Lecture 1: Why study revolutions? 

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Lecture 1: Why study revolutions?


Traditionally, revolutions have been studied for three main kinds of reason. One is celebratory, in particular when states born out of revolution (such as Ireland) "canonise" past revolutionaries while simultaneously seeking to block off present movements for change. A second is training, when people who seek to bring about revolutionary change study the history of past revolutions for ideas to use in the present. A third is "keeping the rabble in line", when politicians and intellectuals seek to show that revolution is never workable or will only lead to dystopia. This lecture looks at images and uses of the Russian Revolution of 1917 to think about how we can tackle past revolutions.



· Marilyn Butler, Burke, Paine, Godwin and the revolutionary controversy. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984

· James deFronzo, Revolutions and revolutionary movements. Boulder: Westview, 1996

· Antonio Gramsci, "The revolution against Capital". 68 -72 in Political writings 1910 - 1920. London: ElecBook, 1999 [other collections may also contain this]

· John Keep, The Russian Revolution: a study in mass mobilization. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1976

· George Orwell, Animal farm. Harlow: Longman, 1996

· John Reed, 10 days that shook the world. Strand: Sutton, 1997

· Robert Service, The Russian Revolution, 1900 - 1927. Houndmills: Macmillan, 1999 (3rd edition)

· Theda Skocpol, States and social revolutions: a comparative analysis of France, Russia and China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979

· Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution. New York: Anchor, 1980


Lecture 2: "It'll never happen": revolutions as ordinary history


Revolutions are commonly seen as "unreal": events which happen somewhere else, or in the distant past, and in any case don't matter here and now. This belief is obviously of massive sociological importance, because it forms part and parcel of the assumption that the way things are is basically unchangeable - and therefore serves to strengthen the forces that rule society and the groups that benefit from that rule. This lecture examines the Zapatista uprising in Mexico as an example of a contemporary "ordinary revolution" which involves strong links of solidarity with ordinary Irish people.



· Kepa Artaraz, "From liberation to revolution: the British New Left and the Cuban Revolution in the 1960s". In Colin Barker and Mike Tyldesley (eds.), Sixth international conference on Alternative futures and popular protest. Manchester: Manchester Metropolitan University, 2000

· Irish Mexico Group website at this address

· Judith Hellman, "Real and virtual Chiapas: magic realism and the left." In Leo Panitch and Colin Leys (eds.), Socialist Register 2000

· Justin Paulson, "Peasant struggles and international solidarity: the case of Chiapas". In Leo Panitch and Colin Leys (eds.), Socialist Register 2001

· Subcomandante Marcos, "7 loose pieces of the global jigsaw puzzle". Available online at http://www.struggle.ws/mexico/ezln/1997/jigsaw.html

· Luisa Ortiz-Perez, "Marcos and the EZLN guerrilla in Chiapas". In Colin Barker and Mike Tyldesley (eds.), Sixth international conference on Alternative futures and popular protest. Manchester: Manchester Metropolitan University, 2000

· Vincenzo Ruggiero, Movements in the city. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2001

· Willie Thompson, The left in history. London: Verso, 1997

· Charles Tilly, European revolutions 1492 - 1992. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995


Lecture 3: "It's all about violence": what is a revolution?


Revolutions involve a situation of "dual-power" within which the ruling class are no longer capable of ruling, and ordinary people are no longer willing to be ruled. Such situations are inherently unstable and prone to conflict, as each side attempts to establish the normality and legitimacy of its own vision of the world. These conflicts often involve violence, although it is not always on a large scale. This lecture takes the example of the Paris Commune of 1871.



· Hannah Arendt, On revolution. London: Penguin, 1973

· Michael Bakunin, The Paris Commune and the idea of the state. London: CIRA, 1971

· Colin Barker, "Some notes on revolution in the 20th century". Journal of Area Studies 13, 1998

· Antonio Gramsci, Selections from prison notebooks. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1971

· Alastair Horne, The fall of Paris: the siege and the Commune. London: Papermac, 1997

· VI Lenin, State and revolution. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1965 [other collections may also contain this]

· Ken MacLeod, The star fraction. London: Legend, 1995 (novel)

· Theda Skocpol, Social revolutions in the modern world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994

· Sidney Tarrow, Power in movement: social movements and contentious politics. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998

· Charles Tilly, From mobilization to revolution. London: Addison Wesley, 1978


Lecture 4: "Things just are the way they are": how are non-revolutionary situations created?


Everyday life involves a situation of "hegemony" in which ordinary people take given power relations as "normal", see their needs as being met by the existing social structures and so accept the leadership of ruling groups within society. Creating this kind of situation is by no means easy, and this "hegemony" is constantly threatened by movements from below, even when they are kept within bounds. This lecture looks at some of the processes whereby hegemony was maintained and challenged during the "English Revolution" of the 17th century.



· Carl Boggs, The two revolutions: Gramsci and the dilemmas of western Marxism. Boston: South End, 1984

· Megan Davies and Keith Flett, "Forgetting and remembering: memory and political action". In Colin Barker and Mike Tyldesley (eds.), Sixth international conference on Alternative futures and popular protest. Manchester: Manchester Metropolitan University, 2000

· Étienne de la Boétie, The politics of obedience: the discourse of voluntary servitude. Canada: Black Rose, 1975

· FD Dow, Radicalism in the English Revolution, 1640 - 1660. Oxford: Blackwell, 1985

· Allen Ginsberg, Howl and other poems. San Francisco: City Lights, 1959 (poem)

· Antonio Gramsci, "Some aspects of the Southern question". 595 - 625 in Political writings 1921 - 26. London: ElecBook, 1999. Available online at http://www.marxists.org/archive/gramsci/works/1926/10/southern_question.htm [other collections may also contain this]

· Christopher Hill, The world turned upside down: radical ideas during the English revolution. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982

· James Holstun, Ehud's dagger: class struggle in the English revolution. London: Verso, 2000

· Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, in The revolutions of 1848. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973 [other collections may also contain this]

· Roger Simon, Gramsci's political thought: an introduction. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1991

· Lawrence Stone, The causes of the English Revolution. London: Ark, 1986 (2nd edition)


Lecture 5: "It's always about leaders": who makes a revolution?


Revolutionaries do not make revolutions; ordinary people do. Although revolutionaries bring crucial skills to the process of popular revolutions, they cannot make them happen in the absence of large numbers of ordinary people who have decided "things can't go on like this". These are not choices that people make in isolation, however. This lecture looks at the failed European revolutions of 1919 - 1923 and asks why they failed.



· Colin Barker, "Some remarks on collective action and transformation". In Colin Barker and Mike Tyldesley (eds.), Alternative Futures and Popular Protest III. Manchester: Manchester University Press

· Giuseppe Fiori, Antonio Gramsci: life of a revolutionary. London: Verso, 1990

· Todd Gitlin, The whole world is watching: mass media in the making and unmaking of the new left. Berkeley: UC Press, 1980

· Nick Howard, "Shirkers in revolt - mass desertion, defeat and revolution in the German army 1917 - 1920". In Colin Barker and Paul Kennedy (eds.), To make another world: studies in protest and collective action. Aldershot: Avebury, 1996

· Alan Johnson, "Leadership and self-emancipation in Trotsky's History". In Colin Barker and Mike Tyldesley (eds.), Fifth international conference on Alternative futures and popular protest. Manchester: Manchester Metropolitan University, 1999

· Rosa Luxemburg, Mass strike, party and trade unions, in Selected Political Writings. New York: Monthly Review, 1971 [other collections may also contain this]

· David Mitchell, 1919: red mirage. London: Jonathan Cape, 1970

· Philip Morgan, Italian fascism, 1919-45. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995

· George Rudé, Ideology and popular protest. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1980

· Arthur Ryder, The German revolution, 1918 - 1919. London: Historical Association, 1959

· Starhawk, The fifth sacred thing. London: Thorsons, 1997 (novel)

· EP Thompson, The making of the English working class. London: Gollancz, 1963



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