Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Why Agrarian Revolutions are the only successful Revolutions

“revolutions are in their very nature economically and socially retrograde: and this is the reason why, so far, agrarian revolutions alone have been successful.  The French Revolution of 1789 was essentially agrarian, and its land settlement was its most permanent achievement.  The Revolution of 1848 failed in France because it had no agrarian programme, and in Germany and Austria it succeeded only in so far as it was agrarian.  The forces behind the Russian Revolution of 1917 were agrarian and there the victorious agrarian revolution now gradually destroys other conquests incompatibles with its own principles and nature.  The German Revolution of 1918 was essentially urban, and that is why its victory is uncertain and its social achievements are nil.
The masses are invincible whenever they have a clearly defined, feasible aim in view.  The Socialist programme of the industrial labour movement cannot be realized immediately, but agrarian programmes are usually capable of immediate realization.  This accounts for the enormous strength of revolutionary peasantries…
Industrial labour, if by injudicious action it impairs its own productiveness, runs the danger of losing its markets, employments and livelihood.  But the peasant, by seizing the land of the big estates, may increase his own foodstuffs while diminishing the total agricultural production of the country.  He will be the last to suffer hunger.”

-- Lewis Namier (“Agrarian Revolution”, p147-8 in Skyscrapers and Other Essays)

No comments:

Post a Comment