Revolts vs. Revolutions III

Lenin understood the distinction between revolts and revolutions.  He knew that the peasantry can be pushed to revolt — the Russian peasantry was the most backward, abused, and brutalized in Europe — but would falter once their passions were spent.  As a Russian with more than a little Mongol in him, he was familiar with Pugachev’s Rebellion, and understood why it failed: Pugachev was a throwback who, like all pre-modern rebel leaders, preached an idealized past (he went so far as to pretend to be the assassinated Tsar Peter III, another common feature of pre-modern rebellions).*  Better to be a free peasant under Pugachev than a serf under Catherine, I suppose, but being a free Cossack is better than both, and that clearly wasn’t in the cards.  Pugachev wasn’t offering a viable alternative — his was a real rebellion, as I’m defining the term.

Lenin understood that a real revolution requires a viable alternative.  More importantly, a revolution requires a group that understands the alternative, that can preach it to the masses, and is willing to do what it takes to make it happen.  This was his great insight, and why “-Leninism” got appended to “Marxism” wherever Commies gained actual power.  That “Vanguard of the Proletariat” stuff isn’t (just) self-serving hooey to justify the nomenklatura’s cushy lifestyle while the people are starving.  It’s a dead-bang description of actual revolutionary practice.  You’ve got to have one in order to succeed.

Our paradigm case is the English Civil War, and I trust that the “vanguard” there is obvious:  The hot gospellers who saw Charles I’s religious meddling as the work of the actual Antichrist.  “Puritanism” — here lumping in lots of diverse groups who hated each other for convenience’s sake — is a bizarre creed, unlike anything seen before.  We can’t really realize how strange it seemed back then, because in a very real sense we’re all Puritans now — we share their core belief, which is that the external world must be made to conform to all the undulations of our own pwecious widdle selves.  This is very obviously a species of nihilism, since if the world can’t be made to reflect our souls, it must be destroyed, taking our souls with it.  Nobody hates the world more efficiently than the man who hates himself, and the Puritans are still the all-time champions of self-hate.  Scratch a hot gospeller, find a suicide vest.

But they were educated, those Puritans, and they had a prose style (incomprehensible as it seems to modern eyes), and the printing presses to publicize it.  When your society has a critical mass of people who see themselves inevitably trending downwards, “something radically different” will always beat “more of the same,” provided “something radically different” has some kind of divine sanction behind it.  Back in the 1630s you needed Scriptural citations.  By 1917 the Gospel of Karl Marx was enough…

…and given the ongoing, rapidly-accelerating enstupidation of the human race, I can’t even imagine  how little it’s going to take to kick off our century’s Great Calamity.  The comments are open; speculate away.

 

 

*So many medieval chiliastic rebellions had pseudo-Barbarossas, pseudo-Charlemagnes, and others at their head.  Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium is full of examples.  Note that the Cat Fanciers tried a version of this, too, with their cult of Henry the Fowler.
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14 thoughts on “Revolts vs. Revolutions III

  1. Pickle Rick

    Rebellions are peasant things. Peasants can be mollified or crushed. Rebellions with the educated class aligned with the peasants become revolutionary.
    Which means that unless we get any significant support from even a fraction of educated people, our efforts are doomed. In a flush economy, this is impossible. Thus, just like the Parliamentarians of 1645 or the Sons of Liberty of 1775 , we have to build our movement to prepare for collapse and then fill the vacuum when it happens.
    That model worked for an Anglo-Protestant nation state, though. I’m not sure that model works in postmodern Empire America.
    There’s a reckoning coming that leads me to believe a likely outcome is going to be a Communist style coup, and a vicious Rightist counterrevolution. Maybe we should start looking towards the history of the Spanish Civil War rather than our usual models of the English Civil War, The War of Independence or American Civil War, or the Russian Revolution and Germany’s long revolution of 1919-1933. The Spanish war blew up not because of catastrophic military defeat like Russia or Germany’s, but because they finally hated each other enough to start killing. The only wildcard I see not being played here as in that war is the foreign intervention as proxy war.

    1. WOPR

      I figure there will be foreign interventions but more along the lines of the European powers dividing up China. China would enjoy nothing more than sending “volunteers” to protect their interests. Their citizens will need protection during the chaos and every ethnic Chinese is a citizen. India will try the same thing with far less success because India. Most everyone else will spend money and maybe apply some discrete military action for the faction they support.

  2. Severian Post author

    Yeah, THIS:

    The Spanish war blew up not because of catastrophic military defeat like Russia or Germany’s, but because they finally hated each other enough to start killing.

    As I’ve written, only hindsight will reveal which of several possibilities was our John Brown Moment, but my guess (which I now feel is a near-certainty) for the Ft. Sumter Moment is: The security forces somewhere feel themselves aggrieved, and order up some kind of gross, ham-handed overreaction. At which point the pleb (or, more likely, his neighbors and kin) start taking potshots at the security forces…

    Note that it doesn’t have to be the Feds. In fact, I doubt it will be the Feds (at first). Probably some redneck in inland California (people forget just how big that state is, and how many non-lunatics live outside the coasts) gets crosswise with one of our Undocumented Ameri-friends, the local cops take the redneck’s side, Gavin Newsome (or his spiritual successor, one of which shall rule Mexifornia until it drops into the sea) sees a great opportunity for some grandstanding, and… well, take it from there. Take the kind of guy who is too poor to move out of California, but can no longer stomach living IN California…

    Which, if Trump is reelected, opens up the fascinating possibility of a sitting Head of State leading the revolution against the State he’s Head of. What a fascinatingly stupid time to be alive. If I make it to old age, and if there’s anything left to come home to, the grandkids will hear my tales of today as if I’m talking about the time Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and I went out snipe hunting. “C’mon, Grandpa, you can’t expect us to believe THAT!”

  3. Maus

    Kudos to Pickle Rick, I think the Spanish Civil War is an ideal model for the outbreak of hostilities predicated more on diversity of culture than on capturing the political and economic machinery. And the hate is being turned up to eleven. But I don’t see the makings of the Falange quite yet. Perhaps it’s not too late for a properly right-thinking academic/elitist, say a consummate historian with the nom de guerre of a protagonist from a Wolfe novel, to write the definitive Little White Book (ala Mao’s Red or Ghaddafi’s Green) to be the manifesto of separation that Our Thing’s vanguard can preach to the masses as a viable alternative to either the coming genocide of demographic replacement or the rivers of blood unleashed by the perception of inescapable misery by those who have nothing more to lose. Something that might galvanize normies to sit up, pay attention and act in sufficient numbers. I am not a Pollyanna about how difficult this would be. One has only to look at the rekindled State of Jefferson movement in northern Mexifornia to realize the challenges. But, I, who’ve spent my entire adult life as a “preacher” of one sort or another, will gladly preach the Little White Book vociferously in service of a revolution that seeks merely to live in peace in a separate homeland. Be a voortrekker and dare to ask “Where is our Transvaal?”

  4. Maus

    Let me start by saying I am philosophically a 2A absolutist. If you want a fully automatic .50 cal machine gun, good on ya. But I am uncertain how to act personally. When I was younger, I had a circle of friends who enjoyed shooting both animate and inanimate things. My father, a WW2 vet who became an ardent pacifist (never discussed his experience of the European theatre), reluctantly purchased a Ruger semi-auto .22 cal rifle for me as a birthday gift on my 13th. Then, I remember with pride using my paper route money to by a Remington pump-action 20 gauge shotgun from Monkey Wards shortly after my sixteenth. Long story short, never hunted deer and stopped hunting game birds because my family wouldn’t eat them. By twenty, I’d left that slice of life behind. Sometime in my mid-twenties I sold both. The only gun I now possess is a Walther PP 7,65 mm semi-auto my dad brought back as a souvenir from WW2. He always claimed that the firing pin had been disabled. Er, no, the gun shoots fine. I keep it in my bedroom loaded with 7+1. When I can be arsed to train, I aim — contrary to the received wisdom — for the eye socket. I assure you that a properly placed shot in that location will drop an assailant as effectively as a .44 mag.
    Now, as a fat old man in his latter fifties, I wonder whether I ought to buy a rifle — say a non-controversial .357 mag lever gun as opposed to one of those “evil” assault-style rifles. As a realist, I accept that my future does not include voluntary outings to hunt. That is a younger man’s game. But I sometimes feel as if solidarity demands that I add a rifle to my bible as long as I’m gonna be in cling mode. What do the fourteen readers advise?

    1. Pickle Rick

      I’d get the bare bones model AR. You said yourself, you’re not a hunter. That AR pisses off all the right people, plus if a little hundred pound girl can use it to kill two home invaders recently, a fat old man can too. They’re easy to maintain and less punishing to shoot than an AK.
      And it’s a gift to pass on to a properly educated young man in your family.

  5. kirkforlatt

    Right there with you in several aspects, Maus.

    My life experience and a lotta deep thought has led me to conclude that the trio philosophy is probably best: a handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun. Good, solid, reliable models of each. If you’ve got the trio, you’re pretty well-equipped for anything. The gun guys and preppers will disagree, of course. The younger ones tend to envision desperate firefights and small squad tactics when they clean and oil their pieces, but who knows? As long as you can defend your place at long range and up close, you’re solid.

    1. Pickle Rick

      Nice change on the avatar pic, KF.
      Reinhard, while BAMF, isn’t good optics for attracting new guys dipping a toe in our swimming pool.

      BTW, this is a decent (which means it’s not frothing at the mouth biased, just subtle) primer on the SCW, featuring a lot of first person accounts from both sides back in the early 80s. Since all of them are dead now, it’s interesting to hear their thoughts from beyond the grave.

      https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpEC8PLEjykD0V__60pUTjNTDMvTVe1fK

      1. Severian Post author

        Seconded. Cat Fancy was a fascinating movement with much to teach us… but it was also barbaric and inhuman. It’s the political equivalent of “weapons-grade philosophy” — very revealing if you can keep it contained; godawful and anti-human if you can’t. Since that’s a distinction newcomers by definition can’t make (and why we all call it “Cat Fancy” in the first place)… good choice, and thanks.

          1. Severian Post author

            That’s the great thing about the Dark Side of the Force, though — in some ways, we’re ALL Fredo… and we can acknowledge this about ourselves.

            As I’ve said many times, the main reason I’m not a Liberal is: I’m lazy. It must be fucking exhausting, always being so very, very right about everything all the time. Given a choice between a) admitting I was wrong, and b) spending 34 hours and 15,000 words coming up with some clever justification for why I was right all along, I’ll just cop to being wrong and move on.

  6. contrariandutchman

    I dont think “JohnBrown Moment 2.0” has happened yet. Of course, when it does happen you are perhaps 2 years away from First Manassas 2.0.

    The Spanish civil war seems a very useful model indeed, The Spanish started shooting each other in 1936 because political hatred had built up to the point where whoever lost the election would take his appeal to the gun as the alternative would be to accept annihilation. Its possible next year will see you there, although I would bet on 2024 or 2028 myself. There seems to be too much faith in elections in the US yet.

    To continue on the Spanish theme: perhaps the election of Trump should be seen as the analogue of Spains 1933 elections and you are on a slightly slower path leaving 1936 several more years in the future.

    Also on that theme, dont look for the revolution to come from the right, it will come from the left as it always does, the right will then counterrevolt as it does when desperate enough. (and the counterrevolt when succesful is likely to morph into counterrevolution under our hosts definitions)

    The Spanish civil war effectively had multiple revolutions and mini civil wars within it. Again, a useful model, as the US will see many factions in loose coalitions fighting it out as well. As for foriegn intervention, a US civil war will see every ountry on the lanet with the means to do so intervene, with supplies and recon assistance at minimum, but over time expeditionary forces as well. Effectively, the entire continent of North America will be up for grabs, who could resist that?

    (on a side note, if the Russian and Chinese general staffs haven’t already worked out plans to secure the US nuclear arsenal when the US collapses they are not doing their jobs).

    1. Severian Post author

      that’s the thing that terrifies me the most — where are the nukes? I never thought I’d be praying that the Spetsnaz are as swift and lethal as their fearsome reputation, but welcome to 21st century America. I trust Putin far more with those things than anyone likely to be leading any of the factions in Civil War 2.0.

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