Have you noticed an increased use of the following terms in American discourse today? Revolution, oppression, and class. I’ve been hearing talk about a revolution in the United States, a socialist or communist revolution. And I’ve noticed that Americans are beginning to embrace the idea that there are only two groups, the oppressed and the oppressors. College students, especially if they are a racial minority or female or of a different sexual orientation, are embracing with all vehement passion their “oppression” by proudly flaunting their oppression into the face of their perceived “oppressors”.
My friends, this mindset of oppression is the foundation of socialism and communism and it is growing steadily in America today.
I plan to write an article about feminism, and will explore “oppression” much more deeply in that article. For today, I’m simply going to touch on the concept as it relates to revolution.
What IS Oppression?
By definition, oppression means “To load or burden with unreasonable impositions; to treat with unjust severity, rigor or hardship; as, to oppress a nation with taxes or contributions; to oppress one by compelling him to perform unreasonable service.” Oppression means being treated with unjust severity or compelled to perform unreasonable service. Oppression leads to unrest.
Oppression, then, by definition, does not imply experiencing a racial slur or perceived hate speech. Oppression is a real thing but it requires a different level of severity than the rhetoric in America today would have us believe. This simple definition is key. Using the term oppression in a society like our own belittles the true oppression that has and does exist in other countries (now, I would have a word on corporate oppression, which is, in some ways, more legitimate).
Oppression —> Revolution
Since the terms revolution and oppression are being thrown around today, it’s important we understand what they both mean. A revolution is a revolt. “To revolt” means, “To renounce allegiance and subjection to one’s prince or state; to reject the authority of a sovereign; as a province or a number of people. It is not applied to individuals.” The word revolution means: “In politics, a material or entire change in the constitution of government.”
Ok, so how many people desire to revolt or renounce allegiance to their government if they are quite happy with their state of being within or under the state?
My guess would be none. If you appreciate your state of living, why revolt to change it?
Let’s change the question. How many people might like the idea of revolting against their government if they feel oppressed? If people believe that they are oppressed—burdened with unreasonable impositions or unjust severity—either by the state or by others in the country—requiring state intervention—-are they not more inclined to entertain the idea of a revolution? Would they not want a dramatic change, a material or entire change of the constitution of the government?
Yes, yes they would.
Oppression, or the belief in oppression, is the catalyst for a revolution. It is the catalyst that leads to the material or entire change of the constitution of a country. Take a moment to read about the Bolshevik Revolution or the French Revolution…or really any revolution. The unrest that led to the revolution was preceded, first, by growing perceived and literal oppression.
So, what is the key to starting a revolution?
The belief in, or truly experienced, oppression.
In America today, what seems to be the term used by politicians to stir up unrest in the public?
Which leads to the question. What is the end goal in this rhetoric? Is it to merely increase government’s power or is to set the stage for a revolution resulting in the material or entire change of the American Constitution?
Don’t believe the lie that revolutions are a good thing. Revolutions are dangerous. They are violent. They are bloody. And most of the time, they are irrational and emotional. The machinations of a mob. Historians are hard pressed to find many revolutions that did not end poorly, resulting in a far worse government than the government that previously existed.
The authors of an article entitled “Do All Revolutions End Badly?” ask historians if there really are any “good” revolutions. They explain the tragedy of the Bolshevik Revolution:
“1917 [The Bolshevik Revolution] shows how revolutions incubate extremes and devour the proponents of compromise and reform. Moderate voices become overtaken or silenced: popular resentments and hostilities weaponized rather than subdued. Lenin declared the central question of revolutionary struggle to be ‘who will beat whom?’ and embraced civil war as a desirable outcome of October. The peoples of the former Tsarists empire confronted a stark choice: defend the old feudal order or embrace the violent utopianism of the Bolsheviks. Most wanted neither.”
If the central question for a revolutionary struggle is “who will be whom?”, violence and war is automatically assumed, even desired. Some of the biggest proponents of revolution are: Mao Zedung of Communist China; Joseph Stalin; Adolf Hitler with his cry that the “national revolution has begun”; and those involved in the French Revolution.
And yet, the French Revolution ended in disaster.
“The French political class at the end of 1789 thought that they had had a revolution, that the new basis of their society was fixed and that the rest was just a matter of tidying up. A decade later, with half a million already dead in war and bloody insurrection, an exhausted country collapsed into the arms of Napoleon, a megalomaniac strongman who renewed war with all of Europe, killing millions to service his fatal ambition.
Almost 60 years after 1789, the nation was still battering its way through a succession of new revolutions. Over 80 years after 1789, the French laid waste to parts of their own capital city once again in bitter fratricidal slaughter, as another attempt at a revolutionary solution was crushed.”
Revolutions have left behind a dearth of death and destruction in their wake.
But what of the American Revolution? Did that not end well? While this article is not about the American Revolution, I will leave a nugget of a thought.
We, in America, are incredibly blessed that our revolution involved rational thought and was fought against a government that was not directly on our own soil. But it was a risk. Even our founding fathers new what a risk such a revolution was and knew the potential for endless chaos and anarchy. The war was not entered into lightly or without gravity. And it was led by a group of men who had already thought through and considered a lawful way to establish a new Constitution. In other words, the founders offered a lawful, rational solution to their problem.
Why are our politicians today stirring up the machinations needed for a revolution? Why are they utilizing the term, oppression? To what end? Belief in oppression only leads to unrest and angst, which only, ultimately, leads to one thing: revolution. It leads to the removal of the current government. Have you not noticed how many politicians are working to “incubate extremes and devour the proponents of compromise and reform”? How “moderate voices” are being overtaken or silenced? And how “popular resentments and hostilities are weaponized rather than subdued”?
Are we truly at a point in America where we would endorse, even take part in, a revolution—a complete and utter upheaval of our current government and Constitution?
There is only reason that so many Americans feel the potential need for a revolution. It is because they believe in their own oppression. Should this belief not exist, there would be no need for revolution. Our politicians are playing a game, preaching oppression with no solution while stirring up feelings of anger, bitterness and unrest. They are playing with fire. Do they not realize that, if they are successful in stirring up enough angst to start a revolution, they will be the first to be violently cast out? They are playing the game of tyrants, stirring up the feelings of unrest while offering no legitimate or rational solution.
These are the shadows of a burgeoning revolution. Look throughout history. Is America going to follow the path of revolutionary destruction just like all the other countries who have cycled through uprisings and failed governments without end? Is America going to follow in the footsteps of the Bolsheviks, blindly raging against the evils of the status quo with no alternative to make it better? Is America going to be a country of “useful idiots”? These ideas of oppression, unrest, class, and revolution—terms now being used in American politics today—are the terms of revolutionaries and the ideas that truly lead to socialism.
For a country to truly be socialist, it must first experience capitalism and then work to destroy it. There is more to be explored theoretically regarding the move from capitalism to socialism (and ultimately communism). I will explore this in a later post, but for today, please sit back and look at America today. What do you see? The rhetoric of American revolutionaries or Bolshevik revolutionaries?
The Liberty Belle
2 thoughts on “A Word on Oppression and Revolution”
Wonderful and insightful – Thank you! I’m sharing.