At the same time, however--as suggested by my epigraphs--the novel seems to privilege "female realism" over "foolish male dreams" by opposing proletarian
women who are strong, wise, communally minded and distrustful of capitalism to individualistic, tin realistic men, especially the narrator's capitalist.
Though not a proletarian
novel in Mike Gold's formulation, the novel does serve a political purpose: It shows how the popular myths of consumerist, capitalist American culture have disrupted these forms of community and stresses the need for new forms or for the revival of the old.
Like Rideout before her, Foley sets out to refute those arguments that have traditionally been invoked to denigrate and marginalize the proletarian
novels of the thirties--the argument, for instance, that the American proletarian
writers were hampered by directives of the Communist Party, or that they were tied down by equally binding formulas laid out by Marxist critics of the thirties.
His subsequent discussion of Claude McKay's 1922-23 pilgrimage to the Soviet Union makes a persuasive case for the role McKay played in helping to shape the position of the Comintern on the "Negro Question"; and his discussion of Mike Gold's critical pronouncements, and literary works, revisits the question--central to Harold Cruse's argument--of Jewish/Communist "control" of African American cultural production via the "discipline" of proletarian
literature during the 1930s.
Simeon, for instance, argues that the workers articulated their proletarian
identity through ethnicity; at many points in her book, Bahl shows the same thing.
Bodek begins with a vivid and moving survey of the social world of young proletarians
, the Berliners to whom the theater of the Communist party (KPD) was especially directed and who became its most active participants.
Industrialization suffered no slackening of work in the winter, and in an urban setting roving bands of angry, drunken young proletarians
seemed more of a direct threat to established interests than had their peasant ancestors.
Because the leaders of the press corps were convinced that a person's class identity usually determined his or her attitude toward Bolshevik rule, the desire for ideological stalwarts was in practice translated into a distrust of members of the intelligentsia (intelligenty) and white-collar employees (sluzhashchie) and a predilection toward journalists who were Communists and proletarians
or, once the alliance (smychka) with the peasantry was proclaimed, poor or middle peasants.
211-212) In this context, as Hoffmann proves, peasant migrants resisted being molded into the disciplined and "cultured" proletarians
the regime wanted.
They did bitterly oppose the efforts of their former masters to reclaim it, but they no less bitterly opposed the Yankees who were settling in as landowners and trying to turn them into rural proletarians
If one follows Bowman in adopting a "neoclassical" definition of capitalism, based on the presence of private property, markets, and efforts to maximize profits, Prussia and the slave South were clearly capitalist; as he recognizes, however, under a Marxist definition of "capitalism as a particular system of social relations, a special 'mode of production,' under which wage-earning proletarians
sell their 'labor power' as a market commodity" (99), they were not.
Significant among his later works is a series of eight autobiographical novels, beginning with a tribute to his father (himself an indentured farm laborer) in Analfabeten(1951; "The Illiterate") and concluding with Proletarforfattaren (1960; "The Proletarian