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Revolution and Freedom | Hannah Arendt

29 de outubro de 2020

Editado por Adriano Correia, para os Cadernos de Filosofia Alemã.

My subject today is, I’m afraid, almost embarrassingly topical. Revolutions have become everyday occurrences since, with the liquidation of imperialism, one people after the other has risen “to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of nature’s God entitle them”. Just as the most lasting result of imperialist expansion was the export of the European nation-state idea to the four corners of the earth, so the liquidation of imperialism under the pressure of nationalism has led to the export, as it were, of the idea of revolution all over the globe. For all the revolutions, no matter how violently anti-Western their rhetoric may be, stand under the sign and have fallen into the tradition of revolution in the West. This state of affairs was preceded by the series of revolutions after the First World War on the European continent itself. Since then, and even more markedly after the Second World War, nothing seems more certain than that a revolutionary change of the form of government, as distinguished from a mere alteration of administration, will follow defeat in war between the great powers – short, of course, of total annihilation. But it is of some importance to note that even before technological developments made wars between the great powers literally a life and death struggle, and hence self-defeating, at least for the time being, wars had become politically a matter of life and death.

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