This is not my original idea. The quote is from William Shakespeare, Henry VI part II. Shakespeare was writing about events in the 15th Century, yet his words ring true hundreds of years later.
Despite many claims to the contrary, The Law does not work on behalf of the common man, the unknown worker, or poor person. Laws were originated to repress the working classes, and to tip the scales in favour of the rich and powerful. How many barristers, judges, Law Lords, and members of the Supreme Court come from an ordinary, working class background? There may well be some that claim this, but I for one will wager that there are none. These people have no concept of what it is to live an everyday life, worrying about money, putting food on the table, or paying a mortgage, or rent. Even second-rate barristers charge as much for a day in court, as most of us earn in a month. Yes, they may have spent years studying, and be self-employed, dependent on briefs; but how did they get there in the first place? Privilege, background, contacts, and private schooling, that’s how.
Many of the consequences of great social change; be it by armed revolt, constitutional ‘revolution’, or civil unrest resulting in a change of government, are considered unpalatable, and distasteful to liberal sensibilities. The hard fact is that this leaves you with lots of bitter enemies, including the rich, the powerful, and the landowners. Add to this the Judiciary, the Aristocracy, and those on the far right, and there are lots of potential knives waiting to be plunged into your back. You will be busy trying to change things for the benefit of the many, restructuring archaic systems of control and organisation, and they will be plotting away, planning your downfall. Many revolutionary leaders over the centuries have been all too aware of this, and some took the necessary steps to avoid this pitfall. One of the main reasons that revolutions fail to happen, or do not succeed for long, is the reluctance to face the harsh reality of having to deal with the ‘other side’. This involves exile in some cases, perhaps imprisonment for some, but the best option by far is elimination.
Any revolt is a serious business. In many countries, involvement in such an enterprise will bring down the severest penalties, usually death. Once any overthrow is completed, the only way to ensure continued longevity of the new system, is simply to eliminate the opposition. This unpleasant and time-consuming task can be lessened, by the provision of examples. Once any potential dissenters see that you mean to be very serious about things, there is a good chance that they will simply fall in with your new ways, making the best of things, and getting on with life. So, first, you hang all the lawyers. These parasites will be of no loss to a society that no longer needs their skills in laws that will all be done away with, or changed completely. Then, if you so wish, you can start on the Aristocracy; the real thieves, robbers of land, and exploiters of labour, for over a thousand years. By the time you have done away with the Aristocrats and the Judiciary, those less influential may start to get your message.
I expect that many will argue that this has never worked, or that it will simply be perceived as impossible to achieve. You just have to be resolute enough to see it through. It worked, to a large degree, in France in the 18th Century, and on different levels in South-East Asia in the 1970’s. There are post-war examples of such hard regimes in China and the Soviet Union too, but of course, nobody has ever got it just right. Not yet.
I’m willing to give it a try though.