brni (brni) wrote,

number 9

It has been said that the primary attribute of The Masses is, as can be expected, Inertia.* As the masses increase in mass, as population density increases, the possibility of a revolution on the scale of the French Revolution of 1789 or the Russian Revolution of 1917 decreases – the energy necessary to mobilize a critical mass of people is tremendous, and then an equal or greater amount of energy is necessary to control it (see Bosnia, 1992, and Rwanda, 1994).

Clearly, this was not always the case. Following the Russian Revolution, and until the start of the United States' involvement in World War II, the United States was primed for revolution. The buildup of Capital in a very few hands; the creation of an Industrialist Class that wielded privilege as the English nobility had before them; the conditions of near-slavery imposed on the poor in a land that boasted of opportunity: all these things positioned the US for imminent revolution.

Ironically, it was Socialism that saved Capitalism from Communist Revolution. Semi-Socialist reforms – Roosevelt and Taft's trust-busting, the establishment of labor unions, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, etc. (all things that have been decried as improperly interfering in the mysterious workings of the Invisible Hand) – have been key in blunting the greatest excesses of Capitalism, easing the worst of the pain and suffering, making it livable.


* Jean Baudrillard, I believe, in Forget Foucault.
Tags: revolution
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