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Is revolution coming?
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Nehmi
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 04:33 AM Local time: Apr 28, 2008, 04:33 AM #1 of 57
Is revolution coming?

Recently a poll was conducted asking US citizens if they felt the country was headed in the right direction (as if they needed a poll to know). 81% of Americans think "things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track". I could point out reasons why this is the case, but they are plenty obvious as evidenced by the poll.

Anyway, I really wanted to throw this article out there.

Quote:
When Change Is Not Enough: Seven Steps to Revolution

Sara Robinson
Campaign for America's Future
Fri, 22 Feb 2008 17:56 EST


If history is any indication, we may be on the road to violent revolution. We got here because of the conservatives' war against liberal government.

"Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable." -- John F. Kennedy

There's one thing for sure: 2008 isn't anything like politics as usual.

The corporate media (with their unerring eye for the obvious point) is fixated on the narrative that, for the first time ever, Americans will likely end this year with either a woman or a black man headed for the White House. Bloggers are telling stories from the front lines of primaries and caucuses that look like something from the early 60s -- people lining up before dawn to vote in Manoa, Hawaii yesterday; a thousand black college students in Prairie View, Texas marching 10 miles to cast their early votes in the face of a county that tried to disenfranchise them. In recent months, we've also been gobstopped by the sheer passion of the insurgent campaigns of both Barack Obama and Ron Paul, both of whom brought millions of new voters into the conversation -- and with them, a sharp critique of the status quo and a new energy that's agitating toward deep structural change.

There's something implacable, earnest, and righteously angry in the air. And it raises all kinds of questions for burned-out Boomers and jaded Gen Xers who've been ground down to the stump by the mostly losing battles of the past 30 years. Can it be -- at long last -- that Americans have, simply, had enough? Are we, finally, stepping out to take back our government -- and with it, control of our own future? Is this simply a shifting political season -- the kind we get every 20 to 30 years -- or is there something deeper going on here? Do we dare to raise our hopes that this time, we're going to finally win a few? Just how ready is this country for big, serious, forward-looking change?

Recently, I came across a pocket of sociological research that suggested a tantalizing answer to these questions -- and also that America may be far more ready for far more change than anyone really believes is possible at this moment. In fact, according to some sociologists, we've already lined up all the preconditions that have historically set the stage for full-fledged violent revolution.

It turns out that the energy of this moment is not about Hillary or Ron or Barack. It's about who we are, and where we are, and what happens to people's minds when they're left hanging just a little too far past the moment when they're ready for transformative change.

Way back in 1962, Caltech sociologist James C. Davies published an article in the American Sociological Review that summarized the conditions that determine how and when modern political revolutions occur. Intriguingly, Davies cited another scholar, Crane Brinton, who laid out seven "tentative uniformities" that he argued were the common precursors that set the stage for the Puritan, American, French, and Russian revolutions. As I read Davies' argument, it struck me that the same seven stars Brinton named are now precisely lined up at midheaven over America in 2008. Taken together, it's a convergence that creates the perfect social, economic, and political conditions for the biggest revolution since the shot heard 'round the world.

And even more interestingly: in every case, we got here as a direct result of either intended or unintended consequences of the conservatives' war against liberal government, and their attempt to take over our democracy and replace it with a one-party plutocracy. It turns out that, historically, liberal nations make very poor grounds for revolution -- but deeply conservative ones very reliably create the conditions that eventually make violent overthrow necessary. And our own Republicans, it turns out, have done a hell of a job.

Here are the seven criteria, along with the reasons why we're fulfilling each of them now, and how conservative policies conspired to put us on the road to possible revolution.

1. Soaring, Then Crashing

Davies notes that revolutions don't happen in traditional societies that are stable and static -- where people have their place, things are as they've always been, and nobody expects any of that to change. Rather, modern revolutions -- particularly the progressive-minded ones in which people emerge from the fray with greater rights and equality -- happen in economically advancing societies, always at the point where a long period of rising living standards and high, hopeful expectations comes to a crashing end, leaving the citizens in an ugly and disgruntled mood. As Davies put it:

"Revolutions are most likely to occur when a prolonged period of objective economic and social development is followed by a short period of sharp reversal. The all-important effect on the minds of people in a particular society is to produce, during the former period, an expectation of continued ability to satisfy needs -- which continue to rise -- and, during the latter, a mental state of anxiety and frustration when manifest reality breaks away from anticipated reality ...

"Political stability and instability are ultimately dependent on a state of mind, a mood, in society...it is the dissatisfied state of mind rather than the tangible provision of 'adequate' or 'inadequate' supplies of food, equality, or liberty which produces the revolution."

The American middle class was built on New Deal investments in education, housing, infrastructure, and health care, which produced a very "prolonged period of objective economic and social development." People were optimistic; generations of growing prosperity raised their expectations that their children would do even better. That era instilled in Americans exactly the kind of hopeful belief in their own agency that primes them to become likely revolutionaries in an era of decline.

And now, thanks to 28 years of conservative misrule, we are now at the point where "manifest reality breaks away from anticipated reality;" and the breach is creating political turbulence. The average American has seen his or her standard of living contract by fits and starts since about 1972. This fall-off that was relieved somewhat by the transition to two-earner households and the economic sunshine of the Clinton years -- but then accelerated with the dot-com crash, followed by seven years of Bush's overt hostility toward the lower 98 percent of Americans who aren't part of his base. Working-class America is reeling from the mass exodus of manufacturing jobs and the scourge of predatory lending; middle-class America is being hollowed out by health-care bankruptcies, higher college costs, and a tax load far heavier than that of the richest 2 percent. These people expected to do better than their parents. Now, they're screwed every direction they turn.

In the face of this reversal, Davies tells us, it's not at all surprising that the national mood is turning ominous, from one end of the political spectrum to the other. However, he warns us: this may not be just a passing political storm. In other times and places, this kind of quick decline in a prosperous nation has been a reliable sign of a full-on revolution brewing just ahead.

2. They Call It A Class War

Marx called this one true, says Davies. Progressive modern democracies run on mutual trust between classes and a shared vision of the common good that binds widely disparate groups together. Now, we're also about to re-learn the historical lesson that liberals like flat hierarchies, racial and religious tolerance, and easy class mobility not because we're soft-headed and soft-hearted -- but because, unlike short-sighted conservatives, we understand that tight social cohesion is our most reliable and powerful bulwark against the kinds of revolutions that bring down great economies, nations and cultures.

In all the historical examples Davies and Brinton cite, the stage for revolution was set when the upper classes broke faith with society's other groups, and began to openly prey on them in ways that threatened their very future. Not surprisingly, the other groups soon united, took up arms, and rebelled.

And here we are again: Conservative policies have opened the wealth gap to Depression levels; put workers at the total mercy of their employers; and deprived the working and middle classes of access to education, home ownership, health care, capital, legal redress, and their expectations of a better future for their kids. You can only get away with blaming this on gays and Mexicans for so long before people get wise to the game. And as the primaries are making clear: Americans are getting wise.

Our current plutocratic nobility may soon face the same stark choice its English, French, and Russian predecessors did. They can keep their heads and take proactive steps to close the gap between themselves and the common folk (choosing evolution over revolution, as JFK counsels above). Or they can keep insisting stubbornly on their elite prerogatives, until that gap widens to the point where the revolution comes -- and they will lose their heads entirely.

Right now, all we're asking of our modern-day corporate courtiers is that they accept a tax cut repeal on people making over $200K a year, raise the minimum wage, give us decent health care and the right to unionize, and call a halt to their ridiculous "death tax" boondoggle. In retrospect, their historic forebears might have counseled them to take this deal: their headless ghosts bear testimony to the idea that's it's better to give in and lose a little skin early than dig in and lose your whole hide later on.

3. Deserted Intellectuals

Mere unrest among the working and middle classes, all by itself, isn't enough. Revolutions require leaders -- and those always come from the professional and intellectual classes. In most times and places, these groups (which also include military officers) usually enjoy comfortable ties to the upper classes, and access to a certain level of power. But if those connections become frayed and weak, and the disaffected intellectuals make common cause with the lower classes, revolution becomes almost inevitable.

Davies notes that, compared to both the upper and lower classes, the members of America's upper-middle class were relatively untouched by Great Depression. Because of this, their allegiances to the existing social structure largely remained intact; and he argues that their continued engagement was probably the main factor that allowed America to avert an all-out revolution in the 1930s.

But 2008 is a different story. Both the Boomers (now in their late 40s to early 60s) and Generation X (now in their late 20s to late 40s) were raised in an economically advancing nation that was rich with opportunity and expectation. We spent our childhoods in what were then still the world's best schools; and A students of every class worked hard to position ourselves for what we (and our parents and teachers) expected would be very successful adult careers. We had every reason to believe that, no matter where we started, important leadership roles awaited us in education, government, the media, business, research, and other institutions.

And yet, when we finally graduated and went to work, we found those institutions being sold out from under us to a newly-emerging group of social and economic conservatives who didn't share our broad vision of common decency and the common good (which we'd inherited from the GI and Silent adults who raised us and taught us); and who were often so corrupted or so sociopathic that the working environments they created were simply unendurable. If wealth, prestige, and power came at the price of our principles, we often chose instead to take lower-paying work, live small, and stay true to ourselves.

For too many of us, these thwarted expectations have been the driving arc of our adult lives. But we've never lost the sense that it was a choice that the America we grew up in would never have asked us to make. In Davies' terms, we are "deserted intellectuals" -- a class that is always at extremely high risk for fomenting revolution whenever it appears in history.

Davies says that revolutions catalyze when these deserted intellectuals make common cause with the lower classes. And much of the energy of this election is coming right out of that emerging alliance. The same drive toward corporatization that savaged our dreams also hammered at other class wedges throughout American society, creating conditions that savaged the middle class and ground the working class toward something resembling serfdom. Between our galvanizing frustration with George Bush, our shared fury at the war, and the new connections forged by bloggers and organizers, that alliance has now congealed into the determinedly change-minded movements we're seeing this election cycle.

4. Incompetent Government

As this blog has long argued, conservatives invariably govern badly because they don't really believe that government should exist at all -- except, perhaps, as a way to funnel the peoples' tax money into the pockets of party insiders. This conflicted (if not outright hostile) attitude toward government can't possibly lead to any outcome other than bad management, bad policy, and eventually such horrendously bad social and economic outcomes that people are forced into the streets to hold their leaders to account.

It turns out there's never been a modern revolution that didn't start against a backdrop of atrocious government malfeasance in the face of precipitously declining fortunes. From George III's onerous taxes to Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake," revolutions begin when stubborn aristocrats heap fuel on the fire by blithely disregarding the falling fortunes of their once-prosperous citizens. And America is getting dangerously close to that point now. Between our corporate-owned Congress and the spectacularly bad judgment of Bush's executive branch, there's never been a government in American history more inept, corrupt, and criminally negligent than this one -- or more shockingly out of touch with what the average American is going through. Just ask anyone from New Orleans -- or anyone who has a relative in the military.

Liberal democracy avoids this by building in a fail-safe: if the bastards ignore us, we can always vote them out. But if we've learned anything over the last eight years, it's that our votes don't always count -- especially not when conservatives are doing the counting. If this year's election further confirms the growing conviction that change via the ballot box is futile, we may find a large and disgruntled group of Americans looking to restore government accountability by more direct means.

5. Gutless Wonders in the Ruling Class

Revolution becomes necessary when the ruling classes fail in their duty to lead. Most of the major modern political revolutions occurred at moments when the world was changing rapidly -- and the country's leaders dealt with it by dropping back into denial and clinging defiantly to the old, profitable, and familiar status quo. New technologies, new ideas, and new economic opportunities were emerging; and there came a time when ignoring them was no longer an option. When the leaders failed to step forward boldly to lead their people through the looming and necessary transformations, the people rebelled.

We're hard up against some huge transformative changes now. Global warming and overwhelming pollution are forcing us to reconsider the way we occupy the world, altering our relationship to food, water, air, soil, energy, and each other. The transition off carbon-based fuels and away from non-recyclable goods is going to re-structure our entire economy. Computers are still creating social and business transformations; biotech and nanotech will only accelerate that. More and more people in the industrialized world are feeling a spiritual void, and coming to believe that moving away from consumerism and toward community may be an important step in recovering that nameless thing they've lost.

And, in the teeth of this restless drift toward inevitable change, America has been governed by a bunch of conservative dinosaurs who can't even bring themselves to acknowledge that the 20th century is over. (Some of them, in fact, are still trying to turn back the Enlightenment.) Liberal governments manage this kind of shift by training and subsidizing scientists and planners, funding research, and setting policies that help their nations navigate these transitions with some grace. Conservative ones -- being conservative -- will reflexively try to deny that change is occurring at all, and then brutally suppress anyone with evidence to the contrary.

Which is why, every time our current crop of so-called leaders open their mouths to propose a policy or Explain It All To Us, it's embarrassingly obvious that they don't have the vision, the intelligence, or the courage to face the future that everyone can clearly see bearing down on us, whether we're ready or not. Their persistent cluelessness infuriates us -- and terrifies us. It's all too clear that these people are a waste of our tax money: they will never take us where we need to go. Much of the energy we're seeing in this year's election is due to the fact that a majority of Americans have figured out that our government is leaving us hung out here, completely on our own, to manage huge and inevitable changes with no support or guidance whatsoever.

Historically, this same seething fury at incompetent, unimaginative, cowardly leaders -- and the dawning realization that our survival depends on seizing the lead for ourselves -- has been the spark that's ignited many a violent uprising.

6. Fiscal Irresponsibility

As we've seen, revolutions follow in the wake of national economic reversals. Almost always, these reversals occur when inept and corrupt governments mismanage the national economy to the point of indebtedness, bankruptcy, and currency collapse.

There's a growing consensus on both the left and right that America is now heading into the biggest financial contraction since the Great Depression. And it's one that liberal critics have seen coming for years, as conservatives systematically dismantled the economic foundations of the entire country. Good-paying jobs went offshore. Domestic investments in infrastructure and education were diverted to the war machine. Government oversight of banks and securities was blinded. Vast sections of the economy were sold off to the Saudis for oil, or to the Chinese for cheap consumer goods and money to finance tax cuts for the wealthy.

This is no way to run an economy, unless you're a borrow-and-spend conservative determined to starve the government beast to the point where you can, as Grover Norquist proposed, drag it into the bathtub and drown it entirely. The current recession is the bill come due for 28 years of Republican financial malfeasance. It's also another way in which conservatives themselves have unwittingly set up the historical preconditions for revolution.

7. Inept and Inconsistent Use of Force

The final criterion for revolution is this: The government no longer exercises force in a way that people find fair or consistent. And this can happen in all kinds of ways.

Domestically, there's uneven sentencing, where some people get the maximum and others get cut loose without penalty -- and neither outcome has any connection to the actual circumstances of the crime (though it often correlates all too closely with race, class, and the ability to afford a good lawyer). Unchecked police brutality (tasers, for example) that hardens public perception against the constabulary. Unwarranted police surveillance and legal harassment of law-abiding citizens going about their business. Different kinds of law enforcement for different neighborhoods. The use of government force to silence critics. And let's not forget the unconstitutional restriction of free speech and free assembly rights.

Abroad, there's the misuse of military force, which forces the country to pour its blood and treasure into misadventures that offer no clear advantage for the nation. These misadventures not only reduce the country's international prestige and contribute to economic declines; they often create a class of displaced soldiers who return home with both the skills and the motivation to turn political unrest into a full-fledged shooting war.

This kind of capricious, irrational ineptitude in deploying government force leads to public contempt for the power of the state, and leads the governed to withdraw their consent. And, eventually, it also raises people's determination to stand together to oppose state power. That growing solidarity and fearlessness -- along with the resigned knowledge that equal-opportunity goons will brutalize loyalists and rebels alike, so you might as well be a dead lion rather than a live lamb -- is the final factor that catalyzes ordinary citizens into ready and willing revolutionaries.

"A revolutionary state of mind requires the continued, even habitual but dynamic expectation of greater opportunity to satisfy basic needs...but the necessary additional ingredient is a persistent, unrelenting threat to the satisfaction of those needs: not a threat which actually returns people to a state of sheer survival but which put them in the mental state where they believe they will not be able to satisfy one or more basic needs ... The crucial factor is the vague or specific fear that ground gained over a long period of time will be quickly lost ... [This fear] generates when the existing government suppresses or is blamed for suppressing such opportunity."

When Davies wrote that paragraph in 1962, he probably couldn't have imagined how closely it would describe America in 2008. Thirty years of Republican corporatist government have failed us in ways that are not just inept or corrupt, but also have brought us to the same dangerous brink where so many other empires have erupted into violent revolution. The ground we have gained steadily over the course of the entire 20th Century is eroding under our feet. Movement conservatism has destroyed our economic base, declared open war on the middle and working classes, thwarted the aspirations of the intellectual and professional elites, dismantled the basic processes and functions of democracy, failed to prepare us for the future, overseen the collapse of our economy, and misused police and military force so inconsistently that Americans are losing respect for government.

It's not always the case that revolution inevitably emerges wherever these seven conditions occur together, just as not everybody infected with a virus gets sick. But over the past 350 years, almost every major revolution in a modern industrialized country has been preceded by this pattern of seven preconditions. It's fair to say that all those who get sick start out by being exposed to this virus.

Hillary Clinton is failing because this is a revolutionary moment -- and she, regrettably, has the misfortune to be too closely identified with the mounting failures of the past that we're now seeking to move beyond. On the other hand, Ron Paul's otherwise inexplicable success has been built on his pointed and very specific critique of the kinds of government leadership failures I've described.

And Barack Obama is walking away with the moment because he talks of "hope" -- which, as Davies makes clear, is the very first thing any would-be revolutionary needs. And then he talks of "change," which many of his followers are clearly hearing as a soft word for "revolution." And then he describes -- not in too much detail -- a different future, and what it means to be a transformative president, and in doing so answers our deep frustration at 30 years of leaders who faced the looming future by turning their heads instead of facing it.

Will he deliver on this promise of change? That remains to be seen. But the success of his presidency, if there is to be one, will likely be measured on how well his policies confront and deal with these seven criteria for revolution. If those preconditions are all still in place in 2012, the fury will have had another four years to rise. And at that point, if history rhymes, mere talk of hope and change will no longer be enough.

Barring a new 'terrorist incident' (in which case I think we're seriously looking at marshal law) it seems revolution is imminent. The government is frantic, upping the war rhetoric against Iran and if it couldn't get anymore insane, cutting economic stimulus checks starting tomorrow (wow that red tape disappeared quick!). Not that it will help too much with most Americans swimming in debt. In fact, with the super-inflation going on, wars of agression, and the gutting of the bill of rights (thanks patriot act!), America is looking more like pre-WW2 Germany than anything else. Well, we all know how that ended up...


What does everyone else think of this? Please tell me I'm horribly off base, I'd love to be proven wrong.

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Bradylama
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 05:48 AM Local time: Apr 28, 2008, 05:48 AM 3 #2 of 57
The revolution has already begun.
Spoiler:


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Old Apr 28, 2008, 06:19 AM Local time: Apr 28, 2008, 04:19 AM #3 of 57
I think we're going to be in for social unrest of some kind. I don't think it's going to be on the level of some '60/70's type social revolution or a violent insurrection that the author thinks we're in for. We are quickly approaching a generational tipping point, and the status quo just isn't cutting it. The baby boomer generation has left a gaping hole of leadership. Among other things. So it depends on how quickly they adapt to the fact the next generation is going to assert themselves to fill that void.

I've never bought into the police state hysteria. Even though yeah, there's been quite a bit of anti-terrorism/homeland security laws that could be abused for repressive purposes. So far so good. Congress is quietly modifying or repealing some laws that went too far. Changes to the Posse Comitatus Act for example. That was opposed by all 50 state governors.

This thing is sticky, and I don't like it. I don't appreciate it.
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 07:14 AM #4 of 57
We've just about crossed the point of no return - the level of technological surveillance we've got makes it nearly impossible to organize any sort of revolution without getting found out and stopped. There's still encryption (providing the NSA hasn't found some way of factoring large primes, which is a serious question give that they hire essentially all of the world's top mathematicians), but even that may not be enough.

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Old Apr 28, 2008, 09:45 AM #5 of 57
We've just about crossed the point of no return - the level of technological surveillance we've got makes it nearly impossible to organize any sort of revolution without getting found out and stopped. There's still encryption (providing the NSA hasn't found some way of factoring large primes, which is a serious question give that they hire essentially all of the world's top mathematicians), but even that may not be enough.
I'm not an expert in any of this. At all. But watching our generation (you, me, people here, people on the internet) constantly create some kind of ruckus in reality or even on the internet, I have faith that the "revolution," if ever there were to be one, would start here.

I firmly believe that the technology that the authorities have will never supersede the capabilities people of the younger generation have. Maybe I'm an optimist (or idealist) here, but it seems when one of us are knocked down, there are five more to stand up and take that place.

We have more resources, more motivation, and less red tape to deal with. And more and more people are coming to our side of the fence. The government(s) could never keep up, if you ask me.

Regarding a revolution, like most people here, I don't buy the whole violent revolution thing. But I DO see a trend starting. People aren't happy. People are getting fucked out there, and they're getting kind of sick of it. I think politics as usual won't cause them to settle. I think more and more people are growing tired of the bullshit.

I'm not sure what will come of things, but like I said, I feel the internet will be the birthplace of the new revolution, if it should come upon us.

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Old Apr 28, 2008, 10:37 AM Local time: Apr 28, 2008, 11:37 PM 2 #6 of 57
See the throngs of masked protesters singing Never Gonna Give You Up in front of Scientology offices? There's your "internet revolution".

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Arainach
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 10:38 AM #7 of 57
Quote:
I'm not an expert in any of this. At all. But watching our generation (you, me, people here, people on the internet) constantly create some kind of ruckus in reality or even on the internet, I have faith that the "revolution," if ever there were to be one, would start here.
While the Internet is faster and of wider reach, it's also much easier to monitor, censor, and shut down.

While I can't claim to be an "expert", I'm about 2 classes (plus a semester of electives) away from a Bachelor's in Computer Science with a minor in Criminal Justice and a specialization in Security. I've interviewed with the NSA, and read up on their habits for a while. Quite frankly, even their capabilities that we're aware of terrify me, and it's literally just the tip of the iceberg - for every power we know they have, they have 9 more powerful ones that we don't.

If they ever perceived anything as a threat, they'd likely DDOS all the servers and core leaders, call the ISPs to have the connections permanently severed, and send in the troops - and long before anything ever got to court it would have fallen apart. To be honest, while I don't see the government as needing civilian overthrowing, the very real possibility that it could get to the point where such a thing is impossible does scare me.

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Old Apr 28, 2008, 10:42 AM #8 of 57
While the Internet is faster and of wider reach, it's also much easier to monitor, censor, and shut down.

While I can't claim to be an "expert", I'm about 2 classes (plus a semester of electives) away from a Bachelor's in Computer Science with a minor in Criminal Justice and a specialization in Security. I've interviewed with the NSA, and read up on their habits for a while. Quite frankly, even their capabilities that we're aware of terrify me, and it's literally just the tip of the iceberg - for every power we know they have, they have 9 more powerful ones that we don't.

If they ever perceived anything as a threat, they'd likely DDOS all the servers and core leaders, call the ISPs to have the connections permanently severed, and send in the troops - and long before anything ever got to court it would have fallen apart. To be honest, while I don't see the government as needing civilian overthrowing, the very real possibility that it could get to the point where such a thing is impossible does scare me.
This may insanely naive of me, but what kind of "threats" would they consider? I mean, there are ways around it, I guess, but still, I'm thinking that we're protected by free speech and the right to congregate aren't we?

I mean, provided we're not threatening to actually HARM anyone?

It's just really disheartening to think that the people who founded a government on which we were able to revolt when we weren't happy with the way things are going COULDN'T actually revolt because it is suddenly considered criminal.

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Old Apr 28, 2008, 10:53 AM #9 of 57
This may insanely naive of me, but what kind of "threats" would they consider? I mean, there are ways around it, I guess, but still, I'm thinking that we're protected by free speech and the right to congregate aren't we?

I mean, provided we're not threatening to actually HARM anyone?

It's just really disheartening to think that the people who founded a government on which we were able to revolt when we weren't happy with the way things are going COULDN'T actually revolt because it is suddenly considered criminal.
Taking up arms against your government's something a little like treason. I don't think that was ever legal.

I'm not sure how you'd go about peacefully revolting either. I mean, governments tend to frown upon secession. I guess people could reject their citizenship en masse, and leave...maybe? Not exactly overthrowing government then.

Jam it back in, in the dark.

Last edited by Radez; Apr 28, 2008 at 10:56 AM.
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 10:53 AM #10 of 57
Quote:
It's just really disheartening to think that the people who founded a government on which we were able to revolt when we weren't happy with the way things are going COULDN'T actually revolt because it is suddenly considered criminal.
Well technically it was considered criminal when they did it in 1776 too.

As far as what they consider "threats" - sadly, they draw the bar rather low, and I'm not familiar with the court precedent on "free speech" versus "conspiracy for treason/rebellion", but something tells me that free speech isn't winning.

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Old Apr 28, 2008, 11:03 AM #11 of 57
Well technically it was considered criminal when they did it in 1776 too.
That was before the Constitution gave us the rights officially, isn't it? (1787? I suck at American history, I'm sorry if I am wrong)

Besides. If a bunch of people (I'm talking even 20% of the nation, however idealistic that number is) commit these "crimes," what they hell are they going to do? EXECUTE us all? Throw us into already over-populated prisons? There wouldn't be much they COULD do if people went apeshit.

Of course, I suppose that'd have to be ORGANIZED somewhere.

This thing is sticky, and I don't like it. I don't appreciate it.

Last edited by I poked it and it made a sad sound; Apr 28, 2008 at 11:06 AM.
Radez
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 11:15 AM #12 of 57
Sass,

Originally Posted by constitution
Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.
So yeah, treason's kind of still against the law.

Also, I think traitors tend to get shot rather than arrested. And given how divided the country is, I think it's possible to find a cadre of soldiers willing to kill those liberal socialist faggot traitors for America.

I can totally see a bunch of people marching on Washington, with guns because it's ok since it's to free America from the oppressors, and then getting all upset and shocked (not to mention dead) because gasp, treason's not a right.

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Old Apr 28, 2008, 11:19 AM Local time: Apr 28, 2008, 11:19 AM #13 of 57
Originally Posted by Radez29
Also, I think traitors tend to get shot rather than arrested.
Robert Hanssen, Jonathan Pollard and those like them who are still alive and in prison would seem to indicate that traitors do get arrested rather than summarily shot. It would be kind of hard to convict someone for the crime of treason (or obtain "confession in open court") were that not the case.

I was speaking idiomatically.
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 11:19 AM #14 of 57
Sass,
So yeah, treason's kind of still against the law.
O, sure. I don't argue that at all.

But what about my right to free speech? The right to assembly?

At what point is the treason card pulled? When you start TALKING about revolution?

I wonder what a lawyer would say.

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Old Apr 28, 2008, 11:43 AM Local time: Apr 28, 2008, 11:43 AM #15 of 57
At what point is the treason card pulled? When you start TALKING about revolution?
I'll venture a guess that short of a terribly violent demonstration (such as targeted assassinations or bombing something to scare civilians) or secession (which we have precedent for), almost anything below that level is permissible.

What I find fascinating is most revolutions are not modeled from the American one, but tend to be more French in style, outcomes notwithstanding. And that is another thing to consider. Are we looking to make a new American-style revolution or a new French-style revolution?

The one thing I don't quite follow from the article is that they author assumes the "inevitable" revolution will follow the French and by extension the later Communist models, that the people will mob into some critical mass to overrun the previous institution.

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Old Apr 28, 2008, 12:05 PM Local time: Apr 28, 2008, 10:05 AM #16 of 57
Unfortunately, the mass public apathy (The conformity to subservience by inaction) is going to be one of, if not the the biggest realistic and real-world based hurdle for getting people into action. Sure, there may be a good percentage of people who would rise up and peacefully protest or willfully violate crimes that have been widely agreed upon, and stated publically as a PR move in the public discourse.

What's the trigger that would cause my mom or my uncle to carry a picket sign? Or march in unison on Capitol Hill?

PEOPLE ultimately want to just live their lives. Its the idiots in power who start the war, the GOVERNMENT. Always has been this way for thousands of years. Of course, that might be a selling point for the idea of revolution, but its also an obstacle.

I just hope who ever is elected in November can manage to change things around in this country, even if it takes years.

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Old Apr 29, 2008, 03:59 PM Local time: Apr 29, 2008, 03:59 PM #17 of 57
Besides. If a bunch of people (I'm talking even 20% of the nation, however idealistic that number is) commit these "crimes," what they hell are they going to do? EXECUTE us all? Throw us into already over-populated prisons? There wouldn't be much they COULD do if people went apeshit.
I'm sure they've got that covered pretty well.

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Old Apr 29, 2008, 05:52 PM #18 of 57
I'm sure they've got that covered pretty well.
Wouldn't all that require some kind of insane amounts of executive orders?

Not to mention that the government seems so incredibly disorganized to me. I suppose if the government was actually at risk, they could move a lot more efficiently to take care of business, but even the events of 9/11 in a couple of hours span seemed so CONFUSED. But that's a whole new can of worms.

I guess I'm just really confused on the whole idea of a new American Revolution. I don't see any kind of violent upheaval in the near future at all, but you never know.

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Old Apr 29, 2008, 05:54 PM Local time: Apr 29, 2008, 05:54 PM 1 #19 of 57
The revolution will not be televised because it won't happen. We are a long way from conditions which would cause any real social upheaval, unless I guess the Superdelegates all vote for Hillary or something else as equally unlikely.

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Old May 9, 2008, 06:22 PM Local time: May 10, 2008, 01:22 AM #20 of 57
However much I might sometimes wish for something like a revolution, I highly doubt that such a thing will happen anytime (soon) in the western hemisphere.
We might have some problems, but... We're a LONG shot away from circumstances that could lead to something like that. Plus all the stuff like control of the media / control (of the masses) through the media.
Then again, bad shit CAN happen. Social scientists say that anarchy is due after a population doesn't get 3 meals.
Still... I don't think so.

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Old May 9, 2008, 07:51 PM Local time: May 9, 2008, 05:51 PM #21 of 57
I think the seeds are sown for it to happen. Will it happen soon? Probably not but with the way oil and food prices are, it will definitely widen the gap between the haves and have nots, even further than it is already. If some changes are done with the next president then perhaps the masses can be appeased even further.

I wouldn't underestimate the armchair hacker with the government being able to track them down. Whatever kind of security and tracking that man impliments can be broken down. It might take longer but perseverance will win in the end. And there is always the traditional method of using messengers to run written letters and such for communication.

I was speaking idiomatically.
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Old May 17, 2008, 09:17 AM #22 of 57
There could be a revolution, but it won't happen in a violent manner. The seeds are there, as someone else said, but what they grow into will largely depend on what the people water it with.

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Old May 17, 2008, 09:53 AM #23 of 57
Potentially, you could see the United States broken up into seperate countries if something like a revolution happened-- where as, you have one group of people who do not want a change to happen, and the other being the people who do want a change, but that's just a thought.

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Old May 17, 2008, 11:12 PM Local time: May 17, 2008, 10:12 PM #24 of 57
There could be a revolution, but it won't happen in a violent manner. The seeds are there, as someone else said, but what they grow into will largely depend on what the people water it with.


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Old Jun 3, 2008, 10:53 PM #25 of 57
I loathe to admit this - but I was really disappointed that the whole 20 seconds of social questioning after the theatrical release of Fight Club amounted to less than the entire run of Battlestar Galactica.

I'm bothered on some very basic level that everyone expects a revolution should be centered or forced toward the government. That would be like trying to fight the tide. Wouldn't it be more important to ignore the government and "attack" at the people, instead?

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