Revolution and evolution are two words which always sound similar but are different in meaning. Evolution refers to a slow and gradual change of situation, circumstances or a society. A human being is said to have undergone evolution to become what he is today.
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Revolution on the other hand refers a change that is fundamental which occurs in both the structures of an organization as well as the power aspect. Reform is another aspect that has constantly been spoken about and refers to improving or making better by bringing about some needed changes which have the effect of removing any faults or loopholes that may have been in existence. Simply put therefore, reforms seek to improve the existing systems while revolution seeks to totally do away with existing systems and introduce new ones.
There are those who support revolution while others are in support of reforms. It has been argued that a revolution is better than reforms as a revolution is more effective. This discussion looks why revolutions are better than reforms with keen focus being paid on the most recent revolutions in Egypt and the Arab world.
Looking at the current turn of events in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria and other Arab countries, it has become apparent that revolution is the way to go. Revolution simply means that the old systems of governance that have caused the people so much misery must be done away with and in their place new structures of governance and power be introduced and this is the main concern of revolution.
Looking at the case study of Egypt, Hosni Mubarrak had remained in power for many decades and was very oppressive to the ordinary citizens. It would have been highly illogical to argue that the systems that Mubarak had introduced most of which had grounded to a halt be reformed. It is quite obvious that you cannot raise the dead back to life which is what reformists try to achieve (Salzman 91).
By advocating for reforms, you are simply acknowledging that the institutions in place have failed and that something needs to be done to them so that the may function. Such an argument is not only a waste of resources but also a method of fooling the public. Since reforms are about putting patches to those areas that do not seem to be functioning while retaining the same systems, the people are continually made tolerant of the situation which they are obviously not happy with.
The French Revolution is a perfect example. During this time, the efforts of reformers if there were any at all were not recognized because they did not have any effect at all.
What happened therefore was that the leadership continued to ensure oppression up to a point where the people could take it no more and this saw a revolution which was supported by close to 97 % of the population in France (Simpson 24). Reformers have a tendency of creating assumptions that everything is alright and that just a few things here and there which need to be fixed and everything will be good to go.
There is an element of pretence among reformers and this means that whenever people complain of bad governance, they are silenced through the patching up trick. If this continued for a long time, there will be a build up of emotions among the masses and this is what leads to revolutionaries when people cannot hold it up no more.
Another reason why revolutions are preferred over reforms is the fact that reforms limit opportunities, be it in terms of leadership, job opportunities as well as economic prosperity (Pei 198). This is because reforms tend to retain that which in existence and only improves it a little and therefore recycles the same people, same institutions, same organizational structure, same old thing but dressed differently.
They say that a zebra with or without stripes is still a zebra. The meaning of this phrase is that if there was a way one could get rid of the stripes that zebras normally have, this will not make a zebra cease from being the animal that it is just because it is without the stripes. The same application to our institutions that if an institution or the organizational structures that have been out in place have failed to work (Luxemberg 73).
Revolutions are also the best way to remove from power dictatorial regimes like those of Hosni Mubarak formerly of Egypt and Colonel Muamar Gaddafi of Libya. Usually, such leaders have exceeded their terms of power and they are still not willing to leave power the constitutional way.
Furthermore, they have destroyed or institutions through abuse of power and the people feeling the greater impact of this abuse are the common citizens (Jones 195). What better way of dealing with such leaders other than to cause revolt and have the leave power by force.
The case study of Zimbabwe is a perfect example. Robert Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe attained independence and has done nothing continually destroy the economy of this once prosperous country until the currency of this country has totally value. He will not agree to leave power even when they go to the polls and he is defeated. Such a president can only be ousted from power through revolution and not through reforms. Revolution is therefore the best way to bring about the much-needed reforms in a society.
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Jones, Paulo. Reform and revolution in France: the politics of transition, 1774-1791. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Print
Luxemberg, Rosa. Reform or Revolution. London: Pathfinder Press, 1973. Print
Pei, Minxin. From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union. New York: Harvard University Press, 1998. Print
Salzman, Neil. Reform and Revolution: The Life and Times of Raymond Robins. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1991. Print
Simpson, James. Reform and cultural revolution, Volume 2. Oxford University Press, 2004. Print