See you in hell, punk

Writing about how (not) to stage a coup by Hilary Mantel, Thomas Jones, Perry Anderson, Patricia Beer, Christopher Hitchens, Ella George, Bruce Ackerman, Alexandra Reza, James Meek and John Perry.

See you in hell, punk: Kai su, Brutus

Thomas Jones, 6 December 2018

Brutus insisted that no blood should be spilled except Caesar’s: murdering anyone else would weaken the apparent righteousness of their cause. When the moment came, one or more of the conspirators kept Antony outside to prevent him intervening. Tillius Cimber pulled the toga from Caesar’s shoulders. Casca stepped up with his dagger. The others piled in. Caesar was stabbed at least 23 times. 

People strolled casually about their business. The tanks were mostly parked unobtrusively in sidings, under bridges; no infantry were in sight; traffic and telephones functioned normally. There was none of the chilling parade of a real state of siege, as Guatemala City or Santiago know it, where fear is tangible at every street crossing. The conspirators were counting on economic exhaustion to secure their ends with a minimal show of force.

Two Hares and a Priest: Pushkin

Patricia Beer, 13 May 1999

Pushkin was no coward. But he was a dangerously indiscreet conspirator at the planning stages. His friends all said so and he was never taken into anyone’s confidence.

11 September 1973: Crimes against Allende

Christopher Hitchens, 11 July 2002

For many people including myself, 11 September has long been a date of mourning and rage. On that day in 1973, lethal aircraft flew low over a major city and destroyed a great symbolic building: the Presidential palace in Santiago, known (because it had once been a mint) as La Moneda. Its constitutional occupant, Salvador Allende, could perhaps have bargained to save his own life, but elected not to do so. 

Purges and Paranoia

Ella George, 24 May 2018

When military juntas imposed martial law at least there was always the hope that a return to civilian rule would bring a reprieve. Turkey today is a deeply traumatised society.

Call it a crisis of the written Constitution, caused by the enormous historical gap that has opened up between the Constitution of 1787 and the living Constitution of the 21st century. During the 35 days following the 2000 election, the written and living Constitutions interacted in unpredictable and awkward ways that challenged America’s commitments to democracy and the rule of law.

Short Cuts: Sankara and Mitterrand

Alexandra Reza, 4 December 2014

The film cuts to Mitterrand, who has risen to respond. If he may be permitted to speak from the heights of his experience, he says, Sankara talks with the fine bravery of youth, but his tongue is too sharp and he goes too far. François places an avuncular hand on Thomas’s shoulder. Sankara laughs but doesn’t look up.

The founder and owner of Blackwater, Erik Prince, the 38-year-old heir to a fortune made by his father (a Michigan entrepreneur who invented the illuminated car sun visor), is not, legally, a villain.

In Tegucigalpa: the Honduran Coup

John Perry, 6 August 2009

In the early hours of Sunday, 28 June 2009, the residence of Manuel Zelaya, the president of Honduras, was surrounded by tanks. His supporters, anticipating a coup, formed a human shield but were quickly dispersed with tear gas. In no time at all soldiers had entered the building and disarmed the security guard.

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