Living Words from a Dead Russian

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Dec 9 15:40:12 MST 2001

On Sun, 9 Dec 2001 17:17:51 EST, Borba100 at wrote:
>This is the essence of teaching ordinary people
>that those in power do not  deserve to rule.
>Some, lost in abstraction, cannot seem to get
>close to this  simple truth: that nobody thinks
>of replacing a ruling class, let alone one  that
>heads up an Empire, unless he or she believes,
>in specific (not simply  general) ways that
>ruling class conssts of criminals and hence is
>drawn into  struggle AGAINST THOSE CRIMES

Lenin's "What is to be Done" was a polemic against the "economist"
current in the Russian social democracy that believed in keeping
struggles limited to the plant gate. They resisted the formation of a
nationwide party on the model of Kautsky's SP. Lenin pushed for a
newspaper that would serve as a pole of attraction for the scattered
circles of the socialist movement.

Nor did it have anything to do with "crimes" as such. It was about
the need for a vanguard to introduce Marxist thinking among the
proletariat. This, by the way, was no innovation of Lenin's. Kautsky
and the Germans had the identical concept.

Perhaps you don't have "What is to be Done" in mind. Could it be Mark
Lane's "Rush to Judgement" instead?

Louis Proyect, lnp3 at on 12/09/2001

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