Uvalde shootings: a new illustration of the barbaric agony of capitalism

Printer-friendly version

Six days after the racist killings in Buffalo, a new round of horror in the USA, this time at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas: a mass shooting which took the life of 19 children and two of their teachers. This senseless massacre aimed at small children can only make your blood run cold. It’s hard to imagine the devastation this brings to the families involved, the trauma this will inflict on the survivors for the rest of their lives.

Salvador Ramos, who carried out the killings, was a young man of 18 who came from a poor family. He was a timid person who was often mocked for being “different”, a little bit “strange”. Like many young people ill at ease with themselves, he began tattooing his arms and face, then isolated himself with long periods of absence from school. Salvador Ramos certainly was a particularly fragile person and developed a morbid fascination for guns before committing this dreadful act, but his trajectory was typical of a growing mass of young people who have no perspective, who feel crushed, rejected and misunderstood, many of them pushed into a deadly spiral of self-destruction. Faced with an existence that seems to be nothing but suffering, faced with the absence of hope for a better life, many young people are taking their own lives. Salvador Ramos himself, like other young people drunk with a nihilistic search for revenge, wanted to leave this world by taking with him as many others as possible, in this case ten year old children, embodiment of a future which no longer existed for him. 

This new massacre is not simply the act of a “monster” whose eradication is enough to combat “evil in our society” as Trump put it. In reality the “evil in our society” is the capitalist system in its entirety, a system with no future, a decomposing order which is dragging all of humanity in its murderous wake. Mass killings and terrorist attacks have increased at a frightful rate in the US and elsewhere in the world. Last month, a shooting at an infant school in the region of Ulyanovsk in Russia (three dead). A few days later, an attack on a girl’s school in Kabul left fifty students dead. In January, a shooter killed one person and wounded three others at the university of Heidelberg in Germany, before turning the gun on himself.

These last thirty years, killings in educational establishments have multiplied. But more than anywhere else, the USA, where more than 4000 children were killed by firearms in 2020 alone, is particularly affected by this phenomenon. Certainly, at the heart of this nightmare, there is a crazy proliferation of guns. How can you not be alarmed to see a young person of 18, suffering from serious psychological problems, being able to buy assault weapons with no difficulty at all? In the US there is a vast arms industry which makes its bread and butter by flooding the population with millions of guns without any concern for the hundreds of thousands of victims that result.

This lucrative business surfs lightly on the perfectly irrational ideologies which flourish on the fertile soil of capitalist decomposition[1]. The recent acceleration of this process[2] is in part characterised by an explosion of “conspiracy theories” and a powerful social paranoia. During the Covid-19 pandemic there was a big rise in arms sales, either in the name of “protecting citizens from state interference” or for “protecting America from the Great Replacement”. This was the context on which Salvador Ramos carried out his massacre and a white supremacist picked out black people at a shopping mall in Buffalo.

The mouthpieces of the Republican Party, faced with this horror, have once again displayed a limitless cynicism, not to mention a crass stupidity which seems to defy the most elementary logic. The Democratic politicians were thus charged with the task of hiding the responsibility of decaying capitalism in this massacre: “When for the love of God are we going to confront the arms lobby?” cried President Biden. Clinton, Obama, Biden – this band of unscrupulous hypocrites who have never hesitated to release billions of dollars for the export of arms or to arm to the teeth the forces of repression - had plenty of time to “confront the arms lobby” during their administrations. What have they done apart from weeping fake tears after each shooting? Nothing! They have restricted themselves to gestures because the production of weapons is an extraordinarily prosperous and strategic sector in the USA. But above all, behind the miracle solution of controlling the sale of fire arms,[3] the bourgeoisie is trying to hide the real origins of the “evil in our society”.

Salvador Ramos is dead, his body riddled with bullets, but the causes of his transformation into a mass murderer are not about to disappear. With the aggravation of the crisis of capitalism, with the ineluctable growth of poverty, insecurity, social violence and exclusion, despair and hatred have a bright future. The only antidote to this barbaric dynamic is the massive and conscious development of the class struggle, which can offer young people a real identity,  a class identity, and a real solidarity forged in the struggle against exploitation. It’s through these struggles that the exploited of the world can little by little understand and defend the only perspective that can save humanity from barbarism: the overthrow of capitalism by the world revolution.

EG, 29.5.22


[1] Theses on decomposition | International Communist Current (internationalism.org), International Review 107. Although the proletariat has not found the strength to overthrow capitalism by affirming its revolutionary perspective, the bourgeoisie is today incapable of mobilising the different components of society around the only “response” it can make to the historic crisis of its system: world war. Society has thus been sunk in a temporary impasse, a sort of blockage, since the end of the 1980s, marked by the absence of any immediate perspective.

This phase of decomposition is characterised by the putrefaction of social relationships at all levels, and this is even more evident at the ideological level with the unprecedented development of terrorism, criminality, drug addiction, violence, the profusion of sects, the revival of religion and totally irrational ideologies…it is not at all accidental that the number of school shootings has exploded in the past 30 years.

[2] An acceleration which the ICC identified with the rise of the global Covid-19 pandemic and which was confirmed and aggravated by the war in Ukraine.

[3] In Asia, where guns are more strictly controlled, attacks are often carried out with knives. In China, for example, on the same day as the Newtown massacre in 2013, a man stabbed 22 children in a school.


Social decomposition