Saw this quote when watching “V for Vendetta” a couple of days ago.
It always strikes me as one of those movies that moves you - makes you realise the power of the individual. This quote is attributed to Emma Goldman, a revolutionary thinker/philosopher. She was as you say a free radical that comes once an age. I quote her fully for what its worth
If I can't dance, it's not my revolution!
If I can't dance, I don't want your revolution!
If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.
A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.
If there won't be dancing at the revolution, I'm not coming
What is a revolution? The dictionary defined meaning is “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favour of a new system”.
A revolution is preceded by a gradual internal change of perceptions, attitudes and narratives. Its a forcible expression of many concatenated unexpressed evolutions. Closest thing would be an experiment we all performed in School. Titration. Evolution are the nine drops that does not bring about perceptible change... Revolution is the tenth drop that brings about the drastic change.. Turns the blue liquid red !!!. More on turning blue liquids into red later.....
What does Emma mean when she says that a revolution i.e. violent drastic change if not accompanied by “dancing” is a change not worth having?.
Dancing implies moving rhythmically to the beats of an external music. The dancer’s movements are guided by an external beat; an external stimuli. It is guided by what needs to be done rather than what the individual wants to do. The music takes precedence over individual taste. Principle centric actions.
Take the French Revolution for example. The French revolution was a result of decades of oppression and misrule by the ruling classes and clergy. The proverbial nine drops were added to the French society by the ruling classes without expression or change. The tenth drop was the tipping point and resulted in the most important, bloodthirsty and violent revolutions ever seen. The tenth drop by itself could not result in this violent expression. The revolution united a nation against its rulers and laid the foundations of a modern republic. The foundation of modern Democracy. The people dancing to the tunes of Egalite, Equalite, Fraternite overcame the fear of a repressive army, a ruthless ruling class, an unsympathetic clergy and the fear of death itself. Principles took precedence over narrow self interest.
In the Indian context, millions followed Gandhiji on his non-violent revolution without care of life or discomfort. They were dancing to an external tune of Freedom without fear of repression and death.
And one might ask what happens when the dancing stops? What happens when you start putting self interest over principles? What happens when Principles don’t decide your actions?
The French Revolution was followed by the most violent and cruel episodes of mass murders ever recorded. Literally Blue blood turned red on the streets!!!.
The Indian Revolution was followed by the violence and gore of partition.
The Great Leap Forward in China led to deaths of millions.
A Revolution is always accompanied by joie de vivre., a sense of purpose. A Revolution without dancing is a Coup!!!.
Hence, as aptly put by Emma
“A Revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having".