There is nothing in this dark and cynical world that is more beautiful than when a people rises up en masse against its suffocating and predatory political system and tells its murderous "leaders" to get the hell out of the country. Such a scene is all the more inspiring when it is motivated solely by the hope for freedom and prosperity, and the participants resort to the protest instead of the assault rifle. In the face of such a powerful grassroots lunge toward liberty, it is a foregone conclusion that the "leaders" of the country will eventually be forced to abdicate power and run for their lives. When this happens, the victorious and free people will fill the streets and countryside with joyous and uproarious song. They will have won the battle for liberty.
The truth is, however, that running the bastards out of town is at most only half the battle, because there are always plenty of bastards waiting in the wings to betray the revolution and assume power themselves. In fact, chances are that the new bastards have already made powerful contacts within the military and police and quiet agreements with foreign governments to reinstate a moderated form of the old system even before the old bastard is finally ousted. They will assume the throne and re-enslave the people, perhaps slightly less onerously than before, but enslave them nonetheless.
The people are usually unaware of these betrayals, caught up as they inevitably are in the mania of the struggle to oust the old tyrant. Their entire focus has heretofore been on making sure the old bastard actually leaves and doesn't come back, and they have developed a natural sense of camaraderie with their countrymen who participated in the revolution. They are thus open to being duped by betrayers who claim to be revolutionaries just like everyone else, but who actually have their own self-interest in mind, not the people's freedom.
As soon as the old bastard leaves town, and with him the raison d'tre of the protest and revolution, the people inevitably emerge in an intoxicated state. They are drunk on patriotism and chauvinistic nationalism, which they imbibed during the struggle to oust the old bastard. They observed that the victory of the revolutionaries was a result of their collective action, and they swell with pride for their nation and their countrymen. They let pride and collectivist thinking blind them to their individual vulnerability at the most critical moment of all. They are prideful sitting ducks.
The new bastards waiting in the wings will use this pride-induced blindness to maneuver themselves into the presidential palace. They will sing sweet songs to the revolutionaries, and claim to be the "representatives of the revolution," but they will now be sleeping under the same roof as the old bastard. Soon, the old representatives of the military and police will come to pay their respects at the presidential palace. Next, the representatives of various foreign governments will come to pay their respects and congratulate the new bastard, to be followed by the representatives of the labor unions, bureaucracies, and powerful corporations. They all come singing the praises of the new bastard, and they all come bearing gifts of various kinds. If he accepts their gifts, and he will, the death of the revolution is thereby consummated.
The people's pride will not be quickly extinguished, however. They will boast for years, if not centuries, about their glorious revolution, and they will naively assume that any old bastard that lives in the presidential palace is a representative of the "revolution." They won't even realize that the revolution was lost at the very moment that the old bastard fled town. The people's pride and complacency allowed it to be lost.
One day, long after the revolution, some of them will look around and realize the new bastard is exactly the same as the old bastard they chased out of town so long ago. The new bastard imprisons and tortures people just like the last bastard. The new bastard and his cronies are rich beyond belief, while the people suffer in poverty, just as it was before the revolution. A few of them start to realize that they are serfs of the new bastard even though almost no one realizes it.
The only remedy to this Sisyphean outcome is for the revolutionaries to remain vigilant when the old bastard is finally forced to flee the country. There is no time for singing and rejoicing when the apparatus of government remains open to being commandeered by slick-talking revolutionary imposters, or, worse, by military apparatchiks or secret police thugs. Kicking out the old bastard by no means ensures that his replacement will be any better.
This can only be accomplished, however, if the people disembowel the government entirely as soon as the old bastard boards a plane. The bureaucracies must be gutted and dismantled from top to bottom, government buildings commandeered, and the sociopathic police forces, military forces, and intelligence services must be completely dismantled. The loyalty of these institutions to the people's liberty simply cannot be trusted, since they were the sadistic musclemen behind the old bastard's reign of terror. Without their collaboration, the old bastard would not have been able to do any of the brutal things for which he is being forced to flee. They may say that they stand for liberty once their old boss gets the axe, but the people should see through this as a transparent ploy to keep their lucrative jobs. After all, they enforced the old bastard's brutal laws for years without qualms, so what's to stop them from enforcing them again if someone else tells them to, or even on their own initiative?
The key to accomplishing this purge of government leaches and sadists is for the people to take stock of their strengths as individuals, and jealously guard their individual liberty from self-proclaimed "leaders" or "representatives." The movement to depose the old bastard did not need a "representative" or a "leader," so why should it need one now? Why give a new bastard a chance to do exactly what the old bastard did? Having suffered for years under the oppression of the sadistic and corrupt police, military, and intelligence services, why should the people reinstate such forces? Any protection individuals might need can be paid for, although without a brutal and corrupt police force out there persecuting, imprisoning and torturing them, the people will need much less protection.
The key for revolutionary success, in other words, is to carry through the revolution to its logical conclusion before relaxing or celebrating. Free individuals do not need a "president" or a "prime minister." Nor do they need an armed taxing and police force roaming through their neighborhoods as a constant and mortal threat to their lives and freedom. They don't need prisons, gulags, public schools, regulatory agencies, or any other corrupt and inefficient government agency. The only thing that free people need to find happiness, peace and prosperity is anarchic freedom itself. Anything less represents a betrayal of the revolution and a putrid seed that will sprout nothing but future oppression, misery, poverty and shame.
Mark R. Crovelli [send him mail] writes from Denver, Colorado.