Tag Archives: Revolution

The Case for the Non-Revolutionary Ownership of Guns

Gary North writes:

There are two main extremes in the debate over guns. The gun control people are basically worshippers of the state. They grovel before the image of the state. They believe in the state. They see the state as redemptive: an agency of healing. This agency must be armed, they say, in order to collect the money necessary to fund the state’s messianic claims and programs.

A state that can heal must be a state that can kill. The gun control crowd worships a state that can heal. So, they call for the abolition of private gun ownership. This is consistent.

At the other extreme is the private militia crowd. They think that the ownership of weapons is basic to conducting a new American Revolution. They think that that their ownership of weapons will in some way slow down the state. Some day, the People will take up arms against the state.

I reject both positions.

Here is reality. The ownership of guns is mostly symbolic most of the time. The gun as a symbol says this: the state is not God. The state is not finally sovereign. Citizens are sovereign under God, and they possess the right to bear arms as a mark of this sovereignty.

The defenders of the messianic state go ballistic in the face of this claim. They do not accept popular sovereignty. They accept state sovereignty. They accept the fact that voters can elect masters, but they do not accept the fact that citizens have a right to exercise the mark of sovereignty: to defend themselves by force of arms. The statists want the state to possess a strict monopoly over life and death. They understand the meaning of the symbol of the gun. They want guns and badges linked judicially: no badge–no gun.

The weekend militia people are dangerous. Why? Because they have a romantic view of bloodshed. They think that the modern state can be successfully resisted by force of individual arms. This leads to a suicide mentality. The suicide mentality is the heart of the matter, not gun ownership.

The correct goal is to wait for the federal government to go bankrupt before it bankrupts us. It will go bankrupt. It is not God. It cannot afford to implement its programs of healing.

Continue reading…

System Reset

After the last several incredible posts about shocking brutality, abuse of power, and civil unrest we cannot help but agree on many points with Simon Black below:

From SovereignMan.com:

Date: May 18, 2011
Reporting From: Santiago, Chile

Take a moment and conduct a mini thought experiment. Imagine that you’re from the future many hundreds of years from now, researching what life was like in the early 21st century. You pull up an archive of newspaper headlines from the year 2011 and read the following:

“US Congress To Vote On Declaration Of World War 3 — An Endless War With No Borders, No Clear Enemies”

“Blackwater hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together a secret force of foreign troops”

“10 killed in US drone attacks in northern Pakistan”

“US Officials Warn Terrorism Threat Remains Post-bin Laden”

“TSA Pat Down of Suspicious Baby Is No Big Deal”

“Treasury taps federal pensions as Uncle Sam hits debt ceiling”

“Fed chief Ben Bernanke says he’s not worried about inflation”

“Global Food Prices Hit New All Time High After 8 Consecutive Months Of Gains”

“Over-50s suffer a lifestyle crash: Millions less comfortable than a year ago”

“UK And US Data Shows Stagflation Threat Deepening”

“Greek riot police, protesters clash over austerity “

“IMF: Greece needs more austerity measures”

“IMF Chief no stranger to sexual assault allegations”

“Portugal on brink of bankruptcy”

“Contagion fears high as Italy drawn into crisis”

“Italian PM Berlusconi Faces Prostitution Trial in Italy”

To an observer who is not part of our time, it must all look like a really bad joke, like it just couldn’t possibly be true.  In the same way, we look back upon history and wonder with skepticism and incredulity how our long-lost ancestors have possibly allowed the Inquisition, the Dark Ages, genocide and slavery to occur.

We fancy ourselves so advanced and enlightened… but my guess is that history will view us in the same way that we see those unfortunate brutes of medieval times: misguided, misled, and totally self-deluded.

We might not be burning each other at the stake anymore, or waging war for king and conquest, but the metaphoric comparisons run truly deep. Moreover, our story today is a similar one: there is a very small group of people in power whose decisions affect the lives of billions of people. Those of us not in the elite ruling class allow it to happen.

Their choices drive up food prices, increase war and destruction, bankrupt entire economies, reduce standards of living, degrade social stability, and force everyday people into conditions that look more and more like a police state.

Simultaneously, this elite group uses its position to shower itself with privileges and benefits at everyone else’s expense: hard-core sex parties, handing out free money to their friends, not paying their taxes, hiring private armies to protect them from their own people, etc.

It’s positively disgusting… and I have to imagine that historians of the future will scratch their heads and wonder how we allowed ourselves to be duped into such a system.

Our leaders tell us that these troubles will pass… to sit down, shut up, be patient, and put our faith and confidence in their abilities to right the ship once again. Sounds great… but there’s just one problem. Nobody’s buying it anymore.

We’re in the beginning of a period where people are finally starting to wake up and smell the fraud… and even though the establishment is furiously rearranging the deck chairs and trying desperately to maintain the status quo, the great market singularity is beginning to take hold: that which is unsustainable will not be sustained.

Glance at those headlines one more time. This system is corrupt, perverse, and wholly unsustainable. It will reset. Reasonable, sentient human beings cannot live under such a yoke in the long run.

It’s difficult to say how it will happen, when it will finish, or what it will look like at the end, but rest assured, it’s already happening, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.co

Give Peaceful Resistance a Chance

from NYT:

THE rebellion in Libya stands out among the recent unrest in the Middle East for its widespread violence: unlike the protesters in Tunisia or Egypt, those in Libya quickly gave up pursuing nonviolent change and became an armed rebellion.

And while the fighting in Libya is far from over, it’s not too early to ask a critical question: which is more effective as a force for change, violent or nonviolent resistance? Unfortunately for the Libyan rebels, research shows that nonviolent resistance is much more likely to produce results, while violent resistance runs a greater risk of backfiring.

Consider the Philippines. Although insurgencies attempted to overthrow Ferdinand Marcos during the 1970s and 1980s, they failed to attract broad support. When the regime did fall in 1986, it was at the hands of the People Power movement, a nonviolent pro-democracy campaign that boasted more than two million followers, including laborers, youth activists and Catholic clergy.

Indeed, a study I recently conducted with Maria J. Stephan, now a strategic planner at the State Department, compared the outcomes of hundreds of violent insurgencies with those of major nonviolent resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006; we found that over 50 percent of the nonviolent movements succeeded, compared with about 25 percent of the violent insurgencies.

Why? For one thing, people don’t have to give up their jobs, leave their families or agree to kill anyone to participate in a nonviolent campaign. That means such movements tend to draw a wider range of participants, which gives them more access to members of the regime, including security forces and economic elites, who often sympathize with or are even relatives of protesters.

What’s more, oppressive regimes need the loyalty of their personnel to carry out their orders. Violent resistance tends to reinforce that loyalty, while civil resistance undermines it. When security forces refuse orders to, say, fire on peaceful protesters, regimes must accommodate the opposition or give up power — precisely what happened in Egypt.

This is why the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, took such great pains to use armed thugs to try to provoke the Egyptian demonstrators into using violence, after which he could have rallied the military behind him.

But where Mr. Mubarak failed, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi succeeded: what began as peaceful movement became, after a few days of brutal crackdown by his corps of foreign militiamen, an armed but disorganized rebel fighting force. A widely supported popular revolution has been reduced to a smaller group of armed rebels attempting to overthrow a brutal dictator. These rebels are at a major disadvantage, and are unlikely to succeed without direct foreign intervention.

If the other uprisings across the Middle East remain nonviolent, however, we should be optimistic about the prospects for democracy there. That’s because, with a few exceptions — most notably Iran — nonviolent revolutions tend to lead to democracy.

Although the change is not immediate, our data show that from 1900 to 2006, 35 percent to 40 percent of authoritarian regimes that faced major nonviolent uprisings had become democracies five years after the campaign ended, even if the campaigns failed to cause immediate regime change. For the nonviolent campaigns that succeeded, the figure increases to well over 50 percent.

The good guys don’t always win, but their chances increase greatly when they play their cards well. Nonviolent resistance is about finding and exploiting points of leverage in one’s own society. Every dictatorship has vulnerabilities, and every society can find them.

Erica Chenoweth, an assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University, is the co-author of the forthcoming “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict.”

The New Geometry and the New Math – Butler Shaffer

From LewRockwell:

They [feminist groups in Iraq] are very strong. Their approach is unique because they have no leaders. They do not have a head or branch offices. . . . This movement is made even stronger by not having leaders. If one or two people lead it, the organization would weaken if these leaders were arrested. Because there is no leader, it is very strong and not stoppable.

~ Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

For a number of years, I have been writing and speaking about the decentralizing forces that are bringing about the collapse of our highly-structured, institutionalized society. Such warnings must always be listened to with skepticism, for it is the nature of any complex system to generate unpredictable outcomes.

Nonetheless, events of recent years provide confirmation of my prognostications. Alternative schooling, dispute resolution, and health-care practices; political secession and nullification movements; the decentralization of management in business organizations; news-reporting moving from the centrally-controlled, top-down model of traditional media, to the more dispersed, horizontally-networked Internet; individualized technologies such as personal computers, cell-phones, iPods, video cameras, and other innovations that enhance person-to-person communication, are just the more evident examples of how our social systems are undergoing constant centrifugation. If the successful practice, in a number of European cities, of abandoning government traffic signs in favor of a motorist-controlled system does not impress you, perhaps you will recall the collapse of the Soviet Union.

To express this phenomenon in terms of solid geometry, the pyramid is being replaced by the sphere. Plato’s hierarchically-structured world directed by philosopher-kings – long the favored model of the intellectual classes who fashioned themselves fit to sit at the institutional apex – has proven unfit for ordering the affairs of human beings. It is not better ideas that are transforming how we organize with one another, but real-world pragmatism: the life system simply cannot operate on the principle of being directed by centralized authorities!

The pyramid expresses the essence of a world premised on vertical power, in which interpersonal relationships are yoked together in systems of domination and subservience. No more poignant image of a top-down world – one in which institutional violence operates as a kind of ersatz gravitational force – exists than this. Members of the institutional hierarchy – who long ago learned that they could more readily benefit by coercing their fellow humans than by trading with them – have seen to it that others be inculcated in a belief in the necessity of pyramidalism. Our entire institutionalized world – from the more violent political organizations to more temperate ideologies – is premised on the shared assumption that only in vertically-structured institutionalized authority can mankind find conditions of peace, liberty, and order. If you doubt the pervasiveness of such thinking, recall your own learning – from childhood through adulthood – and identify any voices who tolerated, much less encouraged, your questioning of this article of faith.

The life system, itself, constantly pushes the fallacy of pyramidal thinking into our unconscious and often conscious mind. How foolishly we cling to the belief that the state, for instance, exists to protect our lives, liberty, and property interests, even as it continues to slaughter millions of people, restrain their liberties, and despoils their wealth. As we look around our communities and the rest of the world and discover how much better decentralized systems perform in providing what political agencies only promise, faith in the pyramid collapses. Not willing to allow its violence-based interests to decompose due to a change in human consciousness, the state – along with the corporate interests that have long benefited as politically-created parasites – desperately reacts to shore up its crumbling foundations. To do so requires a restoration of the falsehoods and contradictions upon which its power depends. Truth – and the free flow of information against which the state is in constant war – becomes a “security risk” or an appeal to “treason.” In one personage or another, the state calls upon its modern Joseph Goebbels who, as Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, advised:

The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.

The demonstrations that have been taking place in such Middle Eastern countries as Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya, carry a much deeper meaning than what the institutionally-serving news media have expressed. When millions of men and women can peacefully come together in the center of major cities to protest the legitimacy of their being ruled by others, one ought to ask whether we might be witnessing what the pyramidalists would most fear: an open expression of the decentralization of our common interests, not as “citizens,” but as human beings. We witnessed an earlier example of this when, on the eve of the American government’s decision to wage an unprovoked war on Iraq, millions of people gathered in cities throughout the world to protest.

I long ago discovered the writings of the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, and the British physiologist, Rupert Sheldrake. Jung did much of the pioneering work in the study of the “collective unconscious,” wherein he posited that, in addition to the individualized content of both our conscious and unconscious minds, human beings also share an inherited – and identical – content of our unconscious minds. In an inquiry that parallels Jung’s, Sheldrake has developed the study of what he calls “morphogenetic fields,” in which members of given species connect up – both spatially and temporally – to determine subsequent biological forms and behavior. If there is validity to their respective conclusions, might their inquiries be expanded to explore the question: is it possible for humans to have unconscious channels of communication that might motivate us to express our common needs to resist the forces that war against life itself?

I must admit to having no conclusions in this regard, although I believe, given the destructive and dehumanizing history we humans have thus far generated, it is imperative that we begin expanding the range of our questioning. Perhaps it is reflective of mankind’s capacities for tool-making that, rather than plumbing the depths of our thinking, we have created technologies that allow us to share the contents of our respective conscious and unconscious minds. Our computerized technologies are not only the products of our thinking, but the means for expanding its content to exponential levels of awareness. They have done more than anything else to dismantle the pyramid and give life to the sphere. As we are rapidly discovering, there is nothing quite so liberating and life-enhancing as the free flow of information!

Not only is the geometry of our world being transformed, so is the mathematics. Decentralizing information makes it much easier for more individuals to communicate with millions of other individuals. One source estimates that the number of Internet websites in the world rose from 100,000 in 1996 to 234,000,000 by 2009. The capacity of the millions to generate information and ideas heretofore confined to the thousands, has proven discomforting to members of the institutional order. Each one of us now enjoys the technological means to directly communicate with every person on the planet, provided (a) they have a computer linked to the Internet, and (b) desire to communicate with us. In other words, mankind enjoys what the political establishment regards as that most destabilizing influence: a genuine marketplace in ideas.

What this has done is to unravel the mindset upon which the state has depended to maintain its control over people: the belief that political change could only come about through the so-called “democratic process.” “Democracy” – the illusion that my wife and I, combined, have twice the political influence of David Rockefeller! – is premised on the proposition that any meaningful political reform must secure the electoral support of tens of millions of individuals, a situation most unlikely to occur. How often have any of us given up on the prospects of “working within the [rigged] system” to bring about change, when we are reminded that we must get 51% of our neighbors to vote with us? The difficulties associated with organizing precincts, trying to get ballot-access, and as Ron Paul discovered three years ago, trying to be heard within political parties and the media bent on maintaining the status quo discourage most. We quickly discover the truth of Emma Goldman’s observation that “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

But the “law of large numbers” that keeps the powerful immune from the protestations of the subservient, loses its forcefulness in the face of the unrestrained flow of information. This is why – as Goebbels reminds us – the state has had to resort to such practices as censorship, the crushing of dissent, and the “secret” classification of documents exposing its corrupt behavior. It also explains the efforts of so many establishment politicians to control, if not destroy, the Internet; as well as their resistance to Ron Paul’s proposals to audit the Federal Reserve!

The Internet has changed the mathematics from “51%” to the lone individual as the catalyst for change. Because of the herd-oriented nature of the political mind, the state has always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with an organized mass of people. In the words of Doctor Murnau, in the movie Kafka, “A crowd is easier to control than an individual. A crowd has a common purpose. The purpose of the individual is always in question.” The truth of Murnau’s observation was seen when Julian Assange – the founder of “Wikileaks” – used the Internet to make known to the world some of the “secrets” the state did not want revealed to its citizens. Assange was allegedly assisted in this effort by an army private, Bradley Manning, who had access to some of this information. Two individuals – not a “silent majority” or even a vocal one – not only “spoke truth to power,” but to the powerless who it has always been the state’s purpose to keep uninformed and subservient.

As members of the establishment do their best to destroy the liberating influences of the Internet, others remind us that technology, itself, may have its own immune system to protect this life-serving network from the statist virus. Columbia University law professor, Eben Mogle, advocates a more decentralized Internet technology, in which the mechanics for what has become known as the “social media” are dispersed into the hands of each of us. The current technological forms he tells us, “are too centralized; they are too vulnerable to state retaliation and control.” In words that Shirin Ebadi would welcome, Mogle adds: “It is not hard, when everybody is just in one big database controlled by Mr. Zuckerberg [of Facebook], to decapitate a revolution by sending an order to Mr. Zuckerberg that he cannot afford to refuse.”

As the math changes, so does the geometry by which we organize ourselves. What is almost humorous to consider is that the defenders of the dying order – be they the neo-Luddites trying to destroy the Internet, or those who would confine the Bradley Mannings and Julian Assanges to a modern Tower of London – don’t grasp the reality of what confronts them. The statists operate on the notion that these two men are to blame for the revelations that are inherent in the new technology. For all of their supposed wisdom that they believe entitles them to sit atop Plato’s pyramid, they are in truth as lost as “flat-earthers” sharing their collective ignorance in trying to calculate the sun’s revolutions around the Earth!

Revolution Fever Catching On – Now Yemen

via CNN World:

Yemen protesters: “First Mubarak, now Ali”

From Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) — Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched toward a presidential palace in Yemen on Sunday, calling for regime change in the Middle Eastern country.

Some of them chanted, “First Mubarak, now Ali,” referring to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Hosni Mubarak, who recently resigned as president of Egypt after nearly 30 years in power.

Security forces put up a barbed wire barricade and blocked the protesters’ path about two miles from the palace. At that point, the situation intensified as protesters turned away and attempted to reach the palace through side streets.

The CNN crew at the scene was surrounded by security officers, who seized the journalists’ videotapes.

Nearby, a group of about 40 pro-government demonstrators chanted, “With our souls, with our blood, we will sacrifice for Ali.”

The anti-government group first gathered at the gates of Sanaa University earlier Sunday, where another group of pro-government demonstrators carried pictures of Ali.

Police tried to disperse the crowds and stepped in to prevent pro-government demonstrators from following when the anti-government group headed away from the university and toward the palace.

The group of anti-government protesters included students and rights activists. Their numbers swelled as they marched through Sanaa’s streets.

Saleh has ruled Yemen for 32 years and has pledged not to stand for re-election when his current term — which started in 2006 — ends in 2013.

Mubarak’s lengthy rule ended Friday when he stepped down after 18 days of anti-government protests rocked Egypt.

Echoes of Egypt’s revolution resonated across the region, with anti-government protests in Yemen and Algeria. Demonstrations are also planned in Libya and Iran on Monday.

Brief clashes erupted Saturday in Yemen between hundreds of pro- and anti-government demonstrators who staged rival rallies in the capital.

The clashes, which left a small number of people injured, followed an anti-government protest Friday night in which men armed with knives attacked more than a thousand demonstrators, according to human rights groups.

Algeria’s Internet, Facebook Shut Down As Unrest Intensifies [BREAKING]

From Mashable.com:

by Charlie White

Protests in Algeria intensified today, and the Algerian government responded by deleting Facebook accounts and shutting down Internet service providers across the country, according to The Telegraph.

In a volatile situation similar to that which brought down former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the Algerian government has dispatched 30,000 riot police in Algiers, and is resorting to tear gas and plastic bullets to try to discourage dissent, according to The Telegraph.

Algerians are calling this uprising the “February 12 Revolution,” as they protest government corruption, massive unemployment, housing problems and poverty. They would like to oust Algerian President Abdelaziz Boutifleka, whose police forces are also trying to silence journalists, according to The Telegraph.

From what we’ve seen so far, shutting down the Internet and deleting Facebook accounts is not going to work. We’re thinking this is just one of many revolutions that are about to sweep the Middle East.

Photo courtesy The Telegraph/EPA

Mubarak shut down the internet, and the internet paid him in kind

by Alexia Tsotsis

Yesterday, after 17 days of protests, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak gave a speech to the Egyptian government that made it seem like he would not be stepping down. This led to many people on the ground in Egypt and elsewhere feeling depressed, a series of humorous jokes being bandied back and forth on Facebook and Twitter and one Twitter employee commenting to me,“Well, we can only do so much.”

It has become fashionable amongst Western media and armchair foreign policy experts (hi Malcolm) to dismiss the idea that what happened in Egypt was a digital revolution mainly because most people associate Facebook and Twitter with the mundane over-sharing of what you ate for breakfast. That and the fact that its been pretty damn hard to pin down what exactly causes revolutions. This belief  isn’t helped by the truth that a ton of social media noise did not actually lead to a regime change in Iran during #IranElection.

But the many who said that social media was no match for Mubarak’s stubbornness and the fact that his dictatorship had been there for thirty years overlooked one key thing. #Egypt wasn’t just about Facebook and Twitter, it was about the Internet as a whole.

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