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After the Revolution
Down with The System! Overthrow the Establishment! Revolution! ... and then what?
When having a revolution, overthrowing a cruel tyranny, and getting rid of The Establishment, there is something which is quite important and has to be considered. What Next? Revolutionaries often miss this, and sometimes they leave it up to someone else to deal with it, and often it ends up being a mess. That important matter is: After overthrowing the government, what then? What's going to be put there instead?
The thing is, it's all very well defeating an appalling authoritarian government and hoisting its previously pompous leaders from lamp posts, and having a jolly good victory celebration firing guns up into the air but being careful to avoid shooting any of your allies who might be flying over. But... when having a revolution, you need to have a good plan. What are you going to do next? In fact, it's best if you have a good plan in advance, before succeeding in defeating the establishment! What sort of a setup do you want after the overthrow.
History is littered with political disasters where a cruel depot was overthrown, with a glorious revolution, only to be followed by a total shambles of a regime which people suffer from for years.
It's best to learn the lessons of history and have an up-front plan for a revolution or uprising, and then a new well-planned revolutionary management system.
A very similar principle applies to war, proper war of the type where if you win you'll be free but if you lose you'll be enslaved by someone else's power. After a war, you can't just "return to normal" because it just doesn't work.
It's easy to assume at the time of war/revolution, that if you win then everything will be just fine, in a kind of "Blue Birds Over the White Cliffs of Dover" sort of a style. It's a bit like Heaven, though, and there is no evidence for it. What you tend to get instead is the sort of thing where the British railings were cut down supposedly "for the war effort", but after the war, they were not replaced, even half a century later.
Meanwhile, back to the Revolution and Overthrow of the State. Yes, the establishment is bad and it needs to be overthrown. But after that, let's avoid some of the mistakes other people have made.
Now let's look at the sorts of things to avoid. Here are a few examples of glorious revolutions which then ended up with less-than-glorious replacements...
* Iran, Persia: The Shah of Iran wasn't liked by everyone, and history may look back at how good or bad the Shah's rule was. However, in 1979 the people had a revolution and overthrew the Shah. Now here's the point... What did they replace the Shah with? The Ayatollah Khomeini, a fundamentalist islamist dictator. Decades of suffering and oppression ensued.
What's the point in having a revolution if you're going to replace the oppressive regime with another oppressive regime?! Ridiculous! It would be like Italy overthrowing whatever quazi-democratic government they've got in power this week and replacing it with The Pope. They should not be surprised at the cruel religious oppression that would then occur.
The lesson: Don't have a government ruled by religion!
* Russian Revolution: The Tzars probably weren't ideal in their rule, and the people decided they'd had enough of it. So, around 1917, they had a workers' revolution and overthrew the system. They had a plan, and the new system was based on equality and a Marxist ideal. At the time this seemed like a good idea, and in those early times it as not known that this is heavily flawed, and that communism doesn't work. They couldn't have known that then. The result was the USSR (CCCP), an oppressive superpower whose people were equal, yes equally servant-like.
The lesson: Avoid Communism. Be free, not equal!
Current era revolutions: The Tunisia Revolution, and the revolution in Egypt, and the revolution in Libya, and in Syria, we will see if some good planning is in place, or not. It will also be interesting to see if people who have lived in the overbearing shadow of such tyrannies as Bahrain and Qatar have any hope in establishing sensible regimes which allow personal freedom after the overthrow. Saudi Arabia is a special case in point. The House of Saud is an oppressive regime and must be overthrow, but it's important to replace it with something better, ie not an Islamic extremist regime, as that would be just as bad.
One of the most glorious revolutions in history was the American Revolution of 1776. It was a secession. A crucial factor in the positive outcome of this was actually having a plan. The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution form quite a good plan, and the philosophers who wrote these things had some practical sense and thought it out. The result, the United States, though not ideal, had many merits. Hopefully it will continue to be a set of places where there's some freedom and self-determination*, rather than falling into decline through arrogant over-litigiousness, unnecessary war, corporate abuse, etc. The USA is still, even now in the early 21st Century, much better than North Korea, Zimbabwe, and the Islamic Republic of [insert name here].
Future revolutions: You don't need to wait until there is a political turmoil and civil disturbance to start having a plan. You can start writing your own Manifesto now! So, even before other people are mixing their gasoline and old engine oil with just the right amount of Fairy Liquid and putting it in old gin bottles with rags on the tops in crates, and checking the integrity of their home-made taser-proof vests, you can be writing The New Constitution of your country.
Here are a few helpful ideas worth considering including:
* Freedom, not equality
* Not having someone in charge who's a total ratbag
* Allowing your enemies to defect and join your side
* Being friendly to business, both locally and internationally, so you have a live economy and international trade
* Personal liberty, Rights of the individual, Freedom of speech
* Beliefs being a personal matter rather than imposed, so not allowing religion to be the authority
* Diversity to be encouraged
* Eliminating corruption in the system
* Not having too many laws and restrictions
* Avoiding the mistakes other people have already made
Self-determination* - A misprint in a previous edition of this page had that declared as "elf-determination". Maybe that is what was planned to be achieved after the overthrow of Mordor.