[Marxism] Lenin on "pure" social revolution

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 7 06:53:47 MDT 2012

Love this quote -- and Einde's addendum to it.

On Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 4:03 AM, Einde O'Callaghan <eindeoc at freenet.de>wrote:

> Reading many of the critical comments on the on-going Syrian Revolution I
> can't help being reminded of Lenin's criticism of Karl Radek on the 1916
> Rising in Dublin:
> "To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small
> nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a
> section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a
> movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian
> masses against oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy,
> against national oppression, etc.-to imagine all this is to repudiate
> social revolution. So one army lines up in one place and says, “We are for
> socialism”, and another, somewhere else and says, “We are for imperialism”,
> and that will he a social revolution! Only those who hold such a
> ridiculously pedantic view could vilify the Irish rebellion by calling it a
> “putsch”.
> "Whoever expects a “pure” social revolution will never live to see it.
> Such a person pays lip-service to revolution without understanding what
> revolution is."
> Of course, there's no guarantee that any revolutionary upheaval will lead
> to victory for the most radical anti-capitalist forces. And we shouldn't
> forget that the revolutionary process opened up in 1916 ended up 7 years
> later in the victory of clerical reactionary forces who introduced the
> "carnival of reaction" that James Connolly predicted would be the result of
> the partition of Ireland - a carnival of reaction that still casts its
> baleful influence on Irish politics. But that doesn't devalue the
> revolutionary struggles of the intervening years.
> As Brecht said: "If you fight, you may lose. But if you don't fight,
> you've already lost!"
> Einde O'Callaghan

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