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How to Put an End to the Revolution in Six Steps

Dear General, if the revolution took you by surprise, don’t panic. Don’t take fright at the sight of millions of angry demonstrators. Calm down. Take a deep breath and pull yourself together. Remember that revolutions are the exceptional, rare moments when people act courageously and face death in defence of their freedom and dignity. Revolutions are the exception and the rule is that people accept injustice for fear of oppression or for the sake of petty gains. The evidence for that is the fact that the number of revolutions has been very small in human history. Circumstances have placed you at the summit of power in the aftermath of the revolution, so don’t worry about the roar of the angry masses in the streets. They are much like animals that are strong and wild but irrational. You are the skillful tamer who, with judicious cracks of the whip, will manage to control them and put them back in their cages. For that, you have to take the following six steps:

One: Celebrate the revolution and denounce the deposed dictator. You must declare that you completely condemn the former era. You are of course sympathetic towards the former dictator, who was your colleague and friend for decades, but you have to go public and shout “Long Live the Revolution.” The people will believe you immediately. No one will remember that you went along with the deposed dictator for forty years and never objected to his crimes. People will believe you because they want you to be supportive of the revolution, and people are very susceptible to believing what they want to be true. Don’t curse the dictator too much, however, in case you arouse suspicions. Curse him just once or twice at the most twice, but you must constantly celebrate the revolution. People must wake up and go to sleep to anthems celebrating the revolution, firstly because they will then feel that the revolution has succeeded (although in fact it has not achieved any of its objectives), and secondly whatever happens in the country after that will be associated solely with the revolution.

Two: Preserve the old regime in full. Make sure you don’t submit to the demands of the revolutionaries and change any aspect of the old regime. That would be an enormous mistake. In the beginning they’ll press you hard to make changes. Wait until the pressure peaks and then make a small formal change that doesn’t affect the foundations of the old regime. What does the captain do if his ship is about to sink? He jettisons some cargo until the ship stabilizes. This what you have to do. Choose some unpopular politicians, arrest them and put them on trial. Their trials have to be slow and complicated with multiple procedures, so that in the end people forget what the purpose is. Meet these unpopular people and explain to them that you’ll never abandon them. Tell them that no one will harm them and that the trials are just a political measure to appease the people, no more and no less. Make sure they have a comfortable life in prison, as if they were still living in their palaces. Make sure you don’t abandon the members of the old regime. These are your loyal soldiers. If you neglect them, you won’t find any replacements and you’ll find yourself alone, facing an angry people. The corrupt judge to whom you can dictate rulings by telephone, the prosecutor who tampers with the evidence at your request, the famous broadcaster who receives instructions from security before she goes on air every day and the brutal police officer who tortures and kills dozens of people to defend the regime—all these are valuable assets you mustn’t lose. Meet them in secret and assure them that the old system survives and will not change. Then be generous towards them so that they defend you wholeheartedly.

Three: Let the country go to rack and ruin. You have to understand why the revolution took place. Society was divided into three camps: those who benefited from the regime, the revolutionaries, and ordinary people. The revolutionaries were few in number and had little effect because the regime was constantly suppressing them, while the widest sector of society was ordinary people who lost out under the regime but did not have the courage to object. The revolution took place when the revolutionaries managed to convince ordinary people to join them. This is the revolution’s weak point that you have to target. You must put pressure on ordinary people so that they go back to being spectators. The crises everywhere have to deepen. Farmers must have their irrigation water cut off and be unable to find fertilizers, so that the crops fail and the land lies fallow. Workers have to be thrown out on to the streets because the factories have stopped work. Civil servants must receive their salaries late and the raises they were promised must be cancelled. The police must completely vanish, while incidents of theft, assault and thuggery proliferate. Security agents must be infiltrated in amongst demonstrators to sabotage public facilities and block railway lines. At the same time your agents in the media must lead an organized campaign to frighten people. They have to maximize the impact of the crisis and associate all problems with the revolution so that in people’s minds the idea takes root that the country is on the verge of famine and chaos because of the revolution, and the revolution alone.

Four: Strike at the unity of the revolutionaries and fragment them. Remember that the revolutionaries are your real enemies. They don’t trust you and they will see through your conspiracy right from the start. You have to break them up. Make use of police reports to understand their ideological and political inclinations. You’ll find they have differences but they united in the revolution in order to change the regime. Invent some issue and then hold elections or a referendum so that the revolutionaries split into two camps. After that you must align yourself in secret with one group of revolutionaries against the other group. It’s always best to align yourself with the religious fascists against the democratic forces. The fascists are excellent allies because they don’t believe in democracy but only use it to come to power. They feel that they alone possess the whole truth, so they despise those who disagree with them, and they do not recognize their rights. The fascists are like a disciplined army that will put itself fully at your disposal. They will crush everyone who disagrees with you and they will back everything you do or say as long as you have promised them power. These fascists, who speak in the name of religion and insist on performing their prayers on time, will surprise you with their capacity to lie and deceive. They will break trust and betray the revolution as easily as you might light a cigarette. Ask the fascists to organise mass demonstrations as a show of strength, and when people see their military structure and the grim expressions on their faces, and hear their aggressive chants, they will panic, and many of them will wonder whether the revolution that removed the dictator was a good idea. At that moment various demonstrations have to spring up—groups prepared by the security agencies, financed by the plutocrats of the old regime and publicized by the media. These new demonstrators will sing the praises of the deposed dictator, calling him a great hero and weeping in front of the cameras as they recall the humiliations he has suffered. In this way the revolution will become one point of view, opposed by another point of view. If you carry out these steps successfully, then the revolutionaries will be besieged on every front. The fascists will threaten and attack them, ordinary people will believe that the demonstrations they organize are the reason for the economic crisis and the lack of security. At that point the number of revolutionaries will diminish. They will revert to what they were before the revolution—an activist minority for whom people have little sympathy.

Five: Contain the revolutionaries and discredit them. After ordinary people have abandoned the revolution and the fascists have turned against it, you have a start a large-scale campaign to discredit the revolutionaries. There could hardly be anything easier, since you have followers in the media, the police and the judiciary. It’s easy to fabricate documents and pictures to show that these revolutionaries are traitors and the agents of foreign powers that drove them to take part in the revolution. You must record dozens of television programmes and hold dozens of seminars to discuss this serious matter. Was the revolution really indigenous, or was it planned by foreign elements? Did the imperial powers take revenge on the deposed dictator because he always upheld his country’s independence? (You know that in fact the dictator was a traitor and worked for several foreign intelligence agencies, but necessity has its own logic.) At the right moment your spokesman will announce that you have ordered an investigation into how large a role foreign states played in planning the revolution. Were there foreigners who gave orders to certain people during the revolution? The fascists will strongly support you and they will tell lies to discredit the revolutionaries because they want to assume power alone. Ordinary people will be confused and many of them will believe that the revolutionaries are just traitors and lackeys. You can have a good long laugh when you see how the young revolutionaries, who a few weeks earlier were seen as national heroes, now face disapproving looks and accusations of treason.

Six: Strike the decisive blow. Wait until the economy and the security situation have greatly deteriorated. Then the morale of ordinary people will have collapsed and they will have started to really hate the revolution. Then tell the people that the crisis is grave and the situation will grow worse. Then ask the people to stop demonstrations and sit-ins so that things calm down and production can resume. Of course the revolutionaries won’t agree to stop demonstrating. They will feel you have tricked them and stolen the revolution. They know that you pretended to protect the revolution but in fact you contained it and prevented it achieving its objectives. The revolutionaries will come out in small numbers and demonstrate again, calling for your downfall. That will be the end of them. The fascists will attack them viciously out of desire to govern, while ordinary people, feeling abandoned and frustrated, will savage them, cursing the revolution. The revolutionaries will try to explain their point of view but to no avail. No one wants to hear them. The fascists accuse them of treason and of carrying out foreign agendas, and ordinary people will hold them responsible for their poverty, for unemployment and anarchy. Send someone to take pictures of what’s happening in public squares, and when you see that the ordinary people, who were once prepared to die for the revolution, are cursing the revolution, hitting the revolutionaries and chasing them out of the squares, only then will you have completed the task with success. Give yourself a well-earned holiday. Celebrate and be proud of what you have achieved. You will have succeeded in bringing an end to the revolution.

P.S. The idea for this article occurred to me while reading the history of revolutions in the Comoro Islands, and the article has nothing whatsoever to do with what’s now happening in Egypt.

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