Revolutions are notorious for allowing even non-participants -- even women! -- new scope for telling the truth since they are themselves such massive moments of truth, moments of such massive participation.
Although a system may cease to exist in the legal sense or as a structure of power, its values (or anti-values), its philosophy, its teachings remain in us. They rule our thinking, our conduct, our attitude to others. The situation is a demonic paradox: we have toppled the system but we still carry its genes.
Revolutionary politics, revolutionary art, and oh, the revolutionary mind, is the dullest thing on earth. When we open a revolutionary review, or read a revolutionary speech, we yawn our heads off. It is true, there is nothing else. Everything is correctly, monotonously, dishearteningly revolutionary. What a stupid word! What a stale fuss!
At the crash of economic collapse of which the rumblings can already be heard, the sleeping soldiers of the proletariat will awake as at the fanfare of the Last Judgment and the corpses of the victims of the struggle will arise and demand an accounting from those who are loaded down with curses.
In every revolution there intrude, at the side of its true agents, men of a different stamp; some of them survivors of and devotees to past revolutions, without insight into the present movement, but preserving popular influence by their known honesty and courage, or by the sheer force of tradition; others mere brawlers, who, by dint of repeating year after year the same set of stereotyped declamations against the government of the day, have sneaked into the reputation of revolutionists of the first water They are an unavoidable evil: with time they are shaken off.
Most revolutionaries are potential Tories, because they imagine that everything can be put right by altering the shape of society; once that change is effected, as it sometimes is, they see no need for any other.
The word revolution itself has become not only a dead relic of Leftism, but a key to the deadendedness of male politics: the revolution of a wheel which returns in the end to the same place; the revolving door of a politics which has liberated women only to use them, and only within the limits of male tolerance.
The differences between revolution in art and revolution in politics are enormous. Revolution in art lies not in the will to destroy but in the revelation of what has already been destroyed. Art kills only the dead.
A nation grown free in a single day is a child born with the limbs and the vigor of a man, who would take a drawn sword for his rattle, and set the house in a blaze that he might chuckle over the splendor.
It is almost never when a state of things is the most detestable that it is smashed, but when, beginning to improve, it permits men to breathe, to reflect, to communicate their thoughts with each other, and to gauge by what they already have the extent of their rights and their grievances. The weight, although less heavy, seems then all the more unbearable.
People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouth.