“Freedom of expression is often one of the first victims of a successful socialist revolution”

The source of that headline quote might surprise some people.

Nándor Tánczos is probably best known as a rasta Green MP  from 1999 to 2008 – he lost his place in Parliament after the 2005 election, but as next on the list got back in soon after as Rod Donald died just before the new Parliament  met for the first time.

His current Twitter profile: Rastafarian social ecologist with anarchic tendencies

Nandor Tanczos

So this tweet is interesting.

This prompted a series of tweets from @LewSOS:

The trouble with revolution, socialist and otherwise, is that it *requires* suppression of free expression to prevent counter-revolution. Such repression is not merely a side-effect of revolution, but is intrinsic, and must be backed by violence if the revolution is to persist.

Lenin and Mussolini and Castro and Mao and Franco were all perfectly clear on this point. A revolution without repression and violence isn’t a revolution. It’s just an advisory campaign.

A democratic revolution is no such thing. It’s a nonsense. What the people vote for, the people can vote against, if they are allowed to vote again. So for the new regime to persist, they must not be allowed to do so. This is why I am neither a socialist nor a revolutionary.

At a basic functional level, it isn’t really. But the specifics matter. Popper was about very specific lined restrictions to safeguard the open society, but the revolutionary praxis in real life has tended to involve a great deal more murdering of dissidents

If socialist policies are adopted freely and maintained democratically, then at a regime level, for me there’s no very meaningful difference with any other democracy. The socialism bit is incidental and nearly irrelevant as it can be reversed at any time by a change of government.

(Whether it could be reversed in practice is another matter, because in principle capitalism could be reversed in the same way, and yet it has not been, because norms and institutions have power of a sort)

Some interesting and thought provoking stuff there.

So is it possible to have a revolution while retaining democracy?

Perhaps revolutionary change without having a revolution is possible.  Jacinda Ardern’s idea of government is revolutionary perhaps?

Too revolutionary for some. Not enough of a revolution for others. (Some thing it is little more than a softer same old).

Viva Jacinda?

72 Comments

  1. PartisanZ

     /  August 18, 2018

    Thank *Heaven* Capitalism & Socialism have been interbreeding for a century or more and are now inextricably members of the same socio-economic extended ‘family’ …

    To borrow from persistent Right Brigade racial analogies, everyone’s a part-capitalist and part-socialist to some degree or other …

    There’s no pure-blood capitalists left any more … (only idiots who claim to be) ….

  2. Trevors_elbow

     /  August 18, 2018

    Ah
    .. the firing squads… no dissent allowed… the paranoid leader demanding dirty deeds done dirt cheap…

    Sounds like The Death of Stalin… a RIP roaring comedy….

    How people can walk around with pictures of masses murderers like Che G. In their shirts and be proud of it is beyond me, the guy was a violent thug if the first order and I’m not talking about his arm resistance which was very legit in 1950s Cuba….no I mean against waverers and dissenters.. would order executions without a qualm.. pull the trigger himself…

    As for Jacindas Government… the sooner it falls the better

    • Blazer

       /  August 18, 2018

      ah the likes of Pinochet…right wing guardians of free speech and tolerance to dissenting opinion…do me a favour!!

      • Gezza

         /  August 18, 2018

        I think it’s been pretty well established any authoritarian regime that either gets voted in or seizes power – whether socialist or capitalist – both have a tendency to shut down all avenues of dissent and murder or lock up opponents.

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  August 18, 2018

        How many people laud Pinochet? How many naive Uni Students listen to glorious tales of Augusto’s foul repressive acts and don Gus P t-shirts?… that would be a number trending towards zero…

        Yet Che… hell he is romantised under his nickname…he is held up as some type of ideal archetype of the revolutionary hero. When in fact he was a violent thug who from the first guerrilla bands in the hills of Cuba brooked no dissent or wavering.. his answer was normally an execution

        Nice diversion from my point of why the Left gets a free pass when it comes to violence and repression, when Authoritarians of other stripes don’t… whataboutism from BOL yet again. Cant have your heroes held up to objective review can we Blazer, that would expose the rotten core of the hard line socialist….

        • Blazer

           /  August 18, 2018

          well you better address the esteem Nelson Mandela owns.
          He was named a murderous terrorist by the SA Republic.
          One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.

          What about Bush and Blair,were they terrorists?,they certainly destroyed countless lives…probably heroes ..to you and your kind.

          • Trevors_elbow

             /  August 18, 2018

            Still diverting, dishing and ducking BOL..

            The Left Is populated by copious thugs like the Antifa morons but it’s all ok isn’t it… means justified by the ends… except for the working stiff socialism never really delivers when its left to run unchecked as it destroys both the economic drivers and body politic structures it is a parasite on…

            • Blazer

               /  August 18, 2018

              pretty weak rebuttal…and remember this..you do not set the parameters of ..discussion..the right have that arrogance, to always try and control the narrative.,

          • Alloytoo

             /  August 18, 2018

            Mandela, became president via democratic processes, no death squads (not in his life time) and commitment to free market. Not really a Che, Nelson grew up.

            • Blazer

               /  August 18, 2018

              Allende became President through a democratic process too.

              But guess what…he didn’t dance to the right ..tune!

    • robertguyton

       /  August 18, 2018

      You object to the wearing of a t-shirt?
      Whaadabout freedom of expression/free speech?

      • Pink David

         /  August 18, 2018

        I’m very supportive of people expressing themselves by wearing Che T-Shirts. I can then compile a helpful list of those who will be first against the wall when the revolution comes. Che-style.

        • robertguyton

           /  August 18, 2018

          That’s the sort of comment a sociopath, or a psychopath might make, or at least, think; most would be wise enough not to say it in public.

          • Pink David

             /  August 19, 2018

            Who else, other than a sociopath, or a psychopath, would wear a T-Shirt celebrating a murderer and thug such as Che?

            I say it in public because it is an accurate reflection of my views, with the added bonus of being very amusing to me.

  3. Gezza

     /  August 18, 2018

    So is it possible to have a revolution while retaining democracy?

    Yep. Ask Roger Douglas.

    Mind you, that was a capitalist revolution, via a coup, I reckon. It can happen when your PM’s really just a raconteur & comedian too busy coming up with new material.

  4. robertguyton

     /  August 18, 2018

    The point that extracting ourselves from a regime that’s not serving the people well is interesting. Suppressing debate about a change is one thing but capitalism is more subtle, having claimed the whole story and the way it’s told, through various means; media, movies etc. meaning the people can’t even see the problem, let alone do something about it.

    • Ray

       /  August 18, 2018

      And is it great that people like you Robert (and your fellow travelers) can see the pure truth, the light and will lead us to the promised land.
      Just remember that unless you become the supreme leader, you will be first up against the wall because that is just how it runs.
      Think Stalin, think Mao, think Cuba.

      • robertguyton

         /  August 18, 2018

        Ray, every thinking person believes the conclusions they’ve reached, the politics they’ve adopted, the solutions they support, are the truth, the light and the path to the promised land. Don’t you stand by your experience and conclusions, views and beliefs? No different from any green, I imagine. As for thinking Stalin, Mao and Cuba; no thanks, I have more useful ruminations on my list; eating my time squabbling over loaded tables from the past don’t interest me much.

        • Ray

           /  August 18, 2018

          I am a bit more nuanced in my beliefs than that Robert, there are some excellent ideas amongst the Green rummage bag, just as there others in other ideologies.
          Thing is I don’t believe my way is the only way and anything else is a heresy and deserves to be driven out and destroyed.

          • robertguyton

             /  August 18, 2018

            What makes you certain that other’s think, ” anything else is a heresy and deserves to be driven out and destroyed.”?

          • robertguyton

             /  August 18, 2018

            Can you envisage that a Green, for example, might think that there are excellent ideas amongst the, say, ACT rummage bag?

  5. sorethumb

     /  August 18, 2018

    What about the long march through the institutions to the point where a nation is dissolved from within. That is never /was never a popular decision?

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 18, 2018

    The Right think the Left are stupid but the Left think the Right are evil. That is why the Left self-justify their crimes against humanity and decency.

    • robertguyton

       /  August 18, 2018

      Pretty un-nuanced thinking there, Alan.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 18, 2018

        It’s true, Robert. The Right just think the Left are too stupid to see that their policies are counter-productive to their professed goals. The Left think the Right are selfish, evil plotters conspiring to keep the poor poor.

        • Gezza

           /  August 18, 2018

          The Left think the Right are selfish, evil plotters conspiring to keep the poor poor.

          All the Left want to do is keep some of the paw paw. But you’re partly Right there. The Right aren’t evil & conspiring to keep the poor poor, they just don’t care. If they’ve made plenty of dosh at the expense of anyone else anywhere – they think everybody else should have too, and if they haven’t – stuff em – it’s obviously their fault so who cares?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  August 18, 2018

            Sometimes it is their fault or choice, but sometimes it is not. Sometimes the best solution is money, sometimes it is opportunity, sometimes it is help, sometimes it is a shove, often a combination. Good parents know that.

          • Pink David

             /  August 18, 2018

            “The Left think the Right are selfish, evil plotters conspiring to keep the poor poor.

            All the Left want to do is keep some of the paw paw”

            I think this is completely misjudged. It’s the left that want the poor kept poor. The right simply don’t care.

            The left do want to keep the paw paw, but for themselves, not for the poor.

        • robertguyton

           /  August 18, 2018

          Alan, I think talking in generalisations, as you are, to people from inside of one or other of the groups you describe, is unfair; tarring individual readers; Blazer, Gezza, me, Ray, with such broad brushes only inflames passions to no useful end, in my opinion. I can’t see what might be gained by claiming Righties do/think this, Lefties think/do that. If you’re just here for sh*ts and giggles, then go right (or left) ahead and I won’t trouble you, but I can’t help but wonder what it is you hope to achieve?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  August 18, 2018

            I would like you to examine your beliefs about those you oppose and see if it matches that analysis.

            For myself, yes, I see the Left as misguided and inexperienced but not evil. There is hope for you all (not sure about Blazer).

            • robertguyton

               /  August 18, 2018

              Can you supply us, Alan, with your definition of “The Left”, so we can understand who you are talking about? Could you also carefully delineate the limits/cut-off points (when does a Righty become a Lefty, etc.) A definition of “The Right” would also be helpful. Thanks.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 18, 2018

              The Left believe in solutions – that the Government can and should fix all social problems by passing and enforcing laws or creating bureaucracies to look after people and give them money. They believe that we are all responsible for everyone else (unless they are foreigners) and it is our duty to give them money if they don’t have enough.

              The Right believe that individuals are responsible for looking after their own lives and families and should be motivated and rewarded for doing that as well as given maximum liberty and opportunities for success. They believe that financial help should be focused on those who have suffered misfortunes beyond their control or ability to cope but this should not be to the detriment of incentives to look after yourself and your family.

              I think that’s probably sufficient, though we could get into more detail.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 18, 2018

              “The Right believe that individuals are responsible for looking after their own lives and families and should be motivated and rewarded …
              Rewarded by whom? Or what?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 18, 2018

              By owning and keeping what they earn or create.

            • Gezza

               /  August 18, 2018

              My perception of the true Rightie is that ALL they want to do is make money.

              Individual touches or generosity & donations here and there, yes, but that otherwise everything they do in life is with an eye to “How can I make money- or more money – from this?”

            • Gezza

               /  August 18, 2018

              *touches of

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 18, 2018

              There we go. You qualify as a Lefty as per above believing Righties are evil.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 18, 2018

              And what exactly, Alan, do those on the Right create ?

            • Gezza

               /  August 18, 2018

              There we go. You qualify as a Lefty as per above believing Righties are evil.

              Who are you talking about?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 18, 2018

              @Gezza, you.

              @Robert, bizarre question. First, all productive people create things not just the Right. That was the point. Second, if you don’t know the answer then you obviously are determined not to know it.

            • Gezza

               /  August 18, 2018

              @ Alan

              Fux wrong with you?? >:D

              Where have I said always wanting to make money is evil ?? o_O

              I don’t think that at all.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 18, 2018

              I’ll have to let it go, Alan; I can’t follow the discussion and in any case, the whole Left.v.Right thing seems a construct designed to block discussion, rather than foster it. Apologies if I wasted your time.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 18, 2018

              @G, “Evil, in a general sense, is the opposite or absence of good”

              “All they want to do is make money” => absence of good => evil.
              Clear implication.

              Also of course it’s completely false in general. No doubt there are some like that but most have far wider interests and concerns, looking after their families and friends normally being high on the list.

            • Gezza

               /  August 18, 2018

              @G, “Evil, in a general sense, is the opposite or absence of good”
              “All they want to do is make money” => absence of good => evil.
              Clear implication.

              So you totally ignore the rest of the comment – which gives context – and arrive at that absolutely absurd and utterly false conclusion?

              That is disgraceful, blinkered, arrogant, & your attributing YOUR false, unsupported conclusion as mine – downright dishonest.

              I have no problem with people having a personal priority of making money out of whatever they can wherever they. I don’t see them as evil at all.

              Good and evil? FFS. It’s not a binary argument. Christ. I despair.

            • Gezza

               /  August 18, 2018

              *wherever they can.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 18, 2018

              Rubbish, G. “All they want to do is make money” is not “a personal priority”, it is their sole motivation. Sure, you conceded grudgingly a few might sometimes do something altruistic but you implied that was rare and minor.

              If you can convince yourself that “All they want to do is make money” is not a condemnatory statement you are more gullible than I thought.

            • Blazer

               /  August 18, 2018

              it is rare and minor you peanut..an attempt to assuage the guilt of their rapacious ..greed.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 18, 2018

              There you are, G. B sums it up for you. You and he are brothers-in-Leftiness.

            • Gezza

               /  August 18, 2018

              Utter tosh Alan. Give it up. All I am saying if it helps you break the rigid steel trap in your mind is that MY EXPERIENCE of a “true Righty” is that they are more inclined than most to be always looking for opportunities to make money. It is more of a priority for them than it is for others.

              If in doing so they are generating employment or providing services for others as well, great. But a lot of them almost live for it. They’ll do it whether they need money or not.

              Others (not necessarily lefties) are often happy to have enuf to live on comfortably and provide for their retirement. They’re not driven to go lookiing to make more.

              Without people like these who want to make money out of whatever opportunities they find there’d be no businesses and products. I don’t see them as evil. Far from it.

            • Gezza

               /  August 18, 2018

              There you go Al. Argue with Blazer. He sees things in the same black and white binary way as you.

              My view’s much more nuanced than that.

            • Blazer

               /  August 18, 2018

              ‘behind every big fortune lies a big crime’..

              ‘The lack of empathy and compassion in the rich as compared to the poor is also well documented. In an experiment, the rich took twice the amount of candies meant for kids as compared to the poor! Micheal Kraus of Yale University who specialises in the study of hierarchies, points out that the poor are likely to more accurately judge the emotions of other persons; make more accurate inferences about such emotions; and have higher empathic accuracy as compared to the rich. ‘

              the rich are parasites.

    • Blazer

       /  August 18, 2018

      I always thought that scientists were intelligent,open minded people who relied on fact to form conclusions…

      either you are a rogue scientist or I am badly…mistaken.

  7. robertguyton

     /  August 18, 2018

    So, Pete; you double-posted, dropping this post over at The Standard. In doing so, you collected this comment, which I thought perfectly sums-up the issue:

    “Yes – as we have seen over the last 30+ years, the already-powerful can impose revolutionary change quite successfully and the dilemma Tanczos describes doesn’t even arise. Owning large swathes of the private media helps in these situations of course, because it provides a non-violent way of controlling the range of what gets expressed.

    Revolutionary change by the weak against the powerful is inherently more fragile and susceptible to being overturned. But there are no credible voices on the left proposing violent or repressive methods (such as curtailment of freedom of expression) for resolving the problem. Instead we are all about mass movements, evolutionary change and re-imagining the human condition. And with the coming climate crisis it is essential that this alternative vision exists, otherwise we spiral into dystopian hell.”

    • “you double-posted”

      I’ve long posted similar things in different places to encourage discussions, and to compare discussions in different forums. I used to post similar comments at The Standard (where I was sometimes accused of being a rightie) and Kiwiblog (where some say me as a leftie).

      It’s common for posts here and elsewhere to be also posted elsewhere, for example at Reddit, to reach a different audience.

      I find it weird that some people seem to think it’s not something that should be done.

      • robertguyton

         /  August 18, 2018

        I didn’t “think it’s something that shouldn’t be done”, I merely described your action.

    • “Instead we are all about mass movements”

      Generally promoted and supported by small minorities who lament the ignorance of those who don’t get on board, or lambast the ‘right wing’ media left wing journalists depending on the leaning of forum, for not promoting their cause.

      • robertguyton

         /  August 18, 2018

        Everybody “laments the ignorance of those who don’t get on board”, Pete, it’s not behaviour found only amongst “small minorities”. Are you feeling lambasted against?

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 18, 2018

      Glad you don’t think Jan Thomas is a credible voice. Unfortunately the powerful on US campuses do indeed seem to be curtailing freedom of expression there as is the EU bureaucracy with such idiotic consequences as police investigating Boris Johnson for criticising Muslim women who dress like letter boxes.

  8. PartisanZ

     /  August 19, 2018

    The revolution has already happened. We’re already living in an Inverse Totalitarian system comprising – to oversimplify for effect – maximum capitalism combined with minimum socialism and environmentalism* …

    The maximum of freedom for each, combined with the MINIMUM regard for the life and freedom of every other. (About as unethical as it is possible to get!) …

    It happened through management and manipulation, particularly of information, in the form of ‘persuasion’ in myriad forms …

    If there’s a successful counter-revolution it will happen in the same way …

    Don’t expect Firing Squads other than “You’re Fired!!!” …

    In other words: The real threat (or challenge) is not that you’re going to die, it’s that you’re going to have to live in some kind of symbiotic relationship with ALL 7.5 billion of your neighbours.

    *Socialism & Environmentalism have largely combined politically in the West: a natural and understandable phenomenon. The two – Social & Environmental – are inextricably linked by being aspects of the same Whole …