Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) was the founder of the Bolshevik Party in Russia, leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution and a towering political and intellectual figure in the 20th century.
With a greater depth and foresight than any other Marxist of his time, Lenin explained the objective significance and political implications of the belittling of Marxist theory for the building of a revolutionary party. “Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement, the only choice is—either bourgeois or socialist ideology,” Lenin wrote, in What Is To Be Done?. “Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology.”
The Bolshevik Party that Lenin led emerged from a split inside the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party with an opportunist faction, the Mensheviks, which was a petty-bourgeois tendency that represented the Russian middle class inside the workers' movement.
In October 1917, Lenin, together with Leon Trotsky, led the Bolshevik Party and the Russian working class in the revolution that overthrew the bourgeois provisional government, establishing the first workers’ state in history.
Leon Trotsky once wrote that all of Lenin is summed up in the October Revolution. Trotsky illuminated the meaning of his observation when he wrote, in his history of the events of 1917, “Besides the factories, barracks, villages, the front and the soviets, the revolution had another laboratory: the brain of Lenin.”
Few works have been subjected to such a degree of misrepresentation and falsification as Lenin’s What Is To Be Done?. To the innumerable Lenin-haters of the bourgeois academy—some of whom professed until 1991 to admire Lenin—this is the book that is ultimately responsible for many, if not all, of the evils of the twentieth century.
Lenin’s response to the February Revolution flowed from the internationalist perspective for which he had fought throughout his political life, and especially in the aftermath of the August 1914 betrayal of the Second International, when the majority of its parties and leaders supported their own capitalist class in World War I.
The State and Revolution was Lenin’s theoretical arming of the party and the working class as a whole for the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the transfer of power to the soviets.
Since returning to Russia in April, the essential work of Lenin had been to oppose every attempt to subordinate the Bolshevik party to acting as the left wing of a national democratic revolution—with the role of pressuring the bourgeoisie to ensure its completion.
Lenin wrote this in the summer of 1917 on the eve of the October seizure of power in Russia by the Bolshevik Party. He surveys the writings of Marx and Engels on the question of the state, in particular those aspects that had been distorted by the opportunist leaders of the Second International. Essential for understanding the Marxist attitude toward the state.
One of the most important works of political theory ever written. Opposing the Russian Economists, who were generally indifferent to questions of theory, Lenin argued that “only a party that is guided by the most advanced revolutionary theory” will be able to provide the working class with revolutionary leadership.
This book was written by Lenin in 1916 in the midst of World War I. He relates the growth of monopoly and the enormous concentration of finance capital in a few hands to a new stage in capitalist development leading to inevitable military clashes between industrial nations over markets and sources of raw materials.
In October 1917, in the midst of the slaughter of World War I, the Russian working class, led by the Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, overthrew the capitalist provisional government headed by Alexander Kerensky and established the first workers’ state in world history. Less than nine months earlier, Russia had been ruled by a monarchical dynasty headed by Tsar Nicholas II. The revolution was the beginning of the end of the imperialist war.
The Russian Revolution marked a new stage in world history. The overthrow of the capitalist Provisional Government proved that an alternative to capitalism was not a utopian dream, but a real possibility that could be achieved through the conscious political struggle of the working class.
The Fourth International is the World Party of Socialist Revolution. It was founded by Leon Trotsky in 1938, to carry forward the fight for Marxism in opposition to the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet Union and the Communist (Third) International.