Previous: Narodniki, part 7

(iii) "Narodnaya Volya" was far removed from the masses


Execution of the members of "Narodnaya Volya", 1881

Narodniks have come to the conclusion of the necessity of terror. The main factors contributing to this were: 1) small effectiveness of agitation among the peasants, 2) repression of the tsarist regime against the agitators. However, 3 things are necessary for a social revolution: 1) a mass movement of the people against the existing institutions, 2) a split of the ruling class into opposing factions, 3) a revolutionary organization. The actions of the narodniks have shown a presence of a revolutionary organization ("Narodnaya Volya"), but without the massive protest movement. For example, when the tsar was killed, the people were shocked; they seized possible regicides and led them to the police stations; they beat the students who looked like they might be terrorists; they were hostile to the 5 members of "Narodnaya Volya" who were led to be executed in 1881.

A revolutionary party, without a mass movement by the people, is not often formed. Much more frequently there is an opposite situation, i.e. a massive movement of the people without a revolutionary party, e.g. "the Orange revolution" in Ukraine in 2004. The art of leading a revolution consists in combining the two opposites, i.e. the mass movement of the people and a revolutionary organization.


September 11, 2001, the second plane crashing into a tower.

Narodniks believed that if the tsar would be killed, the tsarist regime would fall. But this didn't happen. For the terrorist act of 11 September, 2001, the terrorists perhaps also believed that if the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the White House would be destroyed, the power of the Yankees would crumble. But this didn't happen. The people at the epicenter of the events were shocked and scared. The ratings of the conservative party, and specifically of the President of the USA George Bush, have significantly increased. People on the periphery of capitalism were happy but not organized.

A revolution didn't happen because the terrorist organization behind these acts: 1) didn't lead a mass movement; 2) it was ultra conservative in its ideology. 

Arabic protests

"Arab Spring" protests, 2011

10 years after the events of 2001, we have observed "the Arab spring", i.e. massive protest movements in many countries of the Arab world, but first of all in Tunisia, then in Egypt, in Lybia, and in other countries of Africa and the Near East. Here we observed the opposite of what we've seen in 2001. In 2011 there was a mass movement, with little coordination, organization on ad hoc basis, through mobile telephones and social networks, such as Facebook. There was no revolutionary center, no clear program, no appropriate strategy, no significant preparation, which we've seen in the events of 2001. 

If one is to combine the elements of revolutionary organization, such as those we've seen in the terrorist acts of 2001, with a mass protest movement, which we've seen in 2011, then we will get a new great revolution, which will dwarf the Great French revolution of XVIII century, as it will spread to other countries of the world.

Next: Narodniki, part 9

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