John Adams and New Democracy on Revolution
by Dave Stratman
January 9, 2003
I saw this interesting quote from John Adams on the American Revolution the other day that I think pertains to the role of New Democracy in building the current revolutionary movement.
John Adams wrote: "What do we mean by revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution. It was only the effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 to 1775. In the course of 15 years this happened before a single drop of blood was shed at Lexington."
In "the course of human events" -- the 15 years before Lexington and Concord -- the colonists came to see the necessity and the possibility of "dissolving the bands" that held them to England and creating society on a new basis, reflecting the current of new ideas and possibilities which were exciting people's minds at the time in the Colonies and Europe.
Revolution was made possible by the new theories of human society that had gained currency. "Man is born free but is everywhere in chains," wrote Rousseau, speaking not only to the oppressive nature of aristocratic society, but of the natural goodness of human beings. It was only because Man is naturally good that society's institutions could be seen as oppressive, and only because Man is naturally good that a better world is possible.
The ideas which created the Revolution in people's minds did so because they convinced people that human beings were better than the institutions in which they were trapped. Rebelling against authority was justified. Overturning the institutions was the way to a better world.
Our goal from the first in New Democracy has not been so much to show that revolution is necessary but that it is possible. It is possible because most people reject the savage, greedy, competitive, anti-human values of capitalism and try to live their lives based on a different vision of human life than the elites who dominate our society.
The Second American Revolution will occur when the American people come to see the idea of a truly democratic society -- rule "of the people, by the people, and for the people" -- not as a cant phrase but as an explosive formula for shattering the iron grip of warmongering, earth-devouring, anti-human elites on our lives and transforming the world with the best that we share with each other now. The key is to see ourselves and each other in a new light -- to see that the people are not the problem in society but the solution.