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Think of our society as a giant slab of rock. Rock’s vary in shape and size and can be smooth but also rough. Revolutionaries are the sculptors of our society, chiseling away at that rock and aspects of life; altering the way we think and the way we act in an effort to improve our world for what they perceive is for the better. Whether it be political, economic or cultural change, revolutions happen all around us, all of the time.To give you a sense of what I will cover in my speech, I’ve prepared a short overview. I’ll be discussing what causes a revolution and how we define one, and I’ll be exploring the positive and negative effects of some revolutions.But what causes a revolution? Whilst every revolution is different, there are some common themes. Typically, revolutions stem from social discontent and the lack of appropriate representation within political decision making structures. This can lead to frustration within a community and creates a sense of oppression. It’s this feeling of injustice that can fuel a demand for change. Think of the suffragettes and the suffragists: two groups of determined women who were keen to make democracy an equal playing field. Whilst the two groups had conflicting views as to how this should be achieved, they all wanted the same outcome. The suffragettes chose hunger strikes, disrupting parliament and throwing stones at officials whilst the suffragists pursued a more peaceful campaign. Thanks to a minority of women standing up to the male dominated establishment, in 1928 victory was theirs. Women got the vote. A landmark achievement.Whilst you may have heard of Emmeline Pankhurst, you may not have heard of Millicent Garrett Fawcett, a British feminist and writer. As a suffragist, she took a moderate line, but was a tireless campaigner who became the President of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies and later appointed by the British government to investigate conditions of concentration camps in South Africa that had been created in the wake of the Second Boer War.But how do we classify a revolutionary or a revolution? Well, in a sense we can’t. It is subjective and for example, some regard technology as a modern day revolution. Sure, technological devices impact daily life but should we regard them as a revolution? Who is to say?Therefore it’s hard to put a definitive answer on the question: ‘Do we need more revolutionaries?’ because the term is subjective and the outcome of a revolution may be viewed as positive or negative depending on who you ask. But there are instances where the outcomes of some revolutions are widely regarded as negative.Terrorism. The first recorded use of the terms  “terrorism” and “terrorist” was in 1795, relating to the Reign of Terror instituted by the French government. Since then we can trace other acts of terrorism; ISIS, so-called Islamic State, IS, ISIL or Daesh and their reign of terror on the world in the name of the caliphate. Their detailed and meticulously planned terror attacks on the Western World, places where we live, create a sense of fear among citizens. Think of London, Paris, Brussels, Nice, Manchester and the other targets of Islamic terrorism. You may get a hashtag circulating on Twitter after an attack such as #prayfornice or #prayforbrussels. Or long posts from those in the public eye sharing their feelings on social platforms. This distribution of emotion demonstrates that such attacks have provoked a reaction from the public which is what many argue is one of the Islamic State’s main goals. Those who believe in the views of ISIS who feature in videos depicting sinister acts of cowardice would consider themselves as revolutionaries and as a member of a global revolution.Do we want a organisation similar to so-called Islamic State? Is it our desire to see another terror attack dominating our headlines? Do we need more revolutionaries?So to conclude, revolutions certainly bring about change. Such change may be relatively small and only affect a limited number of people or could be huge change that impacts a nation or even the world. Revolutions have to generate change but how that change is brought about can vary dramatically.We’ve also discovered that it is hard to categorically define what is or what isn’t a revolutionary and we have also uncovered that this change brought about by a revolution is not always so good. Thank you for listening, it was a pleasure speaking to you today.

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