Revolutionary wave

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A revolutionary wave or revolutionary decade is a series of revolutions occurring in various locations within a similar time span. In many cases, past revolutions and revolutionary waves have inspired current ones, or an initial revolution has inspired other concurrent "affiliate revolutions" with similar aims.[1][2] The causes of revolutionary waves have been studied by historians and political philosophers, including Robert Roswell Palmer, Crane Brinton, Hannah Arendt, Eric Hoffer, and Jacques Godechot.[3]

Marxists see revolutionary waves as evidence that a world revolution is possible. For Rosa Luxemburg, "The most precious thing… in the sharp ebb and flow of the revolutionary waves is the proletariat's spiritual growth. The advance, by leaps and bounds, of the intellectual stature of the proletariat affords an inviolable guarantee of its further progress in the inevitable economic and political struggles ahead."[4]

The phrase "revolutionary wave" has also been used by non-Marxist writers and activists, including Justin Raimondo and Michael Lind, to describe discrete revolutions happening within a short time span.[5][6]

Typology[edit]

Mark N. Katz[7] identified six forms of revolution;

  • rural revolution
  • urban revolution
  • Coup d'état, e.g. Egypt, 1952
  • revolution from above, e.g. Mao's Great leap forward of 1958
  • revolution from without, e.g. the allied invasions of Italy, 1944 and Germany, 1945.
  • revolution by osmosis, e.g. the gradual Islamization of several countries.

These categories are not mutually exclusive; the Russian revolution of 1917 began with urban revolution to depose the Czar, followed by rural revolution, followed by the Bolshevik coup in November. Katz also cross-classified revolutions as follows;

  • Central; countries, usually Great powers, which play a leading role in a Revolutionary wave; e.g. the USSR, Nazi Germany, Iran since 1979.[8]
  • Aspiring revolutions, which follow the Central revolution
  • subordinate or puppet revolutions
  • rival revolutions, e.g. communist Yugoslavia, and China after 1969

Central and subordinate revolutions may support each other militarily, as for example the USSR, Cuba, Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua and other Marxist regimes did in the 1970s and 1980s.[9]

A further dimension to Katz's typology[10] is that revolutions are either against (anti-monarchy, anti-dictatorial, anti-communist, anti-democratic) or for (pro-fascism, communism, nationalism etc.).In the latter cases, a transition period is often necessary to decide on the direction taken.

Periodisation[edit]

There is no consensus on a complete list of revolutionary waves. In particular, scholars disagree on how similar the ideologies of different events should be in order for them to be grouped as part of a single wave, and over what period a wave can be considered to be taking place – for example, Mark N. Katz discussed a "Marxist-Leninist wave" lasting from 1917 to 1991, and a "fascist wave" from 1922 to 1945, but limits an "anti-communist wave" to just the 1989 to 1991 period.[11]

Pre-19th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

Protests against the Vietnam War in Vienna, Austria, 1968

21st century[edit]

Potential revolutionary waves[edit]

Mark Katz theorises that Buddhism (in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indochina, Burma, Tibet) and Confucianism (to replace Marxism in China and promote unity with Chinese in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia) might be the revolutionary waves of the future. In the past, these religions have been passively acquiescent to secular authority; but so was Islam, until recently.[21]

Katz also suggests that nationalisms such as Pan-Turanianism (in Turkey, Central Asia, Xinjiang, parts of Russia), 'Pan-native Americanism' (in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay) and Pan-Slavism (in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus) could also form revolutionary waves.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mark N. Katz, Revolution and Revolutionary Waves, Palgrave Macmillan (October 1, 1999)
  2. ^ Nader Sohrabi, Revolution and Constitutionalism in the Ottoman Empire and Iran, Cambridge University Press, 2011 pp. 74, 83, 87, 90, 94, 96, ISBN 0-521-19829-1, ISBN 978-0-521-19829-5
  3. ^ *Colin J. Beck, Dissertation submitted to Stanford University Department of Sociology graduate Ph.D program, March 2009, "Ideological roots of waves of revolution," ProQuest, 2009, pp. 1-5, ISBN 1-109-07655-X, 9781109076554.
    • Note: Colin J. Beck also wrote The Ideological Roots of Waves of Revolution, BiblioBazaar, 2011, ISBN 1-243-60856-0, 9781243608567
  4. ^ Rosa Luxemburg, Gesammelte Werke (Collected Works), quoted in Tony Cliff, "Rosa Luxemburg, 1905 and the classic account of the mass strike" in "Patterns of mass strike", International Socialism, vol. 2, no. 29 (Summer 1985), pp. 3-61.
  5. ^ Justin Raimondo, The Revolutionary Wave: Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen – is the West next?, Antiwar.com, January 28, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Michael Lind, Vietnam, the Necessary War: A Reinterpretation of America's Most Disastrous Military Conflict, Simon and Schuster, 2002 p 37 ISBN 0-684-87027-4, ISBN 978-0-684-87027-4
  7. ^ Mark N Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves, St Martin's Press, 1997, p4
  8. ^ Mark N Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves, St Martin's Press, 1997, p13
  9. ^ Mark Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves, St Martin's Press, 1997, p 86
  10. ^ Mark N Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves, St Martin's Press, 1997, p12
  11. ^ a b c d Mark N. Katz , "Cycles, waves and diffusion", in: Jack A. Goldstone, The Encyclopedia of Political Revolutions, pp. 126-127
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Colin A. Beck, "The World-Cultural Origins of Revolutionary Waves: Five Centuries of European Contention", Social Science History, vol.35, no.2, pp.167-207
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Laurence Cox and Alf Gunvald Nilson, "What Makes a Revolution?", Ceasefire, 30 September 2014
  14. ^ a b Mark Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves, St Martin's Press, 1997, p 22
  15. ^ Michael M. Seidman, The Imaginary Revolution: Parisian Students and Workers in 1968
  16. ^ the term was first used circa 1932 and has greatly increased in use since 1980 according to Google ngram
  17. ^ Christian Right Wikipedia article
  18. ^ all founding dates from relevant Wikipedia articles
  19. ^ Ahmed Rashid, Taliban, IB Tauris, 2000, chapter one
  20. ^ Mark Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves, St Martin's Press, 1997, chapter 4
  21. ^ Mark Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves, St Martin's Press, 1997, p 138
  22. ^ Mark Katz, Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves, St Martin's Press, 1997, p 139

External links[edit]