Wiktor Marzec has produced a major contribution to our understanding of how the 1905 revolution in the cities became the defining moment in a profound reconfiguration of Polish political culture with a legacy that stretches well into the present. The product of a fertile mind, Rising Subjects offers a new and revealing social history of the triumph of nationalism in modern Poland.
Rising Subjects explores the change of the public sphere in Russian Poland during the 1905 Revolution. The 1905 Revolution was one of the few bottom-up political transformations and general democratizations in Polish history. It was a popular rebellion fostering political participation of the working class. The infringement of previously carefully guarded limits of the public sphere triggered a powerful conservative reaction among the commercial and landed elites, and frightened the intelligentsia. Polish nationalists promised to eliminate the revolutionary “anarchy” and gave meaning to the sense of disappointment after the revolution.
This study considers the 1905 Revolution as a tipping point for the ongoing developments of the public sphere. It addresses the question of Polish socialism, nationalism, and antisemitism. It demonstrates the difficulties in using the class cleavage for democratic politics in a conflict-ridden, multiethnic polity striving for an irredentist self-assertion against the imperial power.
In this dynamic new study, Wiktor Marzec offers a fresh, theoretically informed interpretation of the 1905 Revolution in the Polish Kingdom, arguing that it shaped modern political attitudes and encampments despite its apparent short-term failure. Rising Subjects provides a nuanced examination of working class mobilization that will engage students of modern Eastern Europe, global social movements, and labor history.
Meticulously researched, theoretically informed, and lucidly written, Rising Subjects shines new light on the 1905 revolution. Marzec convincingly shows how the revolution set the stage for modern politics in Poland. Essential reading for those seeking to understand the origins of major cleavages that continue to shape the Polish public sphere today.
Wiktor Marzec is an assistant professor and project leader in the Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland. Currently, he runs a comparative project on political trajectories of the late tsarist borderlands.