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Old 11-06-2007, 08:57 AM   #1
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"Think the time is right for violent revolution"

Thanks to Mick Jagger for the topic subject.

I'm curious as to the feeling of FYM about this subject.

Is it ever a legitimate action to overthrow a government?

I know most national constitutions contain provisions for it (the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, for example), but is it ever right to overthrow any government by non-democratic means? I'm talking military coups-d'etat, revolutionary movements, assassinations, etc., not procedures such as voting against a government in a non-confidence vote to force elections.

What are the conditions required to justify such an action? Corruption? Organized terror? Stagnation? Oligarchy? Suspension of democracy?

Are there any nations in the world today that might benefit from something like this?

Is it legitimate to change the governmental structure if such an action is successfully carried out?

The situation in Pakistan, as well as a few of my classes this year (Cuban history, American Foreign Policy history - think Guatemala, Chile, etc) has made me think about this.

Not really sure if this post makes a whole lot of sense, since I haven't gotten a whole lot of sleep and just got out of an exam, but if it needs clarification don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:49 AM   #2
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Good topic Dave. I'll write on it a bit when I have more time...but my short answer is yes, there is a time for revolution.

Since you mentioned Cuba...I'd say the Castro-led revolution against the Batistas was justified.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:55 AM   #3
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Yes. The Sandinista overthrow of the Somozas in Nicaragua was good.
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:17 PM   #4
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Yes: http://www.gdw-berlin.de/index-e.php , uprises in the Ghetto's and the resistance in other European countries, Georg Elser, July, 20 1944, but also the White Rose or Red Chapel and so on.

Definitely, in cases of terror regimes or e.g. apartheid regimes like in Africa, I would say a coup d'etat would be justified.
On the other hand, all too often this ended in just another bloody dictatorship.

If you really have no other chance to bring about change there is certainly some legitimacy, but therefore the conditions must justify the measures taken.

Corruption?: When this corruption is responsible for starvation, pandemics or civil wars/killings, rather yes.
Organized terror?: Most probably, yes.
Stagnation?: No, I can't think of any case where you can't overcome stagnation, despite in connection with other factors, like terror or corruption that eliminate any chance to get out there.
Oligarchy?: Oligarchy on itself certainly not, but in connection with terror etc. it could be justufied.
Suspension of democracy?: If it kills people, and you have no other way, I would say it could be.

But of course, if possible, passive (e.g. White Rose or Red Chapel) and peaceful (e.g. Gandhi or King) resistance is preferrable.
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:28 PM   #5
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Of course there is, now whether the result of it is better of worse is open to question.
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:24 PM   #6
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"Street Fighting Man"

Evrywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy
cause summers here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy
But what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock n roll band
cause in sleepy london town
Theres just no place for a street fighting man
No

Hey! think the time is right for a palace revolution
But where I live the game to play is compromise solution
Well, then what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock n roll band
cause in sleepy london town
Theres no place for a street fighting man
No

Hey! said my name is called disturbance
Ill shout and scream, Ill kill the king, Ill rail at all his servants
Well, what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock n roll band
cause in sleepy london town
Theres no place for a street fighting man
No

People keep on getting angry and you never know, it might happen!
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Old 11-06-2007, 06:37 PM   #7
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"I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name"
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by AnnRKeyintheUSA
Hey! think the time is right for a palace revolution
Is that really what it is?
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:49 PM   #9
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^ I thought the same thing for ages, until I looked the lyrics up online a few years back. (I'd always wondered why there seemed to be an sss sound at the end of 'violent', lol.) One of those accent-related confusions, I think.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:53 PM   #10
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Old 11-06-2007, 11:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega
Yes: http://www.gdw-berlin.de/index-e.php , uprises in the Ghetto's and the resistance in other European countries, Georg Elser, July, 20 1944, but also the White Rose or Red Chapel and so on.

Definitely, in cases of terror regimes or e.g. apartheid regimes like in Africa, I would say a coup d'etat would be justified.
On the other hand, all too often this ended in just another bloody dictatorship.

If you really have no other chance to bring about change there is certainly some legitimacy, but therefore the conditions must justify the measures taken.

Corruption?: When this corruption is responsible for starvation, pandemics or civil wars/killings, rather yes.
Organized terror?: Most probably, yes.
Stagnation?: No, I can't think of any case where you can't overcome stagnation, despite in connection with other factors, like terror or corruption that eliminate any chance to get out there.
Oligarchy?: Oligarchy on itself certainly not, but in connection with terror etc. it could be justufied.
Suspension of democracy?: If it kills people, and you have no other way, I would say it could be.

But of course, if possible, passive (e.g. White Rose or Red Chapel) and peaceful (e.g. Gandhi or King) resistance is preferrable.
I agree with most of this...but are you saying that only mass violence and/or death at the hands of the government justifies revolution? That would go against much (not all, of course) of modern Western political thought, where right of revolution is usually located in a government's not deriving its powers from 'the consent of the governed,' rather than in some predetermined list of specific failings. In other words, mass violence having been committed by the state is not necessarily a prerequisite for 'justified' revolution.
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Old 11-07-2007, 12:16 AM   #12
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Were Guatemala or Chile justified in light of the Cold War and the increase in leftist sentiment in the 50's, 60 and 70's?
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveC
Were Guatemala or Chile justified in light of the Cold War and the increase in leftist sentiment in the 50's, 60 and 70's?
No. Those were overthrows of democratically elected governments. It's not good to overthrow a democratically elected government.
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:27 AM   #14
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Re: "Think the time is right for violent revolution"

Quote:
Originally posted by DaveC
Thanks to Mick Jagger for the topic subject.

I'm curious as to the feeling of FYM about this subject.

Is it ever a legitimate action to overthrow a government?
I say yes. I would go so far as to say the populace has a duty to overthrow an unjust regime.

[QUOE]I know most national constitutions contain provisions for it (the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, for example), but is it ever right to overthrow any government by non-democratic means? I'm talking military coups-d'etat, revolutionary movements, assassinations, etc., not procedures such as voting against a government in a non-confidence vote to force elections.[/QUOTE]

I'd say revolutionary movements would just about always be justified. What better reason for change than a groundswell of popular support? However in the case of coups and assassinations I'm hesitant...if I were to mobilize a group of supporters who were well-trained & funded, and we were to commence picking off government & business leaders in an attempt to orchestrate a political & economic revolution, would it be justified? I'd say no...the majority of US society, whether I agree with them or not, supports capitalism. I think a small group of rebels who believe they "know better" than society at large is a recipe for disaster should they sieze power, because I'd think the result would likely be (and has been) dictatorship.

Quote:
What are the conditions required to justify such an action? Corruption? Organized terror? Stagnation? Oligarchy? Suspension of democracy?
I would say yes to all. The question is, is it possible for an outside group to eliminate the corrupt within a government without throwing the whole society into chaos? Assuming the problem isn't the political system, but rather the crooked politicians within, is it possible to maintain that system while removing the criminals?

Quote:
Are there any nations in the world today that might benefit from something like this?
Of course. Any nation where the government serves the governors, rather than the nation as a whole. The question is, what about governments who participate in ethnic cleansing, when the majority of the nation support it? Should those governments be overthrown, despite the support of most of their citizens? That's speaking in hypotheticals I suspect, because I'm not sure these countries' citizens support such atrocities.

Quote:
Is it legitimate to change the governmental structure if such an action is successfully carried out?
I'd think so. If I overthrow a dictator only to become a dictator myself, is that legitimate? I'd say no. But the question is, is it justified to replace an iron-fisted dictator with a "benevolent despot" who has absolute power, but uses it for good. So I think ideally you replace the existing system with something better, but I'm not sure it's necessary. You're either upgrading the system or the personnel, or both.

Quote:
The situation in Pakistan, as well as a few of my classes this year (Cuban history, American Foreign Policy history - think Guatemala, Chile, etc) has made me think about this.
I guess the question I'd ask, to follow up, is when or if it's justified for a third party nation to interfere with a revolutionary movement. For example, is it justified for the United States to use it's military prowess to either maintain governments in other countries, or to aid in their overthrow? Not justifiable as in "is it good for the US government", I'm talking about objectively, is it justified.
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Old 11-07-2007, 02:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

I agree with most of this...but are you saying that only mass violence and/or death at the hands of the government justifies revolution? That would go against much (not all, of course) of modern Western political thought, where right of revolution is usually located in a government's not deriving its powers from 'the consent of the governed,' rather than in some predetermined list of specific failings. In other words, mass violence having been committed by the state is not necessarily a prerequisite for 'justified' revolution.

Hm, yeah, that's complicated, indeed.
Of course I wouldn't say wait until the killings have begun, like they did in Rwanda, Bosnia or the Kosovo.
If the tendency of the ruling party to be killing its people is very clear, a violent uprisal certainly is justified.
Never wait until it's too late, that's for sure.
But when is the point of a "government's not deriving its powers from 'the consent of the governed'" reached as being so cruel to say "Here, a violent revolution is justified"?

Could you say the East German government was so cruel as to have justified a violent uprisal, for example?

But, I admit, that's probably too high a topic for me to go into detail with.
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