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Ideology and Revolution pt.3

The concluding part of our series on revolutions and the ideology under which they are carried out.

Ideology and Revolution pt.2

In the second part of this three-part series we look at the French Revolution

Ideology and Revolution pt.1

We begin a three-part series on the link between revolutionary social changes and the ideology of those who carried them out.

A series of discussions with friends of both leftist and liberal persuasions recently uncovered two classic objections to the Marxist perspective. They are essentially derived from the same misunderstanding of the nature of a socialist revolution.

The first objection was in the idealist tradition and centred on the connection between the Enlightenment and the Soviet gulags. It is more common to hear the terror of the French revolution being associated with Enlightenment ideals but not - via Karl Marx - with the Bolshevik concentration camps. The other accusation was that it was naive to expect a socialist revolution to be any different than those that preceded it historically.

Crime and Capital

Any community has to have an agreed set of principles concerning the behaviour of its members. As a social species we depend on each other to exist. Our interaction, therefore, provides the cohesion necessary for our survival. Historically these rational principles of behaviour have been subverted by the powerful to serve their needs. In a class-divided society these principles are used to rationalise the wealth and power of the minority. Socialists recognise this and exhibit the relevant contempt for the implicit hypocrisy in trying to rationalise rules that enforce inequality and the social injustice that it represents.

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