Hugh Smith: "We Need A Social Revolution"

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via,

In the conventional view, there are two kinds of revolutions: political and technological. Political revolutions may be peaceful or violent, and technological revolutions may transform civilizations gradually or rather abruptly - for example, revolutionary advances in the technology of warfare.

In this view, the engines of revolution are the state—government in all its layers and manifestations—and the corporate economy.

In a political revolution, a new political party or faction gains converts to its narrative, and this new force replaces the existing political order, either via peaceful means or violent revolution.

Technological revolutions arise from many sources but end up being managed by the state and private sector, which each influence and control the other in varying degrees.

Conventional history focuses on top-down political revolutions of the violent “regime change” variety: the American Revolution (1776), the French Revolution (1789), the Russian Revolution (1917), the Chinese Revolution (1949), and so on.

Technology has its own revolutionary hierarchy; the advances of the Industrial Revolutions I, II, III and now IV, have typically originated with inventors and proto-industrialists who relied on private capital and banking to fund large-scale buildouts of new industries: rail, steel manufacturing, shipbuilding, the Internet, etc.

The state may direct and fund technological revolutions as politically motivated projects, for example the Manhattan project to develop nuclear weapons and the Space race to the Moon in the 1960s.

These revolutions share a similar structure: a small cadre leads a large-scale project based on a strict hierarchy in which the revolution is pushed down the social pyramid by the few at the top to the many below.  Even when political and industrial advances are accepted voluntarily by the masses, the leadership and structure of the controlling mechanisms are hierarchical: political power, elected or not, is concentrated in the hands of a few at the top. Corporations are commercial autocracies; leadership is highly concentrated and orders are imposed on the bottom 99% of employees with military-like authority.

Social Revolutions Are Not Top-Down

But there is another class of revolution that does not share this hierarchical structure, nor does it manifest in the large-scale, top-down power-pyramids of the state and private corporations: social revolutions are bottoms-up affairs, lacking centralized leadership and hierarchical control mechanisms.

Social revolutions eventually influence the state and private sector, but they do not require the permission, funding or leadership of these hierarchies; as a rule, social revolutions drag the state and corporate sectors forward, kicking and screaming, as the social fabric and values of the populace change and the state and corporate sector cling to the status quo.

Examples of recent social revolutions include the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and the gay rights movement.  The leadership of the state resisted each revolution, and was essentially forced to adapt to the new social order as it became mainstream.

Once corporations figured out ways to profit from the transformed social order, they quickly introduced new products and fresh marketing: all-Caucasian advertising, for example, gave way to targeted ethnic advertising and mixed-race national advert campaigns.

When social revolutions are suppressed by the state, they may spark a political revolution as the socially oppressed come to see the overthrow of the autocratic political order as a necessary step towards liberation. 

In other cases, social revolutions may have little immediate impact on the political stage. Faith-based social secular movements--for example, the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century-- were not overtly political; their eventual political impact (temperance, woman’s rights and support for the abolition of slavery) may manifest decades later.

In summary: social revolutions may generate political waves, but they need not be overtly political to do so, nor do they rely on political, financial or technological hierarchies to transform society.

The Decline of Social Groups and the Erosion of the Social Order

Robert Putman’s 2000 book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, documented the decline of social connections and what we might calling belonging in American society with reams of data. This erosion of social bonds is not limited to social groups such as bowling leagues; it is secular, spanning every social type of connection from family picnics to community and neighborhood groups.

If we extend Putnam’s findings to the core human bonds of family and friendships, we find the same fraying of social ties; people have fewer close friends, are more isolated and lonely, and family relationships are increasingly superficial or characterized by alienation.

The factors feeding this broad-based decline of connectedness and social capital are many: the nation’s economic mode of production has changed, requiring two incomes where one once sufficed, and globalization has increased both the demands on those with jobs and the number of adults who have fallen out of the work force.

This winner-takes-most economy has been accompanied by the rise of political divisiveness, a brand of politics that fosters us-versus-them disunity and the erosion of common ground in favor of demonized opponents and all-or-nothing loyalty to one party or cause.

The technological revolutions of broadcast television and radio homogenized the mainstream media even as they provided superficial substitutes for social engagement. The technologies of social media, mobile telephony and narrowcast echo-chambers of uniform opinion have created even more addictive forms of distraction that are not just shredding social connectedness—they’re destroying our ability to form and nurture social bonds, even within the family.

This dynamic was explored in a recent essay in The Atlantic, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Any careful observer of present-day family life would add that the addictive draw of mobile telephony has also damaged the parents’ generation and the family unit itself.

Cui Bono: To Whose Benefit?

Longtime readers know I often begin an inquiry with the time-tested question: cui bono, to whose benefit? Who has benefited from the erosion of the social fabric and social capital, from the politics of divisiveness and the mass addiction to the technologies of superficial connectedness?

While we can take note of soaring corporate profits, and draw a causal connection between these profits and the modern-day “always connected to work” lifestyle of high-productivity corporate employees, it’s difficult to argue that corporations have benefited directly from the loss of social capital that characterizes American life. 

Rather, it seems that the corporation’s relentless pursuit of narrowly defined self-interest, i.e. maximizing profits by whatever means are available, has laid waste to boundaries between work and home life as collateral damage.

In a similar fashion, purveyors of smartphones and the software and content that render them so addictive don’t necessarily benefit directly from the destruction of intimate, authentic social bonds, but they certainly have prospered from the feeding of the smartphone addiction. Once again, the loss of authentic social connectedness is collateral damage.

While it seems quite clear that political groups have fueled divisiveness to their own benefit, does the state (government in all its forms) benefit from the fraying of the social order? It’s difficult to discern a direct benefit to the state, though it might be argued that a fractured populace is easier to control.

But the erosion of the social order has gone beyond fracture into disintegration, and it’s hard to see how class wars and social disunity benefit the state, which ultimately relies on some measure of social unity for its authority, which flows from the consent of the governed.

It's Time To Take Our Future Back

In Part 2: Rescuing Our Future, we focus on the self-evident truth that governments and corporations cannot restore social connectedness and balance to our lives.  Only a social revolution that is self-organizing from the bottom-up can do that. And we detail out the specific steps each of us can and should take to develop the values and skills required to form and maintain authentic social wealth—the wealth of friendship, of social gatherings, of belonging. It takes courage and independence to swim against the toxic tides of our economy and society. The good news is that true wealth is within reach of everyone. The steps we each need take are clear; it's just a matter of having the will to invest the time and effort. Do you have it?

Click here to read the report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)


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SmedleyButlersGhost's picture

News flash Hugh - the revolution has already started (by the Left)

Megaton Jim's picture

Led by Satanic kikes like Soros! Jews don't belong on this planet!

WorkingFool's picture

I want my country back - and the enemy is collectivism.  Individual freedom is the greatest idea in Western Civilization.  I'm not going back.  Fuck the Marxists, Fuck these fucking DemocRATs

847328_3527's picture
Six Flags Over Texas will only fly American flags


Tearing down our history by the alt left and BLM, one day at a time. When do they push for eliminating "America" from our name since Amerigo Vaspucci had to be a white supremacist.

Escrava Isaura's picture

Wasn’t Marx that said that revolution could only be started in Germany?

If not in Germany, the only other way would be thru parliament.

I personally don’t see how a revolution is possible in America because America society is too independent. Too isolationists.

So, this righter point makes nonsense unless in an academic setting.


TahoeBilly2012's picture

So was/is the guillotine a political or technical revolution? I guess since the technology is old, if we brought it back, it would be only political this time, which still works for me. But we could do a 2.0 "automation" this time around, no need for a rope cutter, all the guilt and blood.

J S Bach's picture

The author fails to mention one of the most important non-violent revolutions in history... that of Germany 1933 - from the Weimar Republic to the National Socialist state.  Aside from the street brawls of the 20s leading up to it, this revolution took place at the ballot box.  After its inception, the popular assent to the new government grew to over 90%.  And the ensuing success of the NS policies posed a grave threat to the (((usury-powers))) the world over.  This is whence violence and war became their only recourse.  Just a little often overlooked historical tidbit.

SmackDaddy's picture

We don't need a (((revolution))), we need a reaction.

"Conservatives" on a 500 year losing streak

Reichstag Fire Dept.'s picture

Revolution is possible in the US.

The Left has pushed and pushed their ideology, never satisfied with your acceptance of any small point they want to make, they always want more compliance from you.

The Leftists have been SO insistent on acceptance of their ideology that they have gone from "demanding Leftists" to "no discussion Leftists". I'm right and you are wrong, no discussion. The Feminist, Hillary, supporter best exemplifies this kind of Leftist at the street level.

What this has served to accomplish is to polarize the political landscape into Leftist and Non-Leftists. The Non-Leftists are greater in number but since this #UniteTheRight thing in Charlottesville has appropriated the word "Right" as a pajoritive so what does that leave us? Conservatism? (seems old and stogy). Libertarianism? (I don't know why more peoplle don't wrap themselves in this?). Conservative/Libertarianism? (unholy marriage?) Nevertheless, it's going to need a leader...and that leader will be pushed to the front as their new King. Even a Non-Leftist can come up with a few names of the Kings of the Counter Culture...but who will be the Kings of the Counter, Counter Culture?

The revolution has begun? True. I'm not taking anymore Leftist bullshit.

The Left started the fight? True. I would have ignored them if they didn't "trigger" me! *sic*

But what do the Leftists hope to win? ...and, who, exactly is the opponent of the Left? The Leftists seem to be like Pre-WWII Germany have selected as their enemy, the entire world! In Nazi Germany, Hitler won populist support because he had support from the German people agreeing with him that the German was the victim of the Jew afer WWI and the Weimar Republic days. Right or wrong, I have a hard time seeing which of these spoiled, self-entitled will be willing to fight their way out of their privileged obtain what? Freedom? No. They are lining up to give that away! They are Paper Tigers that have litterally nothing to fight for other than their Leftist identity which is nothing more than a Social Construct.

If Leftist Populism had a leader, they would have surfaced by now.

espirit's picture

How about Constitutionalist vs. Non-Constitutionalist?

That's the line in the sand.

vato poco's picture

can't have a revolution - or take our country back - until we burn down/retake control of the schools. 

they have the children for 40 hours a week, for 12-16 YEARS, in the most intellectually vulnerable period of their lives. simple as that. 

Snout the First's picture

Socialist indoctrination for 12 of more years in the public schools, followed by a further four or so hours of socialist indoctrination every night for the rest of your life, if you're foolish enough to allow their programming in your home.

lil dirtball's picture

> until we burn down/retake control of the schools

If you own your own home, you'll continue to pay for the indoctrination of the younguns (and the sweet bennies for the (((teachers))) as long as you want to live in it. No pay - no live there.

fleur de lis's picture


The Marxist rot that now passes for a standard public school education has destroyed entire generations so we are currently stuck with angry, illiterate, social justice warriors.

Which is one step away from anarchy.

Bella Dodd documented the stealth infiltration of Marxism into public schools since the late 19th and early 20th centuries.



GUS100CORRINA's picture

Starting point for the declaration of American Values. Presented without comment.

1. To secure the sanctity of human life by affirming the dignity of and right to life for the disabled, the ill, the aged, the poor, the disadvantaged, and for the unborn from the moment of conception. Every person is made in the image of God, and it is the responsibility and duty of all individuals and communities of faith to extend the hand of loving compassion to care forthose in poverty and distress.

2. To secure our national interest in the institution of marriage and family by embracing the union of one man and one woman as the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family.

3. To secure the fundamental rights of parents to the care, custody, and control of their children regarding their upbringing and education.

4. To secure the free exercise of religion for all people, including the freedom to acknowledge God through our public institutions and other modes of public expression and the freedom of religious conscience without coercion by penalty or force of law.

5. To secure the moral dignity of each person, acknowledging that obscenity, pornography, and indecency debase our communities, harm our families, and undermine morality and respect. Therefore, we promote enactment and enforcement of laws to protect decency and morality.

6. To secure the right to own, possess and manage private property without arbitrary interference from government, while acknowledging the necessity of maintaining a proper and balanced care and stewardship of the environment and natural resources for the health and safety of our families.

7. To secure the individual right to own, possess, and use firearms as central to the preservation of peace and liberty.

8. To secure a system of checks and balances between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches within both state and federal governments, so that no one branch – particularly the judiciary – usurps the authority of the other two, and to maintain the constitutional principles of federalism which divide power between the state and federal governments.

9. To secure our national sovereignty and domestic tranquility by maintaining a strong military; establishing and maintaining secure national borders; participating in international and diplomatic affairs without ceding authority to foreign powers that diminish or interfere with our unalienable rights; and being mindful of our history as a nation of immigrants, promoting immigration policies that observe the rule of law and are just, fair, swift, and foster national unity.

10. To secure a system of fair taxes that are not punitive against the institution of marriage or family and are not progressive in nature, and within a limited government framework, to encourage economic opportunity, free enterprise, and free market competition.

TheMexican's picture

Too much has been lost. Move

TheMexican's picture

Too much has been lost. Move

Krungle's picture

The goyim victimhood thing is getting tiresome. Own up to mismanaging your empire.

The Cooler King's picture

I was on the GIANT METEOR 2016 ticket.


I tried to warn people about Kushner but it didn't do much good. So I guess it's all my fault. I liked the idea of having Bannon around, but some other people with different ideas told him 'GOY BYE' & laughed about it.


That's the extent of my own personal hand in 'mismanagement'.

Al Gophilia's picture

By taking back the control of the process of interpretation of the Constitution, away from the claws of a privileged few, the laws of this land might once again be upheld. Get control of the legal system and you get your country back.

rbianco3's picture

Anyone know how many police officers were murdered last night?

It was two for sure- but then rumors of murders in two other cities started leaking- I got pissed off and went to bed at that time.

JimBobJenkins's picture

Gestapo agents should take heed not to shit where they eat. 

dark fiber's picture

Revolution my ass.  The fattened up entitled gender studies snowflakes will cry mommy at the first sign of real trouble. 

Retired Guy's picture

Never under estimate the enemy. Those snow flakes have controled the schools for years.They control the MSM. They get what they want most of the time from congress. Sure they are wimps but they are organized and hang in there year after year spreading their weird and  'exceptional' ideas. The right gave us Bush 1 & 2 and yes Trump. The weird and exceptional is forced on us from all directions. We who just want to be left alone are powerless in our disorganization.

August's picture

Western Civilization does not need to be overthrown, but it very badly needs to be decapitated.

Megaton Jim's picture

Chaos, what Jews want and thrive on!

whatsupdoc's picture

Hezbolla will finish the job next time they reckon.  Me thinks chaos is not want they want actually.  Control, albeit subtle, is what they want.

Hongcha's picture

And it spread, like a virus, through the media. 

Megaton Jim's picture

And it spread, like a virus, through the (((media.)))

I am Jobe's picture

Murikans will not have to wait too long for the Army and Tanks to be on the streets. They only saw on TVEEE happenings in the Middle East and thought it could never happen in Murika. Will be fund to watch the Murikan Fucks 

two hoots's picture

Kent State still haunts us.  They may hesitate and just let things go.   Can't see cops getting their heads bashed in as their rules of engagement are limited to being tolerant. 

rbianco3's picture

So corporations are the evil hockey stick, not Global warming.

Big money is funding the wrong problem. I've taken a step that was difficult- cancelled my cell phone- will piggyback on my wifes number for now. It wasn't a financial decision.

Baron von Bud's picture

The older white males are sick of reverse discrimination and being blamed for everything. They are angry about our economy sold out to corporate profit. The SJWs can't get decent jobs or form families. It's really the people against the corrput State. Susan Rice made $30m in 4 years on Canadian oil stocks while working in the white house. She knew the pipeline would be approved. Hillary pocketed the $2B meant for the people of Haiti after the earthquake. DC is in it for the money. They get paid to impoverish us.

The voting booth doesn't work because the system co-opts everyone. Buck the system and the party leadership won't give you PAC funds for your re-election. Hugh can philosophize all he wants but nothing he says can change a thing. Nothing changes until after it all falls down.

That means we all need to be stockpiling gold and things that will give us an advantage. Forget the guns. That's for lowlife. Let them fight each other. Get secure, live cheap, and wait. It's coming and you all know it.

TuPhat's picture

Good comment except for one thing.  You can't be secure without a means of defense.  'Forget the guns' you won't last long.  I won't be looking for trouble but when it comes to me I will be ready.

August's picture

>>>Good comment except for one thing.

Indeed.  Few of us, especially anyone over 30, aspire to being combat infantrymen.

But woe betide anyone who does not possess serious means of personal defense.

Rich Monk's picture

You are as good as dead without guns. 60 million murdered in Russia starting from 1917 by marxist Jews, another 40 million in China by marxists led by the Jews. You folks need to read some factual History! This marxist revolution started in the 60's and is ramping up now to a hot civil war.

two hoots's picture

When the army of student loans, subprime loans, max credit card limits, HS drop-outs, routine assholes (all likely involved now) form into a social force they will be unphased by any reason.  Their reason will be about debt relief or government money one way or another.   It's a danger and threat to allow so many citizens to get to this condition as when given the chance, they will lash out.

Ultimately, everything is about money, even today's neo trouble will eventually be about Congress passing some legislation that gives away money to pacify the troublemakers, but only short lived, always want more.  We have no system to address this situation, it will run it's course. 

rbianco3's picture

How does one send an overwhelming & unified message condemning the J ews when it is illegal in most of the world?

If you've moved away from your family- consider changing that as the destruction of family makes us vulnerable

TuPhat's picture

Hugh has got it wrong again.  The most recent social revolution he mentioned, the LGBT stuff was originated at the top and championed by the MSM in order to destroy the nations social values or 'capital' as Hugh calls it.  He thinks he can paint a simple picture with some of his facts wrong and then come up with a conclusion that will garner interest and get him subscribers.  Jump back in the swamp with the rest of the slime Hugh.


Thanks ZH for titleing this article correctly.  A least I knew it was CHS when I clicked on it but today I have some time to waste.

tripletail's picture

Agreed. And I found his examples of top-down revolutions rather bizarre. All were grass-roots revolutions against authoritarian rule.

katagorikal's picture

The LGBT issue is a good litmus test of whether you are conservative or libertarian. People should be free to hold and express any opinion on the matter. I am a libertarian not a conservative.

mabuhay1's picture

The decline in civilization and the destruction in the social order cannot be reversed. The reason is simple, it began when women stopped being mothers and wives, and became what we have today. In today's society, a woman never grows up, she remains a woman/child all her life. To grow up would mean taking responsibility for others, children, husband, family. To grow up would mean becoming something other than completely self centered. That will never happen in today's world.
Men too have refused to take charge and lead, but let's face reality; any man who is a "Type A" personality, that tries to control his family, and especially his wife, - that man is most likely going to face charges. And he will lose all he owns, his future, and a big chunk of his ass.
Who benefited by bringing women into the work place and out of the home? The rich. They got a huge pool of educated labor that, at first, would work for much less money. And now they still benefit, because women tend to be more docile and tolerant of abusive behavior by companies and bosses. The rich themselves, their wives tended to stay home more, or they were kept busy with a "toy" company to run, while all the housework and childcare was done bu others. The poor could not afford such services.
A revolution is going to happen, or at least a massive change, because our society as it is now will not survive. The reason why the EU wants all those Muslim migrants is that the women/child females they have now have, have all stopped marrying and having children. Their countries are dying, because the birth rate is below replacement level. And the same is true all over the World, in any developed country. Soon, we will have a general collapse, and a new Dark Age. Then things well reset, and in a hundred years or so we will have a functioning society again, in one form or another.

two hoots's picture

Obama thought he could ignore a few million years of human evolution and change society and individuals with executive orders and legislation in just a few and this is where we find ourselves now.   God's we are not, he is not, silly people. 

Ms No's picture

I think the whole world thinks they can avoid evolution and there is a whole lot they are in denial about too.  Did you know that women are metaphysical creatures and always have been?  It has something to do with the subconscious mind.  Men have it too and sometimes epically, but it most of it comes with women.  You always hear about motherhood and prostitution a lot but you don't hear much about women being healers or spiritualists anymore, even though that was a primary function for a hell of a lot longer than priests have been pedophiles.  It turns out that all that evolution was overturned by a new big church that decided it was of Satan. 

Priests used to come to villages in Ireland and ask who was practicing healing arts, knew how to deliver babies and gather herbs.  Then they would take all those women and little girls in training and burn them alive.  What were they afraid of?  Now they just classify research, use tactics far worse than with global warming against researchers, sometimes kill people and surveillance those that display high skill level.  Did you know that even the term "parapsychology" was classified by the CIA up until the late 80s (probably still is).  They aren't allowed to use the term publicly and everything mentioning it is immediately rated top secret or higher.  Did you know that the vast majority of all psychology research funding went into the subconscious and subliminal type studies and yet none of that information ever showed up in text books?

I once had all shit break lose in my house in what they call poltergeist activity.  Shit moving around and all kinds of things.  I had no less 18 witnesses and my plumber wouldn't even come to my house anymore because he was too afraid.  It followed me to work and people there saw it too and became afraid.  Lights flickering, shit launching across the room.  I called and met with scientists.  They said it some type of energy that comes from certain people and usually extricates when they're stressed or under oppressive circumstances.  I can affect random decay generators in a lab way off statistical average.  Apparently people who have displayed this have both flourished and destroyed Henrietta's cancer cells in labs.  How come this isn't in the text books?  I empathed my uncles death not long ago.  I even heard his last couple sentences, which was later confirmed.  Can you guys do that?

Maybe you guys are better at math but I still think you might have gotten the shit end of the stick.  Men might be better at math because they are conscious brain dominant.  Maybe we are meant to be your opposite for a reason.  Although, they have tried awful hard to destroy our ability to be your opposite.