Liberating Revolution

Emancipating Radical Change from the State

By Nathan Eckstrand

Subjects: Political Theory, Political Philosophy, Sociology, Democracy
Series: SUNY series in New Political Science
Hardcover : 9781438486772, 283 pages, February 2022
Paperback : 9781438486765, 283 pages, August 2022

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


1. Who's Afraid of Revolution?

2. Regulating Revolution: Nature, the Sovereign, and the Social Contract

3. The Trajectory of the Dialectic: Guiding the Process of State Formation

4. From out of Oblivion: Evental Thought and the Liberated Revolution

5. Dynamic Anarchism's Revolt: Turning the System against Itself

6. Changing the World, No Matter the Cost: The Practice of Revolution


Provides a novel conceptual and practical theory of revolution, engaging previous theories of revolution, contemporary continental philosophy, and systems theory.


Liberating Revolution challenges the idea that we understand what revolution is. All current understandings of revolution are different ways of portraying the state. To liberate revolution, we must explain radical change without determining its course or limiting what it can do. Nathan Eckstrand reviews earlier theories of revolution from history—social contract theory, Marxism, Hegelianism, liberalism, communism, totalitarianism, and Machiavellism—and studies how they describe political change. He then puts forth a new theory of change called Dynamic Anarchism, drawing on Event Ontology's discussions of radical change, systems theory's understanding of dynamic and adaptive systems, and anarchism's attempts to think of politics independent of the state. In its final chapter, Liberating Revolution advises how to produce radical change effectively. A valuable contribution to the ongoing discussion of how best to understand change given discoveries both microscopic and global, this book offers useful ideas to students curious about why revolutions often fail to achieve their goals or to anyone learning how change is depicted in political theory.

Nathan Eckstrand teaches philosophy at Sam Houston State University.


"This book blazes a promising new trail for theories of revolution, movement, and complexity. Having mastered a vast body of technical scholarship, Nathan Eckstrand convincingly supports his critiques of event ontologies with concrete and highly readable examples. His most important contribution rests in his original systems theory of revolution, the implications of which are far-reaching and tremendously significant." — Thomas Nail, author of Marx in Motion: A New Materialist Marxism

"During a time of explosive protest and disillusionment with establishment politics, this book offers 'Dynamic Anarchism' as a powerful agent for radical change. What we need today, Eckstrand argues, is a new direction for ontology, metaphysics, and social/political philosophy. He thus challenges the vanguardist view that revolutions need leaders, the myth of the social contract, and other sacred cows. True revolutions need participants, not the political state. The book's impressive inclusivity of authors and concepts, as well as its sustained attention to this important and timely subject matter, will be of great interest to scholar-activists." — William W. Sokoloff, author of Confrontational Citizenship: Reflections on Hatred, Rage, Revolution, and Revolt