Proletarian revolution  

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"Proletarian violence, carried on as a pure and simple manifestation of the sentiment of class struggle, appears thus as a very fine and heroic thing; it is at the service of the immemorial interests of civilization; it is not perhaps the most appropriate method of obtaining immediate material advantages, but it may save the world from barbarism." --Reflections on Violence, Georges Sorel, p.85

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A proletarian revolution is a social and/or political revolution in which the working class attempts to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Proletarian revolutions are generally advocated by socialists and communists.

In Marxism, the need for a proletarian revolution is a cornerstone and the first step towards dismantling the exploitations brought about by capitalism. Marxists believe that the workers of the world must unite and free themselves from capitalist oppression to create a world run by and for the working class. In the Marxist view, proletarian revolutions will inevitably happen in all capitalist countries; see world revolution.

The Leninist branch of Marxism argues that a proletarian revolution must be led by a vanguard of 'professional revolutionaries' - that is, men and women who are fully dedicated to the communist cause and who form the nucleus of the communist revolutionary movement. This vanguard is meant to provide leadership and organization to the rest of the working class before and during the revolution, so as to prevent the all-too-common situation in which the government defeats a revolution thanks to the superior discipline and organization of its police and army.

Other Marxists such as Luxembourgists disagree with the Leninist idea of a vanguard, and insist that the entire working class - or at least a large part of it - must be deeply involved and equally committed to the socialist or communist cause in order for a proletarian revolution to be successful. To this end, they seek to build mass working class movements with a very large membership.

Finally, there are socialist anarchists and libertarian socialists, who oppose Marxism but agree with Marxists on the point that a proletarian revolution is necessary. Their view is that the revolution must be decentralized, and must not have any central leadership whatsoever (though it may have various local and temporary leaders), nor must it ultimately establish a "dictatorship of the proletariat".

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Proletarian revolution" 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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