“Revolution” Versus Revolution

At times when I have little else to do I enjoy skimming some of the seedier subreddits. One of my favorite subreddits is the home of some of the whackiest socialist in the world, /r/socialism. There you will find the dregs of collectivism, “revolutionary” socialists, discussing such important topics as why it was totally justified to murder the sons of Nicholas II even though he had abdicated power to his brother, and not any of his children.

You probably noticed I used quotes around revolutionary. This is because there isn’t anything revolutionary about “revolutionary” socialists. All they want to do is get rid of the current bourgeois so they themselves can become the bourgeois. From a statist perspective this would qualify as a revolution because the idea of real radical change is entirely foreign to them. The only options they see is their state or another state. But to radicals there is nothing revolutionary about toppling one set of masters only to replace them with another set.

Radicals, being anti-political in nature, tend to find the definition of revolution used by sociologists, “A radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence,” most apt. A true revolution is one where the very shape of society changes.

Let’s consider the socialist revolution in Russia. At the time imperial power in Russia was waning. When a power vacuum opened up the bolsheviks were the only group that was poised to fill it. Under the auspices of brining revolutionary change to Russia, where the workers would enjoy power instead of the imperialists and capitalists, the bolsheviks used a union with other socialist groups, including anarchists, to solidify their power base. Once the bolsheviks eliminated every person they could credibly label a counter revolutionary threat they turned on their fellow socialist allies (after all, what is a revolution without a good purge). In the end the bolsheviks were the last group standing and Russia returned to what it had been previously: a nation of serfs brutally ruled by a handful of masters. All the tropes once assigned to the bourgeois; gulags, secret police, wealth being held by the State instead of the people, etc.; were present. The only “revolution” was in the efficiency of the brutality. And history has shown Russia’s case to be the norm, not the exception. When “revolutionary” socialists throw off the yoke of the bourgeois they merely become bourgeois themselves.

What would a real revolution look like? Since hierarchy and coercion are the norm today a revolution would be the opposite: a non-hierarchical and voluntary society. The challenge in creating revolution is that it requires revolutionary tactics. Relying on the statist tactic of war will only server to perpetuate statism, as “revolutionary” socialists have demonstrated time and again. A non-hierarchical, voluntary society can only be achieve through non-hierarchical, voluntary means. Agorism, for example (it is not the only example, merely the example I am most familiar with and believe will be most likely to succeed), is a truly revolutionary strategy to bring about a truly revolutionary world.

Agorim is itself anti-statist. In fact the entire idea is to separate one’s self from the State as much as possible. That means avoiding taxes by participating in underground commerce, preferring market currencies over government currencies, creating alternative methods for educating children, forming mutual aid organizations, and utilizing secure means of communications to thwart government surveillance.

A major emphasis of agorism is entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is an attempt to empower the individual and in so doing eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, hierarchies. One area where I believe the labor movement has failed is in its focus on empowering collectives instead of individuals. When a collective has power the individual is at its mercy. Whether we call the collective a government or council is irrelevant. Whether the collective arrives at its decisions dictatorially or democratically is also irrelevant. So long as the collective is in a position to dictate the lives of individuals a hierarchy exists. Entrepreneurs, being in control of their means of attaining the necessities of life, are far less beholden to others then employees.

Agorims also strongly emphasizes voluntary interaction. When the coercive guns of the State are replaced with voluntary market action the ability for any individual or group of individuals to establish a hierarchy is diminished. Coercive powers such as taxation and arbitrary issuance of laws allow the State to get away with any number of horrible actions. But when people are truly free to interact with you or not it becomes in your best interest to be polite and honorable. If the State murders somebody everybody in society is required to continue paying taxes but in a free society nobody is required to continue interacting with a murdered (in fact many prohibitions against self-defense that are created by the State wouldn’t be in the picture so the chances of being a successful murderer would likely diminish as well).

That is a true revolution where the State is replaced entirely by a society that represents everything statism isn’t.