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Return to True change begins from within… | Comment on this article | View comments | Email this Article
Commentary :: Miscellaneous
Ponderous Contemplations Concerning the First U.S. Revolution Current rating: 0
12 May 2003
What is a revolution? Has there been a True one in the Constitutional Republic of the United States? If not, how do we get there? Why?
Even though the first "American" Revolutionary War ended in 1783, those ideas that were held sacred at that time (such as, individualism; capitalist/imperialist expansion; and the belief that those males of European descent who were materially lacking, women, and peoples of other cultural backgrounds were inferior) are still held in high esteem these days. You may not think that unconsciously and/or consciously we still hold those viewpoints, but we certainly do - though not all of us, hopefully. That war didn’t change the destructive ideology of disconnectedness – the perception that all things are disconnected or unrelated and thus can be destroyed without any remorse or remedy. For that war to be considered a "true" revolution, it would have had to live up to its creed produced in the Declaration of Independence, "that all men (people) are created equal". Men of European descent who did not own property, women, indigenous peoples, and peoples of African descent were not regarded as full human beings at this time. (In some aspects, this is still true.) Basically, the colonists internalized the view of their oppressors (the British) and thus became oppressors themselves, and continued in this fashion, which was in direct conflict and contradiction with their Declaration of Independence for all people. That ideology has remained up to the present day with little or no real change.

If the Revolutionary War was truly a "revolution", then it would have created a different role for women and men who were propertyless to play in the building and shaping of the United States of America; it would have eliminated the enslavement of Africans, Europeans, and indigenous peoples; and it would have fostered a mutual sustainability between the indigenous peoples already in existence in this land and the Natural world around them, amongst other things. Being that this was not the case, it is our job, now as before, as people of this land to bring forth a new sense of human-human and human-Nature relations no longer based solely on material motives, i.e. what material satisfaction can you offer me? Why must we make this change in ourselves and in all of our relations and actions? Why should anyone care in this age of technology and material abundance, in this, the "so-called" richest country of the world? The change must be made because we can no longer continue in this path, it is time that we reclaim our worldly, thus Earthly knowledge that all things are connected and that what happens to one organism in the "Web of Life" affects us all indirectly or directly. It is not enough to just belief in socialism, communism, or other alternatives to capitalism, if we are not willing to change ourselves to make the world a better place for us all, not just those believing in revolution.

I think that recognizing the distinction between a revolution and a rebellion is an integral part of educating oneself on what to do next in terms of changing oneself and the world. I'll use an excerpt from a pamphlet entitled, Manifesto for an American Revolutionary Party, written by the late James Boggs to show that: "Rebellion is a stage in the development of revolution but it is not revolution. It is an important stage because it represents the standing up of the oppressed. Rebellions break the threads that have been holding the system together and throw into question its legitimacy and the supposed permanence of existing institutions. A rebellion disrupts the society but it does not provide what is necessary to make a revolution and establish a new social order. To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing institutions. They must make a philosophical/spiritual leap and become more "human" human beings. In order to change/transform the world, they must change/transform themselves."

Let us ponder upon the ways that "education" in this country and its institutions can be changed in structure and mannerisms. Why does elitism exist in "educational" institutions and is reinforced in them? Why is there a hierarchical construction present in all situations, whether it be student-teacher, undergraduate-graduate student, student-administrator, and so on? Why do we continue to accept the reality these institutions only prepare us to become labor in this capitalistic society? Why aren’t we taught integrated education where we learn about the world around us as well as get a chance to find out who we are? What can be done to change the way things are? As long as we go about this, believing that all things are unrelated and disconnected, then we will never have a unified force of people willing to transform themselves to transform the world around them.

I will continue to explore the various aspects of Revolution, as it will take place in this country and worldwide. I know that I don’t know all of the answers or all of the questions, but my search for them keeps me yearning for more.

Irucka Ajani Embry can be reached at iembry (at) utk.edu and is a fifth/sixth-year student at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville campus), with a sincere interest in life, and would like information on ongoing, past, and/or future Revolutions in your area, wherever you are around the world.

If you would like more information concerning the late James Boggs, then check out the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership at http://www.boggscenter.org.

Literature Available from Boggs Center to Nurture
Community Leadership (BCNCL) at http://www.boggscenter.org/litlist.htm.
See also:
http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/charters_of_freedom/constitution/constitution.html
http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/charters_of_freedom/declaration/declaration.html

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Comments

Re: Ponderous Contemplations Concerning the First U.S. Revolution
Current rating: 0
14 May 2003
Spain had something in the 30's that could correctly be termed a revolution, albiet shortlived. America had a coup de tat. Thanks for the post, look forward to more.

Re: Ponderous Contemplations Concerning the First U.S. Revolution
Current rating: 0
15 May 2003
Wow, this is a great article, raising the idea of rebellion v. revolution and drawing the distinctions between the two was very enlightening. Thank you for your contributions to this site. Keep 'em coming.

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