As promised in my previous post, I’m setting up a separate thread for discussion of my premise that a socialist revolution is neither feasible nor desirable. My own thoughts, taken from an old post are over the fold.
UpdateI’ve updated to link to the earlier post remove an unjustifiably snarky reference to aristocratic sentiment and to include a para from the previous post, on situations where revolutions are likely to turn out well.
The idea that a single violent irruption, followed by a (supposedly temporary) revolutionary dictatorship, can break unending cycles of oppression, and achieve permanent change for the better is intuitively appealing and gains support daily from the failures of more modest attempts at reform, from the peaceful protest march to the Winter Palace in 1905 to the shoddy compromises of day-to-day democratic politics (and particularly in this context, social-democratic politics).
Yet the appeal of revolution is an illusion. Most attempts at revolution fail, leaving the participants and the oppressed worse off than before. Even where revolution is successful, attempts by the revolutionary party to hold on to power usually lead to reactionary dictatorship in short order. The French Revolution, the model on which Marxist analysis was based, lasted five years from the liberation of the Bastille to Thermidor, and ten years to the 18 Brumaire seizure of power by Napoleon. The Bolshevik revolution lasted four years until the adoption of the New Economic Policy and seven years before Stalin’s rise to power.
The successful revolutions have mostly been those where the ancien regime collapsed under its own weight, and where those who came to power did not try too hard to hold on to it when, inevitably, the wheel of public support turned against them