The millenarian movement, and its stages that apply virtually without exception to those throughout history and around the world was first most artfully articulated Anthony F.C. Wallace who found that movements “always originate in situations of social and cultural stress and are, in fact, an effort on the part of the stress laden to construct systems of dogma, myth and ritual which…will serve as guides to efficient action.” From Ghost Dancing to Cargo Cults, in times of stress, people look for the prophets of an earthly paradise. America seems primed for its own millennial cult…
The New Steady State Stage: The final step is to bring all aspects of the culture into focus with the basic change made by the millenarian movement. For example, following the success of the Protestant Reformation, a whole series of economic, social, political, and technological changes took place in Europe. The final step is to rewrite the record of the movement and enshrine it in myth and ritual such as the works of Marx and Engels and some would say monotheistic religions. At this point, a new steady state has been reached.
Clearly, the early Christian Church followed this sequence, and so did the Protestant Reformation, Mohammedanism, the Handsome Lake religion of the Iroquois, the Third Reich, Mao’s “cultural revolution,” and the Russian Revolution. Even though the Soviets were officially atheistic, they went through all the stages of a successful millenarian movement. In 1917, the entire Russian society was under stress and disintegrating. A prophet, Lenin, arose who miraculously returned from exile across enemy, German territory. He said that he had been in communication with a supernatural being, Karl Marx, who had given him an elaborate code complete with exegesis by another disciple, Engels.
An ideal society was preached, and a group of disciples gathered around Lenin- among them Stalin, Molotov, and Trotsky. Mass purges and the execution of tens of thousands of “traitors” enabled the revolutionary movement to adapt, and eventually he entire culture was transformed. The new rulers established their own bureaucracy and secret police to perpetuate the new status quo. For all its revolutionary rhetoric, the Soviet Union that emerged and held for seventy years existed for the most part at the “new steady state” that forbid the rise of new prophets such as Mao, or Tito of Yugoslavia, whom it was referred to as a “revisionist.”