Tuesday, July 21, 2015

So you say you don't want a revolution?

[En français]

Over the past few months we have been forced to bear witness to a humiliating farce unfolding in Europe. Greece, which was first accepted into the European Monetary Union under false pretenses, then saddled with excessive levels of debt, then crippled through the imposition of austerity, finally did something: the Greeks elected a government that promised to shake things up. The Syriza party platform had the following planks, which were quite revolutionary in spirit.
  • Put an end to austerity and put the Greek economy on a path toward recovery
  • Raise the income tax to 75% for all incomes over 500,000 euros, adopt a tax on financial transactions and a special tax on luxury goods.
  • Drastically cut military expenditures, close all foreign military bases on Greek soil and withdraw from NATO. End military cooperation with Israel and support the creation of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders.
  • Nationalize the banks.
  • Enact constitutional reforms to guarantee the right to education, health care and the environment.
  • Hold referendums on treaties and other accords with the European Union.
Of these, only the last bullet point was acted on: there was a lot made of the referendum which returned a resounding “No!” to EU demands for more austerity and the dismantling and selling off of Greek public assets. But a lot less was made of the fact that the results of this referendum were then ignored.

But the trouble started before then. After being elected, Syriza representatives went to Brussels to negotiate. The negotiations generally went like this: Syriza would make an offer; the EU officials would reject it, and advance their own demands for more austerity; Syriza would make another offer, and the EU officials would reject it too and advance their own demands for even more austerity than in the last round; and so on, all the way until Greek capitulation. All the EU officials had to do to force the Greeks to capitulate was to stop the flow of Euros to Greek banks. Some revolutionaries, these! More like a toy poodle trying to negotiate for a little more kibble to be poured into its dish, if it pleases the master to do so. Stathis Kouvelakis (a Syriza member) summed up the Greek government's stance: “Here’s our program, but if we find that its implementation is incompatible with keeping the euro, then we’ll forget about it.”

It is not as if revolutions don't happen any more. Just one country over from Greece there is a rather successful revolution unfolding as we speak: what used to be Northern Iraq and Syria is controlled by the revolutionary regime variously known as ISIS/ISIL/Daash/Islamic Caliphate. We can tell that it is a real revolution because of its use of terror. All revolutionaries deserving of the name use terror—and what they generally say is that their terror is in response to the terror of the pre-existing order they seek to overthrow, or the terror of their counterrevolutionary enemies. And by terror I mean mass murder, expropriation, exile and the taking of hostages.

Just so that you understand me correctly, let me stress at the outset that I am not a revolutionary. I am an observer and a commentator on all sorts of things, including revolutions, but I choose not to participate. Remaining an observer and a commentator presupposes staying alive, and my personal longevity program calls for not being anywhere near any revolutions—because, as I just mentioned, revolutions involve mass murder.

Good old Uncle Joe.
The kids loved him.
In the case of the French revolution, it started with liberté-égalité-fraternité and proceeded swiftly to guilliotiné. The Russian revolution of 1917 remains the gold standard for revolutions. There, thanks to Uncle Joe, so-called “red terror” went on and on, eventually claiming millions of victims. Mao and Pol Pot are also part of that revolutionary pantheon. The American revolution wasn't a revolution at all because the slave-owning, genocidal sponsors of international piracy remained in power under the new administration. Nor does the February 2014 putsch in the Ukraine qualify as a revolution; that was an externally imposed violent overthrow of the legitimate government and the installation of a US-managed puppet regime, but, as in the American Colonies, the same gang of thieves—the Ukrainian oligarchs—continue to rob the country blind just as before. But if the Nazi thugs from the “Right Sector” take over and kill the oligarchs, the government officials in Kiev and their US State Dept./CIA/NATO minders, and then proceed with a campaign of “brown terror” throughout the country, then I will start calling it a revolution.

* * *

The fact of mass murder does not automatically a revolution make: you have to make note of who is getting killed. So, if the dead consist of lots of volunteers, recruits, mercenaries, plus lots of nondescript civilians, that does not a revolution make. But if the dead include a good number of oligarchs, CEOs of major corporations, bankers, senators, congressmen, public officials, judges, corporate lawyers, high-ranking military officers, then, yes, that's starting to look like a proper revolution.

Other than big huge pools of blood littered with the corpses of high-ranking representatives of the ancien régime, a revolution also requires an ideology—to corrupt and pervert. In general, the ideology you have is the ideology you make revolution with. It stands to reason that if you don't have an ideology, it's not really a revolution. For instance, the American Colonists had no ideology—just some demands. They didn't want to pay taxes to the British crown; they didn't want to maintain British troops; they didn't want limits on the slave trade; and they didn't want restrictions on profiting from piracy on the high seas. That's not an ideology; that's just simple old greed. With the Ukrainian “revolutionaries,” their “ideology” pretty much comes down to the statements “Europe is wonderful” and “Russians suck.” That's not an ideology either; the former is wishful thinking; the latter is simple bigotry.

Taking the example of ISIS/ISIL/Daash/Islamic Caliphate, they are Islamists, and so the ideology they corrupt and pervert is Islam, with its Sharia law. How? Islamist scholars have been most helpful by compiling this top-ten list:

1. It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as “People of the Scripture.”
2. It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.
3. It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.
4. It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.
5. It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.
6. It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat Christians or any “People of the Scripture.”
7. Jihad in Islam is a purely defensive struggle. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose, and the right rules of conduct.
8. It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats — hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.
9. Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.
10. It is forbidden in Islam to declare a Caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.

But, as Lenin famously put it, “If You Want to Make an Omelet, You Must Be Willing to Break a Few Eggs.” And if you want to make a revolution, then you must be willing to pervert your ideology. Those Islamist scholars who eagerly exclaim “That's not Islam! Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance!” are missing the point: the ideology of ISIS/ISIL/Daash/Islamic Caliphate is still Islam—revolutionary Islam.

The example of ISIS/ISIL/Daash/Islamic Caliphate is germane to the topic of Greece, because it is a contemporary example of what is definitely a revolution, and it is taking place just one country over from Greece. But the ideology of Syriza is not Islam—it's socialism, and philosophically they are Marxists. And so a better example for Syriza to follow, were they to suddenly stop being Europe's pathetic poodles and don the mantle of fearless, heroic revolutionaries, is still the good old Russian revolution of 1917.

* * *

As I mentioned, one of the most important tools of a revolution is terror. In Russia, revolutionary terror was called “red terror,” which, the revolutionaries claimed, arose in opposition to “white terror” of the Russian imperial regime, with its racist bigotry (Jews weren't allowed in any of the major cities), numerous forms of oppression, some major, some quite petty, and rampant corruption. An interesting feature of the Russian revolution is that the terror started several years prior to the event.

Let us pause for a second to consider why revolutionary terror is necessary. A revolution is a drastic change in the direction of society. Left alone, society tends to worsen its worst tendencies over time: the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the police state becomes more oppressive, the justice system becomes more riddled with injustice, the military-industrial complex produces ever less effective military hardware for ever more money, and so on. This is a matter of social inertia: the tendency of objects to travel in a straight line in absence of a force acting at an angle to its direction of motion. The formula for momentum is


where p is momentum, m is mass and v is velocity.

To make a radical course change, revolutionaries have to apply force, counteracting the social inertia. To make it so that it is within their limited means to do this, they can do two things: reduce v, or reduce m. Reducing v is a bad idea: the revolution must not lose its own momentum. But reducing m is, in fact, a good idea. Now, it turns out that, with regard to social momentum, most of the mass that gives rise to it resides in the heads of certain classes of people: government officials, judges and lawyers, police officers, military officers, rich people, certain types of professionals and so on.

The rest of the population is much less of a problem. Suppose some revolutionaries show up and tell them that
  • they don't have to worry about paying taxes (because we are confiscating the property of the rich),
  • medicine and education are now free, 
  • those with mortgages can stop making payments; they automatically own their real estate free and clear
  • renters now automatically own their place of residence,
  • employees are automatically majority stockholders in their businesses,
  • they should fill out an application if they want a free (newly liberated) parcel of land to farm,
  • there is a general amnesty and their loved ones who have been locked up are coming home,
  • ration cards are being issued to make sure that nobody ever goes hungry again,
  • the homeless are going to be moving in with those whose residences are deemed unduly spacious,
  • they are now their own police and are in charge of patrolling their neighborhoods with the revolutionary guards available as back-up, and
  • if any non-revolutionary authorities, be they the former police or the former landlords, come around and bother any of them, then these traitors and impostors shall face swift, on-the-spot revolutionary justice.
Most regular people would think that this is a pretty good deal. However, government officials, the police, military officers, judges, prosecutors, rich people whose property is to be confiscated, corporate officers and shareholders, those living on fat corporate or government pensions, etc., would no doubt think otherwise. The revolutionary solution is to take them as hostages, exile them, and, to make an example of the most recalcitrant and obstructive, kill them. This dramatically reduces m, allowing the revolutionaries to effect drastic course changes even as v increases. I compiled this list because it would be such an easy sell—piece of cake, a slam-dunk, a no-brainer. But I lack the uncontrollable desire to smash eggs and the insatiable appetite for omelets. As I mentioned, I am no revolutionary—just an observer.

In the run-up to the Russian revolution, from 1901 through 1911, there were 17,000 such casualties. In 1907, the average toll was 18 people a day. According to police records, between February 1905 and May 1906, there were among those killed:
  • 8 governors
  • 5 vice-governors and other regional administrators
  • 21 chiefs of police, heads of municipalities and wardens
  • 8 high-ranking police officers
  • 4 generals
  • 7 military officers
  • 79 bailiffs
  • 125 inspectors
  • 346 police officers
  • 57 constables
  • 257 security personnel
  • 55 police service personnel
  • 18 state security agents
  • 85 government employees
  • 12 clergy
  • 52 rural government agents
  • 52 land-owners
  • 51 factory owners and managers
  • 54 bankers and businessmen
Good old Zinka
Schoolteacher, Revolutionary, Assassin
Clearly, these terrorist acts must have had some not inconsiderable effect in softening the target, making the government overthrow easier. This was not an accident but a matter of well-articulated revolutionary policy. The concept of “red terror” was first introduced by Zinaida Konoplyannikova, a rural schoolteacher who first got on the police radar for being an atheist and was later convicted as a terrorist for shooting a notorious general-major at point-blank range. At her trial in 1906, she said this: “The [Socialist-Revolutionary] Party has decided to counter the white, yet bloody, terror of the government with red terror...” She was executed by hanging that same year, aged 26.

After the revolution, red terror became government policy. Here is Lenin's response to being questioned by Communist party members about his “barbaric methods”: “I reason soberly and categorically: what is better—to imprison a few tens or hundreds provocateurs, guilty or innocent, acting consciously or unconsciously, or to lose thousands of soldiers and workers? The former is better. Let them accuse me of any deadly sins and violations of liberty—I plead guilty, but the interests of the workers win.”

Grandpa Lenin belting out a tune
Grandpa Trotsky going wild on the harmonica
Trotsky produced a particularly crisp definition of “red terror.” He called it “a weapon to be used against a social class that has been condemned to extinction but won't die.”

Estimates of the exact number of victims of “red terror” vary. Robert Conquest claimed that between 1917 and 1922 the revolutionary tribunals executed 140,000 people. But the historian O. B. Mozokhin, after an exhaustive study of the data available from government archives, put the number at no more than 50,000. He also noted that executions were the exception rather than the rule, and that most of those executed were sentenced for criminal rather than political acts.

But this was nothing compared to what Stalin unleashed later on. The ideological foundation of Stalin's terror was “intensification of class struggle at the culmination of the building of socialism,” which he articulated at the plenum of the Central Committee in July of 1928. According to his logic, USSR was economically and culturally underdeveloped, surrounded by hostile capitalist states, and as long as there remained the threat of foreign military intervention with the goal of reestablishing the bourgeois order, only the preventive destruction of the remnants of “bourgeois elements” could guarantee the security and independence of the USSR. These elements included former police officers, government officials, clergy, land-owners and businessmen. The peak of Stalin's repression occurred in 1937 and 1938. During these two years 1,575,259 people were arrested, of which 681,692 were shot.

You may be forgiven for thinking of Stalin as a psychopathic murderer, because he was certainly that, but more importantly he was a competent, and sufficiently ruthless, head of a revolutionary state. For a revolutionary regime, killing too many people is rarely a problem, but killing too few can easily prove fatal. To play it safe, a revolutionary should always err on the side of murder. This attitude tends to pervade the entire power pyramid: if you give Stalin a memorandum recommending that 500 priests get shot, and Stalin crosses out 500 and pencils in 1000 in red pencil, then you better find 500 more priests to shoot, or the number becomes 1001 and includes you.

This guarantee of security and independence did seem to hold. After all, there was a subsequent invasion by a hostile bourgeois capitalist state (Germany) and bourgeois order was temporarily reestablished on the territories it occupied. But there was nobody left to instigate anti-revolutionary rebellion elsewhere in the USSR because most of the would-be counterrevolutionaries were by then dead.

Of course, this took a terrible toll on society. Here is what Putin had to say on the subject of “red terror”: “Think of the hostages who were shot during the civil war, the destruction of entire social strata—the clergy, the prosperous peasants, the Cossacks. Such tragedies have recurred more than once during the history of mankind. And it always happened when initially attractive but ultimately empty ideals were raised above the main value—the value of human life, above the rights and liberties of man. For our country this is especially tragic, because the scale was colossal. Thousands, millions of people were destroyed, sent to concentration camps, shot, tortured to death. And these were primarily people who had their own opinions, who weren't afraid to voice them. These were the most effective people—the flower of the nation. Even after many years we feel the effect of this tragedy on ourselves. We must do a great deal to make sure that this is never forgotten.”

Given that the price is so high, perhaps it would be better after all if we just sat quietly, allowed the rich get richer as the poor get poorer, watched listlessly as the environment got completely destroyed by capitalist industrialists in blind pursuit of profit, and eventually curled up, kissed our sweet asses good-bye and died? Good luck selling that idea to young radicalized hotheads who have nothing to lose—except maybe you, if you happen to stand in their way as they change the world! No, revolution is here to stay, and one of its main weapons is terror. No matter how well we remember, the annihilation of counterrevolutionary social elements is bound to recur.

* * *

Getting back to Greece and Syriza: what if Syriza were not just a particularly fluffy breed of miniature Europoodle but actual honest-to-goodness revolutionaries, ready to do whatever it takes? How would they act differently? And what would be the result?

Well, one thing that comes to mind immediately is that they wouldn't try to stay in the Eurozone—they would seek to destroy it. The solution is simple: no Eurozone—no Euro-debt—no problem. There is a general principle involved: never accept responsibility for that which you cannot control. Speaking from experience, suppose you invite a plumber to fix your toilet, and the plumber finds that the toilet has been Mickey-moused in multiple ways by an incompetent amateur. In this situation, the professional thing for the plumber to do is to completely obliterate that toilet. Now the solution becomes simple: install a new toilet.

Here's a very simple one-two punch which Greece could have delivered instead of futile attempts at negotiation:

1. Immediately announce an open-ended moratorium on all debt repayment, taking the position that Greece has no legitimate creditors within the Eurozone—it's all financial fraud at the highest levels. After a few months, the fake bail-out financial entities that magically convert garbage Eurozone debt into AAA-rated securities (because they are guaranteed by Eurozone governments) are forced to write off Greek debt. In turn, Eurozone governments, being pretty much broke, balk at refinancing them out of their national budgets, showing to the world that their guarantees aren't worth the paper they are written on. There follows a bond implosion. Shortly thereafter, the Euro goes extinct, and along with it all Eurozone debt.

2. Start printing Euros without authorization from the European Central bank. When accused of forgery, make the forgery harder to detect by changing the letter at the front of the serial number from Y (for Greece) to X (for Germany). Flood Greece and the rest of the Eurozone with notionally counterfeit (but technically perfect) Euro notes. As the Euro plummets in value, institute food rationing and issue ration cards. Eventually convert from the now devalued and debased Euro to a newly reintroduced Drachma and reestablish trade links with the now “liberated” former Eurozone countries using trade deals based on barter and local currency swaps with gold reserves used to correct any minor imbalances.

Could this have been done without any “red terror”? I doubt it. Greece is very much oligarch-ridden; even the celebrated former Syriza FM Yanis Varoufakis is the son an industrial magnate. The Greek oligarchs and the rich would have had to be rounded up and held as hostages. Numerous people in the government and in the military have a split allegiance—they work for Europe, not for Greece. They would have had to be sacked immediately and held incommunicado, under house arrest at a minimum. No doubt foreign special services would have run rampant, looking for ways to undermine the revolutionary government. This would have called for drastic preemptive measures to physically eliminate foreign spies and agents before they could have had a chance to act. And so on. This wouldn't have been a job for fluffy mini-poodles. As Stalin famously put it, “Cadres are the key to everything.” You can't make revolution without revolutionaries.

But is this a job for anyone? Anyone at all? I leave this question as an exercise for the reader.


forrest said...

That may be a Russian harmonica, but in English a harmonica is one of these:

You're probably correct about revolutions, which is why they probably aren't a good idea.

Just on a purely practical note, unless the revolutionaries can break through the old regime's propaganda network, the public won't generally understand why the bastids should be wiped out like bedbugs -- And so those taken out and shot are most likely to be revolutionaries.

About the one thing a person can be sure about the outcome of a revolution, successful or otherwise: The most competent elements of the population are likely to be targeted by both sides, leading to a state of universal incompetence and a cultural legacy even more violent than our own (which would be otherwise hard to imagine, despite the cosmetic 'peace and order' under which our customary forms of violence are hidden!)

Rhisiart Gwilym said...

Congratulations on the Mandarin (?) version of 'Five Stages', Dmitry.

Matthew C Smallwood said...

I imagine that The Golden Dawn will eventually try their hand at some form of the above. They would be crazy not to, as the current regime desires nothing less than to suffocate them and everything they stand for. If they have the opportunity (eg., the rest of the world has bigger troubles on hand, like Islamic revolution in the streets of Paris), they will probably jump. That side of the political spectrum learned that the Leftward drift of the last century or two is invincible except during moments of drastic crisis, and they stay down. Loss is a great teacher.

forrest said...

There are also harmoniums https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pump_organ
and accordions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accordion like the one illustrated. (I am tempted to call your photo "The Organ Grinder and His Monkey", except that that would get us into a whole different class of instruments, operated by wheels rubbing against hidden strings.)

Bernard Fall's old books about the Vietnam conflict, starting with the fight against the French, give a pretty good sense of the sheer ugliness of a protracted insurrection-plus-repression (which is what we'd be likely to get here if the population ever broke loose of the media headlock.) Praying seems much the better alternative, considering an oppressive government-plus-private kleptocracy to be a sort of natural disaster, a case of bad collective karma at work.

Dammerung said...

Those who make peaceful reformation impossible make violent revolution inevitable. If not Syriza, then Golden Dawn. I imagine in a few years time all of Europe will look back and realize that Syriza would have been preferable.

Rhisiart Gwilym said...

And - er - BTW, I think Trotsky's on the accordion...

Jim R said...

I don't want a revolution. Don't really want to be anywhere near those breaking eggs.

But it all comes down to the faction with the best network. Network of supporters, network of communication, networks of food/water/transportation, with a few actors and agents tied into the network. Who controls the networks controls the whole system.

And of course, the purpose of an ideology is to tie together the human networks. . .

Which really explains the eagerness of the spook organizations to tap into the Internet.

(Also worth noting, Google is one of the best spy networks in existence - its stated purpose is marketing. And of course, blogspot is part of the Google network now.)

Energyflow said...

Common sense. Under conditions of modern amenities of supermarkets and couch potatoeism prevalent due to oil based first world economy the physical and emotional extremism necessary to produce true revolutionary sentiment cannot develop. Extreme and enduring physical deprivation on a mass class basis in absolute, not relative comparative terms, is necessay to produce true revolutionary sentiment. America's involvement in destroying Iraq could qualify. Post collapse Europe bringing 4 horses of apocalypse conditions, with 1% being excluded from hardship then revolution will come. The oil economy subsidizes basic human needs, avoiding early 20th century revolutionary conditions. When this subsidy disappears in the coming decades as population grows and climate change destabilizes agriculture, water supplies and general living conditions chaotic conditions will make revolutionary ideologies and movements difficult to sustain as the principle of redistribution is not given. A shrinking pie will mean every manfor himself. The situation will be very unhappy.

dale said...

Is oppression heavy handed like "1984" or internalized--something that people do to themselves like "Brave New World"? I'd say the latter. Greece could have left the yoke of their financial overlords but would have had to build a local economy and get off the teat of the global economy. The Western Left[poodles!] are too irrelevant and impotent to do anything other than stay in their comfort zone and be obedient little children, let alone armed struggle and revolution. The only revolution possible by the Left would have to be achieved by making consumer choices and liking something on Facebook. But is this kind of Revolution of wholesale violence on a vast scale only something that rose in tandem with the technological Nation-State? If mass society breaks down..erh, I mean when, and the poodles die off on a vast scale because their life support systems fail, can it be that the world is inherited by communities that abide(maybe even violent ones that fight eachother)? Or maybe we just all die in a dystopian degradation of the ecosystem.

19battlehill said...

Greece has a democracy, thus it should listen to the rule of the people - Yep and I believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I think the reason Tsipras capitulated to the Germans was because he had a gun put to his head (literally). Do you really think the elites of the world were going to just let Greece walk away, and even if Greece tried to walk away - I am sure Tsipras was reminded of the price that would be paid. Bigger countries bully smaller ones and they always win, especially when they are negotiating with country representatives. If the Greek people want to be free - then they must act on their own outside of the government. This means mass disruption and the willingness to pay the price that their freedom is going to cost. The people are in charge not their rulers, but when they have grown complacent with their comfortable dog collars and cages - it is hard for them to let go - thus they complain and fight with each other while the rulers laugh and continue.

pyrrhus said...

I think that conditions have to get really bad, and the public very dispirited, before revolution can succeed. In Russia, the collapse of the war effort and the huge losses in 1914-1915 radicalized much more of the public, and the fact that some soldiers didn't even have rifles or food destroyed morale in the military. IMO, that was the point when the Tsar was finished....
In Greece, and the EU in general, things just aren't that bad yet...

stevelaudig@gmail.com said...

Just to confirm an understanding " The American revolution wasn't a revolution at all because the slave-owning, genocidal sponsors of international piracy remained in power under the new administration." The international piracy was the kidnapping of Africans for enslavement, not the "Jolly Roger" Elizabethan raiding of Spanish gold.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear Chris Hedges response to this. (He's more popular than you---Nuk,nuk :) Kidding aside, it shows the high quality of your writing, well done.

Stuart Cram said...

Re: Dale

I'm no expert on those novels but it seems like a hybrid process where you use a BNW society while resources are not constrained to construct the oppression infrastructure required to created a 1984 society.

That being said the Western state apparatus can't even seem to protect their own data sage (see OPM hack & Edward Snowden) nor can it win a conflict against impoverished Afghanis. My own government can't even keep a crack-head with a deer-rifle out of the parliament building! Being that a failed terrorist is a dead terrorist and a failed bureaucrat is a pensioned bureaucrat (Helluva Job Brownie!) the darwinian process seems to favour the 'terrorists' at this time.

Dmitry's account of the Red Terror seems to shows it's not the existing sclerotic elite that is an effective oppressor it's the revolutionary elite that is good at oppression. ISIS seems to be doing a better job of controlling the local population than the Coalition of the Willing and possibly even the Baathists ever were.

But I think the real question is why put any effort into a revolution? I can barely convince anyone that there are limits on resource extraction. Usually they'll admit that humans won't mine the core of the Earth if I keep at them long enough. But it's not a good way to make friends or have nice dinners with your family. If people can't even believe in limits to our ability to sustain the existing lifestyle then how could you ever convince them that a change would benefit them or is necessary?

Alex said...

Forrest - harmonica is indeed the correct term, what we in the States call a harmonica is called a Mundharmonica, or ... Mouth-accordion? Those wacky Germans!

The more I read this site, the more I am convinced that Uncle Joe was a pretty good Joe.

Alex Malejewicz said...

Great article Dmitry. I learnt much reading it.
Regarding the situation in Greece, My home town of Melbourne is home to one of the largest Greek diaspora communities in the world. When Greece joined the Eurozone, I remember the arrogant posturing attitude of the local Greeks very well. Neighbours and associates who for decades had been polite, if not somewhat reserved, were suddenly proclaiming Greek superiority and being rather obnoxious in general, dismissive of people from European nations who did not use the Euro as a currency.
Fast forward to 2015, I rarely hear a peep out of the local Melbourne Greek community and my childhood friends of Greek descent are nowhere near as visible anymore. It is unfortunate but we cannot expect the same behaviour from Greece as we have seen from the ancestors of the Vikings in Iceland. The stories of the 300 Spartans and the battle of Thermopylae are ancient history.

Tek said...

Hello Demitri

This is one of your best articles and it deserves a wide distribution.

The problem remains that even if one does not want to engage in the transformation of society using such savage methods, human beings face an existenial crisis which requires a rapid and profound social, political and economic transformation.

The task of the revolutionary today is to achieve the necessary transformation without violence.

You Demitri are such a revolutionary because while eschewing ideology and leadership you weild the sword of truth, which in these times is a revolutionary act.

During this period of crisis the most important thing is to stay connected to reality and avoid self deception or cultic and mob behaviour while instigating the transformations we wish to see

On a personal note I also like your dry humour.

Kutamun said...

The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn was the account i remember of the red terror , i was shocked reading it , and Dmitris priest quota was exactly how it went , i was left thinking " the first casualty of revolution is logic and common sense "

genomir said...

every revolution ends with a revolution.

My Donkey said...

The first plank in Syriza's platform (Put an end to austerity and put the Greek economy on a path toward recovery) is pure fantasy.
The industrial world is entering an era of austerity, imposed if not by one entity (financial oligarchy), then by another (Mother Nature). Since austerity cannot be avoided, the prudent thing to do is start practicing it.
And there is no hope of a Greek economic recovery unless by "recovery" you mean more of the same fraud that inflated the previous bubble.

beetleswamp said...

To be fair I think Chris Hedges is more aware of this impending scenario than most people, seeing how he's actually spent a significant amount time in war zones. From what I understand his platform is trying to prevent it by fomenting a popular uprising that undermines the chain of command in a manner similar to the deposing of Erich Honecker. It seems he is well aware that the chances of success are slim to none given our fractured and violent national character, but his moral convictions compel him to try anyway.

gazooks said...

Just one step further back in perspective from this nicely composed POV is the region of covert administrative workings by hidden patrons of engineered foreign revolutions.

Perhaps the pattern and character of political violence remains what it would otherwise be, irrespective of foreign puppet-master direction and funding, but the instant example isn't one of those strictly organic events, if ever they existed, nor was its precedent cited in France, nor its successor of scale in China, nor the myriad petty social annihilations manufactured anywhere else on the globe to present date.

Few credible authors exist that explicitly detail just who's responsible for engineering momentum of modern world-class mayhem, as naturally follows in usurper tyranny of fantastic purpose of historical revisionism.

Foundationally, Carroll Quigley's Tragedy and Hope is essential to grasp organizational sophistication as is Antony Sutton's diligent work for penetrating the deep, elite, multinational, institutionally generated fog of manipulated revolution and war.

Red terror is inclusively white & blue as well, cloaked in most sinister agenda of black for purpose defying all human decency, justice and reason.

Zoltar said...

It’s noteworthy that, two hundred forty-two years after the Boston Tea Party, refusal to pay taxes is still regarded by many Americans as the highest expression of patriotism.

As the French (who played a critical role in America achieving its independence, yet are held in low esteem in this country) say, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

I like your idea about Greece flooding the Eurozone with counterfeit Euros. If it weren’t for your irrational commitment to staying alive, you’d make a fine revolutionary.

Unknown said...

I'm in no mood to cook an omelet either. I prefer to build than to tear down. But if any of your readers may have revolting impulses, it may hearten them to know they are certainly far from alone. Dissent is brewing if not "terror" and is being documented at:
And while I suppose it's possible to corrupt any "ism", I suspect Anarchism may be a bit more durable than the others:
Would you care to practice Anarchy or actually experience it?

Bo Modén said...

Thank you for all your important work ! Thank you for reminding us of our ugly history . We are in for for a terrible future but still we have to be brave in handling it while avoiding becoming totally cynical. I am fond of the work of Peter Sloterdijk. Have you read his book "Kritik der Zynischen Vernunft" ? Realistic , very strong and he points to an cataclysmic end ! I long to go out sailing again but you have told me that I am too old !?

PappaGaia/Bo Modén !

Shawntoh said...

Bravo, Dmitry!

I recall that the late Frank Zappa once related that he was talking to some leftist revolutionaries in the '60s, and after he heard their spiel he said something to the effect of--

"Even if you do succeed with your revolutionary plans, what are going to do with the 'old people' (and those who oppose you as well)? Are you going to kill them?"

Thanks for your continuing excellent work.

john said...

Howard Skillington says:

It’s noteworthy that, two hundred forty-two years after the Boston Tea Party, refusal to pay taxes is still regarded by many Americans as the highest expression of patriotism

but far more noteworthy is that today essentially NO Americans refuse to pay taxes.


odd that nobody has mentioned the 60+ year old revolución in Cuba, replete with broken eggs, embargoes, severed diplomatic ties...

odder still is that they just reopened the American Embassy there.

i mean, talk about perverting your ideology!

Unknown said...

I remember the words one revolutionary said: "The pen is mightier then the sword, but imagine how powerful they would be if both are used together."

Anonymous said...

What Iceland has done is very impressive. Good model for dealing with the corrupt bankers I would think.

Paul Bonneau said...

The Sandinista revolution was an interesting case. I believe lands were distributed, yet some rich land owners remained. The lands that were distributed to the poor were those accumulated by the Somoza dynasty and its closest supporters.

This example of revolutionary restraint is important because some vestige of property rights must remain, if production is not to collapse completely. If I'm not mistaken, the collectivization of Russian farms was a complete disaster, but privately owned gardens picked up a lot of the slack, even if it was an example of capitalism.

michelp said...

Perhaps a world solution to all our trials and tribulations is cooperativism.
Let all corporations be cooperatives.
Then all have a voice in their own future.

RML said...

The puppeteers do interesting things when the cycle for "revolution" comes 'round. This time, they decided to effeminate the astrological symbol for revolution...the once and future planet, Pluto. This is not a promotion of hoary astrology, which Kepler rightly described as the "music of the spheres," but more of a snapshot of how the power effete (sic) reveres the efficacy of symbols (as do revolutionaries).

An additional example — the denigration of Robert E Lee's Army of Virginia Flag (the flag northerners call the Confederate Flag, which it is not) is an example of Symbol Smearing, so that the populi do not connect-the-dots and discover the REAL importance of this and other symbols. The War Between the States had nothing to do with slavery, It had everything to do with the 10th Amendment, or State's Rights and with banks of course. The puppeteers do not want to hear bantering and blogging about August Belmont, bonds, war profiteering...all of it. Best to play the race card and leave it at that.

The planet Pluto Symbol kibosh was well-timed with the benching of Pluto off of the playing field of planets. If you Google "Pluto in Capricorn" (~ 2008 - 2023) you will basically come up with: "Pluto is, indeed, the “Great Transformer”, and revamps, reshapes, overhauls and thus transforms whatever it is currently impacting, it will bring this overhaul type energy to those areas that Capricorn rules, which are:
- The economy, corporations, banking and big business.
- Government (including the “shadow” government”), its policy, influence and actions at all levels (local, national and global).
- Politics and political activities (i.e. elections, voting issues, law, etc.).
- Societal laws, rules and regulations.
- Churches and organized religion, and the dogmas and rituals they adhere to.
- The patriarchal system in general.

Though near-babes now, these children born with Pluto in Capricorn resonate to this "overhaul" energy, and will take to the streets en masse…or, following isis’s lead, convert their parents’ Priuses into clown-cars jamb packed with whoopass ready to take on the world.