Socialist Worker

Big anti-gun demos rage at the violence, racism and poverty in US society

Marches of hundreds of thousands of people show fury at racism, police and poverty, reports Alistair Farrow

Issue No. 2597

Protesters in New York City last Saturday

Protesters in New York City last Saturday (Pic: mathiaswasik/Flickr)


Huge protests took place across the US last week against mass shootings.

March For Our Lives events were held in some 800 towns and cities across the US, organised by students and young people.

Some 800,000 joined the march in Washington, DC—and 150,000 turned out in New York City.

About 40,000 people marched in Los Angeles, California. And tens of thousands marched in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.

Thousands of students across the US walked out of school last Wednesday for 17 minutes—one minute for each pupil killed at Parkland.

People came on the protests because they wanted to change a society in which thousands die from gun violence every year.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Delaney Tarr said, “We are not here for bread crumbs, we’re here for real change.”

The Democratic Party wants to put itself at the head of the movement. Liberal media sources are keen to reinforce their message.

The New York Times newspaper reported that children were the driving force of the protests. But it implied they would not have happened without the “sophisticated, experienced organisational muscle” of “adults”.

Controlled

Philanthropic organisations controlled by the rich were quick to claim credit for the massive turnouts because they had funded coaches and planes. But people came on protests across the country, not just in Washington. And they came for reasons that weren’t dictated by the rich and the powerful.

One of the noticeable features was that protesters’ demands were not limited to ending school shootings, but against the militarisation of everyday life in the US.

Cops kill people with impunity, as happened in the case of Stephen Clark in Sacramento, California, last week. Officers shot at him 20 times for the “crime” of being in his grandparents’ back garden.

People protested because they were furious at a racist president who boasts about sexually assaulting women and responds to school shootings with calls to arm teachers.

On the Washington march Edna Chavez from Los Angeles said people marching were for “changing the conditions that foster violence.”

She talked about how her brother was killed outside their home in 2007. “This is normal—normal to the point that I learned to duck from bullets before I learned how to read,” she said.

There have been horrific mass shootings in schools before. The response to the Parkland killings has been far greater than the response to any of those which came previously.

The protests have tapped into the huge anger at the heart of US society.

That anger must stay on the streets—and target the culprits in the White House, the military bunkers, the boardrooms and the police stations.


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