This is a study of the men and women who pioneered socialist and Marxist ideas among the Poles in the seventies and eighties of the nineteenth century, and the dramatic history of the underground party, 'Proletariat', which they formed. It opens with an outline of the state of Polish society after the final defeat of the 1863 uprising against Tsar, which caused the eclipse of the gentry as the leading elite of the nation. There follows an account of the assimilation by the new urban intelligentsia of ideas coming from the west, which turned some of them into pioneers of the capitalist and liberal movements, others into pure nationalists and yet others on the left into followers of Marx and Proudhon. On this latter part of Polish society the influence of Russian revolutionary populist thought was greater and more lasting than most historians of Poland are ready to admit. The author underlines the importance of the appearance for the first time in Polish history of a mass movement which sought common cause with the neighbours of Poland - mostly with Russians (Narodnaya Volya), but also with Germans (Social Democrats).
Mr Blit's study is an important contribution both to the history of Marxism and social democracy in Russia and to the history of European social democracy.
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(216mm x 140mm x 10mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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