- Revolutionary wave
A revolutionary wave is a series of
revolutions occurring in various locations. In many cases, an initial revolution inspires other "affiliate revolutions" with similar aims. [Mark N. Katz, "Revolution and Revolutionary Waves"]
The concept is important to
Marxists, who see revolutionary waves as evidence that a world revolutionis possible. For Rosa Luxemburg, "The most precious thing...in the sharp ebb and flow of the revolutionary waves is the proletariat's spiritual growth. The advance by leaps and – bounds of the intellectual stature of the proletariat affords an inviolable guarantee of its further progress in the inevitable economic and political struggles ahead." [ Rosa Luxemburg, "Gesammelte Werke", quoted in Tony Cliff, " [https://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/works/1985/patterns/part1.htm Patterns of mass strike (Part 1)] "]
Examples given of revolutionary waves include:
*The wave of
Atlantic Revolutionsoccurring at the end of the eighteenth century, including the American Revolution(1776), the French Revolution(1789) and the Haitian Revolution(1791).
**The Latin American Wars of Independence, including the
South American Wars of Independenceof 1810–1825, the Mexican War of Independenceof 1810–1821, and the Central American declaration of independence of September 15, 1821. These revolutions are often seen as inspired at least in part by the American and French Revolutions in terms of their liberal Enlightenment ideology and aims, are counted as the second part of the Atlantic Wave.
Revolutions of 1830, most notably the neighboring July Revolutionin Franceand the Belgian Revolution.
Revolutions of 1848.
Revolutions of 1917-23in the aftermath of World War I, including the Bolshevik Revolutionin Russiaand the emergence of an international communist partyalliance in the Soviet-led Comintern, and the collapse of the major territorial empires of continental Europeas well as nationalist, populistand socialistuprisings and protests worldwide.
*A more minor (or at least, more complicated) wave in the early and mid-1930s, in general response to the global effects of the
Great Depression, including the rise of the fascistmovements and regimes in Europe. Communist partiesbegan debuting the popular frontstrategy, making coalitions with other leftistand even some center-rightgroups in an effort to shape politics, particularly after Adolf Hitler's Nazis seized power in Germanyin 1933. Despite the alliances of the radical leftwith moderate socialists and liberals, the divisions over ideologyand political partieswere rife and the movements did not lead to communist revolution. Rather, they largely ended in either outright military and political defeat, as in the Spanish Civil Warand the other collapsing democracies of the interwar era, or electoral cooption and compromise, as exemplified by the ascendancy of social democraticparties over communistsin many places, like the Front populairein Franceand the Democratic Party (U.S.)through its New Deal coalition.
*A wave (or perhaps a series of waves) occurring at the end of
World War IIand throughout the Cold War(see below).
**Arguably, especially in the case of
communist revolutions, there has been a regional wave following each successful seizure of power in a given area of the world. For example,
***Two major waves swept
East Asiaand Southeast Asia. The first (1940s-1950s) wave grew after World War IIand was epitomized by the 1949 victory of the Maoists in decades-long Chinese Civil War, includes the establishment of a communist statein North Koreaand the subsequent Korean War, a similar trajectory of the Viet Minhand the communist North Vietnamese regime through the First Indochina War, as well as failed uprisings by the Huksin the Philippinesand by communists in the Malay Emergency, and the popular front-style alliance that led and triumphed in the Indonesian War of Independence. Another 1960s-1970s wave parallels the Chinese Cultural Revolution(1966-1976 and the Vietnam War(or Second Indochina War), which extended beyond Vietnamand encompassed the Cambodian Civil Warand Laotian Civil War, while the wave would include the efforts of the New People's Armyin the Philippines.
***Two major waves of
guerrilla warfarein Latin America: one after the triumph of the Cuban Revolutionin 1959 inspiring legions of emulators pursuing rural-based focoand/or urban guerrilla warfare; another wave following the eventual victory of one such Central American Castroite/ Guevaristmovement in the Nicaraguan Revolutionin 1979 reinvigorated another generation of vanguard partymilitancy, popular fronts and armed insurrections.
***A substantial wave in
Africa, cresting in the 1970s, including the communist revolutions and pro- Soviet military coups in Somalia, Congo-Brazzaville, Dahomey/ Beninand Ethiopia; the fight of the communist partiesallied under CONCPagainst the Portuguese Empirein the Portuguese Colonial War; as well as the anti- apartheidstruggle, the South African Border Warand the Rhodesian Bush War(in what is now known as Zimbabwe).
Protests of 1968, including the May 1968 events in France, in a New Leftecho of the contemporary waves elsewhere during the Cold War.
*The rise of
Islamism, particularly its acceleration since the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil Warin 1975, of the Afghan Civil Warafter 1978, and of the Iranian Revolutionin 1978-1979.
Revolutions of 1989against the crumbling communistand Soviet sphere of influence.
Color Revolutions, starting in 2000 with the Bulldozer Revolution in Serbia.
Waves of democracy
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