Revolutionary spontaneity  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Revolutionary spontaneity, also known as spontaneism, is a revolutionary socialist tendency that believes the social revolution can and should occur spontaneously from below by the working class itself, without the aid or guidance of a vanguard party and that it cannot and should not be brought about by the actions of individuals such as professional revolutionaries or political parties who might attempt to foment such a revolution.

In his work What Is to Be Done? (1902), Vladimir Lenin argued fiercely against revolutionary spontaneity as a dangerous revisionist concept that strips away the disciplined nature of Marxist political thought and leaves it arbitrary and ineffective. Rosa Luxemburg and the Spartacist League which had attempted to overturn capitalism during the 1919 German Revolution would become main targets of Lenin's attacks after World War I.

Spontaneism remained a popular theory in opposition to the Third International's democratic centralism and influenced the autonomist movement in the 1970s. Its influences can be felt in some parts of today's alter-globalization movement.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Revolutionary spontaneity" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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