RevolutionDr. John BarrySchool of Politics, International Studies and PhilosophyQueen‟s University Belfast
Talkin‟ bout a revolution…Change, dramatic change …. “all is changed, changed utterly A terrible beauty is born”, WB YeatsTypes of revolution – political, cultural, „paradigm-shift‟, violent or non-violent, economic (the industrial revolution), or technological (internet,communications)Causes of political revolution – injustice, repression, inequality, technologicalchanges, new norms and expectations, unfulfilled expectations, anger,deliberate manipulationThreat of revolution (bad cop) and radical change as necessary for reform(good cop) and more modest change
From ancient slave revolts to the Arabspring…to potential of „anti-austerity‟ revolt throughout Europe?
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”, John F. Kennedy.Revolution: Progressive or regressive? „Velvetrevolution‟ in Czechoslovakia versus Pol PotRevolution in an apolitical age?
New sources of revolt?Triple crunch of1. Financial /economic crisis and „politics of austerity‟2. Climate change3. Peak oil and energy insecurityAnti-capitalist revolt….Occupy movements – theWest‟s „Arab Spring‟?...
Concluding thoughts…“Periodic revolution, at least once every 20 years, [is]a medicine necessary for the sound health ofgovernment.’ Thomas Jefferson“Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet”,Alice WalkerRevolution as necessary and inevitable for social andpolitical progress…key issue is ensuring it is as non-violent as possible….but…
“Those who profess to favor freedom and yetdepreciate agitation, are people who want cropswithout ploughing the ground; they want rain withoutthunder and lightning; they want the ocean withoutthe roar of its many waters. The struggle may be amoral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may beboth. But it must be a struggle. Power concedesnothing without a demand. It never did and it neverwill.”Frederick Douglass