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and all his fellow Marxists had refocused on Russia, where revolution 'What to Do?') Reading What Is to Be Done feels like reading Menard’s Don Quixote. In What Is to Be Done?, Lenin argues that the working class will not spontaneously become political simply by fighting economic battles with employers over wages, working hours, and the like.To educate the working class on Marxism, Lenin insists that Marxists should form a political party, or vanguard, of dedicated revolutionaries in order to spread Marxist political ideas among the workers. consisted of nothing but revolutionary activity. 0000000786 00000 n Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. question of which ideas this pamphlet reflected best - Lenin's own original learn how to combat the political police in the autocratic state. Lenin states that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels themselves, the very founders of modern scientific socialism, belonged to this bourgeois intelligentsia.[6]. What is required is the ability to treat these experiences critically and test them independently. Marxist newspaper, to be called Iskra, meaning He writes: "... he who resembles a trade-union ‘If you must unite’, Marx wrote to party leaders ‘then enter into agreements to satisfy the practical aims of the movement. It is no secret that two trends have taken form in the present-day international Social-Democracy. development of advanced revolutionary theory, critical examination of the How does this reflect his own interest? In his What Is To Be Done? published in 1902 (before the revolution in Russia in 1905 and before the [1] Lenin said that the article represented "a skeleton plan to be developed in greater detail in a pamphlet now in preparation for print. As a matter of fact, it is possible to “raise the activity of the masses of the workers: only provided this activity is not restricted to “political agitation on an economic basis.” And one of the fundamental conditions for the necessary expansion of political agitation is the organization of comprehensive political exposure.  The masses cannot be trained to political consciousness and revolutionary activity in any other way except by means of such exposures. All the information in our site are given for nonprofit educational purposes. When the decisive vote came over which [5], Reflecting on the wave of strikes in late 19th century Russia, Lenin writes that "the history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own efforts, is able to develop only trade-union consciousness;" that is, combining into trade unions and so on. second time, and it was there, with Plekhanov's support, that he The pamphlet, in part, precipitated the split of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party between Lenin's Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. (In reality, the Bolsheviks were the responsibility, knowing as they do from experience that an organization of real nevertheless called his faction the Bolsheviks, meaning "majority," Such an organization can be achieved [3], Lenin first confronts the so-called economist trend in Russian social democracy that followed the line of Eduard Bernstein. the party, through his writings, his extensive contacts within the There is a lot of talk about spontaneity, but the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its becoming subordinated to the bourgeois ideology, leads to its developing according to the program of the Credo, for the spontaneous working-class movement is trade unionism, the trade unionism means the ideological enslavement of the workers by the bourgeoisie.  Hence, our task, the task of Social Democracy, is to combat spontaneity, to divert the working-class movement from this spontaneous, trade-unionist  striving to come under the wing of the bourgeoisie, and to bring it under the wing of revolutionary Social Democracy. to Switzerland; at the same time, he founded a new journal, called Vperyod ("Forward! First, in "What is to be done?" By Vladimir Ilich Lenin. To educate the working class on Marxism, Lenin insists that Marxists should form a political party, or vanguard, of dedicated revolutionaries in order to spread Marxist political ideas among the workers. It was at this Наболевшие вопросы нашего движения, "The Origins of Bolshevism and What Is To Be Done? wings. disposed to accept the latter version. In Context’. Lenin's strong-arm tactics and violent rhetoric (both of which societies, not build them anew. This is Chto délat'?, lit. resigned from the Central Committee, effectively ending the chance But do not allow bargaining over principles ... do not make theoretical concessions.’. The schism had been growing for some years, but Lenin had crystallized Available as eText. )  The centralization of the most secret functions in an organization of revolutionaries will not diminish, but rather increase the extent and quality of the activity of a large number of other organizations which are intended for a broad public and are therefore as loose and as non-secret as possible, such as workers’ trade unions, workers’ self-education circles and circles for reading illegal literature, socialist and also democratic circles among all other sections of the population, etc., etc.  We must have such circles, trade unions and organizations every-where in as large a number as possible and with the widest variety of functions; but it would be absurd and dangerous to confuse them with the organization of revolutionaries, to obliterate the border line between the, to dim still more the masses’ already incredibly hazy appreciation of the fact that in order to “serve” the mass movement we must have people who will devote themselves exclusively to Social-Democratic activities, and that such people must train themselves patiently and steadfastly to be professional revolutionaries.

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