Their army and ours

Marxists prefer peace to war, but, as Jack Conrad explains, with us that must go hand-in-hand with making propaganda for the right to bear arms and the establishment of a popular militia

When it comes to opposing standing armies and demanding a militia, we Marxists stand part of a long tradition.

The Florentine bourgeois republic of the 15th and 16th centuries deserves particular mention. Having overthrown the Medici dynasty and experienced the failure, incompetence and betrayal of the professional (mercenary) army, the republic adopted a system of district militias. In the humanist mind the militias of ancient Rome served as the model - an ideal spread throughout renaissance Europe via the writings of Niccolò Machiavelli (The prince chapters 12, 13 and 14, Discourses on Livy and The art of war). Machiavelli, of course, himself helped create the Florentine militia. Between 1498 and 1512 he served as a senior official in the republic. Incidentally, both Marx and Engels held Machiavelli in the highest esteem.1

English radicals such as James Harrington (Commonwealth of Oceana 1656) and John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon (Cato’s letters 1720-23) took up Machiavelli’s militia ideal. From England it made the journey over the Atlantic to America, where the militias famously sparked the revolutionary war by taking on the Redcoats at Lexington and Concord.

Even after victory and the Treaty of Paris, the militia were seen by the camp of plebeian and middling democracy as their best defence against another unacceptable regime. There were, after all, those - eg, Lewis Nicola - who wanted George Washington crowned king. To guard against such an outcome, guarantees were demanded against the “establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty” (Eldridge Gerry, 1789).2 Hence the second amendment: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” (the echoes of the 1689 English Bill of Rights and, before that, the Magna Carta are unmistakable).

Marx and Engels considered themselves the inheritors of Machiavelli, English radicalism and the second amendment. Clause four of the Marx-Engels Demands of the Communist Party in Germany (1848) is unequivocal:

Universal arming of the people. In future armies shall at the same time be workers’ armies, so that the armed forces will not only consume, as in the past, but produce even more than it costs to maintain them.3

The Marx-Engels team never wavered. Read Can Europe disarm? (1893). Written by Frederick Engels 10 years after the death of his friend and collaborator, here we find a concrete application of Marxism to the dawning epoch of universal suffrage and universal conscription. Engels concluded that the key to revolution was mutiny in the armed forces. His pamphlet outlined a model bill for military reform in Germany. Engels was determined to show that the proposal to gradually transform standing armies into a “militia based on the universal principle of arming the people” could exploit the mounting fears of a pending European war and widespread resentment at the ruinously costly military budget.4

For propaganda purposes, Engels proposed an international agreement to limit military service to a short period and a state system in which no country would fear aggression, because no country would be capable of aggression. Surely World War I would have been impossible if the European great powers had nothing more than civilian militias available to them.

Not that Engels was some lily-livered pacifist. He supported universal male (!) conscription and, if necessary, was quite prepared to advocate revolutionary war on the model of Napoleon’s grande armée. Needless to say, his Can Europe disarm? was not only intended to prove the undoubted military superiority of a militia over a standing army, at least when it comes to defensive wars (it can fully mobilise very large numbers at speed and is capable of successfully surviving a whole series of initial setbacks). No, Engels wanted a citizen army where rank-and-file troops would, if necessary, turn their guns on any officer tempted to issue orders that ran counter to the vital interests of the people. Subsequent Marxists took the militia for granted: August Bebel, Leo Jogiches, Karl Kautsky, Clara Zetkin, Vladimir Lenin, Eugene Debs … even Eduard Bernstein.

Take Jean Jaurès and his L’armée nouvelle (1910). True, his book is marred by various reformist assumptions, a muddle over defensive and offensive wars, and is tainted by French nationalism: eg, he wanted men of military age in departments bordering Germany to keep their arms at home. Nonetheless, L’armée nouvelle provides solid arguments in favour of the militia system and even outlines a detailed implementation plan (in the form of a draft parliamentary bill). Interestingly, Charles de Gaulle, a champion of mechanised warfare and the professional army par excellence, expressed his admiration for Jaurès - though a civilian and a socialist - because of his ability to grasp military matters.5

A précis. According to Jaurès, society and army have to be brought together: he wants the armed nation. Democracy and morale are of crucial importance. There will be millions of reservists and the number of full-time officers must be drastically reduced, with those who remain kept for purposes of instruction. All levels of public education must contain a military element. The working class movement is to be encouraged to organise military-gymnastic and shooting clubs. Trade unions should make provision for the selection of officer material. Promotion to be decided by panels that include elected representatives of the army rank and file. In the event of a government attempting a counterrevolutionary coup against the “enemy within”, or launching a war of foreign conquest, the new army - the militia army - does its duty to the nation and launches a “constitutional” insurrection.6

The mass parties of the Second International unproblematically adopted the militia idea. In the political section of the programme of the French Workers’ Party (Parti Ouvrier), authored jointly by Karl Marx and Jules Guesde, we find the demand for the “abolition of standing armies and the general arming of the people” (clause 4).7 A proposition faithfully translated by the Germans: “Education of all to bear arms. Militia in the place of the standing army” (clause 3).8 The Austrians too are adamant: “The cause of the constant danger of war is the standing army, whose growing burden alienates the people from its cultural tasks. It is therefore necessary to fight for the replacement of the standing army by arming the people” (clause 6).9 Then the Russians: “… general arming of the people instead of maintaining a standing army” (clause C9).10 Even in the newly formed, though hardly Marxist, Labour Party in Britain, there is this call in its first general election manifesto (1900): “Abolition of the standing army, and the establishment of a citizen force”.11

An additional point. Having established the hybrid Red Army out of dire necessity - part popular militia, part standing army - Leon Trotsky, Soviet Russia’s commissar for war, looked not to going back to the “wonder working powers of the barracks”, but towards the “militia system”.12

Not today

Sad to say, nowadays the majority of the left in Britain, in almost all its piteous manifestations, takes a social-pacifist position: eg, Peace and Justice, Momentum, the Socialist Workers Party, the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain, Counterfire, the Revolutionary Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), etc. There are, naturally, minor differences and gradations: eg, some stand for overt pacifism; others shade over into it. Basically, though, all peddle the same old lie: there can be a lasting peace while capitalism remains.

Stop the War Coalition is their main umbrella. Its steering committee includes representatives of various unions, Unite, PCS and NEU, as well as the CPB (Emily Mann), Morning Star (Ben Chacko), SWP (Judith Orr and Tomáš Tengely-Evans), Counterfire (John Rees, Lindsey German and Chris Nineham), Young Labour London (Artin Giles), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Left Unity (Kate Hudson) and the Green Party (Mariette Labelle).

StWC statements reek of pacifism. So, when it comes to Ukraine, there are complaints about the US-UK axis “deliberately trying to head off moves towards serious negotiations”. In that same spirit the StWC makes pious pleas for “respecting” UN treaties, national sovereignty and for governments to behave in a less bellicose manner. It sees its particular role as pressurising the British government “to stop fuelling the escalation of conflict in Ukraine” and, instead, favours a “negotiated peace immediately”.13 An approach which effectively lines up the StWC behind António Guterres and the United Nations bureaucracy.

Not surprisingly, any idea, any suggestion of calling for a mass revolutionary party (not yet another bureaucratic-centralist confessional sect), and linking the demand for peace with the struggle for socialism, simply does not occur. After all that practical first step, in the direction of organising the working class into a class for itself, would be unacceptable to the Greens and Labourite reformists, who, in actuality, set the programmatic limits for the entire current crop of so-called united fronts. Eg, Stand Up to Racism, People’s Assembly, StWC, etc, etc.

But what ought to be acceptable, in principle, to any radical, any democrat, certainly any revolutionary, is the demand for the abolition of standing armies (and the police) and their replacement by the armed people - a popular militia. If the demand was tirelessly fought for in the left press and media, in trade union meetings, in parliament, if the demand was directed at new recruits and serving members of the armed forces, if the demand featured prominently on anti-war demonstrations and in election leaflets, manifestos and broadcasts, it would, as wider and wider acceptance was gained, deliver a powerful political and moral blow against the forces of militarism and war.

Certainly winning the demand for a people’s militia in practice would make a huge contribution to reducing the danger of war. Foreign adventures - especially of the US kind in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan - would be more or less impossible. A militia is made up of civilians and is totally unsuited for fighting long wars in the far abroad. By equal measure, however, foreign invasion would meet the stiffest resistance - resistance in depth, resistance from every angle. True, initially, there might well be defeats. After retreating though, the militia army would make advances by enemy forces ever more difficult by striking back from well-prepared tunnels and underground bunkers. Sabotage and guerrilla warfare sees the invaders’ supply lines disrupted and eventually broken. Fraternisation and establishing links with the rank and file, class appeals, including to the population back home, help break the hold of the officer caste and bring over enemy units. The militia army, having gathered strength from the armed people, stages its decisive counter-offensive.

Not a copy

We unashamedly fight for a popular militia. Not a copy of the US National Guard, the Israeli Defence Force, the Ukrainian National Guard or the Swiss Army. Officers must be elected and recallable, discipline self-imposed and military instruction linked to political education.

This is admittedly a reform demand. But, of course, no Marxist discounts the importance of putting forward demands for reform, not least in order to expose opportunists. They would be glad if we left demands for reform to them and them alone. Then they would be free to peddle - unchallenged, unimpeded, unembarrassed - the fantasy of a “just peace”, a “non-annexationist peace” an “enduring peace”, where every country’s sovereignty and legitimate security concerns are guaranteed by legally binding treaties: an StWC fantasy that still pulls the wool over the eyes of far too many working class militants, student radicals and anti-war activists.

Thankfully, not least due to our efforts, the opportunists are challenged, are embarrassed, are exposed. Eg, according to Sam Fairbairn, former national secretary of the People’s Assembly, calling for a popular militia is divisive, provocative and certainly beyond the “remit” of the anti-austerity movement, and should therefore be avoided like the plague.14 Strange, given that the People’s Assembly rejects the renewal of Trident, condemns imperialist adventures in the Middle East and opposes unjust and illegal wars. Stranger still, given that comrade Fairbairn, like John Rees, Lindsey German and Chris Nineham, is a member of Counterfire. Their 2010 breakaway from the SWP proudly proclaimed, true to form, that Counterfire is a “revolutionary socialist organisation”. Sneakily, however, it is committed to “eliminating unnecessary barriers between our socialist politics and the thousands of activists being drawn into opposition to austerity and war”.15 Presumably, Counterfire considers, for its own opportunist reasons, that the dissolution of the standing army and the formation of a popular militia constitutes one of those “unnecessary barriers”.

No less strange, Romayne Phoenix vehemently supported comrade Fairbairn’s insistence on establishing a barrier against the demand for the abolition of standing armies and their replacement by people’s militias. Who is Romayne Phoenix? Well, she was a “key person” in the People’s Assembly and, no less to the point, a former leading member of the Green Party of England and Wales. With the backing of Peter Tatchell and Derek Wall, she stood on a Green Left ticket against Natalie Bennett in the August 2012 contest to be Green Party leader.16 Note: the Greens have a long-standing peace and defence policy (modified in January 1990, modified in September 2014 and modified again in October 2019.). In short, though, the Green Party demands scrapping Trident and - until March 2023, when this was abandoned - a British withdrawal from Nato. Moreover - and this is the moot point here - the Greens are programmatically committed to replacing the existing armed forces with “civilian and military volunteers” in a reorganised Territorial Army.17 In other words, a Green Party version of a militia.

So what was the candidate of the Green Left doing in People’s Assembly opposing the long-standing programme of her own party? Shame on her and shame on the Green Left for ever backing her. Not that the so-called revolutionary left even have a paper commitment to anything that smacks of the constitutional demand for replacing the standing army with a popular militia. No, on the contrary, there is fear, avoidance and downright panic.

Leave aside Fairbairn and Counterfire. A few years ago, we interviewed Dave Nellist, a leading member of the Socialist Party in England and Wales. Revealingly, the comrade refused point-blank to say whether or not he supported the demand for a popular militia.18 In truth he doesn’t, but just doesn’t want to say so. The entire Militant tradition, upheld not only by SPEW, but its Socialist Appeal and Socialist Alternative splits too, testifies to a thoroughgoing reformism, as can be seen from The state - a little 1983 pamphlet jointly authored by their three ‘great’ teachers, Ted Grant, Peter Taaffe and Lynn Walsh.19

True, nowadays Alan Woods and his Socialist Appeal group have swung from the dullest of dull Labourism to calling themselves ‘communists’. A change brought about, on the one hand, by the abject failure of their campaign to reinstate the old Fabian clause four version of socialism back into Labour Party rules under the Jeremy Corbyn leadership and, on the other hand, the growing popularity of socialism and communism amongst young people. But Socialist Appeal has no conception, not a clue, about the necessity of a minimum programme. They say, for example, that they want to abolish the police - good. A step forward from previous calls for police ‘accountability’. But ask them what they want to replace the police (and the standing army) with - under capitalism, that is before we achieve socialism - and they have no answer. Their communism is a mere pose, it is entirely lacking in seriousness.

At least, Robert Griffiths, general secretary of the Morning Star’s CPB, has the virtue of openly admitting his craven prostration before the bourgeois state. He aggressively dismisses the demand for abolishing the standing army and a popular militia as “nothing to do with real struggle”. Of course, what we are dealing with today, in the here and now, is the battle of ideas. The idea of the popular militia therefore has everything to do with the real ideological struggle between Marxism and reformism. And when the class struggle rises, becomes intense, the question of the popular militia is posed point blank as an urgent practical necessity. But, there is, Griffiths dumbly announces, no revolutionary situation in Britain today - as if Marxists should wait till it is already too late before raising the demand. Either way, Griffiths lambasts what he sees as a CPGB “provocation”. Showing he is just a yellow-belly, he splutters that the very idea of a militia presents “a gift to the British state”. If we dare advocate such an outrage, “MI5 will be around straightaway”.20 Note, for the benefit of comrade Griffiths, if for no-one else, MI5 routinely monitors, infiltrates and acts against the left.

Programmatically, however, comrade Griffiths is committed to Britain’s road to socialism (a repeatedly updated version of The British road to socialism, first drafted in the early 1950s with the generous help and assistance of JV Stalin). This tawdry, thoroughly reformist document, in all its versions, simply takes the existing armed forces (the police included) as a given. All that is required, when it comes to the “taking of state power”, is replacing “key personnel”.21 Certainly not fighting to abolish the standing army and the police and their replacement by a popular militia. Yes, we are seriously meant to believe that the entire capitalist state apparatus, including the US hegemon, sits idly by, while some putative left Labour-CPB majority in the House of Commons votes to legislate capitalism out of existence. No, counterrevolution would “push back” (Mike Pompeo). Replacing one Sandhurst-educated officer with another Sandhurst-educated officer will make not a jot of difference.

That is why the fight for a popular militia is so important. In part because the demand itself prepares millions of minds to expect capitalist armed coups and outside interventions against an actual or expected communist popular majority, but also in part because the demand can be practically realised, even if only partially, by establishing workers’ defence squads, red guards, etc … and winning army, navy and airforce units over to socialism and a position where they agree to only obey orders issued in effect by the Communist Party itself.

But comrade Griffiths is no revolutionary. Faced with a Young Communist League gone rouge, he issued an edict which effectively bans his minions from even discussing the militia question:

… it is essential that the party and its members do not publish or post anything that could be interpreted as support for the possession of weapons in Britain or for armed struggle at home or - except when explicitly endorsed by our party - abroad. Party members should make themselves aware of the home office list of proscribed terrorist organisations.22

So the idea of possessing arms in Britain is explicitly ruled out of order, while armed struggle in Britain, including resisting a coup, or a US regime change operation, is likewise fearfully rejected.

Objectively then, when it comes to the standing army, it is clear that the Green Party, at least on paper, stands well to the left of today’s cowardly social-pacifists.


Of course, the US is widely cited as an example of why the popular militia and the right to bear arms should be avoided at all cost. Indeed, given the growth of heavily armed fascist militias, such as the Proud Boys, the baleful influence of the National Rifle Association and the many thousands of deaths annually from gun-inflicted injuries - 45,222 in 2020 alone23 - it is perfectly understandable why there are not only calls for stronger controls over firearms (eg, banning private individuals from owning semi-automatic assault rifles), but going the whole hog and repealing the second amendment altogether. This is the argument of former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens, and radicals such as filmmaker Michael Moore.24

True, in his book Six amendments: how and why we should change the constitution (2014), Stevens suggested amending the second amendment by adding five words (which we put in italics): “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the militia shall not be infringed.”25 He claimed that this change would “conform to the original intent of its draftsmen” - that intent being concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the newly independent states. “Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century,” he declared.

Amendment and repeal are not quite the same thing, but the point that needs to made is that Stevens and Moore find their echo on the left.26 Nevertheless, while it is claimed that the repeal of the second amendment would be ‘simple’, the fact of the matter is that it would need either an act of heaven, a civil war, or both to achieve that end.

Not a chance

Politically, leaving aside the president and the ultra-conservative Supreme Court, in the immediate future, there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that abolitionists would get anywhere near to the required two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress and the three-fourths of the states needed for ratification.

But imagine, for the sake of the argument, that not only do the abolitionists - presumably the ‘progressive’ wing of the Democrats (upper-case ‘D’) - secure a two-thirds majority in the more democratic (lower-case ‘d’) House of Representatives: they get a two-thirds majority in the highly undemocratic Senate too. More than that, a sufficient chunk of normally conservative states likewise vote for abolition. Subsequently, the president signs it into law and the Supreme Court rules against the many and various legal challenges mounted by Texas, Florida, Alabama, West Virginia, North Dakota and Oklahoma. Here is our act of heaven.

However, now comes the civil war. As the various police forces move to enforce abolition, they meet stiff resistance. Fire fights break out. Sieges begin. The National Guard is called in, then the regular army. Soon there are a hundred, a thousand stand-offs. Texas, Florida, Alabama, West Virginia, North Dakota and Oklahoma refuse to comply with the new law and threaten to declare independence to preserve their sacred state rights.

No, no, no, the left should not sell out its political independence for such a fantastical perspective. On the contrary, we should view the second amendment as an early modern democratic gain that needs to be defended and realised - given a new form - by organising working class militias. To begin with, that is the best way to fend off fascist goons such as the Proud Boys. Relying on the police is worse than stupid. When it comes down to it, fascist fighting formations are simply an auxiliary of the capitalist state and its own fighting formations. The workers’ militia are also the best way to protect picket lines and strikers from police intimidation and attack - an all too common occurrence in America.

Longer term, having our own militias is the best way to uphold an actual, or an expected, working class majority in the House of Representatives. Such a victory would be worth fighting a civil war to defend, preserve and take forward. After all, a working class - ie, a communist - majority would be committed to doing far more than just abolishing the undemocratic Senate, the monarchical presidency and the Supreme Court. The next steps would entail founding a new, socialist republic, expropriating the billionaires, the big banks, the giant corporations and shifting away from production for profit to production for need.

The House of Representatives would be declared the sovereign power of the land and transformed into a constitutional convention. In doing so, the working class would, of course, not only face howls and protests from the right: there is also the existential threat represented by the standing army.

The US armed forces are no longer the diminutive body they were in the late 18th century. Today there are 1.32 million military personnel and 800,000 reservists - a “bane of liberty” both abroad and at home if ever there was. Hence the necessity of splitting the armed forces, winning units and fusing them with the working class militia that can - peacefully if we can, violently if we must - persuade the capitalist class into accepting their historic defeat.

Anyway, back to what has been called the US gun-death epidemic. While mass killings inevitably hit the headlines with a horrible frequency, the fact of the matter is that suicide accounts for roughly half the total: 54% in 2020 (ie, 24,292 people). A terribly sad figure, which certainly testifies to the widespread ownership and availability of firearms, but also to loneliness and despair. Frankly, though, the same can be said of the majority of gun-related murders (accidents, police killings, etc, account for 3% of gun-related deaths). Either way, the figures for suicide and murder are pretty stable: eg, 6.2 gun murders per 100,000 people in 2020, below the rate of 7.2 recorded in 1974. And there were 7.0 gun suicides per 100,000 people in 2020, below the 7.7 rate in 1977.27 Note, in total the US suicide rate stands at around 13.2 per 100,000.

However, here in the UK, with its strict gun controls, the suicide rate was 11.1 per 100,000 people in 2013, though this was still substantially less than the rates recorded in the 1980s and 1990s - the highest being 21.4 per 100,000 in 1988. About half the deaths are by hanging.28 So Yanks shoot themselves and Brits tie a rope around their necks. Nonetheless, the suicide rate is roughly the same on both sides of the Atlantic.

There can be no arguing that the US murder rate is high - certainly much higher than Canada, Germany, Japan and the UK. But does the ready access to guns constitute the main explanation? Take Switzerland. Though famously a country of brotherly love, 166 years of peace and the cuckoo-clock, what else does it have? A well-trained army of 120,000, along with 80,000 reservists who are obliged by law to hold and maintain their service rifles ready at home. Meanwhile, private gun ownership in Switzerland is estimated to stand at between 27.6 and 41.2 per 100 people (the figure in the US is similar, at around 30 per 100).29 And yet the murder rate in Switzerland was just 0.54 per 100,000 in 2020.30

Clearly, guns in and of themselves tell us nothing. So why do US citizens kill one another comparatively so often? Doubtless the causes are complex and multi-layered. Of course, there is a well established fictional and semi-fictional genre of individualism and individual vengeance in America. Hence, Billy the Kid, Jonah Hex and Will Mundy and the cult of the lone-wolf gunslinger; hence Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, Bruce Wayne and the cult of the lone-wolf terrorist. The willingness to ‘take the law into one’s own hands’ probably stems from endemic legal corruption, whereby what passes for ‘justice’ is bought by the highest bidder. Plutocrats hire judges, the best lawyers, sheriffs and Pinkertons too. The poor get arrested, found guilty and rot in jail.

There are also other highly plausible factors involved. Consider, for example, economic insecurity, the decline in union and church membership, social isolation, school bullying, rampant militarism, systemic racism, male chauvinism, the war on drugs and vicious gang rivalries.

All surely have more explanatory power when it comes to high murder rates than the “right of the people to keep and bear arms”.

  1. . Eg, writing to Engels, Marx describes Machiavelli’s History of Florence as a “masterpiece” (K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 40, London 1983, p187). In his Dialectics of nature Engels praises Machiavelli as the “first notable military author of modern times” (K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 25, London 1987, p319).↩︎

  2. . S Cornell The other founders: anti-federalism and the dissenting tradition in America, 1788-1828 Chapel Hill 1999, p161.↩︎

  3. . K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 7, Moscow 1977, p3.↩︎

  4. . K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 27, London 1990, p371.↩︎

  5. . C de Gaulle Letters, notes and notebooks, 1919-June 1940 Paris 1980, p 448.↩︎

  6. . See J Jaurès Oeuvres tome 13: ‘L’armie nouvelle’, 2012. An abbreviated translation was published in 1916 and can be found on the Marxist Internet Archive: marxists.org/archive/jaures/1907/military-service/index.htm (though I think the 1907 dating given is mistaken).↩︎

  7. . marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/05/parti-ouvrier.htm.↩︎

  8. . marxists.org/history/international/social-democracy/1891/erfurt-program.htm.↩︎

  9. . I am grateful to Ben Lewis for his translation of the Hainfeld programme.↩︎

  10. . marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1902/draft/02feb07.htm.↩︎

  11. . I Dale (ed) Labour Party general election manifestos 1900-1997 London 2002, p9.↩︎

  12. . L Trotsky How the revolution armed Vol 2, London 1979, pp163-192.↩︎

  13. . StWC press release, June 6 2022.↩︎

  14. . ‘No controversy, please’ Weekly Worker December 10 2015: weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1086/no-controversy-please.↩︎

  15. . web.archive.org/web/20180925225503/http://www.counterfire.org/about-us.↩︎

  16. . www.redpepper.org.uk/green-party-left-foot-forward.↩︎

  17. . web.archive.org/web/20221014111848/https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/pd.html.↩︎

  18. . ‘Over a pint in the pub’ Weekly Worker May 21 2009: weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/770/over-a-pint-in-the-pub.↩︎

  19. . T Grant, P Taaffe and L Walsh The state, a warning to the labour movement London 1983.↩︎

  20. . ‘A well ordered militia’ Weekly Worker February 5 2015: weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1044/a-well-ordered-militia.↩︎

  21. . Britain’s road to socialism Croydon 2020, pp35-36.↩︎

  22. . CPB members’ bulletin, Unity!: www.communistparty.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/September-2021-Unity_.pdf.↩︎

  23. . www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/02/03/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s.↩︎

  24. . JP Steven, ‘Repeal the Second Amendment’ The New York Times March 27 2018; appearing on MSNBC’s ‘All in with Chris Hayes’ in March 2022, Michael Moore said “I support all gun control legislation, not sensible gun control. We don’t need the sensible stuff. We need the hardcore stuff that’s going to protect ourselves and our children.”↩︎

  25. . JP Stevens Six amendments: how and why we should change the constitution New York 2014, chapter 6.↩︎

  26. . Including in this paper - see D Lazare, ‘End right to bear arms’ Weekly Worker April 13 2023: weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1438/end-right-to-bear-arms.↩︎

  27. . www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/02/03/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s.↩︎

  28. . en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_the_United_Kingdom.↩︎

  29. . The exact number of guns in private hands are not counted in Switzerland – see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearms_regulation_in_Switzerland; For the US figure, see: www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/13/key-facts-about-americans-and-guns.↩︎

  30. . www.macrotrends.net/countries/CHE/switzerland/murder-homicide-rate.↩︎