Professor Marcos Perez discussed why people become revolutionary from a sociological perspective. Although some of the theories, in my opinion, are too generalized and simplified, it is actually very interesting to study them and evaluate them. Since revolutionaries are a highly ideal puzzle, any of the missing puzzle will result in a failure attempt. Revolution entails high costs and it took a person or a group of people a great deal of courage and preparation to mobilize people and facilitate revolutions. Furthermore, if we look revolution in general, according to Professor Perez, revolutions tend to “eat their children.” Some revolutionary leaders eventually tend into another dictator, such as Mao in China comparing to the emperors in ancient China. However, despite all costs and negative results people still join the revolution. How did that happen?
Firstly, there might be a link between colonialism and revolutionary theory. Colonialism has a long-time conflict with indigenous populations. Colonists mostly come with novel weapons and better technology, so they will suppress local communities and dictate them. Under such condition, revolutions are likely to occur. Secondly, according to Marx, social revolutions were most likely where capitalism was more developed, since the capitalism might result in inequality of resource distribution.
Are revolutions really matters? Professor Perez casts doubts. The crowd mentality has already been studied for a long time. People tend to be stupid when they make decisions in a crowd and they are more easily to be mobilized and stimulated. Thus, a revolution after a revolution might not solve the social problem. However, it might only create problems such as dictatorship over and over again.
Professor Perez also discussed the elements of revolution. In his example of the Soviet Union, Perez argues that conflicting parties are one important factor. In the Soviet Union, people viewed higher social class is the enemy. Local revolutions against colonials are also two confronting parties. In addition, the rhetoric has to become one great weapon in revolutions.
In the end, Professor Perez mentions that the new revolutions might likely to occur in the third world countries, since low economic development conditions made the society more destabilizing. I would agree with him on this point. Right now, we are at the middle of the right-wing and conservationism. The third world countries will need to deal with economic development and the clash of different ideologies. It’s hard to balance between them. Therefore, strong leaders and wise policy making process will be definitely needed.
In the end, how should we prepare ourselves in this ongoing wave of revolution? I would quote Professor Gilkes after the 2016 election: “Young people have to stay woke, watch, witness, organize and observe. They should always keep the faith and participate.” We would need to both actively participate and critically evaluate it.