It refers to the institutionalized application of force to counter revolutionaries, particularly during the french revolution from
the years 1793 to 1795. it is arguably the most common form.
practitioners of this type of terrorism seek the complete abolition of a
political system and its replacement with new structures. just as
establishment terrorism often arises when more lenient forms of keeping
law and order fail, so too does revolutionary terrorism become an
option when a military victory isn't possible. rebellion can take
different forms. on one extreme, you can field an army against a
dominant government if you have the resources. if you're outmatched,
however, other methods are available.
German Social Democrat Karl Kautsky traces the origins of revolutionary terror to the "Reign of Terror" of the French Revolution. Lenin considered the Jacobin use of terror as a needed virtue and accepted the label Jacobin for his Bolsheviks. This, however, distinguished him from Marx.
The deterministic view of history was used by Marxist regimes to justify the use of terror. Terrorism came to be used by Marxists, both the state and dissident groups, in both revolution and in consolidation of power. The doctrines of Marxism, Marxism–Leninism, Maoism and anarchism have all spurred dissidents who have taken to terrorism. Marx, except for a brief period in 1848 and within the Tsarist milieu, did not advocate revolutionary terror, feeling it would be counterproductive. Communist leaders used the idea that terror could serve as the force which Marx said was the "midwife of revolution", and after World War I communist groups continued to use it in attempts to overthrow governments. For Mao, terrorism was an acceptable tool.
After World War II, Marxist–Leninist groups seeking independence,
like nationalists, concentrated on guerrilla warfare along with
terrorism. By the late 1950s and early 1960s there was a change from wars of national liberation to contemporary terrorism.
For decades, terrorist groups tended to be closely linked to communist
ideology, being the predominant category of terrorists in the 1970s and
1980s, but today they are in the minority, their decline attributed to the end of the cold war and the fall of the Soviet Union.
Many later marxists, in particular Karl Kautsky, criticized Bolshevik
leaders for terrorism tactics. He stated that "among the phenomena for
which Bolshevism has been responsible, Terrorism, which begins with the
abolition of every form of freedom of the Press, and ends in a system of
wholesale execution, is certainly the most striking and the most
repellent of all". Kautsky recognized that Red Terror represented a variety of terrorism because it was indiscriminate, intended to frighten the civilian population, and included taking and executing hostages.
People were executed simply for who they were, not for their deeds.
This and similar types of pronouncements by Communist leaders have led
many historians to conclude that despotism, violent persecution,
repression and intolerance were intrinsic drives in Communist regimes.