Say you want a revolution? Let’s hope we don’t get fooled again.
Revolutions of the 17th century philosophically drew inspiration from liberal ideas of “freedom” and “liberty.” Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau among those most influential of the period now called the Enlightenment, a movement that focused on human individual rights and sought to end the dominance of the Church and the nobility which formed the establishment in that era. There emerged a backlash of sorts that questioned the source of the Church’s religious doctrines of the day, especially the “Divine Rights of Kings” and whether the world could be explained without referring to the bible. The idea that man is basically a “free” being was put forth by the figures of the Enlightenment, who were fortunate enough to devote their leisure time formulating their liberal principles of the “free” human being.
Jean Jaques Rosseau, Liberal philosophy is certainly debatable, as the most obvious condition of man is that of being captive to necessity. The liberal concept of “social justice” loses meaning without the question of necessity being faced and answered. Liberalism has given lip service towards answering the question of social justice with the policy of the Welfare State, but this hasn’t sufficiently answered the question since poverty still exists in the countries that have liberal political policies in place, America being the most glaring example. But then again, the liberal philosophers of the Enlightenment did not really mean for everyone’s “personal liberty” and freedoms should be upheld. Colonial imperialism flourished during the era of the revolution of the Enlightenment. John Locke was of the opinion that man’s nature is to be free. Yet he was a major investor and profiteer of the Royal African Trade Company and the Bahama Adventurers, two of the biggest companies involved in the Slave Trade. Apparently, Locke’s philosophy that people have the right to life, liberty, and property, applied to people like him. Was Locke a hypocrite, or just concerned for the liberty of property-holding white men?
Locke was singularly influential on another Liberal philosopher in Thomas Jefferson, who is credited in composing the “Declaration of Independence” with the killer line of, “All men are created equal,” while owning hundreds of slaves. So it is fair to say that the United States couldn’t exist today without being born from a program of land-grabbing, slavery, religious brainwashing and exploitation, which happens to be the foundation of that country. For instance, when there weren’t enough soldiers to fight in the Revolutionary War, slaves were either forced to join up or promised freedom if they fought and defeated the British. Can you guess what happened to these slaves when the war ended? The revolutionary leader John Adams is reported to have said that only 1/3 of the colonies actually supported the revolution. Most others were indecisive or against war against Britain. The people were promised that they would no longer be subject to the nobility. There would be an equality of peers before the law. Imagine their surprise when they discovered that these peers were not their fellow countryman, but white men of the “best quality.” The ones who would run the country, as Founding Father John Jay so deliciously put it, were the ones who owned country, and not surprisingly, the richest man in America of that era was George Washington. Farmers and freedmen had to learn, by force if necessary, that their so-called evolutionary ideals that existed during the Revolution were no longer to be entertained. Then over the next 200 years, the American landowning elite constructed a vast framework of laws to protect that “quality.”
From the beginning of the American Empire, the elites have acted against the common people. By exterminating the indigenous peoples, enslaving millions of beings from Africa and relegating the working class to indignant toil and servitude, the America people still believes their country stands as a shining example of a “democratic” society. The romantic notion that the American Revolution was a people standing up in rebellion to tyranny should be dispensed with forever. The war was actually fought thanks to the private power of the elites who manipulated the majority into acting against their own well-being. It has always been this way with revolutions. What we seen is that all governments, whether liberal or conservative, tend to incline to totalitarianism. Regarding the United States, it began with its extermination of the indigenous people and selling their land. It continued with the slavery of kidnapped Africans. The late 20th and 21st centuries are full of instances of America invading other countries and bombing the hell out of those who didn’t get with the program. Who knows where it will end? Liberal philosophy has promised to give the individual Freedom, but what is given is given and taken away by the government, who then takes these so-called freedoms away
“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.” – Mao Zedong
Chairman Mao’s definition of revolution as class violently overthrowing another is a rather modern phenomenon, the oldest occurring scarcely over 200 years ago. While there have been slave revolts and rebellions throughout all of history, the instance of a country undergoing a wholesale revolution is relatively uncommon. The “successful” revolutions, such as the Russian, French and American Revolutions are usually called upon for pertinent examples, while the Industrial, Cultural and “Velvet” Revolutions and others can be added, as well. As we know, revolutions have taken place in Cuba, Iran and elsewhere.
Usually there is some sort of financial crisis or civil unrest that precipitates and triggers a revolution. “Liberty” and “Freedom” are the usual buzzwords used to justify revolutionary ideals, often through the use of violence. Indeed, Robespierre, the architect of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, stated,
“Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice; it flows, then, from virtue.”
The aim of the Terror was to squelch and overturn counter-revolutionary sentiment, but like most things wrought by human hands, soon flared out of control. During the French Revolution’s “Reign of Terror”( 27 June 1793 – 27 July 1794), which was the one of the results of the heated rivalry between two revolutionary factions, was an “indomitable justice,” all right, one that slew between 16,000 to 40,000 people, mostly innocent peasants who were either beaten to death by mobs, or perished under the blade of the guillotine – none more surprised at the wicked turn of events as Robespierre himself, who fell as a result of the uncontrollable, murderous violence he helped initiate. The wealthy middle class and the rich who achieved the goal of disposing the monarchy, and who largely escaped the Terror, were the main beneficiaries of the Revolution. The aftermath of the French Revolution was like that of the American Revolution. The elites profited while the poor were much worse off than before.
“Words must have no relations to actions — otherwise what kind of diplomacy is it? Words are one thing, actions another. Good words are a mask for concealment of bad deeds. Sincere diplomacy is no more possible than dry water or wooden iron. – Joseph Stalin
Who profited from the aftermath of the events of Russia’s two revolutions? The removal of the aristocracy and the nobility by the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions was the singular event in Russia of the early 20th century, providing the narrative that one corrupt and intolerable system (for the peasant and middle classes) were exchanged for a corrupt and intolerable bureaucracy. However, there is evidence that the Russian revolutionaries were helped by Western governments and corporations beginning before the revolution. This was the charge laid by historian Antony B. Sutton, who also claimed that the former Soviet Union’s technological infrastructure was sold to them by American corporations. Sutton alleged that Western financial powers funded the Russian revolution because certain Western financial powers (Sutton explicitly names, “Wall Street”) wanted Tsarist Russia out of the way as an economic competitor. For Western interests, the Russian Revolution was simply business. When it was discovered in the Vietnam-American War that the Soviet-supplied aid for the Viet Cong used against American troops was actually sold to the Kremlin by American corporations, it was simply business. And so it goes for all “revolutions.” There has not been one single revolution in the entire history of the world that has given all its’ citizens political and economic equality or relief from necessity.
Before the 20th century, such a revolution dedicated to the equal benefit for all was largely impossible due to the shortcomings of technology, religious programming and what passes for “rationality” in this world. We see and understand that the world doesn’t work for mostly everyone, so how can we pretend to live as if our privileged lives are more important than another who isn’t making it? The only “revolution” that will be worthwhile is one that takes into account what it the best for all of its’ citizens. A revolution built upon such principles will have to begin within the very being, the very center of one’s own self.
The forging of the American empire: from the revolution to Vietnam, from the Revolution to Vietnam: A History of Ameri (Human Security) By Sidney Lens, Howard Zinn
Voices of a People’s History of the United States, 2nd Ed. By Howard Zinn, Anthony Arnove
After the cataclysm, postwar Indochin a and the reconstruction of imperial ideaology By Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman
Chomsky on anarchism By Noam Chomsky, Barry Pateman
Toward an American revolution: exposing the Constitution and other illusions By Gerald John Fresia
The Irony of Democracy: An Uncommon Introduction to American Politics By Thomas R. Dye, Harmon Zeigler
Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution By Antony C. Sutton