This article discusses the heritage of 1917 in one important aspect: the problem of spontaneity. It then describes and problematizes, from this angle, the contemporary movements of the liberal Left. It appears that spontaneity is at odds with the need of these movements to internationalize and undermines their legitimacy, at the national level. Based on this empirical and practical observation, backed with examples from recent protest movements and from the 1917 Russian Revolution, there follows a philosophical analysis of spontaneity, which proves to be a contradictory, dialectical concept. A progressive political movement of the future, to be successful, may not be “spontaneous” in the sense of immediacy, but it is important for it to be faithful to the genuine sense of spontaneity as a synthesis of elementality and organization.
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Artemy Magun; Spontaneity and Revolution. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2017; 116 (4): 815–833. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-4235027
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