V.I Lenin

V. I. Lenin was one of the greatest revolutionaries to have ever lived. His life’s work and his ideas represent a brilliant application of the Marxist method. On the firm foundation of Marxist theory, Lenin built the Bolshevik Party, which in 1917 was able to lead the working class to the seizure of power in Russia – the first time that the working class anywhere had seized power on the scale of an entire nation. In this talk from Revolution Festival 2021, editor of Socialist Appeal, Rob Sewell, discusses his remarkable legacy, which any serious fighter for socialism today must undertake to carefully study.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a speech to the Russian nation yesterday, claimed that "Ukraine was created by Lenin." The truth is that the October Revolution had the great merit of liberating the nationalities that had been oppressed by Tsarist Russia, which Lenin called a "prison of the nations", and denied all rights to ethnic minorities. We present this letter from Lenin, written in 1919, which develops in a few pages the position of Marxism on the question of nationalities. Let Lenin speak!

Liberal Professor Mr. Tugan-Baranovsky is on the warpath against socialism. This time he has approached the question, not from the political and economic angle, but from that of an abstract discussion on equality (perhaps the professor thought such an abstract discussion more suitable for the religious and philosophical gatherings, which he has addressed?).

The following manifesto, written by Lenin and introduced by Anatoly Lunacharsky at the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets in October 1917, announces the takeover of power by the Soviets, endorses the revolutionary overthrow of the Provisional Government in Petrograd; and calls on transfer of land to the peasants, bread to the cities and democratic control of production to the working class. Long live the October Revolution!

Article (or chapter) I
The Turn in World Politics

There are symptoms that such a turn has taken place, or is about to take place, namely, a turn from imperialist war to imperialist peace.

The early symptoms of bureaucratic degeneration in Russia were already noted by Lenin in the last two years of his politically active life. He spent his last months fighting against these reactionary tendencies, leaving behind a vital heritage of struggle in his last letters and articles. The struggle of the anti-Stalinist Left Opposition, led by Trotsky after Lenin's death, really begins here.

Are cooperatives an alternative to socialist revolution? Can we build a new society gradually through the cooperative movement? The central question is: who holds state power, the working class or the capitalists? Here Lenin deals with the question in the first period after the Russian Revolution.

"The only difference between Russia and other countries in this respect is that our laws do not sanctify hypocrisy and the debasement of the woman and her child, but openly and in the name of the government declare systematic war on all hypocrisy and all debasement."

"This transition is a difficult one, because it involves the remoulding of the most deep-rooted, inveterate, hidebound and rigid “order” (indecency and barbarity would be nearer the truth). But the transition has been started, the thing has been set in motion, we have taken the new path."

"Not a single bourgeois state, not even the most progressive, republican democratic state, has brought about complete equality of rights. But the Soviet Republic of Russia promptly wiped out, without any exception, every trace of inequality in the legal status of women, and secured her complete equality in its laws."

"The proletariat cannot achieve complete freedom, unless it achieves complete freedom for women."

"Down with the liars who are talking of freedom and equality for all, while there is an oppressed sex, while there are oppressor classes, while there is private ownership of capital, of shares, while there are the well-fed with their surplus of bread who keep the hungry in bondage. Not freedom for all, not equality for all, but a fight against the oppressors and exploiters"

"The real emancipation of women, real communism, will begin only where and when an all-out struggle begins (led by the proletariat wielding the state power) against this petty housekeeping, or rather when its wholesale transformation into a large-scale socialist economy begins."

"For the first time in history, our law has removed everything that denied women rights. But the important thing is not the law. In the cities and industrial areas this law on complete freedom of marriage is doing all right, but in the countryside it all too frequently remains a dead letter."

 Written: the Decision—December 30, 1917 (January 12, 1918); the Addendum—January 1 (14), 1918.