The best of BBC Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking - featuring in-depth…
Philip Dodd presents a special edition dedicated to one of the most momentous and dangerous ideas of recent centuries - revolution. Does the concept still have any real meaning?
In the late 1970s, the idea of revolution and counter-revolution still loomed large in western civilisation. The events of Bolshevik Russia in 1917 still shaped the globe. And the events of Jacobin France 1789 still shaped the mind. For over two centuries, self-declared revolutionaries and their opponents had not only stalked politics, but also the arts and social change.
But today the landmarks come from the East - Tehran's Islamic revolution in 1979 or China's communist one in 1949 now have a greater influence on world events - and 1917 and 1789 have passed into history. At the height of the recession, there has been no revolutionary talk as there was in the 1930s.
On the eve of the 20th anniversaries of the 'Velvet Revolutions' of 1989, Philip and a round-table of guests attempt to get to grips with what's left of the revolutionary spirit - and ask whether it's an idea that still mobilises.