The following editorial was originally posted to the May 1st Anarchist Alliance website & discusses the mass student walk-outs across the US.
Over one million high school students walked out of class on Wednesday, March 14th 2018 in what was the biggest school walk out protests since the Vietnam War. These students have been raised with school shootings being a norm. As they march out of class and into the streets, they defy the police and the school administrations. They defy the whole damn system.
They defy the police who confronted them in the streets with the very weapons that are used against them in school shootings. The police who have shot down their brothers and sisters with impunity in and out of school. The police who waited outside while a white supremacist shot up a Florida school. They defy the administration that covered up sexual assault and molestation for decades at Michigan State University. The administrations who called for lockdown drills to keep students from protesting/are now threatening detention and suspension in retaliation. The same administrations who do not stand up against cuts to financial support for poor students. The same administrations who threaten to expel Black student athletes for kneeling during the anthem at sporting events. The same administrations that have allowed overt white supremacists to speak on campuses to further their quest to remove marginalized people from the Earth.
Let’s not mince words, these are racist and sexist attacks. The attacks on young people are almost always by violent, young, white men who feel as though the system is failing them. They are being pushed aside as they continue to matter less and less to the billionaires and corporations who have left them and their families behind for cheap labor elsewhere. Anti-racist, anti-patriarchal, and anti-colonialist social struggles continue to move forward and prosper in the face of extreme state repression, a growing far-right, mainstream disapproval, and cold blooded murder. Because of all this, these white men feel as though they are losing their dominance in amerikkkan society (they are, and that is a good thing). So, what better way to reassert your “dominance” than by holding hundreds of helpless people’s lives in your hands? This is delusional, but so is white power. The attacks usually (obviously) target women and people of color. They cut across communities and happen inside and out of school. Outside of school shootings, the violence these young people face and are opposing is sometimes quick street violence, and sometimes is long term systemic violence (See the end of the first paragraph). Furthermore, if we are to stand with these students who are marching now, and if we are to mean it, we must also stand with the young people who have been protesting for years against racist violence as Black Lives Matter. We seek to further and empower the perspectives and goals of these long-time student organizers who have been spit on for years by the same white liberals who now fully “support” this wave of student resistance.
We, young and old, straight up need to work alongside these brave young people toward building a movement geared toward social revolution and the destruction of patriarchy and white supremacy and the state; one that is strong enough to defend ourselves and our communities. We for real need to watch out and communicate. We as communities should have the power to say that the kid who is posting violent snapchats doesn’t get to have access to firearms. The people capable of creating a social, cultural pivot are these young people who are already determining, through their everyday actions and communication, what the future will hold. They want accountability, they want safety, they want the right to live and love without fear. They embrace technology and new ideas. The democratic party and non-profits will try to co-opt this into a movement with its eyes set on reform, but young people know this does not work. They’ve learned from history. The government, the police, and the administrations are not going to protect us or do this for us; in fact they operate on the same principles that create school shooters. School shooters are trying to recreate this power. When we talk about a school shooting, we need to understand it as an expression of a whole sociality. If we truly want children to be safe in schools, we need deep social transformation — not piecemeal solutions that are themselves expressions of the same oppressive sociality. This is not a fight against guns, this is a fight against the system and its violence. This is a fight for a better world.
“We have chosen each other
and the edge of each others battles
the war is the same
if we lose
someday women’s blood will congeal
upon a dead planet
if we win
there is no telling
we seek beyond history
for a new and more possible meeting.”
– Audre Lorde