Revolution and the Millennium: China, Mexico, and Iran

By James F. Rinehart | Go to book overview

political upheavals, and historical transformations) for generations. Faced with Western imperialism, which may have created the most serious challenge ever faced by these societies, mass religion was again called upon as an aid in defining an appropriate response to the sociopolitical and economic crisis this intrusion engendered.

The people of these three societies did not go out and willingly risk their lives in a violent revolution simply because the price of bread had gone up a few percentage points. Rather, they mobilized because their "sense of right and wrong, justice and injustice, legitimacy and illegitimacy -- in short their moral economy -- had been flagrantly violated" 8 by forces that were both superior and alien. Such feelings induced a profound collective indignation that led to political violence and, ultimately, revolution. In this process, these people perceived their present political leadership as both agents and accomplices of alien influence.

Stripped of their identity to an important extent and faced with the possibility of the complete destruction of their way of life, the people of these societies drew upon their powerful and pervasive chiliastic beliefs, shaped and transmuted them into a form that would suit the exigencies of modern circumstances, and began the process of resurrecting, revitalizing, and renewing their societies. In each case this process required a violent revolution to achieve such goals.


NOTES
1.
Womack, 37. The specific reference here is to local anger over the administration of Pablo Escandon, the governor of Morelos at the onset of the Mexican Revolution.
2.
Rudé, 245.
3.
R. P. Cuzzort, Using Social Thought (Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, 1989), 29-30.
4.
Emile Durkheim, Sociology and Philosophy, translated from the French by D. F. Pocock ( New York: Free Press, 1974), 126.
5.
The term "Westoxification" is a translation of the Farsi word gharbzadegi, which was first used by Jalal Al-e Ahmad. It is mentioned in Michael C. Hillmann, "Introduction", in Jalal Al-e Ahmad, The School Principal, translated by John K. Newton ( Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1974). See also Mark Juergensmeyer, The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 19.
6.
Brinton, 133.
8.
E. P. Thompson, "The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century", Past and Present, 50 ( February 1971): 79-80.

-178-

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Revolution and the Millennium: China, Mexico, and Iran
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 12
  • 1 - Apocalyptic Prophecy to Millenarian Revolution 17
  • Notes 33
  • 2 - Imperialism and Upheaval: China, Mexico, and Iran 41
  • Notes 57
  • 3 - Preparatory Function 63
  • Notes 103
  • 4 - A Platforin for Leadership 117
  • Notes 144
  • 5 - The Therapeutic Function 151
  • Notes 168
  • Conclusion 173
  • Notes 178
  • Bibliography 179
  • Index 191
  • About the Author *
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