Michael Lind: Is Revolution Coming to the U.S.?

tags: Michael Lind, economics, Arab Spring, 1848, revolution, 1789



Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation.

Will the third revolutionary wave hit the U.S. next? The revolutions in today’s world are getting ever closer to America.

Revolutions tend to occur in waves, triggered by the aftermath of wars, like the world wars, or by revolutions in leading countries, like the French Revolution and the revolutions of 1848. In the last generation, there have been four regional waves of revolution. With the end of the Cold War, communist regimes were swept from power from Eastern Europe to Central Asia, surviving only in a few countries including China, North Korea and Cuba. Unable to justify themselves with the pretense of fighting communism, military dictatorships were swept away in Latin America. Then the Arab Spring triggered a wave of populist if not necessarily democratic revolutions against autocracies in North Africa and the Middle East.

Are we seeing a new wave of revolutionary politics in the heartland of the industrial West? Although governments are not being violently overthrown in Europe, political systems are being destabilized by the rise of anti-system movements opposed to the major establishment parties. In Greece, the leftist Syriza party and the far-right Golden Dawn have sapped power from the political center. The most recent Italian election was dominated by anti-system candidates, including Silvio Berlusconi and the comedian Beppe Grillo....



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