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The State and Revolution

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  8,705 ratings  ·  620 reviews
No, democracy is not identical with the subordination of the minority to the majority. Democracy is a state which recogizes the subordination of the minority to the majority, i.e., an organization for the systematic use of violence by one class against the other, by one section of the population against another.
Paperback, 116 pages
Published June 17th 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1917)
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Albanian Bolshevik Anything will do. Be aware that the best version (if you want to be such a big perfectionist) is not the book, but the volume of lenin's collected wor…moreAnything will do. Be aware that the best version (if you want to be such a big perfectionist) is not the book, but the volume of lenin's collected works which contains the book and some of lenin's notes called (if i recount correctly) "marxism and the state". But in general every version will do, no one will "cut" things when what the book wrote originally can so easelly be read.(less)
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Abeer Abdullah
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Extremely thorough and well written, deals with the question of the state after the revolution, makes distinctions between communists, social democrats and anarchists. Argues that anarchists and communists have the common goal of the abolition of the state, it is simply the methods that they disagree on. Wonderful read, I learned a lot!
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  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
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
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Im finished. Tomorrow I annotate, think about some online study questions, and listen to a podcast explaining more. Then I will share my thoughts.

Rating this a 5 to piss off more strangers online, and because it's good. Once you see past Lenin's pettiness/rambling you get a clear analysis of the state, how it functions, explanation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, how policing and military upholds the state (very helpful for abolitionists), differences between marxists and anarchists, and
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, allow me to say Lenin is a much, much better writer than Trotsky.

Second, Lenin has provided in this work a roadmap to revolution. And what a naïve roadmap it is in light of subsequent history. Lenin believed in an evolution of the state into a system where the proletariat ruled for themselves and self-policed their affairs. How quickly that thought morphed into dictatorship.

Lastly, I wonder very much what Lenin would have to say about the state of affairs in the United States today. It ap
And the State withers away… how?

1) I recognize the wealth of scholarship and debates over Lenin, Leninism, Marxism, Marxism-Leninism, Communism, the Russian Revolution, the USSR, etc.
2) However, I still intend to apply my (differing) background to engage with this work by Lenin. (I’ll be revisiting this for sure…)

The Good:
--Why do we bother with social theory, as opposed to “facts”? True, specific historical accounts and number-crunching have the appeal of empirical evidence. However,
Christopher Moltisanti's Windbreakers fan
Lenin's probably most read and most important work. It amazes me how good of a writer he was and understood the mechanisms of capitalism and bourgeoise revolution. It's a short read, if you are reading it for the sake of reading it. But, if you truly want to get deep inside the head of lenin, it will take weeks, perhaps months. I would recommend reading "The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism" by Lenin along with it or before it.

PS: if you are reading the Penguin Classics versio
André Bonk
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Were he alive today, Lenin would have the best Twitter dunks.

Seriously though, it is succinct and straight to the point. Worth reading if Anarchism or Social Democracy is starting to sound appealing.
hima ♡
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i called myself an ancom for like 3 weeks......

Hayden Kesterson
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I understand the ML viewpoint a lot better now. I am struck by the amount of inevitability that Lenin sees in the transition from the dictatorship of the proletariate (the first stage of communism, socialism) to a stateless society (the second stage of communism, true communism). How he arrives a this viewpoint is made clear in this book, but thinking of the history of Russia and the international forces that might be able to cripple any revolutionary movement, perhaps this 'inevitability' needs ...more
Apr 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Lenin was the one to put the gulag system in place, not Stalin.
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
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Another pre 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution (October not February!) read. More to come.
Written in the summer of 1917 in exile, 'State and Revolution' is one of Lenin's key works on state power , class and capitalism. And very timely as we slowly recover from 3 decades of neoliberal paralysis and are hopefully getting real re: organizing a socialist left and state of the 21st century!

Obviously, Lenin is a little too strong for the gentle soul of the 21st century, so one must add some
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I can't believe Lenin described woke capitalism (and the liberal side of breadtube) in the first paragraph of this text — that those in power will appropriate radical sentiments whilst voiding them of all revolutionary power (check out Marx's Eighteenth Brumaire and Machiavelli's Prince for earlier articulations of this). Turns out those militant Trotskyites were right — I should have read the classics. ...more
Yogy TheBear
Dec 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
State and Revolution Lenin Review:
The most dangerous lies start with fragments of truth and become full-fledged deceptions.
The first thing that striked and shocked me was the initial anti state stance on a correct notion of it as an evil and a monopoly of coercion that today it is found in libertarianism. But here is where the truth stops !!
What comes next is a text that resembles the interpretation and explanation of the christian teachings with examples and quotations from The Bible, against a
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, audiobooks
The opening of this book is perhaps the most enlightening thing I’ve ever read on Marxism (I guess technically it’s Marxist-Leninism since here we are reading Lenin). The initial reflection on what the function and the history of the State is in relation to Bourgeois democracy and premodern slave societies is brilliant.

I remember reading the Communist Manifesto and being so confused. Everyone had said that Communism was violent, but I had been willing to defend it tooth and nail as peaceful. Tha
Paul Ataua
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘The State and Revolution’ is a standout read in which Lenin, confronting a revolution that came too much before advanced capitalism had developed, found himself between a part of the left ready to hand back power to the capitalists in return for concessions, and the anarchists ready to take the fight to the next level without a clear plan. Armed with the theories of Marx and Engels and the lessons gleaned from the 1848 revolutions and the Paris Commune of 1871, Lenin fashioned a dictatorship of ...more
Tom Shannon
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a more polemical explanation of Engels and Marx's ideas of what will happen to the state as history moves forward through its changes and revolutions. Lenin is someone that takes to task many other thinkers of his day in order to show them that he is the one with the correct interpretation which makes the dense ideas quite digestible.

it was however, very interesting to read about the concept of the state that goes beyond the usual capitalist versus socialist versus anarchist debate.

I thin
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: polysci-read
An excellent look at the state and the future of the state in a social revolution. Lenin examines thoroughly writings from Marx and Engels on the French Revolution of 1871 in the Paris Commune as a source for options for future organization of a new truly democratic state that would be effected by the proletariat following the destruction of the existing state. Lenin also examples other writings of Marx and Lenin as he argues with the issues of his day in 1917. Lenin was concerned the revolution ...more
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..
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Point and laugh at anarkiddies😂
Ellie Midwood
In his “State and Revolution” Lenin pretty much comments on Engels’s ideas concerning the state and how some of those ideas were misinterpreted by different political factions of the Marxist movement. As I was reading it, I kept thinking how funny it is that conservatives also misunderstand the idea of communism as Engels initially imagined it and keep stating that if people implemented communism, “the state would dictate to them what to do.” No; in fact, in Engels’s vision, there wouldn’t be an ...more
João Ritto
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
A twitter conversation:

Marx: So capitalism through its contradictions necessarily leads to its own demise, with the proletarian becoming the dominant class and bringing an end to the history of class struggle.

Kautsky: You mean we should take over the state right?

Bernstein: That sounds potentially violent, we should just win elections and nationalize a few things. Bourgeois democracy is democracy.

Kautsky: Then you're not a marxist, but a social democrat. The proletarian cannot simply play the bur
Jun 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
VERY good. One day I’ll write a longer review.
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-read-again
This was quite an enjoyable book; delves deep into the ideology and mind of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, otherwise known as Vladimir Lenin.
This greatly helped me understand how they imagined the state would wither away, how democracy doesn't work in a communist society, as well as helping understand Leninism and the communist ideology itself.
Issue is, if you don't know very much about the history and philosophy of that time when it was published, you'd be constantly reaching for Google to understan
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zach by: Sam (Twinkrev)
on arrival an immediate favorite revolutionary text. brash and beyond readable, a cry against anarchism, weak politics, the illusion of liberalism....lenin writes with the genius of marx and double the charisma of mao, making for a call to action that inspires as much as it distills and horrifies
it's the hatred of capitalism and the bourgeoisie for me <3 ...more
Aung Sett Kyaw Min
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is an acerbic tract by the high theoretician Lenin against the falsifiers and vulgarizers of Marx and Engels--Kautsy, Bernstein and basically everyone who fudged or otherwise failed to raise the question of what to do with the state when the revolution rolls around (the revolution, in fact, is the movement that SMASHES and the old state machinery of bureacrats plus the standing army and substitutes it with the DICTATORSHIP of the armed workers).
So what Marx and Engels really meant by the p
gage sugden
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Provocative and fascinating, Lenin clarifies (from his POV) many aspects left vague in the Manifesto. While at times (especially the 6th and final chapter) too specifically directed at rival theoretician Kautsky, it's general enough to be useful as more than just a historical document. It'll challenge how you think about the State (and nationality), whether you agree with Lenin's take or not.

That's probably the most interesting part. There's some dialectics here explaining the necessity for a re
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Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (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 A

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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.” 86 likes
“While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.” 46 likes
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