future cataclysm

Take, for instance, a poodle. You can reform him in a lot of ways. You can shave his whole body and leave a tassel at the tip of his tail; you may bore a hole through each ear, and tie a blue bow on one and a red bow on the other; you may put a brass collar around his neck with your initials on, and a trim little blanket on his back; yet, throughout, a poodle he was and a poodle he remains. Each of these changes probably wrought a corresponding change in the poodle’s life. When shorn of all his hair except a tassel at the tail’s tip he was owned by a wag who probably cared only for the fun he could get out of his pet; when he appears gaily decked in bows, probably his young mistress’ attachment is of tenderer sort; when later we see him in the fancier’s outfit, the treatment he receives and the uses he is put to may be yet again and probably are, different. Each of these transformations or stages may mark a veritable epoch in the poodle’s existence. And yet, essentially, a poodle he was, a poodle he is and a poodle he will remain.

That is reform.

But when we look back myriads of years, or project ourselves into far – future physical cataclysms, and trace the development of animal life from the invertebrate to the vertebrate, from the lizard to the bird, from the quadruped and mammal till we come to the prototype of the poodle, and finally reach the poodle himself, and so forward, then do we find radical changes at each step, changes from within that alter the very essence of his being, and that put, or will put, upon him each time a stamp that alters the very system of his existence.

That is revolution.

—  Daniel De Leon, Reform or Revolution?