Articles on Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions

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Even when Xi Jinping meets Donald Trump, China seeks to erase history that does not suit the Communist Party’s purpose. Thomas Peter/EPA/AAP

Rewriting history in the People’s Republic of Amnesia and beyond

For China, national amnesia has become a 'state-sponsored sport'. Memories of events deemed sensitive by the state are not just forgotten, they are winnowed out and selectively deleted.
The 1979 Iranian revolution wasn’t purely Islamic but the clerics, led by Ayatollah Khomeini, made it so to consolidate their power. BockoPix/Flickr

Religious backlash loosens clerics’ grip on legacy of 1979 Iranian Revolution

Reformists are calling for the emancipation of religion from a state that's seen to exploit Islam for purposes of political power. This remains the most formidable challenge to Iran’s ruling clergy.
Contemporary politics is no longer able to resist the pressure of economic power. David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

Kidnapped democracy: how can citizens escape?

The financial oligarchies differ from other kidnappers by being silent about their power over institutions and policies – they don't want to alert anyone to what they have done.
In Kyiv in February 2014, riot police line up opposite crosses marking the deaths of protesters. More than 10,000 people have been killed since the Euromaidan protests began in late 2013. Christiaan Triebert/Flickr

Four years after the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine: key gains and losses

For Ukrainians, the legacy of the Euromaidan revolution is decidedly mixed, and for the protesters who waved European Union flags EU membership now looks like a distant dream.
The nation is increasingly defined in terms of threats from outside. It’s the thinking behind Donald Trump’s vow to build a wall to increase security along the border with Mexico. Tony Webster/flickr

Breaking the shackles of the national mindset in a polarised world

The idea that societies equal nation-states, neat containers that can be closed off from outside threats, is powerful. The nationalist paradigm even has a hold over many critics of its politics.
On the streets of Petrograd on July 4, 1917, when troops of the provisional government opened fire on demonstrators. Viktor Bulla/Wikimedia Commons

Conquered city, site of revolutions from above and below

The physical and political space of cities can be shaped from above or below, but few have had more revolutionary changes, first under the tsars, then the communists, than St Petersburg.
‘I am a migrant’ solidarity signs were displayed during the European Parliament debate on immigration and asylum in the Strasbourg plenary. European Parliament/flickr

Crimes of solidarity: liberté, égalité and France’s crisis of fraternité

Fraternity is one of the three pillars of the French Republic, but social solidarity is fraying as citizens are criminalised for acting on their beliefs in the human rights of asylum seekers.
Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings of May 1968 quickly gathered momentum. AAP/EPA/Prefecture de Police Museum

Be realistic – demand the impossible: the legacy of 1968

The protesters who took to the streets of Paris didn't know what they wanted: they just knew what they were against. But they did make us think that maybe there is another, better world.

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