It used to be that the word ‘revolution’ was a term reserved by the left for describing a gigantic surge of energy, the élan vital of the disenfranchised. It was the rising up, the rebellion, the emancipation of the working-class proletariat. The term maintained an ethereal status, used only sparingly to reflect the candour and exceptionalism of the event. There are protests, there are demonstrations, and then there are seismic waves, fundamental changes, the shifting of tectonic plates that – to use the Latin definition of the word – turn around society. These were revolutions; the apotheosis of human dynamism, a critical juncture in the course of human history; the dismantling of the Tsarist or Pahlavi autocracy or the overthrow of the Batista government in Cuba. They produce a chaos that straddles the line between euphoria and menace, unravelling and revealing the contours of a collective human soul. Revolutions are cloudy; partially hiding an uncertain but optimistic future filled with love, creativity and hope.
From Ukraine to Venezuela, the West is turnning popular revolutions into pretexts for interventio