Michael's Reviews > The State and Revolution

The State and Revolution by Vladimir Ilich Lenin
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's review
Mar 01, 08

Read in March, 2008

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 quite possible that countries like germany could turn the tide for international communist revolution if they just followed the correct line and leadership. he thought these two groups were the running dogs of the bourgeoisie.

i marvel at the tract's clarity and persuasiveness in terms of its propagandic structure and value, its analysis of democracy, and as a call to action. i simultaneously shudder at the signs of stalinism and untenable factionalism inherent in this text.

history can be cruelly ironic. after nearly a century of 5-year plans, the gulag, totalitarianism, and the eventual break up of the soviet union, communism appears dead; yet for many of the reasons pointed out by lenin in this book, the left still founders on the difficult problem of how to end supranational bourgeois hegemony and what should be built in its place.

for me, lenin, though out-dated, divisive, and simplistic in many ways, remains a theoretical and practical force to be reckoned with around questions of democracy, the state and revolution.
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