Libmonster ID: MD-928

A. K. MOSHANU. The Workers ' and Socialist Movement in Romania (1907-1914). Chisinau. Shtiinets Publishing House. 1974. 364 p. Circulation 1 000. Price 2 rubles 63 kopecks.

The book by A. K. Mosanu, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Senior researcher at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Moldavian SSR, is the first study in Soviet historiography specifically devoted to the workers ' and socialist movement in modern Romania. Chronologically, the study begins with the period of the largest peasant uprising of 1907, which shook the bourgeois-landowner system of this country to its foundations. From that time on, the Romanian workers ' movement entered a new stage of development, which lasted until the outbreak of the First World War.

This period of time was full of important events: the re-establishment of the Social Democratic Party of Romania (SDPR) in 1910, the development and adoption of relevant program documents, an unprecedented increase in the number of strikes, the intensification of the struggle between two tendencies in the labor movement - revolutionary and opportunist, anti-militarist and anti-war demonstrations in connection with the Balkan wars, the spread of Leninist ideas in the labor movement. These questions form the "framework" of the monograph. A. K. Mosanu was attracted by a wide and diverse range of sources, including documents from the Soviet archives (the Central State Administration of the Moldavian SSR, the Chernivtsi Regional Archive, the Archive of Foreign Policy of Russia, the Central State Administration of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Central State Administration of the Ukrainian SSR) published in Romania, collections of documents on the labor movement, press of the years 1900-1916. "The main source for writing the history of the Romanian labor movement in the early twentieth century," the author admits, "was the workers 'press" (p.10). The paper makes extensive use of materials published in the organ of socialist and trade union organizations - the newspaper "Romania mtmcitoare", in the theoretical organ of socialists - the magazine" Viitorul social", and others. Some issues are covered on the basis of verbatim reports of the Romanian Parliament, data from statistical collections published in 1909, 1912 and 1919.

A. K. Mosanu paid serious attention to the historiography of the workers ' and socialist movement in Romania in 1907-1914. Almost all significant and original works, including journal articles on this issue, which were published from the 30s to the early 70s, are carefully analyzed by the author. A. K. Mosanu notes that such famous Romanian historians as M. Roller, D. Hurezianu, V. Livianu, N. Kopoyu, and T. Giorgescu have a great contribution to the development of the history of the labor movement in Romania. However, he does not agree with some of their opinions and assessments of the social democratic movement in Romania and puts forward his own rather strong arguments. Thus, analyzing the works of N. Kopoyu, A. K. Mosanu emphasizes that "some of the author's assessments and conclusions seem controversial or contradictory" (p. 18). T. Giorgescu's study "From the Revolutionary Democrats to the Founders of the Romanian Communist Party", in his opinion, suffers from "a clear exaggeration of the forces of the revolutionary elements in the working-class movement of this country" (p. 20). Mosanu considers erroneous the thesis, generally accepted in modern Romanian historiography, that" the Romanian labor movement as a whole was dominated by a revolutionary trend, and the Romanian socialists were armed at the beginning of the XX century with Marxist-Leninist teachings " (p.22).

A number of issues highlighted in the book are of fundamental importance. In connection with the study of the workers ' and socialist movement-

page 163


A. K. Mosanu emphasizes that the experience of the revolutionary workers of Russia, led by the Bolsheviks headed by V. I. Lenin, is considered by him not only from the point of view of a beneficial influence on the advanced forces of the Romanian proletariat. "Lenin's theory, the basic principles of Bolshevik strategy and tactics," he writes, " serve as the main guide and criterion for a general assessment of the course of development of the working-class movement in Romania. The correctness of this formulation of the question follows from the well-known fact that since the beginning of the twentieth century the center of the world revolutionary movement has shifted to Russia, and that the Russian proletariat has become the leader of the revolutionary forces of the planet" (p.5).

The author analyzes the program, strategy and tactics of the SDPR, as well as the views of leading figures of the country's labor movement. He proceeds from the fact that the struggle between revolutionary and reformist tendencies "is one of the most important regularities in the development of the working-class movement in general" (p. 5). The work traces the process of development of this struggle, the gradual separation of revolutionary and opportunist forces and the formation of trends that were quite clearly outlined in Romania on the eve of the First World War. Conclusions on this issue are justified, their correctness is confirmed by documentary materials. Speaking about the leading theorist of the SDPR and the representative of the right-wing tendency in it, K. Dobrogeanu-Gerea, the author emphasizes that in his theoretical activities, Gerea "unilaterally and distortedly reflected the socio-economic reality of Romania", and "the strategic and tactical line of the social democratic movement developed by him... it was of a right-wing opportunist nature" (p. 340). The book proves the existence of the Romanian labor movement headed by X. Rakovsky is a centrist movement that was clearly defined on the eve of the First World War.

The left-wing tendency in the Romanian labor movement is thoroughly covered in all sections of the book. Thanks to the activity of the left forces, A. K. Mosanu notes, " the labor movement in Romania got back on its feet at the beginning of the XX century. To the left belongs the credit of developing trade unions based on the principles of class struggle, proletarian internationalism and democratic centralism ... and of preparing the necessary conditions for the re-establishment of the SDPR. The left-wing leaders were responsible for leading the daily struggle of the working class. The best representatives of the working class opposed the opportunists 'absolutization of legal tactics" (p.341). The left was given strength by the constant increase in the activity of the working masses. At the same time, the author emphasizes the importance of the inspiring example of the Russian proletariat. Romanian revolutionaries highly appreciated the experience of their brothers from Russia, and its beneficial influence on the growth of the class struggle in their country. The famous socialist O. Calin wrote that the Romanian labor movement is "the brainchild of the Russian revolution" (p.137). Such leftist figures as Sh. Gheorghiu, M. G. Bujor, E. Arbore, D. Marinescu, A. Constantinescu, A. Nicolau and others closely followed the struggle of the Russian proletariat, studied the experience of the latter, and called for "following the example of our comrades from Russia", "acting in the Russian way", and "organizing like Russian workers" (pp. 147, 163, 168, 169, etc.).

The spread of Leninist ideas in Romania played a huge role in the development of the Romanian workers ' and socialist movement and in strengthening the position of its revolutionary wing. Initially, they were drawn from Iskra, from excerpts of Lenin's works published in Romanian newspapers, and Romanian socialists got acquainted with them during meetings with V. I. Lenin and his associates. The first works of V. I. Lenin appeared on the pages of the Romanian workers 'press in late 1911-early 1912. A. K. Mosanu notes that" the influence of Lenin's views is felt to one degree or another in the questions raised by individual representatives of the left wing of the SDPR about the revolutionary perspective, about the tactics of the struggle, about the attitude towards the non-socialist press and the war, about principles of the organizational activity of the working class party" (p. 342). At the same time, the author concludes, "the revolutionary elements were generally still weak." They saw no other path to socialism than parliamentary one, and they had no clear idea of the nature of the stage the country was going through. This indicated their lack of theoretical training. In addition, they "did not present a united front ideologically and organizationally" (p.342).

The monograph also elucidates other important aspects of the Romanian labor movement. Serious attention is paid, in particular, to socio-economic and political development.-

page 164


the development of Romania in the late XIX-early XX centuries and the situation of the working class, studying the sources of its formation. Revealing the course of the struggle of the Romanian working class against repression, for strengthening its political and economic organizations in 1907-1909, A. K. Mosanu analyzes the strategic and tactical line of the socialist movement, the propaganda work of socialist and trade union organizations. He traces the positions of prominent workers ' movement figures in connection with the campaign for the return of socialists exiled after the peasant uprising of 1907 and the adoption in December 1909 of the anti-trade union law of Orlyanu, shows how the opportunistic indecision of the leaders of socialists and trade unions, who were afraid of mass actions by the proletariat, led to the general strike of 1910 being disrupted and "on the very eve of the re-establishment of the SDPR, the Romanian labour movement suffered a serious defeat" (p. 181).

Considering the question of the re-establishment of the SDPR at the beginning of 1910 and the actions of the working class in 1910-1912, the author makes a well-founded conclusion that the general characteristic feature of the SDPR program adopted in 1910 "was the orientation of the working class towards the reformist path of struggle" (p.196). It also explores the struggle of leftist forces to strengthen the SDPR and the Romanian trade unions. Until now, this subject has not received much attention in the literature.

Material on the actions of the working class during the Balkan Wars and on the eve of the First World War is allocated to A. K. Moshan in a separate chapter. The solidarity of the Romanian Social Democrats with their Balkan brothers, their support for the slogan of the Balkan Federal Republic, as the author notes, contributed to the international education of the proletarian masses, and served as a means of fighting against bourgeois nationalism (p.275). The prominence of the principle of proletarian internationalism in the ideological life of the party in 1912-1913 made it possible to identify opponents of the proletarian ideology among the SDPR and to fight them to the point of breaking up. Thus, a sharp condemnation of the cooperation of a member of the Executive Committee of the SDPR T. Drago and the chauvinist press forced him to leave the party (pp. 304-306). All this had a positive impact on the development of Romanian social-democracy on the eve of the First World War, and testified to the growth of revolutionary sentiments in the Romanian labor movement.

For all its advantages, the work of A. K. Moshanu is not without drawbacks. So, in some cases, the author does not draw exhaustive conclusions by providing rich factual material. I would also like to see in this monograph a clearer description of the experience of the class struggle that the Romanian proletariat acquired in 1907-1914. There is some doubt about the individual figures used by A. K. Moshan in the first chapter. In particular, he writes that 25% of Romanian peasants had only 42 days to work on their farms during the entire agricultural season (p. 43). These figures are given to confirm the fact that most of the working time of the peasants was spent on cultivating the landlords ' lands. But this 25% includes, obviously, small-scale farmers, whose cultivation of their own 1-2 hectares of land did not require much time. On page 46, it is reported that the per capita consumption of corn decreased from 230 kg in 1876 to 146 kg in 1903 (and this figure, as will be seen from the following discussion, continued to decrease). And on the next page, the data shows that in 1915, compared with 1905, the number of cases of pellagra (a disease caused by corn consumption) increased 5 times (from 100 thousand to 500 thousand). The author tried to determine which social strata fueled the growth of the ranks of the Romanian proletariat. As a result of his calculations, he came to the conclusion that " the replenishment of the Romanian working class in the first decade of the XX century. 9% came from working-class families, 42% from artisans, and 49% from peasants" (p. 57). While agreeing with the legitimacy of the attempt to determine the social growth rates of the Romanian proletariat in the first decade and a half of the twentieth century, it is necessary to emphasize that the final figures given by the author are questionable, since the processes he studied could have been much more complex and multifaceted. The paper does not take into account some articles of Romanian historians published on the subject of the monograph in 1972-1973.

In general, with the publication of A. K. Mosanu's monograph, Soviet Romanian studies was supplemented with another interesting and valuable work performed at a high professional level.


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S. V. VASILIEV, M. A. MUNTYAN, Historical science in the USSR. Reviews by A. K. MOSANU. WORKERS ' AND SOCIALIST MOVEMENT IN ROMANIA (1907-1914) // Chisinau: Library of Moldova (LIBRARY.MD). Updated: 12.06.2024. URL: https://library.md/m/articles/view/Historical-science-in-the-USSR-Reviews-by-A-K-MOSANU-WORKERS-AND-SOCIALIST-MOVEMENT-IN-ROMANIA-1907-1914 (date of access: 17.07.2024).

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