The Socialist International is heartened by the massive number of young people who protested in cities across the United States and worldwide as part of the 'March for Our Lives' on Saturday 24 March. This diverse grassroots movement, led by young people whose lives have been profoundly affected by gun violence, has been truly inspirational, and should mark a turning point to bring about real reform on the issue of gun control in the US.
By exercising their right to protest in order to stand up for what they believe in, these courageous young people have issued a clarion call to elected representatives. Those returned to enact the will of the people must now respond to the urgent calls for legislation to prevent school massacres from ever happening again, knowing that any who fail to heed those calls will be held accountable at the ballot box.
The debate surrounding gun violence and firearms regulation in the United States has drawn attention to the negative influence of special interests and lobbying groups. The democratic process relies on politicians acting in the interests of the citizens, rather than those who financed their election campaign. As the SI and its members have stated on many occasions, democracy is damaged, and progress and development are impeded when special interests are too powerful and able to influence the outcome of elections.
The bravery, determination and optimism of those who participated in the March for Our Lives are a reminder that it is possible to make an impact for positive change and the SI wholeheartedly supports their cause. For the SI, it is self-evident that children and young adults should be able to grow up and attend school and university in safety, anywhere in the world. We stand in solidarity with all those who have been affected by incidents involving gun violence on school and university campuses in the US, which have occurred at a rate in excess of one per week since the beginning of 2018.