What Is to Be Done?



What Is to Be Done?In What Is To Be Done , Lenin In 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 Convert The Working Class To Marxism, Lenin Insists That Marxists Should Form A Political Party, Or Vanguard , Of Dedicated Revolutionaries To Spread Marxist Political Ideas Among The Workers Lenin Said That The Article Represented A Skeleton Plan To Be Developed In Greater Detail In A Pamphlet Now In Preparation For Print

Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich 1870 1924 one of the leaders of the Bolshevik party since its formation in 1903 Led the Soviets to power in October, 1917 Elected to the head of the Soviet government until 1922, when he retired due to ill health.Lenin, born in 1870, was committed to revolutionary struggle from an early age his elder brother was hanged for the attempted assassination of Czar Alexander III In 1891 Lenin passed his Law exam with high honors, whereupon he took to representing the poorest peasantry in Samara After moving to St Petersburg in 1893, Lenin s experience with the oppression of the peasantry in Russia, coupled with the revolutionary teachings of G V Plekhanov, guided Lenin to meet with revolutionary groups In April 1895, his comrades helped send Lenin abroad to get up to speed with the revolutionary movement in Europe, and in particular, to meet the Emancipation of Labour Group, of which Plekhanov head After five months abroad, traveling from Switzerland to France to Germany, working at libraries and newspapers to make his way, Lenin returned to Russia, carrying a brief case with a false bottom, full of Marxist literature.On returning to Russia, Lenin and Martov created the League for the Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, uniting the Marxist circles in Petrograd at the time The group supported strikes and union activity, distributed Marxist literature, and taught in workers education groups In St Petersburg Lenin begins a relationship with Nadezhda Krupskaya In the night of December 8, 1895, Lenin and the members of the party are arrested Lenin sentenced to 15 months in prison By 1897, when the prison sentence expired, the autocracy appended an additional three year sentence, due to Lenin s continual writing and organising while in prison Lenin is exiled to the village of Shushenskoye, in Siberia, where he becomes a leading member of the peasant community Krupskaya is soon also sent into exile for revolutionary activities, and together they work on party organising, the monumental work The Development of Capitalism in Russia, and the translating of Sidney and Beatrice Webb s Industrial Democracy.After his term of exile ends, Lenin emigrates to M nich, and is soon joined by Krupskaya Lenin creates Iskra, in efforts to bring together the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which had been scattered after the police persecution of the first congress of the party in 1898 After leading the October Revolution, Lenin served as the first and only chairman of the R.S.F.S.R. In 1919 Lenin founded the Communist International In 1921 Lenin instituted the NEP During 1922 Lenin suffered a series of strokes that prevented active work in government While in his final year late 1922 to 1923 Lenin wrote his last articles where he outlined a programme to fight against the bureaucratization of the Commmunist Party and the Soviet state Lenin died on January 21, 1924, as a result of multiple strokes.

[Ebook] What Is to Be Done? By Vladimir Lenin – Heartforum.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 272 pages
  • What Is to Be Done?
  • Vladimir Lenin
  • English
  • 01 February 2019
  • 0140181261

10 thoughts on “What Is to Be Done?

  1. C says:

    I don t get it Not that book, that I get What I don t get is why every popular Marxist book I read, I come away with an entirely different reading than the main stream interpretation I don t possess faculties other do not, so what is it Does Marxism make them look a little too hard in the mirror Are the concepts too abstract Is the moral duty put upon their shoulders too heavy If you ve heard about this book, and you probably have, you think you know it s a book all about how to establish I don t get it Not that book, that I get What I don t get is why every popular Marxist book I read, I come away with an entirely different reading than the main stream interpretation I don t possess faculties other do not, so what is it Does Marxism make them look a little too hard in the mirror Are the concepts too abstract Is the moral duty put upon their shoulders too heavy If you ve heard about this book, and you probably have, you think you know it s a book all about how to establish an authoritarian vanguard party that works for the interest of the working class alone, to usher in some kind of despotic and nefarious branch of undemocratic communism If we follow the trail of who told you this, and who told them that, all the way back until we find someone who actually read the book, where will we end up Maybe Jay Edgar Hoover s office Again I don t know A long game of telephone exist around this book, which really ought to be quelled by individuals doing their own reading It doesn t help of course that Robert Service, a member of Reagan s cabinet I believe, wrote the curt two page introduction Really two pages One of the most historical influential works of the 20th century warrants a two page introduction by someone who occupies the polar opposite political spectrum Although this is a political book about how to foment revolution, it is not a treatise like Locke, Hobbe s or Rousseau, it does not pretend to be ahistorical or maximizing universal rights There is no state of nature, and no serious speculation on how things ought to look This book deals with extremely contemporary issues of Lenin s day As a result, it can be rather confusing, or at least, circumspect Lenin is constantly citing newspaper and propaganda articles that the reader will not have access too The names, and journalist he is referring too, are primarily people no one in the 21st century has heard of Lenin is arguing against the reformist economist movement This is a movement that believes Russia only needs stronger trade unions, and union activist, and believes this movement can arise from the spontaneity of the working class Just as Occupy Wall Street ballooned up, rather spontaneously, without any serious prediction, the economists believe these sorts of movements, especially those that revolve around Trade Union activism, are what Russia needs Moreover, the best trade union activism can do is make exploitationbearable, but it cannot eradicate it wholesale Therefore the economists are complicit in exploitation, and lack the courage to do their duty to end it It s ironic that unlike Marx, Lenin constantly refers to ending exploitation as his moral imperative, and duty Let s be frank, Occupy at best achieved a MINOR change in political narrative End of story Lenin would lobby the same criticism, withvenom and erudition, and he does, at the economist If you really want revolution, not reform, you need to steer the revolution, there needs to be control, and understanding, not spontaneity without direction It s easier to squash the latter, harder to squash the former Moreover, you need theory All revolutions of Lenin s day, and of ours, are focused on politics and economics, but they have no deep theories to them When one really delves into the essence of Liberal and Conservative, Libertarian, and Republican, there is nothing stark to define these differences They don t account for how society works either, they merely talk about the role of the individual, not how he came to be, why he does what he does, and when and how he can transcend his present relations Lenin thinks we need something deeper than economics and politics, we need to synthesize it with theory, and of course that theory is Marxism amen Let s get to the major controversy though Wasn t Lenin just advocating authoritarianism that guided the daft working class along No Lenin was quite convinced that revolutionaries could, had, and will continue to arise from the working class But he wasn t a romantic, he knew good and well if you spend 11 hours a day with your mind devoted to one menial function, it s pretty clear you won t spend the remaining 5 hours of your day brushing up on theory, politics, and economics It s the sad fate of liberal capitalism that the best theories most often come from those with undeserved leisure time Moreover, he believed that his secret party ought to host debates and lectures given by his brand of Marxism, along with attending liberals, democrats, and economist Once a stage was given to all views present, Lenin believed the theory of his group the Social Democrats , would easily prevail, for him this was the vanguard The vanguard is the group with the most advanced theories and ideas of its day Not a group of armed thugs.He does recognize that the group must remain underground and secret, and cannot be an open democracy initially This is not because he prefers authoritarian measures, but because philosophical circles that discuss revolution, student activist, Marxists, etc, were all persecuted by the Tsar There was no freedom of speech and expression, if you said what Lenin said you went to prison, and were tortured Therefore, what is the most practical measure to ending the reign of the Tsar Democracy is not and cannot be that choice This leaves 21st century readers, growing up in the comforts of their day, with narrow hindsight to easily scoff at Lenin for not beingopen Maybe that scoffing is easy, but it s going to be a whole lot harder for that same scoffer to openly advocate the rule of the Tsar, and his autocratic regime, that quelled all freedom of speech Once you realize you cannot, and morally should not, advocate the reign of an autocratic Tsar, you too are left asking what Lenin asked in the title of this book What is to be done

  2. Nathan "N.R." Gaddis says:

    What can be done a Go on strike.b SPAM the world with Zibaldone.c Boycott , gr, Burgerville.d Speak truth to power which doesn t listen.e Flood the Feed with nsfw book covers like.f Remind folks thatwants to sell advertising space g Adblock but that s old school.h That kind of thing.i Just go with whatever craziness your imagination might cook up What can be done a Go on strike.b SPAM the world with Zibaldone.c Boycott , gr, Burgerville.d Speak truth to power which doesn t listen.e Flood the Feed with nsfw book covers like.f Remind folks thatwants to sell advertising space g Adblock but that s old school.h That kind of thing.i Just go with whatever craziness your imagination might cook up

  3. Rui Coelho says:

    We get it, Lenin, social democrats suck Indeed they do But besides that, do you have anything else to say No, justramblings about russian social democrats Too bad

  4. Czarny Pies says:

    History students have to read this one After 120 years of socialist theorizing someone had to make it work in practice Lenin and Stalin did just that The key was to remove all mass input and ensure that a group of professional apparatchiks i.e full time, professional functionary of the Communist Party be put in place to keep every one under the Party s thumb It worked brilliantly In less than ten years a country built on a vague utopian theory was transformed into a highly effective polic History students have to read this one After 120 years of socialist theorizing someone had to make it work in practice Lenin and Stalin did just that The key was to remove all mass input and ensure that a group of professional apparatchiks i.e full time, professional functionary of the Communist Party be put in place to keep every one under the Party s thumb It worked brilliantly In less than ten years a country built on a vague utopian theory was transformed into a highly effective police state untroubled by any form of dissidence

  5. Holly says:

    Essential reading for anyone organising on the left, and a very relevant guide to dealing with opportunists and reactionaries of both right and left types.

  6. Jimmy says:

    Aor less simple concept can be pulled from this rather esoteric polemical rant make the economic struggle a political one Of course, this idea can only be introduced to the working class by a privileged member of the leftist, Russian intelligentsia such as Lenin And naturally it has to be introduced to these people in the convoluted language of a radical Marxist From John Reed s descriptions of him, Lenin sounded like a powerful enough orator, but reading his words is an entirely diffe Aor less simple concept can be pulled from this rather esoteric polemical rant make the economic struggle a political one Of course, this idea can only be introduced to the working class by a privileged member of the leftist, Russian intelligentsia such as Lenin And naturally it has to be introduced to these people in the convoluted language of a radical Marxist From John Reed s descriptions of him, Lenin sounded like a powerful enough orator, but reading his words is an entirely different story What Is to Be Doneis a painfully redundant political pamphlet

  7. Andrew Fairweather says:

    We have noted that the entire student youth of the period was absorbed in Marxism Of course, these students were not only, or even not so much, interested in Marxism as a theory they were interested in it as an answer to the question, What is to be done , as a call to take the field against the enemy These new warriors marched to battle with astonishingly primitive equipment and training In a vast number of cases they had almost no equipment and absolutely no training They marched to war We have noted that the entire student youth of the period was absorbed in Marxism Of course, these students were not only, or even not so much, interested in Marxism as a theory they were interested in it as an answer to the question, What is to be done , as a call to take the field against the enemy These new warriors marched to battle with astonishingly primitive equipment and training In a vast number of cases they had almost no equipment and absolutely no training They marched to war like peasants from the plough, armed only with clubs What Is To Be Done takes issue with the opinions expressed by the periodical Rabocheye Dyelo or, The Workers Cause against Iskra which was co founded by Lenin Lenin s critique of RD cites the organization s devotion to freedom of criticism at all costs to be a simple mask for weakness of principle, and a belief in the spontaneity of uprising of the workers as the main driver for social chance as a primitive character in their practice.As to the first point, Iskra s position was declared by its editorial board thusly Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation Otherwise, our unity will be purely fictitious, it will conceal the prevailing confusion and binder its radical elimination It is understandable, therefore, that we do not intend to make our publication a mere storehouse of various views On the contrary, we shall conduct it in the spirit of a strictly defined tendency Essentially, Lenin believes that any truly social democratic movement can only endure with a stable organization of leaders maintaining continuity RD, on the other hand, argues against this in favor of an approach which would favor tackling issues important to the workers as they arose, it seems rather than promote principles that may serve as a guiding light for a group of professional revolutionaries Lenin takes issue with RD s lazy approach to revolution, which would simply wait patiently for the workers to rise up and voice their grievances Lenin believes that, almost like Plato s dialogue, Meno, it is the duty of professional revolutionaries of the intellectual class to inspire a recollection of the absurdity and unfairness of a decrepit political system which others would call a matter of course where injustice can become so mundane to the working class that it is like the air they breathe That, in the end, there ought to be no workers or intellectuals, but a mass of professional revolutionaries who are whole heartedly dedicated to the cause for revolution guided by definitive principles Wherein, may I ask, did our students push on our workers In the sense that the student brought to the worker the fragments of political knowledge he himself possesses, the crumbs of socialist ideas he has managed to acquire for the principal intellectual diet of the present day student, legal Marxism, could furnish only the rudiments, only scraps of knowledge There has never been too much of such pushing on from outside on the contrary, there has so far been all too little of it in our movement, for we have been stewing too assiduously in our own juice we have bowed far too slavishly to the elementary economic struggle of the workers against the employers and the government We professional revolutionaries must and will make it our business to engage in this kind of pushing on a hundred timesforcibly than we have done hitherto But the very fact that you select so hideous a phrase as pushing on from outside a phrase which cannot but rouse in the workers at least in the workers who are as unenlightened as you yourselves a sense of distrust towards all who bring them political knowledge and revolutionary experience from outside, which cannot but rouse in them an instinctive desire to resist all such people proves you to be demagogues, and demagogues are the worst enemies of the working class What really bothers Lenin is not simply RD s lack of willingness to lead on principle, but the fact that they sought to justify their backwardness by all manner of high flown arguments The RD turned a half measures into a principled stance insisting on the necessary practicality of measures taken No, the movement must have principles, according to Lenin, and that the network of professional revolutionaries must be a secret network of trustworthy individuals we must not forget, this is autocratic Russia It hardly needs mentioning that Lenin s times were much different than our own I d probably throw out working classes for debtor classes, vs asset classes c. But there s a lot here that is very useful for our own times, especially ever since the Arab Spring, which seemed to inspire an undue confidence in the spontaneity of movements At the moment, the so called left is incredibly allergic to the idea of organization, since this would require a program guided by principle At the moment, there seems to be an undue emphasis on freedom of expression, which might as well be another term for freedom of criticism Indeed, it is this emphasis on freedom of expression criticism that conjoins the so called left and the right in this country in a seething embrace one must always look past petty differences when taking a critical eye and understand the way in which contradictions face each other The one thing that unites use in these two Americas is the terrific fear of those who don t respect or observe as valid our modes of self expression, or, to put it in terms the right is likely to use, our way of life The question becomes whether or not one sees the outrage of of the average person to be enough to incite a movement which would lead to effective change for the benefit of the debtor classes of the day Personally, I don t think outrage is enough In Lenin s own words, To establish and consolidate the Party means to establish and consolidate unity among all Russian Social Democrats, and, for the reasons indicated above, such unity can not be decreed, it cannot be brought about by a decision, say, of a meeting of representatives it must be worked for In the first place, it is necessary to work for solid ideological unity which should eliminate discordance and confusion that let us be frank reign among Russian Social Democrats at the present time This ideological unity must be consolidated by a Party programme Secondly, we must work to achieve an organisation especially for the purpose of establishing and maintaining contact among all the centres of the movement, of supplying complete and timely information about the movement, and of delivering our newspapers and periodicals regularly to all parts of Russia Only when such an organisation has been founded, only when a Russian socialist post has been established, will the Party possess a sound foundation and become a real fact, and, therefore, a mighty political force We intend to devote our efforts to the first half of this task, i.e., to creating a common literature, consistent in principle and capable of ideologically uniting revolutionary Social Democracy, since we regard this as the pressing demand of the movement today and a necessary preliminary measure towards the resumption of Party activity I see the so called left and the right, which both contain a dissident impulse as very, very confused To an outrageous fault, the so called left in this country, many of which are of the asset classes, leave the dirty revolutionary business to the oppressed, typically minority, classes, glibly exhorting them to bask in their outrage and degeneracy, while refusing to offer any viable alternatives to the casino capitalism that, let s face it, most of these so called leftists benefit from I say, enough Those with nothing, after all, have nothing but discipline, their bodies to organize Forget freedom of expression what truly poses a threat to the system is not a further diffusion of values through freedom of criticism, but a centralization of power in favor of the masses which would be manifest in their discipline, their ability to organize So, there is much work to be done in terms of organization but there was also plenty of work in Lenin s time But let s not have too much confidence in the spontaneity of movements Let us embrace the hard work of organization Subservience to spontaneity seems to inspire a fear of taking even one step away from what is accessible to the masses, a fear of rising too high above mere attendance on the immediate and direct requirements of the masses Have no fear, gentlemen Remember that we stand so low on the plane of organisation that the very idea that we could rise too high is absurd

  8. Michael David says:

    I am not a Communist.I have the firm belief, however, that before stating what I am not I have to understand what I am against I thought that to understand Communism I had to read one of its primary sources, so I read one of the two great treatises of Communism the other one being State and Revolution, also by V I Lenin It wasn t a smooth read What is to be Done is full of both passion and vitriol It is an uncompromising explanation and exhortation to all workers, all proletarians, I am not a Communist.I have the firm belief, however, that before stating what I am not I have to understand what I am against I thought that to understand Communism I had to read one of its primary sources, so I read one of the two great treatises of Communism the other one being State and Revolution, also by V I Lenin It wasn t a smooth read What is to be Done is full of both passion and vitriol It is an uncompromising explanation and exhortation to all workers, all proletarians, to revolt not only against the economic constraints then but to overturn the entire status quo of Russia It is also a portrait of its writer, V I Ulyanov, who is known to most people nowadays as Lenin To summarize the work, Lenin merely writes to tell his hearers not to capitulate and not to be moderate Change must come from the ground up, and if it will take a centralized, organized workers party who will revolt against the established social order, so be it He contrasts his belief to the cowardice of the Economists, who will later on become the Mensheviks while both wish to change the status quo, the Mensheviks were the offshoot of the Economists that Lenin had spoken about in this treatise They wished to change the status quo withmoderation, allowing a bourgeois revolution in the process The aftermath of Lenin s works was a Russia that was both powerful and pitiful While it had a great standing army, it could barely feed most of its people While it strove towards scientific progress, most of USSR s people were struggling to survive day to day I m not saying that its antipode, capitalism, is great, but I m partial toward it because it gives credit to hard work and diligence While we cannot have all that we wish to have, I do think our lives will improve if we work hard towards what we desire In any major idealism, however, sacrifices have to be made I just think that the sacrifices in capitalism arebenign than the sacrifices in Communism In the end, some people are justequal than others

  9. Steven Peterson says:

    What Is to Be Done Burning Questions of Our Movement is one of V I Lenin s most important works It lays out his strategy of revolutionary change This slender volume attempts to lay out an approach to revolutionary change The key actor is the party, to serve as a vanguard for the masses, to make decisions in their name and in their interest One function of the party is to accelerate the development of class consciousness among the Russian have notes Lenin observes that Everyone agre What Is to Be Done Burning Questions of Our Movement is one of V I Lenin s most important works It lays out his strategy of revolutionary change This slender volume attempts to lay out an approach to revolutionary change The key actor is the party, to serve as a vanguard for the masses, to make decisions in their name and in their interest One function of the party is to accelerate the development of class consciousness among the Russian have notes Lenin observes that Everyone agrees that it is necessary to develop the political consciousness of the working class The question is, how that this is to be done and what is required to do it He responds to his own question To bring political knowledge to the workers, the Social Democrats must go among all classes of the population they must dispatch units of their army in all directions This vanguard party would include professional revolutionaries and others, all bound together by the need to foment revolutionary fervor among the masses In the process, vehicles such as the plan for an All Russian newspaperis the most practical plan for immediate and all round preparation of the uprising He also identifies as enemies those who would urge slow, evolutionary change This is, in the end, Lenin s tactical textbook, his blueprint for revolutionary change As such, it is an important historical and political document Will readers be convinced by his logic Many will not, but it is nonetheless important to understand his sense of what is needed to bring about a revolution

  10. Michael Boyte says:

    Re reading along with the Red Menace podcast This can be a slog, because of all of the Russian names and organizations, and references to previous struggles, it s helpful to read this with other folks That being said, it s worth fighting through because this is absolutely essential reading for people grappling with changing the world,than 100 years after this writing Lenin takes up a number of crucial questions should there be professional revolutionaries How and on what basis should Re reading along with the Red Menace podcast This can be a slog, because of all of the Russian names and organizations, and references to previous struggles, it s helpful to read this with other folks That being said, it s worth fighting through because this is absolutely essential reading for people grappling with changing the world,than 100 years after this writing Lenin takes up a number of crucial questions should there be professional revolutionaries How and on what basis should they mobilize people How do revolutionaries respond to major events, what is the best way to be organized with a small group of people under conditions of repression, is it best to organize around local or national issues The core of all of these is the struggle over what he terms economism the belief that people in this case factory workers will respond most energetically to the issues that directly affect them, i.e the daily struggle for better conditions in the factory In contrast Lenin argues that no matter what people s direct experience with oppression and exploitation is, class consciousness is still brought from without, and involves having a revolutionary analysis of how all classes and strata in society are effected by capitalism and imperialism, and the building of political struggle towards revolutionary aims It s an old argument that has profound political relevance to today s politics, for those of us who want to the see ajust world

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