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State and Revolution

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,982 ratings  ·  87 reviews
"Lenin was the great virtuoso of political modernism, the practitioner of an art known as revolutionary socialist politics."—Terry Eagleton

Written at the outset of World War I, V.I. Lenin's brilliant polemic elaborates the Marxist conception of the state as a structure of capitalist domination.
Paperback, 280 pages
Published November 16th 2010 by Haymarket Books (first published June 23rd 1906)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan-Maat
There's an episode of The Simpsons in which an enraged gigantic Lenin smashes out of his tomb and starts stomping on people in Red Square shouting "Crush Capitalism".

As far as I can recall this is a surprisingly concise and accurate synopsis of "State and Revolution" (so long as one substitutes the term bourgeoise for capitalism).

Presumably in the political context of 1917 this pamphlet urging readers to crush the bourgeoise was an attempt to create clear blue water, or choppy red water, between
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Lynn Beyrouthy
The February Revolution of 1917 goaded the fall of the Romanov dynasty when tsar Nicholas II abdicated, and things started to look surprisingly auspicious for Vladimir Ilich Lenin and his Bolshevik party. However, the Provisional Government of Georgi Lvov, in the midst of the colossal military turmoil of World War I, wasn't particularly sympathetic of Lenin's anti-war stance. After his arrival in Petrograd (to be renamed after him Leningrad), Lenin was falsely accused of being a German agent and ...more
Eric
Being a dirty red, I found it amazing (and surprising) that I had never sat down with this piece. I had read sections in Marxism classes years ago, but it was refreshing to get back into it. Excellent. A must.
Stuart
If you happen to get the version which has a forward by Richard Pipes, I strongly suggest reading the text of Vladimir Lenin first, maybe Google or Wikipedia some of the historical references, and draw your own conclusion. Richard Pipes is your classical establishment propaganda clerk who's job is to 'help' you see the text the way the State wants you to, that is, defanged of its revolutionary message.
Pipes slides in his prejudice hidden by historical facts, intent on having you view this remark
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Johnnie
Essential reading for anyone interested in proletarian revolution and its relation to the state. Very well written, inspiring, and certainly has the fire of immediacy stewing in it. You can tell it was written with great energy, probably quickly. The only issue is that sometimes it's repetitive and sometimes Lenin goes into some very historically-rooted discussions that don't have as much relevance as it did when he wrote the book. For instance, he spends a fair amount of time taking Kautsky to ...more
Michael
Dec 22, 2011 Michael rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anarchists, Communists, Russian historians
Recommended to Michael by: Bob Avakian
Shelves: politics
This is the famous book in which Lenin asserted (quoting Engels) that “the state will wither away” under Communism, and which is therefore sometimes oddly accused of being “utopian” and “anarchist.” It is neither of these, but it does require some work to parse out.

Historically, this essay was written at the moment when Lenin was in exile in Switzerland, after the February, 1917 revolution and before the October revolution which ended with him and his party in power. One would think that his min
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Michael
drawing heavily on the works of marx and engels, lessons drawn from the paris commune of 1871, and his own experiences from 1905 and 1917, lenin sums up the armed workers' revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, and then outlines the eventual withering away of the state in the higher phase of communism.

throughout he berates the anarchists and social democrats for their opportunism, philistinism, and vulgarism. for lenin, there was a lot at stake at this historical moment as it was q
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Elagabaal
this was (perhaps unfortunately) the first work of marxist theory i ever read and as such has shaped a lot of my approach to basic political questions. to be fair, lenin provides an introduction to revolutionary theory and the theory of the state that is true enough to marx and engels and is very accessibly written. it covers some very important topics for people new to radical politics- the role of the state as an organ of class rule, the role of police and jails, and perhaps most critically th ...more
Operaista
If one wants to engage with Lenin, it's important to engage with him at his best. Yes, some of his flaws still shine through (mainly that, due to the class nature of the inner core of the Bolshevik party (a class nature encouraged by the Russian material conditions), Bolshevism was always given to bureaucratisation), but Lenin at his best - and what "could have been", had it not been for the isolation of the revolution and the emergence of the counterrevolution as the degeneration of the Bolshev ...more
Eric Phetteplace
I always find it a bit preposterous when supposed "historical materialists" use fidelity to Marx and Engels as proof of truth. Isn't that exactly the sort of textual game reserved for postmodernists and literary critics, not historians? Lenin goes about refuting his opponents by repeatedly quoting M&E at length and calling them "philistine" which strikes me as an abject method of argumentation. Similarly, attacking Kautsky and other opportunists is a bit myopic; the book would be more releva ...more
Chapin
"The state is a product and a manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms."

"Another reason why the omnipotence of wealth is more certain in a democratic republic is that is does not depend on defects in the political machinery or on the faulty political shell of capitalism. A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell...it establishes its power so securely, so firmly that no c
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Mr.
Lenin's State and Revolution is the most crucial analysis of the Marxian theory of the state and its relation to class struggle. Lenin was a revolutionary determined to reveal the provisional government's capitulation to the forces of imperialism and to revivify the revolutionary edge of Marxism that "socialists" had attempted to obscure. Lenin writes
"According to Marx, the state is an organ of class domination, an organ of oppression of one class by another; its aim is the creation of "order"
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Aaron Crofut
Lenin's books are not worth reading. Calling upon people to destroy the state is easy enough; building up something after that, not so easy. Claiming that people will magically fall in love with laboring for others doesn't actually solve the problem, even if Marx (the great prophet) declared it so.

Also, I can't help but mock the "scientific" nature of Lenin's plans. As we all know, Russia was indeed ripe for communism. If only we could all live in a world as good as the Soviet Union! Oh, wait..
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Lane
This seems less a substantial theoretical work in its own right than a polemic with the reformists and anarchists of the time by way of close readings of Marx and Engels writing on the state. (I imagine Luther insisting, against the Church, that the Scriptures are the only legitimate source of knowledge.) I have an interest in such a text, obviously, but it's hard to regard this as essential nowadays for a "revolutionary" whose personal ambitions are not to some extent tainted by academia.
Robert
This is a critique of socialists, anarchists, and "vulgarized" or "opportunistic" Marxism. Basically anyone who isn't itching for a bloody revolution is a fool or an imposter as far as Lenin is concerned. History has not been kind to his theories and assumptions. It would appear the vision of the Soviets was incomplete, and where the purpose and knowledge of the workers fell short, party communism stepped in and filled the void with totalitarianism.
Joshua
A short pamphlet written on the eve of the Russian Revolution of 1917 expresses Lenin's view of the need to smash the capitalist state and create a workers state in order to win the revolution. Its relevance today is reinforced as the revolutions in the Middle East show the limitations of merely laying hold of the pre existing state machinery and running things through the official channels.
Calígula
I found this quite tedious for being such a short book.

It pretty much consists on a long rant, in which Lenin discredits his opponents by repeatedly quoting Marx and Engels. And it's done in a quasi religious way, reminds me of how the different branches of Christianism bash each other by claiming that theirs is the true interpretation of the Scriptures.

He argues (once and again) about the impossibility to abolish the state overnight and advocates for a more democratic proletarian state, which w
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Ivan Labayne
May sweet na sinabi si Lenin dito. Dapat pala seven chapters itong State and Rev -- yung panghuli, ang title sana 'Experience of the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917" -- pero 'di niya na nagawa (meron lang siyang nasulat na isang paragraph) kasi sabi niya, "it is more pleasant to go through 'the experience of the revolution' than to write about it." ang delicious ng mga salita diba?

Aside from this though, mahusay na pang-rebyu din para sa ilang punto tungkol sa: pagkakaiba ng anarkismo sa ko
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Tony Schmitt
Overall I thought the book was fine. It is nice to see Lenin doing a bit of theory work, and not just polemicizing (though he did devote his last chapter to just that). I had a few issues with some of his thoughts.

First is his obsessive desire to have a state that is exactly like what Marx and Engels described in their writings. The problem with this is that they really didn't write much about the state. They considered that an exercise for utopians. Make no mistake, I think it is a great ide
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أحمد جمال سعد الدين
مدد يا لينين مدااااااااااااااااااااااد
Tecni
Feb 26, 2014 Tecni rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tecni by: José Luis
Creo que este libro es uno de los ensayos políticos más lúcidos que he leído en muchísimo tiempo, especialmente teniendo en cuenta que la órbita marxista suele ser de expresión complicada y bastante aburrida. La interpretación que ofrece Lenin en él sobre las teorías de acción sociopolítica de Marx y Engels comenzadas en The Communist Manifesto (sus obras anteriores tocaban otros palos) me parece inteligible y muy bien estructurada, casi hasta el punto de que te hace empatizar con él aunque no s ...more
Kareem Ashour
يتحدث لينين في هذا الكتاب عن رؤيته لشكل الدوله الروسيةالقائمه قبل الثورة البلشوفية (1917) و شكل المؤسسات الحاكمة للمجتمع و شكل المجتمع في ضوء "تعاليم ماركس" , كما يقوم لينين بتفيد اراء الاشتراكيين الثوريين و الاشتراكيه الشوفونيه و تيارات اخري اشتراكيه , ويهاجم كتابات يصفها بالتيمن و خيانه "تعاليم ماركس" مثل تروتوسكي و بليخانوف و غيرهم) ,ويهاجم لينين في هذا الكتاب التصورات لكل من من وصفهم بالبرجوازيون الصغار و الانتهازيين و الفوضويين في تصورهم لشكل المؤسسات الحاكمه للمجتمع.

يتحدث لينين في الفصل ال
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Qhlueme
This is for me one of the topmost classics of marxism-leninism.

The communists were very active on my college campus. I asked one of them about the books he read, and he said he read State and Revolution frequently. I had read some Marx, Engels, and Lenin by then already, but I decided to see what this book had that gave it such a favored place in my comrade's heart. I found the book fascinating, as I did all of Lenin's writings. I am certain I would have been persuaded to become an "atheist dial
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salma atif abu zaid
كتاب عميق لم يصل الى عقلي بشكل كامل اود قرائته مرة اخرى (بس مش دلوقتى اما اكبر شوية )
كتاب رائع وعميق جدا ... يشرح دور الدولة والاجهزة القمعية والنظامية فى المجتمع الطبقي وان الدولة ما هى
الا اداة يستغلها الطبقات الراسمالية ف السيطرة والتحكم في الفقراء ونهب حقوقهم
ويعرض لينين تصور ماركس انجلز للدولة فى المجتمع الشيعي خلال مراحل تطور الشيوعية فيه منذ اندلاع الثورة الاجتماعية حتى تنضج الشيعية وتتجلى داخل نفوس المواطنين بشكل كامل وتصبح اسلوب ومنهج حياة وكيف ان الناس سيزول التضاد بين العمل لالفكرى و
...more
Juan Nikolas
En este libro se trata ampliamente la cuestion del Estado desde la perspectiva marxista leninista, su rol en la dictadura del proletariado y su supuesta extincion. Tengo que decir que al final encontre los planteamientos del autor un poco repetitivos, los argumentos esgrimidos para defender cuestiones como el centralismo democratico, la expropiacion y el uso de la violencia como medios para acabar con las desigualdades impuestas por el capitalismo y la burguesia son insuficientes ya que dejan de ...more
Mohamed Habashy

كتاب قيم جداً بيوضح أولاً سياسه السلطات البرجوازيه القذره في تهميش الماركسيه والعمل علي تشويهها وكيفيه جعل مناضلين عظام زي ماركس وإنجلس ومن هم علي شاكلتهم مجرد أيقونات لا يستفاد منها وكيفيه إستغلال الإنتهازيين والبرجوازيين من وجود بعض الأشياء في الماركسيه التي تحتمل التأويل ويعملون علي تؤويلها بطريقه توضح وجود ثغرات في الماركسيه ,, ويوضح أيضاً تعريف إنجلس وماركس للدوله وأن الدوله هي نتاج إستعصاء التناقضات الطبقيه .. و يوضح أيضاً الخطوه الأولي للتحول من الدوله "أداة قمع للأكثريه "البروليتاريا" من
...more
Tom
The state is a special organisation of force: an organisation of violence to allow suppression of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. Therefore, the proletariat should overthrow the bourgeoise and smash the state apparatus, to establish state power. This 'state' will eventually wither away – as there will be no need for a suppressing state machine.

Sums this book up pretty well. While only lasting 112 pages, it's incredibly repetitive. ‘The State and Revolution’ shouldn't be read for the writing
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derek
all the lenin i've read so far i've really dug but i couldn't get too enthused about this. one thing about this (that's also true of the rest of lenin's work) is that it's pretty steeped in criticism of contemporaries, so a lot of it might not exactly be too relevant on the whole. i do agree with him on his central premise that the proletarian revolution must get rid of the existing bourgeois state and replace it with its own, but i feel as if leftism in 2013 isn't very concerned at all with the ...more
Alexander
Exceptionally clear statement of the essence of Marxism-Leninism regarding the dictatorship of the proletariat, what "smashing the state" amounts to in communist terms, and the transition from capitalism to communism via socialism. Also exceptional for making clear the moral culpability of Marxism-Leninism insofar as it is consistently willing to sacrifice individuals for the sake of its goals and even when the necessary steps for achieving these goals are extremely unclear, such doing away with ...more
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  • Socialism, Utopian and Scientific
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Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich (1870-1924) - one of the leaders of the Bolshevik party since its formation in 1903. Led the Soviets to power in October, 1917. Elected to the head of the Soviet government until 1922, when he retired due to ill health.

Lenin, born in 1870, was committed to revolutionary struggle from an early age - his elder brother was hanged for the attempted assassination of Czar Alexande
...more
More about Vladimir Ilich Lenin...
Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism What Is to Be Done? Left-Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder: A Popular Essay in Marxian Strategy and Tactics Essential Works of Lenin: "What Is to Be Done?" and Other Writings Revolution at the Gates: Zizek on Lenin: The 1917 Writings

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“During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it.” 17 likes
“We are not utopians, we do not “dream” of dispensing at once with all administration, with all subordination. These anarchist dreams, based upon incomprehension of the tasks of the proletarian dictatorship, are totally alien to Marxism, and, as a matter of fact, serve only to postpone the socialist revolution until people are different. No, we want the socialist revolution with people as they are now, with people who cannot dispense with subordination, control, and "foremen and accountants".” 11 likes
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