lecture note 3

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13 Dec 2010

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Revolution and Rebellion
I. The Revolutionary Option
II. Case Study: Cuba
III. Revolutionary Decline and the
Rise of NSMs
I. The Revolutionary Option
Revolution: a non-legal, non-democratic or violent overthrow of government that
introduces sweeping changes to a country’s political, economic and social systems.
Revolutionary Appeal: promises of raid and fundamental change, means of ending
colonial/economic dependency, potential solution to poverty and inequality
Factors in a Successful Revolution
Regime in power must lose its legitimacy
Widespread dissatisfaction with the regime in power, including from portions of
middle class and the business community
The military and political capabilities of the revolutionary movement must be
relatively stronger than that of the regime in power
There must be usually a core of firmly committed activists willing to risk their
lives within a larger group of sympathizers
FOCO Theory
Groups of small fast moving revolutionaries that provide a focus for popular discontent
against a regime
Causes of Revolutions
1. Historical Forces: focus on changes in the world economic order that make revolutions
2. Regime Decay: focus on the weaknesses of the outgoing political system and the
factors that caused the state to fall to revolutionary forces.
a) international pressures
b) military defeat (Argentina in 1980’s)
c) economic crisis
d) severe corruption
e) subservience to foreign powers
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