The human species is one that is never satisfied. Present moments are eternal, but our ability to reflect and expect leads some thinkers down cognitive rabbit holes that conjure thoughts of how one might be able to make and maintain changes. A history of conquest and industry (“of vanity”) shows any observer that humans refuse to fit the mold. Collectively, the majority of people can be coerced into anything, but the minority has and will always remain defiant. The vagabonds, drifters, rebels and renegades, Beatniks, psychonauts, shamans, bards, clerics, hunters, farmers, and teachers- they have all held the torch, stood at the call of revolution.
Most of the countries considered ‘First World Nations’ have all been rooted in soil ripe with revolt. Revolutions are like the fire that purges the forest and paves the way for new growth. Since the birth of language, and probably even before that, people have resisted authority and claims to false power, have doubted their dealers of order and information. Passion and rage are perfect primers for such movements, and happen to go hand in hand. Humans will always question the model of living employed around them, and as long as someone asks those questions, there will be a rift in the status quo.
There is duality in the world- shades and variety. Revolutions can range from social to political, economic, religious, foreign, domestic, violent, peaceful, industrial, technological, scientific, intellectual, and spiritual. There is a whole spectrum for rebellion, unique goals, and motivating factors. A revolution can take any form, whether it be in cyberspace, or in the streets of a failing city. Revolt can be as quick and quiet as lightning, or as overwhelming as the thunder it brings. What these movements share is the need for a figurehead, a tip for the spear. Successful rebellions tend to rest with a person’s ability to get people rallied and moving.
Insurrection is the refusal of authority through violence. Oppression and coercion leave few options, desperate times call for desperate measures, and bloodletting becomes the decision for some movements. Most shades of violence can’t be justified, but if a person is forcing another into a situation or confrontation where morals aren’t being applied, such as genocide or enslavement, violent acts don’t need justification at all. Red Cloud is an example of such a revolutionary.
Red Cloud was born in Nebraska to a shameful drunk of a father (who drank himself to death), something greatly frowned upon in native culture. Being a bastard overshadowed any accomplishment Red Cloud achieved, which always spurred him to go the extra mile. Red Cloud was perhaps the most respected war chief across the American plains by the time he was 35. He was known as a skilled warrior in combat, and had a sharp mind for tactics in the field. Many of his victories were over rival tribes, but he also led an assault against the American Army from 1866 to 1868, a military campaign called Red Cloud’s War. This is a revolutionary who quite literally rose from nothing to eventually stand as the bulwark for his people. He walked down every doubter and critic, and even scalped them himself if he had to. Red Cloud shrugged off the disapproval and disrespect and rose to be one of the greatest opponents the Americans had ever faced, one of the few the government sought peace with. Red Cloud was never captured or executed, and lived out the remainder of his life as a mediator between the war bands of his people and the white invaders. He visited with many officials, and even President Grant, requesting them to uphold their past and current treaties with the natives. The Fetterman Massacre, which saw the death of 81 soldiers, was executed at the hands of a warring Red Cloud.
The temporary success of Red Cloud’s War had a lot of factors, but Red Cloud’s ability to rally and control his warrior class was likely the most important factor. Between the Lakota Bad Faces and the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, Red Cloud called the most ferocious fighters the mountains and plains had to offer. These bands of warriors were desperate for revenge, for the repulsion of the invaders, and would have gone to war with or without a Head Man. Red Cloud’s determination, guidance, and knack for combat strategy turned fireside talk into a two-year rebellion.
Examples of leaders, Head Men, and the impact they make on their movements punctuates revolutionist history. William Wallace called on the clans to resist the Crown, Martin Luther King Jr spearheaded the charge for civil rights, and John Allegro flushed his scholarly career down the toilet to maintain academic integrity throughout his translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls (which has sprouted a psychedelic investigation around his research). The fact that so many revolts, whether violent or intellectual, can attribute their success (or even their existence) to a single face is telling. People tend to be unsure and uncommitted, but having a dedicated example will always inspire them to take up the mantle, either in the field or in debate. Some people, like Thomas Paine, made being a revolutionary a fulltime job. He recognized that if he couldn’t commit to his ideas and actions, how could he ask anyone else too?
If there were to be a modern movement, it would need an MLK styled figure to take the lead. Not because power or control is important, but because an example would need to be set. A presence would have to be made, and a face would need to be linked to that presence, whether it be ANTIFA demonstrations or labor strikes. Activists wouldn’t be afraid to conduct themselves because the consequences and criticisms would be directed at the figurehead. There is less apprehension among people when they have someone to follow, and the stigma surrounding such participation dissipates.
This revolutionary would need to be a combination of many things. They would need to be educated, both traditionally and self-taught. They would need to be physically capable and probably have some achievements of their own, whether they be published books, successful protests, or even combat. They’d need to be mentally equipped and well spoken, tactful in their rhetoric. They would need to be inspirational in everything they do and say.
This person would also have to understand that ultimately, they would be expendable. As stated prior, power and control would not belong to any figurehead- it would defeat the purpose. They would serve as a guide, a speaker, and nothing more. They would be surrounded by select members of the movement who’d monitor the actions and influence the figurehead maintained. If they were to ever overstep themselves, or become corrupt, they would need to be replaced immediately. This would discredit the movement to some degree, so whichever rebel rises to the occasion should understand how important it is to maintain their integrity.
Such a figurehead could come to fruition through the friction created by the various movements on the left. If this person does come forward, these movements could convert from independent snakes writhing at feet of the establishment to a Basilisk. The system and its puppets know this, and will stop at nothing to perpetuate the infighting among activists. People must align in opposition of a common enemy to prevent stagnation and failure.