Freedom Socialist Letters to the Editor

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Gutsy piece

I appreciated the article on guns and self-defense [Vol. 34, No. 3, “A socialist take on gun violence, state violence, and workers’ right to self-defense”]. It’s a gutsy piece, given how easily it can be misinterpreted or misused.

I just read the book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, where I learned that her husband and most others participating in the Montgomery bus boycott owned shotguns to protect their homes. Parks herself, despite her lifelong participation in nonviolent protest, was a strong proponent of armed self-defense, if necessary. It wasn’t just the Panthers, miners and AIM members who owned guns and were prepared to use them.

Doug Noble, Rochester, N.Y.

Freedom isn’t free

It has been a long time since I have read/heard such a powerful statement against institutional discrimination and the “war on the poor.” I plan to forward it on to as many people I know and to use it in my discussions at work (I am a social worker).

Freedom is not freedom if someone else deprives others of it.

Diane Riley, Ellensburg, Wash.

Gandhi’s view

“A socialist take on gun violence” does an excellent job of portraying the complexities of this issue. While violence should always be a last resort, even Gandhi approved of it for self-defense, writing:

“Though violence is not lawful, when it is offered in self-defense or for the defense of the defenseless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission. The latter befits neither man nor woman. Under violence, there are many stages and varieties of bravery. Every man must judge this for himself. No other person can or has the right.“

“Life itself involves some kind of violence and we have to choose the path of least violence.”

(Source: The mind of Mahatma Gandhi, cited on the Gandhian Institute website.)

Both Gandhi and militant rebels were required to convince the British to free India. Both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were required to convince the U.S. Congress to end racial segregation.

The other side of this difficult issue, though, is we must still strive for peace.

William T. Hathaway, Oldenburg, Germany

Right to self-defense

I have long advocated gun ownership and the ability to self-defense, especially to people on the left as well as women and minorities including LGBT people.

It seems insane for us to not be able to defend ourselves in a climate where so many people are advocating violence towards us.

Suzan Cooke, via email

Real source of violence

Excellent piece, which at once exposes the absurdity of the current gun-control debate here in the U.S., pinpoints what the real sources of violence are in this society, and clearly states exactly what is wrongheaded about strictly pacifist modes of resistance. Thank you for this.

Omar, anarchist activist, Los Angeles

Utter nonsense

While I tend to lean toward the Left, this item on gun control is 100 percent nonsense. It is an embarrassment to those who work for a balanced and humane society.

1. Gun control is not connected to the out-of-control militarization of American foreign policy. There is a much closer connection between militaristic foreign policy and domestic health care, because the former takes financial resources away from the latter.

2. Gun ownership has absolutely no benefit for preserving civil rights in the U.S. The Black Panthers found this out in Los Angeles and Chicago. The ultra-Right found this out at Ruby Ridge. Protesters can be overwhelmingly overpowered by government fire power. Only a delusional and brain-dead person would rely on guns against government abuse.

3. Limiting gun ownership (a) to one gun per adult and (b) mandatory registration would take 90 percent of the “extra” guns out of circulation.

4. Gun control is not a constitutional issue. Just as speech can be limited so too can gun ownership be limited to one or two per adult as reasonable regulation.

Capitalism is very destructive by leading to waste and fundamental imbalance. But, if socialists want any credibility, they are going to have to stop mimicking the irrationality of the far Right.

Rich Littleton, via email


Excellent article. Well-reasoned, good historical background, etc. Thanks!

Dave Zink, via email

One piece of the puzzle

I’m thrilled to see an FS article take a position in the gun debate, and one that cuts through all the red tape. I’ve read other socialist articles on the topic and this one is very well written.

I like how the article takes recent events, puts them in a general context and then immediately redirects the reading audience to the bigger problems, which become situated ever more clearly as systemically rooted. The gun debate
becomes one piece of a puzzle that easily snaps into place once the overall picture is grasped.

C. Bashear, Portland, Ore.

The FS welcomes your feedback, opinions, and resource info. Letters may be edited for length. Please write to 5018 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118, or email

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