Revolution, err Democrat Revolution for Socialism
What, exactly, does Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders have in mind when he asks on his website if we are “Ready to Start a Political Revolution?” He has proclaimed unabashedly that he is a socialist, a statement that has raised eyebrows about his electability. He wants to turn us into the Soviet Union!! Is that what he has in mind?
Far from it. He has qualified his statements to make it clear that he is a democratic socialist, but that term fails to convey what he really has in mind, or at least I think it does. There are two distinct political ideologies, democratic socialism and social democracy. Although they sound very similar, the definitions are very different. Democratic socialists reject capitalism as an economic system and want to replace it with state ownership of the means of production (i.e. the state owned factories, businesses, land, housing, and so on) combined with political democracy. This feature, democratic choice over political leadership, distinguishes democratic socialism from authoritarian Marxist-Leninist style socialism.
During the French Revolution newspapers and pamphlets played a central role in stimulating and defining the Revolution. I believe the importance of this paradigm is that the people in favor of a revolution knew to use the then media – newspapers were read aloud in taverns and clubs, and circulated hand to hand. The press saw its lofty role to be the advancement of civic republicanism based on public service, and downplayed the liberal, individualistic goal of making a profit.
During my educational career (as a student) I waited and waited for a certain professor’s class to open up which never did happen — although as with most incredible professors’ he had the basic power to open up his classes to those students who really wanted in. A side note for all who inquire: Yes, I did have to write an essay to show my eagerness to learn.
The reason I wanted to take his class so much was that I’d heard from other students that his perspective on defining revolution was tremendous. And of course it was — the professor basically used the terms of “rising expectations” told and demonstrated to the society; this process is referred to as the Thesis. Now while the thesis was gaining believability then started the Anti-thesis.
Antithesis is the process where people in both the opposition, or not wanting a change and during the French Revolution they were identified as the Liberals. On the other hand those who were trying to change the way the nation was run and handled very much participated in the violence.
When the rising expectations found their change in society then most of the people sided with the revolutionary side insofar as it always promised a new start both politically and socially.
In France, the central doctrines of the Lumières were individual liberty and religious tolerance, in opposition to the principle of absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church.
The principal goals of Enlightenment thinkers were liberty, progress, reason, tolerance, fraternity, and ending the abuses of the church and state.