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Jarosław Chodak. The end of era of revolutions?

Phenomenon of revolution was of a great importance in contemporary world history having its extreme in the twentieth century. The myth of revolution was supported by the practice of successive revolutions. They all led to the effect opposite to that which the revolutionaries have dreamt about: repression, new forms of inequality and injustice, fall in living-standard. Since 1989, social movements in opposition haven not already regarded revolution as their purpose.

So, has the era of revolutions ended? The author answers this question trying to outline the factors which make for the revolutionary outburst. He analyzes the dependencies between the level of economic development, the kind of political system, social structure and capability to revolutionary action. Attention is paid to the significance of revolutionary ideology or certain level of culture of resistance and opposition. The analysis is made with the help of historical comparison approach with the accent on the revolutions and revolutionary movements of the twentieth century. The author makes a conclusion that revolutionary movements have the best chance to win in case of creation of a broad coalition including as many classes as possible. Two factors contributed to such a situation in the twentieth century. 1) Representative, exclusive political system has come to existence at that time and with respect to it a class coalition can be formed. This is typical to colonies with direct ruling and to so called neo-patrimonial regimes. 2) Dependence on metropolis (of a colony) or on a bigger power (of an independent state) gives the opportunity to use national feelings for mobilization of society to the deed of revolution. Those factors were not sufficient if a given regime had got an absolute support from metropolis or from allied power and had been strong enough to resist the revolutionaries. So, in this case international context became very important to weaken internal control and make a power to authorize revolution. It is to be stressed that the factors mentioned above were not sufficient being taken separately for success of a revolution. An appropriate configuration of them is needed.

The era of revolutions has come to an end with decline of a myth of revolution (in sense that it was exhausted) and of Marxism as the main ideology supporting it. This does not mean that in future some new revolution won’t blow out. However, such a possibility is much less than it was in the twentieth century. In the end, the author dwells on some regions of the contemporary world where appropriate circumstances for revolutionary outburst are still remaining.