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What's more beneficial: Revolution or Evolution?

All of us had seen the so called Egyptian revolution on our TV channels, whom Karl Marx would, without wasting a fraction of second, recall as ideological state apparatuses trying to perpetuate the ruling class's point of view. But how many of us actually had thought over the need for revolution? Revolution, Revolution and Revolution is always talked about but the reason, the real one, is never debated. The Egyptian revolution geared by social media hypes ended up not different than a social media debate which pretty much clarifies the wrongly perpetuated need for a revolution. Turn the page, and think over evolution. Isn't evolution what we need? Is this the age of revolution or evolution? It's not 1789, it's modernly-trimmed society of 2013. do they need revolution? will they accept revolution? With media at hands, as Marx calls it, won't the ruling class turn the revolution toward its hidden goals?


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  • Oct 9 2013: I think that, perhaps, the question itself is based on a bit of a misattribution and a small oversight. First, Marx never wrote on the ideological state apparatus, that concept came around a century later with Althusser. Here, however, we run into another little problem. While Althusser likely would have been fine with adding media to the top of a list of apparatuses, for him it was never primary (the church was primary, but with the decentralization of religion education became primary). Excepting that, the understanding of the concept expressed in the question is fine. But now to an actual answer. I think that, if we are looking at Marx and purely political evolution, the two terms are essentially synonymous. Just a very basic review of historical materialism and ideology ought to clear that up a bit. For Marx, the history of humanity is that of movement toward freedom, as expressed through various organizations of labor and power. Ideology is (at a simple level, I haven't the space to fully explain it here) the ideas perpetuated by power as a means of control, generally through some process in which the ideas that serve power come to be believed by the masses as in their own interest; it is the ideas which fight against the movement of history. So then, what would political evolution be? If we are to assume that politics are merely contests over power and resources carried out under a predetermined set of rules, it seems that evolution would suggest a redistribution of both (which is perfectly in line with historical materialism). However, this is inherently against the interests of power and the required change is resisted by ideology. Generally, ideology wins out between the two (this is why we see so few revolutions that do not express that values and desires of some ruling class somewhere; contemporary liberal revolutions are generally a great example of this). For true political evolution to occur revolution is necessary and the later is the more beneficial.

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