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14 - revolutions IMPROVED.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

14 – Revolution Mali Coup - Flawed but semi-functioning democracy - Coup triggered because military felt they weren’t getting enough resources - Seems to have been a “lieutenants, captains, and sergeants” coup - Demands aren’t coherent – don’t think they have interest in changing regime - Cutting off aid to Mali would hurt normal Malians as much as the military - “guardian” coup Defining revolution - Broad definition o Violent transfer of political power o Insurgency - Narrow definition o Violent transfer of political power AND fundamental social transformation o E.g. French, Russian, Chinese revolutions (restructure social order within societies) - Handelman’s definition o Comprehensive political and socio-economic change 3 Questions: - Why, when, and where do revolutions occur? (conditions) o The ruled revolt & rulers can no longer continue to rule o Driven by poverty and external subversion (not always true) o Class struggle  Marx: revolutionary proletariat  Actual communist revolutions o Relative deprivation  J-curve  Because conditions are improving, people expect them to continue improving but they improvements slow down  gap  It’s not how poor you are, it’s how you view your situation  Tunisians weren’t that badly off, especially compared to others around them (in Africa & Middle East). However, they Tunisians felt that they ought to have better o Looks at changes in resources o Social mobilization o Peasant radicalism o Political rigidity (revolutions occur when regimes refuse to adapt)  Decolonization – power didn’t want to leave  Decaying monarchies  Most monarchies in the Middle East aren’t deeply rooted the culture – some royal families are fairly new (Saudi & Jordan)  Personalistic dictatorships  E.g. Ghaddafi o A challenge from below not enough… state weakness:  Decolonization – became too costly to stay  War  Economic decline  Loss of external support - How do revolutions occur? (processes) o Center  periphery  Russia, Iran  i.e. seize control of capital then expand o Periphery  center  China, Vietnam, Cuba, Taliban  Start where regime is weakest (by mountains, countryside, etc) and build support, guerilla warfare, slowly expand inwardso Mixed  Nicaragua, Libya  Nicaragua: first urban uprising which was beaten down, then retreat into rural w/ guerilla
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