BEWARE OF ANTI-REVOLUTION PESSIMISM

[Also see "The Feigned Stupidity of Pro-Capitalists"]

Anti-revolution pessimism is the idea that any attempt to remove the rich from power to have real, not fake, democracy with no rich and no poor (i.e., to make an egalitarian revolution as described here) is doomed to failure and will likely even make things worse.

These anti-revolution pessimists love to point to George Orwell's Animal Farm parody of the Soviet Union, which, as we're all taught in school, says that "some animals were more equal than others." What the pessimists don't tell us is that a) George Orwell was not saying that a revolution to make society equal would necessarily result in inequality just as before; he was only specifically attacking the Bolsheviks for not aiming to make society equal; and b) George Orwell fought in the Spanish Revolution, on the side of the anarchists and not the Marxists, to make Spain be egalitarian, and wrote a book about this called Homage to Catalonia, which our education system never tells us about.

The anti-revolution pessimists don't point out that the reason the Bolshevik revolution and the French Revolution were so ugly and anti-democratic was because the leaders of these revolutions had anti-democratic goals, and the pro-democratic idea was not sufficiently widely held. Read about this here. Read about how Marxism is fundamentally anti-democratic here.

The anti-revolution pessimists don't tell us about how the egalitarian revolution in Spain 1936-9 (it called itself anarchist then) did not make things worse but in fact made things much better in about half of Spain until it was defeated by the fascist General Franco. Read about this here. And read this eyewitness account of a local assembly of egalitarians in Spain around 1937 to see what genuine democracy actually looks like and how they had it in parts of Spain because of their revolution.

The anti-revolution pessimists don't tell us that an egalitarian society, called Palmares, prevailed in Brazil for at least 98 years in the 17th century, with a population as large as that of the Massachusetts Bay Colony then. Read about it here.

The Pessimists Say, "Your Rifles Can't Defeat the 82nd Airborne Division"

The anti-revolution pessimists tell us that even with our rifles and militias we can never defeat the 82nd Airborne Division with its tanks. But they're wrong. Here's why.

Far more important than the size and power of an army's weapons is the direction that soldiers decide to aim those weapons--at the people opposed to the ruling regime, or at those using violence against foes of the ruling regime!

Professor of history at Harvard University, Crane Brinton, who from 1942 to 1945 was Special Assistant to the Office of Strategic Services in the European Theater of Operations, wrote in his 1965 book, The Anatomy of Revolution (pg. 88),

 

"[T]he nowadays common view that modern weapons have for the future made street-risings impossible is probably wrong. Modern weapons have to be used by police or soldiers, who may still be subverted, even in the atomic age."

 

Hannah Arendt, one of the most insightful intellectuals of the 20th century, wrote in her book, On Violence (pg. 48-9):

"In a contest of violence against violence the superiority of the government has always been absolute; but this superiority lasts only as long as the power structure of the government is intact--that is, as long as commands are obeyed and the army or police forces are prepared to use their weapons. When this is no longer the case, the situation changes abruptly. Not only is the rebellion not put down, but the arms themselves change hands--sometimes, as in the Hungarian revolution, within a few hours...Where commands are no longer obeyed, the means of violence are of no use; and the question of this obedience is not decided by the command-obedience relation [the formal establishment hierarchy--J.S.] but by opinion, and, of course, by the number of those who share it."

 

Remember, whatever reason a typical person enlisted in the United States military (and the "poverty draft" is one of the main reasons), keeping the rich in power was not one of them. Most members of the military forces want an egalitarian society with real, not fake, democracy and no rich and no poor, just as much as the vast majority of civilians do.

The way we can remove the rich from power is to create the circumstances that will cause a critical mass of soldiers to a) refuse any orders they may get to attack people who want to remove the rich from power and b) use their weapons to help the egalitarian revolutionary movement defend itself against anybody who may attack it violently. This is how the rich lose power! 

 

But in order to persuade substantial numbers of soldiers to do this we will need to persuade them that the egalitarian revolutionary movement is so large and determined that, if soldiers support it, it can actually win. If soldiers are not convinced of this then they will not refuse orders to attack the movement, even though most of them support the goal of the movement for the same reasons their civilian friends and neighbors and relatives support it. Why not? Because when a soldier refuses an order to attack "the enemy" he or she risks being severely punished--perhaps even executed--for mutiny or even treason. For substantial numbers of soldiers to take this risk they must be persuaded that the risk is relatively low because, with their support, the revolutionary movement has a good chance of winning, in which case soldiers who refuse to attack it won't be punished.

 

The key to removing the rich from power is, thus, to build a movement of hundreds of millions of Americans (and of people in other countries as well) that can persuade lots of soldiers to support it because it can actually WIN. This is very possible, because it is already the case that most people would LOVE an egalitarian revolution, even if they presently think it can never happen.

Read, in "Guns and the Working Class," how working class people used guns (and other means of violence) effectively to win victories against the ruling class despite the fact that the ruling class had vastly superior military forces. This use of guns--when it makes sense, as it sometimes does!--can demonstrate that the egalitarian revolutionary movement is determined to win, and thereby persuade a critical mass of the members of the military forces to refuse orders to attack the revolutionary movement and instead to join it and use their weapons to help it defend against those who would attack it violently. This is how the rich lose power, despite having supposedly vastly superior military forces. Read a non-Marxist account here, and Leon Trotsky's account here, of how the Czar of Russia lost power and was forced to abdicate when the military forces he relied upon went over to the side of the revolution this way.

The only people who benefit from anti-revolution pessimism are the people who benefit from keeping the horrible status quo of class inequality, the people who benefit from the rich treating us like dirt to maintain their great wealth and privilege and power at our expense.

REVOLUTIONS CAN RESULT IN GENUINE DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY, BUT ONLY WHEN MOST PEOPLE HAVE A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT GENUINE DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY MEAN, WHICH IS WHAT IS DISCUSSED HERE.

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