Chapter 8: revolutionary change
The beginning years of the 20
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
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.