's, a well organized army with logistics and so on. The argument of guns protect freedom is archaic, delusional and a fair bit comedic. Henceforth, it does little for the gun debate as it is irrelevant.

I'd also like to remind everyone that the American Revolution only succeeded because of the French, who cut off British trade routes, trained officers, funded armies and provided weapons. Even then, in the late 1700's, a people couldn't revolt against a well regulated army without the help of equally powerful external forces.
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Don't be so sure that you understand my politics. You certainly do not understand how armed guerilla insurrections work.

First, as I have said before on dA, we are not at the point nor close to it where an armed insurrection would be justified or feasible. However, I can foresee a time when it might be. Not this week, or next year, but at some point in the future when civil liberties have been decimated and the country comes under a repressive form of martial law. Do you really think that a government that is capable of:

➣ interning thousands of people because their parents came from the wrong country (the Japanese internments during World War II)

➣ making it legal to indefinitely detain in military custody Americans without charge or trial (NDAA), has criminalized peaceful non-violent civil disobedience (H.R. 347)

➣ permitting warrantless wiretaps and eavesdropping of Americans (FISA Amendments)

➣ coordinating with local police the repression of Occupy protests and Occupy leaders (remember the NYPD raids on the homes of Occupy activists last fall)

and so on, is not potentially capable of the extreme repression which would justify such armed resistance? I think all governments are. So did the founders. That is why they believed that the government should never have a monopoly on the ability to use force to compel political ends.

In Vietnam, the United States fought against National Liberation Front with B-52s and tanks and a whole lot more. Superior will power beats superior fire power every time. So it is with most insurrections. You do not go head to head with a better armed foe; you use guerilla tactics. They send out patrols; you ambush them. They counter with reprisals; more and more people come to your side. They use high-tech communications; you destroy their radio antennas, relay stations, and comm centers. And on and on, until it is clear to everyone that the oppressor is not invulnerable, not in control, and has only force, not right, on their side. At that point the tide turns and no matter how many guns they have, the situation spirals out of their control and the repressive apparatus crumbles. Ask the Shah of Iran.

This has happened time and again, including Vietnam, Cuba, and elsewhere.

In any event, I personally think the major reason for an armed citizenry is not military parity, but rather, because of its deterrent effect. Governments are much less likely to move against their own people if there is some perceived military risk in doing so. Moreover, and here is where I am at politically, massive nonviolent resistance (my preferred approach for confronting tyrants) is made much more effective if there is the chance that it may escalate to armed violent resistance if nonviolent attempts at change are suppressed.

Certainly, the French played a role in the War for Independence. However, it was the courage and resourcefulness of the then-colonists and their use of guerilla tactics that gave the new country time to organize and train an effective conventional army that proved decisive. In fact they did revolt against the British long before the French entered the picture. That is what Lexington and Concord were about. When the British, after a number of years on increasingly repressive measures (warrantless searches and seizures of people and weapons) moved to seize the firearms of colonists secreted in 30 homes in Lexington, they were confronted, and a small group of rebels were able to force the British to withdraw without having achieved their dishonorable objective. That "shot heard around the world" signaled the end for British tyranny in North America. It was American ground troops that won the War for Independence, not the French Navy or privateers.
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:iconravajava:
Ravajava Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I think you misunderstood where I'm coming from in the opening. I am not questioning your reasoning, I'm questioning the feasibility of your idea.

Many armed insurrections also fail, especially against powerful states. Ask the Jacobites or the Irish in general.

I also disagree with the belief that an armed populace acts as a counterweight to government. If you look at freedom of the press, freedom of speech and so on, in reports done by freedom house and reporters without borders, the US is often far behind countries with tougher firearms regulations, such as Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and Australia. Guns don't mean freedom. I would argue they have no correlation with freedom, in either its creation or preservation. (why aren't Somalia or the DRC the most free countries in the world?)

"That "shot heard around the world" signaled the end for British tyranny in North America" You know, except Jamaica, Belize, Canada... but that's besides the point. I don't know, maybe it's because I'm Canadian, but I'm 100% sure, that if the French hadn't gotten involved, the US would not be a country today, at least certainly not as large and powerful.

I would argue that an educated populace and a stable large middle class are far more effective way of achieving liberty, freedom and responsible government. It worked in Australia and Canada to great effect. In my opinion, any argument for guns is just an excuse to hold on to a pass time while people are murdered.
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Oh, you're a Canadian. That explains it. You're a subject, not a citizen.

Anyway, that concludes this discussion. You've made your point, such as it is. Should you wish to further advance your statist views, do it elsewhere, not here. I've been indulging you, but we're done now, capice?
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:iconravajava:
Ravajava Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Sure...

I'll leave you with this parting thought, what good is revolting against the monarchy, if the subjects of her majesty the queen enjoy more freedoms than you in the end?
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Just couldn't resist, could you? Assertion is not argumentation, and any nation with an official secrets act and no written constitution, can hardly be said to be more free than the United States. We're done, and you're :banned:
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:iconmechatails7218:
MechaTails7218 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
IIRC the Second Amendment was originally there to have a citizen's militia ready to face threats, both foreign and domestic, in times of peace, so that the govt' doesn't need a large standing army. Please correct me if I am wrong about that.
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
That is essentially correct. The basic idea was that the government should not a have monopoly on the ability to use force to achieve political ends. You should read the piece by Stephen Halbrook that I posted the link to. Once you do, you will understand why the founders resisted the idea of a standing army, and, why they regarded personally-owned military-capable firearms as "the dragon's teeth of liberty," as Washington put it.

Later, this evolved into the idea of an "organized militia," and, an "unorganized militia." The organized militia was the predecessor to what we call the National Guard today, while the unorganized militia is essentially everyone else who is physically capable between the ages of 16 and 60.
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:iconlichtie:
lichtie Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
I've got some old propaganda posters that I'll upload at some point, if you want to use any of them in your work, please feel free to go ahead. You've got a large following out here.
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Please do and make them as high-resolution as possible. Thanks so much for your offer.
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:iconlichtie:
lichtie Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
OK will try, I'm still a bit of a brginer at this.
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:iconhashashinshate:
HashashinsHate Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
In fact guns in this town actually stop many crimes from happening.
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:icondandrazen:
DanDrazen Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013   Writer
That submachine gun hidden under the floorboards of the survivalist's shed, however, is a symbol of mental illness.
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Dan, before I respond to this, would you please tell me what you think a submachine gun is?
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:icondandrazen:
DanDrazen Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013   Writer
Essentially, it's a short-range rapid-fire weapon, the next evolutionary step up from a semi-automatic pistol that usually incorporated a detachable stock and an ammunition magazine. Developed by Italian and German arms manufacturers during World War 1, it was further refined by Thompson Auto-Ordnance as what became known as the "Tommy gun." The model with wooden stock and a drum magazine became associated with Chicago gangsters of the 1920s. Other models dating to World War 2 include the Australian Owen, the British Sten, the American M3 "grease gun," and the Soviet PPSh-41. More recent models include the Baretta PM 12, the Czech Skorpion, the Israeli Uzi, and the MAC 10. Because of their high ammo capacity and ridiculous rate of fire (600 bps is not uncommon), these are the kind of weapons that should be regulated IMO. Source: Will Fowler et al., The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Guns. New York: Metro Books, 2011.
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Well, that is all true, but the real definition of a submachine gun is a fully automatic hand-held weapon (one which will fire repeatedly with only one pull of the trigger) that fires a round designed for use in pistols, e.g., 9mm or .45ACP. I will reply to the substance of your comment later, but I wanted to make sure first that everyone understands what is meant by the term, "submachine gun."
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:icondandrazen:
DanDrazen Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013   Writer
Getting the facts straight and the definitions clear; you don't see THAT too much in the gun control debate. BTW, I misstated one statistic: I should have used "bpm" rather than "bps" when discussing rate of fire.
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Crime Involving Legally Owned Machine Guns

The number of times a legally-owned machine gun or submachine gun has been used to commit a homicide in the United States since 1934: exactly TWO.

In 1995 there were over 240,000 machine guns registered with the ATF. (Zawitz, Marianne. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Guns Used in Crime. [link]) About half are owned by civilians and the other half by police departments and other governmental agencies (Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control, Walter de Gruyter, Inc., New York, 1997.)

One was a murder committed by a law enforcement officer (as opposed to a civilian). On September 15th, 1988, a 13-year veteran of the Dayton, Ohio police department, Patrolman Roger Waller, then 32, used his fully automatic MAC-11 .380 caliber submachine gun to kill a police informant, 52-year-old Lawrence Hileman. Patrolman Waller pleaded guilty in 1990, and he and an accomplice were sentenced to 18 years in prison. The 1986 'ban' on sales of new machine guns does not apply to purchases by law enforcement or government agencies.

Thanks to the staff of the Columbus, Ohio Public Library for the details of the Waller case.

The other homicide, possibly involving a legally owned machine gun, occurred on September 14, 1992, also in Ohio.

In Targeting Guns, Kleck cites the director of ATF testifying before Congress that he knew of less than ten crimes that were committed with legally owned machine guns (no time period was specified). Kleck says these crimes could have been nothing more than violations of gun regulations such as failure to notify ATF after moving a registered gun between states.

Crime Involving Illegally Owned Machine Guns

Again in "Targeting Guns," Kleck writes, four police officers were killed in the line of duty by machine guns from 1983 to 1992. (713 law enforcement officers were killed during that period, 651 with guns.)

In 1980, when Miami's homicide rate was at an all-time high, less than 1% of all homicides involved machine guns. (Miami was supposedly a "machine gun Mecca" and drug trafficking capital of the U.S.). Although there are no national figures to compare to, machine gun deaths were probably lower elsewhere. Kleck cites several examples:

➣Of 2,200 guns recovered by Minneapolis police (1987-1989), not one was fully automatic.

➣A total of 420 weapons, including 375 guns, were seized during drug warrant executions and arrests by the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad (Will and Grundie counties in the Chicago metropolitan area, 1980-1989). None of the guns was a machine gun.

➣16 of 2,359 (0.7%) of the guns seized in the Detroit area (1991-1992) in connection with "the investigation of narcotics trafficking operations" were machine guns.

None of this is relevant to the current debate, however, since the AR-15 is not a fully automatic weapon (machine gun). It is a semi-automatic. In 2009, the last year for which FBI statistics are available, the number of deaths (including homicides, suicides, and accidents) in the United States with ALL rifles (including but not limited to semi-automatic rifles) was 348. Experts say that semi-automatic rifles contributed only a small portion of that total. By way of contrast, the number of homicides committed that year with fists or feet was 801.
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