WhatComprises a Revolution?
Theword revolution is perhaps one of the most widely used words in themodern world, marked by a rampant change of systems, processes,policies and the institutional functions. More often than not, theword revolution in the current times is used, not like in the pastperiods where it signified a change of the political system, but tomean the change or even overhaul of any process, including how peoplethink and perceive issues. In other words, this word is currentlyused to often refer to a paradigm shift, which is inevitable in thecurrent times and age, which is marked by massive innovations thatrequire either partial or full overhaul of systems.
Revolutionhas been in existence over the centuries and has been greatlyattributed to the nature of the modern world. In early stages, arevolution is marked by aggressiveness and at times violent pushingof agendas. Most of the past revolutions involved mass action againstthe ruling class, which is perceived to be the regulators andinhibitors of change. This way, a revolution perceives that prior tothe achievement of the desired change, the ruling or rather thepolitical class should be vehemently changed. This is because, in theview of a revolution, the main problem lays with the policy makers(Gross, 1958). As a result of mass action involved in revolutions,some sort of commotion rises between the government and the perceivedchange agents, who in this case are seen as insurgents. This explainswhy deaths and numerous casualties become part and parcel of almostevery other revolution regardless of the civilization and democraticlevel of the nation involved. The people leading in revolutions arenormally taken as law breakers which explain why governments alwaysget a reason to act against them.
Arevolution can be defined as an organized movement whose main aim isto initiate a transformative change in a society or nation, and whichradicalism is one of its key components and characteristic. Often,violence is used. The main motivation of a revolution is change insystems. Most of the revolutions involve the political setup, and assuch, the movements aim at overthrowing the current regime with theirobjective being initiating the required changes in the respectiveinstitutions (Stone, 1966). It can further be defined as the questfor the irresistible change of fundamental institutions with an aimof fully gaining the fulfillment. However, the fulfillment part hasremained quite ambiguous as proper analysis and review of previousrevolutions indicate that the yearned for changes are at all timesnot intended for the overall welfare of the society, with some of therevolutionists having personal interests or scores to settle.
Mostrevolutions are internal. However, depending on the magnitude and thespecific interest, external influence may be witnessed wherebyforeign nations may step in to directly or indirectly assist. Theyalso involve different levels of mass participation and the timetaken. From previous revolutions, it has been seen that while somemovements consist of only a few interested parties, others involve ahigh number of participants with others enjoying wide support fromthe largest portion of the citizenry. The time taken is alsodifferent ranging from same day revolution to one that takes yearsto fulfill the main objective. In light of Carl Marx, a revolution isan important stage for the development of the modern world from onestage to the other (Marx & McLellan, 2000). As such, they formpart of history and are universal. Further, they are a vital part oftransition and therefore inevitable. This has been particularly trueas most of the global changes have been achieved through the use offorce as compared to the employment of diplomatic interventions (Marx& McLellan, 2000). It involves more of demanding for the wantedchange rather than requesting for it. Despite many scholarschallenging the approach due to its short term and long term effectsincluding casualties, death, social instability and the adverseeffects on the economic situation, the approach has previouslyachieved its objectives successfully. However, the main controversysurrounds the most convenient way of achieving change rather thanrevolution, which is again not universally applicable and highlydependent on the school of thoughts subscribed to (Marx &McLellan, 2000).
Thestudy will critically analyze what a revolution comprises and whatshould or should not be considered to be part of a revolution.Further, it will analyze the different types of revolutions in depth,and indicate the reasons as to why those types of revolutions takeplace. Where it is applicable, proper examples will be issued.
• Howdoes a revolution help in achieving desired goals?
• Whichare the types of revolutions?
• Whatfactors cause the specific types of revolutions?
• Wasthe Egyptian revolution really a revolution?
Theissue of revolutions is quite historical and almost impossible to getany relevant information from the world population. As such,second-hand information will be very vital and will be mainly sourcedfrom previous literature. Where applicable, experts’ informationwill be sourced. The study shall also not constraint itself togeographic boundaries.
Revolutionsare classified depending on their nature. Depending on the mainobjective and purpose of the revolution, the type is established.Different scholars have grouped revolutions into many differenttypes. However, they all fall into two general types they are eitherpolitical or social revolutions.
Thisis probably the most common type of revolution in the current times.Just as the lead word suggests, it has a lot to do with a country’spolitical situation. Political revolutions are majorly brought aboutby poor leadership that fails to deliver up to the expected standardsor when the leadership portrays undesirable characteristics thuswarranting the citizenry to yearn for a change of either a part of orall the leaders. Use of dictatorial powers has specifically been oneof the main reasons why numerous revolutions have taken place. Withsome of the political revolutions having come into place due to thelong yearned and overdue political and democratic changes, it shouldbe noted that, the intentions of the political revolutions may vary. Some of the perpetrators of a revolution may have personal intereststo settle, that they deem cannot be implemented by the existingpolitical rulers (Davies, 1962).
Again,the intention may change in the course of a revolution. This probablyexplains to us the reason why the revolutionary groups do not at mosttimes finish the battle together. At some levels, splinter groupsemerge. These groups are usually after achieving their own interests.When this happens, there seem to be divisions among the revolutionarygroups, which causes the parties involved fight amongst themselves.Various scholars have debated on whether a military coup falls undera political revolution. While some accept it as a form of revolution,most scholars have dismissed it. According to them, a coup d’étatdoes not fall under the category of a revolution (Marx &McLellan, 2000). Despite the fact that a political revolution attimes engages in civil disobedience as part of its strategies, amilitary coup follows totally unconstitutional avenues to clinchpower, and more often than not, personal political interests form thecore motivation.
Politicalrevolutions occur sometime after new social and economic developmentshave taken place in a country and changes have already occurred.However, the revolutions take place if the political rulers inexistence are seen as holding back and preventing furthertransformations, or when the changes are seen to be moving at arather slow pace. In this case, the political class is viewed as onewhich is unable to effectively and efficiently spearhead the neededchanges, thus calling for a need for a revolution.
Apolitical revolution takes place with the perception that a regimechange will help to ensure that the changes are speeded up and thatit is assisted to its final stage. The reasons for a politicalrevolution are not always pegged on a political situation in as muchas the changes can be speeded up or slowed down by the existingpolitical regime. The major causes of the revolution are the socialand economic changes (Todd, 1998). However, there must be inexistence of a suitable policy that enables the quick implementationof the changes, and which squarely lie in the legislations in placeand that is how the existing political regime is pulled into theissue.
Inthis kind of a revolution, there is no aim of transferring propertyand wealth from a social group to the next. In fact, most of thesupporters and even financiers of the revolutions have enough wealthfor themselves and all they yearn for is change. More often, thiskind of a revolution is spearheaded by individuals who are wealthyenough to fund the movement, but in most of the cases, it is led by anation’s opposition party. Most of these revolutions come intoeffect following continued monitoring of the government’sperformance and willingness to implement the desired changes.
Animportant characteristic and a point to note about a politicalrevolution is that it tends to be bloodless. This means that there isless combativeness and does not involve armed resistance. This aspecthas remained controversial amongst most scholars, with some disputingit (Fred, 1999). However, going by this characteristic of a politicalrevolution, we arrive at the reason why coup d’état is disputed asnot being part of a political revolution. A military coup coulddiffer in intention. With some of them being aimed at realizing thedesired goal and changes, others are perpetrated with selfishinterest.
Socialrevolutions are mainly put in place with an aim of transferringcertain social and economic powers and assets from a social group tothe other. Status quo and social status may also be a motivatingfactor to social revolutions. Unlike in a political revolution, asocial revolution tends to be more violent, and at times may involvebloodshed and deaths among other casualties. Again, what starts as apolitical revolution may turn around to become a social revolution ifpersonal interests grow during the process. Here, violence is likelyto emerge and mainly involving two or more revolutionary groups(Ness, 2009).
Themain cause of a social revolution is the stagnation of certaineconomic or social systems. In the process of redeeming thesituation, a revolution is put in place. Unlike in a politicalrevolution where most of the perpetrators have already amassed enoughwealth for themselves, a social revolution may involve people of alower social and economic status and whose aim might be to getavenues to amass wealth and property for themselves rather thancreation of policies that promote the acquisition of wealth as ithappens in political revolutions (Enterline, 1998). They aremotivated by social status, with or without the input of the existingpolitical rulers and regime.
Viewof the Egyptian Revolution
Unlikea communist revolution which may fall either under political orsocial revolution, the Egyptian revolution which took place from the25th day of January 2011 is purely a political revolution. Amongcomplaints by the citizenry was electoral offenses and violation ofdemocracy by the then president Hosni Mubarak. The vices in thecountry had been caused by what the citizens termed as poorleadership by the president and his team and therefore, the desiredchanges in Egypt were those of the political institutions. Apart froma few instances, the revolution was bloodless in the exception fromwhat would be termed as the perpetration of extrajudicial killings bythe country’s security forces. The revolution was marked by riots,peaceful demonstrations and minimal violation of the civic laws ofEgypt. However, most of the tactics used were legal and enshrined inthe constitution.
Revolutionscome as a result of different factors. Particularly, it is the causeof the revolution that determines whether it will be political orsocial. The cause of the revolution may also differ in terms of thepeople affected and the numbers. For instance, a cause may touch onalmost the entire population or on just a few people. Again, it maytouch on general or specific categories of people such as when arevolution is caused by the effect on peasants or the businesscommunity (Boudon, 2013). The specific cause determines the nextaction, thus the type of revolution. It is again the cause, whichwill determine if there is a likelihood of the type of revolutionchanging in between the activity or whether it will progress in thesame type to the end.
Mostof the political revolutions come about as a result of poor stateperformance. The state performance is gauged in various parameterssuch as social welfare, economic performance and the extent ofdemocratic performance of the government. Various groups such asopposition parties and human rights groups amongst other closelymonitor and evaluate the performance of the government. If theperformance is minimal, there is a likelihood of a revolution whichat most instances starts as a call for the removal of the governmentor for particular key institutions within the government (Maoz,1996). If the government is deemed to have failed, the current lot inthat government or the specific institutions is considered beingineffective in implementing their mandate and thus, a change isinevitable if any progress is to be noted. The calls for thedissolution or change of key individuals or institutions form theprimary foundation of a revolution. As it normally happens, thereexist specific laws and regulations on how such institutions can bechanged in regards to that nation’s specific constitution. Theprocesses are normally lengthy and bureaucratic, and as such, it isconsidered that the government is unwilling or reluctant to implementthe wanted changes which may be closely followed by public out roar.The public demand then results to peaceful demonstrations within ashort while or committing of certain civil disobediences which formthe next segment in the revolutionary process.
Inevaluating the performance of the government, legitimacy is one ofthe factors that have contributed to revolutions globally. Thelegitimacy of a government or state does not only refer to the powergiven to the state by the people through the practice of theirdemocratic rights, but also measured through the extent ofaccountability of the government to the citizens. A government thatis not accountable in terms of citizens’ security, rights, andfinancial accounts is considered to a democratically institutedgovernment but that is illegitimate (Foran, 1993). A government isexpected to be accountable in term of the state’s resourcesincluding the revenues and which is acquired from the citizensthrough taxation. It should also be answerable in case any complaintsof corrupt deals is raised and take the most necessary actions inresponse to the scandals and crises (Shahin, 2012).
Arevolution may also be caused by the fall of the old order. Thisrefers to a situation where the court leadership is considered to bevery weak. The fall of the old order may be dictated by the stateperformance. If the situation deteriorates, then the state leadershipis perceived to be extremely weak and therefore not worth being inleadership. This situation leads to a revolution and at its worst, toa coup. A weak leadership is seen as having lost grip of its powerand influence and in this situation, the citizens may opt to do arevolution with an aim of pushing the existing regime out or for thereplacement of the leadership of the failed institutions if at allnot the entire system that is perceived to be weak.
Thesocial and economic status may be used as a parameter to measure theperformance of a state. The economic situation is measured usingaspects such as the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), theamount of public debt, poverty levels and inflation rates within theeconomy (Davies, 1962). The social status may also be determinedthrough the poverty level as well as other aspects such asunderrepresentation of certain groups in the population. The socialand economic situation affects the citizens across all the social andeconomic levels, and as such, it can result to either of the types ofrevolutions (Buechler, 2016). The system of government and loopholesin national policies and particularly the constitution is yet anothermajor cause of revolutions. In a number of states, the system ofgovernance and especially dictatorial regimes has resulted torevolutions.
Socialrevolutions are highly determined by the extent to which groups areunited. Social revolutions are normally spearheaded by groups thathave common interests (Buechler, 2016). The groups may include thoseof workers, religious groups, peasants, the business community orethnical groups among others. Their unity serves as a reckoning forcethat ought to be carefully looked at. If a popular and united groupopts to solely look into their plight, then there is a highlikelihood of a social revolution taking place (Davies, 1962).
Thereare many types of revolutions such as industrial, sexual,socioeconomic, and political some of which have been discussed inthis dissertation. A political revolution is a fundamentaltransformation in policy and organizational constitutions that takeplace within a short span of time when the citizens rebels againstthe government in power (Ghannam, 2012). Aristotle argued that thereare two types of political revolutions the complete change of thegovernment and formation of a new one and modification of theexisting constitution to meet the public’s interests. The currentliterature review will focus on analyzing the 2011 Egyptianrevolution using various theories.
Revolutionhas been a significant fact in shaping most of the today’sinstitutions. The 18thcentury French Revolution, which overthrew the monarchy and tried toalter the social set up of the society, made people believe thatviolence was necessary for transformation to occur (Goldstone,1980).There are many definitions of the word revolution. However, thegeneral meaning of the word revolution is a movement, often vicious,with an aim of overthrowing the old regime and implementing acomplete transformation in the essential institutions in the society(Shahin,2012).There are many types of revolutions such as industrial, sexual,socioeconomic, and political. A political revolution is afundamental transformation in policy and organizational constitutionsthat take place within a short span of time when the citizens rebelsagainst the government in power (Ghannam, 2012). The currentliterature review will focus on explaining the various theories ofrevolution and analyzing the 2011 Egyptian revolution using thevarious theories.
Therehave been various debates about what does or does not make arevolution. Early commentators analyzed cataclysmic events from apsychological perspective. However, the modern scholars define andexplain a revolution by incorporating several perspectives such aspolitical, social sciences, sociology and psychological views(Goldstone,1980).Both ancient and contemporary scholars have generated many competingtheories which have contributed to the current understanding of thecauses of revolutions. The theories revolve around the factors thatforce people to rise against the ruling administrations and somescholars such as Aristotle suggest some strategies that can preventrevolutions.
Karl Marx Theory of Revolution
According to Draper(1986), Karl Marx is one of the ancient scholars who made asignificant contribution to the topic of revolution. According toKarl, Marx people rebel because of capitalism that creates inequalityand deep gaps between the poor and the rich. In an industrialsociety, the business people (bourgeoisie) own the means ofproduction with one primary goal making profits (Draper, 1986). Onthe other hand, the working class (proletariat) works for thebourgeoisie or the public sector and labor for wages. Marx viewed thecapitalist system to be intrinsically unfair. Marx argued that such asystem would make the poor people poorer widening the gap betweensocial classes (Draper, 1986).
Moreover,a capitalist government would implement policies that would ensurethey remained in power and at the same time help the bourgeoisiecontinue controlling the means of production (Draper, 1986). Such agovernment would fail to recognize and address the genuine problemsaffecting the citizens and concentrate on matters that emphasizecapitalism. As a result, the working class would get fed up with thegoverning system and form a movement to fight for their rights (Marx& McLellan, 2000).Such social movements aim either to reform the administrative systemor completely get rid of it and establish a new government that wouldfocus on equality and fair distribution of resources.
Accordingto Marx’s theory, a capitalist system is only focused on making asmuch profit as possible for the bourgeoisies. Therefore, thecompanies would implement strategies to cut the cost of productionsuch as reducing the number of employees. Such strategies wouldcreate a reserve army of the poor and the unemployed making thesituation of the working class worse (Marx& McLellan, 2000).Marx& McLellan (2000) further notes that,as the wealthy accumulated a mass of wealth, the unemployed and pooraccumulated a mass of misery. Technological advancement would lead tomachinery replacing man work meaning more and more people would losetheir jobs and join the pool of the unemployed. According to Draper(1986), Marx explained that the high rates of unemployment would makethe working class feel alienated and isolated from the society.Isolation, in this case, means that the workers would become moredistanced from their work making them feel incapable. Therefore, toget rid of a capitalist system and create a system that would ensureequality, the workers had to rebel against the government and theirbosses (Marx& McLellan, 2000).
Hannah Arendt’s Theory (pursuit of happiness)
Accordingto Arendt (1963), people revolt to seek happiness and freedom fromoppression. According to her, brutal actions from individuals whohunt for autonomy should be perceived as brave because they searchfor contentment and satisfaction. According to this theory, peoplewho are oppressed or their rights are violated should stand up andfight for their happiness. Otherwise, the failure to use force andviolence means that they will continue being unhappy and deprived oftheir rights (Arendt, 1963). Arendt argues that freedom is onlyachieved by people who have needs to be fulfilled. Additionally, shepoints out that as violence increases in a revolution, peoplerebelling realize more happiness because their grievances are heard.
Inher theory, Arendt makes an effort to differentiate betweenliberation and freedom. According to Arendt (1963), liberation is theact of getting unshackled from an oppressive ruling system whilefreedom is the ability to take part in public life such as throughexercising the right of expression, freedom of religion, the right toa peaceful assembly among others. Therefore, when people lack eitherliberation or freedom, they tend to rebel to fight for their rights(Arendt, 1963). Arendt argues in a capitalist economy the governingsystem does not respect people`s rights hence, can be termed asauthoritative and oppressive. Under such an administrative system,the people are denied their freedom and liberty, and consequently,they rebel against the government to achieve their happiness, whichis liberation and autonomy (Arendt, 1963).
Aristotle’ Theories of Revolution
Aristotleis another scholar who shed more light on the causes and methods toprevent revolution. Aristotle carried out a study of more than 150constitutions and came up with an in-depth and extensive explanationabout the causes of revolution (Buechler,2016).From his study, Aristotle came up with a broad meaning of the wordrevolution which he further divided into two. The first meaning ofthe word revolution according to Aristotle is any significant changein the constitution of the administration in power (Buechler,2016).Secondly, Aristotle considered revolution as a transformation in theform of leadership without changing or overthrowing the entiregovernment. Aristotle also argued that a revolution can be eitherpolitical or social but in any case, it affects a particularinstitution.
Accordingto Mondal (2016), Aristotle argues that the general cause as to whypeople rebel is the failure of the government to maintain politicalorder and ensure equitable distribution of property. Unfairallocation of resources creates inequality, which is the cause ofupheaval. Aristotle argues that when the people in power becomegreedy and drunk with power, they establish policies that favor themand the rich at the expense of the poor, who are the majority(Mondal, 2016). Such an administration does not pay any interest tothe actual grievances of the citizens creating a revolutionaryclimate. Additionally, an authoritarian government creates a deepdivide between itself and the people. With time, people get fed upwith the corrupt public officials and rise to fight for their rights(Mondal, 2016).
Aristotlealso points out that a revolution can be caused by disparitiesbetween the state and the society. When the constitution is biased,it leads to a very powerful state but a weak society creating a widegap between the two (Boudon,2013).The work of the law is to ensure there is a balance between thesocial and economic forces. If the balance is disrupted, theconstitution faces various challenges and may end up being modifiedor wiped out entirely. For instance, if the level of povertycontinues going up and the number of poor people keeps on increasing,it reflects an imbalance between social and economic forces (Boudon,2013).Therefore, the constitution is rendered biased and may end up beingdestroyed through revolutions. Similarly, if the wealthy elites inthe government continue being richer, the gap between them and thehave-nots will widen. As argued earlier by Karl Marx, the widening ofthe gap between the poor and the rich is the primary cause of arevolution (Ciezadlo, 2011). Aristotle therefore, argued that one wayto prevent a revolution is to ensure that the constitution maintainsa balance between the social and economic forces, by ensuring the gapbetween social classes is not overly broad.
Robert Gurr’s Theories On The Reasons People Revolt
Gurrdefines revolution as an exceptionally planned political violencewith widespread popular partaking, aimed at overthrowing thegovernment or disbanding the state (Gurr, 1970). Initially, the 2011Egyptian protests were neither well organized nor popular. However,the growing violence over the Mubarak’s bad leadership and failuresattracted thousands of protesters who with time gained a high levelof organization. One of the Gurr’s theories on revolution is knownas the hypothesis of relative deprivation. The theory suggests thatthere exists an apparent inconsistency between value prospects andvalue aptitude which are associated with the precondition of upheaval(Gurr,2015).According to Gurr, it is not only the actual deficiency of resourcesthat can lead to a rebellion but also the discernment of deficiencytoo (2015). Gurr agrees with Marx`s theory that there is a need forlaborers (proletariat) to rebel against the (bourgeoisie), the peoplewho control all production methods to fight deprivation.
Theoreticalanalysis of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution
The2011 Egyptian Revolution
Throughouthistory, the world has encountered several rebellions causing thedefeat and modification of institutions at both the state and globallevels. The Egyptian revolution was considered exceptional comprisinga sequence of demonstrations, riots, and strikes which run foreighteen days. The protestors came from various socio-economic andreligious demanding Mubarak to step down because of his badleadership. According to Shahin(2012), the 2011 Egyptian revolution was characterized by violentclashes between law enforcement officers and the various grouprioting resulting in the destruction of property and loss of humanlife. Atthe end of the rebellion, Mubarak was forced out of power despitehaving established dictatorial leadership structures during his30-year regime. Despite the fact that many people perceived therevolution as a political movement it was, in fact, a socialrevolution in its features and results (Ghannam, 2012). Many of thescholars agree that political oppression, unequal distribution ofresources and corruption are some of the factors that cause a socialmovement.
Accordingto Amin (2011), high level of corruption, dictatorship, abuse ofhuman rights and religious tensions are some of the factors thatcontributed to the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. The protesters demandedtheir rights and equal treatment before the law. Issues such aspolice use of force, high rates of unemployment, low wages andinflation of food prices also fueled the revolution. The protestorshoped that the removal of Mubarak and his regime would allow thepublic participate in national dialogues about management of Egyptianresources and most important end police brutality and ensure equaltreatment before the law.
Thefact that the Tunisian people had succeeded in their rebellion seemedto have given the Egyptian people the courage to rise against thedictatorship of Hosni Mubarak and his regime. According to Anderson(2011), Egypt was mature for a rebellion, and remarkable change wasinevitable even if the Tunisian people had not succeeded in theirrevolt. From the various theories of revolution, the 2011 Egyptianrevolt was inevitable because the population had been fed up with thefailures of their government.
Analysisof the 2011 Egyptian revolution based on Karl Marx theory
KarlMarx’s theory of capitalism and isolation is relevant in the 2011Egyptian revolution. One of the policies that Mubarak relied on wasbased on capitalism. According to Haass(2011), theprimary aim of the policy was to ensure more profit was continuouslypumped into the pockets of the few capitalists while the majorityremained weak and dependent. The government ensured the majorityremained poor and helpless so that they could buy their loyalty bygiving them food subsidies (Ciezadlo,2011). However, the disparity between the rich and the poor, who werethe majority, became big, and the later felt isolated and devalued intheir motherland. Just as Marx argues in his theory, this factorpropelled the poor to stand up and fight for equality. From Marx`spoint of view, the poor Egyptians were left with no option but toform a social movement to challenge Mubarak and his autocraticgovernment to create a new one that would ensure impartiality andfair distribution of the country`s resources (Ciezadlo, 2011).
Itis clear that capitalism is the main cause of the 2011 Egyptianrevolution. The Mubarak family and his colleagues in the governmentfailed to maintain public order and resulted in using forces toFrighten the citizens not to challenge their mode of governance(Haass, 2011). However, as Marx explains, in a capitalist economy, itreaches a point where the poor get fed up with the government anduses violence to remove it from power. Karl Marx seems to explainwhat led to the 2011 Egyptian revolution (Anderson, 2011 Lesch,2011).Therefore, it can be concluded that based on Karl Marx’s theory,the 2011 Egyptian clashes that removed Mubarak from power was arevolution and not just a social movement.
Egyptianrevolution in relation to Arendt’s theory
Arendt`stheory of pursuit for happiness plays a major role in enhancing thecomprehension of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. As explained earlier,Arendt argued that a capitalist government does not respect people`srights. There is enough evidence from various studies that theMubarak government violated people`s rights and was oppressive(Goldstone, 2011). Therefore, the Egyptians were forced to rise andfight for their liberty and freedom to participate in public life.The people were demanding for their rights to expression, worship andparticipation in building the nation. However, Mubarak and the othergovernment leaders were adamant in addressing the complaints from thepublic and focused on amassing wealth at the expense of the citizens(Goldstone, 2011).
Whenpeople started challenging the system of governance, Mubarakimplemented a policy to maintain a ruthless police force that wouldcrush any political and social challenges posed to the government’sdomination of power and most importantly, protect the capitalistcontrol of wealth. According to Joya (2011), the Egyptian people wereambushed and were instilled with fear by ruthless police officers todiscourage them from challenging the government tyrannical and badleadership. During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the level ofviolence and the number of protestors increased as the daysprogressed. According to Arendt’s theory, the increasing level ofviolence ensured the protestors’ grievances were heard since theyforcibly removed Mubarak out of power (Pace& Cavatorta, 2012).The people’s happiness was to remove an oppressive government andform a new one that would meet their needs. From Arendt’s point ofview, it can be concluded that the 2011 Egyptian wrangles constitutea revolution because people’s lack of liberty and freedom forcedthem to rebel against the government.
Explanationof the 2011 Egyptian revolution based on Aristotle’s theory
Fromthe second definition of rebellion by Aristotle, it can be said thatthe 2011 Egyptian fights qualify to be referred to as a revolution.During the Egyptian 2011 disputes, the ruling power led by Mubarakwas demolished, and various changes in the constitution followedmaking the whole process a revolution as Aristotle argues in histheory. During Mubarak`s reign, the state became very powerful butthe society became weak creating a wide gap between the constitutionand the state (Berman,2003).The law no longer protected the people and hence failed to maintainthe balance between the social and economic forces. As a result, therich people in the government continued accumulating a mass of wealthwhile the poor continued getting weaker. Consequently, the Egyptianpeople were dissatisfied with their constitution hence rebelledagainst the government to demolish it. Aristotle could have arguedthat the Egyptian constitution was biased and favored the rich at theexpense of the poor, and this is the reason why the citizens foughtto destroy it.
Accordingto Ciezadlo (2011 Fahmy,2012),Mubarak`s materialism and high level of corruption were some of thecauses of the Egyptian revolution. From Aristotle`s point of view, itcan be argued that Mubarak and his regime failed to maintain goodpolitics and focus on addressing its people`s complaints. The Mubarakgovernment focused on remaining in power and assisting the richpeople to continue controlling means of production (Pace& Cavatorta, 2012).The government was made up of corrupt official Mubarak himselfincluded. Therefore, when people complained of evils such ascorruption and embezzlement of public funds, Mubarak did nothingabout it. The government failed to address issues to do with highrates of unemployment, lack of basic commodities such as food,unequal distribution of resources and this fueled anger among thecitizens (Amin, 2011). Instead of addressing the public’scomplaints, Mubarak adopted and enforced policies to protect hisgovernment and his rich fellows.
Aristotlepoints out that high level of corruption and people’sdissatisfaction with the system of governance can cause a revolution(Berman,2003).From Aristotle’s point of view, it can be argued that Mubarak’sfailure to ensure equality and address issues of corruption amongothers complaints raised by the people forced them to rise againsthim and his regime. The 2011 fights in Egypt did not only removeMubarak and his government from power but also caused significantchanges in the constitution to ensure it was based on equality andfocused on achieving the well-being of all the Egyptians and not justa few rich people (Lesch,2011).Starting from Aristotle’s definition of revolution and explanationof the factors that cause the phenomenon, it can be concluded thatthe 2011 Egyptian’s citizen-state fights make up a revolution.
Examinationof the 2011 Egyptian revolution from Gurr’s perspective
Gurr’stheories on ‘why men rebel’ are based on the idea of relativedeprivation. Relative deprivation (RD) can be described as stressbetween a person’s real state and what one desires to achieve(Gurr, 1970). In simple terms, RD can be said to be the discrepancybetween the actual and preferred abilities. According to Gurr, themagnitude and intensity of RD are the primary determinants ofaggressive behavior in a person. Gurr explains that it is normal fora person to aspire beyond social means but such as aspirations resultto frustrations and anger because they are never achieved. Gurrutilized this ideas of RD to come with a theory explaining the reasonwhy men rebel. He points out the force and scope of RD can forcepeople to engage in collective violence to express their frustration.Gurr argues that though greed is a primary cause of violencefrustration is a stronger motivating factor for aggressive behaviorin human beings. From Gurr’s point of view, the scope and intensityof RD forced the Egyptian people to come together and express theirfrustrations in the form of violence, riots, and strikes.
Thesecond Gurr’s theory of deficit explains one of the primary causesof the 2011 Egyptian revolution. This theory argues that thediscrepancy between the poor and the rich motivates the former torise up against the latter. According to Joya (2011), the disparitybetween the wealthy and the have-nots in Egypt is one of the reasonsfor the 2011 revolution. Research by Goldstone (2011) shows thatMubarak’s kin and his friends accumulated riches worth over $68billion. Mubarak also used the country`s resources to enrich hisclosest friends. Ironically, during the same time, it was estimatedthat over two million Egyptians lived below the poverty line. Asinflation, corruption and unemployment increased, the gap between therichest and poorest in Egypt continued widening.
FromGurr`s point of view, the discrepancy and deprivation of resourcesand wealth among the majority in Egypt led to the 2011 revolution.Therefore, the people of Egypt rebelled against the government toensure the formation of a new administration that would guaranteeequitable allocation of resources to close the gap between the richand the poor. Despite the fact that the 2011 Egyptian revolution wasnot a highly organized movement as per Gurr`s definition, it gainedmomentum and support as the days progressed. By the end of the 18thday,the movement had achieved its aim, which was to overthrow Mubarak andhis regime(Goldstone, 2011 Fahmy,2012).Therefore, it can be concluded that from Gurr’s theory, the 2011Egyptian events constitutes a revolution.
CriticalView of the Egyptian Revolution
Criticallylooking at the various theories of revolution and their explanationto the occurrence of the Egyptian revolution, a few issues have beenraised. Whether or not the revolution was caused by the incompetenceof the government or unhappy population, it’s clear that Egypt waslong due for a change. The Arab uprising that started in 2010 playeda significant role in instigating the need for an overhaul in theleadership of the country (Korotayev& Zinkina, 2011).By the time the revolution was taking place social media had fueledhate against Mubarak’s administration (Eltantawy& Wiest, 2011).The people of Egypt had for over 30 years put up with economic andsocial oppression. There is no way they could have missed thisopportunity to get the much-needed change. As expected, the powerfulMubarak’s government did s much as it could to stop the opposition.Despite the force that was used by the police and the military, thepeople of Egypt were not ready to relent (Amin, 2011).
Theoccurrence of the Arab uprising was no doubt a contagious affair.From Tunisia to Egypt, Yemen to Libya, the Middle East was alreadyburning with desire to change. The change that was realized in thesecountries came with a cost. The turmoil left a trail of blood thatusually led to international involvement in the affairs of thesecountries. Although the Egyptian revolution was realized within 18days, the role of international or foreign participation was alwaysraised (Meraz& Papacharissi, 2013).
Arevolution is usually considered an internal affair of a country. Inthe case of the Egyptian revolution, foreign forces were accused offueling and meddling in the affairs of the Egyptian people. Theinternational community utilized the power of the social media tocriticize the already troubled leadership of Hosni Mubarak (Korotayev& Zinkina, 2011).On the other hand, the government worked towards stoppage ofcommunication through internet censorship. This did not seem to work,as there emerged a group of hactivists who worked around the clock tooffer alternative internet communication to the already chargedEgyptians (Eltantawy& Wiest, 2011 Harlow & Johnson, 2011 Allagui & Kuebler,2011).While the aggressors were asking for President Mubarak to resign, theinternational community was reluctant to this decision (Eltantawy& Wiest, 2011).The resignation of Mubarak would leave a power vacuum which theyfeared would destabilize Egypt, and more so the entire Middle East(Amin, 2011). Other leaders in the region did not abandon Mubarak asthey ensured his support regardless. The meddling by the west waswidely taken by the leaders as an incitement and having a hiddenagenda. For obvious reasons, the population was not interested withthis gimmick and remained on course to their mission.
Theincidences occurring in the Egyptian revolt clearly demonstrate anation thirsty for change. Whereas most of the focus by the citizenswas on domestic issues like poverty and oppression by the authority,most observers concentrated on the impact of change to foreignrelations (Meraz& Papacharissi, 2013 Aouragh & Alexander, 2011).When Mubarak stepped down and left the military in control, foreignpowers were worried about the unforeseeable change in thelong-standing policies. Among the worries included change inpolitical-military alignment of Egypt with the United States as wellas the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace agreement which were accepted by theEgypt leaders even though they remained unpopular with the Egyptcitizenry (Amin, 2011).
TheEgyptian revolution was a component of several factors as explainedby the various theories of the causes of a revolution. From thesetheories discussed beforehand, the Egyptian revolution is adequatelyexplained although they do not individually address the underlyingaspects of this revolution. In essence, there is no a single theorythat can explains the occurrence of the Egyptian revolution as itwere. This paper concludes that to fully explain the occurrence ofthe Egyptian revolution or more so the occurrence of modern dayrevolutions there is a need to integrate these theories into onemain theory. Considerations must also be made to external influencesof the desire to change for instance the role played by social media,regional politics as well as international interests.
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