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A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates revolution.Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.
The term—both as a noun and adjective—is usually applied to the field of politics, and is occasionally used in the context of science, invention or art. In politics, a revolutionary is someone who supports abrupt, rapid, and drastic change, while a reformist is someone who supports more gradual and incremental change. A conservative is someone who generally opposes such changes. A reactionary is someone who wants things to go back to the way they were before the change has happened.
According to sociologist James Chowning Davies, political revolutionaries may be classified in two ways:
The revolutionary anarchist Sergey Nechayev argued in Catechism of a Revolutionary :
"The revolutionary is a doomed man. He has no private interests, no affairs, sentiments, ties, property nor even a name of his own. His entire being is devoured by one purpose, one thought, one passion - the revolution. Heart and soul, not merely by word but by deed, he has severed every link with the social order and with the entire civilized world; with the laws, good manners, conventions, and morality of that world. He is its merciless enemy and continues to inhabit it with only one purpose - to destroy it."
According to Che Guevara:"At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a true revolutionary lacking in this quality"
According to the Marxist Internet Archive a revolutionary "amplif[ies] the differences and conflicts caused by technological advances in society. Revolutionaries provoke differences and violently ram together contradictions within a society, overthrowing the government through the rising to power of the class they represent. After destructing the old order, revolutionaries help build a new government that adheres to the emerging social relationships that have been made possible by the advanced productive forces."
Revolutionaries may be terrorists, but there is no necessary overlap. Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin considered terrorism to be "destroying contact between the revolutionaries and the masses of the revolutionary classes of the population, and spreading both among the revolutionaries themselves and the population in general utterly distorted ideas of the aims and methods of struggle against the autocracy." In his controversial essay "Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution",the Marxist political theorist Norman Geras posited that terrorism should be rejected, but that violence could be justified in the case of extreme social injustice.
Marxism–Leninism is a political philosophy and self-proclaimed science that seeks to establish a socialist state and then develop it further into socialism and eventually communism, a classless social system with common ownership of the means of production and with full social and economic equality of all members of society. Marxist–Leninists espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of orthodox Marxism and Leninism, but they generally support the idea of a vanguard party, a communist party-led state, state-dominance over the economy, internationalism and opposition to bourgeois democracy, capitalism, imperialism and racism. As an ideology, it was developed by Joseph Stalin in the late 1920s based on his understanding and synthesis of both orthodox Marxism and Leninism. It was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union and the other ruling parties making up the Eastern Bloc as well as the political parties of the Communist International after Bolshevisation. Today, Marxism–Leninism is the ideology of Stalinist and Maoist political parties around the world and remains the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam.
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a Russian revolutionary anarchist and founder of collectivist anarchism. He is considered among the most influential figures of anarchism and a major founder of the social anarchist tradition. Bakunin's prestige as an activist also made him one of the most famous ideologues in Europe, gaining substantial influence among radicals throughout Russia and Europe.
The 26th of July Movement was a Cuban vanguard revolutionary organization and later a political party led by Fidel Castro. The movement's name commemorates its 26th July 1953 attack on the army barracks on Santiago de Cuba in an attempt to start the overthrowing of the dictator Fulgencio Batista. Fidel Castro's nationalist ideology was founded in the ideas of José Martí.
Sergey Gennadiyevich Nechayev was a Russian philosopher and communist revolutionary, often associated with the nihilist movement and known for his single-minded pursuit of revolution by any means necessary, including terrorism and revolutionary terror. He was the author of the radical Catechism of a Revolutionary.
The nihilist movement was a Russian movement in the 1860s that rejected all authorities. The word nihilism derives from the Latin nihil, meaning "nothing". After the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, the nihilists were known throughout Europe as proponents of the use of violence in order to bring about political change.
Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxism has developed into many different branches and schools of thought, with the result that there is now no single definitive Marxist theory.
Charles Bettelheim was a French Marxian economist and historian, founder of the Center for the Study of Modes of Industrialization at the EHESS, economic advisor to the governments of several developing countries during the period of decolonization. He was very influential in France's New Left, and considered one of "the most visible Marxists in the capitalist world", in France as well as in Spain, Italy, Latin America, and India.
Sandinista ideology or Sandinismo is a series of political and economic philosophies championed and instituted by the Nicaraguan Sandinista National Liberation Front throughout the late twentieth century. The ideology and movement acquired its name, image and, most crucially, military style from Augusto César Sandino, a Nicaraguan revolutionary leader who waged a guerrilla war against the United States Marines and the conservative Somoza National Guards in the early twentieth century. Despite using the Sandino name, the principals of modern Sandinista ideology were mainly developed by Carlos Fonseca, who, in likeness to the leaders of the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, sought to inspire socialist populism among Nicaragua's peasant population. One of these main philosophies involved the institution of an educational system that would "free" the population from the perceived historical fallacies spouted by the ruling Somoza family. By awakening political thought among the people, proponents of Sandinista ideology believed that human resources would be available to not only execute a guerrilla war against the Somoza regime but also build a society resistant to economic and military intervention imposed by foreign entities.
Communism is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture.
Pyotr Nikitich Tkachev was a Russian writer, critic and revolutionary theorist, who it is claimed formulated many of the revolutionary principles that would later be further developed and put into action by Vladimir Lenin. Although Tkachev has sometimes been described as "the First Bolshevik", he did not figure prominently in the mythology of the Soviet Union.
The legacy of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara is constantly evolving in the collective imagination. As a symbol of counterculture worldwide, Guevara is one of the most recognizable and influential revolutionary figures of the twentieth century. However, during his life, and even more since his death, Che has elicited controversy and wildly divergent opinions as to whether or not he was a good person. He has been both revered and reviled, being characterized as everything from a heroic defender of the poor, to a cold-hearted executioner. Those who oppose him are usually right-wing, while his supporters are mainly left-wing.
Third World socialism is a political philosophy and variant of socialism that has been proposed by Michel Aflaq, Salah al-Din al-Bitar, David Ben-Gurion, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Buddhadasa, Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi, Modibo Keïta, Walter Lini, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Jawaharlal Nehru, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Juan Perón, Moshe Sharett, Sukarno, Ahmed Sékou Touré and other socialist leaders of the Third World who saw socialism as the answer to a strong and developed nation. In Israel, the kibbutz were labour Zionist utopian socialist comunes with a direct democracy system influenced by Fabian socialism like other Third World socialists.
The Catechism of a Revolutionary refers to a manifesto written by Russian revolutionary Sergey Nechayev between April and August 1869.
Guerrillero Heroico is an iconic photograph of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara taken by Alberto Korda. It was captured on March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba, at a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion. By the end of the 1960s, the image, in conjunction with Guevara's subsequent actions and eventual execution, helped solidify the charismatic and controversial leader as a cultural icon. Korda has said that at the moment he shot the picture, he was drawn to Guevara's facial expression, which showed "absolute implacability" as well as anger and pain. Years later, Korda would say that the photograph showed Che's firm and stoic character. Guevara was 31 years old at the time the photograph was taken.
The Workers' Socialist Movement is a Puerto Rican democratic socialist revolutionary organization, formed in 1982 and dedicated to the self-organization and self-emancipation of the working-class in Puerto Rico, as well as international solidarity with the workers struggles worldwide. It is usually known as the "MST", and its youth section is the Unión de Juventudes Socialistas, also known as the "UJS-MST" or simply "UJS". The MST supports a socialist and independent Puerto Rico.
Social anarchism is the branch of anarchism that sees individual freedom as interrelated with mutual aid. Social anarchist thought emphasizes community and social equality as complementary to autonomy and personal freedom. It attempts to accomplish this balance through freedom of speech maintained in a decentralized federalism, with freedom of interaction in thought and subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is best defined as "that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry" and that "[f]or every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them", or the slogan "Do not take tools out of people's hands".
Guevarism is a theory of communist revolution and a military strategy of guerrilla warfare associated with communist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, a leading figure of the Cuban Revolution who believed in the idea of Marxism–Leninism and embraced its principles.
Anti-revisionism is a position within Marxism–Leninism which emerged in the 1950s in opposition to the reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Where Khrushchev pursued an interpretation that differed from his predecessor Joseph Stalin, the anti-revisionists within the international communist movement remained dedicated to Stalin's ideological legacy and criticized the Soviet Union under Khrushchev and his successors as state capitalist and social imperialist due to its hopes of achieving peace with the United States.