Tag: Rebellion

What Americans Should Learn From the Yellow Vests

Josh Hughes | United States

Over the past few days, many French citizens have staged a countrywide protest over the heightened taxes that plague many of the country’s poor, as well as the national government’s disinterest in the lower and middle class. Over the course of three weeks, they have gotten the new gas tax suspended and have captured the attention of not only their own leaders and countrymen but of the world. That’s right: the movement has gone international, earning the name “European Spring”.

The protest has reached the ears and hearts of libertarians around the world. As of now, the future of the movement is uncertain, but their actions, solidarity, and results have been impressive, to say the least. If Americans were to follow their lead (just as the French followed the American Revolution with one of their own), many productive changes could occur.

Starting Like the Yellow Vests

One of the perks of the French protest is there were hundreds of thousands of reformists in one area with one common goal: to be seen and heard. The liberty movement in America is a mess with no clear goals or direction.

The Libertarian Party, from the local chapters up to the national organization, need to unite under one banner: change. Whether the change is social or fiscal does not matter; what’s important is that all levels are consistent. A federal legalization of marijuana, prison reform, and lowering of taxes are many popular places to begin, however.

How to Make the State Listen

The Yellow Vests found a great way for those in power to listen: refusal to be ignored. While the destruction of the property of others isn’t ideal (nor in line with libertarian beliefs), marching in large numbers is a good start. Marches on Washington and other state capitals demanding prison reform or drug legalization could do a lot in terms of encouraging change in America.

One major weakness among Americans is their lack of involvement in politics. Many that are knowledgeable neglect to put hands-on effort into the movement. Beginning the protests is the hardest part. Once there is momentum, more people will join in.

Why We Must Strike Now

The Yellow Vests have inspired a resistance in the world, against tyranny and oppression. Now is the time to take action. Now is the time for those who think they can extort us to hear our voices. The country and the world are moving towards authoritarianism at an alarming rate. If we cannot completely stop the government, it is the duty of the people to contain it. This occurs by holding them accountable and making sure they hear the voice of the people.

When all that’s in the media and culture is socialism or neoconservatism, that’s what we get. Libertarians, minarchists, anarcho-capitalists, and all those involved in the liberty movement need to be a part of this. In order to have results, there must be solidarity and unity.

If the people of the United States don’t make changes soon, the country is destined to fall even deeper into authoritarian tyranny. The Yellow Vests are leading the way by standing up for their individual needs and rights, refusing to let the government take advantage of them. It’s in the best interest of all liberty-loving Americans to fight for their rights. Do something today. Make a difference for good.


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The Right to Rebel

By Benjamin Olsen | United States

The right to revolution is a concept that seems to have its roots at the beginning of time. The first widespread idea of the right to rebel and the overthrow of rulers was started in ancient China. The philosophy was known as the “Mandate of Heaven.” The Mandate can be summed up as: “If a monarch is behaving poorly, then bad things will happen. If bad things happen, then heaven has withdrawn its support and the people may rise up to overthrow the ruler.” This sentiment is mirrored in a more secular way with the idea of the social contract, the idea that we continue to allow ourselves to be ruled as long as the ruler protects our rights. This idea has been promulgated by John Calvin, John Locke and the Founding Fathers of America. The idea of the right to rebellion has been seen all throughout history, but the most successful execution was seen in 1776.

The philosophy of the American Revolution was rooted in the ideals of the age of enlightenment. Thomas Jefferson and other revolutionaries saw the power these ideas had to change not only their country, but the world. Most of the founders were hesitant at the fact of starting their own country and rather sought to reconcile their grievances with the magistrates of Great Britain. It was John Adams, a founder with an ideology leaning towards monarchism, that lead the charge towards a full separation from the island of Great Britain. This idea was deemed radical and the Congress debated the idea for over a year before finally ratifying the Declaration of Independence. Even after ratification, the general populace was against the idea of revolution. Only 25% of the population was active in the fight against Great Britain. The idea of splitting from a government that the majority of people had familial and other ties to was beyond belief. Revolutions can start small but can grow to be an unstoppable juggernaut. The American Revolution was truly started by a small organization known as the Sons of Liberty. This small fraternity was responsible for the Boston Tea party and the opening shots at Lexington and Concord. What the American Revolution exemplifies the best is how successful a small revolution can be. Starting with a small fraternity and ending with an independent nation and a modern day powerhouse.

Another example of revolution is the Easter Rising in 1916 that took place in Ireland. This revolution is different from the American one as it takes place in what is considered the modern day and it is a failed revolution that sparked something bigger than itself. The Easter Rising is rooted in an ancient rivalry between England and Ireland. Dating back to 1169, England tried to exert its dominance over the British Isles, and in particular Ireland. Irish history, as a result of such occupation and colonization, has a history rife with tragedy and turmoil. Irish rebellions stretch back to the first occupation and extend all the way to the 1990s. The true turning point in the same story of a failed rebellion came in 1916.

In the midst of the great war, a small organization of Irish patriots, ranging in ideologies from socialism and monarchists to classical liberals and fascists, planned to rebel against the English crown while it was occupied in the trenches of northern France. The rebellion gathered its strength in secret and trained with what arms it could manage to procure. On Easter Monday, 1916 the small band of revolutionaries struck. They first seized the General Post Office and rose the Irish Tricolor, that continues to be the flag of Ireland to this day. By the end of the week, the rebellion was defeated. All of the signers of the proclamation of the provisional government were executed. The Easter Rising had failed to free Ireland from the British. However, within the next two decades the Irish people would rise up, their eyes opened to the British atrocities. Ireland would become independent in 1937. Throughout the rest of the century beginning in the early 50s and continuing until the late 90s, Irish freedom fighters fought for the freedom of the North and the ability for it to join the Republic of Ireland. The Easter Rising shows how even a failed revolution can lead to an independent nation.

All people that are governed have a right to overthrow their governor if their rights are not protected. In today’s world, we are taxed at a rate unimaginable by the Founding Fathers. We have atrocity after atrocity perpetrated against us. Rebellion does not always have to be with fire and bullets like the Easter Rising and American Revolution, but we cannot continue to allow our rights to be curbed in the name of security and safety. As Thomas Jefferson put it “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.” We should all seek such freedom and the ability to decide our own destiny free from intrusion by a government, that may as well be foreign. Revolution can come through the ballot box such as the Civil Rights Movement. Revolution can be peaceful such as Gandhi’s liberation of India. Only if necessary must a revolution be violent. Let us not suffer to be ruled, but to be rulers of our own lives. A revolution is needed to be freed from the bureaucratic quagmire and corrupt governance that plagues this nation.


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How The Whiskey Rebellion Changed America

By Jack Parkos | United States

In my previous article, I talked about the Gadsden flag. I have the Gadsden Flag and the First Navy Jack Flag. Since then, I decided to start a collection of Early American Flags. The most recent addition to my collection is the Flag of The Whiskey Rebellion.

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It got me thinking, how many people actually know about the Whiskey Rebellion? I asked a sampling of random people, and only 20% knew what the flag was. Some people remember hearing the name in high school but knew nothing about it. The majority of people don’t know the historical event the flag seeks to immortalize. Some may argue this is the most important event in early America, as several things came out of it.

The Whiskey Rebellion was a tax protest by farmers and distillers from 1791-1794. The tax was introduced by Alexander Hamilton. After the revolution, many states were in major debt Hamilton had the Federal Government take on all the debt and to pay off the debt, he proposed a tax on whiskey. Thomas Jefferson and the anti-federalists opposed the tax. However, Congress still passed this tax, making it the first tax imposed on a domestic product.

However, this tax was very unfair to small farmers and distillers, for the large producers got taxed less per gallon. So the government gave bigger producers the advantage over the smaller guy (sound familiar?). This angered both farmers and whiskey distillers.  With the spirit of the American Revolution and this anger, the defiance began.

Some congressmen tried to appeal to protestors by enacting a very minor reduction on the tax. But the protesters were not satisfied; people refused to pay these taxes and often intimidated tax collectors. The angry mob would feather the tax collectors, often forcing them to resign out of fear of further violence. Robert Johnson, who was tarred and feathered, reported them, but the man who later delivered the court warrants was also tarred and feathered.

The violence against tax collectors continued. With some having there homes burned down by the mob. The protesters believed they were fighting for the principles of the American Revolution, No taxation without (local) Representation. On the other side, the Federalists argued it was a fair and legal tax by congress. Whoever is right, is up to your own opinion.

But President Washington, who was originally opposed to the tax,  faced a bigger problem than politics: the mob had been burned down houses and participated in violent protest and property destruction. A rebel army had been raised. Washington wanted peace, while Hamilton wanted to send men into Pennsylvania. When peace failed, Washington gathered and led 12,000 men in a state militia into Western Pennsylvania. There was no rebel army, so suspected rebels were gathered and tried for treason. Two men were found guilty of treason, but both were pardoned by Washington. While the law remained, the tax was still evaded, but most violence stopped. The tax remained law until Anti-Federalist Thomas Jefferson, who opposed Hamilton’s taxes, repealed it in 1802.

This is a big event in American history. It showed that the United States Federal Government was legitimate in it’s authority to pass and enforce laws. This event contributed to the formation of the first two political parties in America. People who had been Anti-Federalist started voting for Democratic-Republicans and accepted the Constitution. The Federalists also started to be more accepting in First Amendment rights.

This event raised the question. “Was the violent rebellion a legitament form of resistance under the new constitution?” The Whiskey Rebels believed they were fighting under the same principles as the revolution and that people had the right to challenge the government, even if in extreme ways . The Federalists believed that because the new government was by the people that such methods were no longer needed. This question, raised by the Whiskey Rebellion is a very important one to understand.

The Whiskey Rebellion changed America. It was more than a bunch of riots. It caused a lot of people to think, it caused political tension, and lots of change to American Politics.


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The Land Of Upright Men: Thomas Sankara & The Marxist Revolution of Burkina Faso

By Spencer Kellogg | AFRICA

I am often asked, ‘Where is Imperialism?’ Just look into your plates: you see imported corn, rice or millet. This is imperialism. Our country produces enough to feed us all. We can even produce more than we need. Unfortunately, for lack of organization, we still need to beg for food aid. This type of assistance is counterproductive and has kept us thinking that we can only be beggers who need aid.

Africa has long been a testing ground for some of the world’s most appalling and dangerous ideas. Raped of their land and wealth, Africa as a continent still lags severely behind all other land masses though their nations are blessed with a bounty of natural resources. Even after the uprising and reclamation of many African nations from their colonialist masters, today these countries still suffer at the hands of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other global political & economical conglomerates that seek to push through often failed large-scale agricultural and industrial projects to the detriment of Africa leaving these poor people mired in unresolved debt and slaves to a new order – that of a globalist economy. In 1983 in the former French Upper Volta, one man was determined to stand against the tyrants who used his land and abused his people for wealth to be exported to the other side of oceans and seas. This man was Thomas Sankara.

Landlocked to the North by the Malian desert and cut off to the Atlantic Ocean by The Ivory Coast and Ghana to the South, The Former French Upper Volta has long been one of the poorest nations in the entire world. Although the country achieved independence in 1960, the following two decades were known best for their lackluster development and incompetent leadership often bankrolled by their former colonizers in France. Dressed in military garb and sporting the classic red beret, Sankara immediately went about slashing the salaries of public servants, eliminating all colonial taxes levied on the country and breaking up powerful unions that hoarded wealth while reinvesting the nations small abundance back into the communities that lived in abject poverty. Socially, Sankara rejected the patriarchal undertones of colonialism and allowed women to enlist and serve in the military alongside men while also creating a holiday where men would go to the market to buy goods while the women stayed home. This challenge to societal norms set a precedent not only for Africa but also for countries far and wide which still reverberates today.

When you are bearing arms that can spit fire and death and when you can receive orders standing to attention in front of a flag without knowing who will benefit from this order or this arm you become a potential criminal who’s just waiting to spread terror around you. How many soldiers are going around such and such country and bringing grief and desolation without understanding that they are fighting men and women for the same ideals as their own. A soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal.

Sankara questioned the use of force and allegiance to a war machine that often pitted mutualistic philosophies against one another. As we are witnessing throughout the Middle East today, African nations were wrought by civil and border wars often gaslit by European powers seeking to gain footholds in their shadow wars against other global and regional enemies. Here, Sankara reads like Rothbard with his condemnation of war for tribe’s sake and suggestion that his people deserved a greater understanding of the impact that their blood and death played outside the battlefield.

While many African leaders promised reform and advancement for their people, Sankara wasted little time enacting policies to make a concrete change in his burgeoning country. He set up a nationwide vaccination program to tackle the deadly trio of Polio, Measles & Meningitis and within one month had vaccinated over two and half million citizens earning him the respect of the World Health Organization. To increase physical activity, he instituted once a week sporting rituals and himself participated in the new decree by playing soccer and suggesting the practice was important to promote “a healthy mind and a healthy body”. By the early 1980’s, Africa was just beginning to recover from a generational drought and Sankara took the lead by planting millions of trees and instituting policies against the desertification of Burkina Faso. While building new housing for the impoverished cities Sankara also poured money into building railroads and highways that would connect the disparate villages and cities of his nation.

For all of his Marxist tendencies, Sankara showed a reliable libertarian streak in his aims to decentralize and localize the production of goods and services in his land. His arguments against the global economic structure that stood against the needs and prosperity of his own people were rooted in the idea that what is locally produced by his people was best for his people’s economic and ideological strength. While the majority of Africa was used as a production hub for cheap labor, he rallied a new way in Africa by demanding food and goods come from Burkina Faso for Burkina Faso. In his aims to transform Burkina Faso into a truly independent state, he championed the “Faso Dan Fani” (History of Faso Dan Fani) a local cloth woven of cotton that all public servants were required to wear. While skeptics could point to this institutionalized clothing requirement as authoritarian in nature, it could also be seen as a liberating force that stood to question the reliance of outside industrialization that was the driving force of Africa’s weakened economic and philosophical power.

We think that France’s politic in Africa is very French. That is to say that it resembles other French politics. In the past, the French were present in such and such African country in order to either support one particular leader, one kinglet, or to take away another chief and fly him out. France still proceeds that way today.

At the Vittel conference of 1983 in France, the French President François Mitterrand met with Sankara and other African heads of state. In the preceding weeks many, including the French-owned state of Côte d’Ivoire, had expressed doubt and worry over the revolutionary ideas of Sankara and Burkina Faso. Most of the nations that met at the Vittel Conference were dependent on the French treasury and there was a sense that Sankara and his ideas needed to be suppressed before uprisings and counter-revolutions sprang up throughout the continent. There, Mitterrand reminded the nations of their precious alignment with the west and struck out against the sovereignty of rising independent states who sought new allegiances with the Soviet Union and Cuba. At the Organization of Africa Unity Summit later that year, Sankara pointed accusingly at the African heads of state who grew richer while their people grew poorer. He spotlighted the mounting debt and rising interest rates hoisted upon Africa by their former colonizers and called on leaders to stand with him against the global economic tyranny of African nations.

I would like this conference to clearly declare that we cannot pay the debt. Not in a rebellious spirit. But just to avoid being assassinated individually. If Burkina Faso is the only one to refuse, I won’t be at the next conference. When we are saying that we should not pay the debt, we’re not refusing our responsibilities or not keeping our words. It’s just that we don’t have the same moral standards as others. Between the rich and the poor, moral standards cannot be the same. The Bible or the Koran cannot serve those who exploit people and the exploited ones, in the same way. We should have two editions of the Bible and two editions of the Koran. Brothers, with everybody’s support, we will make peace at home. We’ll be able to use Africa’s full potential as well to develop our country because our land is rich. We have enough manpower and we have a very large market, from the North to the South, the East to West. We have enough brainpower to create or at least to go and learn science and technology where it can be learnt.

Mister President, let’s present a united front against the debt here in Addis Abbeba. Let’s make sure that this conference will decide to limit the arms race between poor and weak countries. The clubs and knives that we buy are useless. Let’s make sure that the African market belongs to Africans. Let’s produce in Africa, manufacture in Africa and consume in Africa. Burkina Faso came here to show you our locally produced cotton woven in Burkina Faso and tailored in Burkina Faso to clothe our people. I, along with my delegation, am dressed by our tailors, our farmers. Not a single thread comes from Europe or America. I am not presenting a fashion show here but I simply would like to say that we must accept to live the African way, it’s the only way to live in freedom and with dignity.  Our homeland or death, we will win.

By 1986, Sankara was paranoid by threats mounting from political opponents in every direction. He tried enemies of the state and the upper-class citizens of Burkina Faso became agitated by his authoritative demeanor. For crimes against the country, Sankara forced the guilty to address their treason on radio and television for all to see. Public servants found guilty were often made to work without pay and the trials administered by The People’s Revolutionary Tribunal did not guarantee rights to a lawyer or proper defense. Even worse, the prosecution was not tasked with proving the defendant guilty. Instead, the defendant was presumed guilty of charges and expected to prove his innocence. The once shining beacon of new liberty on the African continent was being extinguished by the very man who lit the flame.

Later in the year, French President Mitterrand would visit Burkina Faso with the aims of squashing the increasingly important player in international politics. The environment was heated as many saw Mitterrand as representative of the same policies that had created and fostered apartheid in South Africa. P.W. Botha, President of South Africa, had visited France only months before Mitterrand made his way to The Land of Upright Men and Sankara, with an international audience watching, took the opportunity to speak out in protest against Mitterand’s relationship with the South African ethnostate:

Killers such as Pieter Botha have had the right to travel through beautiful France. They dirtied it. With their bloodied hands and feet. And all those who allowed them to act the way they did will bear the responsibility for it, here and elsewhere, now and forever.

Though Sankara could not be bought or sold, his second in command, Blaise Compaoré, was growing weary of the revolution and seized on a section of the nation who wished for a more liberal regime. Compaoré, in collusion with the newly elected right wing of France, began to speak out against Sankara. Once close friends, by 1987, Compaoré had disowned Sankara and used his control of the nation’s army to lead a coup against his closest friend. Within weeks, Sankara was murdered in a staged attack by Compaoré’s associates and buried in a shallow grave before nightfall. In the following weeks, Compaoré championed many of Sankara’s ideas while back peddling into a subsistent relationship with the French. In France & The Ivory Coast congratulations were extended to Compaoré and Sankara’s name was dragged through the mud. Throughout Africa however, Sankara’s name still remains synonymous with Pan Africanism and the struggle for complete independence and liberty from neo-colonialist empires.

The modern prism by which we view and define the failures of Marxism is often distorted by the ills of the Soviet Union archipelago and the postmodern academic bastardization of collectivism as seen throughout Asia in the late 20th century. In Africa and South American too, Marxism has played chief doctrine to the murder and widespread poverty of millions of citizens. However, we are aggrieved if we cannot also correctly assert that Capitalism and its determined march against the sovereignty and freedom of poor people is not also to blame for massive death and unrest. Sankara was a poor man who stood for a poor people. He refuted the tone and nature of ‘Afro-pessimism’ and believed wholeheartedly that his people deserved respect, dignity and ultimately freedom. His message today still strikes with the tone of Jefferson. He carried a torch where once no light existed.  In a world full of slanted men hungry for money and power, Sankara stood upright with pride and love of his country and people.