CPUSA on Gun Ownership

BY: Marc Brodine| May 5, 2016
CPUSA on Gun Ownership
QI am curious as to the stance of the Communist Party USA on gun ownership?
AThe Communist Party doesn’t have a “stance” or “official position” on gun ownership. We do support the Second Amendment rights to gun ownership, and we also support common sense restrictions on that right—limitations but not bans.

We have members who are hunters, own guns, and appreciate that right, and others who are appalled by the level of gun violence in our society. We think that registration, waiting periods, limits on the KINDS of guns that can be sold AND MANUFACTURED can help with the extreme levels of gun violence against people, and the many fatal accidents that occur each year when children play with guns and end up causing horrific damage and death.

Having lots of guns around by itself won’t change the political balance of forces. The existing power structure, including police and armed forces, will always have more weapons and firepower. We see revolution as basic change brought about by the actions of millions of people; it is a fundamentally democratic act.  We don’t see revolution as inherently violent. We seek a peaceful revolution. At the same time we recognize that historically many ruling classes, rather than giving up their power, resort to violence against people’s movements, and we support the right of those movements to engage in armed self-defense.

This I think represents our general feeling about guns, not the “official position” nor a unanimous one.
    Marc Brodine is Chair of the Washington State CPUSA. A former AFSCME member and local officer, he is currently an artist and guitar player. Marc writes on environmental issues and answers many web site questions. Marc is the author of an extended essay on Marxist philosophy and the environment, titled Dialectics of Climate Change.

Comments (4)

Michael J Burnett | February 19, 2018 at 9:56 PM

It’s true that armed insurrection has no chance in the modern era. However being completely defenseless invites tyranny. Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. If the state has a monopoly on violence it is under no obligation to honor any law or constitutional right it finds inconvenient. It can suspend the rule of law at will and thus any peaceful mass movement that threatens it will lose the only recourse for change it has.

Doug Kelley | August 06, 2017 at 8:48 AM

Should be Under their leadership

John | March 04, 2017 at 3:10 PM

Here is a tip. Re-Read the literatures It is stated the people need armed to prevent the system from becoming corrupt. And the Army should be made of and owned by the People not the Government.

The only logical restrictions for Firearms are restrictions on Violent Felons, Sex offenders, and Domestic Abusers and on the people selling them to be licensed. Restricting the Manufacture and ownership is what lead to the corruption of all communist governments.

To Quote:
“To be able forcefully and threateningly to oppose this party, whose betrayal of the workers will begin with the very first hour of victory, the workers must be armed and organized. The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens’ militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed. Where the formation of this militia cannot be prevented, the workers must try to organize themselves independently as a proletarian guard, with elected leaders and with their own elected general staff; they must try to place themselves not under the orders of the state authority but of the revolutionary local councils set up by the workers. Where the workers are employed by the state, they must arm and organize themselves into special corps with elected leaders, or as a part of the proletarian guard. Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary. The destruction of the bourgeois democrats’ influence over the workers, and the enforcement of conditions which will compromise the rule of bourgeois democracy, which is for the moment inevitable, and make it as difficult as possible – these are the main points which the proletariat and therefore the League must keep in mind during and after the approaching uprising.”

And Communism can be done alongside Capitalism if the people are intelligent. The issue is people can’t see how that works.

    Scott Hiley | March 21, 2017 at 3:25 PM

    Marx and Engels wrote the passage you cite in 1848, when revolution was brewing in France and Germany. In 1895, Engels gave another analysis of the feasibility of armed insurrection in an age when the disparity of arms between insurrectionists and the state was much greater than in 1848. Here’s what he has to say:

    “Does the reader now understand why the powers that be positively want to get us to go where the guns shoot and the sabres slash? Why they accuse us of cowardice because we do not betake ourselves… into the street, where we are certain of defeat in advance? Why they so earnestly implore us to play for once the part of cannon fodder? […] We are not so stupid. They might just as well demand from their enemy in the next war that he should accept battle in the line formation of old Fritz, or in the columns of whole divisions as at Wagram and Waterloo, and with the flintlock in his hands at that. If conditions have changed in the case of war between nations, this is no less true in the case of the class struggle. The time of surprise attacks, of revolutions, carried through by small conscious minorities at the head of unconscious masses, is past. Where it is a question of a complete transformation of the social organization, the masses themselves must also be in it, must themselves have already grasped what is at stake, what they are going in for with body and soul. […] But in order that the masses may understand what is to be done, long, persistent work is required.
    (From Engels’ Introduction to the 1895 edition of Marx’s The Class Struggles in France)

    The ruling class has more and better guns–so of course they want to get us into a shooting war. They know we would lose. Instead, our power comes from mass unity.

    As to your other point, about the coexistence of communism and capitalism, I disagree. Capitalism, by its very nature, has to expand to survive. It cannot tolerate the withholding of any resources that could fuel that expansion. As long as the capitalist class holds power, there are no stable gains for the working class. Everything that has been won can be taken back, as we now see with the Trump regime’s assault on collective bargaining, public schools, environmental protections… Capitalist ownership of the means of production cannot coexist with workers’ collective control of their own labor and its products.

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