Revolutionaries vs the American Military

Since Maria keeps asking.

For legal and moral reasons, this article is not advocating for anything. These are not my thoughts on the morality of revolution or an argument for revolutionary socialism. It is simply a dumbed down argumentation on how such a revolution could be successful because I’m sick of people asking.

What is Revolution?

The goal of a revolution would be, or should be, the transformation of society. Much more so than through the violent end of the DoB(Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie) and through guns, the actual work occurs afterwards. One can argue about whether the process should be primarily positive, an active building of socialism, or negative, so an emergence of socialism out of the dissolved capitalism, but what remains true is that the Social Revolution is not violent by definition. Rather violence is seen as a strategic tool, and should be examined as such.

Soviets.

During the Russian revolution, the Soviets, which admittedly played a lesser role in the USSR as one would expect or perhaps desire, were Workers and Soldiers councils. Those, depending on their size and influence, had impact on local politics and could be be seeds of armed insurrection or economic warfare. The first thing to take away from this is the appeal of socialism to soldiers. So the belief that a revolution in America would be a fight to the death between revolutionaries armed with AR-15s opposed to 1.5 million trained soldiers (not an accurate number but that shouldn’t matter here) armed with Tanks and Aircraft is patently absurd. Though it is clear that the support of the super-powered American military or international allies is more important due to technological advantages than it was during 1917 or even during the Vietnam war, one should consider the ability(and imperative) for our hypothetical revolutionaries to capture and maintain combat material and access to munitions, fuel and more in order to maintain it. Rhetoric that positively targets soldiers and even officers, might be advised.

Chenoweth & Stephan

The other takeaway is that of economic warfare and it’s extension. The fact is that, regardless of strategic ability, most armed revolutions of the last 120 years have failed as Chenoweth and Stephan are happy to point out in their argumentation for Non-Violent Civil Resistance (from here on referred as NVDA, Non-Violent Direct Action). According to their 2011 study, NVDA, has had a greater share of success at creating large scale political change like regime change, even when opposed against authoritarian and repressive regimes. Though they suggest that such tactics may be less effective against liberal democracies I suspect that is a historical issue due to their general affluence though the relative stability of such governments should be accounted for. It is also questionable whether socialism is a goal capable of being fought for through peaceful resistance. Yet, the logic should not be foreign to communists, as they are fond of pointing out, the social wage in many western countries was not simply given but fought for by Unions, Parties and other such Organizations. And while such civil resistance may, as mentioned, have limits and would be only a smart part of any strategic campaign to end capitalism, it certainly provides a foundation for hope for any revolutionary socialist.

Conclusion

From all reasons why someone could be skeptical towards a revolution, firepower should be one’s lowest concern. Critique of modernism, the changes of geopolitical constellations, unity, the lack of grasp on rhetoric should all be of higher priority though it is not in the scope of this post to discuss any of those. I also don’t care to do that mashallah.

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