State madness controls guns

The Dunblane massacre was a horrific incident. Millions of people, in Britain and throughout the world, were shocked by the apparent senseless nature of the killing, which struck almost like a force of nature. Hamilton’s own death ensures that we will probably never understand what motivated him to gun down schoolchildren.

The dismay and grief shown by Michael Forsyth, the Scottish secretary, and George Robertson, his opposite number, was undeniably genuine. It would be churlish, if not anti-human, for any communist to casually dismiss the Dunblane massacre as unimportant (‘Look at Bosnia or Rwanda for real horror’) or to simply dismiss John Major and Tony Blair’s statements of shock as ‘hypocritical’.

No serious Marxist would ever argue that individual members of the bourgeoisie are incapable of displaying human empathy or solidarity. Nor can it be denied that the fact that this killing took place in a stable, prosperous middle class community, not in some war-torn ‘Third World’ country, actually increases the sense of horror.

Nevertheless, the massacre at Dunblane has thrown up some important political questions which communists must tackle head-on, no matter how much revulsion we feel for Hamilton’s psychopathic deed.

Predictably, the bourgeoisie and its media has used Dunblane as a very convenient excuse to dredge up primitive and theological notions of ‘evil’ - a sinister, external force which exists outside of the physical-material world and can materialise at random: anywhere, anytime, any person. Society is powerless before such a force; progress is impossible.

The Guardian in one article talked about acknowledging “evil as a dynamic in human affairs” and labelled ‘evil’ as a “terrible extraneous force” (March 16). Decades of secularisation and scientific progress vanish into thin air overnight with The Guardian.

More significant is the mounting hysteria over gun control and the growing demand for tougher gun laws. The tabloid press is in the vanguard of this anti-gun campaign, conjuring up images of deranged psychos stalking the streets with automatic rifles tucked underneath their raincoats - but with a state-sanctioned gun licence in their pocket ...

Naturally, the state wants to retain its monopoly over weapons. To own a gun officially the state has to decide that you are a ‘fit and proper’ person. Oddly enough, Gerry Adams has been consistently refused a gun licence, yet Thomas Hamilton - a man well known for his erratic and unstable behaviour - is granted one. It goes without saying that the state is free to retain and employ its weapons of mass destruction. We all know that the imperialist ruling class is a fit and proper class to rule over us.

Shocking though it may seem to many on the left, communists stand against the gun crackdown being mounted by the bourgeoisie. No, we do not think it is a good thing that deranged individuals like Hamilton possess weapons. No, we are not advocating that communists stand in the high street, distributing AK47s arbitrarily. Yes, we are aware that the gun lobby has links with the Tory Party and is growing in power.

However, communists stand for the arming of the people, in our struggle to overthrow the state and its standing army. The future workers’ state will need to defend itself from its enemies, both internal and external, and it must have the means to do so. Our future working class organisations will not hand out guns to the Hamiltons of this world. But we must be the defenders of our own future. We will not stand idly by while a fully armed bureaucratic state, which defends only the ruling class and irrationality, prepares to crush our resistance to its oppression.

Eddie Ford