Defiance: A Lost Virtue?
June 6, 2012
was August 19th, 1920. A military detachment of Red Army soldiers led
by Bolshevik authorities steamrolled into the Russian town of Khitrovo
to implement a policy known as “Prodrazvyorstka”; resource allocation in
the name of national security which led to the confiscation of vital
grain supplies and the starvation of millions of peasants. To be sure,
multiple excuses were used to rationalize the program, all in the name
of the “greater good”. But in reality, Vladimir Lenin and the
Bolsheviks saw the farming culture of Russia not as human beings, but as
mechanisms for feeding city residents and the army; the power centers
of the newly formed Communist government.
This attitude of
collectivism (and elitism at the highest levels) and the treatment of
the food producing subsection of the populace as slaves to the machine
predictably generated the desire for civil unrest and even rebellion.
By the time the Red Army had entered Khitrovo, the region was already a
tinderbox. After they had taken everything of value and began to beat
elderly men in public view as an example to the rest of the town, a war
At the height of what was later called “The Tambov
Rebellion”, over 50,000 – 70,000 Russian citizens had taken up arms
against their oppressive government, including Red Army soldiers who
left their posts to join the cause. Vastly outnumbered, and
technologically outclassed in every way, the guerrilla fighters managed
to infiltrate multiple levels of Bolshevik society and government, and
had struck debilitating hits against Russian infrastructure. So great
was the threat, that Lenin along with Red Army leadership ordered
chemical warfare to be used in the forests where guerrillas were thought
to be dug in, as well as summary executions of civilians, many of whom
were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Concentration camps
were built, mostly to house women, children, and elderly people thought
to be related to insurgents and to be used as bargaining chips.
Eventually, the rebellion diminished, but not before Lenin was forced to
end the policy of Prodrazvyorstka along with many other directives that
had angered the Russian public.
The Soviets later attempted to
erase all memory of the event, destroying records and removing public
figures who might recount what had happened. However, the fight against
collectivist control and state power continued through numerous
movements until the break-up of the empire decades after.
many historians and cynics of today would label the Tambov Rebellion an
overall failure. They did not succeed in removing Lenin and the
Bolsheviks. They did not defeat the Red Army. They did not directly
put an end to Prodrazvyorstka, though they did trigger a chain of
dominos which forced Lenin’s hand. There was no glowing victory as
there was during the American Revolution centuries before. The freedom
fighters were mostly forgotten until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the
release of documentation that had survived the purge. However, what
these men and women did accomplish was to set an example; to remind us
of the ongoing and inevitable battle between oppressive establishments
and the people they seek to dominate.
Even in the nightmare world
of communist Russia, from the conquests of Lenin, to the terrors of
Stalin, even in the face of organized and energized tyranny, people
decided to fight rather than quietly live in servitude. The lesson we
are taught by the Tambov Rebels is that there is no such thing as
unassailable empire, that free thinking people will ALWAYS exist, that
the drive for independence is inborn and inherent, and that no oligarchy
will stand unopposed for very long.
Another lesson we learn, is
that defiance is a virtue unto itself. It is its own means, and its own
end. Wherever people seek truth, and honor, no consequence is
foreboding enough to stop them. Defiance takes no notice of the threat
Some may question the example of the rebellion
described above and its relevance to our times. “Surely”, they will
say, “the days of concentration camps, martial law, food confiscation,
and general war against the people by most governments are long gone.”
We are living in more “civilized times”, where technology and reason
prevail. The gullibility of this world view is hard to ignore…
fact, Americans today may very well bear witness to similar or far
worse tragedies in the coming years if current presidential directives
and congressional legislation are any indication. It has become obvious
that the Patriot Acts which many in the public rolled over for (under
some protest) were a mere warm up to policies like the following:
FISA: An overarching domestic surveillance bill which joins the cooperative efforts of corporations and government agencies.
The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act:
A Bush supported action which allows the president to unilaterally
declare a “public or national emergency” for any reason he wishes
without congressional consent and institute martial law policies aimed
at suppression of the populace (the president is requires by the act to
“inform” congress of his intentions after 14 days, but does not give
congress the power of oversight). Also solidifies the erasure of Posse
Presidential Directive 51:
Signed in private by George W. Bush. Allocates further power to the
president to declare a national emergency for any reason he sees fit and
to institute Continuity of Government Policies (martial law, among
other things). This directive was only partially released to the
public, but the entire document remains classified, even to members of
National Defense Authorization Act
(NDAA 2012): Incorporates policies outlined in John McCain and Joseph
Lieberman’s thoroughly rejected “Enemy Beligerents Act”. Allows the
president along with the Department of Homeland Security to label
anyone, even an American citizen, and “enemy combatant” under the laws
of war. Opens the door to the complete dismantling of Habeas Corpus,
giving military authorities the ability to arrest U.S. citizens without
warrant, without due process, without trial by civilian jury, to be held
indefinitely. In other words, rendition and black-bagging of U.S.
citizens regardless of civil liberties or the Constitution.
Obama has not only claimed the right to assassinate American citizens,
he has executed such orders. This policy works as an extension of the
NDAA, meaning, anyone can be labeled an enemy combatant without trial,
and, that person can be detained, or killed, as such. These actions
have been opposed by civil liberties unions and politicians alike, but
because they have so far only been used against U.S. citizens working
with “Al Qaeda”, the general public remains on the fence or oblivious to
the dangerous precedent. The Constitution specifically outlines what
is to be done with Americans who aid the enemy in times of war in the
Treason Clause. The Treason Clause allows NO assassination or
detainment without trial. In fact, it REQUIRES a trial by jury along
with two witnesses testifying to the overt criminal act. The Treason
Clause has been utterly ignored by the Obama Administration thus far.
National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order:
Obama recently signed this executive order which allows the president
and the DHS to commandeer or confiscate public and private resources
(any resources) in the name of national security, and, even allows for
what essentially amounts to forced labor of U.S. citizens in the name of
the “national good”. An almost exact replication of the powers claimed
by Lenin and the Bolsheviks that triggered the Tambov uprising.
Internment And Resettlement Operations:
A secret Department of Defense document recently leaked to the public
outlines extensive planning on the part of the government to use DHS and
FEMA to “relocate” U.S. citizens and detainees to internment camps for
processing. Triggers for such a policy could include natural disasters,
man-made disasters, and terrorist attacks, among many others. The
document specifically requires “special exceptions” to Posse Comitatus,
allowing for military operation of the camps in question.
response to many of the disturbing provisions listed above has so far
remained in the legal and political realm. A considerable portion of
those aware of the dangerous path our government has taken over the past
decade alone is to approach the problem from the top down.
Unfortunately, they don’t seem to realize or understand the greater
crisis at work.
As matters stand, there is very little
recourse politically outside of full state nullification under the 10th
Amendment. At the pace these executive orders and draconian bills are
being churned out and slapped with a stamp of approval, the American
people would have to unseat the president, not to mention almost every
sitting Senator, and every Congressman, replacing them with true
Constitutional statesmen and revamping Washington D.C. in the span of a
few years in order to prevent the inevitable totalitarian abuse of the
legal powers that now exist. This is not going to happen. Given
that almost every president and presidential candidate for the last few
decades has supported identical policies as far as expanding government
power, voting in one party or the other (at least at the national level)
does not appear to make much difference anymore.
avenue is being explored, but with little progress. The recent block on
the NDAA by 4th District Court Judge Katherine Forrest was a moment of
hope amongst anti-NDAA proponents, but the end result was obvious to
some of us in the Liberty Movement who know the history of legal action
against such legislation. So far, the Obama Administration has stated
that her ruling is basically of no consequence to them, and that they
will continue to implement the NDAA as they see fit. Apparently, the
Judicial Branch now only has a say in matters of government when it
agrees with the position of the president or DHS. This shows
conclusively that the government intends to ignore court based decisions
that are contrary to desired policy, and that while the legal fight
should be pursued, we should not expect much in the results department.
where does this leave us? If we cannot redress our grievances through
elections, or through the courts, what is there for a freedom loving
American to do? Though the thought causes some to shudder, it is not
only logical but imperative that we look at the existing alternatives
seriously. Invariably, if a government was to widely enforce any or all
of the policies listed above, the result would be citizen dissent,
peaceful and militant.
When a social system becomes so corrupted
that its only prerogative is its own survival and self perpetuation,
even at the cost of the life and liberty of the people it was originally
tasked to defend, the populace has no choice but to question whether
that system should continue to exist any longer. Conflict, is unavoidable.
As clear as this fact is to anyone with any sense, though, I find that many
seem to treat the idea of physical action as astonishing, or shocking.
Some even laugh as if the concept is outdated and absurd. Yet, they
never seem to have an answer to the primary underlying question: What
else is there? If working within the system only results in wasted
effort and wasted time, what do the naysayers plan to do? Curl up in a
ball and die? Or perhaps join the venomous establishment they could not
As discussed earlier, the Tambov Rebellion and
examples like it impress upon the narrow-minded visions of failure. To
them, defiance, real defiance, leads only to death and disaster. The
key to their extraordinary mistake is that they assume that defiance is
about the “assurance” of victory. There are never any assurances.
There were no assurances of victory for the Founding Fathers, there
were no assurances for the Tambov Rebels, and there are no assurances
for us if we one day have to draw a line in the sand against the very
system we were born into.
At bottom, the debate over solutions
within the system versus solutions from without is irrelevant. On our
current course, there is no other choice for the average American but to
say no, regardless of the law, or the threat of its violent
enforcement. Rebellion, in all its forms, is as natural as the
cycles of the Earth. It reoccurs time and again, sometimes suppressed,
but not for long. The horrors of governments gone rogue are no secret.
We have so many examples in history to draw from it is hard to imagine
any crime despots have NOT visited upon innocents. Frankly, if control
thirsty elites can refine tyranny down to a science by examining the
mistakes of the past, there is nothing stopping us from refining
defiance down to an art form as well. Again, what other choice do we
have, but to take heart in the knowledge that though there is no
assurance of victory, there is also no assurance of defeat.