The Rhetoric of “Revolution” Dismantled: The Case of Communist Propaganda

Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 4 (10):166-181 (2005)
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Abstract

This paper issues a highly controversial point: is there possible that a concept of ‘revolution’ can legitimize the historical revolutionary action and, if yes, how could this be possible? This debate on revolution is a subsequent part of a larger puzzle: the hermeneutics of the historical fact. Roughly explained, the concept of ‘revolution’ is the major piece of a ’revolutionary rhetoric,’ which generates the interpretation of the historical fact. Samples are offered by means of the concept of ‘revolution’ issued by modern historiography. The case focuses on three main parts: a brief debate on the concept of ‘revolution’ viewed by the apologists of the French Revolution and their adversaries; a critique of Marx’s and Lenin’s ideology of revolution; finally, an illustration of a rhetorical dismantle of ‘revolution’ at hand in Kenneth Burke’s comments on Marxist ‘revolution.’

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