THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING-CLASS MOVEMENT—PROBLEMS OF HISTORY AND THEORY, Volume I, Progress Publishers, Moscow.
THIS is the first of the proposed seven volumes on the international working class movement and it deals with the origins of the proletariat and its evolution as a revolutionary class. The USSR Academy of Sciences and Progress Publishers, Moscow, have, obviously, undertaken a stupendous and monumental task which, when completed, will open up new vistas of knowledge about the international proletarian struggle—its history and theory.
The present volume is divided into two parts and eleven chapters. Part one includes five chapters which deal successively with the origins of the proletariat, the formation of the industrial proletariat, its unification and organisation into a class, the forerunners of scientific socialism and the emergence of the politically independent working class movement. Part two contains six chapters—the emergence of Marxism, the working class in the European revolutions of 1848-1849, the development of Marxism in the 1850s and early 1860s, the new upsurge of the working class movement and the formation of the First International, the ideological struggle around the proletariat's historical role and some results of the working class struggle in the first stages of its development.
It is quite obvious that the project undertaken by the USSR Academy of Sciences has a wide coverage, both in terms of the period as well as in terms of the theoretical problems. As regards the scope of the first volume Academician B N Ponomarev, in his introduction, clearly states that the wide chronological limits of the volume are motivated by the exposition of working class history beginning with the emergence of the proletariat. "The authors", he says, "have been guided by the instructions of Marx, Engels and Lenin, who considered the proletariat as a historical category, which came into being along with the emergence of the Capitalist mode of production and dates back to the time when the feudal system was on the whole still predominant."
The Marxist-Leninist criteria for the study of the dynamics of the development of the working class and the labour movement necessitate, however, an examination of the development of the working class in the process of its conversion from a 'class in itseelf into a 'class for itself. Such an examination specifically must analyse