Loughner and the need for political education and visible radical groups

So Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year old who appears to be ambigiously political, is suspected of shooting and killing a bunch of people while trying to kill Gabrielle Giffords, a democratic congresswoman in Tucson, Arizona.

Among his favorite books are “Mein Kampf” and “The Communist Manifesto.”

Alright, this might sound low, but I blame the school system. These two books are diametrically opposed. The only things they have in common are populism and authoritarian methods. But there is practically no political education in the United States except for basic ideas of how our stupid system supposedly works. Kids don’t learn the difference between the Right and Left: we’re taught that Republicans vs. Democrats is the political spectrum. Anyone who finds themselves outside of it (which, I would argue, is most people, at heart), just ends up with some wingnut-ass amorphous “radical” position. Add in some straight-up crazy (as appears applicable in Loughner’s case), and you end up with this kind of bullshit.

And there is very little visible resistance culture in the United States, particularly in middle America. There’s a reason that America tends towards the lone-wolf political actions, like old Joe Stack. If you’re frustrated that everything is wrong (because it is), and you are very, very driven to see change happen, and you have no outlet?

5 thoughts on “Loughner and the need for political education and visible radical groups”

  1. I think it’s probably more of a function of him being mentally ill than anything else, as teh BoingBoing link seems to illustrate.

  2. Eh, you’re probably right, for the most part. But I still feel like these elements are relevant. There are plenty of crazy people who still manage to not shoot people in the head.

  3. Also, more visible radical groups/narrative of contemporary resistance will show energetic, sharp folks that there are options besides working in the nonprofit world/joining the creative class. I feel like there is so much potential out there, and so many people who are interested in doing serious radical and anarchist work, but see it as impractical or don’t know how to get started.

  4. I don’t think this is a case of being mentally ill. I think Magpie is perfectly correct by saying there is no real political spectrum in the U.S. (I’m paraphrasing, of course.) What is truly terrifying is there are so many ADULTS who don’t know the difference between left and right, radical and conservative, but rather just the bullshit Democrat/Republican society we have manufactured.

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