To the Editor:
If “Whatever Happened to the Russian Revolution?” by Robert V. Daniels [November 1978] is at all representative of Mr. Daniels’s Work in progress, his comparative history of revolution will certainly be most interesting and instructive. Unfortunately, his article demonstrates the sort of bias in favor of left-wing revolution which makes reasoned discourse in this area difficult and renders some recent studies unintelligible. By describing “fascism” as “coercive counterrevolution,” Mr. Daniels seems to be taking as a given that “the revolution” is a continuing Left-oriented movement, or, at least, that only a Left revolution can be called a “revolution.” I believe that the fascist movements of the 20′s were revolutionary in intent; to label them as counterrevolutionary is to define them in terms of Left revolution and to undervalue their innovative natures. I commend to Mr. Daniels and your readers the article by Eugen Weber, “Revolution? Counterrevolution? What Revolution?,” the concluding essay in Fascism: A Reader’s Guide (edited by Walter Laqueur, 1976). . . .
I am also troubled by Mr. Daniels’s suggestion that there is a “natural law of revolution.” That there are resemblances between revolutions cannot be denied. That the resemblances are so regular as to be describable as natural law is doubtful. Neither the work of Crane Brinton nor that of Lyford P. Edwards successfully demonstrates that there are such natural laws. I can only hope that Mr. Daniels is using the words “natural law” in some special sense and will not let himself be bogged down, as were some of his predecessors, in the artificial analysis required by such an approach.
Leonard H. Rubin
Scarsdale, New York
Robert V. Daniels writes:
Leonard H. Rubin raises important points with which I am totally in agreement but which I was unfortunately not able to spell out in the brief compass of one article directed at Russia. In my forthcoming book I deal extensively with “revolutions of the Right” as well as with the methodological problem of regularities and models in comparative history.