Community Day 2009

Come to our community day in September. You will have a lot of fun!

“Revolution is not a dinner party, nor an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly, and modestly. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”

—     Mao Zedong

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossibleP2102697, make violent P2102697revolution inevitable.”

-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“The seed of revolution is repression.”

-Woodrow Wilson

“That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

-Declaration of Independence

A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time. Aristotle described two types of political revolution:

  1. Complete change from one constitution to another
  2. Modification of an existing constitution.

Revolutions have occurred through human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration, and motivating ideology. Their results include major changes in culture, economy, and socio-political institutions.

Different types of revolutions:

The term revolution has also been used to denote great changes outside the political sphere. Such revolutions are usually recognized as having transformed in society, culture, philosophy and technology much more than political systems; they are often known as social revolutions. Some can be global, while others are limited to single countries. One of the classic examples of the usage of the word revolution in such context is the industrial revolution (note that such revolutions also fit the “slow revolution” definition of Tocqueville).

Examples of Revolution

Neolithic Revolution:

The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution—the transition from hunting and gathering communities and bands, to agriculture and settlement (settlement is currently being questioned). Archaeological data indicate that various forms of domestication of plants and animals arose independently in at least 7-8 separate locales worldwide, with the earliest known developments taking place in the Middle East around 10,000 BC (BCE) or earlier.

However, the Neolithic Revolution involved far more than the adoption of a limited set of food-producing techniques. During the next millennia it would transform the small, mobile and fairly egalitarian groups of hunter-gatherers that had hitherto dominated human history, into sedentary societies based in built-up villages and towns, which radically modified their natural environment by means of specialized cultivation and storage technologies (e.g. irrigation) that allowed extensive surplus production. These developments provided the basis for high population densities, complex labor diversification, trading economies, centralized administrations and political structures, hiearchical ideologies and depersonalized systems of knowledge (e.g. property regimes and writing). The first full-blown manifestation of the entire Neolithic complex is seen in the Middle Eastern Sumerian cities (ca. 5,300 BC), whose emergence also inaugurates the end of the prehistoric Neolithic and the beginning of historical time.

The relationship of the above-mentioned Neolithic characteristics to the onset of agriculture, their sequence of emergence and empirical relation to each other at various Neolithic sites remains the subject of academic debate, and seems to vary from place to place, rather than being the outcome of universal laws of social evolution.

Q: Did the Neolithic Revolution only occur in one place in the world?

Revolutions of 1848

The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout the European continent. Described by some historians as a revolutionary wave, the period of unrest began on 12 January 1848 in Sicily and then, further propelled by the French Revolution of 1848, soon spread to the rest of Europe.

Although most of the revolutions were quickly put down, there was a significant amount of violence in many areas, with tens of thousands of people tortured and killed. While the immediate political effects of the revolutions were reversed, the long-term reverberations of the events were far-reaching.

Alexis de Tocqueville remarked in his Recollections of the period that “society was cut in two: those who had nothing united in common envy, and those who had anything united in common terror.”

Q: Were these revolutions successful?