We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Return of the Russian Revolution: Nature and Perspectives of the New Wave of Social Protest

Click here to access article by Alexei Gusev from Znet.

Although this fairly lengthy article was written in February, it is only now that it is appearing on this website. This Russian writer appears to be an astute observer of historical and political events, and here he trains his penetrating vision on recent events in Russia to signal that the country is likely in a pre-stage of revolution.
The demonstrations of December 10th and 24th in Moscow, in which tens of thousands of people took part, show clearly that the period of social passivity in Russia is over ; the Putin era is nearing its end. The last time such large demonstrations took place in Moscow was in 1990-91 at the height of the democratic wave directed against the domination of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Then, following these mass actions,[RG1] the whole party-state system of the USSR was broken.[RG2] Those who participated in those events twenty years ago are feeling the same atmosphere again: revolution is in the air.
There are insights here on revolution that US activists should find useful. For example:
You can’t discuss revolution without raising the question of violence. Government propaganda tries to identify these two notions, to persuade the population that revolution always means blood, death and general ruin. But in reality mass democratic movements are hostile to violence and never use it first ; on the contrary, it is most often unleashed by regimes that want to hold on to power at any price. Violence is the last recourse of these regimes, who have exhausted all other means of struggle against the social movement. That is why an important condition for the success of the revolution is a split within the forces of order where part of their personnel refuses to put down the protesters. If that eventuality seems real or extremely probable, the authorities will hesitate to have recourse to violence, which will increase the chance of a peaceful, soft victory for the revolution. This was one of the important causes of the success of the Russian revolutions in February 1917 and August 1991, as well as the ‘velvet’ revolutions in East Europe and the ‘color’ revolutions in the ex-USSR.