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Collection « Les sciences sociales contemporaines »

The Petrograd Workers and the Fall of the Old Regime.
From the February Revolution to the July Days, 1917
Présentation du livre (Quatrième de couverture)

Une édition électronique réalisée à partir du livre de Mark-David Mandel, The Petrograd Workers and the Fall of the Old Regime. From the February Revolution to the July Days, 1917. London: MACMILLAN, Macmillan Academic and Professional Ltd., in association with the Centre for Russian and East European Studies University of Birmingham. 1st edition, 1983. Reprinted, 1990, 220 pp. + 10 pp. Une édition numérique réalisée par Marcelle Bergeron, bénévole, professeure retraitée de l'École polyvalente Dominique-Racine de Chicoutimi.

Présentation du livre
(Quatrième de couverture)



This is a study of the first months of the Russian Revolution as seen from the factory districts of Petrograd, the 'red capital'. Starting from a description of political culture in the different strata of the working class, the author proceeds to analyse the workers' conception of the revolution both in the Russian state and in the factory system. Making systematic use of the vast published and archival material now available, he shows that the workers greeted February as a national democratic revolution, albeit one with certain social goals that alone made political freedom meaningful. But these social demands posed no direct threat to capitalism, nor were they intended to. In this light, the radicalisation that followed, culminating in the July demonstrations aimed at forcing the moderate Soviet leaders to take power, appears as an essentially defensive reaction based upon the growing realisation by the workers that the propertied classes and their liberal representatives in the coalition were hostile to their aspirations and had turned against the revolution. 

An attempt at understanding the revolution 'from below', this book is intended to fill a gap in the Western literature that has paradoxically focused mainly on institutions, parties and leaders in a period marked precisely by the active participation of the broadest layers of society, and the workers in particular, in shaping their own collective fate. Basing himself as far as possible on primary sources emanating directly from the workers, the author questions the prevailing view of the workers as essentially unconscious, manipulated actors, anarchistically-inclined prey of unscrupulous demagogues. He concludes that the workers were certainly no less conscious politically than the more educated members of society and that they constituted a vital, creative and dynamic force in the Russian revolutionary process. 


David Mandel was born in Toronto in 1947. He took his BA at the Hebrew University and PhD at Columbia University, where he was appointed Senior Research Fellow in the Russian Institute (1977-8). In the course of his research for this book he spent a year in Leningrad as a Canada-USSR Exchange Scholar (1975). He has taught at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham, the Departments of Political Science at McGill University and l'Université du Québec à Montréal, and the Department of Sociology at l'Université de Montréal. He is the author of several articles on the Russian revolutionary period and labour movement. 

Retour au texte de l'auteur: Jean-Marc Fontan, sociologue, UQAM Dernière mise à jour de cette page le mardi 17 juillet 2007 9:58
Par Jean-Marie Tremblay, sociologue
professeur au Cégep de Chicoutimi.

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