'Essential Works of Lenin: "What Is to Be Done?" and Other Writings'
By Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Author)
Among the most influential political and social forces of the twentieth century, modern communism rests firmly on philosophical, political, and economic underpinnings developed by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, later known as Lenin. In this volume, comprising the four works generally considered his most important publications, Lenin presents the goals and tactics of Communism with remarkable directness and forcefulness.
His first major work was The Development of Capitalism in Russia, written in prison after Lenin had been arrested for anti-government activities in 1895. Represented here by key sections, the book developed a number of crucial concepts, including the significance of the industrial proletariat as a revolutionary base. What Is to Be Done?, long regarded as the key manual of Communist action, is presented complete, containing Lenin's famous dissection of the Western idea of the political party along with his own concept of a monolithic party organization devoted to achieving the goal of dictatorship of the proletariat. Also presented complete is Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, in which Lenin examines the final "parasitic" stage of capitalism. Finally, this volume includes the complete text of The State and Revolution, Lenin's most significant work, in which he totally rejects the institutions of Western democracy and presents his vision of the final perfection of Communism.
For anyone who seeks to understand the twentieth century, capitalism, the Russian revolution, and the role of Communism in the tumultuous political and social movements that have shaped the modern world, the essential works of Lenin offer unparalleled insight and understanding. Taken together, they represent a balanced cross-section of this revolutionary theories of history, politics, and economics; his tactics for securing and retaining power; and his vision of a new social and economic order.
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin (22 April [O.S. 10 April] 1870 – 21 January 1924), was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as head of government of the Russian Republic from 1917 to 1918, of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic from 1918 to 1924, and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. Under his administration, Russia and then the wider Soviet Union became a one-party communist state governed by the Russian Communist Party. Ideologically a Marxist, his political theories are known as Leninism.
Born to a wealthy middle-class family in Simbirsk, Lenin gained an interest in revolutionary socialist politics following his brother's execution in 1887. Expelled from Kazan Imperial University for participating in protests against the Russian Empire's Tsarist regime, he devoted the following years to a law degree. In 1893 he moved to Saint Petersburg and became a senior figure in the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party(RSDLP). Arrested for sedition and exiled to Shushenskoye for three years, there he married Nadezhda Krupskaya. After his exile he moved to Western Europe, where he became a prominent party theorist through his publications. In 1903, he took a key role in a RSDLP schism over ideological differences, leading the Bolshevik faction against Julius Martov's Mensheviks. Encouraging insurrection during Russia's failedRevolution of 1905, he later campaigned for the First World War to be transformed into a Europe-wide proletarian revolution, which as a Marxist he believed would result in the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement with socialism. After the 1917 February Revolution ousted the Tsar and established a Provisional Government, he returned to Russia to campaign for the new regime's removal by a Bolshevik-led government of the soviets.
Lenin played a leading role in the October Revolution of 1917, overthrowing the Provisional Government and establishing a one-party state under the new Communist Party. His government abolished Russia's elected Constituent Assembly, withdrew from the First World War by signing a punitive treaty with the Central Powers, and granted temporary independence to non-Russian nations under Russian control. Ruling by decree, it redistributed land among the peasantry and nationalized banks and large-scale industry. Opponents were suppressed in the Red Terror, a violent campaign orchestrated by the Cheka; tens of thousands were killed and many others interned in concentration camps. Lenin's government proved victorious over anti-Bolshevik armies in the Russian Civil War from 1917 to 1922. Responding to famine and popular uprisings, in 1921 Lenin introduced a mixed economic system with the New Economic Policy. Creating the Communist International and waging the Polish–Soviet War to promote world revolution, Lenin's government also united Russia with neighboring territories to form the Soviet Union in 1922. In increasingly poor health, Lenin expressed opposition to the growing power of his successor, Joseph Stalin, before dying at his dacha in Gorki.
Widely considered one of the most significant and influential figures of the 20th century, Lenin was the posthumous subject of a pervasive personality cult within the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. He became an ideological figurehead behind Marxism-Leninism and thus a prominent influence over the international communist movement. A controversial and highly divisive individual, Marxist-Leninists view Lenin as a champion of socialism and the working classes whilst critics on both the left and right see him as the founder of a totalitarian dictatorship responsible for civil war and mass human rights abuses.
Note: 'Great Books of the Western World' recommends 'Imperialism' and 'The State and Revolution' by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.