The Revolution in World Politics

The Revolution in World Politics

The Revolution in World Politics

The Revolution in World Politics

Excerpt

The Revolution in World Politics would be a portentous title for a book were not the word "revolution" quite so overworked. The word cannot keep its strength when applied to changes in automobile designs and clothing styles. Yet, there are portentous and momentous currents abroad in the world that can be described accurately only by the overworked and inexact term "revolution." Perhaps every generation feels that it stands at some revolutionary threshold. Certainly I felt this way once before when, in the 1930's, Fascism posed both an internal and external threat to the dominant democratic ethos. Perhaps those who felt this way were not entirely wrong, for the Fascist powers may have lost their "once in a thousand years" gamble to change the political and social map of the world only by a combination of fortuitous circumstances.

Perhaps the Fascist challenge may be viewed as the spasm that preceded the present tidal wave threatening to engulf us in the surging currents of political change. Our introductory paper by Dr. Waelder traces the source of contemporary developments back to the French Revolution. Certainly there is some truth in this, although others might find its source or sources elsewhere. We could argue indefinitely about the genesis of the present revolutionary crisis in world politics, but we cannot really doubt its actuality if we are to understand or to respond to political reality.

Our writers begin with the assumption that we are living in a revolutionary age. They are not concerned primarily with defining "revolution" in some general sense or with finding the true genesis of the revolution. They are concerned with the present scope of the revolution, with the nature of the demands being made by masses, by elites, or by revolutionary organizations, and with the potentiality of these demands for producing revolutionary change. These are deep and complex questions about which we know much less than is necessary. The state of our knowledge does not permit simple answers--nor does the nature of the subject. Although scholars are already working on such topics selflessly and with surpassing ability, much more requires to be done.

This book divides the revolution into three general categories, although, of course, no simple scheme of this sort really can be maintained. There is the revolution . . .

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