I've had revolution on my mind lately, possibly from reading Huey Newton's doctoral dissertation. Well that, and I've been thinking about America Libre by Raul Ramos y Sanchez. I read his novel about a year ago, I don't want to spend too much time on a summary, but it is in general about the Chicano population in the U.S. that faces major oppression, and in turn revolts. It's actually very close to our current reality. It revolves around Manolo, the protagonist who is recruited into a an activist/revolutionary movement-La Defensa del Pueblo. What has my thoughts, is that the movement is funded by Ramon Garcia, a man married to a veteran Hollywood actress and Josefina Herrera, a young Latina who was able to retire wealthy after being successful in some type of digital work (I can't remember the exact details of everything, and I don't have the book nearby). Nonetheless Josefina and Ramon pool together their financial resources to fund La Defensa del Pueblo, providing employment for members through a recycling business, but it's really a front for their revolutionary plans. That right there is what has my thoughts.
I've been thinking about activists, that tend to be all about communism and/or socialism, and feel there should be an equal distribution of wealth etc. etc. However in this novel, we have activists who I want to say concede, but I don't mean concede as in they surrender to capitalism, but they acknowledge and evolve. They are still activists, but they are wealthy activists who choose to use their wealth to fund their cause. It's interesting, because that's what seems to work, understandably it's fiction. But reading history books and what not about activist groups that expound about revolution, and at times even make slight attempts at deconstructing the current structure-- they end up failing. Or they create small pockets of resistance via neighborhood clinics, breakfast programs, or civilian police patrols such as the Brown Berets or Black Panthers. But all of these come and go almost too soon, due to interference by our government via counter intelligence infiltration or lack of upkeep within the organization. However in the novel, Ramon and Josefina seem to adjust, they work within a capitalist structure to create change and have the needs of the local Xicano/a community addressed.
Along the same lines a couple of years back I read WildC.A.T.s 3.0, a 24 issue comic book run written by Joe Casey and Dustin Nguyen. He posits a very interesting idea, Jack "Spartan" Marlowe the leader of this team of "superheroes" decides that instead of running around fighting supervillains and aliens, he'll become a CEO of a corporation. He creates a battery that never runs out of energy and sells it to the public. Soon they go from batteries for your discman to car batteries that will never die out. As you can imagine, other U.S. based corporations and the Energizer Bunny lose their shit, because Spartan's company would make all the other company's obsolete, and the end result would be no profit, no money, no wealth. The main character's main interest isn't wealth, it's helping humanity, not through dressing up in spandex and fighting the villain of the month, but through finding genuine ways to help humanity. However, the corporations that oppose Spartan, become the big bad supervillains of the story. I reference this series because again it points to a situation where a character works within capitalism, and tries to create upheaval nearly resulting in a revolution.
Too often I read in history that groups rise up, protest and are then beaten down by the government's personal army, the police force. Too many times a group pulls the trigger literally, lives are lost, and when the group loses now-a-days they are labeled "domestic terrorists" or "cynical militia men/women." Peaceful protesting still leads to loss of life or beatings for the peaceful protesters, just look at the Arab Spring, or Occupy Wall Street. The protestors aren't suppose to defend themselves, they should just take their beating or the bullet in their skull. The Arab Spring has resulted in more success from what it seems, Occupy Wall Street, no so much. I think that to a certain degree, there are Chicano/a Studies programs that created their own separate entity working within the university's structure, they held out and did it their way through all the bureaucratic bullshit thrown at them. However a step seems to be missing, because they then tend to falter. So is the answer to revolution or change to embrace capitalism or the current structure? Well I've read two imaginary examples where this has occurred, and the end result still shows that the powers that be, still try to find some way to maintain the status quo. Even in the imagination of the writers, it is almost impossible to advance change without casualties. And this is in their imagination, where they can make anything occur, but it adds to the reality of the situation.
Characters like Ramon, Josefina, and Spartan, present fascinating alternatives, not as in-"if you can't beat 'em join 'em," that sounds too defeatist, but as in, "if you can't beat 'em with your weapons, beat 'em with their weapons."