Archives for posts with tag: days of destruction days of revolt

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.

What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal.

We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

– George Orwell, 1984

  • discontent that affects nearly all social classes
  • widespread feelings of entrapment and despair
  • unfulfilled expectations
  • a unified solidarity in opposition to a tiny power elite
  • a refusal by scholars and thinkers to continue to defend the actions of the ruling class
  • an inability of government to respond to the basic needs of citizens
  • a steady loss of will within the power elite itself, together with defections from the inner circle
  • a financial crisis

But it is Crane Brinton’s next observation that is most worth remembering. Revolutions always begin, he wrote, by making impossible demands that, if met, would mean the end of the old power configurations.

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle there is no progress. T hose who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

– Frederick Douglass

Among industrialized nations, the United States has the

  • highest poverty rate
  • greatest inequality of incomes
  • lowest government spending as a percentage of GDP on social programs for the disadvantaged
  • lowest average number of days for paid holiday, annual leaves and maternity leaves
  • lowest score on the United Nations index of “material well-being of children”
  • worst score on the United Nations gender inequality index
  • lowest social mobility
  • highest public and private expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP

These trends are accompanied by the:

  • highest infant mortality rate
  • highest prevalence of mental-health problems
  • highest obesity rate
  • highest proportion of population going without health care due to cost
  • second-lowest birth-weight for children per capita, behind only Japan
  • highest consumption of antidepressants per capita
  • third-shortest life expectancy at birth, behind only Denmark and Portugal
  • highest carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption per capita
  • second-lowest score on the World Economic Forum’s environmental performance index, behind only Belgium
  • third-largest ecologist footprint per capita, behind only Belgium and Denmark
  • highest rate of failure to ratify international agreements
  • lowest spending on international development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of GDP
  • highest military spending as a portion of GDP
  • highest international arm sales
  • fourth-worst balance of payments, behind only New Zealand, Spain and Portugal
  • third-lowest scores for student performance in math, behind only Portugal and Italy, and far from the top in both science and reading
  • second-highest high-school dropout rate, behind only Spain
  • highest homicide rate
  • largest prison population per capita