Revolutions as disasters of misconceived political projects of social mutations
PDF (English)

Słowa kluczowe

radical idealism
social revolutions
Thoreauvian’s heuristic
non‑violent revolutions

Jak cytować

Mamali , C. (2021). Revolutions as disasters of misconceived political projects of social mutations. Filozofia Publiczna I Edukacja Demokratyczna, 10(1), 1–42.


The study reviews the book You say you want a revolution? Radical idealism and its tragic consequences by D. Chirot (Prince­ton, Princeton University Press, 2020) and, at the same time, ad­vances a viewpoint on social revolutions based on Thoreau’s im­perative of the separation from evil. Why most social revolutions have dangerous and painful consequences while their promoters claim that the revolution will alleviate human suffering and will bring happiness? The study identifies more sources of the tragic consequences of revolutions than the radical idealism as suggest­ed by Chirot. In contrast with the ideological, structural and in­dividual violence of communist revolutions shaped by Marxist conception the study explores the value of Thoreauvian’s heuristic for the achievement of peaceful, non‑violent revolutionary changes. Self‑reliance i is assumed to be a vital engine of peaceful revolution­ary changes.
PDF (English)


Arendt H., On revolutions, The Viking Press, New York 1963.

Avineri S., “After the fall of communism. Capitalism has not won, socialism is not dead”, Dissent 1992, Winter.

Benayoun Y., Régnauld I., Technologies partout, dćmocratie nulle part. Plaidoyer pour que les choix technolgiques deviennent l’affaire de tous, FYP Éditions, France 2020.

Berdeli E. “Nina Cassian, către Ceauşescu”, Confidential Press 2018, November 27.

Brzechczyn K., “On courage of actions and cowardice of thinking. Leszek Nowak on the provincialism of the political thought of Solidarność”, in: K. Brzechczyn, K. Paprzycka (eds.), Thinking about provincialism in thinking (Poznań studies in the philosophy of sciences and the humanities), Vol. 100, Rodopi, Amsterdam 2012, pp. 217–234. DOI:

Cassian N., Memoira ca zestre. Colecţia Tango, Bucureşti 2010.

Chang J., Halliday J., Mao: The unknown story, Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2005.

Charter 77, The Times of London, January 7, 1977.

Chirot D., Modern tyrants. The power and prevalence of evil in our age, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1994.

Chirot D., You say you want a revolution? Radical idealism and its tragic consequences, Princeton University Press, Princeton 2020. DOI:

Christie R., Geiss F.L., Studies in Machiavellianism, Academic Press, New York 1970. DOI:

Damasio A., The strange order of things: Life, feeling and the making of cultures, Pantheon Books, New York 2018.

Franklin B., “The Examination of Doctor Benjamin Franklin by the August Assembly, relating to the Repeal of the STAMP ACT, &c”7, in: idem, Writings, Vol. 13, 1757–1775, The Library of America, New York 1987, pp. 129–159.

Galtung J., Johan fără ţară: Străbătând lumea pe drumul păcii, Tiparg, Piteşti 2015.

Gan H., “Chinese Education Tradition – The Imperial Examination System in Feudal China”, Journal of Management and Social Sciences 2008, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 115–133.

Gandhi M., An autobiography. The story of my experiments with truth, Beacon Press, Boston 1957.

Gandhi M., Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, The Publication Division, Ministry of Education and Broadcasting, Government of India, Delhi 1958.

Gandhi M., Non violence in peace and war, vol. I–II, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad 1948/1949.

Gardner H., A Synthesizing Mind. A Memoir from the Creator of Multiple Intelligences Theory, The MIT Press, Cambridge 2020. DOI:

Gardner H., The synthesizing mind in politics and diplomacy, 2021, [accessed: 23.07.2021].

Gőçek F.M., Denial of violence: Ottoman past, Turkish present, and collective violence against the Armenians, 1789–2009, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2015.

Havel V., “After the velvet, an existential revolution? Interview with V. Havel by A. Michnik”, Gazeta Wyborcza 2008, November 20.

Havel V., Living in truth. Twenty two essays published with the occasion of the award of the Erasmus Prize to Václav Havel, edited by J. Vladislav, Faber and Faber, London 1986.

Havel V., The power of the powerless, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., Armonk 1985.

Hobsbawm E., “Introduction”, in: The Communist Manifesto. A modern edition. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Verso, London 1998, pp. 1–31.

Hobsbawm E., On history, Abacus, London 1997.

Huntington S., “Democracy third wave”, Journal of Democracy 1991, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 12–34. DOI:

Ihrig S., Justifying genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler, Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2016. DOI:

Kennedy J.F., Address on the first anniversary of the foreign aid program for Latin America, Alliance for Progress, 1962, March 13, Speech’s text (Digital Identifier: JFKPOF–037–026) [accessed: 23.07.2021].

Kévorkian R.H., Le génocide des Arméniens, Odile Jacob, Paris 2006.

Kévorkian R.H., “The final phase: The cleansing of Armenian and Greek survivors, 1919–1922”, in: S.H. Astourian, R.H. Kévorkian (eds.), Collective and state violence in Turkey: The construction of a national identity from empire to nation state, Berghahn Books, New York Oxford 2020, pp. 147–173. DOI:

Kévorkian R.H., Paboudjian P.B., Les armeniens dans l’Empire ottoman a la veille du genocide, ARHIS, Paris 1992.

Kołakowski L., Main currents of Marxism. Vol 1: The founders, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1978.

Kołakowski L., “The Marxist roots of Stalinism, first English publication in Stalinism: Essays in historical interpretation, in: idem, Is God happy? Selected essays, Introduction by A. Kołakowska, Basic Books, New York 2012.

Kornai J., The socialist system: The political economy of communism, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1992. DOI:

Krapfl J., “The sacred and the Velvet Revolution”, KOSMAS: Czechoslovak and Central European Journal 1999, Vol. 14(2), pp. 51– 64.

Li J., Confucian self cultivation: A developmental perspective, University of Zurich, Zurich 2017.

Li J., Cultural foundations of learning: East and West, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2012. DOI:

Lind G., “Moral judgment competency and education in democratic society”, in: P. Weingartner, G. Zecha (eds.), Conscience: An interdisciplinary view, Reidel, Dordrecht 1985.

Malia M., Russia under Western eyes: From the bronze horseman to the Lenin mausoleum, The Belknap of Harvard University Press, Cambridge1999. DOI:

Mamali C., “A test for the collective memory: The 1965 proletcultist trial of the students from Bucharest University”, Observator Cultural 2015, No. 785.

Mamali C., “Interview with Daniel Chirot”, Psihologia Socială 2010, No. 26(II), pp. 132–151.

Mamali C., The Gandhian mode of becoming, Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad 1998.

Mandela N., Conversations with myself, Picador, New York 2011.

Mandela N., Long walk to freedom. The autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Little, Brown & Company, New York 1994.

Marx K., Engels F., “Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League”, in: R.C. Tucker (ed.), Marx Engels reader, Norton, New York, 1972, pp. 205–511.

Mitrany D., Marx against the peasant, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 1951.

Montgomery S.L., Chirot D., The shape of the new: Four big ideas and how they made the modern world, Princeton University Press, Princeton 2015. DOI:

Nowak L., “Cena braku perspektywy”, in: idem, Polska droga od socjalizmu. Pisma polityczne 1980–1989, K. Brzechczyn (ed.), Poznań 2011, pp. 250–253.

Olson M., The rise and declines of nations; Economic growth, stagflation, and social rigidities, Yale University Press, New Haven 1982.

Patočka J., Heretical essays in the philosophy of history, edited by J. Dodd, translated by J. Kohák Open Court, Chicago–La Salle 1975/1996.

Patočka J., La surcivilization et son conflict, in: idem, Liberté et sacrifice. Ecrits politiques, translated by E. Abrams, Millon, Grenoble 1990.

Petrescu D., Entangled revolutions. The breakdown o the communist regimes in East Central Europe, Editura Enciclopedică, Bucureşti 2014.

Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, signed on June 3, 2008, [accessed: 23.07.2021].

Sade, Marquis de, Correspondences du Marquis de Sade et de ses proches enrichies de documents, notes et commentaries par Alice M. Laborde, vol. I–XII, Slatkine, Genève 1994.

Sanders B., Our revolution, 2016, [accessed: 28.08.2021].

Sanders B., Our revolution: A future to believe in, Thomas Dunne Books, St Martin’s Press, New York 2016.

Schradie J., The revolution that wasn’t: How digital activism favors conservatives, Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2019. DOI:

Shanin T., The roots of otherness: Russia’s turn of the century. Volume II , Russia 1905–1907: Revolution as a moment of truth, Yale University Press, New Haven 1986. DOI:

Sloterdijk P., Rage and time. A psychopolitical investigation, Columbia University Press, New York 2006.

Thoreau H.D., Civil disobedience, 1849, [accessed: 23.07.2021].

Thoreau H.D., Journal. Vol. 5: 1852–1853. Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1997.

Thoreau H.D., The annotated Walden. Walden; or Life in the forest by Henry D. Thoreau together with “Civil Disobedience”, edited by Ph. Van Doren Stern, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., New York 1970.

Thoreau H.D., The reform papers, edited by W. Glick, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1973.

Thoreau H.D., The Variorum Civil Disobedience. Annotated and with an Introduction by Walter Harding, Tayn Publishers, New York 1967.

Tismăneanu V., Raportul Final realizat de “Comisia Prezidenţială pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din România”, Humanitas, Bucureşti 2006.

Trotsky L., Manifesto of the Communist International to the Proletariat of the Entire World, in: P. Cormack (ed.), Manifestos and declarations of the twentieth century, Garmond Press, Toronto 1989.

Tutu D.M., No future without forgiveness, Doubleday, New York 1997.

Weber M., The religion of China, The Free Press, New York 1951.