A love of revolutionaries

 Revolutionaries change the world.

This swan was happy to express its revolutionary nature against humanity by attacking a group of canoeists infringing its territory in Colchester.

This swan was happy to express its revolutionary nature against humanity by attacking a group of canoeists infringing its territory in Colchester.

Two thousand years ago a woman called Boudicca became a revolutionary, leading the people of my town of Colchester in a full revolt against the Romans that burned London to the ground.  Over a thousand years later a priest called John Ball, who lived in Colchester, became the spiritual head of another revolt, leading revolutionaries from Essex and Kent on a march on London that nearly brought down the corrupt English king, church and aristocracy.  John Ball led the revolt in relation to an unfair tax called the Poll Tax.  Margaret Thatcher, who at one time lived a few streets away from where I live in Colchester, forgot her history, introduced the Poll Tax again, and the people of Colchester rioted along with most of the British nation, causing her downfall as Prime Minister.

I love revolutionaries, the people who lead movements against injustice.  An inspiration to women everywhere is Joan of Arc a peasant girl in France who against all odds convinced the French that God sent her to help defend the French against the English.  Joan appeared when the French was facing total defeat, with one last city about to fall to the English.  Joan of Arc rallied the demoralised French, showed tactical genius, and defeated the English in battle, setting in motion events that resulted in the French recapturing France from the English.  Captured, Joan of Arc defended herself on her own against a biased judge and jury with eloquent grasp of law and argument getting all but one charge thrown out against her.  The English tricked Joan in her prison cell on a legal technicality that resulted in her being burned to death for wearing male clothes.

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus was a revolutionary: he rejected the Greek gods and superstition; he publicly condemned his own people; he abdicated kingship in favour of philosophy; he attacked Homer, so beloved of the Greek people; he publicly revealed Eleusinian Mysteries, an act that should have had him executed; and right to his death he expressed his opinion the dead is no better than being thrown out as cow dung, covering himself in the same and dying.  Even today, Heraclitus in my opinion is the best of the philosophers in the West of this world, equivalent to Lao-Tzu the founder of Taoism in the East of this world.

Revolutionaries are brave, they lead by example and create new paths of thinking and doing against conformity and opposition, breaking the boundaries of injustice liberating others to follow in their footsteps.  A hundred years ago women in Colchester and other towns took on the establishment in the Suffragette movement against the social and political barriers of their time to win the right of women to vote, and won.

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12 responses to “A love of revolutionaries

  1. Reblogged this on Makere's Blog and commented:
    Revolutionaries are needed today as never before, and they are arising everywhere. How are you being called?

  2. So, will the younger generation of England ever rise up at their utter disenfranchisement?

  3. Maybe the next revolution Alex will be a spiritual one… I don’t mean a religious one.. Just that people are getting in tune with what feels fair and right and are seeing the injustices for themselves a lot more.. And are speaking out against them…
    Great post Alex
    Sue

  4. I wonder if most of the “founders” of religious movements–Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, George Fox–were spiritual revolutionaries, but as often happens, first rate thinkers are cursed with second rate followers. Jesus and Martin Luther King, and perhaps Joan of Arc, are a mysteries to me: powerful revolutionaries with love in their hearts. How the heck do you do that? It seems to me that most revolutions are grounded on a sense of victimhood and self-righteous anger. Another question: with all our revolutions, is the world truly getting better? Perhaps this is why Heraclitus is sometimes called “the weeping philosopher.” Thanks of the provocative essay, Alex.

  5. I like your refocussing of revolutionaries, and the revolutions they brought about, as a positive thing, especially in light of the current global climate where revolutionaries are so often portrayed as detrimental to the current world order, which of course is exactly the result they are looking for. I liked learning about Heroclitus, who I’d not heard of before and will warrant some further investigation. I guess time will tell whether we have any current revolutionaries to be admired in he same way as those you put forward to us.

    • Hi Pottsy, one thing for sure, there will always be revolutionaries to bring about positive change in the world. The individual in their own way can also bring about change like a stone thrown into the pool creates ripples.

      Heraclitus is a great philosopher to study as he takes his insights directly from nature.

  6. As a point of fact the poll tax riots didn’t cause Margaret Thatcher’s downfall. That came much later and for quite different reasons.

    • The Poll Tax was the mortal blow to her invincibility, and she would have survived the challenges in her final days in power if the Poll Tax situation never happened.

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