V.I. Lenin’s (1870-1924) role in 1917 captures a unique revolutionary moment. Lenin’s entire corpus of writings in the eight months between the two revolutions offers a concrete lesson on the theory and practice of revolution. Some of the articles and speeches are written with a cool analytical mind, and some are written in feverish haste. Together they provide a unique view of how the revolution unfolded.
Lenin was able to analyse the nature of inter-imperialist contradictions, coolly assess the correlation of class forces in Russia, see how the peasant masses were moving towards the revolutionary movement and set the “line of march” for the proletariat which had to lead the revolution. This was possible because even in exile Lenin kept in close contact with his party workers and the mass leaders. Their views and their tempo informed his writings at each turn.
These writings of Lenin represent the culmination of theoretical and practical work which marks out Lenin as a revolutionary strategist, audacious planner of the socialist revolution and one who could set out the contours of a new State and society after the revolution.
Prakash Karat’s Introduction is a brilliant and lucid commentary on Lenin’s theoretical and strategic breakthroughs.