by Rabble Rabble Cheeseburger
“March for our Lives” has a cataclysmic tone to it, a call for mass flight in the face of disaster. It’s unquestionable that we in the Holocene extinction are ‘surviving’ an ecocide. The resulting survival sickness has become a pandemic. The malaise infects the youth, inheritors of a thinly veiled extermination, that’s given partial expression in the breakdown of the schools. The model of education which emerged out of industrial England, and that came to signify education proper, of training youth to become workers, is obsolete in a society that lives in permanent denial about its future. Schooling reduced to a disciplinary function shows children for what they are, political prisoners.
If assault rifles were banned, it would only strip away one of the last residues of constituent power. A people armed, not as individuals, but as militias that provide a check to state power. Nowadays that is perhaps a far fetched idea, but so is allowing only the police and the military to have them. Roughly 3% of the population owns over half of the guns today, while gun ownership has been declining, as have gun deaths. Over two thirds of those gun deaths are suicides. While schools remain safer for students to be at than their own homes, or anywhere else for that matter. Increasing surveillance on the ‘mentally ill’ is nonsensical, as a ‘group’ they commit fewer crimes than ‘normal’ people. Furthermore, nearly all school shootings are suburban, though sometimes rural, while security measures are typically deployed in urban areas. Sure, the N.R.A is a political action committee, and are lobbyists for gun manufacturers, but that’s business as usual. So, where’s the beef?
Liberal pitfalls are unavoidable, for there is no outside to ideology. Revolutionary struggle proceeds through contradiction. The radicals in “March for our lives” deserve solidarity, without it they risk abduction by the liberal consensus. Capitalist narratives have maintained the view that there is no escape — not even a plausible idea of one — from a system of infinite growth on a planet of finite resources. A la Frederic Jameson, it is more realistic to imagine the planet’s death, and to ‘live’ with that, than to imagine a future beyond capitalism,
Youth, the transformation of what exists, is in no way the property of those who are now young, but of the economic system, of the dynamism of capitalism. Things rule and are young, things confront and replace one another (SOTS-Unity and Division within appearance). By commodifying the world which youth inhabit, and restricting it to upholding the market, the creativity of youth is directed at preserving what is old, what is young is valued only in so far as it is exchangeable with what is already past. Our dilemma is that the movement which abolishes the present state of things is necessary, but denied out of suicidal faith.
Struggle determined by single serving issues guarantees defeat, the trap of the particular, as opposed to struggle against alienation in general. Production, as well as consumption is premised on preserving alienation, hence the serial production of the masses. This is why shootings continue to happen. In serial relations governed by scarcity, the other is a dehumanized alien, a threat to one’s being. The shooter and the shot-at reflexively preserve each other as the other. My sense of who I am is dependent on this mirroring, an identity which is made of what is other. The other disappears only when there is a solidarity which makes a break with alienating relations.
The lost children must see the potential for exodus. The liberals will settle for the pseudo equality of being mutually allowed to not be shot to death. Their belief in a world without alternatives needs fresh managers for the collapse. Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters, wrote that it was a question of conformity, that, “the zombies and their society band together and try to destroy what is superior and what they don’t understand and are afraid of”. What is intolerable about those like Dylan, is that they exist, and this ‘civilization’ has no place for them. Like the nomads in Kafka’s Old Manuscript, they do not want to know the ‘language’, and they reject translation. Instead, they play a zero sum game of non-equivalence with their enemies.
In the age of the state of exception (See Agamben, esp. Homo Sacer), when law increasingly operates by the rule of decree outside of constitutional oversight, lawfulness becomes the exception which upholds the rule of lawlessness. Sovereignty is nowhere more absent than on the level of totality, where we have no guarantees against threats to the species, resulting in a condition where one can be killed without protection from the law. This is the real truth of the war on terror. The logic of ‘terrorism’ is one of dissemination and visibility, ideally as spectacle, thus the media are accomplices of ‘terrorism’. The media inflicts violence by amplifying the effects which results in reinforcing the power of scarcity, serialization, and otherness. Provocative studies suggest that school shootings happen more frequently with every broadcast of a larger shooting, which creates a contagious effect. The consequence is an induced hysteria.
The actions of “March for our Lives” don’t add up. It’s a premature struggle trying to find itself, where what is at stake is mystified, directed at a particular commodity of the disaster. The enemy has no exit strategy. Cold war deterrence in the schools, like everywhere else, is just capital on life support. We are being slowly wiped out by the real mass killers who see no other way than collective suicide. That the shooters act like sociopathic madmen indistinguishable from our power elite gives new truth to Marx, when he wrote that the hegemonic ideas of an epoch, and by extension its actions, are those of its ruling class.