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Proletarian issue 6 (June 2005)
Power grows out of the barrel of a gun
A pressure group called Campaign Against the Arms Trade and an Amnesty International, Oxfam and Iansa (International Action Network on Small Arms) grouping called Control Arms are calling on governments to stop weapons getting "into the wrong hands".
What? Just think about the sheer insanity of those words for a second. Read them again, just to make sure you read them right!

What slippery language! After all, what sane person would want arms to be "in the wrong hands"? But who here is deciding which "the wrong hands" are? And what governments exactly are The Campaign Against the Arms Trade and Control Arms calling on to stop weapons getting "into the wrong hands". Are they calling on the government of Cuba to stop arms getting "into the wrong hands"? Are they calling on the government of Zimbabwe to stop arms getting "into the wrong hands"? Are they calling on the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to stop arms getting "into the wrong hands"?

Not on your nelly, comrade! They are calling on the imperialist governments of the United States and the good old United Kingdom, and the governments of other major imperialist arms manufacturing countries, to stop weapons getting "into the wrong hands".

The "wrong hands" therefore means the hands of those who oppose the imperialists! And hence the demand made by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and Control Arms for these two monster imperialist countries to stop arms getting "into the wrong hands" is a reactionary demand. It is a demand for the powerful to further disempower the powerless, dressed up in the sentimental, feel-good, petty bourgeois fog of liberalism and concern for 'victims'.

As is well known, during the extermination war carried on by European settlers against the native population of north America, there were Europeans who, for the sake of make a bit of money - or a lot of money - were prepared to sell rifles to the Native Americans for use against the Europeans. In the same way, US and European arms manufacturers have been prepared, in the interests of maximum profits, to sell arms to people who might one day use them against US and European citizens. This, however, is a problem that requires one section of the bourgeoisie to control another - it is not a matter of concern to the working class, except insofar as to say that the better we, the exploited and oppressed people of the world, are armed to defend our interests, the better we like it!

Control Arms in particular seems to be (mysteriously?) very well funded, and though without doubt its rank and file membership is made up of the well-meaning, they are all objectively cheerleaders for imperialism. The true aims of the leadership is revealed with such priceless gems as this: "Campaigners for strict control on the international weapons trade welcomed the statement made by the UK foreign secretary Jack Straw that the British government support an international treaty to control the deadly trade in arms."

Now as you and I well know, what the arch-imperialist Jack Straw means by controlling the arms trade isn't that the imperialist countries should be denied ever more lethal weapons, but that the ever-growing global resistance to imperialism should be denied Kalashnikovs. (It's perhaps encouraging and a tribute to the increasing effectiveness of the resistance that that imperialism is now funding so many 'grassroots' anti-arms trade groupings.)

As comrades, our position vis-à-vis the anti-arms trade movement is clear: we must oppose the creepy 'Million Faces Demand a Global Arms Trade Treaty' that the anti-arms trade movement is presently organising and we must challenge every deluded liberal we come across who asks us to sign up to this obnoxious, reactionary campaign.
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