Revolution or Rebellion? Rethinking Resistance

Revolution. A forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.”

Rebellion. “An act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler”; “The action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention.”

Revolution as it commonly conceived is less preferable – it mainstream, it is reformist. It entails building power to build on top of the old order. It has a plan already in mind; a better ‘system’ is only what is needed.

A rebel is different. A rebel is seen as one who will never compromise. A rebel defies authority not because of idealism – but just because. Rebels live for utter breaks of power, to challenge it openly. It is a spectacle worthy of hours of airtime. Rebels become ideals for a people in resistance. Deep down, a rebel is misunderstood, but also understood. When a rebel acts in open defiance, the ‘wrongness’ of society is magnified through them; and it makes rebellion, perhaps even revolution, possible. Those in power are baffled why this is so. “They’ll turn to state power sooner or later”, the rich say say unto themselves, in a vain effort to comfort themselves, turning to their trophies under the cadavers from their exploitation.

The overlaps of revolution and insurrection is rebellion. Revolution, as it enters in the realm of construction with a forceful political revolution, inevitably posits the leaders of its movement into strong temptations for power. This is seen over and over again in every major revolution, pre-dating and preceding George Orwell’s writing of Animal Farm. Is it something to do with human nature? No; but it is the nature of power, the closeness to it, that makes the centralization of power inevitable to revolution. The Bolsheviks themselves, being elected, kept the values of revolution alive because they kept the Parliamentary system alive, reshaping it to their own will, not the soviets’.

State socialism falls primarily in this ordeal – their incessant obsession of power to produce a “liberatory” hegemony produces anything but that. Those involved have not been transformed, nor influenced by the change of relationships in the social revolution. But the revolution itself, the one headed by the Jacobins, Bolsheviks, by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez – went forth as planned.

Anarchist revolutions is as confusing as the paradoxical combination of theoretical concepts (anarcho-capitalism, state-capitalism, etc.). A revolution, the replacement of a political system over another, is not up for debate. This is not to say that anarchism is against every system, that anarchists cannot live by every way of life, nor put up a single alternative to what we have. We can. However, the purpose of revolution is one of which anti-authoritarians should be wary, because of the stated reasons. Political revolutions that use force and hide their nature are not the solution. Total and sustained rebellion, as both a momentary blip and a way of life, posits more possibilities for a world without the state.

But who am I to say?! Just get to the streets.


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