Vigils for the murdered will never cease under capitalism

For many, many years the corporate elite – the 1 percent – has been selling us on the idea of trickle down economics, i.e., if the 1 percent made money they would reinvest it back into the cities and communities and we would all benefit. Well, does anyone still believe that? I don’t think so.

But let’s talk about what does trickle down – something never talked about by the corporate elite and something that has been missing from most if not all major media and the presidential debates – with a little exception on the part of Bernie Sanders. That something is the psychology of violence.

We witness yet another tragic mass murder by a person who really can’t be understood completely regardless of all the speculation and assumptions. The understanding doesn’t come because we are looking for answers in too narrow an area.

Yes, we must bring the NRA’s corporate leaders to their knees and we must defeat the right. But unless we challenge the military-industrial complex – capitalist weapons manufacturers who render us captive to never ending wars – we will continue to have our vigils for the murdered and maimed and our president(s) will continue to pay respects to those murdered and maimed.

The capitalist system requires the psychology of violence to keep afloat. After all, isn’t this how scores are settled, heads of state are removed,  and dictators are supported? Isn’t this how the corporate elite remove elected leaders overseas who carry out policies they don’t like.

We are facing a huge humanitarian crisis in the Middle East and around the world due to war. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on Thursday (June 18), said that worldwide displacement was at the highest level ever recorded. It said the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago. Half these numbers are children.

The capitalist system promotes the cycle of violence in many ways. It promotes violent video games that target boys, the “sport” of ultimate fighting which has taken boxing to new depths while girls are fed the princess principle. This preparation to become cannon fodder starts early in childhood.

The military has become the only option for anything that resembles a “secure job” for too many poor and working-class men and women today. We can trace the trajectory of the decline of living wage jobs and the rise of unemployment with the decline of unions in the U.S. and globalization (unions in private sector 6.7%). Since the early 80’s the outsourcing of union jobs in auto, steel and many other manufactured goods has left millions locked out of living wage jobs.

The U.S. is the largest producer of weapons. Weapons are our chief export and we don’t worry about to whom we sell these weapons – be they nations or gun distributors here in America.

The latest tragedy in Orlando is a classic example of the simplicity of purchasing a potentially dangerous weapon legally. It’s way past time to change the gun laws in the U.S. but to do that, we must change the Congress, or perhaps this mass murder will force even this bankrupt intransigent Republican party to do the right thing.

We should do what Australia has done since the mass shooting there 20 years ago, the largest massacre in Australia’s post-colonial history “so shocked the nation that within 12 days, comprehensive gun-control legislation was agreed upon.” Although a variety of crimes have not been entirely reduced in number, there has not been another mass shooting in Australia since. 

Even if we follow their example, the larger obstacle to a peaceful society is the psychology of violence that perpetuates wars abroad and violence at home. We must struggle to move to the next level for humanity – socialism and end perpetual wars of exploitation by the 1 percent. Socialism will not cure all of the social ills that plague us but it will set us on a strong foundation to build on and maybe, just maybe, we can break the cycle and psychology of violence.

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Photo: Vigil held for Orlando shooting victims.  |   David Goldman/AP


Gabe Falsetta
Gabe Falsetta

Long-time social justice activist Gabe Falsetta writes from New York City.