S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (러시아문화권연구소) 러시아연구 (Russian Studies) 러시아연구 Volume 10 Number 1/2 (2000)
‘노동해방’단의 출판활동과 인민주의 비판
The Publishing Activities of the 'Emancipation of Labor' Group and the Critique of Populism
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 러시아연구소
- 러시아연구, Vol.10 No.2, pp. 219-244
- The most important change in the Russian revolutionary world in the 1880s was the formation of the Marxist forces. The underlying forces of the change were driven by the 'Emancipation of Labor' Group established in Geneva in December, 1883. The relevant literature has focused on the ideological character of the 'social-democratic' organizations that appeared during the period from 1880s to early 1890s, and in addition the influence exerted on them by the 'Emancipation of Labor' Group. However, most of the literature has neglected the ideological character of the 'Emancipation of Labor' Group itself, which might define the extent and the contents of the influence exerted on the 'social-democratic' organizations. The 'Emancipation of Labor' Group had to overcome the Populist stronghold in transplanting the roots of Marxism in the Russian soil. The Russian Populist movements survived the catastrophe around 1880s and still prevailed in the Russian revolutionary world that there was little room for propagating Marxism as a practical revolutionary theory. Therefore, the 'Emancipation of Labor' Group had to face all the adversities in the initial stage of its activity, but eventually succeeded in bringing about the fundamental changes in the ideological contents of the Russian revolutionary world. Its driving forces were the publication and the supply of the Marxist works. As is well-known, Marxists consider capitalism as an inevitable stage of the historical development, while Russian Populists make it their revolutionary strategy to transit directly from feudalism to socialism by skipping the capitalist stage. Of course, the Russian Populists not only were acquainted with the Marxist works, but kept friendly relationship with many Marxists in the Western world. Nonetheless, they stubbornly resisted the arguments that the capitalism was an inevitable stage of the historical development and that Russia was not an exception to it. Accordingly, the activities of the 'Emancipation of Labor' Group were severely scorned and resulted in total disregard by the revolutionaries at home. However, they could no longer assume such an attitude and gradually compromised into 'the controversy of capitalism'. In the midst of the controversy there appeared such organizations that accommodated the major Marxist theses. In this context this essay analyzes the contents of the works published by the 'Emancipation of Labor' Group. The publications of the 'Emancipation of Labor' Group can broadly be classified into two parts. One part consists of the works, written by the members of the Group, especially, G. V. Plekhanov, which were devoted to direct assault to Populists by showing the on-going capitalist development in Russia and its inevitability. The other part largely
involves the translations of the works by the Western Marxists, including K. Marx and F. Engels themselves, which might go along with the Russian populists. Nevertheless, they also were narrowly geared to the purpose of the first part, as appeared in many of the translators' notes.