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What's the difference between a terrorist and a revolutionary?

Arnox

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It's often said that one man's terrorist is another man's revolutionary, but I heavily dislike this saying as it implies that there's no real difference between the two. There is. Or at very least, there should be. It is a very common tactic for a government to label any undesirables as terrorists, and while sometimes they aren't actually wrong, the term gets passed around way too lightly. Ok then, so what's the difference?

It's actually quite simple. A terrorist attacks civilian targets as well as military. A revolutionary attacks ONLY military targets and will never harm innocents. They fight for their country and not for greed, power, or any material gain. There is one caveat in that a revolutionary may attack a civilian if a civilian voluntarily makes themselves a combatant, although even then, it's questionable. The proper revolutionary will have to make a judgement call if they find themselves in such an awful situation.

Since a revolutionary is no longer answering to the regular law of the land, they, ironically, must be held to an even higher standard than the regular military of that country. They must ALWAYS keep control of themselves, no matter what is shouted at them. No matter how hated they may be, they hold to their values and they do not ever compromise them. They have to be willing to sacrifice themselves if ever necessary and, at the end of the day, the true revolutionary still serves the people of that country, even if they directly oppose and fight against its government.

A revolutionary will try to end a war as quickly as possible. They know that conflict is insanely destructive and should never be unecessarily prolonged. They do not wish for destruction of a country. They wish to remove a problem. Once the problem is removed, they will also return power back to the people as quickly as possible.

This is a rather short essay, but it's also an incredibly important one. To lump terrorists and revolutionaries together is to greatly and unjustly besmirch the honor of those who would sacrifice for a better tomorrow. That is all.
 
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Vendor-Lazarus

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As pure terms, those differences are very true, and poignant.

However, there have been terrorists who've been called revolutionaries and freedom fighters by other countries, press, and similar.
South America provides some examples of that. As does the middle-eastern groups to a degree.

While it's important to make the distinction between the terms, it's also equally important to call out subversions of it.
 

Arnox

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Rock Holdings Inc. owns dictionary.com
Rely on better references instead of the first search result
Fine. Which great source do you recommend? Although I'd argue it's irrelevant anyway as most people just use google.com or dictionary.com for word definitions.
 

gaijinkaiju

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This is one of those things where there's nuance and it's not just a black and white answer, it's more of a grey area. A terrorist might view themselves and their actions as revolutionary, whilst a revolutionary might use terrorist tactics to help their revolution.

Alternatively, it depends what country it takes place in. Someone tries to overthrow government here, Terrorist. Someone tries the same overseas, Revolutionary.
 

gaijinkaiju

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If a revolutionary harms innocents, they are not a revolutionary no matter how noble their ideals. They're a terrorist.
What if the act of the revolution brings harm to innocents then? Mao was a revolutionary and he ended up killing milllions of innocents, would that make him a terrorist then?
 

Arnox

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What if the act of the revolution brings harm to innocents then? Mao was a revolutionary and he ended up killing milllions of innocents, would that make him a terrorist then?
Depends, but it's also pretty hard to "accidentally" kill millions of innocents. Just looking at the White Terror alone, Zedong ordered the massacre of thousands of non-combatants just because they were communists. I'd say that's a pretty fucking terrorist thing to do.
 

Vendor-Lazarus

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I think terrorists need to act alone or in a small group, without backup and within "enemy territory".
 

gaijinkaiju

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Depends, but it's also pretty hard to "accidentally" kill millions of innocents. Just looking at the White Terror alone, Zedong ordered the massacre of thousands of non-combatants just because they were communists. I'd say that's a pretty fucking terrorist thing to do.
It'd be a lot easier to look up "white terror" if the same thing hadn't happened ten times in different countries.
Back to the topic though; I was more referring to the Great Leap Forward, that resulted in famine and mass-starvation once the revolutionaries (Zedong and the CCP) came to power.
The White Terror sounds less like terrorism or revolution, but more like a dictator trying to maintain control by suppressing opposing political views/beliefs.

I'd also like to point out that even Wikipedia refers to revolutionaries as groups that can carry out acts of terrorism. Like I said earlier, I think it's a grey line between the two.

Also after some more reading, the White Terror falls under the term "Revolutionary Terror" specifically as act of reactionary terror used to suppress revolutions, and the White Terror itself seems to have been carried out against communists (Zedong and the CCP) by the rival party (Led by Chiang Kai-shek, himself a revolutionary) not by Zedong. My opinion on it still stands though.
 

Kaleion

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Well before that, let's keep in mind that those who classify groups as terrorist or not terrorists are the official governments as such what is and isn't classified as terrorism is in some way propaganda by the government and it's the reason why you end up with groups that are not violent and don't really meet the criteria for either and at most you could most likely call just activists or if you're less charitable, vandals, regardless my point is organizations that pretty much just steal from or sabotage companies that don't physically harm anyone and curiously where most eco-terrorist groups fall.

It is also important to mention that historically nearly all revolutionaries were labelled as terrorists, so ultimately I'm afraid that the term terrorist has very little meaning, it's basically a word used by the government to demonize any undesirables and little else, we can even see this in the fact that when a "legitimate" government commits an act that if carried by one of these groups would be considered terrorism, it's just somehow not, it's a strategic decision, necessary sacrifice or being exaggerated by the media and little else, even though in the eyes of the people living there, there's no fundamental difference.

So in my eyes, there's no grey area, "Terrorism" is simply a tool to control the masses and little else otherwise people would be arguing if the USA are a terrorist organization because of their love of bombing civilians.

Also Anarchists, even non-violent ones have historically been considered terrorists of an evil equivalent to nazis which to me is absurd, most Anarchists are useless pacifistic hippies and nothing more.
 

Sonofallfather

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I realize I’m late to the discussion but I guess the difference is who the winner is….they write the history books. If George Washington would have lost then I’m sure we would be reading about his terrorist activities in the “queens journal”
 

Arnox

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I realize I’m late to the discussion but I guess the difference is who the winner is….they write the history books. If George Washington would have lost then I’m sure we would be reading about his terrorist activities in the “queens journal”


Benjamin Franklin (Written to Thomas Jefferson in 1775) said:
In 200 years will people remember us as traitors or heros? That is the question we must ask.
 

Sonofallfather

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Give me liberty or give me death…
A man that won’t stand for something will fall for anything….
You can be free or comfortable. Or something along those lines
 

Paco Smithereens

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Have you ever had an argument about what genre some piece of media belongs in, or watched one from the sidelines? Or watched people argue incessantly over whether a post was on-topic or not?

The human brain endlessly categorizes data to the point of psychosis. Most of all, the brain is a filter, but then, with the very limited trickle of information it takes in and calls "knowledge," it categorizes, contextualizes, and classifies this information in a subjective and sometimes hilariously inadequate and dishonest way.

Most human beings do not believe this is subjective. Most people believe they are uniquely privy to truth and objectivity and are horse-hung epistemologically(+), and everyone else's approach to knowledge, and then organization of that knowledge, is problematic.

This is, then, what you do if you represent yourself as a fighter for what is good and just in the world (you hero, you), and all of these people who have a clearly poor grasp on reality itself get in your way -- the IDIOTS.

---

YOU ARE: A LEFTIST.

GET LAMP.

GET FOLK-PUNK BOOTLEG.

GET GUIDE TO USING PROFANITY IN EVERY SENTENCE INCLUDING CHIPOTLE ORDER ("SOFRITAS MOTHERFUCKER I DON'T EAT MEAT FUCKING FUCK YES GUACAMOLE SHIT")

You meet: a kindly old man who owns the last independent hardware store in a small town. His labor force is young and he is paying them wages.

This man is:

a. A small town businessman

b. An enthusiast of home repair who spent his life doing what he loved

c. FASCIST SCUM (the left has rediscovered and fallen in love with the term scum in recent years):

The answer is [C]. And what is to be done with fascist scum? UP AGAINST THE WALL.

---

YOU ARE: A LIBERTARIAN

GET LAMP.

GET BITCOIN.

GET MEMBERSHIP TO LARKEN ROSE IS CUTE OMG FAN CLUB.

GET MOLYNEUX AND DEFOO MMMMMMMM MUHHHHHHH BRAIIIIIIIIINS

GET BLACK AND GOLD FLAGS BECAUSE F'N REDNECKS STOLE THE GADSDEN FLAG FROM YOU DAMN IT TO HELL AFTER THE RON PAUL THING THE TEA PARTY JUST ROLLED ON IN AND STOLE OUR SHIT hey does anyone have some unpasteurized milk I'm thirsty

You meet:

A kindly old man who wants a temporary 1% municipal sales tax to repair the local school because its roof is about to cave in.

This man is:

a. A public education enthusiast.

b. An engaged citizen who is particularly concerned about a roof caving on children's soft heads, or

c. A STATIST

The answer is [C]. And what is to be done with STATISTS? Those 15 custom-built AR-15s aren't just safe queens, mister. BESIDES, HE PROPOSES TO INITIATE FORCE AGAINST YOU. THE THREAT IS REAL!

---

YOU ARE: A PATRIOT

GET LAMP.

GET TRUMP FLAG.

GET TH...ER, TELL SOMEONE WITH A MEXICAN ACCENT TO GET THE HELL OUT AND GO BACK WHERE THEY CAME FROM.

GET TUCKER CARLSON-THEMED BONDAGE GEAR AND MICHELLE MALKIN-MOLDED SELF PLEASURE DEVICE.

You meet: A kindly old man. The man is named Pete Seeger.

This man is:

A. A folk singer and one time cohort of Woody Guthrie

B. A probable BFF of Rachel-Maddow and probably knows Barack HUSSEIN Obama, too.

C. A COMMUNIST NO LESS THAN STALIN

The answer is [C]. DAY OF THE ROPE! HANG EM HIGH LIKE IN TEXAAAAAAAAS IN 1880!

---

So what is a terrorist? Well they are kind of like "fascists, "communists," and "statists." They're anyone fucking up your program because you can paint them as *AGAINST ME*. Since they all propose to do something against you, making you the victim, you can call them a "terrorist," which is what the media is doing, currently. This supposes no normal, in which the current system -- no matter what it is or how it works -- is always a hot spot where someone's feeling pain, and therefore those protecting the status quo, which causes you -- an innocent, dammit - a fucking non-combatant! -- pain, is a terrorist, as is anyone pushing a political agenda different from the status quo which will cause you personal pain.

We're all good on not calling people who want to change the town logo to a photograph of a nude Kanye West riding an ostrich a terrorist, but gun control, taxation, raising or lowering the minimum wage, anything to with abortion: ALL TERRORISM, on account of *AGAINST ME* -- an innocent non-combatant.

Now this doesn't make a person called a terrorist into an actual terrorist. Just in case anyone thought I was conflating the two.

I mean I know the difference. I've had my thorazine. DON'T NEUROSHAME ME FUCKERS.

But like "fascist" and its goofy overuse by the left, increasingly the term is being lost. And in time, as there has been a backlash against fascist or communist, the backlash against terrorism will enable actual terrorists to be secure in their own minds that they're not terrorists. Which will further embolden them, "freedom fights" (compare: "patriots") that they are.

Should you be of sufficient sophistication to avoid this sophistry, there is always the American go-to, and non-Americans listen up because we pioneered this shit:

Everyone is a coward. Want to own guns? It's because you're a coward, afraid of your own shadow. Want to ban them guns? It's because you're irrationally afraid of guns, and therefore a coward. The same way you're probably a homophobe. Are you a conservative? You're a-scared a' change. Coward. Marxist? Afraid of competing in the marketplace. EVERYONE BE GETTIN THEIR COWARDICE ON.

Should "terrorist" be too much for you, just go for the coward angle. I hate Bill Maher, like literally I want to punch him in the face, but he made this point after 9/11 when people started calling the guys who crashed the plains into the World Trade Center "cowards." Like these guys just literally RODE A FUCKING PLANE INTO THE GAPING MAW OF FLAMING DEATH, and they're cowards? Like how much more do you have to flex your minerals?

Those guys, by the way, terrorists.

Which brings us full circle.

(+) like me. Holy shit I rule. Do not interrupt me from ruling your ass.
 
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