Australian Left Review

Abstract

THE CONCEPT OF THE “REVOLUTIONARY SITUATION” is one familiar to all revolutionaries since Lenin. Yet it is a concept which has been strangely neglected by Western experts on revolution. Thus Chalmers Johnson in his modem classic Revolutionary Change (1966) ignores the concept altogether while Robert C. Tucker in The Marxian Revolutionary Idea (1969) gives it less than adequate treatment. This neglect can partly be explained by the fact that Western writings on revolution are nof so much theories of revolution as manuals of counter-revolution. Thus Chalmers Johnson’s main concern is to advise the ruling elite on how to avoid revolution by being sensitive to signs of social disequilibrium as soon as they arise and by making suitable adjustments to economic and political policies to offset a revolutionary challenge. Lenin of course took an opposite stand. For him revolution was a necessary and progressive process and therefore it had to be welcomed and prepared for.

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