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, multi-ethnic polity striving for an irredentist self-assertion against the imperial power. In the Polish case, 1905 was something much different from a ‘run through’ for the 1917 Revolution, for long shaping basic political division and ‘ethicizing’ political difference.
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.