chapter  4
30 Pages

Twentieth-Century Expansion and Transformation

WithCharles Tilly

Teleology and wishful thinking often coincide. We tell stories about the past in which all history conspired to produce our tolerable present and our glorious future. In 1962, on behalf of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee, the High Party School’s Department of the History of the International Working and National Liberation Movement applied the principle faithfully. It published two fat volumes surveying, yes, the international working and national liberation movement from the eighteenth century to the recent past. The two volumes broke, significantly, at 1917, year of the Bolshevik Revolution. Up to 1917 merited 644 pages, from 1917 to 1939, 634 pages. Before 1917, they seemed to say, preparation; from 1917 onward, fulfillment. The past, for them, offered a vindicating vision of the future (Bogolyubov, R’izhkova, Popov, & Dubinskii 1962).