Lenin's Left Wing Communism

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017
With Kyle Brown

Left-Wing” Communism was written in April 1920, toward the end of the Russian Civil War and the very beginnings of the formation of an international communist movement inspired by the revolution. It was addressed to the tens of thousands of young “left” revolutionaries who filled with impatience and lacking experience, gravitated to the putchist notion that a revolutionary minority of workers could, by insurrectionary actions, somehow “galvanize” the masses into victory. Lenin takes on the argument made at the time by Italian and German “Lefts” that compromises were impermissible, and that socialists must leave trade unions and refuse to participate in parliamentary elections on the grounds that these institutions were now “obsolete.” The little book is, as a result, an excellent manual of of strategy and tactics, and how in practice revolutionaries can navigate the troubled and difficult waters between the fight for reforms and the conquest of power to win over the majority of the working class.

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