Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘My Uncle Benjamin

The Sweetest Word: Revolution.  (June 1, 2009)

First, a few quotations on revolution and a song might set the tone of this post.

A popular French song of the thirties “We will feel our soul live.  We will feel our heart beat.  As we feel the flame rekindle then we will be able to speak with joy.  Be capable finally to love life.  We then stop crying waking up and we’ll shout: I have a homeland since I have my share of the sun

Simon Veil wrote in 1951 on the Worker’s Condition; “We plied, submitted, endured everything in silence for years and then we dared to stand up tall.  This strike (of 1936) is a joy, a pure joy and unadulterated. For the first time and forever, this joy will float around heavy machineries instead of the recollection of silence, constraints, and submission”

“The revolution is neither sadness nor bitterness.  It is enthusiasm and pride of an entire people who took things in their hands and discovered its dignity.  I am inviting you to the party, a celebration that is the logical conclusion of a job well done and a new resolve for other demanding struggles pregnant with promises”

“It is a fake courage to join a militant group and be martyred.  The real courage is the daily struggle, voluntarily consented by an intelligent guy willing to look stupid by society so that he may resume pissing off the power to be. Real courage is to sacrifice your actor personality and replace it by the genuine character of someone not about to be subdued any longer and refusing to take it silently”

“They failed to comprehend that we have been nice for 5 weeks, we said nothing, and we restrained our anger. They had sheep and now they have to deal with lions”

“Whoever saw privileges has to reap revolutions” (in My Uncle Benjamin, 1843)

History teaches us that who defends privileges will not cede in good grace the shove from below

“Capitalism is a deluxe liner with many watertight compartments.  You have capitalist political parties proclaiming to be republicans, democrats, socialists, progressistes, free thinkers, or seculars.  If capitalists had one party they would have long been defeated.  The fact is when you defeat one capitalist party the remaining ones keep the boat afloat”

Rosa Luxemburg wrote in 1899:

“Whoever is in favor of legal reforms instead of capturing political power and social revolution is not in reality selecting a more tranquil, slower, and surer alternative for the same goal.  Whoever is in favor of legal reforms has decided on a different purpose that is not intended to establishing a new society and the suppression of salary, but another weighting scale for exploitation

“The people do not render sentences as in judicial courts; people hurl thunderbolts.” Robespierre in 1792

“If we are living it is to walk on the head of the powerful.  The powerful labor to trample over our lives” William Shakespeare in Henry 4.

“We are fighting to defeat stratification policies along castes; we want a society that discriminates only on talent and qualifications”

“I ignore where the next struggle is going to take place: I’ll be there. Somewhere the sparkle will catch on to the entire world.  The masses will stand tall and ready to shake off the parasite in their mane of lions”  Louise Michel in “Memoires”, 1886

“Everything is possible now; quickly march on, straight ahead. This opportunity is not coming around for a long while”

During France Sarkozy campaign for the presidency youth of the center and the right brandished banners saying “We, the youth, are carrying the revolution. Proclaiming abrupt changes disturbs and surprises but this is a revolution of youth on the march and bearing the burden of change for France.  We want to change France from the inner out. Autonomy at universities is a revolution. Caring for the environment is a revolution.”

I don’t know how much Sarkozy’s ideology or programs coincided with these “revolutionary” youth but they brought him to power.

It is becoming clear that the most effective and enduring revolutions were not based on ideologies.  Victorious revolutions are the convergence of two factors:

First, the vast majority realizes that the political order is not treating them as citizens with equal rights and responsibilities, that certain classes enjoy privileges that are denied them; and

Second factor is the making of a professional core of militants working full time for the success of the revolution; professionals in agitation, organization, dissemination of the message, and specialist activists.  A few demands and lovely abstract notions that are never detailed in specific programs are usually enough if the core specialists are united for a clear and feasible strategy of the revolution. Spread subtle and judicious innuendos that can be translated and assimilated according to the vagary of the moment, then lie and the keeping up of the same lie and people will finally come around into believing the lie and follow in due time.  The hardest part is how to channel the emotions when the people spring up; it is then that revolutions kill their sons.

I recall that in the small university town of Norman, Oklahoma, the real and professionalism of the Iranian students militating to the overthrow of the Shah and some to the coming to power of Khomeini set the town vibrating with excitement.

The Shah was bad; he is bad.  The Shah was a pivotal ally to the US strategy in the Middle East.  The Shah and militaristic Turkey secured the propensity of Israel to expand and humiliate the Middle Eastern and Palestinian people. The Palestinians and the Arab students joined the Iranian demonstrations and the Iranian students joined the Palestinian students’ demonstrations.

There was no internet then but the messages and the dissemination were as quick and as potent as any powerful website. Political students got on marching, demonstrating almost everyday and no occasions were missed to gather and discuss openly.  The Iranian students were militating full time and with professionalism.




June 2023

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