When nothing is clear
If the proponents of this new political force cannot explain their problem with the system and their goals in plain English, or cannot translate it into language devoid of emotional baggage, it is automatically suspicious. Real revolutions have nothing to gain from obscuring their point by unclear rhetoric and fancy idioms. If the ideas are strong, they should be able to withstand rational scrutiny.

Be wary of any movement that consistently uses catchphrases and sophistry.

When the revolutionaries expect to profit directly from the changes at the expense of others
Most ‘revolutions’ merely consist of a bunch of people demanding stuff. When all the extraneous wording is picked out, we can basically conclude that the protestors want something, and believe the state should give it to them. Student protestors want their tuition debt forgiven, so therefore ‘student debt should be forgiven’. Female workers want their reproductive needs paid for, therefore ‘contraception should be free’. Very rarely are these pronouncements considered requiring of proof. And how exactly are these things to be paid for? If not done voluntarily funds must be extracted by force from working people. Do they, in turn, have the right to demand that the students pay for their healthcare costs and the female workers pay for their gas bills? It’s doubtful anybody would consider that a legitimate or relevant revolution.

When there is no plan
If there is no clean plan of action you can be sure that the revolution exists to benefit some special interest. It’s difficult to see how occupying Wall Street could in any way compel bankers to behave more responsibly, nor storming RBS and being generally rude to the staff.

When the ideas are old hat
It is a great disappointment to find out about a potentially exciting new revolution only to find that it’s eventually advocating boring old socialism. After 200 years of socialism in the public consciousness, and after a thousand socialistic revolutions and protests worldwide, it’s improbable that Russell Brand, the TV personality, has the final answer that will finally bring as a new age of social justice. What can Brand offer to us that we cannot already find in the speeches of Tony Benn?

It’s not as if he’s resurrecting a forgotten truth in a dystopian, balls-to-the-wall, capitalist world. Many if not most of the politicians he’s addressing were of are socialists or something close. The staunchest pro-EU MEPs are quite openly Marxist. So David Cameron isn’t as big a of a lefty as you’d like – so what? Do you have anything new to say?

In the end, the Brand revolution doesn’t advocate anything that deviates too strongly from Labour Party talking points. It’s laughable that we’re expected to be impressed by a call for cuts to bankers bonuses in a political landscape that considers minutiae like that a public outrage. The Brand revolution is populist leftist drivel in yet another pretty package.

When you’re a statist
Anything that doesn’t address the elephant in the room that is the state cannot be considered revolutionary. The state has been the one constant in he diverging governmental systems throughout history. Revolutions have changed the way we are ruled but never questioned the notion that we must be ruled in the first place. There is little more a statist philosophy can offer – we have seen its capacity for destruction in every possible form, so let’s try something new.

Liberty: a real option

It is clear
The state creates destruction and makes us poorer. It is an institution of aggression and therefore incompatible with a peaceful society respectful of person and property. Libertarians want the state out of people’s lives, period.

Libertarians may not immediately benefit from changes
Libertarianism is an egalitarian philosophy in that it demands every individual be given the same rights as everyone else and nothing more. The state can grant privileges to some, but only at the expense of others. So, a libertarian will forgo the immediate benefits of statism that come along like the welfare state and protection of competition by working immigrants through border controls, in favour of a more just society. Although most libertarians accept that the whole of society will stand to benefit from the state’s death, this benefit is deferred.

There is a plan
Although no libertarian goes about the process in the same way, they all strive for reducing the state’s impact in our lives. This can come in the form of political action, that seeks to elect politicians to repeal laws; agorism, that seeks to do business in the black and grey markets, completely bypassing the state and thereby cutting off its revenue stream; entrepreneurism, that competes with state services with better, more efficient and more just businesses, and many others. Libertarians are the least likely political force to march around ‘demanding justice’ because they understand better than most that justice will not arrive on command – it has to be peacefully taken. The state cannot be expected to starve itself.

The ideas are new
Although libertarianism has its roots in the classical liberal tradition, there have never been as many people taking the ideas of personal liberty to their radical, but logical, consequences. Modern libertarianism is more and more shifting perspective from the essentially benign view of the state, until it gets ‘too big’, to a more radical anarchist view. Nobody in ‘the system’ can even imagine a stateless, capitalist society, whereas everybody knows all about socialism. Libertarianism is a truly revolutionary force because we can’t truly predict what will happen when it is implemented. It is brave new ground.

Libertarians aren’t statists
‘Nuff said.

 
Update: How to spot a fake revolution – Addendum