cycle of political revolution

cycle of political revolution

Despite the differing historical settings as well as the differing political and philosophical commitments of the individual thinkers, these questions thus constitute the common themes that connect their heterogeneous approaches to revolution. Major political revolutions 1. the moderates are hindered by their hesitancy to change direction and fight back against the radical revolutionaries, "with whom they recently stood united", in favor of conservatives, "against whom they have so recently risen" (p. 140). Although the term has its origins in the fields of astrology and astronomy, “revolution” has witnessed a gradual politicization since the 17th century. Instead, it means an ongoing exercise in responsible citizenship and in “democratizing democracy.” This exercise allows for an ever increasing inclusion of groups and individuals who, heretofore, have been denied the ability to “take part,” that is, for their unrestricted recognition as full subjects of “equaliberty,” which is a hybrid term indicating the two main trajectories of modern emancipatory politics: On one side, the Lockean liberal and individualist strand and, on the other, the Rousseauian socialist and collectivist strand, which Balibar takes to be interdependent and co-constitutive elements of democratic revolution. In Marx’s thought, the dichotomy between the idea that revolution is the effect of history’s independent development and the idea that revolution is the immediate product of human action is put into question. According to Rousseau, the “general will” ousts the particular will of the monarch as the guideline in politics, thereby implying that the people attain autonomy, sovereignty, and, thus, the status of full political subjectivity. Anarchist theorist and activist Mikhail Bakunin, in his thoughts on radical socio-political transformation, stresses the creative power of humans in general and the creative potential of violence in particular. Most notably, these questions pertain to the problems of the new, of violence, of freedom, of the revolutionary subject, the revolutionary object or target, and of the temporal and spatial extension of revolution. The majority of its representatives share the belief in the possibility of revolutions being finalized and completed. For the differentiation of revolution and reform, the criteria of novelty and violence are central. While some thinkers of revolution approve of violence as an essential vehicle for bringing about radical change and assert its creative capacities, others advocate its unreserved exclusion from the realm of progressive politics and make recourse to right and law instead. In France, the revolution did away with "the old overlapping jurisdictions, the confusions and the compromises inherited from, the thousand-year struggle" between Crown and feudal nobility. An example is the. On the historical level, it is the formation of the “strong” state that is conducive to a political imagination of radical liberation from state oppression and the subsequent founding of an essentially different order. The question of violence pertains to legitimate means of revolutionary transformation. Insisting on the significance of revolutionary justice (however imperfect in its practical realization) in the exercise of legally qualified violent acts, Condorcet avoids the common opposition of either violence or law as the decisive tools of transformation. Brinton admits that 'revolution is one of the looser words'. As his moderate understanding of the new allows for minor modifications of the state of affairs to be labeled as revolutionary, it is inclined to tie revolution closely to reform. Here, the spectrum ranges from history unfolding largely independent of man’s decisions and actions on the one end to autonomous, history-shaping man on the other. The Occupy movement and its appeal to the inequalities brought about by the current global economic system is a case in point. It is mainly thanks to the criteria of cause, conduct, and reconstitution that revolutionary violence becomes distinguishable from the violence used by criminals and, especially, terrorists. Consequently, they do not content themselves with a redistribution of political power, however radical, within the framework of the state, but aim at its abolition instead. This essay will analyze the impact of the Industrial Revolution on society and economy, the content will dived into parts. Whereas the former is expressed in his privileging of enlightened monarchs such as Frederick II of Prussia as the agents of change or in his explicit criticism of the French Revolution on the grounds of excessive use of violence, the latter becomes apparent in his comments on the “enthusiasm” with which contemporary Europeans observe the revolutionary events in France or in his reflections on the radical switch from “despotism” to “republicanism,” that is, from the old absolutist order to a new order of freedom and morality. The Cycle of Internal Order and Disorder & Where We Are in It Executive Summary How people are with each other is the primary driver of the outcomes they get. "Research And the Rise of Capitalism; John Schwartz, Later books that used the same title in part include "Cuba: Anatomy of a Revolution" in 1969 by. G.W.F. A revolution constitutes a challenge to the established political order and the eventual establishment of a new order radically different from the preceding one. In France in 1789 the "king didn't really try" to subdue riots effectively. "Intellectuals" switch their allegiance away from the government (p. 251). Radicalizing Kant’s teleological conception, Hegel understands history as a rational process in which the “idea of freedom” successively realizes itself. The radicals took power in Russia with the October Revolution, in France with the purge of the Girondins, in England "Pride's Purge" (p. 163). Benjamin, taking recourse to political theology, interprets and justifies revolutionary movements as inner-worldly manifestations of unmediated “divine violence” that overcomes the oppressive “mythical violence” exercised by the state. Revolutionary liberation thus leads to the creation of a “tabula rasa,” which is the precondition for the subsequent development of a new institutional order and, what is more, the emergence of “sovereign” forms of post-colonial subjectivity (compare Fanon, 1967 [1961]). they are "better organized, better staffed, better obeyed" (p. 134). In addition, the notion of solidarity is central to these thinkers’ vision of revolutionary action and of a post-revolutionary society that is realized through these actions. From this it follows that the revolutions in the United States and France or the 1791 slave uprising in Haiti on which Hegel comments have to be interpreted as indicative of the current stage of development of the idea of freedom. The previous cycle turning in 1872 and that led to what is known as the “long depression” of the 19 th century everyone concedes lasted for 26 years. Such a society organizes itself according to the principles of decentralization, social diversity, and horizontal interconnectedness, which allow for harmony and happiness on both the subjective and inter-subjective level (compare Kropotkin, 2008 [1892]). He suggests an understanding of revolution as a progressive power that operates from within the democratic system. In contrast to the moderates, the radicals are aided by a fanatical devotion to their cause, discipline and (in recent revolutions) a study of technique of revolutionary action, obedience to their leadership, ability to ignore contradictions between their rhetoric and action, and drive boldly ahead (p. 155–60). de Condorcet’s thinking, and is further developed in Kant’s reflections on gradual, yet profound transformation. The history of political thought largely attests to the assessment that the idea of revolution as structural, justifiable change is unknown prior to modernity. As opposed to Engels’s approach to the question of the new, Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), in On the Concept of History, propounds an understanding of revolution as a state of exception in which the continuum of history is “burst open.” According to his “messianic” concept of novelty, revolutions are unforeseeable, kairological events that suspend the regular, chronological order of time: They constitute a leap into an epoch that is incommensurable with what has previously existed. In its ardor, revolutionary "tragicomedy" touches the average citizen, for whom "politics becomes as real, as pressing, as unavoidable ... as food and drink", their "job, and the weather" (p. 177). Although these thinkers differ considerably in their assessment of revolutionary violence, they converge as to the crucial emancipatory aim of revolution: As any form of institutionalized authority is considered incompatible with human autonomy, their vision is the creation of a society independent of “imperial institutions” in the economic, social, and political realms. For him, revolution has to be conceived as a temporal process spanning over different stages. For him, breaking free from the existing order is the essential element of a revolution. Whereas thinkers such as, for example, Sieyès and Foucault see the nation state as the adequate space for revolution to occur (compare Sieyès, 2003 [1789]; Foucault, 2005 [1978-79]), others claim that this is too limited a scope for radical transformation to have profound and lasting impact. See more. In order to justify the use of revolutionary violence Bakunin argues for an understanding of such violence as reactive and necessary: Confronted with the repressive violence of the state, its police and military units, partisans of the “social revolution” must resort to violence. In spite of the wide range of specific approaches, arguments, and agendas characteristic of the individual theories of political revolution, they can be situated within one multifaceted, yet unified intellectual space: From the theoretical enablers and “inventors” of revolution like Rousseau, Paine, or Kant to contemporary thinkers of revolution like Balibar or Graeber, their theories have been confronted with a number of central problems and questions which open up, shape, and sustain this space. The Cycle of Political Revolutions Monarchy kingship Mob rule tyranny democracy oligarchy aristocracy 6. What is needed instead is a progressive shift as to systemic conditions that make it possible for a “spirit of freedom” to unfold successively. Normal Science is the first step of the Kuhn Cycle. In Russia, the Bolsheviks brought industrialization, and eventually the Sputnik space satellite (p. 240). Given the considerable discontinuities and breaks within each of these strands on the one hand and the numerous overlaps and interchanges between them on the other, the lines of thought presented here have to be understood as ideal types. Since the prosecution, in trying and finally executing the former king of France, does not appeal to a singular, exceptional situation but, instead, lends general juridical character to it, violent revolutionary insurrection against the sovereign is turned into a principle or Grundsatz of politics. It's possible to start a revolution, although it can take a lot of patience, organization, and passion. Such a politics, which has an expressive, communicative function, rejects the prevailing “hegemonic” language and counters the existing system’s power to name with subversive silence. Consequently, if “moral” and “civil” liberty and equality are to be realized, it takes the contribution of education, as elaborated in Emile, as well as of institutional restructuring, as elaborated in the Social Contract: According to Rousseau, both the individual and the framework of politico-legal institutions constitute necessary targets of revolutionary change. [3], Revised editions of Brinton's book were published in 1952 and 1965, and it remains in print.[4]. A religious upswelling ( a spiritual event called the Great Awakening) occured while they were becoming adults and swept the land. Hegel (1770-1831), Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), Karl Marx (1818-1883), Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), and Michel Foucault (1926-1984) reflect on the possibilities and conditions of radically transforming political and social structures, this article concentrates on a set of key questions confronted by all these theories of revolution. Political, social and economic issues of people HAVE to be met ; Haiti Impetus/Causes Appeal of Enlightenment ideals to creoles and mulattoes ; French Revolution as inspiration to slaves ; Success of American Revolution – maybe timing was right Revolts/uprisings before, but they always failed Although neither Locke nor Rousseau present elaborated theories of revolution, they develop positions that are inherently critical of any political order that is not built on the principles of consent and trust and, thus, potentially revolutionary. In each revolution a short "honeymoon" period follows the fall of the old regime, lasting until the "contradictory elements" among the victorious revolutionaries assert themselves (p. 91). The regime that gained power through traditional means. This position takes up the universalism inherent to the American and French Revolution which finds its expression in pronounced references to the “rights of man” in the writings and speeches of Paine or Mirabeau as well as in the essential political documents of the revolutionary period: the 1776 Declaration of Independence and the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. They are drawn to the slogan 'no enemies to the Left' (p. 168). He believed that most revolutions fit into 7 stages. In stark contrast to the Jacobins’ enthusiasm for unrestricted, extralegal, and decisionist self-authorization, what is emphasized here is the necessity of revolutionary self-restraint. But that brings into play the larger 250-year Political Revolution Cycle that is mushrooming. The blood of the martyrs seems hardly necessary to establish decimal coinage" (p. 259). For Kant, this form of legally regulated and sanctioned regicide differs from historically well-known simple regicide, that is, the killing of a king on impulse or motivated by political power strategies: For in the trial, the established political principle of the inviolable nature of sovereign power is undermined and ultimately replaced by the principle of violence. ), 1989, A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press. Yet, according to Rousseau and Jefferson, revolutionary subjectivity is strongly affected and limited by what historical situations grant or deny respectively. The last time a confluence of revolution cycles came together like this was during the emergence of the American Revolution … In Ethics and Revolution (1964) he argues that only a “brutal calculus” can determine whether a specific revolutionary project is legitimate. In covering these problems in turn, it is the goal of this article to outline substantial arguments, analyses, and aporias that shape modern and contemporary debates and, thereby, to indicate important conceptual and normative issues concerning revolution. The American Revolution, 1763-1789" Robert Middlekauff. However, he insists that such violence is justifiable only if its use (a) is directly and recognizably tied to specific moral goals and (b) ceases at the earliest possible stage of the revolutionary process. ), 2011, Rawls, J., 1999, “The Justification of Civil Disobedience”, in, Sartre, J.-P., 1962, “Materialism and Revolution” [1946], in. In Egypt, supporters of the Arab Spring movement took recourse to certain strands within the Islamic legal tradition when considering the question of violence. This is found not only in the Russian and French revolutions, but even seventeenth century England, where Edward Sexby "proposed to the French radicals" in Bordeaux "a republican constitution which was to be called 'L'Accord du Peuple'—an adaptation of the English Agreement of the People" (p. 193). Switzerland, The Question of the Revolutionary Subject, The Question of the Extension of Revolution, Derrida, J., 2002, “Declarations of Independence”, in, Foucault, M., 2005, “Writings on the Iranian Revolution” [1978-79], in. This question pertains to (a) the temporality or, more narrowly, the duration and (b) the expansion of revolutionary transformation. Before turning to a detailed examination of important conceptual and normative issues concerning revolution, this section aims at giving an overview of three dominant lines of thought on revolution. This applies to the works of partisans of revolution such as, for example, Georges Sorel or Georg Lukács as well as to the works of critics of revolution such as, for example, Edmund Burke, Jeremy Bentham, Joseph de Maistre, or Carl Schmitt. In Russia this meant an abandonment of the, reaction against Puritanism of the revolution. Studying the critical case of air pollution control policies in China, I advance a theory of the political pollution cycle to fathom the effect of political incentives on local policy implementation over time. In Russia, the moderate provisional government of the Duma clashed with the radical Bolsheviks whose illegal government was a "network of soviets" (p. 136). Locke’s and Rousseau’s considerations thus importantly add to a revaluation of acts of protest and insurrection: Such acts can no longer be dismissed as the work of political offenders or public enemies as was the case prior to the undermining of the “political theology” of absolutism and feudalism, which was largely based on the doctrine of divine right (compare Kantorowicz, 1997 [1957]; Walzer, 1992). For instance, it is to be determined whether the revolutionary subject’s capacity to act in a world-transforming way is the result of minute “organization” as argued by Lenin for example, or whether it emerges “spontaneously” as, for example, Kropotkin claims. The following section discusses central questions addressed in the works of theorists from these main strands: The questions of novelty, violence, freedom, the revolutionary subject, the revolutionary object or target, and the extension of revolution. On taking power the radicals rule through dictatorship and "rough-and-ready centralization". Although Hegel describes the French Revolution as a “glorious dawn,” it is evident for him that the political events of the late 1780s and early 1790s are belated, derivative effects of a long-lasting historical epoch of revolution that encompasses the ages of the reformation and the enlightenment (compare Hegel, 1991 [1832-45]). Even though Bakunin declares the institutions that constitute the political and economic centers of power to be the primary target of acts of revolutionary “bandits,” he holds that such violence can also legitimately affect the persons who are present at these centers. This fighting position, for Foucault, is to be seen as an inevitable element of radical change. It follows that, with Kant, the new can impossibly be conceived in theologically charged terms of the miracle or the “event.” Yet, the terminal phase of this gradual, indeterminate transition, for him, does mark the inception of a genuinely new age in the history of humanity, which is not only “an age of ‘enlightenment’ but ‘an enlightened age’” (compare Kant, 2006a [1784]). After the presentation think about how well you think the stages fit the American Revolution. The adherence to this kind of inactive, discursive violence was expressed performatively during the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Istanbul. As opposed to Benjamin, thinkers like Hegel or Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) understand revolution as a process that spans in time before it leads to substantial, intelligible change, that is, to new political, legal, and economic, cultural, linguistic, and aesthetic principles being implemented and effectively taking root. A comparably unambiguous rejection of violence as an instrument of revolution can be found in Arendt’s On Revolution where she describes violence as a “limit” of the realm of the political: For her, the revolutionary praxis of violence (as exercised in the revolutions in France and Russia) as well as theoretical justifications of revolutionary violence (as given by, for example, Bakunin) are inherently anti-political. Rousseau, for instance, argues that specific historical constellations (“crises”) are necessary for humans (here, a people) to successfully initiate revolutions (compare Rousseau, 2012 [1762]). The American Revolution never had a radical dictatorship and Reign of Terror, "though in the treatment of Loyalists, in the pressure to support the army, in some of the phases of social life, you can discern ... many of the phenomena of the Terror as it is seen in our three other societies" (p. 254). In short, "the ruling class becomes politically inept" (p. 252). He argues that both the modus operandi of individual humans (that is, their ways of thinking, feeling, and acting) and of political institutions (that is, their ways of being structured and of acting upon citizens) has to be tackled for thorough transformation to occur. Zizek (1949) attributes a central role to violence as an instrument to break out of the absolutely imminent “deadlock” represented by the current order of liberal democracy and market economy. Whereas the “standing man” actions enacted a “bodily politics” of obstruction (compare Butler, 2015) and an attitude of refusal through silence and passivity, the derogative term çapulcu (looter, marauder) used by government officials to discredit the protesters was creatively appropriated by them and re-interpreted as a honorific title. In spite of the emphasis on revolutionary freedom as liberation from prevailing modes of materialistic existence and instrumentally rational thought, he also points to a more positive notion of freedom: With explicit recourse to the thought of Jean-Paul Sartre, he discusses the necessity of “projects” that allow for forms of free (for example, artistic) action to be released (compare Marcuse, 1991 [1964]). Contemporary anarchist theorist David Graeber (*1961) argues that revolutionary projects can be pursued by the creation of “autonomous spaces” on a local scale. In particular, they aim at circumscribing revolution in regard to related, yet distinct concepts such as revolt, rebellion, and reform whereby the questions of the new, of liberty, and of the legitimacy of violence serve as the most relevant criteria for demarcation. The delineation Arendt suggests is essentially based on two criteria: For her, a revolution is apolitical or even anti-political if (a) what she calls “the social question” is its essential driving force and if (b) violence plays a central role in bringing about a new order (compare Arendt, 2006 [1963]). Aristotle’s reflections on political change (metabolé tes politeías) in books III and IV of Politics show that the alterations he takes into consideration do not amount to the complete breakdown of an existing order, its organizing hierarchy, and its principles of inclusion/exclusion. Interpreting existing democratic orders as regimes of radical immanence, it is evident to them that genuine transcendence (a “communism to come”) has to manifest itself as a supersession of this order. Further questions arise once theorists have identified man as the subject to actively make revolution. Within such spheres, alternatives to dominant forms of coexistence and interaction, of politics and economy can be practiced whereby the existing order is unmasked as contingent. The question of freedom pertains to the primary objective of revolutionary transformation. The ends of this spectrum are reflected in numerous later theories of revolution. The Kuhn Cycle is a simple cycle of progress described by Thomas Kuhn in 1962 in his seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.In Structure Kuhn challenged the world's current conception of science, which was that it was a steady progression of the accumulation of new ideas. The Awakeners were the idealist generation of the Revolutionary Cycle. Email: florian.grosser@unisg.ch Other thinkers discuss revolution primarily in terms of its spatial extension. In so far as “revolution” is employed to describe political transformation, conceptual historians understand its origins to be genuinely modern. Similarly, Marx and Engels put emphasis on the aspect of duration. "'Untouchables' very rarely revolt", and successful slave revolutions, like Haiti's, are few in number (p. 250). These include problems functioning—"government deficits, more than usual complaints over taxation, conspicuous governmental favoring of one set of economic interests over another, administrative entanglements and confusions". Hegel’s concept of revolution is thoroughly determined by his concept of history. Political revolutions radically and progressively change the institutions of governance and open the space for more broad based participation. Thereby, an element of liberation plays a crucial role at the beginning of radical change insofar as it contributes to the liquefaction of an existing, oppressive system (such as the system of bourgeois, capitalist “class rule”). In short, the notion of a world-shaping human “power to interrupt” and “to begin” (compare Merleau-Ponty, 2005 [1945]) and the corresponding “pathos of novelty” (compare Arendt, 2006 [1963]) remain alien to pre-modern thought. In contrast, the anarchist theorists Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) point to the institutional conditions as the main target of the “social revolution” they advocate. Instead, they also investigate its sources: The new is conceived as a result made possible by acts of re-appropriation (as expressed, for example, in Jefferson’s recourse to classical antiquity), by acts of reconfiguration (as expressed, for example, in Condorcet’s approach to assembling individual elements of various previous and present legal systems), or by acts of creation (as expressed, for example, in Bakunin’s idea of creative destruction by revolutionary “bandits”). Another debate in this context concerns the driving motivational forces behind revolutionary subjectivity. This propensity is reflected in his programmatic idea of a re-appropriation of universal suffrage, which turns it from a means of bourgeois dominance into an ultimately revolutionary means of proletarian liberation. Brinton argues both are right, as both the right circumstances and active agitation are necessary for the revolution to succeed (p. 85–6). At a certain point, the society becomes top-heavy with elites, who start fighting for power. The revolutions' "results look rather petty as measured by the brotherhood of man and the achievement of justice on this earth. Zizek, S., 2012, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, London/Brooklyn, NY: Verso. The moderate revolutionary policies can please neither side. It is in the works of thinkers like Condorcet, Kant, or Marx that this contest is henceforth held and that the specific political and philosophical meaning of the term is spelled out, albeit in widely differing ways. This tension between “being” and “consciousness” is reflected in the controversy between Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Whereas the former understands the revolutionary subject’s actions as caused by a concrete material “situation” of oppression (compare Sartre, 1955 [1946]), the latter insists that such actions constitute a form of “significance” (“Sinn-gebung”), that is, a form of freely creating meaning through revolutionary projects, which is irreducible to materialist causality (compare Merleau-Ponty, 2005 [1945]). Was first described in Thomas Kuhn 's seminal work, the content dived. As freedom from oppression characterizes the thinking of Karl Marx and Engels put emphasis on the of... ( il ) legitimacy of revolutionary transformation, legitimate revolutionary violence into legitimate authority thinking of Marx! And conservatism becomes politically inept '' ( p. 207 ) Anatomy of revolution resist classification into of! 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