Reform has always been the death of revolution. Reform is what governments and leaders do to keep their heads attached to their shoulders. The principle behind this is obvious – if you give the people what they want, they won’t have to take what they want by force. Reform is a counter to change; gradual (sometimes so gradual as to be insignificant) change as opposed to any real alterations.
For the most part, reform is good. Revolution can be sloppy, and if poorly executed, disastrous for people, nations and sometimes the world. There are countless situations (most recently the 2011 Arab Spring), where some degree of reform on the part of governments would have prevented copious loss of life.
But sometimes revolution is necessary, to sweep away an old, inefficient corrupt order, to remove a failing government or to resist forces that governments are not prepared to counter or incapable of countering. Sometimes what is needed for long-term stability is a massive burst of change in a very short time, because the problems that a country faces are too manifold for any form of slow reform to successfully resolve. Revolution can come in many forms, not simply through mass demonstration and uprising. Some of the most important revolutions in history have involved little mass support, for example those which led to the creation of the German and Italian states in the 19th century. In addition to this, not all revolutions have to involve bloodshed. The West is undergoing what could be described as a political revolution, which has been – with a number of notable and tragic exceptions – mostly peaceful.
However, just because a revolution is non-violent does not make it a force for good. The current tide of xenophobia that is sweeping the West cannot be described as having much potential for the advancement of civilisation. Nor is it likely – if it maintains its present course – to remain non-violent for very long. In fact, the very nature of this revolution implies that it must be resisted at all costs. Change in society is usually a good thing, as it allows people and nations to explore new and possibly more successful ideas in the organisation of societies and economies. The problem is that this revolution is not like that. It is not a revolution of change; it is a revolution of self-destruction.
Self-destructive, because there is no outcome in which this revolution leads to peace and stability. All across the West, ‘politicians’ are being elected on the belief that they are anti-establishment; that they will fight against an entrenched, despotic political class that takes power away from the everyday working man. This idea of the ‘establishment’ has no grounding in reality – the far right are attacking mostly decent, hardworking people and instead of taking power away from the ‘political class’, they are creating their own ‘political class’. No real ‘global elite’ existed before this revolution took place – after it the new global elite was obvious. Group photos in golden lifts, star-studded parties for the victorious far right and one xenophobic friendship group that runs half the Western world. The imaginary world that they pledged to fight against, they have constructed for themselves.
When the people finally discover that they have been tricked, what happens next will not be pretty. However long it takes, however many repressive measures this new elite puts in place – nothing will make their new regime sustainable. This new order is destined for self-destruction. It will survive for as long as it can, but eventually there will come a time when there is nothing more for it to feed on (it will attack every aspect of old society: government, courts, the arts and sciences) and it will implode – with horrific consequences.
If we allow ourselves to succumb to this current, then these are the consequences we face. In the UK, Theresa May is passively supporting this revolution through refusing to act against it. It already has its talons embedded deep in our country, and we must act quickly if we are to remove them. Our first act should be to end Brexit altogether – it is a twisted and failed idea that only serves to feed the far right and their self-destructive revolution. Major parties must (as the far right themselves suggest) ‘drain the swamp’ – removing from positions of power those who spread false information, and use deliberate and provocative statements to inspire hatred and advance their own self-serving agendas. The media must stop giving excessive coverage to those who do this – even the most well-meaning and accurate coverage only serves to spread these toxic ideas. Such lies and deceit only lead to change in one real way – in increasing in the wealth and status of the detestable individuals who spread them.
Beyond the UK, we must protect our allies in Europe. Though no major European country has fallen to the self-destructive revolution (France and Italy are currently teetering on the brink), we must be prepared to resist the far right across the continent or face the inevitable consequences. We should also resist those countries that seek to deliberately spread the revolution; notably Russia, Turkey and – soon enough – America. The only way we can do this is to unite.
To combat one revolution, we must begin a revolution of our own. Not necessarily a mass movement, but still the most important revolution of our lifetimes – Europe must unite. Only together can we rid ourselves of the self-destructive revolution, and only together can we be strong enough to protect the world from the suffering it will cause. Instead of destroying, we will build. Together we will resist, and together we will create real change – the kind that advances civilisation rather than rewinds it.
The current liberal strategy of remaining impassive in the face of evil will not work – now more than ever; we must fight for what we believe in. We must fight for the world we want for future generations. We must fight those who offer short-term ‘solutions’ that only breed hatred and destruction. To remain inactive as these forces destroy our way of life is simply not good enough.