Jun 25, 2022
In this episode we interview Matt Deitsch, artist, journalist, organizer and former founder and director of March For Our Lives.
This episode is a bit different from many of ours. Rarely have we engaged with the politics of gun control, or with an area so tightly situated and controlled within the arena of electoral politics and non profit organizing. But we felt that interviewing Matt offered a unique opportunity to examine the politics of gun control in the so-called United States, and the relationship between movements against gun violence and mass shooters and the Democratic Party, their think tanks, well funded non profit organizations and the ruling class.
Matt presents a specifically interesting perspective, as someone who was activated by the devastating gun violence in Parkland Florida, and politicized through the organizing efforts they and others undertook through their organization March For Our Lives. Also as someone who provides a highly critical reflection around the work they and others undertook in relation to that movement, but who also believes they learned valuable lessons for mass organizing.
Along other things Matt talks about organizing as youth, the strengths, limitations and contradictions of that, discusses moments of dialogue with other organizers and youth, particularly ones from different class and racial backgrounds and how these relationships and discussions altered their own political viewpoint around the scope of issues of violence. As someone who has spent much of the last 4 years deeply involved in electoral organizing, Matt cautions against the amount of energy put into it and highlights some of the forces most invested in that use of organizer time and effort.
Ultimately Matt argues for the essential work of political education, of building power outside of the electoral arena, and holding a political horizon based in anti-imperialism, abolition, and socialism. They draw out linkages of different forms of violence and highlights the bipartisan influence of the police state and the military industrial complex on the politics of gun control reform as an antidote to violence, within the politics of either dominant party.
Just as a note, this episode was recorded prior to the new bipartisan gun legislation or the court’s recent decision around concealed carry restrictions, which would likely have had minimal impact on the discussion. It was also recorded before the courts officially gutted Roe. But there are many cautionary perspectives and suggested approaches that we think warrant consideration and are relevant to a new generation of people hopefully pushed into action by the violence of all aspects of the US state.
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