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You say you want a revolution?

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You say you want a revolution?

Post by Ivan on Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:01 pm

First topic message reminder :

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

 
Those words were written by John Lennon in 1968, at a time when mass protests and demonstrations in Europe and the USA, some of which turned violent, were taking place. The worst of the rioting was in France in May of that year, and it made the government there fear that a civil war or revolution was about to occur.
 
Nowadays we hear quite a few people telling us that the political systems in Britain and the USA are broken and unrepresentative and we need a fresh start. Fewer people bother to vote than 50 or 60 years ago, and if others listen to Russell Brand they won’t do so either, since he advocates nothing short of revolution to overthrow the capitalist system. Is that a good idea? Writer and author Simon Wood says: “For years before Russell Brand thrust the idea into the English-speaking mainstream, certainly since the 2008 global financial collapse, the desire for revolution has been simmering throughout the world in nations rich and poor. The rise of the amoral force known as neoliberalism has brought unprecedented levels of inequality, creating mass poverty and boundless human misery.”
 
Capitalism was described by economist John Maynard Keynes as “the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone”, and by gangster Al Capone as “the legitimate racket of the ruling class”. After the Second World War, it appeared to be successful in western countries. Much of industry and infrastructure in Europe had been wiped out and was rebuilt with money borrowed from the USA under the Marshall Plan. As those born in the’ baby boom’ after the war reached adulthood, they fuelled the demand for homes and electrical goods, which helped economies to continue to grow.
 
Things started to go awry in the 1970s, firstly from the inflationary effects of the quadrupling of oil prices almost overnight, and secondly by the loss of manufacturing in Europe when China and India started producing cheaper goods. Thatcher and Reagan kept the money flowing by making borrowing easier, but debt started to accumulate. Just as in 1929, the debt became unsustainable by 2008 and the rest is history. Clearly the system is broken when those who have full time jobs in the UK can’t exist on their wages, and when almost half of people in the richest country in the world, the USA, live in poverty.
 
Lecturer Dr Adnan Al-Daini writes: “If we insist that western economies must continue to grow year after year for poor people even to have the basics for life, and since we know that only a little of the wealth created trickles down, then before too long we will end up devouring the whole planet. How can this growth be achieved anyway? If most of the wealth created finds its way to the top 10%, where is the demand going to come from?  I hope no one is suggesting we fuel it by unsustainable debt and usury, which is what brought us to this crisis in the first place.  Those at the top already have more money than they know what to do with; there is a limit to how much an individual can consume. How many cars and gadgets does an individual need?”
 
The limitations of capitalism have also been highlighted by author and journalist David Simon: “The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile.”
 
So capitalism isn’t working, but is a revolution the answer? Has revolution ever made things better? In his novel ‘1984’, George Orwell reminded us that “no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” In France in 1789, growing discontent with France's feudal government suddenly exploded into a bloody revolution. The events which followed saw an army general seize control of the government. Instead of a democracy, the result was a dictatorship under Napoleon and war against other countries.
 
The revolution in France brought no economic advantage for the peasants, for whom life became more expensive. Even though the peasants were able to find work, now they had to pay more for their food. The rich that prevailed after the revolution charged even higher for rent. The legal abolition of feudal dues did not end right away after all the decapitations. Other middle class opportunists decided to buy rights to charge the dues for themselves, so the peasants still had to pay up.
 
When Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo in 1815 and the French monarchy was restored, it seemed that the revolution had been nullified. In France the bourgeois and landowning classes emerged as the dominant power. However, at least feudalism was dead, and social order and contractual relations were consolidated by the Code Napoléon. The revolution also unified France and enhanced the power of the national state. The Napoleonic Wars helped to tear down the ancient structure of Europe, hastened the advent of nationalism, and inaugurated the era of modern, total warfare.
 
Looking at more recent events, did revolution achieve anything in Egypt, where the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 ultimately brought about the election of Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who then granted himself unlimited powers? Morsi was then removed in a coup d'etat led by General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who then suspended the constitution and ordered a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. To all intents and purposes, Egypt is now back to where it was before its ‘Arab Spring’.
 
While there was an alternative to western capitalism, the ruling classes were careful to maintain enough compassion in the system to prevent mass revolt. With the demise of the communist bloc, the hounds were released. Simon Wood has written about the brutality with which the peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters were treated, adding: “Just imagine what will happen if violent protests occur. Hundreds of innocent people will be killed or injured, and the violence will provide the authoritarians in power with the perfect excuse for ever more draconian powers over privacy and freedom, all cheered on by establishment stooges throughout the media and a sizeable portion of the population, deceived via blanket media coverage of violent scenes involving protesters into believing such measures are in their interest: namely, for their protection.” As John Lennon put it: "They’ve got all the weapons. They’ve got all the money. And they know how to fight violence because they've been doing it for a thousand years.”
 
So are revolutions pointless? Wood concludes: “Revolutions in the traditional mould are doomed to fail because even a completely new group of people in power will always be constrained by external entities of control like powerful nation states, the IMF and the World Bank. If a nation is in debt, the new rulers will remain subordinate to the global financial system at the expense of the welfare of their own citizens.”
 
So how do we fix our apparently broken and out of touch political systems in the UK and the USA without resorting to violence? Or do you say you want a revolution?
 
Sources used:-
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/1968/yearofrevolutions.shtml
 
http://daily99998271.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/you-say-you-want-revolution.html
 
http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/06/capitalism/
 
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/08/david-simon-capitalism-marx-two-americas-wire
 
http://frenchrevo.pbworks.com/w/page/14994569/Arguments%20Against
 
Further reference:-
 
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/10/russell-brand-on-revolution
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by boatlady on Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:38 pm

And I certainly will - strangely, I think Ed Milliband may prove to be just the man to steer us clear of total domination by the corporations.

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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by Ivan on Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:07 am

Maxine Peake: 'I'm a Corbyn supporter. We need a coup'

Actor Maxine Peake, 42, lives in Salford with her partner, television art director Pawlo Wintoniuk, whom she calls her soul mate. Do they always hold a party line? “Usually. We never row about politics.” Could she have a relationship with a Tory? “No.” A Lib Dem? “No!” A New Labourite? “God, no! I’d rather be with a Tory. Well, same thing.”

What does she think of Theresa May? “A terrible politician. How can you like her?”  What upsets her about May’s politics? “Her lack of care. I mean, we’re talking about another £30 being cut off disability benefits. I cannot believe the callousness. Why are we not in the streets rioting? Why are we not in the streets going ‘You cannot treat people in this country like that’? It’s absolutely distressing when you go to Manchester and see the homeless people on the street. Every time I go back, there’s more.”

How does she feel about Labour? “I am a Corbyn supporter. My mind boggles why people treat him like the anti-Christ, but it goes to show people are a lot more right-wing than they like to believe. People say he’s not been vocal, but he is out at grassroots. Every time I go somewhere, he’s there.”

How does she feel about the snap election? “I am an eternal optimist. This is a real opportunity to try to repair the devastating damage that the Tories have inflicted. I hope more than anything that their arrogance is completely misguided and they tumble dramatically.” Peake says she can’t wait for a fightback to start. Would her ideal be peaceful revolution or violent revolution? “A bit of both. You can’t have a peaceful revolution now. Terrible thing to say. But we need a coup!”


https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/apr/29/maxine-peake-corbyn-supporter-need-coup
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by boatlady on Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:40 pm

Easy perhaps for her to say - we do need a radical change but any non-democratic route to this is apt to harm the very people on whose behalf a revolution would be carried out - the wealthy and to a large extent those of us in the comfortable middle could likely ride it out without too much pain - but the zero hours wage slaves living from payday to payday are likely to starve in great numbers if the status quo is overturned in any sudden way.
Revolutions are an indulgence of the educated middle class
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:33 pm

As advertisers are well aware, a message delivered by a well-known public figure will carry weight with readers.
Maxine Peake is a respected artist with a solid fan base, but she still has difficulty with the stale attitudes of commissioning editors who want her to "talk proper English".
The sort of people who prefer a proper government of people like themselves.
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:49 pm

Come Hell or high water, Labour or Tory, democracy or anarchy, the JOBSWORTH mentality will always be with us.

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/tfl-apologises-for-issuing-parking-tickets-to-drivers-who-fled-from-cars-during-london-bridge-terror-attack/ar-BBCfn5V?li=BBoPWjQ&ocid=iehp
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Killing the Golden Goose

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:01 pm

Killing the Golden Goose (Part One) "Referendum decides to withdraw from the EU"

Killing the Golden Goose (Part Two) "Labour's right wing draws up new plan to undermine Jeremy Corbyn"

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/labours-right-wing-draws-up-new-plan-to-undermine-jeremy-corbyn/ar-BBDxqvo?li=BBoPWjQ&ocid=iehp
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:32 pm

You may not be surprised to learn that, in general terms, The Sunday Times does not wholeheartedly support Jeremy Corbyn. One article in today's edition does however impress by its encyclopaedic knowledge of the inner workings of the Labour Party. Reference is made in detail to inter-faction rivalries that could only come from someone with total immersion in the Labour movement. Fascinating. Who could it be?

Watch this space. (or The Sunday Times of course)
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Re: You say you want a revolution?

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