[sixties-l] guns and democracy

From: Ted Morgan (epm2@lehigh.edu)
Date: 10/10/00

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    Ok, I'm guilty... but I found another good question of high topicality, again in
    a Paula message:
    > Am I naive or are yes/no debates re gun control (or, for that matter, re
    > whether the left or right--old or new of either--was bigger at the start of
    > the 1960s) are not likely to get resolved here?
    We had an interesting 'showdown' on gun control locally this past week --a
    classic metaphor for our undemocratic media-based politics.  A group decided to
    spin-off the million-mom march and march against violence, including
    gun-violence, locally.  A group backed and generated with considerable NRA
    support came out, too, and lined the bridge walkway with signs of all sorts (some
    made good sense --e.g., the use of guns in some competitive sports, the use of
    guns in hunting, etc.; some were, well, ... there was a swastika).  No
    communication between the groups.  Just polarized, visual,
    politics-of-statement.  One will win a victory or two in the legislature, the
    other'll lose (or will feel likethey lost).  Without getting into the merits (my
    own take is the NRA does a masterful propaganda job scaring gun-owners into
    fearing the total loss of their gun rights; but some on the other side help feed
    that fear, too), this struck me as a good example of how our politics cannot be
    called democratic.  The "marketplace of competing protest turnouts & visual
    imagery" ain't democracy.  There is no democracy unless we call can, in fact,
    converse with each other about what we want, think, etc.  And, unless we have
    real avenues for expressing that power (cf. the 'closed system' re. Nader).
    Regarding Paula's final point:
    >  While the US is hardly Chile (or vice versa, for all the former's trying),
    > what would
    > have happened had Allende armed the people?
    Well, the Sandinista's did arm the people.  Most know what happened there, I

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