What Does It Take to Start A Revolution?
(Are we in danger of having one?)
by H. Michael Sweeney
This and future blog posts on the them of revolution (martial law, etc.) are herein intended to serve as building-block guideposts to both citizens and anyone in government who will listen to reason. Citizens so they become more aware of their rights, obligations, and options under the law as citizens. Government so that they might realize their errant ways are leading us all toward that day when the Camel’s back is broken by a straw event of their own making, and revolution breaks out as the people’s only remaining recourse. I do not believe they realize how dangerous their criminal actions have been in this respect. While I do not call for revolution, and merely warn it nears, were it to happen tomorrow I would be forced to join in it.
I fear such a day looms near, and that it may even now already be to late to prevent it. If true, it is your fault, reader, for allowing things to progress that far. Worse than revolution by the oppressed and disenfranchised, there is also the possibility that an armed revolution will be required to restore the government from a military takeover, which is addressed in part two and three of this triune post. Don’t you dare think for a moment it is not a possibility (read on).
In fact, I so fear the possibility might be true that I’m lifting the copyright on my book set Fatal Rebirth, which contains considerable detail on these topics and specifically offers advice about what to do if it actually does come to pass. The goal is to reduce violence, save lives, and yet assure any battle for restoration of a Constitutional government is successful. Details at the end of each blog post.
This first post consists of several parts:
- The Right and Duty of Revolution;
- A Closer Look at Revolutionary Processes;
- About Redress of Grievances;
- The Start and Aftermath Revolution (a review of several actual revolutions);
The Right and Duty of Revolution
First of all, regardless of the nation-state involved, when no other recourse remains, it is one’s right and duty to self, family, and to fellow citizens and the nation to revolt against tyranny in its various forms. It is one’s right by virtue of self defense, always. But here in America, it is also our right by law, according to the Constitution. In a true working democracy, the right to armed revolution does not (should not, according to scholars) exist as such, replaced instead by the opportunity to vote in a new government, a kind of redress which is its own kind of revolution when sweeping house occurs (like that ever actually happens). However, if that democracy is thwarted by systemic manipulation such that said opportunity is wired against the people, the right and duty yet again surfaces for armed revolt.
Only so long as the democracy does not violate its charter for power (in America, the Constitution and Bill of Rights), writes just laws in accordance with the charter (laws are Constitutional), and obeys the laws itself, is it safe from armed revolt. Unfortunately, the United States has embarked on a steady course of rapid-fire issuance of unjust, oppressive, and unconstitutional laws in opposition to the charter, and has itself regularly disobeyed and abused its own laws and, and for the matter, International treaties on related matters (another discussion for another day, perhaps).
In any nation, this is rightly called tyranny, and nullifies all law in the end, though we must yet speak of redress as part of the equation. Sans such redress, the nation ceases to exist as defined by its charter, which is a legal contract between the people and the government which was hence broken by government’s wrongful acts. The just penalty is forfeiture of power, and when failing to yield and relying upon force of arms, will surely require armed rebellion to right the wrongs. It is that simple (unfortunately).
A given revolt may be of any flavor or level of intensity; civil disobedience or peaceful protest which causes the government to fail or resign, simply voting out the worst rascals and replacing them with hopefully better rascals; or when no other course works, and when matters are simply no longer tolerable, actual armed revolution. Revolution, for governments, is the bullet in the gun they continually wave about called power, the gun used in a de facto game of Russian Roulette they play every time they misuse their power. Eventually, if the game continues long enough, they shoot themselves in the head and earn their just reward. Our government has been pulling that trigger time and time again since before the September 11 attacks, and more so, since. Again, that is your fault, not theirs. You allowed it by your silence. They may be criminal, but you were negligent.
The firing of a bullet when they squeeze the trigger depends on lines in the sand drawn by those among the citizenry who are the angriest. Sometimes a citizen does not realize such a line exists (they do not premeditate it) until it is crossed, and sometimes a citizen will fear the event in advance and draw the line in bitter anticipation. When government crosses that line, whatever it may be, that citizen begins to work in earnest toward revolt. When sufficient numbers… remarkably few in count as we shall see, are so moved, a revolt can be easily triggered. Unbelievably easy, in fact. Defining appropriate lines in the sand is covered in a companion post.
Depending on what line one might choose, armed revolution in America may actually be overdue, in which case this warning is all but too late. Again understand: I do not hereby call for revolution, but shout warnings that it may soon be forced upon us by government actions and inactions. They have been playing roulette for some time, now, and many lines in the sand have already been crossed as judged by countless people I’ve talked with at public gatherings. Any day the final pull of the trigger could transpire, and yet those in government seem Hell bent to spin the chamber yet again and again, the most recent on March 1 when every Senator and Congressman except Ron Paul voted to pass the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act, which essentially ends the right to protest or freely assemble at any location near anything having to do with government, including elections, as government deems useful to retain total control; another stab through the heart of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
A Closer Look at Revolutionary Processes
Most revolutions would seem to stem from economic and social inequities brought on by an uncaring or overbearing government which favors a power elite over the needs and rights of its people. In more recent history, such practice was given a name, and that name is Fascism. Surely, even Sheeple can be made to see that paradigm is at work in the United States, today, as perhaps best made clear by the variety and nature of complaints fielded by the Occupy movement, which very nearly was the catalyst for a revolution according to some viewpoints. Certainly many wished it had sparked one or feared it might. The ‘R’ word was definitely being tossed about in commentaries far and wide.
What most people do not realize is that revolution is actually a very simple thing to engineer (though spontaneous combustion is more often the mechanism involved) — when the situation is ripe for it. When tyranny, oppression, or general grievances with government are strong enough, almost anything can spark a revolution, and it does not actually take a lot of people to get a roaring fire started. In the snapshots below, we see that an incredibly small number of people can, by the right actions and in right circumstances, sponsor, though not necessarily their intent, full-scale revolutionary responses in the general population. They need not even be carrying guns to do so, which is why the 99% were considered worthy of the ‘R’ word.
The notion of governmental suicide via Russian Roulette should be restated and underscored, for governments truly dig their own graves at their own risk. In like analogy, governments in power tend to make their own noose with respect to the outcome of a revolution, building their own platform, and then to jumping off the platform on cue to insure the success of the revolution. The platform could invariably be described as their construct of oppressive laws and abuse of power, the noose as their own unwillingness to operate within their own laws and policy, all generally to the profit of a power elite at the expense of the common citizen. They then, like a mindless Lemming, jump off the platform by coming down hard and heavy on any early revolutionary event (generally, a peaceful event where government response is violent), creating martyrs for the cause. We see this in almost every case, as the central-most thing which galvanizes support of the masses for the revolutionary cause. Spontaneous combustion results, and government’s neck gets snapped with a sudden jolt.
That is one reason the Occupy Movement failed to spark a full-scale revolution; the level of violence by government was rather minimal (say, in comparison to the kind of over-the-top response seen in the smaller-scale WTO protests such as in Seattle and in Europe). That the Federal government did not take action and no State Governor took actions involving National Guard or Martial Law were restraints which also helped keep things from boiling over.
One can also make the argument that a controlled media and other trickeries served to help keep public opinion from galvanizing sympathetic support under the unfortunate levels of violence which were present. However, their ‘polite’ and sneakier responses (including media manipulation and the FRGBI Act) was their own underhanded way of eliminating any future Occupy movement as well as WTO protests, etc., and that is why it was a bit more than just another pull of the trigger. I, for one, am hopping mad, and wondering how much the price of guns are going to go up with the increase in demand.
About Redress of Grievances
Yet another reason the Occupy movement did not ignite open revolt is that actual revolution was never its intent, though it is likely true that sub groups within the movement might have thought or hoped otherwise. Rather, the movement in general simply sought public exposure of a collective of grievances in hopes of sponsoring useful redress by government. In point of fact, redress of grievances is what activism, protest, and even revolution is all about. We should be well informed on this topic to understand what it means to be under a government, and especially so as an American, as redress is a key part of our very foundation as a democratic nation (in Republic form).
Redress of grievances, when ignored by government, is the sponsor of ALL revolutions. The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights specifically address redress as a major element of that covenant between the People and Government. Where any government fails to insure its obligations to satisfactorily resolve issues of redress remain fully functional and available to citizens, they make themselves liable to revolution as the only remaining alternative for the people. In the U.S., redress is, unfortunately, absolutely flat-out null and void; the Bill of Rights and Constitution have been all but formally discarded, and the systems in place for such redress have been neutered and rendered ineffective.
For example, the notion of challenging unconstitutional laws through the Courts is rendered impractical when it costs millions of dollars and takes toward a decade to see it through to finish… and Congress writes such laws ten times faster than they can be dealt with. Two such Bills in roughly four weeks time! That is not redress, it is premeditated manipulation of a weakness in the system. Whirr… Click! Whirrrrr,,,
When political heros are assassinated and groups of people are murdered en mass again and again by government acts and a cover up ensues, there is no redress. Whirr… Click!
When lip-service white-washing Warren Commission/9-11 Commission and bogus Congressional Investigations serve as cover up tools (e.g., sealing records, refusing/discounting testimoney/evidence, magic bullet explanations), there is no redress. Whirr… Click!
When whistleblowers are targeted instead of heeded, there is no redress. Whirr… Click!
When government rewards criminal bankers and others who rape the common man and sends the bill to the victims, and they steal more money from Social Security to help offset the sticker price, there is no redress. Whirr… Click!
When wars for oil and other profits are based on lies but no one even apologizes, there is no redress. One could go on, as nowhere do I see useful redress in evidence. All I hear is Whirr… Click! What do you hear? Certainly seems you do not hear your own voice shouting out a loud “Enough!” At least not yet. Whirrrr…
The Start and Aftermath of Revolution
So, how easy is it to spark a revolution? The answer will help measure how close we may be to having one. Lets take one good case example which is quite parallel in many ways to the situation in the United States, today, and then run some numbers for it and several other famous (major) revolutions for comparison. A revolution is actually easy to come by, if the right ducks are in a row, heaven please forbid such a need.
The French Revolution 1848…
France had a population of about 38 million at the time and was suffering a Monarchy quite uncaring of its people in favor of the wealthy. It was a kind of Fascism where nobility tended to be the most wealthy and most prominent of ‘corporate’ powers. High unemployment and underemployment rates of deep double digits forced the Middle and lower classes into poverty, in part fueled by a shift in focus by Industry to part time employment for those few able to keep their jobs. Sound familiar?
General economic crisis caused a surge in bankruptcies and small business failures at the hands of the larger corporations of the day. An unusually severe Winter brought on by a Greenlandic volcanic ash cloud which severely damaged crops that year was fueled by a shortage of coal and food brought on by the economic crisis. Almost the entire populace was in dire straights, unless wealthy or of noble birth. France wold fall almost overnight before the year’s end. Let them eat cake? What cake?
The government continued to be both unable and unwilling to address problems and instead fueled them with solutions which either failed to be useful or which were actually profit opportunities for the wealthy. The military was time and again pressed into service to police and stem protests (they jumped off their platform). Instead of quelling and calming the public, these responses fueled them and fostered a unison of anger.
In June of 1848 the French Revolution was essentially started by 577 citizens (commoners referred to as the Third Estate, which is, by the way, a designation system used by Royals: the Royals are the First Estate, whereby Barons and Lords are the Second Estate, citizens the Third Estate, and from which media has since often been called the Fourth Estate), who in outrage over being denied their legal appearance at court for redress, met in conference (known as The Tennis Court Oath) to protest. This was their 99% moment, and they agreed (577 out of 578) in an Oath which established themselves as a governmental authority (The National Assembly) seeking Constitutional reforms which eventually would lead to the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, a document quite similar in character to the Bill of Rights.
This revolutionary act (the Oath), and the to-be-expected heavy-handed response by military so useful for the purpose, indeed galvanized splintered groups into a unified resistance which quickly evolved into people taking to the streets in Paris and elsewhere, eventually to storm the Bastille and force the Crown to retire in favor of forming The French Republic. It took less than two weeks for the government to fall. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times (Dickens; A Tale of Two Cities.)
The 577 who took a stand represented a mere .000015% of the nation’s populace, or about one in 7,000 persons. But the mood of the people was sympathetic to their aims, and when government reacted in murderous opposition instead of simply ignoring them, an unstated rally call was heard and heeded by the people. In France, the civil and military powers had guns and cannons, and the people only had pitchforks, swords, rocks, and scant few firearms. But they had anger and numbers which quickly forced capitulation, though at a cost of life on both sides – about 300,000 souls, or just under 1% of the population. Not all revolutions are even that costly.
The American Revolution began with a similar meeting of just 56 Men from the 13 Colonies, the population of the Colonies at the time about 2 million. That was the 1st, and later, the 2nd Continental Congress, and we know where that led in short order. That means about .000028% or one in 3,500 persons was all it took. King George, of course, jumped off the platform big time, leading to Lexington, and the resulting loss of life for both sides combined was about 34,000, or 1.5%.
The U.S.S.R. Revolution of 1991 began with 36 delegates of the Baltic Republic of Estonia and Latvia who, along with several hundred ‘Intellectuals’ signed a demand of autonomy from the Soviet Union (that would be like a Texas and California demanding Secession from the Union). This forced the Russian Communist Party (their government) to consider their redress and to attempt a compromise to hold Russia together, as other States were also wanting to flee the Union, but in the end, it would not be — the ship was clearly sinking. The population of the U.S.S.R. at the time was about 290 million. That works out to .0000015 or about 1 in 70,000.
A lot of things happened stepwise, but the important aspect is that violence was quite mitigated because government did not exactly jump off the platform. Instead, the military almost immediately sided with the revolutionaries, and such violence was not needed as a catalyst because the grievances were many and hatred of the System already abounded universally, even among the military, which at best, had split loyalties. Deaths were virtually unreported they were so few, though civil unrest in power struggles within, between, or with the various Soviet States which elected autonomy in the years following would result in significant loss of life at levels on par with other revolutions. Yet these deaths were not truly the price of freedom for Russia herself. Thus one of the greatest tyrannical governments of all time, a government itself established by a bloody revolution not 100 years earlier, was deposed with hardly a shot fired. Bravo!
The Indian Revolution for freedom from British Rule led by Ghandi in 1919 could arguably be described as a revolution fostered by one man from a population of about 250 million, though in his triumphant ‘March to the Sea to make salt, an illegal act by British decree in attempt to force Indians to pay a salt tax, he set out with 78 followers. By the time he reached the Sea, there were untold thousands. Even so, that defiance was the start of the revolution in real terms, involving only one in about 316,000 persons. The loss of life in the shooting part, which was one-sided as the entire revolution was one of non-violent protest, was about 1,000. These were from British atrocities such as British troops trapping 10,000 unarmed men, women, and children in a public courtyard in Amritsar and opening fire (scene from movie, Ghandi) without warning, expending 1,650 rounds of rifle fire before withdrawing without providing medical aid.
Ironically, the commanding Officer in that event did more to set India free than perhaps Ghandi with respect to World opinion and political fallout. That is the power and importance of government’s role in their own revolutionary downfall.
Inversely, however, it is no guarantee of success to be sure. Revolutions are a dicey thing.
By example, Red China did not fall as a result of the Tiananmen Square revolution in 1989, in part, because the Red Chinese attempted a total media blackout while they killed 7,000 unarmed students gathered in peaceful protest. With a population of 1.1 billion, that is still only .000006%.
But here is the important part, a singular event which took place after the carnage. One man defied the full might of the Army in an unimaginable act of defiant bravery, and got away with it, If, on the other hand, they had rolled their tank column over the lone civilian deliberately blocking their path… which had been managed to be captured by media… I suspect China would now be a true Republic free of Communist rule. If so, one man would have taken the credit in my book. This showed the World the power of the individual voice. That, my friend, would be your voice… SHOULD be YOUR VOICE… with as much of his demonstrated power as you care to assume in using it.
Thus we see that most revolutions require relatively little bloodshed, typically less than 1-2% in population loss, and relatively little original effort by a mere handful of citizens… provided the government truly lives up to tyrannical expectations and resists with all the forces at its disposal. As you continue (please) on to read the other posts associated with this post, keep this in mind, and judge for yourself how close to revolution we may or may not be. Decide which side you would choose to support if shooting does start, and make plans for your family’s safely transitioning through any such upheaval. I can only provide a warning and advice on what to consider and what to do… but only you can make the critical decisions that matter.
And they do matter… to you and your family… and to the nation in which you must seek to pursue happiness and whatever destiny awaits us all, every one.
- On the Impossibility of Limited Government and the Prospects for a Second American Revolution – Hans-Hermann Hoppe – Mises Daily (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- ‘Europe on the brink of armed-revolution’ (rt.com)
- 13 Reasons Why The Revolution Might Start with Obamacare (blacklistednews.com)
- Why the Occupy Movement Frightens the Corporate Elite (truth-out.org)
- GOP Newsletter Calls for Armed Revolution if Obama Re-Elected (alan.com)
- A Stealth Coup d’État in the United States (english.pravda.ru)