Lenin at 150

Hail Immortal Comrade Lenin and the inextinguishable flame of Leninism on 150th birth centenary year


On April 22nd we rejoiced the birth centenary of the figure who shaped the fate of history of man in the 20th century more than anyone,Vladmir Lenin. Lenin defined a new epoch in the history of mankind through discovering Imperialism, and pioneering the 1st ever Socialist revolution or State in history. It was similar to building a new civilization. . Lenin was the first person to interpret Karl Marx and give concrete shape to Marxism. He developed Marxism to a new qualitative stage in formulating the new tactics and strategy of the world proletarian revolution, which hold even till today. There is hardly an adjective that can describe how Leninism shimmered every corner of the globe to penetrate  the soul and spiritually elevate almost the entire working class .Lenin was genius in galvanizing the broad masses into a political movement with his presence reminding one of a comet arriving. Lenin also had greater mastery of scientific philosophy and was in full praise for Charles Darwin. Lenin imbibed the nerves or temperament of a military commander, the visions

or insight of a painter or scientist with the methodology of a surgeon or engineer. The interconnection of different events in the preceding quarter century before the revolution which shaped the political events culminating the landmark is unprecedented in world history. Even if dead even today his spirit illuminates the world which all progressive people have to resurrect to save the world from tyranny of neo-fascism. Even in the darkest hour with  Capitalism and imperialism on the ascendancy spark of Leninism is never dead and buried and glows in a subtle manner.

It was Lenin who discovered or formulated the Bolshevik party where for the 1st time in history a proletarian party was founded. Lenin’s colonial thesis paved the path for the 3rd Communist International which had an effect in arousing anti imperialist political consciousness in every corner of the globe. Lenin gave Marxism its concrete form through igniting the essence of Marxism in perfect accordance to the situation prevailing in Russia and the world.

All of Mao’s great philosophical writings could not have emerged without the kernel of Leninism in which it had its roots, be it ‘On dialectics ‘ ,’on contradiction’, ‘On ‘Philosophy ‘or even ‘On ‘mass line’ Even his Yenan writings have strong basis in Leninism. Without a very sound grounding of Leninism Mao could not have confronted Soviet revisionism through the ‘Great Debate ‘ or the revisionism of the capitalist roaders in the Cultural Revolution.”The great achievements of Soviet Russia during collectivization and Industry had their basis in Lenin’s economic ideas. Even if Stalin made gross errors in dealing with opposition and supressed dissent wrongly he saved a Socialist state only because of his firm grasp pf Leninist ideology..Only because of mastery of Lenin’s teachings did Ho Chi Minh win independence from the French for Vietnam. Whatever the originality of Mao’s military thesis it had its roots in the formulations of Lenin. Even if Mao founded a military theory it was Lenin who discovered law of revolutionary violence.

Leninism spread like wildfire to illuminate the globe and inspire all the anti-colonial struggles like a spark turning into a Prairie Fire. Even if not belonging to a Communist party Bhagat Singh of India accepted Lenin’s teachings which formed the axis of his refutation of the pro-colonial Congress. Led by Gandhi and Nehru..Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam shaped all his work on Lenin’s teachings .Even the African continent was infiltrated by Leninism stirring great anti-colonial feelings. Before Lenin’s death the Communist party was founded in India and China .

Significant that ‘Leninism’ got its official sanction or label only after his death and was declared by Stalin. Whatever the discoveries of Stalin or Chairman Mao we are still in the era of Leninism which is that of ‘imperialism and proletarian revolution. ‘Every development of Maoism in a third stage is still part of Leninism.

We have to meticulously learn from Lenin’s method of work in terms of revolutionary practice .Lenin displayed great ingenuity and mastery in printing pamphlets in perfect consonance to the political consciousness of the workers of Russia. Lenin made a very accurate demarcation of the more advanced political workers to the politically backward ones as well as the difference between the mass organizations with the professional party organization.. Both publishing of ‘Iskra’ and ‘Pravda’ were testimony to Lenin’s mastery of Marxist ideology. Lenin also displayed his innate political genius when signing the Brest-Litovsk treaty.

Leninism is not classical Marxism but marxism as relevant to Russia and to the state of the world in his era. Unlike Marx Lenin understood how Socialism could not be built in a traditional bourgeois democratic structure . parties. The achievements that occured in the transformation of Russia into USSR in Lenin’s life time are unprecedented in the history of mankind whether in Education, electricity, housing, health medicine or employment. Never had the working class enjoyed such rights through Soviets or had an army so linked to its interests. True excesses occured on sections like the intelligentsia, artists etc but they were plane in comparison with the achievements.

Today there is a tendency amongst writers to wedge a demarcation between Leninism and Marxism like Bernard de Mello who fail to evaluate the subjective conditions prevailing in USSR in Lenin’s era. They blame Lenin for bureaucratization of the Soviets,supressing revolt of Kronsdat etc.This is a semi-Trotskyite approach. Even if it conventionally appeared sectarian Lenin had no choice but to outlaw the bourgeois opposition after the revolution Morally it is Leninism that developed Marx’s thesis of the dictatorship of the proletariat in a concrete form and even chairman Mao’s concept of continuous revolution under dictatorship of the proletariat is an integral part of Leninism. Even if Mao founded a military theory it was Lenin who discovered law of revolutionary violence. What was most praiseworthy about Lenin were his conscious efforts to combat any personality cult and uphold spirit of democratic centralism

Quoting Bernard De Mello on Lenin in his article on Maoism “A very remarkable feature of State and Revolution, given the importance Lenin always attributed to the role of the party, is the quite subsidiary role it is allotted in this instance.”

“But Lenin’s vision of the socialist state “did not survive the Bolshevik seizure of power”. Yet, he “never formally renounced the perspectives which had inspired State and Revolution”. Can we thus conclude that Lenin wanted “the creation of a society in which the state would be strictly subordinated to the rule and self-government of the people” (Miliband 2000b: 525)? The contrast between theory and practice, in this respect, couldn’t have been starker. Frankly, one has to clearly distinguish between what one says and what one does. After all, what happened to the Congress of Soviets — soviets which had the potential to be self-governing organs of the workers and the peasants — that had arisen almost spontaneously from the movement of February 1917? By the summer of 1918 the soviets had no more than a mere formal existence. The main institution of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies (independent of any one party), took the back seat, with the party leadership at the steering (Miliband 1970). Indeed, the dictatorship of the proletariat was deemed impossible except through the leadership of the single party; socialist pluralism too got precluded (Ibid). But, to be fair, it is important though to note that Lenin, in his last writings, expressed the need to create the basis for popular self-governance, for which, he felt, there must be a genuine revolution, where culture flowers among the people. Was he then calling for a “cultural revolution”, something that Mao launched in China in 1966 with the aim of “preventing capitalist restoration” (Thomson 1970: 125)?”

Bernard simply fails to understand the complexities of the Situation USSR faced at that time which compelled Lenin to take certain measures. If he had allowed multiple parties bourgeois democracy would have triumphed and the white army would have taken over. Lenin made every move to democratize the Soviets but without the Bolshevik party the very backbone of the Soviets would have been destroyed, No doubt valid points about bureaucracy emerging which was consolidated but history has absolved that any major revolutionary democratic development needed the fulcrum of the Leninist party ,be it the Socialist Revolution or Cultural revolution in China.


Lenin received his revolutionary baptism in a Marxist circle in University of Kazan.Ironically it was the same year as his brother was executed. After joining a Workers study circle he was soon arrested and expelled from the University. After being released he moved to Samara where he established his own Marxist study circle and by 1985 in St Petersburg where he had moved, he united all the Marxist circles into a single league of Struggle for the emancipation of the Working class. This was the breeding ground for the birth of the revolutionary party. While giving his exams in St. Petersburg Lenin had developed Marxist contacts there and got a supply of Marxist literature. In Samara Lenin spent a large part of his time giving lectures in illegal study circles of workers and others. He also formed the first Marxist study circle of Samara. Lenin soon became a leading figure bringing new life to the numerous secret study-circles of St. Petersburg. He also influenced the Moscow circles. Besides lecturing in the circles he was always interested in learning every minute detail of the workers’ lives. In the circles he convinced a big section of the revolutionaries to move from selective propaganda (propaganda in those days was understood as similar to our political education classes today) in small circles to mass agitation among the broad mass of workers.

Lenin tooth and nail refuted opportunist trends of Plekhanov,Kautsky and later Leon Trotsky which was based on the erroneous line of the 2nd  Communist International. He hit Menshevik ideology at its very roots exposing Trotsky’s conspiratorial theories of factions, converting trade Unions into military organizations by attaching armed wings, disregarding anti colonial struggles Lenin at the very base countered left-wing communism…

The right trend within the 2nd Communist International had a profound impact in blocking the development and growth of revolutionary Marxism. It promoted centrism and right opportunism.of the variety of the ‘Fabians or Karl Kautsky. Lenin made a profound influence in refuting ideology of the Mensheviks, Narodniks and economism within the working class movement all influenced by the line of the 2nd Communist International and supporting the alliance and involvement of the peasantry with the working class. With razor sharp depth he combated the views of Kaustky on the role of the peasantry and the revisionism of Bernstein. He confronted the tendency of Narodism by refuting people like Plekhanov and advocating the alliance of the peasantry .His first major work on this was “What the friends of the people are and how they fight against Social democrats .”Lenin also ideologically rebuked the ‘legal Marxists”. To challenge Narodism Lenin published “What the friends of the people are and How they fight against Social democrats

Lenin waged an ideological war against Bernstenian form of revisionism which rose in the form of a manifesto in 1899.It propagated the idea of an independent political party and of independent political demands was negative .Through the pages of a political organ ‘ Iskra’  Lenin waged an ideological war against the manifesto Later in 1902 in ‘What is to be Done’ Lenin hit the philosophy of the Opportunists in its very belly. Bernstein sowed the seeds of his ideas in “Evolutionary Socialism.”He rejected Marxism, ridiculed ’Dictatorship of the Proletariat”and felt there was no need for a revolution. His views were a reflection and product  of rise of imperialism in Germany.Bernstein attempted to even use Engels’ “Introduction to marx’s class Struggles in France” written in 1895.Bernstein propagated a ‘gradualist’ approach to Socialism and advocated ‘flexible institutions’ of ‘capitalism needed.”

To challenge Narodism Lenin published “What the friends of the people are and How they fight against Social democrats “

Lenin attacked Menshevism within the platform of Iskra itself where he confronted Martov,and Trotsky. In 1904 in a book “One step forward, two steps back”,Lenin made a detailed study of the intra-party struggle  and on the basis propounded the main organizational base or guidelines of the Bolshevik party. A major leap in Marxist theory was established here. The circulation of the book enabled the majority of the local organization sof the party to rally around it. Significant that by the time of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the main enemies of Marxism came within the proletarian parties themselves. This ironically set the tone of later Socialist revolutionary history like that of the capitalist roaders in China after 1956 and earlier Bukharin  ,Kamenev or Zinoviev in USSR.

In July 1905 Lenin through “Two tactics of Social democracy in the Democratic Revolution superbly illustrated the Bolshevik tactics and exposed the idealism of the Mensheviks.It paved the path for the preparation of the Bolshevik party. The Mensheviks wished the leadership was still in the hands of the bourgeoisie and the working class had to support the bourgeoise to overthrow the autocracy..Mensheviks rejected the revolutionary role of the peasantry and the vanguard role of the working class. Lenin’s ideology gave shape to ideology needed in conditions of modern imperialism., which refuted the revisionism of the second Communist International.

With great methodology Lenin split the Social democrats in 1905 to form the Bolshevik group and displayed in depth mastery of carrying out secretist methods of work. Both publishing of ‘Iskra’ and ‘Pravda’ were testimony to Lenin’s mastery of Marxist ideology.

Lenin’s “What is to be Done” write in 1902 is a Marxist classic which is relevant till today. It shows his great enlightenment on Marxist ideology in the context prevailing and his innate mastery of the language of the working class.in What is to be Done? Lenin points out that at the root the Economists’ right-opportunism was their worship of the spontaneous movement and undermining the role of socialist consciousness. And Lenin forcefully made the point that a socialist understanding of the world, or Marxism, arose outside the working class and had to be taken to its proletarian home.(Freedom Road Socialist Organization)

n What is to be Done? Lenin at the very root confronted the economist tendency and sharply demarcated genuine Socialist trend from it.. Trade Unions are a necessity but the problem of economists was their trade Unionist economist approach, They rejected politics of overthrowing the Czar establishing dictatorship of the proletariat or workers rule but demanded protective measures or legal rights for labour. They rejected the concept of a tightly, centralized, well-knit party and wanted an admixture of labour union and socialist organization .Martov’s concept was refuted tooth and nail by Lenin who diametrically opposed the concept of a party as a vanguard .

Here is how Lenin put it in What is to be Done? “We have said that there could not have been Social-Democratic consciousness among the workers. It would have to be brought to them from without. The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labor legislation, etc. The theory of socialism, however, grew out of the philosophic, historical, and economic theories elaborated by educated representatives of the propertied classes, by intellectuals.”

‘What is to be done’ is equally relevant today with powerful economist or legalist trends within the working class movement worldwide, approaches rejecting need of vanguard party and anarchist tendencies.

Lenin showed great political ingenuity and acumen in handling the situation Russia faced in 1905 after defeat in the Russo-Japanese war and the subsequent strikes of workers and other protests led by bourgeoise forces. Lenin and the Bolsheviks captured the tide with immaculate precision. With incisive depth of analysis he advocated the political strike of 1905 as weapon against the enemy. He introduced the perfect work methods with the situation the Russian working class faced after 1905 with the revolutionary movement scattered. Significant the institution of the Soviets was galvanized in this period which laid the basis of proletarian democracy. The Soviet of workers duties were assemblies of delegates of all mills and factories and to the Bolsheviks the embryo of political power. Which was the model of Soviet power established in 1917.The defining event or turning point was the firing on the workers in St Petersburg on January 22nd in bloody Sunday .Lenin and the Bolsheviks upheld the all-Russia political Strike which set and lifted the tempo of the revolutionary working class movement and sowed the seeds for the Bolshevik lead armed uprisings in December. A impact of a tornado engulfed  Soviet Russia with over a million workers participating in the strike of 1906 and 740000 in 1907.Half of the districts of Russia were encompassed with the peasant movement and about one-fifth in the later part of the year.

Lenin  wrote ‘Materialism and Empirio-Criticism’ in 1909 to defend Marxist dialectical materialism and counter subjectivist idealism that is systematically reduced to the empirical basis required by science and is presented as the third-party philosophy between materialism and idealism. The philosophical work is important because it refutes the bourgeois subjectivists who invoke empiricism and science to distort the objective reality and inner contradictions of problematic social phenomena to be solved and deny the conscious capacity of the people to solve their problems. It laid the very basis of the Marxist dialecticical materialist philosophy for the concrete circumstances of the time and sowed the seeds for confronting all bourgeois idealist tendencies.(Quoting Joma Sison)

Lenin advanced our understanding of dialectical materialism by identifying the unity of opposites as the most fundamental among the laws of contradiction at work in society and nature and in the social and natural sciences. The simple expression of this is to divide one into two. One should not be dumbfounded by anything whole that is impressive or sacralized. Anything whole in the real world can be dissected, analyzed and critiqued. At the same time, anything that appears static, or anything that apparently emerges randomly from chaos, can be deeply understood in the movement of opposites that lurk within it. With his consciousness of the unity of opposites, Lenin was sharp and profound in his examination and analysis of events and issues in society and on both revolutionary and counterrevolution sides.(Quoting Chairman Joma Sison)

This work has relevance today with the rise of post-modernist trends of Alan Badiou, Zizek etc which represent the New Left. It hits such tendencies in its very backyard which are idealist in essence and violate Marxist dialectics. It sharpened the sword of Marxist dialectics like no other work. The grounding of this work was the basis of the success of many scientists in Socialist USSR in combating bourgeois idealism and developing proletarian science.

Lenin made an invaluable contribution in refuting Kautsky’s concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the very thick of the skin. Lenin with meticulous depth with the sharpness of a sword defended the Proletarian party as the vanguard to enable the proletariat to seize power. Kaustky adamantly resisted all attempts to supress counter-revolutionaries and accused Bolsheviks of despotism. Lenin’s refutations here set the guidelines for his work ‘State and Revolution.”

Lenin’s most significant contribution is his work on ‘Imperialism the Highest Stage of capitalism’ written in 1916 which virtually elevated Marx’s theory of capitalism to a higher plane. With the insight of a great architect or engineer in depth he analyzed the grave idealist theory of Karl Kautsky which supported the collaboration of imperialism with a goal of preventing division. Here Lenin summarized how Kautsky’s theory would smash the citadel of the international proletariat .Lenin combined the methodology of a professor with the vision or imagination of a great poet or musical composer in this writing, placing his research in perfect tune to the happenings in Russia and the world at that time. Kaustky adamantly resisted all attempts to supress counter-revolutionaries and accused Bolsheviks of despotism. Lenin’s refutations here set the guidelines for his work ‘State and Revolution.”

Lenin was the pioneer in formulating moribund capitalism. Imperialism is moribund capitalism, because it is capitalism in transition to socialism. Monopoly, which grows out of capitalism, is already dying capitalism, the beginning of its transition to socialism. The tremendous socialization of labour by imperialism produces the same result. The basic contradiction of capitalism between the social character of production and the private character of ownership only gets further intensified under imperialism. Thus Lenin says, “Imperialism is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat“Imperialism is capitalism in that stage of development in which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital has established itself; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun; in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.”

The fact that imperialism is parasitic or decaying capitalism is manifested first of all in the tendency to decay, which is characteristic of every monopoly under the system of private ownership of the means of production.

Lenin made an invaluable contribution in refuting Kautsky’s concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the very thick of the skin. Lenin with meticulous depth with the sharpness of a sword defended the Proletarian party as the vanguard to enable the proletariat to seize power. Kaustky adamantly resisted all attempts to supress counter-revolutionaries and accused Bolsheviks of despotism. Lenin’s refutations here set the guidelines for his work ‘State and Revolution.”Kautsky attacked Lenin’s Proletarian dictatorship theory in his ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat where he accused the Bolsheviks for suppressing counter revolution.Lenin countered it through his “Proletarian Revolution and Renegade kautsky” where he with the sharpness of a dagger upheld the unparalleled superiority of proletarian democracy over bourgeois democracy.

In his ‘State and Revolution’ published in 1918  Lenin in most incisive detailed defined the bourgeois state and how any multiple party bourgeois democratic system was in essence a dictatorship of the bourgeoise The State and Revolution written in 1918  is considered to be Lenin’s most important work on the state and has been called by Lucio Colletti “Lenin’s greatest contribution to political theory”.[2]Here in deep depth he sum sup the opressive or authoritative nature of the bourgeois state whose machinery is always aligned with the opressor classes .Lenin refuted the Bukharinist view of the state immediately withering away after the revolution, dismissing it as an idealist view. Lenin insisted on an alternative state machinery. Here he laid down the framework for the state with proletarian and attacked anarchist views at their very root.. It was the most comprehensive work on how proletarian power would be established in the new state. According to the Marxologist David McLellan, “the book had its origin in Lenin’s argument with Bukharin in the summer of 1916 over the existence of the state after a proletarian revolution. Bukharin had emphasised the ‘withering’ aspect, whereas Lenin insisted on the necessity of the state machinery to expropriate the expropriators. In fact, it was Lenin who changed his mind, and many of the ideas of State and Revolution, composed in the summer of 1917 – and particularly the anti-Statist theme – were those of Bukharin”[3]Till today more than any Marxist revolutionary Lenin has defined how a proletarian state machinery replaces a bourgeois or dictatorial one. With vivid clarity he defined how essentially the bourgeois state was fundamentally a bourgeois dictatorship.

Lenin’s direct and simple definition of the State is that “the State is a special organisation of force: it is an organisation of violence for the suppression of some class.”[4] Lenin completely rejected the bourgeois parliament which he felt was an instrument to opress the toiling class by the exploiter classes. “To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament – this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics”[5]

Citing Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, Lenin examines theoretical questions about the existence of the State after the proletarian revolution, addressing aspects of of anti-authoritarians, anarchists, social democrats, and reformists, in describing the progressive stages of societal change — the revolution, establishing “the lower stage of communist society” (the socialist commune), and the “higher stage of communist society” that will sow the seeds of a society where personal freedom might be fully expressed.

Social chauvinism of nations was a predominant trend in the World War 1 period. Lenin displayed political genius in his analysis of the International currents in light of Russia and assessed the dialectical relationship of all the wars of agression staged in Europe In perfect tune he exploited the contradiction s of the imperialist powers in the 1st world war. In 1914 Lenin wrote his theses on the war ,”The Tasks of Revolutionary Democracy in the European War .Here he stated “The European and world war has the clearly defined character of the bourgeoise ,imperialistic A struggle for markets and for freedom to loot foreign countries ,a striving to supress the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and democracy in the individual countries, a desire to deceive, disunite, and slaughter the proletariat of all countries by setting the wage slaves of one nation against those of another so as to benefit the bourgeoise-these are the only content and significance of the war.”

In 1914 under the guidance of the RSDLP issued a mainfesto on the war .giving the call for turning the imperialist war into a ca civil war.”and called for the formation of the 3rd international. Lenin circulated his pamphlet “Socialism and War “in the First Zimmerwal conference in 1915to organize leftist anti-war elements. The pamphlet outlined the guidelines for revolutionary democrats in Russia as well as the International level.

With great insight Lenin induced practice of War Communism in Russia after 1918 where the Military took control over the production in the farms. It was in absolute consonance to the crisis Russia faced at that time. Middle and small-scale industries were taken over ,in addition to large scale industry ;it introduced a state monopoly of grain trade and prohibited private trading in grain; it established the suplus-appropriation system ,under which all surplus produce of the peasants had to be handed over to the state at all fixed prices; and finally it introduced universal labour service for all classes.

Lenin also displayed his innate political genius when signing the Brest-Litovsk treaty.With great polemic mastery Lenin fought Trotskyite stand during the war and signed the Brest Litovsk theory in August 1918 which was of great tactical significance for saving the Soviet Revolution in Russia. Trotsky, Bukharin and Kautsky were staunch opponents of Russian surrender or compromise with Germany in the War. There could be few more perfect illustrations of the correctness of Leninism and how its difference with Trotskyism was like chalk and cheese.

With great depth of scientific skill he devised the correct formulations for the third international which defined the correct international proletarian strategy and tactics. Lenin made major contributions to Marxist theory in connection with the Congress of the 3rd international in 1919.. He prepared what he intended as a handbook of Communist party strategy and tactics, which was distributed among the delegates of the Congress. It was called “Left-Wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder, and concentrated on correcting the ‘leftist’ errors then prevalent in many parties who had joined the International. Lenin also prepared the Theses on the National and Colonial Question adopted at the Congress. It was a landmark document which laid the Marxist-Leninist theoretical foundations for understanding and leading the national liberation struggles then gathering momentum in all the colonies and semi-colonies. Besides, Lenin outlined the basic tasks of the Communist International and the Theses on the Agrarian Question adopted at this Congress. The Congress also adopted theses on the role of the Communist Party in the proletarian revolution, on the trade union movement, on Communist Parties and parliament, and the Statutes and Conditions of admission of the Communist International. In its statutes the Comintern (Communist International) clearly declared that it “breaks once and for all with the traditions of the Second International, for whom only white-skinned people existed”. It inspired ant-conical movements worldover who steered its path with Lenin’s understanding. The whole world literally revolved around it.

In the post revolutionary period we must grasp the significance of Lenin’s New economic policy of 1921 when he inducted capitalist reforms within a proletarian state. It displayed his great insight into the post-war condition prevailing in Russia where it was imperative to give a private plot of land to the farmers. Leon Trotsky was at loggerheads with Lenin on this which illustrates the political bankruptcy of his thinking.


Today like a boulder resisting the stormiest or most powerful of gales we must defend the essence of Leninism from all counter-revolutionary winds that undermine the ideology whether from Trotskyites .New left or other counter-revolutionary sections. Every nail should be banged into the coffin to silence Trotskyites who equate Lenin’s teachings and practice with that of Leon Trotsky and thus fuse Leninism with Trotskyism. Cadres should study writers who prove that in essence Trotskyism is an anti-thesis of Leninism in every respect As already researched to the a last straw Trotskysim is in essence counter to Marxism-Leninism ,negating all the fundamental principles of the ideology. We must guard against tendencies that equate Maoism as a rupture from Leninism, undermine the Leninist party or feel that there is a qualitative leap from the Leninist era .

Lenin’s teachings on dialectical materialism have to be upheld till this day and it is erroneous to replace them. Postmodernist tendencies have to be confronted tooth and nail like propagated by Comrades like Joshua Moufawad Paul and Ajith.

We need to study Lenin from the point of view of confronting the fascism prevailing in the modern era. His writings on the nature of the bourgeoise state and its pernicious forms are invaluable.

It was mastery of Leninism  that enabled USS R to overpower the Nazi tyranny in World war 2.Historically it was the Socialist Soviet Union that won the war and not America or Europe. Morally it was the victory of Socialism  over fascism.

We must tooth and nail defend the great achievements in USSR from 1917-56 and Chin from 1949-76.The gross errors must be pointed out but we must defend the essential new epoch they defined towards revolutionising democracy and taking it to barriers untraversed.

In my view it is still Leninism that is principal and we live in the ‘era of imperialism and proletarian revolution’. I  strongly feel Stalin’s practices were a powerful deviation from the essence of Leninism with respect to democracy when you consider the great purges. In similar light whatever the magnitude of Chairman Mao’s achievements he failed to elevate revolutionary democracy to the height Marx and Lenin proscribed. It is my strong conviction that had Lenin lived on he would have inducted greater democracy within the Soviets and fought bureaucratism tooth and nail.

Sections of Gonzaloites feel that Mao discovered anew era where imperialism would crash in the next 50 to hundred years while some feel vanguard concept of party is outdated like Alan Badiou.Zizek and partially Joshua Moufawad Paul. Lin Biaoism or third worldism also devalues Leninism with its asessment that imperialism is collapsing .For a period we had an infection in the World Communist movement wit terms like ‘principally Maoism’ which relegated Leninism to the museum or that it was the era of ‘Maoism’ with imperialism on the verge of collapse. The debacle within Revolutionary Internationalist movement which destroyed it was its pushing back fundamentals of Leninism and underestimating the era. Such formulations caused havoc and today cadres should read the writings of Comrades like Chairman Joma Sison who meticulously explain that Leninist tactics and strategy are still principal. To an extent Chairman Gonzalo in great depth defended Lenin but delved into ecclectical areas when upholding ‘Principally Maoism” or ‘Gonzalo thought’. Still we have to credit Gonzolaites like Struggle sessions or what represented formally views of Red Guards Austin and Los Angeles groups for negating concept of Maoism being a rupture from Leninism. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution or it’s concept was an integral part of Leninism, as it was Lenin who in his time proscribed such an idea.

Cadres should study writers who prove that in essence Trotskyism is an anti-thesis of Leninism in every respect. Today even sections of Maoists in India like Ajith or Kobadh Gandhy are upholding relevance of post modernist writers or those of era of enlightenment .Instead of confronting revisionism with the sword of Leninism they are propagating concepts of ‘humanism’ or ‘individual freedom. No doubt we must imbibe important aspects of Humanism or freedom which arguably Lenin did not address and were not sufficiently respected by Stalin and Mao, I strongly refute the criticisms made of Sumanta Banerjee on Socialist Russia and China but still feel he asks relevant questions. I greatly admire the defence of Leninism by writers like Joseph Ball who refute post-modernism to the last straw.

‘We have to guard against tendencies that propogate’Maoism’ as principal and  replacing  Leninism.In my view like Stalinists to uphold Stalin’s views and practice as 100 % correct is negating Leninist theory and practice. In important ways Stalin did negate Leninism like in agriculture, violating democratic centralism and arriving at metaphysical conclusions with regards to the Society having no contradictions.

Today with sharpened imperialist contention worldwide Leninist theory of imperialism is all the more relevant. Even if Neo-colonialism is prevalent the contradiction of opressed nations with opressor countries of imperialism has sharpened. The worst economic crisis in the world including imperialist countries accentuated by the latest COVID-19 Crisis is testimony to the accuracy of Lenin’s thesis on the proletariat, with unemployment and price rise on a crescendo. Economist tendencies have penetrated the working class movement more deeply than a century ago .We have many an example of a genuine working class struggle being diffused like the strike of British coal miners in 1984,the Kanoria Jute mill workers in West Bengal in India,Chattisgarh mine workers,Maruti workers  or even French transport workers. State repression on the working class is even stronger than that in Lenin’s time with a genuine fascist threat even in developed countries.Leninst concept of working within the yellow Unions as fractions and only capture them by the party when sufficient political consciousness is developed is important even today.

With regard to nationality movements in India Leninism is of great relevance in demarcating the proletarian essence and discarding the pro-imperialism sections. Kashmir is an ideal example. Due to weakness of Leninist grasp certain sections tailed behind reformist nationality movements like ULFA in Assam. Or even Islamic currents at the Internationale level. Discarding essence of Leninism sections of revolutionaries even within the Maoist camp are even equating Ambedkarism with Marxism or Ambedkar as a revolutionary.Groups are also neglecting Leninist understanding of secret party concept and resorting to open functioning.

With regard to modern imperialism subtle changes must be adopted in our analysis from what Lenin did in his time and a deep analysis must be made of how to deal with Chinese imperialism today and it’s acute contradiction with United States of America. Similarly we must assess the role or North Korea against America .

Lenin’s teachings must also be interpreted in context of religious fascism, particularly in assessing Islamic fundamentalism. Today there are powerful deviations amongst Marxists to soft pedal with Islamic currents. like in the recent terrorism in France. All kind of religious fundamentalism must be condemned in no uncertain terms.

Towards building massline  cadres must understand the importance of Leninism as the root of it and that all Mao’s teachings are an integral part of it. The Maoist party is not a new type of party but a development of the Leninist party. We need to study Lenin’s teachings on terrorism of the narodniks and how right opportunism creeps into a Leninist party. It was mastery of Leninism that laid the base of great exponents of mass line in India like T.Nagi Reddy or Harbhajan Sohi.The most outstanding Marxist Leninist thinkers in the world today, Chairman Joma Sison displays great mastery of Leninism in his works. Without mastery of Leninism Naxalbari struggle would never have sprouted. Amongst Indian writers Sunder Navalkar, Harbhajan Sohi and publication Jan Muktikami do great justice to Leninism.It is important that revolutionaries respect Lenin’s understating that parliamentary tactics could be deployed in revolutionary movement.-in contrast to the Maoist trend today and earlier advocated by Charu Mazumdar.

Ofcourse we must be vary of not mechanically applying Leninism but understanding the concrete situations facing us and applying it in accordance. True Leninism cannot solve every problem of humanity and more deeply we have to penetrate into the study of human psychology and inner spiritual transformation of man. Even Leninist party had weaknesses and we have to more deeply analyse the reasons or reversal of Genuine Socialist Societies. In particular we have to dialectically assess reversals like that of the Revisionists usurping power in USSR in 1956.collpase Shanghai Commune, victory of capitalist roaders in China, The Leninist party concept and theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat  has to be developed further to grant greater autonomy to mass organizations of people and to facilitate greater democratic governance. Even in a revolutionary movement greater emphasis has to be placed on developing revolutionary democracy from below. In many ways we must even in context of Leninism imbibe teachings of  Antonio Gramisci. The world situation has also turned upside down with the advent of globalisation which has virtually bred a new type of proletariat with the modern technology and machinery dividing them helter skelter. Methods of organizing the working class have to be devised with regard to the situation currently which is of great variance from the days of Lenin. Today the working class is divided at work place as never before, cutting genuine interaction. We have to take into account the mechanization of the modern era with the monopoly of computerization which as even made high-tech workers a component of the proletariat.

Harsh Thakor

Email- [email protected]

A political commentator  based in Mumbai who regularly tours different  parts of India, particularly Punjab and also Telengana ,Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata,to report democratic events and movements. Regularly write for ‘Frontier Weekly’, ‘Otters War Room’ and earlier for blogs ‘Democracy and Class Struggle’, ‘Naxal Revolution’ and Anti-Imperialist Camp.’Main area of writing is on ‘Massline in India”.,’Maoism and International movements, ‘Peasant movement in Punjab’.




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