Avineri on Marx as social democrat

Shlomo Avineri is one of the interpreters of Marx's thought for whom I have had a great deal of respect since the publication of Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx in 1968. (I also greatly admire his book on Hegel's political philosophy, Hegel's Theory of the Modern State.) Avineri has recently published Karl Marx: Philosophy and Revolution, and …

Was the Civil Rights movement a revolution?

photo: African-American newsman attacked by mob in Little Rock, 1957 (link) I think of the results of the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States as the second American revolution, though a slow-moving one. And it is tempting to think of MLK as one of the founding fathers of this …

Skocpol on the 1979 revolution in Iran

  An earlier post reviewed Theda Skocpol's effort in States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China to provide a comparative, structural account of the occurrence of social revolutions. There I suggested that the account is too deterministic and too abstract. It gives the impression, perhaps undeserved, that there are only …

Skocpol on the Chinese Revolution

(Sources: States and Social Revolutions, pp. 155, 282) In States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China (1979) Theda Skocpol set out to discover a causal analysis of the occurrence of social revolution, and she offered case-study narratives of the major revolutions in France, Russia, and China. She provides a 54-page narrative …

Understanding the Chinese Revolution

source: Lucien Bianco, Origins of the Chinese Revolution, frontispiece The Chinese Revolution is one of the world-historical events that has set the stage for the modern world. And, unlike the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution, it is sufficiently contemporary that there are very substantial sources of data and informants about its occurrence. Several generations …

Mobilizing the masses

One of the books on the Chinese Revolution that I particularly respect is Odoric Wou's 1994 Mobilizing the Masses: Building Revolution in Henan.  As noted in an earlier post, histories of the revolution have gone through several waves, and a general trend has been towards more focused regional studies.  Wou's book belongs in what I categorize as …

France 1848

The revolutions of 1848 have gotten renewed attention in light of this year's "Arab Spring" uprisings. (The amazing photo above depicts the barricades in Paris, 1848.) The parallels are obvious -- uprisings in a number of countries, similar grievances across countries, and a degree of cross-communication among the movements and leaders. And, of course, widespread …

England’s Glorious Revolution

  Earlier posts have remarked upon the interesting fact that large historical events are often significantly reconsidered and re-understood through the passage of time.  China's Cultural Revolution is one such example (link), as are the revolutions of 1848 (link). A truly stunning example of this kind of historical recasting of something that we think we've …

Steve Pincus on revolution

Steve Pincus offers a sweeping and compelling reinterpretation of the English Revolution in 1688: The First Modern Revolution. Along the way he provides a review of existing theories of revolution -- Skocpol, Huntington, Barrington Moore, and Goldstone, in particular (chapter 2). Pincus's definition of revolution goes along these lines: Revolutions thus constitute a structural and ideological …

Is there a revolution underway in Egypt?

source: Guardian, February 8, 2011 Is what is going on in Egypt today a "revolution"?  What about Tunisia?  And how about the Georgian "Rose" Revolution (2003) or the Philippine Yellow Revolution of 1986?  Do these social and political conflicts and outcomes add up to a "revolution" in those societies?  Are they analogous in any way to …

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