So You Say You Want a Revolution?

“Antifa is a radical, dangerous, group and you should be careful with them, they’ll overthrow you,” President Trump told his opponent Joe Biden after Biden refused to condemn the violent anarcho-Marxist group.

Trump is right.

Within the tactics and goals of Antifa and the “trained Marxists” of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization, there are visible echoes of previous revolutions. We saw them first in the Russian Left’s removal of Czar Nicholas II from power. Then the same tactics were deployed by the Bolsheviks against their former allies in October 1917. None believed the tiny Bolshevik Party—with between 5,000 and 10,000 members—would successfully seize control of a country of 97 million people. But Russia’s leftists underestimated the brutality and determination of the Bolsheviks.

None would survive the purges that followed.

Smash the World of the Present

Russian socialists long had sought to work within the existing system to establish a new socialist democracy. Scattered abroad in exile or in prison, the Bolsheviks did not participate in the February revolution of 1917 that forced Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. They were not popular, but the socialists invited them back to the country and asked for their participation in governing in the name of collegiality.

Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia with a determination to overthrow the very socialists who had granted him amnesty, upholding Karl Marx’s dictum that revolutionaries must “smash” existing institutions instead of occupying them, as the defenders of the failed 1848 Paris Commune had done. While the Russian Left sought to implement basic reforms and solidify their new provisional government, Lenin was obsessed with “smashing the world of the present.”

Similarly, even while Democrats represent the political establishment, they refuse to denounce, and frequently defend Antifa. Yet “Antifa defines the entire American political system—regardless of party affiliation as ‘fascist,’” and seeks to use violence to overthrow our “fascist” constitutional system. 

BLM advocates critical race theory, which assumes racism is permanent and underlies every interaction in America. It openly rejects liberalism—the idea that racism is combated by encouraging society to look at all people as individuals with equal rights. Critical race theorists advocate replacing free societies with something they control. BLM even called for the “disruption” (read: end) of the nuclear family.

No Enemies to the Left

The Russian Left—from liberals to socialist revolutionaries—were convinced that a counterrevolution on the Right was inevitable. This was always irrational and paranoid, as the Tsar had finally stepped down when he lost support of the Right (in large part due to his wife’s fixation with Rasputin). Even the Right did not want to restore the czar. While vigilantly watching the right flank, the Left was stunned when they were attacked from the Left—despite three previous coup attempts in April, June, and July of 1917.

Similarly, today’s Left recognizes threats only from the Right. Democrats have gone out of their way to avoid explicitly condemning Antifa, lest they alienate the far-left elements in their party. In August, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) walked out of a hearing to avoid denouncing Antifa. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Antifa violence in Portland was a “myth.”

Democratic leaders have supported massive bail funds, which have continued to prolong rioting and violence by releasing rioters and other criminals, including individuals wanted for serious crimes such as murder and sexual assault. Democrats condemned rioting only after it polled badly—but attempted to blame Trump for “escalating violence,” even repeating false claims that “white supremacists” were involved in the rioting.

The Worse the Better

The Russian revolutionaries’ motto was “the worse the better.” “Committed radicals fear reform because it deprives them of leverage and establishes the ruling elite more solidly in power: they prefer the most savage repression,” wrote historian of Soviet Communism Richard Pipes.

Deliberately building pressure also helped provoke police into retaliation to create evidence of an authoritarian system that radicals hoped would drive public opinion left. The Bolsheviks used what Stalin called a “smokescreen of defenses.” When authorities responded to unlawful activity, it was used as evidence of a crackdown.

Once in the streets, the Bolsheviks borrowed Napoleon’s skirmishing technique: mass recruits are sent first to draw fire and give away enemy positions, then the professional guard is sent to the enemy’s weakest point. Even if they fail, it appears that the masses want change, and repeated demonstrations kept tension high and made everyone believe change was inevitable.

In October 1917, the Bolsheviks told military units in Petrograd a counterrevolution was underway, and admonished them not to respond to the provisional government’s orders. The military staff told the Bolsheviks to retract their statement, sent troops to protect the provisional government in the Winter Palace and shut down Pravda. The Bolsheviks used the troop movement and shutdown of Pravda as “evidence” of a “counterrevolution” and put out a call to action to “save the revolution.”

In 2020, outrage over alleged police brutality that led to George Floyd’s death was nearly universal and many were willing to consider reform measures. Yet when Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a black man who personally experienced police discrimination, put together a police reform bill, Democrats blocked efforts even to debate the bill. Democrats instead viewed the riots as an opportunity to portray President Trump as an authoritarian leader and did not want to ease any tension by passing reform.

What initially began as large demonstrations turned into massive riots in over 140 American cities—220 of 7,750 protests have been violent. The looting, arson and vandalism will result in at least $1 billion of paid insurance claims—the most in history. In the first 14 days of the protests alone, 19 people were killed. As of July, police officer killings have surged 28 percent this year.

Law enforcement efforts to quell rioting have been harshly criticized. The use of nonlethal police tools meant to preserve life—like tear gas and rubber bullets—have been banned in several cities and called “possible violations of international law.” This leaves police with fewer options and increases the risk of lethal encounters.

Turning the Tables

Protests in Portland, Oregon continued for over 120 days, during which there have been 27 riots. Rioters have thrown glass bottles at police and pointed lasers directly into their eyes risking permanent loss of vision Rioters set a federal courthouse on fire. Nearly 300 Department of Homeland Security officers were injured defending that courthouse. 

The protests provided a perfect opportunity to use crowds as cover in sophisticated asymmetric warfare. Crimethinc, an anarchist publication, lays out this strategy in the “siege” of a Minneapolis precinct. Non-violent protesters shield looters and “barricaders” and “ballistics squads”—those throwing rocks, fireworks, Molotov cocktails, etc. at police. Looters can distract police from “barricaders” and “ballistic squads.”

When federal law enforcement was dispatched to protect the federal courthouse in Portland, Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat, said Trump deployed “secret police” to “provoke” violence for campaign ads. Oregon’s Democratic governor Kate Brown said that DHS had served as an “occupying force” that “brought violence.” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, another Democrat, called the federal officers “an attack on our democracy.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called federal law enforcement officers protecting American citizens “stormtroopers.” 

Even while warning of threats from Trump supporters and “armed militias,” the Antifa Left is quietly preparing to turn their proverbial guns on Biden.

It would take a three-year civil war for the Bolsheviks truly to secure power. Unable to garner any real support, they subdued the population through terror. Every institution was systematically uprooted and crushed. Lenin pioneered a one-party state, built on brutality and violence previously unseen in human history, that would be used in communist revolutions all over the world. Once Lenin had used the Left to eliminate the Right, they next were liquidated. By 1941, 98 percent of all Russian socialists had been murdered.

The Democrats’ fixation on President Trump leaves them vulnerable on their left flank. If Antifa and BLM help Democrats beat Trump in November, history tells us we should not be surprised if it is the Democrats who are targeted next. If Biden wins the election, they really will overthrow him.

About Morgan Wirthlin

Morgan Wirthlin is chief of staff at the Center for Security Policy, a national security think-tank in Washington, D.C. Follow her @morganwirthlin on Twitter.

Photo: Ekaterina Ponomareva/Getty Images

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14 responses to “So You Say You Want a Revolution?”

  1. If the Biden/Harris ticket wins next week, this country will deserve the hell that is unleashed. The snowflakes of virtue will witness and suffer tyranny for the first time in their lives and wonder what happened. I don’t desire that, but the “better amongst us” are welcoming in the “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. It’ll be the death of us all. History repeats itself for those too ignorant of it’s ugly past or all too willing to re-write it.

    God help us all!

    • The snowflakes don’t need to fear me as much as their leaders….

  2. An infamous Frenchman named Max Robespierre also believed at one time that the guillotine was a powerful instrument of social change since it made murder so efficient. But then, inevitably, the guillotine came for HIM … 💀

    “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

  3. As my Bohemian born, (born 1922), socialist raised mother said: “The only thing the socialists were good for was to pave the way for the communists, and then the communist paid the back by executing them.”

  4. Those of us who think that a Harris (let’s be real) administration would be so horrible it would shock those who voted D, better think again. Of course I have no way to prove this statistically, but anecdotal evidence and common sense tell me that these voters don’t approach politics from a rational standpoint. We all analyze the word around us with a combination of reason, feeling and intuition. The combination is different for different areas of life. Many of us on this site approach politics with a combination of mostly reason and some feeling (calculation of the practical effects of a candidate’s policy strongly based on past evidence and promises, plus affection for our country, our race, etc.).

    Practically all D voters I know approach politics with feeling. They feel that voting D is the virtuous thing to do, and that’s all they need to know. They ultimately don’t care what happens to the country or to their livelihood–the same way we wouldn’t care what happened to our family finances if we mortgaged all we had to pay for a life-saving operation for a loved one. D good, Orange Man bad. That’s what matters to people so orphaned of traditional morality that they need the ersatz catechism of wokeness and Leftism to feel morally elevated.

    And I’ll go one step further. Even the little reason they use in this equation will be employed for self delusion. So I lose my job after Harris implements this or that policy? My boss is rich, Republicans are the party of the rich, so it’s their fault–I lost my job IN SPITE of Harris being president. Much like the economic miracle that is Trump’s America is such IN SPITE of Trump being president–it is Obama’s policies kicking in (I had that told me by several lefty friends).

    Luckily, not all of them are non-salvageable. Some finally decide to become emotional adults and start using reason to change some of their cherished beliefs. Here’s to hoping enough of them have by November 3rd.

    • I think you’re generally right. This is not like other times, except to the extent that they may try to recreate the Orange Revolution to overturn a Trump win. There will be no need to go after Biden, just a whisper campaign about how he’s lost his marbles and moving him out so that Karen can take over. Then, it will be back to Obama-style lawlessness and globalism. All they’re really trying to do is get us out of the way of the grand neo-communist, globalist utopia that they, conveniently, run.

  5. Learn from The GULAG Archipelago that the evil doers were a subset of socialists called Bolsheviks. Parse the word to see Democrats. Rule by the demos :: rule by the bolshoi.

  6. My own ancestors came from Russia. That’s pre-Revolutionary Russia; Pre-WWI Russia. It was a shock to discover as an adult that they both were sympathetic to the communists (obviously they were ignorant of the gulags, the purges, etc..), but it does highlight how ignorance can allow them to hoodwink so many unfamiliar with communism’s operating manual, tactics and their long and bloody path to power in so many areas. Tsar Alexander II, Russia’s Lincoln counterpart to emancipation of its serfs, was murdered by those who became the Bolsheviks. That’s how interested they were in “freedom” or “reform”.

    The first sign that someone is a communist is their belief that “groups” are or can be victims. It denies the dignity and individual dignity of those who have suffered at other individuals’ hands, who are then turned into useful and emotional justifications for the communists’ evisceration of individual rights. Another belief they hold is that those alive today are somehow responsible for the sins of those long dead. It’s a lie that must be fought tooth and nail. We can only and ever control ourselves, not the past. To eliminate the past is to eliminate the truth about the present. Communists work hard to erase the past and replace with their lies.

    It’s frightening just how ignorant millions of Americans are about any of this. They have no interest in our constitution’s creation, our real history, the many sacrifices made by men and women who helped to create this wonderful country, and the hard work and responsibility of remaining free. So many Americans are so stupid, they deny the truth that fully one half of the colonies that constituted the original 13 who formed the U.S. were filled with abolitionists – blasting to shreds the 1619 Project’s lies about slavery. They are ignorant that the real economic power in the U.S. was in the North, not in the slave states. People ultimately believe what they want, but incapable of persuading others about their lies, that they resort to force, violent coercion, especially when they are looking for someone else to blame for their own failures. That describes BLM and Antifa, but also Democrats and many feckless Republicans. So many Americans are so distracted, so utterly conceited, arrogant and avaricious while remaining so stupid about so many things, it’s a wonder the country has lasted this long. However shall we break through such ignorance, entitlement and arrogance?

    • If I am correct, Lenin’s Brother, Pasha was part of the plot to kill Tsar Alexzander.

    • “However shall we break through such ignorance, entitlement and arrogance?”

      That is the question of the century.

  7. It will certainly be entertaining watching America fly off the rails into third world genocide. Because that’s what will happen. Expect concentration camps and stadium mass executions.

  8. Unlike the Ruski’s & Germans, There are hundreds of millions of weapons in our hands and there is no way these punk arse pantifa is taking over anything but democrat controlled cities.

    • See that is the trick Big JiLm, those weapons only work when someone has the strength of will to use them.

      Thus far I see nothing even remotely resembling that amongst the cowering ‘Conservatives’ who have totally usurped the ‘Right’ and become nothing more than RINOs & Democrat Lite. Whereas the left seems quite comfortable with all manner of violence & chaos. That ‘mountain of guns’ will remain dusty and rusty until you can solve that little problem.