College of Political Knowledge
Occupy Wall Street…….at first it was ignored by the media and then it got so large that they could no longer wish it away….and it continues to grow….some are calling it a revolution….a quiet revolution…..a peaceful revolution…..and all that got me to thinking about the act of revolution. What causes revolution? What is a revolution?
What is revolution? The simple accepted answer is……The overthrow of one government and its replacement with another. Or A sudden or momentous change in a situation. We could go into further detail but that would start to make this post more confusing than it needs to be…..
Now, what causes a revolution? There is a wealth of opinions on this subject….across history there have been many revolutions…..but let us look at the causes of a few of the major revolutions in fairly recent history…..I shall leave the Arab Spring ones out because the final act of those have not been written……
The French Revolution (1789-1799)………We all know about the storming of the Bastille or the Reign of terror…..Let them eat cake and off with their heads….but what caused these things? But the real causes were extreme poverty, hunger, hyper-inflation, rising food prices, a inadequate infrastructure, and the aloofness of the power elite and the lack of respect for their leaders; but mostly it was that the country was bankrupt from fighting a war with England and its financial support for the English colonies that were to become the US…….
Next in line was the Russian Revolution (1917)……the best most people can remember about this revolution was that it brought those dreadful Communists to power…..that is true in a round about way…..Communists did come to power but only after several failed governments…..but what caused the people to revolt? War is the best answer. First, a war with Japan in the early 1900′s and then WW1…….The Industrial Revolution had the effects on Russia that it had on the rest of the world….cities were overcrowded, high prices for goods, food shortages, low wages, inadequate infrastructure and the over indulgence of the elites and finally, a growing dissatisfaction with the political life of the country which led to protests and civil unrest……..and the pot boiled over!
Next in the history lesson is the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)…..not so much a revolution but more kin to a coup…..what brought about the upheaval in Spain? After centuries of being a world power, Spain was losing its last possessions…and by 1898 its imperial days were over…..military men were returning home with no prospect for earning a living, food became in short supply, infrastructure was bad, political unrest and a mounting national debt….there were many so called interior conflicts and governments….each trying to find a way to balance things…….all this led to a coup and subsequent civil war led by Francisco Franco, a fascist…..and with the help of Germany and Italy, Franco had his victory and a nation…..
Now I am sure that my readers are saying…”But what about the US and its revolution?” Good question!
First of all, it was not so much a revolution as a child leaving home to strike off on its own. There was no political strife, no mass starvation, no lack of work, no economic crisis par se……what it was was the local elites felt that their profits were being stolen by the King and they did not appreciate it. They issued a list of grievances against the King and then the shooting started in earnest…..with the end of the armed conflict, everything went back to as it was before it began…..elites rich beyond imagination, workers, slaves and farmers……the only thing that changed was the type of government and the name of the land mass….nothing radical about the “war”……
What got me started along this road was a conversation that I had with this guy when he ask if I thought that another American revolution was possible…….now that was a helluva question to ask an aging radical!
I want to say yes just because of my past associations and beliefs….however, with that said….I do not think the American people have it in their nature any longer for a real revolution….too many years of depending on someone else for their ideas and beliefs….parties, people, etc…..
But then we look at the situation in today’s world……..massive unemployment, low wages, creeping poverty, disappearance of the middle class, national economic woes, extreme indulgences of the elites and a growing dissatisfaction with the governing of the country….all are characteristics of a country that is ripe for some form of revolution…….
If it came to that….would it be a left or right revolution? You want an answer to that question? Just think about Italy of the 1920′s and Germany of the 20 & 30′s…..and then hide in a closet and pray!