Vladimir Ilyich Lenin – individual works, compilations and biographies

Lenin in the Smolny

Lenin in the Smolny

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The Great ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Theoreticians

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin – individual works, compilations and biographies

This page will include individual pamphlets of the works of VI Lenin as well as a more information about his life and work. Available elsewhere on the site are the Collected Works – a total of 47 volumes – which is the most extensive resource in the English language of the ideas of the leader of the Bolshevik Party and the first Socialist State.

(This is an on going project and other material will be added as and when it becomes available in a digital format. If you are after a particular pamphlet and it is not here at the moment then it might appear in the future.)

The War and the Second International, (London, Martin Lawrence, 1931), Little Lenin Library, Volume Two, 63 pages.

The April Conference, (N.Y., International, 1932), 62 pages. Little Lenin Library, Volume Ten. The Conference actually took place from 7th to the 12th May, 1917 (the backward Tsarist state used the Julian calender which was – in 1917 – 13 days adrift from the Gregorian calender used in most of Europe, hence the ‘April’ Conference of 24th to the 29th Old Calender took place in May).

Lenin on Religion, (London, Martin Lawrence, N.D. 1930s), Little Lenin Library, Volume Seven, 56 pages.

State and Revolution, (London, Martin Lawrence, 1933), Little Lenin Library, Volume Fourteen, 96 pages.

The Paris Commune, (London, Martin Lawrence, 1935), Little Lenin Library, Volume Five, 62 pages.

The Teachings of Karl Marx, (London, Martin Lawrence, 1937), Little Lenin Library, Volume One, 47 pages.

Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, (London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1939), 127 pages. Little Lenin Library, Volume Fifteen.(My copy is seriously damaged, particularly in one place, and so it was impossible to scan pages 82 and 83. In their place I have scanned the missing text from pages 709-711 from ‘The Essential Lenin in Two Volumes, Volume 1, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1947’. It’s not exactly the same but the closest to the 1939 text I have been able to find.)

War and the Workers, (N.Y., International, 1940), 32 pages. Little Lenin Library, Volume Twenty Four. A reprint of a lecture delivered by VI Lenin in Petrograd on May 27th, 1917, about a month after his return from exile. The manuscript was not discovered until twelve years afterwards and was published for the first time in the Moscow Pravda on April 23rd, 1929.

The Tasks of the Proletariat in our Revolution (London, Lawrence and Wishart, ND, 1940?), Little Lenin Library, Volume Nine, 52 pages.

On Britain, (London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1941), 316 pages. Marxist-Leninist Library, Volume Eighteen, with two Prefaces by Harry Pollitt (1934 and 1941).

The Deception of the People by the Slogans of Equality and Freedom (London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1942), Little Lenin Library, Volume Nineteen, 47 pages.

A Dictionary of Terms and Quotations – Compiled from the Works of VI Lenin by Thomas Bell, (London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1942), Little Lenin Library, Volume Twenty Five, 45 pages.

The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government, (Moscow, FLPH, 1951), 79 pages.

The National Pride of the Great Russians, (Moscow, FLPH, 1951), 15 pages.

In commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the birth of VI Lenin the Foreign Languages Press in Peking produced a series of books with quotations from the extensive works of the leader of the October Revolution and First Socialist State on various topics pertinent at the time of the struggle against Soviet Revisionism and the restoration of capitalism in the USSR.

This approach to the works of Lenin, where significant quotations were taken from longer works, was the principal that was followed later with the production of the ‘Little Red Book’ of quotations from the works of Chairman Mao at the beginning of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

We are aware of six volumes in this series.

On War and Peace, 2nd ed., (Peking, October 1960), 84 pages.

On Proletarian Revolution and Proletarian Dictatorship, 2nd ed., (Peking, FLP, October 1960), 89 pages.

On the National Liberation Movement, 2nd ed., (Peking, FLP, October 1960), 58 pages.

On the Struggle Against Revisionism, 2nd ed., (Peking, FLP, October 1960), 98 pages.

On Imperialism, the eve of the Proletarian Social Revolution, 2nd ed., (Peking, FLP, October 1960), 91 pages.

On the Revolutionary Proletarian Party of a New Type, 2nd ed., (Peking, FLP, October 1960), 79 pages.

Lenin’s Fight Against Revisionism and Opportunism – compiled by Cheng Yen-shih (Peking, FLP, 1965), 275 pages

On War and Peace – Three articles, (Peking, FLP, 1966), 108 pages.

Karl Marx, (Peking, FLP, 1967), 63 pages.

On Youth – Selection of articles from VI Lenin’s Works, (Moscow, Progress, 1967), 298 pages.

The Right of Nations to Self-determination, (Moscow, Progress, 1967), 80 pages.

Socialism and War, (Moscow, Progress, 1967), 55 pages.

Lenin’s Prediction on the Revolutionary Storms in the East, (Peking, FLP, 1967), 15 pages.

On the National and Colonial Questions – Three articles, (Peking, FLP, 1967), 40 pages.

On the so-called Market Question, (Moscow, Progress, 1968), 51 pages.

Socialism and Religion, (Moscow, Progress, 1968), 7 pages.

May Day. May Day action by the Revolutionary Proletariat, (Moscow, Progress, 1968), 31 pages.

Lecture on the 1905 Revolution, (Moscow, Progress, 1968), 19 pages.

Revolutionary Adventurism, (Moscow, Progress, 1969), 40 pages.

The Tasks of the Youth Leagues, (Moscow, Progress, 1969), 19 pages.

Party work in the masses, (Moscow, Progress, 1969), 170 pages.

The State, (Peking, FLP, 1970), 25 pages. A lecture delivered at the Sverdlov University, July 11th, 1919.

Lenin on Ireland, (Belfast, Irish Socialist Library, New Books, 1970), 35 pages.

Letters on Tactics – a Collection of Articles and Letters, (Moscow: Progress, 1970), 104 pages.

‘Left-wing’ Communism – An infantile Disorder, (Peking, FLP, 1970), 133 pages.

On the Paris Commune – Selection of articles from VI Lenin’s Works, (Moscow, Progress, 1970), 141 pages.

Where to Begin. Party Organisation and Party Literature. The Working Class and its Press – 3 Articles. (Moscow, Progress, 1971), 54 pages.

Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power, (Moscow, Progress, 1971), 63 pages.

The Third International and its place in history, (Moscow, Progress, 1971) 51 pages.

Speeches at the Eighth Party Congress, (Moscow, Progress, 1971) 86 pages. Held in Moscow from 18th – 23rd March, 1919.

Marxism on the State, (Moscow, Progress, 1972), Preparatory material for the book ‘The State and Revolution’. 134 pages.

The State and Revolution, (Peking, FLP, 1973), The Marxist teaching on the State and the Tasks of the Proletariat in the Revolution. 151 pages.

How Lenin wrote for the Masses, Three articles, including one from Chairman Mao Tse-tung and one from Nadezhda Krupskaya and one from VI Lenin, (New Era Books, London, 1974), 26 pages.

A caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism, (Moscow, Progress, 1974) 61 pages.

Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Irish Revolution, Historical reprints No. 3, Ralph Fox, Cork Workers Club, Cork, 1974, 36 pages.

Economics and Politics in the era of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, (Peking, FLP, 1975), 14 pages.

The Tasks of the Youth Leagues, (Peking, FLP, 1975), 22 pages. Speech delivered at the Third All-Russian Congress of the Russian Young Communist League, October 2nd, 1920.

Differences in the European Labour Movement, (Moscow, Progress, 1976), 11 pages.

A Great Beginning, (Peking, FLP, 1977), 32 pages. Heroism of the Workers in the Rear, ‘Communist Subbotniks’.

The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism, published in March 1913, (Peking: FLP, 1977), 18 pages.

On the Slogan for a United States of Europe. The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution, (Moscow, Progress, 1980) 29 pages. Two articles.

Lenin versus Trotsky and his followers, (Moscow, Novosti, 1981), 127 pages. A late Revisionist compilation of quotes from VI Lenin attacking the ‘enemies from within the Party’.

On State Capitalism during the transition to Socialism, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1983, 269 pages.

On State Capitalism during the transition to Socialism – selected quotes

Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, (Moscow, Progress, 1983), 127 pages.

For those who find 127 pages too much here are some selected quotes from this edition of ‘Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism’.

On Religion, (Moscow, Progress, 1984) 83 pages.

About the Younger Generation, (Moscow, Novosti, 1985) 55 pages.

On Socialist Ideology and Culture, (Moscow, Progress, 1985), 223 pages.

Some selected quotes from ‘On Socialist Ideology and Culture’.

On Lenin’s ‘The State and Revolution’, V. Gavrilov, (Moscow, Progress, 1988). A revisionist interpretation of one of Lenin’s most important works. 106 pages.

On Lenin’s ‘Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, I Rudakova, (Moscow, Progress, 1988). A revisionist interpretation of one of Lenin’s most important works. 106 pages.

The Life of VI Lenin

Lenin, by R Palme Dutt, (London, Hamish Hamilton, 1933), 96 pages. A short biography by a British Communist.

Lenin – A Biography, (London, Hutchinson, ND, early 1940’s), 204 pages. Prepared by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, Moscow. Published by authority of ‘Soviet War News’. Issued by the Press Department of the Soviet Embassy in London. The closest to an official Soviet biography of VI Lenin available.

Fine Drawings of Lenin, a collection published by the Communist Party of Germany on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lenin (1970). 12 pages (missing two drawings).

Lenin – Life and Work, by V. Zevin and G. Golikov, (Moscow, Novosti, 1975), 228 pages. A revisionist biography of VI Lenin.

The Central Lenin Museum, Moscow – a guide. (Moscow, Raduga, 1986), 160 pages. A guide to the now destroyed Museum dedicated to the life and work of VI Lenin.

On the so-called ‘Lenin Testament’. A pamphlet produced by W.B. Bland (then of the Communist League UK) of a presentation given to the Stalin Society (UK) in 1991. The ‘Lenin Testament’ was a document that was used by Trotskyites and other anti-Bolsheviks in an attempt to usurp the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik) after the death of Comrade Lenin in 1924. In an effort to maintain Party unity the document was presented to 13th Party Congress in May 1924 where it was overwhelmingly rejected as having no importance in the choice of the Party leadership, with not even Trotsky voting for it.

Compilations from the works of VI Lenin with other great Marxists

Strategy and Tactics of the Proletarian Revolution, (N.Y., International, 1936), 95 pages. Consists of a series of brief extracts mostly from the works of Lenin, Stalin and from some reports of the Comintern.

The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, articles and extracts from the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, compiled and arranged by V. Bystryansky and M. Mishin, ‘Readings in Leninism’ series, (NY: International, 1936), 132 pages.

Lenin and Stalin on Youth, (London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1940), Little Lenin Library, Volume Twenty One, 48 pages.

Lenin and Stalin on The State, (London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1942), Little Lenin Library, Volume Twenty Three, 48 pages.

Selections from V. I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin on the National and Colonial Question, (Calcutta, 1970), 244 pages.

Marx, Engels and Lenin: On the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, a collection of quotations, (Peking: FLP, 1975), 52 pages. (Some underlining.) This collection also appeared in Peking Review on February 28, 1975.

More on the USSR

The Great ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Theoreticians

28th May 1871 – the end of ‘Bloody Week’ of the Paris Commune

Summary execution of a petroleuse - note the vicious bourgeosie on the left

Summary execution of a petroleuse – note the vicious bourgeoisie on the left

More on the ‘Revolutionary Year’

28th May 1871 – the end of ‘Bloody Week’ of the Paris Commune

On the 18th March 1871, the Parisian working class gave a lesson to the international proletariat that it was possible for the oppressed and exploited of the world to take the future into their own hands. On the 28th May, the last day of slaughter of those very revolutionaries, coming only 71 days after that momentous spring day of hope, through their martyrdom, they taught the working class of the world that the audacity of challenging the power of the ruling class came with a price. For the 28th May 1871 marked the end of ‘Bloody Week’, the end of the Paris Commune.

The Paris Commune of 1871 started when a group of washer-women thwarted a pre-dawn raid by the capitulationist and pusillanimous government forces who sought to rob the people of the artillery they had paid for in their attempts to prevent the fall of their city to the invading Prussians. What began as a self-defence action in the hills of Montemartre soon spread throughout the city and by the afternoon of March 18th barricades were being constructed and the revolution had begun.

18th March - Avenue Jean-Jaures

18th March – Avenue Jean-Jaures

In the post on the anniversary of the start of the Commune I listed what I consider to be some of the achievements of that, literally, world-changing event. For it was both in their achievements and failures of the Communards that later revolutionaries were to learn so much and which determined the manner in which they pursued the revolutions in their own countries, especially in Russia, Albania and China.

In studying revolutions there are both positive and negative lessons that need to be learnt. Failure to do so will lead to the same mistakes being made resulting in similar consequences. As the conditions in which a revolution takes place are always specific to the times and the conditions in a particular country it is inevitable that new mistakes will be made. That’s not a problem.

As Chairman Mao stated a revolution is not a dinner party (Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan, FLP, Peking, p8). Revolutions are uncontrollable, it becomes almost a living organism which has a mind of its own. An organised revolutionary party might be able, at times, to direct the flow of events but they are no more than desperate men and women trying to control a river in spate. Dig the channels in the right place at the right time and the water can be controlled. Make one slight mistake and the water will break the banks and all bets are off – until the next crucial moment is reached. If a revolution can be controlled it is not a revolution. This makes the achievements of the Communists in Russia, Albania and China all the more remarkable.

Before going on to the mistakes made by the Communards it’s worthwhile re-iterating some of the achievements in that short two and a bit months. In the first few days:

  • rents for dwellings abolished
  • articles that had been pawned declared not for sale
  • the wage differentials between men and women were abolished
  • officials would not get any more than a ‘working-man’s wages’
  • the church was separated from the state
  • church property was to be national property
  • religious iconography was to be removed from schools
  • the guillotine to be publicly burnt, as a symbol of the old regime
  • night work for bakers was abolished
  • planned the reopening of factories closed by owners and these to be run on a collective basis

Although many of these were in response to the grievances of the Parisian working class after decades of living under a corrupt system, added to which were the hardships as a consequence of a more than four-month siege of the city – during a hard winter – by the Prussian army many of those decrees would have resonance in Britain (and most other countries throughout the world) even now.

Housing is still a problem – highlighted in Britain by the Grenfell fire of 2016; wage differentials and the ‘gender pay gap’ have long been contentious issues (however, paying everyone the same, more or less, is an easier solution to crashing through ‘glass ceilings’ and has more rationale to it than paying over-paid women as much as even more over-paid men and would have a direct impact upon the poorest in our society who, nowadays, don’t even get the crumbs that fall from the table of the rich); recent events in the Republic of Ireland demonstrates how society can be distorted when the Church has a hand in controlling civil society – not to mention the role of religion in various parts of the world and the death and destruction that comes with it; general working conditions have become worse not better in the last couple of decades in most countries even though the Gross Domestic Product might be rising – the poor ALWAYS get proportionately less in such circumstances; employment is an issue which capitalism finds so difficult to deal with it’s not even considered of any importance in the political debate; and elected representatives of the Commune could be replaced at any time if they failed to live up to their promises – so no chance of the development of a so-called ‘Political Class’, a group of self-selected, self-serving, over-important opportunists who have gained control in too many countries.

The representative structure was for the working class and it was run by the working class. At the same time it’s important to make clear that the Commune was not a state of all the people. The bourgeoisie had run society for years and had failed – a bit like now – so the Parisian working class decided that it was time for a new class to be in control and purposely excluded certain sections of society. This was the first time in history where the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ was in action – something which Marx, Engels and, later, Lenin picked up and developed in their post 1871 theoretical writings and which Lenin sought to put into practice after the Great October Proletarian Revolution of 1917.

Did the proposals and declarations of the Commune always work out as it was intended? No. Did they get some things wrong and follow an incorrect direction on some policies? Yes. But give them a break, many hadn’t had much formal education and it takes time for people to learn to do things in a new way – they weren’t given that time. Did opportunists and renegades from the working class get into positions of power which they then abused? Yes. These parasites exist in all societies and it will take decades of a new society before we can say that they definitely have been eliminated. Seventy one days was not long enough. Were they divided when unity was necessary? Yes. But that’s how things go. Either honestly or dishonestly people in such circumstances come to different conclusions over crucial matters. Here, again, time would have allowed the Commune to overcome (at least in part) some of these differences. But time there wasn’t.

But what is important is that they tried. They did not surrender when the going got tough – which happened very soon after the heady days of the recovery of the guns from the government troops. Many persisted, tried to make a difference to their community and many of them died for their tenacity and determination.

'The sacred revolt of the poor, the exploited and the oppressed'

‘The sacred revolt of the poor, the exploited and the oppressed’

Not only were working men involved in running society in a new way so were women – who also established women only debating clubs which used to meet in expropriated churches and which was a revival of a practice from the bourgeois French Revolution of 1789. They took up arms and enrolled in the National Guard and also played a major role in attempting to delay the entrance into the city of the murderous Versailles troops during ‘Bloody Week’. They were never ‘victims’ (as too many women claim today). They asked for nothing – they demanded and took.

But mistakes were made which led directly to the events of ‘Bloody Week’ from the 21st-28th May 1871.

Probably the most serious was that the Parisian Communards were too magnanimous – they didn’t recognise the viper they had in the nest, the government supporters and the bourgeoisie in general who would do any and everything to see the destruction of the new workers power. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the great Russian Marxist and Revolutionary, took this particular lesson of the Paris Commune on board and his seminal work on proletarian revolution, The State and Revolution, FLP, Peking, 1970, takes as its starting point the experience of the Parisians workers.

It’s strange that this soft approach towards the enemy within persisted throughout the period of the Commune. In the Declaration of the Commune, dated 29th March 1871, reference was made to the fact that if the people of the Commune didn’t deal severely with their enemies then they would become powerful enough to destroy the revolution or, at least, be able to undermine its advances. But little was done practically to avoid the counter-revolution.

However, in all revolutionary circumstances there will be those who call for leniency towards the deposed ruling class, either out of opportunism – in an effort to protect their own class interests under the guise of being revolutionary – or, more usually, out of naivete as many don’t realise what challenging power entails and that the deposed ruling class will never accept their loss of power and will wreak vengeance on all those that try. The naïve were to learn their lesson – but when it was too late to do anything about it.

Lax security meant that bourgeois counter-revolutionaries were able to allow the entry of the government, Versailles, forces inside the walls of the city on May 21st. Once inside the forces of reaction, composed mainly of ignorant and easily manipulated peasants, just carried out a blood-lust campaign of slaughter. One of the failings of the Commune was seen in the very instrument of their destruction – the workers of Paris had failed to communicate to the vast majority of the population of France the true importance of what they were trying to achieve in the capital. The interests of the peasants were with the workers but the reaction was able to convince these soldiers that they should stick with the theocratic, capitalist state.

Once the defences had been breached the Commune was reduced to fighting a rear-guard action. It was soon evident that with the actions of the government troops there was literally nothing to be lost in fighting to the death. No quarter was being given so none was asked. Many of those who surrendered were subject to summary execution – the vicious and degenerate bourgeoisie egging on the executioners. History often mentions the women knitting on the occasion of the execution of the aristocrats during the bourgeois French Revolution of the late 18th century but there is little mention the finely dressed bourgeois harridans who cackled and spat as young men, women and even children, were stood against a wall and shot.

Execution of a trumpeter

Execution of a trumpeter

The workers did fight and most notable, and for the bourgeois reaction the most notorious, were Les Petroleuses, the women who set fire to buildings in the city centre to slow down the advance of the murderous government forces. In this action there was also an idea of ‘if we can’t have these properties then neither shall you’. This was branded as mindless destruction by bourgeois commentators and the press.

The writer Emile Zola condemned the Communards for what he saw as pointless destruction of a beautiful city. He changed his mind slightly on learning of the scale of slaughter in subsequent days but at the same time his attitude that property was sacrosanct pervaded the ideas of many opponents of the activity of Les Petroleuses. Such an attitude exists to this day and can be seen whenever there are riots against the present capitalist system – whether politically motivated or just out of sheer frustration and anger about injustices in the society – where property is destroyed. Many, including the working class, in capitalist societies have an idea of the sanctity of property and no concept at all about the reasons for the ownership of such property.

Despite all efforts to hold them back the government troops were soon in control of increasingly large areas of the city and the slaughter continued. By the end of the week the ‘conservative’ estimate was that around 30,000 men women and children were murdered by the peasant Versailles troops. No proof was needed for active participation in the Commune, being in the wrong place and the wrong time was enough to merit the bullet or the bayonet of the soldiers.

But this was the aim of the reactionary forces. They were not concerned about capturing, taking to trial, convicting and punishing those who might have been elected members or active supporters of the Commune. The vary fact that the working class had permitted such an organisation and structure to exist in the first place was enough to deserve the death sentence. The reaction were not just thinking of those 70 days when the working class of Paris had taken control from their traditional rulers they were concerned that the working class of France (and indeed, the rest of the capitalist world) would be aware of the penalties for acting above their ‘station’.

Marx wrote about the importance of the working class being an independent armed force even before the blood of the Communards had been washed from the city’s streets;

All this chorus of calumny, which the Party of Order never fail, in their orgies of blood, to raise against their victims, only proves that the bourgeois of our days considers himself the legitimate successor to the baron of old, who thought every weapon in his own hand fair against the plebeian, while in the hands of the plebeian a weapon of any kind constituted in itself a crime. Karl Marx, The Civil War in France, FLPH, Peking, 1966, p99

The workers had taken up arms to better their condition and they were crushed by superior arms so that in future workers would be content to act within the bounds set by the ruling class itself. Fights and struggles around who should rule by depending upon the ballot box was to be the norm. It didn’t matter if people were to die in such internecine and tribal struggles (which is happening in many parts of the world even into the 21st century) as long as such fighting doesn’t challenge parliamentary cretinism – the belief that only by a cross on a piece of paper can society ever move forward.

By the 28th May the only fighting combatants of the Commune found themselves surrounded at the Père Lachaise cemetery, to the east of the city. One hundred and forty-seven were summary shot and buried in a trench – beside which today exists a simple monument to those murdered in that Bloody Week.

Communard's Wall - Pere Lachaise

Communard’s Wall – Pere Lachaise

The repression didn’t finish when the shooting stopped. Thousands were arrested and about another 100 were shot ‘after due process. Many workers were imprisoned in various parts of France and 4,000 or so transported to New Caledonia, one of a group of islands that was part of the French Empire in the Pacific, 1,200 kilometres east of Australia, which at the time was a penal colony. (It’s still a French dependency to this day.) Included in their number was Louise Michel – probably the only ever decent anarchist.

Women of the Commune at Chantiers prison

Women of the Commune at Chantiers prison

Many lessons were taught in that short period of time in the spring of 1871 – both positive and negative – but, unfortunately, the example of the wrath and brutality of the ruling class has had a greater influence over the proletariat of the world than the shining example of courage, audacity and true freedom.

Only in a few cases have the workers (and this time in an alliance with the peasantry) got off their knees and attempted to establish a new world order. Internal problems and mistakes in those countries (and here I specifically talking about Russia, China, Albania – and perhaps Vietnam) led to the eventual demise of the socialist goal but the lack of proper, meaningful support in, especially, the so-called ‘advanced’ industrial countries meant that the burden, which would have been light if spread more widely, had to be taken on a relatively few shoulders.

Nonetheless, the same issues which caused the Parisian workers to take up arms and establish the Commune are the same under which most workers and peasants throughout the world still have to endure. There is no doubt they will rise and take control, but they will have to do so in a position of weakness, as did the Communards, as history has shown us that revolutions only occur at times of severe crisis – which inevitably mean not the best of circumstances under which to build socialism.

In 1848 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote:

The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels,The Manifesto of the Communist Party, FLP, Peking, 1968, p76).

What was true 160 years ago is as true today as it was then.

Eternal glory to the martyrs of the Paris Commune!

More on the ‘Revolutionary Year’

The Centenary of the October Revolution of 1917

Lenin, Stalin and Dzerzhinsky at the Smolny

Lenin, Stalin and Dzerzhinsky at the Smolny

More on the ‘Revolutionary Year’

The Centenary of the October Revolution of 1917

The centenary of the most important event in the history of the world occurs on the 7th November 2017. On that day a hundred years ago the working class and peasantry of Russia took power into their own hands and attempted to build a new world order.

I have already looked at that event in another, earlier post, but as we live in a world that is obsessed with anniversaries (and I’m falling into that trap, being in Leningrad at the time of the centenary) perhaps it’s time to re-address the issues that were brought up by that tremendous, earth shattering event.

We can gauge the magnitude of the events in that year by the way capitalism did it’s best to destroy the nascent Soviet state.

Lenin – the leader of the Bolsheviks – together with James Connolly of the Irish Republican Army, were the only socialist leaders to condemn the slaughter of the First World War as soon as it started. Social democratic apologists for capitalism (such as the British Labour Party) reneged on their declarations against war (made at Stuttgart and Basel in 1907 and 1912 respectively) as soon as they were put to the test. Only the true Communists had kept to their principles and the imperialist countries knew they were dealing with a dangerous proletarian force when Lenin was at the head of the revolutionary party.

The capitalist countries saw red and realised that the Bolshevik Revolution was like no other that had preceded it. What the Parisian workers had attempted to achieve, in the Paris Commune of 1871, had been suppressed with the wholesale slaughter of tens of thousands of men, women and children. Capitalism would go to the same extremes to achieve a similar result in Russia. As the tools for this they used their pathetic, confused and ignorant workers (who had spent more four years killing each other for the benefit of their own oppressors) who were told to attack the first workers’ state. Like the sheep they had become they fed the resulting ‘Civil War’ when more people were killed than in the imperialist war itself.

The Revolution was celebrated by revolutionary workers all over the world as the harbinger of a new society, free from exploitation and oppression. A revolution ‘is not a dinner party’, as Chairman Mao said, and the ignorant, pusillanimous and forelock tugging workers and their collaborationist ‘Labour/Socialist’ parties have attacked and condemned the October Revolution for the necessary measures taken to defend, promote and develop the workers state on the road to build Socialism – and eventually Communism.

The road followed by the Soviet Union, alone, until joined by the People’s Republic of Albania in 1944, the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and much later, after an heroic battle against American Imperialism, the People’s Republic of Vietnam in 1975, was tortuous, long and hard.

Massive achievements were made – as well as mistakes. If a revolution is predictable it’s not a revolution. But what was achieved by the Soviet people, in the field of industrial production, the collectivisation of agriculture and the fearless, heroic and self-sacrifice that led to the defeat of the Nazi beast, was of immeasurable benefit to the people’s of the world – and a lesson which those exploited and oppressed of the world need to understand and emulate.

But those that inherit a revolution are not those who made it. They benefit from the achievements but want more – those ‘benefits’ of capitalism with which no socialist state can compete. And that’s things. Things like consumer goods, the fickle trinkets of mass production, that entice stupid people away from what is truly meaningful for a full and fruitful life – those necessities, like health, education and the ability to contribute to society through productive activity.

The revolution in the Soviet Union was lost in 1956 at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) where Nikita Khrushchev denounced Comrade Joseph Stalin and all the achievements of the previous 29 years and the period of Socialist construction in a sixth of the world’s land mass ended.

For a further 24 years the ‘Revisionist’ version of Communism promoted by the CPSU spread like a virus throughout the world, creating confusion and division within the working class. This was the task that had been taken on board by Social Democracy, after it’s betrayal of the working class in 1914 (by calling upon the workers in their respective countries to kill each other for the benefit of capitalism) but the Soviet renegades sowed more confusion by continuing to call themselves Communists and claiming to follow the revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism. Their pathetic demise in 1991 was too long in coming.

A hundred years after the magnificent event (the images of which are more influenced by those who have seen the film’ October’ by the revolutionary Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein than what actually happened) the situation is very different.

Capitalism has been re-introduce in tooth and claw. Instead of free health, education, secure employment, pensions and an infrastructure that benefits the majority everything has now been privatised. The collective wealth created by Socialist workers has been stolen by opportunist thieves. One of these scumbag ‘oligarchs’ has a boat sitting of the coast of Turkey which is bigger than the Cruiser ‘Aurora’ that signalled the start of the attack on the Winter Palace and the virtual beginning of the Socialist Revolution.

(Perhaps it’s a sign of our times that a grand, ancient name has been given to a bunch of opportunist thugs and common thieves.)

But that’s the problem for the people of Russia of today. They are not the brave and courageous innovators of the past. Revolution is not passed down through the genes. They are the submissive, afraid and confused that populate most countries, especially those in the ‘so-called’ civilized ‘west’, Europe, North America and certain parts of the South-eastern Asia.

Putin plays the nationalist card, courts the church – of whatever denomination – in an attempt to maintain his power. After Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Gobshite, and the Vodka Soaked Drunk Yeltsin, Putin is just a greedy opportunist who prays on civil society. After this bunch of cretins how can anyone, with a modicum of sense, criticise Uncle Joe’s policy of purging the Party of opportunist elements?

So no real celebration of the most important event in the history of the world in the place where it occurred.

That’s good.

Leningrad (it will always have that name to me), the cradle of the revolution, has been renamed St Petersburg (the Germanic name that was used before the First World War, and not even the Russified version of Petrograd) was where it all started 100 years ago. If there’s any ‘official’ attempt to recognise the event this is manifested in museum gallery exhibitions that seek to denigrate the success of the Bolsheviks rather than celebrate it.

Re-writing of history is the name of the game.

Denigration of the Socialist past is almost at a fascist level. Having had to suffer the ‘impartiality’ of the British media for so long, it’s quite refreshing to see a total ideological war against the past.

The Russian state has not decided to ignore the past – that would be impossible even in the present circumstances – rather they have chosen to re-interpret it.

Exhibitions in both Moscow and Leningrad at the end of 2017 that relate to the events of 1917 are a propaganda attempt to undermine the Revolution. In an effort to denigrate the importance of both Lenin and Stalin (as well as other truly revolutionary leaders) they promote Trotsky – if anyone was unsure of his counter-revolutionary nature the adoption of him as a ‘revolutionary icon’ by Putin’s state should clarify matters. (There was even an advert on Russian TV about a mini series around Trotsky’s life. He was considered a capitalist agent in the times of Socialism and he is becoming a ‘revolutionary’ icon by those who have been restoring total capitalist control of the country.)

For some reason, which I don’t really understand, Voroshilov has been added to the ‘devils’ of the past alongside JV Stalin. There’s obviously an agenda there but I’m not sure what. As with the so-called ‘rehabilitation’ of the traitors and foreign agents of the 1930s those who have been chosen by the present, capitalist regime are chosen for a reason – they are symbols of their aspirations.

This has been taken to bizarre extremes at times. At an exhibition in Leningrad, for example, in a section about propaganda (I don’t see this word as necessarily having a negative connotation) during the building of Socialism the information cards declare that the Soviet State only sought to eliminate illiteracy because this would make more people susceptible to brain washing Soviet propaganda.

The perfidious Communists were trying to out-do the obsfucators of the past, in Britain for example, who used Latin in the church and the courts so that the ordinary people wouldn’t be able to understand what was being said. By actually teaching them to read and write the Soviet ‘propaganda machine’ could be more easily absorbed by the basically ignorant workers and peasants. The double thinking here is remarkable.

Socialism goes contrary to all previous social systems based on class, exploitation and oppression. The most important aspect of the creation of a new kind of man and woman is the changing of the selfish mindset that is a close partner of class systems. This is the cultural revolution that all socialist societies have instituted in one form or another. Socialist values of collectivity and respect for all is an anathema to capitalism. Only an intellectually adept people are capable of building a society free from all the evils of the past.

Those in power in Russia today are quite happy to feed their population with the garbage that capitalism has to offer, from the likes of McDonald’s, KFC and Coca-Cola to the cheap, nasty and moronic TV shows copied from western Europe, the only difference being the language. Shit in,shit out.

If you placed these cretinous curators of exhibitions in a novel nobody would believe them credible.

But that’s not really an issue. The country has betrayed its revolutionary past. It has no right to claim the Revolution as its property as it’s people have rejected that revolution for a capitalist lifestyle – together with all the consequences of a capitalist society. If they complain about their present reality then they only have themselves to blame.

The present ‘Communist Party of the Russian Federation’ is more akin to the revisionist party that betrayed the Revolution than the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin. I wouldn’t trust them to change a light bulb let alone a country. They make token gestures to the event of a hundred years ago but chose to hold a meeting in Moscow at the exact time of the centenary. If nothing else they display no concept of history – something important for a revolutionary. If you don’t know, care or understand where you come from how can you know where to go in the future?

The people of St Petersburg walk the same streets as the revolutionaries but they don’t walk in their footsteps. The chances of them reversing the changes of the last 60 years are nil – unless the country has to confront another major crisis such as WWI. (But then they are no different from the workers of any other country where revolutions are only made when people are weak and in crisis rather than from positions of strength and stability.) If the lesson of the October Revolution is anything else it’s that we haven’t learnt the lessons of the October Revolution.

If the workers, peasants and poor of the world made a revolution when they wanted rather than waiting until it was a necessity then their future would be easier. They wait until the last moment and build the new from the literal ruins of the old rather than using the old as a foundation for the new.

Whether the centenary of the October Revolution will prompt the exploited and oppressed to look at their own situation anew is doubtful. But one thing is certain, for those who want to exert their own dignity the Great October Proletarian Revolution will remain a beacon which lights the future.

Long Live the Revolution of the 7th November 1917!

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