In the final talk of the revolutions lecture series, Professor Marcos Perez delivered a talk about the importance of revolutions and also why people decide to be revolutionary in the first place. This was a perfect way to finish the series, where for most of the lectures, various revolutions were discussed in detail, but the rationality and sociology behind a revolution in generally had not really been discussed much. He began the talk by saying that revolutions are “crucial and nebulous.” They are crucial in sparking social change and nebulous because, as many of the talks have touched on, they are not generalizable. They are not really well-defined and often times, major revolutions may have little to no effect on a vast majority of the human population of that time or in the future. Also, an important point he mentioned is how it takes a while to feel the effects of a revolution. To supplement this, historians are the ones who generally attribute this title to a specific event, maybe those people of the time just thought their actions were necessary. They didn’t need praise; they just did it.
Throughout the talk, Professor Perez discussed the role of individuals in revolutions but also why would they join and where the ideal location for a revolution would be. This discussion left me with a few major ideas to ponder. The first of these is the idea that no matter what your involvement is in a revolution, unless you are leading it, you won’t be making a substantial contribution. This is an interesting idea. For many this is discouraging and leads to such ideas like not going out to vote or deciding to be a bystander. However, this idea should ideally produce the opposite line of thinking. One contribution might not be much, all the more reason to gain support and rally people together to fight for a common goal. People who fall victim to this ideology fail to see this quality of revolutions. It is not about a single contribution; it is about the collection of people fighting for the same cause.
The second major point I got from this final talk was that all of the theories Perez presented focused on mobilization. This is a vital component of any successful revolution, for obvious reasons. The reason for this mobilization is still up for debate. Some theories argue that becoming part of a movement provides purpose in times of social change and the countering of old ideas. Some people may feel lost in this time and search for refuge in a like-minded group. Other theories focus more on the idea that protest is simply the rational course of action to counter grievances. No matter the proposed reason, the commonality is, in social revolutions, that when a group of people is no longer able to function properly in a society, they will band together to fight this. My counter to this conventional idea would be this, why wait? Throughout all of the discussion about social revolution throughout this course, this question lingers in my brain. Why wait until society starts to be harmful to you? If there are faults in a system that may lead to these issues, people should work to fight the conventions together before the pain is inflicted. A struggle should not be needed for a revolution to occur. Why not fight it before it happens?