End Mass Violence!
After years of mass shootings becoming normal to daily American life, young people are mobilizing in opposition to gun violence. The same conditions of crisis that produced a sharp rise in violence by a small minority are also behind the radicalization of youth and workers across the world. The unending string of mass violence in America cannot be understood separately from all other social problems facing youth, which arise from the capitalist system and the nightmarish world it has created. The IYSSE encourages youth to look beyond the issue of gun control reform and voting for Democratic candidates, neither of which can resolve the underlying issues of inequality, militarism and social dysfunction.
The significance of mass student protests
On March 14th, the one-month anniversary since the Parkland massacre in Florida, one million students in the United States and across the globe participated in demonstrations in response to the rise in mass shootings. This mobilization of students reflects a growing radicalization of youth in the embryonic stages of a revolutionary era.
The Republicans and Democrats alike ignore the underlying causes of school violence—unprecedented social inequality, unending war, the consequences of the militarization of society and the defunding of education and social programs—because a serious examination of the roots of this social phenomenon would expose their own role in creating the social crisis out of which it has developed.
Just as there are more fundamental causes behind the epidemic of school shootings, there are more fundamental causes to the eruption of large-scale protests among young people. There is a widespread sense among these young people that the ease and frequency with which they are massacred in American schools is symptomatic of the indifference and contempt with which the country’s ruling oligarchy regards their lives.
Marquan, a senior at Pioneer High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan, spoke from the platform during the rally and said the rally was “about something bigger than gun violence alone” which was a “symptom of a much larger problem.” He told WSWS reporters, “Millions of people go without healthcare, we have the highest incarceration rate in this country, and our planet is being destroyed by climate change. There are a lot of things going on, and we’re starting to recognize this now. It’s the few who ruling the many who don’t care.”
Why are there so many shootings in the US?
Lynn, a senior high school student in New Orleans, explained her reaction to the recent massacre, “I kind have become accustomed to school shootings because of the various incidents that have happened in the past… But then with the Parkland shooting, I was kind of like in that same state of shock again, because this is probably one of the largest ones ever since Columbine.”
In the wake of the Parkland shooting, where 19-year old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people, much of the population felt a combination of shock, grief, anger and confusion. Mass shootings are now a part of everyday life in the United States, even for young people who are supposed to be learning in a safe, high-quality school environment. Twenty years ago, this type of violence was a rare occurrence. So, the question remains: Why are mass shootings so common in the United States?
Ultimately, the roots of mass violence lay in the crisis of the capitalist system and the decay of the American ruling class, which have produced rising militarism and staggering inequality that pervade society. While the ruling class has led nearly two decades of imperialist war, the conditions of the working class have drastically declined. Basic rights to health care, education, clean water and decent jobs are tossed aside in the pursuit of profits. A very small minority of the population react to these conditions in the most violent and extreme of ways, their individual psychology reflecting the horrific disregard for life practiced by the ruling class for decades.