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Doing Revolution July 2, 2005 by RedStar2000


Have you ever wondered what revolution would actually be like? Who would really be "on our side" and who would fight us "to the bitter end"? What kinds of mistakes did other revolutions make that we could avoid? What things we could do to make things easier for us?

Revolutions are enormously complicated and anything we say (far) ahead of time is, of necessity, speculative.

So, let's speculate. It can't hurt and might help a lot.


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Revolution is the tough sticky part in both communism and anarchism.


Agreed.

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In my eyes the only way to do it is through non-violence.


Lots of people agree with you about that; but lots of people don't.

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Non-violent solutions are infinitely superior to violent ones.


Only if they work.

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Now Gandhi achieved freeing India from its chains via non-violence.


A common misconception. There was actually quite a lot of violence in the course of India's long struggle for independence, beginning with the "Indian mutiny" of 1857.

And speaking of "freedom" with regard to India now is, at best, very misleading. The vast majority of people in India live in conditions that are unspeakably atrocious.

There is a strong Maoist movement in India now...and frankly, I hope they do make a violent and bloody revolution there.

Not because Maoist societies are all that great...but because what exists is simply unbelievably horrible and the Maoists would actually make things somewhat better for several hundred million people there.
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First posted at RevLeft on May 1, 2005
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But you have to understand violence is not an option.


Why ever not?

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Revolution is possible non-violently. Not only that, but it is the only means to go about it.


Both of those assertions are very dubious...to put it mildly.

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If you attempt to form a militant reformist group, or a guerrilla group, then it's an attempt to simply exchange dictators.


Well, we don't know that, do we? Granted, that's been a common outcome...but hardly "universal". If the Spanish anarchists had won the civil war, do you think one of them would have become a "dictator"?

quote:

That is why certain lines cannot be crossed, and one of these lines is violence. If good and evil really existed, then evil would be when someone throws morals to the dust for an end that justifies the means.


I find your view incomprehensible.

It seems to me that violence/non-violence are tactical questions; you pick whichever will be more effective in a particular situation.

I don't think people should "fall in love" with either -- nor does it make much sense to me to publicly "boast" of either. A movement that boasts of its non-violent character is perceived as weak by others...especially the old ruling class. A movement that boasts of its eagerness for violent confrontation is apt to provoke a violent ruling class attack that it is not yet strong enough to effectively resist.

I think a neutral public response is more useful and effective in the long run. When asked if we are "violent" or "non-violent", we should simply say that "it depends on the situation"...and let it go at that.
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First posted at RevLeft on May 2, 2005
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Violence is unjustifiable.


No, it's certainly justifiable. It is always right to rebel.

It all depends on the situation. There are situations in which it is useful and situations in which it is counter-productive.

And if we are at all serious about revolution, then we must learn how to make that distinction accurately.

I would add that when some some radical elements use violence inappropriately, nothing is gained by the rest of us falling all over each other to "distance ourselves" from our mistaken comrades.

The spectacle of so-called revolutionaries cringing and whining about the violence of the oppressed is...both demoralizing and unedifying, to say the least.

If a public criticism is in order, fine, make it. But hyperbolic rhetoric about "left adventurism", "anarchist provocateurs", etc. serves no purpose that I can see other than exhibit a disgusting deference to the existing social order and the monumental delusion that it can be "peacefully changed".

No one wins any respect by projecting the attitude: no matter what, my ass is covered!
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First posted at RevLeft on June 21, 2005
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The "mass general strike" can, on occasion, overthrow individual governments...remove despised individuals from positions of power.

Massive and on-going demonstrations also sometimes work.

But overthrowing an entire social system appears to require a more aggressive approach -- actively attacking and destroying the old state apparatus entirely.

We have to physically enter the old government's buildings and arrest the members of the old government. We have to take over those buildings and fill them with revolutionaries. Or, at least, render those buildings unusable by anyone (burn them down or blow them up, perhaps).

Our revolutionary organs (soviets or whatever) must declare, in one fashion or another, that we are the legitimate "government" now and will henceforward make all the decisions that a "government" would make. (Anarchists would use slightly different terminology, but the effect has to be the same -- the old regime is gone for good.)

Under no circumstances should power be "shared" with the old regime or its representatives...we must finish them, period.

We do not "take over" the old police or the old army...We totally abolish them. This is a crucial step -- any "half-measures" in this regard will come back and bite us in the ass!

From now on, the armed masses and the political organs that it establishes are the only legitimate authority...all power is in our hands.

And we must move swiftly to consolidate that power; if there are any remaining areas where the old regime still exists, we must attack them in an overwhelming fashion. "Defense-ism" is the deadly mistake here...the idea that we can hold a "liberated zone" while the old regime reorganizes its forces to attack us. Many a revolutionary movement has perished because it made this mistake. Once we have won some initial victories, we must press forward to total victory.

No one can say "how much" violence will be involved in these events...but there will be some and possibly quite a lot. If the old regime's army is extremely demoralized, the violence may be relatively minimal.

But it's probably prudent to expect the worst and prepare accordingly. As soon as revolution looks like it's "getting under way", we should loot gunshops and police stations for weaponry. Nearby army posts should be asked for weapons...and if they refuse, should be attacked.

Remember, I think it's likely to be a half century or more before these become practical questions. So teach your kids these lessons as they may be the ones who have to actually do it.

Don't forget the advice of the old French revolutionary: Those who make the revolution half-way have signed the orders for their own execution.
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First posted at RevLeft on June 21, 2005
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It may surprise some, but historically speaking it has been cops and not soldiers who have fought "to the bitter end" in defense of the old reactionary regimes.

And further, actually made up the bulk of the "first wave" of refugees from the new revolutionary order.

Depending on the practical situation, I therefore suggest that we should either execute or deport all cops. Their continued presence among us is just going to cause us nothing but grief and aggravation.

Soldiers, on the other hand, have been known to defect in significant numbers to the side of the revolution...especially if the revolution is, in part, the consequence of a disastrous imperialist war.

We don't know if this is the case with mercenary armies like the ones that are becoming fashionable in the capitalist countries now. My guess is that mercenaries will prove even more unreliable to the ruling class than conscripted soldiers...but, we'll see.

Notice an odd circumstance here: sailors tend to be the most revolutionary of all military branches; pilots tend to be the most reactionary. Something to remember when the time comes.

Another important reminder -- the most dangerously reactionary elements of the old order's military are the officer corps (including cadets at military academies). When Stalin executed those 12,000 Polish officers in late 1939, he knew what he was doing.

Just to give you an idea of what we can expect, the appeal of Christian fascism to American military officers is very significant and growing.

So, no half-measures here. When a military unit defects in a body to the revolution and wants to keep its immediate commanders, fine. Otherwise, get rid of them before they have the chance to get rid of us!
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First posted at RevLeft on June 28, 2005
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quote:

If the world we're aiming for is one in which humanitarianism and the value of life is upheld and cherished, shouldn't we act like that from day one?...But I don't really see how executing any reactionary is going to advance us to a better future.


The effect is probably more symbolic than anything else...to see the formerly powerful who once terrorized entire populations now subject to "popular justice" is a "good lesson".

When the Cubans tried and executed leading figures of the Batista regime in a packed baseball stadium, they knew what they were doing.

What we would want to avoid are the "secret executions" in the basement of some police building...that sort of thing does indeed stink of the old regime.

Let people hear, in large numbers, what those bastards did while they were in power...and let them see the blood and smell the gunpowder that tells them in a very definitive way that those bastards can never do it again.

It may also have a practical result...demoralizing those who were opposed to the revolution and encouraging them to "keep a very low profile" or even flee the country. (I think we should have a very "loose" exit policy; any ordinary person who wants to leave can do so with a minimum of paperwork.)

I think we have to accept the fact that the international capitalist class is going to label us as "bloodthirsty maniacs", etc. no matter what we do or don't do.

Therefore, we should decide these matters based on our own perceived interests without regard for the opinions of hostile capitalist media in other countries.

How much blood is "too much" will have to be decided at the appropriate time.
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First posted at RevLeft on June 29, 2005
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I do not support the killing of all cops, why not just fire them?


Of course we will "fire them"...and never let them have any such function again. That's obvious. (Though we might retain the services of certain specialists -- people with expertise in forensics and pathology, for example.)

What is problematic is that cops (a category which must be understood to include prison guards) will probably form the core of any active counter-revolutionary current that may emerge. They have "everything to gain" from successful counter-revolution and "nothing to lose". It's to our advantage to get rid of as many of them as we can.

The easiest way to do that is to make it really easy for them to go into exile. Give them a free plane ticket if necessary.

What will really put us in an awkward spot is the possibility that no country will take them.

And while chewing on that, there is another and related difficulty which may give us even worse aggravation. Today, the private "security industry" is one of the fastest growing sources of employment in the advanced capitalist countries. Millions of workers are involved...and what they may be learning is not good.

They risk developing a "lite" version of the fascist police mentality. It would be useful to have some real data on the "job attitudes" of workers in this "industry".

I don't expect them to put their lives "on the line" to defend the old order like real cops -- but I'm concerned that they may be developing an "emotional identification" with authority that is distinctly anti-communist.

That's "trouble" for us.
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First posted at RevLeft on July 1, 2005
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