Chapter 8

Chapter 8 - Chapter 8 revolutionary change The beginning...

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Chapter 8: revolutionary change The beginning years of the 20 th century saw the Mexican and Russian revolutions. The closing decades, saw the collapse of the Soviet communism, the transformation of the Chinese and Mexican revolutions and the weakening of Cuba’s Revolutionary Government No era in world history has seen more revolutionary upheaval. At the beginning of the 21 st century, though that process seems to have stopped, at least for now. Karl Marx had expected these upheavals to take place in industrialized European nations, were the workers would rise up against the oppressive capitalist system. Instead modern revolutionary movements have been largely a third world phenomenon, fought primarily by the peasantry. This is probably due to the fact the revolution is seen as a solution to the problem of underdevelopment. It promised end colonial rule, terminate dependency, protect national sovereignty, reduce social and economic inequalities, accelerate economic development, mobilize the population, and transform the political culture. Many of the LDCs poor and oppressed, along with intellectuals and alienated members of the middle class have found revolutionary platforms and ideologies very appealing. Some revolutionary governments – in China, Cuba and Mexico for example —were able to deliver on many of their promises. Under Mao Tse dung’s leadership, the Chinese Communist Party redistributed land of the peasantry, industrialized economy and transform the country into a world power. Fidel Castro implemented extensive land reform, increased adult literacy, and developed significant public health programs. Mexico’s revolutionary party, establish sovereignty over the country’s natural resources, initiated agrarian reform, and transform the nation into a Third World industrial power. But most often, these gains came at a great cost – political repression, human suffering, and rampant corruption.
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Defining revolution Scholars have argued about what constitutes a revolution, and whether such upheavals as American Revolution And Iran’s Islamic Revolution were in fact true social revolutions. The broadest definition is applied to any nonlegal, nondemocratic, or violent overthrow government. Peter Calvert, states that it is “simply a form of government change through violence”. Most scholars, though, argue that revolutions must involve fundamental political, economic and social change. Revolutions are invariably violent. They involve a fundamental transfer of political and economic power, rather than just a change in political leaders. Those in power fight to stay in power. Revolutions may be Marxist (China, Russia, Vietnam and Cuba), partially Marxist(Nicaragua), or non-Marxist (Mexico, Bolivia ,Libya, Iran). Marxism was particularly appealing because it promised a redistribution of economic resources. But they can also come from nationalism, Islam or they can come from any other ideologies or religions.
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This note was uploaded on 09/11/2009 for the course SOC 300 taught by Professor Lewis during the Spring '09 term at Strayer.

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Chapter 8 - Chapter 8 revolutionary change The beginning...

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