by system failure
There is only one letter that separates these two words [evolution - (r)evolution], yet how close, or, how far stand to each other? The term Evolution usually defines the biological progress of species (of course this is a simplified short definition), however, assuming that we can use the term Evolution in the socio-political field, both these concepts can be used to express types of processes which can drive societies into a more advanced socio-political organizing.
If we accept the usage of these terms for such a purpose, then we have two concepts leading theoretically to the same result, but with quite a different approach. Revolution express the willing of the majority to change the authoritarian characteristics of a society and build a more democratic, equitable, balanced and therefore, advanced society. It is usually violent, has certain leaders and motives, can be seen directly and brings rapid changes that shape a new society.
Evolution, on the other hand, is really a very slow process and therefore cannot be seen directly. There are no leaders, no certain motives and changes are very slow too. While the big disadvantage of Evolution, is that changes come very slow, these changes are probably more stable and permanent than in the case of a Revolution.
Two of the most significant revolutions in human history, the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution, brought historical changes in the socio-political field and set new possibilities for building more advanced societies. French Revolution brought the nation-state as a carrier of majority's rights, while Russian Revolution was a first attempt to erase the class structure of the society.
From the first moment, however, despite the revolutionary momentum, human nature apparently prevailed, dragging backwards the societies into a progressive downgrade.
Although the urban class had significant contribution to the French Revolution, ultimately took the place of Monarchy and Feudalism and became an elite based on the economic power. On the other hand, Soviet Communism built authoritarian states based on a monstrous bureaucracy, very far from the theoretical principles of Communism.
Despite all the progress in human and labor rights all these decades, today we are witnessing the transformation of Capitalism into a global brutal Feudalism with neoliberalism as the intermediate stage. After the collapse of the Soviet Communism, Western societies are going backwards and people are losing their rights faster and faster. It seems that revolutions failed to bring permanent, long-term changes in the societies.
A powerful system that drowns every resistance
We are witnessing now a global powerful system that is able το assimilate any attempt for revolutionary resistance. Many young people lost their lives in the Arab Spring revolutions, yet what was left are the TV pictures of the riots in squares and the commercials between them.
It is the same brutal system that gave birth to the ISIS terror. But even if it's true what the terrorists want to show, that they build an anti-Western cultural front based on religious fundamentalism, they depend on Capitalist processes to survive and operate. They need money, they buy guns, someone is funding them, they sell oil.
People in Western countries who suffer from cuts and austerity measures are only protesting by Capitalist terms. Riots are also doomed to end to be a TV spectacle with lots of commercials between. There is too much population these days. Half can go out in the streets protesting, while the other half can watch the show with lots of commercials. The big bosses who own the media will just make more money, that's all.
Elites who have illusions
Despite the huge power of this system, anything that is fed from a growing inequality is doomed to collapse, and this system relies on the growing inequality which brings dangerous imbalance. It looks like this system is trapped into a spiral trajectory towards destruction.
The dangerous illusion of the elites is that they consider themselves as something separate from the masses, as not being part of the society and therefore they can go away, as always in the past, in case of a massive, ugly collapse. This illusion is based on the fact that everyone operates through the same terms. Everyone seeks more money, either to survive, or, to climb up the social hierarchy.
In reality, this is the recipe for the perfect destruction. Everyone wants the same thing, no one is trying a different approach, or even imagine a different approach, a different society based on different principles and values. No one seems to understand that this totalitarian, one-dimensional culture leads to a dead end. There are no dreamers who could inspire new revolutions towards a different direction and re-start the system.
The Western neo-rationalism is the same for all. From the lower classes to the elites, people are “trained” to believe that there are limits in human nature, in the way that a society can function.
If there will be any Revolution in the 21st century soon, it will be done by those who became statistical figures of poverty, unemployment, inequality and social exclusion by this brutal system. People with no hopes and dreams, no better future to seek, no class consciousness. People who have nothing to lose. It will be bad, chaotic, unpredictable and rather doubtful that someone could call it "Revolution".
Is a Revolutionary Evolution possible?
There are some signs of hope, however. There is a clear saturation of values in Western societies, especially during the economic crisis. People appear to be tired from this culture of economic indexes and consumerism. More and more try to change their lives and set different priorities, but it is difficult to make it happen as they still greatly depend on the present system.
There are signs of a new evolutionary process in societies. Unfortunately, it's a very slow process and the catastrophe is much closer. What could we do? Could we, as societies, artificially accelerate this evolutionary process in order to retain our hopes to survive? Could we synchronize our efforts to reverse our downgraded course into an unprecedented type of Evolution?