What is to be Done?

Burning Questions of Our Movement

V.I. Lenin

Introduction by Prakash Karat


LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2024

Language: English

219 pages

5.5 x 8.5 inches

Price INR 350.00
Book Club Price INR 245.00
INR 350.00
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‘Without a revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement.’ — Lenin

V.I. Lenin (1870–1924) took forward Marxist theory and practice in critical areas. Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916) opened the strategic path for the revolutions of the twentieth century. The State and Revolution (1917) explained the necessity for the seizure of state power by the proletariat and for the replacement of the old state by a new state apparatus dominated by the proletariat. Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution (1905) pioneered the new strategic perspective of dovetailing the bourgeois-democratic revolution with the socialist revolution under the leadership of the working class.

An equally important and crucial contribution by Lenin was his theory of organisation. Organisation, for Lenin, was not a technical question or a tactical issue. Organisation was integral to revolutionary theory. What is to be Done? (written in 1901 and published in 1902) elaborates on how an appropriate organisation alone can translate revolutionary theory into a revolutionary movement.

Prakash Karat’s Introduction explains the main arguments of Lenin’s thick pamphlet — his critique of an over-reliance on spontaneity in the working class struggles, which marks out the terrain of Economism; his elaboration of the idea of democratic centralism in party organisation; his idea of the vanguard, a party consisting of an advanced detachment of the working class.

What is to be Done? is a core text that every student of Marxism and revolution must study.

Prakash Karat

Prakash Karat is a member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He served as General Secretary of the party from 2005 to 2015. He is the author of Language and Nationality Politics in India (1972) and Subordinate Ally: The Nuclear Deal and India-US Strategic Relations (LeftWord 2008), and editor of A World to Win—Essays on the Communist Manifesto (LeftWord 1999) and Across Time and Continents: A Tribute to Victor Kiernan (LeftWord 2003). He is Managing Director of Naya Rasta Publishers Private Limited, of which LeftWord Books is an imprint.

V.I. Lenin

V.I. Lenin (1870-1924) was the preeminent leader of the Russian Revolution, and a Marxist theoretician. His important books include, among many others, What is to be Done, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism and The State and Revolution.