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Arming the Left
On the Need for Arms, and
A Revolutionary’s Guide to
A publication of
Red Plains Revolutionary Group
On the Need for Arms
It would be absurd to assert that the
need for armed revolution is now, or that it is
on the horizon in the very near future. However,
it is equally absurd for those of us on the political left to allow both the state and the right to
have a monopoly over any means of resistance,
including firearms. In the wake of the recent
cultural shift revealed by the 2016 election, a
long-existing truth has become more apparent:
revolutionaries everywhere need to be prepared
to act in self defense and in defense of others at
any moment. From a bar in Kansas, to a protest
in Seattle, to the streets in our communities,
anywhere there is a presence of oppressed and
marginalized people, no matter the situation,
we do not have the luxury of knowing when and
what means of resistance will be called for.
It’s important to note that there’s a difference between advocating for violence and
advocating for resistance. While resistance can
ultimately turn violent, the violence is the fault
of the aggressor, not the fault of those in the
position of resistance. It is of utmost importance
to understand that armed resistance isn’t always
a directly violent form of resistance. Destroying
the narrative of a completely defenseless and
unarmed left in the United States will only be a
positive step for revolutionaries.
Despite frantic claims from the right
during the last eight years, the liberal establishment hasn’t gotten a hair’s-breadth closer to
banning guns. It actually produced growth in the
gun industry, with some reports showing an increase of as much as 158 percent. It’s important
to look at where all these guns are ending up. A
survey conducted by Harvard and Northeastern
University found that while the number of gun
owners in the US has decreased, “roughly half
of all the guns in this country are possessed by
just 3 percent of American adults.” Pew Research
Association has also found that “about six-in-ten
gun household members (64%) say they ‘often
feel proud to be American.’ In contrast, about
half (51%) of other adults say this.” We could
draw a lot of conclusions from these statistics,
but we don’t really have to. It’s readily apparent
that the overwhelming majority of gun owners in
our situation tend to lean right and to be fairly
vocal about it.
In his speech at the 2017 Conservative
Political Action Conference, Wayne LaPierre,
executive vice president and chief executive of
the National Rifle Association, gave a particularly fear-mongering speech. LaPierre suggested
that “Anarchists, Marxists, communists and the
whole rest of the left-wing Socialist brigade” are
the new enemy of choice for the armed right,
arguing that the left is “willing to use violence
against us.” LaPierre’s warped worldview be-
came much more apparent as he continued
to speak, eventually mentioning the “violent”
judicial branch who “might as well throw a Molotov cocktail at the U.S. Constitution.” Given the
right’s historical propensity towards violence this
type of rhetoric is extremely problematic. Inn a
single speech LaPierre manages to put a target
on a new enemy for the armed right, while at the
same time managing to fan the flames of the
right’s distrust of the federal government, turning it generally against those who question or
disagree with President Trump.
If we want to make racist, sexist, bigoted,
fascists “afraid again,” it’s time that the left rethought its approach to firearms. Guns exist and
are not going anywhere anytime soon, it only
makes sense for us to familiarize ourselves with
them, attain some level of ease and proficiency
with them, and hope that we don’t ever have to
A Revolutionary’s Guide to Gun Culture
“The first time I walked into a gun store, I
was shaking and visibly sweating. Rows and rows of
shotguns and rifles hung over me, menacing, racks
20 weapons high waiting to accidentally go off and
kill me. Sick with nausea, I walked right out.”
“The second time I walked into a gun store,
I nearly jumped out of my skin when a man pumped
open a shotgun right next to me. But at least I could
look. It took me five visits to different shops around
town before I finally bought my first gun, an 8-round
20” 12-gauge shotgun.”
“Growing up I had zero experience around
firearms. My parent’s don’t own any, and we never
lived far enough out of Omaha that shooting was a
common hobby for the neighbors. Any knowledge
I gleaned about guns came interpreted through an
Xbox controller. In my teen years I played around with
airsoft and paintball, but that was it.”
“In fact, when it came to real weapons, I
was against their existence in any form. I supported
Democrats’ measures on gun control. I questioned
the need for anyone to own an AR-15. And I’ll admit
it: in my utopia, not one person would need a gun for
defense against other human beings. In my perfect
world we would melt them all.”
We don’t live in a perfect world, and for your
own self-defense and the defense of the working
class, firearms are necessary. Here’s what you need
to know as a first-timer.
The Four Laws
1. The gun is always loaded.
2. Never point the weapon at anything you aren’t
ready to destroy.
3. Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it.
4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are
ready to fire.
The Four Laws of gun safety are the first
thing you should learn when beginning to interact with firearms. Following these rules will
prevent accidental death even in the case of a
misfire. Do yourself a favor and keep them in
mind whenever you are around guns.
1. Getting Over the Fear
Guns can be scary. In untrusted hands
and heated arguments, they are misused. The
killings of Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin, the
policeman who pulled his pistol and shot into a
crowd of teenagers because they walked on his
lawn, and the IWW-GDC member shot in Seattle
demonstrate the danger arms inherently possess. But shunning these tools only serves to
weaken our cause and leave us defenseless.
A friend of ours likes to sum it up as “bringing
boots to a gun fight.”
We must do what we can to defend
against brutal and pointed violence, and that
means defending ourselves. By encouraging activists and fighters of oppression to arm up, we
make ourselves harder targets and discourage
both far-right actors and the state from using
Go shooting with a friend. Ask around. We
guarantee you’ll find somebody you don’t expect
has a gun. If you can’t find anybody and want to
work through the nervousness of holding a gun
alone, try a store like Cabela’s with a used gun
rack. The salespeople won’t bother you.
Take the time and watch some youtube
videos about the guns you are interested in.
You’ll find thousands of people willing to debate
every minor detail of guns on the internet. Use
these conversations as a resource.
2. Important Aspects of Current Gun Culture
Gun culture is currently dominated by the
right wing. The NRA donates exclusively to Republican politicians, and many gun clubs require
NRA membership before allowing you to use
their range. Leftists need to support ourselves
and each other by practicing egalitarian habits
regarding gun culture.
Be aware that many existing gun spaces
are not exactly friendly to leftist ideas. However,
if you don’t go out of your way to inject politics into conversation, most people will leave it
alone. Gun areas are also generally white and
male spaces. It is not uncommon to enter a store
or range and find few if any POC or women working or shooting. Go with a trusted friend if these
situations make you uncomfortable.
Respect goes a long way in gun circles.
It is a simple move that can only benefit you.
You must respect the firearms. They are deadly,
and accidents do happen. Do everything in your
power to prevent accidents and injury. You must
also respect those around you at gun stores and
ranges. Be aware that nearly everyone in these
situations is armed.
3. What kind of gun should I get?
An important question for a militant! You
don’t want to get caught unprepared. Different
formats each have different costs and uses that
can influence your decision. Starter costs here
include several boxes of ammo and a case.
Pistols are small, concealable, and easy
to carry. However, they are inaccurate beyond
close range, and difficult to aim. A common use
for pistols is as a concealed weapon in your
jacket, purse, or glove box. Costs for a full-size
reliable pistol w/ a concealed carry course are in
the $600s. You can however find small handguns
such as the Bersa Thunder 380 for around $300.
Ammo is of medium-high cost depending on the
caliber and manufacturer.
Rifles are midsize weapons with varying
uses. Carbines, like the AR-15, are designed for
close to medium distances, are extremely easy
to aim and fire, and offer easy field maintenance.
Others, like lever or bolt action rifles, are more
suited for long distances and hunting. Starter
costs for most carbines or hunting rifles are also
near $600, however some exist for less. Ammo
is of medium-high cost. A good starter carbine:
Smith and Wesson M&P15 Sport II.
However, rifles which shoot .22 caliber
bullets are among the cheapest guns on the
market. Rifles like the Ruger 10/22 can be purchased for $250. The ammunition is also by
far the cheapest. We recently saw a box of 400
rounds selling for 22 bucks. Remember that all
guns are deadly, and do not take it lightly – but
the 22 is an affordable practice gun.
Shotguns are the clunkiest, cheapest,
and most reliable of these three types. Gauge
and barrel length determine the type of shotgun
being purchased. Twelve gauge shotguns have
a kick that children and small framed people
might not like, and so many youth sizes come in
20 or .410 gauges. Barrels come in sizes from 18