Author Topic: The Threat of Insurrection  (Read 6212 times)

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 105315
    • View Profile
The Threat of Insurrection
« on: June 24, 2008, 07:15:11 pm »
What determines your rank is the quantum of power you are: the rest is cowardice.
- Nietzsche

“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”
- Thomas Jefferson


You can talk all day long about enabling discourses and the power of worldwide, real-time connectivity and the ability to not only capture media attention but in many senses become the media, and it will not, can not, change basic facts about the world.  All of the above is rather amazing, and can be very powerful in competent hands.  But there are older truths, mechanisms of control and power, that still shape the world around us, and cannot simply be forgotten in the face of this shiny new technology.

We've been sold a lie, and this lie is that of a world where tough battles can be fought and won on a purely intellectual, literary and moral level.  That is not to say that these are not important facets in any victory – I would so far as to say they are necessary components.  But we've been taught time and time again to keep our heads down, follow “the rules” when it comes to such a conflict: rules put in place by people other than ourselves, rules which are weighted towards those who write them and create mechanisms whereby your petitions and arguments can be swept aside by sheer force of arms and threat of violence.

Don't believe me?  Just look at Zimbabwe for the past few days for a perfect example.  The MDC opposition can talk until they are blue in the face, they can have the world's media on their side and the support of two very powerful nations, not to mention the backing of the UN – and yet its the MDC who are getting their faces kicked in, their arms broken and bodies slashed open on the streets of Harare.

And that's an important point in today's world.  Because in a world where civil liberties are on the retreat, not only in one or two countries but across the globe in the name of 'counter-terrorism' and unspecified 'security measures' we need to remember exactly how we got those liberties in the first place.

So its time for a little story.  Not the neat, sanitized history textbook version, but how thing's actually went down.  This is precisely how it happened: every single victory for freedom was bought at the risk of insurrection and the threat of violence against the ruling classes.

Count them off:  the Barons who took King John to task had their own private forces and marched them down London in defiance of the Monarch, bringing about the concept of haebus corpus, as poorly implemented as it was for several generations.  The depredations of the French aristocracy were ended not by pious pleas to the Catholic Church and moral arguments about the obligations of the nobility, but by the Jacobins and the guillotine.  In America, of course, freedom was won by force of arms where the colonists successfully defeated those loyal to the Crown.

And it need not be actual use of force that wins the day either.  Universal suffrage didn't come about in the UK because of our enlightened leaders, oh no.  It happened because 2 million pissed off men had come back from World War One, and they weren't going to take any shit from a bunch of cowards up Westminster way – and if Parliament pressed the issue they knew at the end of the day it would be them swinging from London Bridge.  Hell, during Martin Luther King's time, the mass protests – which invariably contain the potential for mass violence even if it is only implicit – against a background of left-wing extremism did more for the civil rights movement than a thousand arguments about the fundamental dignity of all humankind – no matter how true those arguments are.

Do I advocate violence?  Not necessarily.  I do not live in the conditions found in Zimbabwe, not yet at least.  If I did, I most certainly would, even though I'd probably get my thumbs broken for suggesting it tomorrow.  But the absence of possible insurrection, the removal of this threat, is the single greatest motivator for a government to strip civil liberties from its citizens.

And usually, it starts with the physical methods of being able to enforce such threats.  But then, the process becomes more subtle, sneaky.  You teach 'em ideas like nationalism – my country right or wrong – and put the fear of violence on them...if they get too far out of line.  The process becomes internalized, the idea that violence is just only when waged against dangerous outsiders takes, that taking part in risky political ventures will result in the removal of welfare is normal and these methods of control are transmitted via the majority of the communications system of a country.  Think of all those keyboard warriors going on about Iraq and terrorists...they didn't fool you or me, but they sure helped get a good portion of the country thinking the threat came from Baghdad and not Washington.

Quashing violence is often done in the name of restoring “law and order”, whether nationally or internationally, and on that basis alone it is considered “right”, since most people naturally associate the law, as a body of rules in general, as a just system of arbitration.  But what happens when those laws are not just?  What happens when the social contract has broken down, as it has in so many parts of the world, where words on paper are nothing more than excuses to rob, steal, murder and pillage with impunity?

That's where lessons like this need to be taught, and why they need to be remembered.

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87210
  • Internet Fuckweasel of Haunted Pork Dimensions.
    • View Profile
    • Earfatigue Productions: When it has to sound like you give a shit.
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2008, 07:19:38 pm »
Oh, wow.

As a recovering idealist, this hit home.

It also brought back memories of middle school.  "If I reason with them, they won't beat me up...WHAM!"

Payne

  • Bowel-Shattering Deathbag of Monstrously Amorous Intent
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 88413
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2008, 07:21:44 pm »
FUCKIN' RAH!

This is an astounding piece of writing Cain, your best for a while.

I guess it's better when you don't have courses to complete.  :lol:

fomenter

  • don juan myhatass
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 43873
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2008, 07:41:50 pm »
 :mittens: well said

"And it need not be actual use of force that wins the day either."  the potential is often enough and it is a sad day indeed in any country when that threat  or potential threat is stripped from the the source of and rightful heirs to freedom (the people)...
"So she says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy... Without the lumps. HAAA-ha-ha-ha!"


hmroogp

Verbal Mike

  • EVIL JOO
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 18693
  • This Time, It's Personal
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2008, 10:12:05 pm »
Excellent. Brilliant. Inspiring.
Unless stated otherwise, feel free to copy or reproduce any text I post anywhere and any way you like. I will never throw a hissy-fit over it, promise.

Triple Zero

  • DO NOT ABUSE EXCEPT FOR URGENT FURNITURE MOVING EMERGENCIES
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 80835
  • Horrible and Sexy Queen of Cheese
    • View Profile
    • Random BIP
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2008, 10:52:08 pm »
hey maybe i'm not being very clearheaded right now (tired + sore throat + cold), but i'm having a bit of trouble understanding the idea that's behind this piece.

basically, is it just about how you are always going to need violence in the end to create change? or does it say more than that?

sorry if i'm completely missing the point, but i think i am.
Ex-Soviet Bloc Sexual Attack Swede of Tomorrow™
e-prime disclaimer: let it seem fairly unclear I understand the apparent subjectivity of the above statements. maybe.

INFORMATION SO POWERFUL, YOU ACTUALLY NEED LESS.

Adios

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96724
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2008, 11:36:42 pm »
Not violence, but action I think.

Verbal Mike

  • EVIL JOO
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 18693
  • This Time, It's Personal
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2008, 11:54:08 pm »
It's about how a system where civil violence is entirely out of the question puts the government in a position to strip its citizens of their rights without fear of repercussion. Because governments will always have armies, and if citizens are not allowed to use guns, armies still will be.
Unless stated otherwise, feel free to copy or reproduce any text I post anywhere and any way you like. I will never throw a hissy-fit over it, promise.

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 105315
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2008, 01:03:16 pm »
Yeah.  There is a common denominator to almost all major civil liberties victories that they involve significant concessions made by the ruling elite in order to avoid getting violence directed at them.  And even within alleged democracies on occasion this threat has been needed because of disenfranchised class or group who have not been allowed to share in the power system.  Moral talk is usually only helpful at bolstering ones own case to the media or supporters.  At the end of the day, its the bodies in the streets - the angry masses - that do a thousand times more than the most precise argument can.

Of course, violence is a resort of last measure.  And in a democracy (which I define as what we normally call a 'liberal democracy' - rule of law, more or less equality in the courts, haebus corpus, freedom of association and opinion along with vote) this does not apply.  But increasingly, around the world, such rights are being rolled back, as is democracy itself.  What happens when you can get busted for attending the wrong sort of rallies, or when your vote really does not count?  Some people seem to think more lobbying, blogging and refining of moral and political arguments will alone solve the problem.  And while they can frame and promote understanding of the issue, alone they do nothing and amount to little more than petulant whining.  The internet is not going to free dissidents in China or Egypt.  The threat of the leaders of those countries being put against a nice sunny wall somewhere, or being besieged in their Presidential palaces by a mob looking for blood might, however.

Incidentally, I don't advocate a foreign invasion to topple such governments, though it may sound like I do.  The people of each particular country can only come to the conclusion that their leadership is intolerable and unbearable.  Making the decision for them removes their own capacity for making change - reducing them to spectators in a game where they have no say about the outcome.  So basically as they were before.

Triple Zero

  • DO NOT ABUSE EXCEPT FOR URGENT FURNITURE MOVING EMERGENCIES
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 80835
  • Horrible and Sexy Queen of Cheese
    • View Profile
    • Random BIP
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2008, 05:59:20 pm »
okay cain, i understand it better now. i will reread your essay when i have time. thanks for clarifying!
Ex-Soviet Bloc Sexual Attack Swede of Tomorrow™
e-prime disclaimer: let it seem fairly unclear I understand the apparent subjectivity of the above statements. maybe.

INFORMATION SO POWERFUL, YOU ACTUALLY NEED LESS.

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 105315
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2008, 06:01:05 pm »
No problem, I wrote this on the back of about 2 hours sleep, after a very long day and with no editing (hell, I saved it from here into Open Office, not the other way around) so I'm surprised it made any sense at all.

Verbal Mike

  • EVIL JOO
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 18693
  • This Time, It's Personal
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2008, 08:49:02 pm »
I now realize my pessimism about the future of Western democracy really is rather reasonable, and now I understand why. :x
Unless stated otherwise, feel free to copy or reproduce any text I post anywhere and any way you like. I will never throw a hissy-fit over it, promise.

Golden Applesauce

  • Token Apologist
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 22325
  • Where does this text go?
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2008, 12:56:50 am »
Remember that violence need not be physical - threatening economic ruin, either through strikes or embargoes, (or even withholding loans if the monarchy is dependent on the the wealth of individual citizens) can have an effect.

Oh, wow.

As a recovering idealist, this hit home.

It also brought back memories of middle school.  "If I reason with them, they won't beat me up...WHAM!"

That reminds me of my middle school - "If I beat them up they will at least tolerate me... WHAM WHAM WHAM *dropout.*"
Q: How regularly do you hire 8th graders?
A: We have hired a number of FORMER 8th graders.

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 105315
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2008, 09:32:42 am »
Very true.  Even when socialists often do not advocate open revolution, unlike communists, their stance is often threatening because of the possibility of wealth distribution.

Also, like most political violence, there is an element of theatre to it.  The standoff between government and people should probably be staged in a way where very few would have sympathy with the government.  Meaning setting the scene correctly.

Thurnez Isa

  • Director of the Church of Pornography and Jesus
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 32178
  • SCREAMING PRIMATE
    • View Profile
Re: The Threat of Insurrection
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2008, 02:11:39 pm »
OP = great amounts of :mittens:

I know Im late but I have time to cetch up on some of my reading here
Through me the way to the city of woe, Through me the way to everlasting pain, Through me the way among the lost.
Justice moved my maker on high.
Divine power made me, Wisdom supreme, and Primal love.
Before me nothing was but things eternal, and eternal I endure.
Abandon all hope, you who enter here.

Dante