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Lenin’s Development of Marxism in Russia: An Impact in the 21st Century

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Dr. E. Girani,
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science,
Manipur College, Imphal.

V.l. Lenin, original name Vladimir llich Ulyanov  a brilliant scholar, an advocate, a social engineer, a great political philosopher, a Bolshevik  leader, the first world socialist builder as well as the greatest political socialist revolutionary hero of the world was born on the April 22, 1870 in the provincial city of Simbirsk which was renamed Ulyanovsk in his honour on the Volga river under the Emperor Tsar Nicholas  II. There were two situations in shape for his  life. The first came when Lenin was  a boy  and his  father was  threatened with early  forced retirement by  a  suspicious  government  official in  general  and  the  more  significant  and  more  tragic situation came in 1887 when Lenin s  older brother Alexander, a University  student at the time was  arrested and executed for being a part of group planning to assassinate Emperor Tsar in particular. After the tragic situation, he became the only man of his family. In fact, all of Lenin’s siblings would take part to some degree in revolutionary politics and activities. Besides he extremely soaked up and activated a hunger of knowledge and wisdom    of    Marxism    about the writings of Marx whose famous books, Communist Manifesto, and ‘Das Kapital would have a huge impact on Lenin’s thinking so that he declared himself a Marxist in January 1887. He is generally known to the world as the architect of socialist revolution and the champion of Bolsheviks party on development of Marxism in the society during the 20th century. He published a pamphlet entitled ‘What Is  To Be Done? ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, The Development of Capitalism in Russia respectively for the cause of social awakening for future masses. It is highlighted about the importance of Leninism to the study of the development of Marxism in the modern context of political thought.

Lenin derived his outlook and ideology from the world events so that he opposed WW I, which began in 1914 as an imperialist conflict on the basis of market economy or liberalize economy so far. He was the first leader of the erstwhile USSR and the communist government that took over Russia in 1917 on the eve of Great October Socialist Revolution which would bring a new and better society is so called socialist society against the Russian Emperor. The real name of Lenin was Vladimir llyitch Ulinon. Lenin was merely his pen name. The most important of Lenin development of Marxism was that he adapted Marxism to Russia in practice under a well organised group of highly discipline and professional revolutionaries who must be in a position to take over the Russian Emperor. Lenin came to understand that revolution could take place in Russia if emperor rule was defeated in the war and a most disciplined and secret cadre of the communist party was ready to take the reign of the government in order to form a new socialist government in Russia. By the help of Lenin s slogan of peace, land and bread used by him to win the three years Russian civil war (1918-1921) by the support of the masses so as  peace appealed to the soldiers, land to the peasants, breads  to the workers  respectively. Indeed his life has gone however his thought and action are existed and undergoing in the present society so that Leninism is still relevant to the modern society. In this regard his contribution to the development of Marxism was a very must significant and important to the mankind in order to make Marxism as a profound and living philosophy. It also highlighted about the importance of Leninism to the study of the development of Marxism in the modern context of political thought. Actually, Marxism is not a dogma but it is a dynamic philosophy. It is living Marxism which modifies to fit in  with  new  conditions  and  problem  situation.  Lenin, Stalin and Mao have expanded and revised Marxism. Lenin had the task to adapt and suit the 1 Marxian thought to the living conditions of his time. He had to apply them to the conditions of Russia. Hence as a living Marxist he had to modify Marxism and give it a new orientation. The workers even in a early capitalist economy may not automatically and spontaneously possess revolutionary consciousness of socialist ideology. Instead of revolutionary consciousness they may develop trade union consciousness. So Lenin thought that some outside force is necessary  to inspire the proletarian class  with a socialist awareness  and revolutionary   spirit.   The   middle   class   intellectual leadership   can   inspire   the   workers   with a    burning    consciousness.    Lenin    assigned    the    pivotal role    to    the    party    which    can generate   and   spread   the   socialist ideology.   Marx   regarded   it   automatic   and   normal outcome of class  struggle. The Communist Party  will act as  vanguard. Lenin brought Marx down to date, taking account of the further evolution of capitalism. Leninism is  regarded as Marxian in the imperialist stage of the capitalist system. In the advanced stage of capitalism, there is  the growth of giant monopolies. The market becomes  world-wide and there is  rivalry between    national    monopolies    and international scramble    for    control of industrially backward area. This  is  the imperialist phase of capitalism which leads  to war between imperialist states  for the control of underdeveloped regions. War becomes  the inevitable consequence of the conditions  of capitalism. The war of 1914 was  an imperialist war between the syndicates  of German capitalists  for the control and re-division of Africa. This  is the beginning of the end of capitalism. The working class will overthrow capitalism and turn the imperialist war into a proletariat revolution and build up a new power of the workers against the bourgeoisie. Marx  could not visualize this  development of capitalism with dictatorship of finance capital. Lenin’s  main addition to Marxism was  to give about the role of party, the membership of the party and the ultimate aim of the party that Marx did not give when he began his    theory    of    Marxism. Lenin’s    additions    came    to    understand with significant consequences that would affect the future of Russian Politics.

Lenin was a living Marxist and his entire outlook and approach are based on Marxism. Lenin was a living Marxist in the sense that he further contributed and added up to the theory of Marxism in the form of practical manner. This distinction and the new elements in the works of Lenin which developed Marxism are called Leninism. Some have defined Leninism as an application of Marxism to the peculiar historical situation prevailing in Russia. This is partly true. If this is wholly true then Leninism becomes only  a national or a Russian phenomenon. Leninism is not a local but an international phenomenon. There is another wrong version in this context. According to some others, Marxism is said to contain a revolutionary elements. Lenin is credited with the revival of the revolutionary concept of Marxism but also developed it under the new conditions of capitalism and the proletarian class   struggle. Leninism   is   Marxism in the period of imperialism   and   the   proletarian revolution. Here V.l. Lenin pointed out is that it brings out the historic role of the proletariat as the builder of socialist society. Leninism was rooted under the conditions of imperialism. It was then at the point of death. So Lenin called imperialism as moribund capitalism. The first contraction is between labour and capital. The omnipotence of the monopolists and its ruthless exploitation were such that the workers were forced to wage a military revolutionary struggle, imperialism brought the working class to revolution. The second contradiction is found in the Imperialist struggle for foreign territory, for sources of raw materials. The imperialist seek re-division of the world by the new power seekers against the old power holders. This capitalist struggle leads to imperialist wars for acquiring new territories. This leads to proletarian revolution. The third contradiction is between the few ruling nations and the colonial and dependent peoples of the world. There is naked exploitation   of   the   colonies   countries.   All these   contradictions   convert the   movement in the colonial countries. All these contradictions convert the flourish capitalism into moribund capitalism. This international situation of a new character gave rise to the birth of Leninism. Lenin primarily worked in Russia and for Russia. In the era of imperialism, Lenin adopted  his  theory  and  tactics  of  proletarian  revolution  in  Russia  but it  was  Russia  the land of imperialism. How could proletarian revolution take place in the capitalistically were developed country? Lenin says that all the contradictions of imperialism were focused in Russia.  Czarist Russia was the land of all kinds of exploitation. It was what Lenin called military feudal imperialism.Tsarism promoted Russia nationalism by suppressing the non­Russian  people and seized foreign countries by conquest. Again, it   gave   free   entry   of foreign   capital   which   controlled   the   basic economy of   Russia. It   fought   for   the   western powers  to  safeguard  its  profits.  Hence, it acted as the watch-  dog  of  imperialism  in  other words.   Tsarism   and   western   imperialism   were   tied   together   for imperialism   interests. Naturally,   defence   of   Tsarism   was   vital to   the   imperialist   powers.   A   revolution   against Tsarism    was    also    a    revolution    against imperialism.    The    revolutionary    proletarian    in alliance  with  the  peasantry  took  up  the  banner  of  proletarian  revolution  which  could  resolve the    contradictions    of imperialism.  The proletarians of all the countries naturally strengthened the work of the Russian revolution. That is why Russia became the centre of Leninism. Germany for Marx and Engels became the home, for proletarian revolution. Germany was the birthplace for scientific socialism. In the 21st Century, Lenin said that Russian   proletariat was the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat. The historical roots of Leninism are to be found in these historical developments.

The role in the country’s liberation movement, his struggle against autocratic monarchy, his pioneering    work    in    many    fields,    his    tireless    efforts    for the    social transformation that caused him imprisonment and exiled in the remote area of Siberia from where he worked restlessly and broke out “The Great October Socialist Revolution by the support of peasants  and workers  could not be forgotten by  us. Not only  this, under the unavoidable circumstances, he went to Europe and other part of the world to organise and convened the message of humanism, the feeling of  oneness, arousing the mass movement against the autocratic-monarchy Czar with the full spirit of   integration on the foundation of his slogan, “Peace for Soldiers, “land for peasants and “breads for labour ,etc. Remembering his remarkable words, we need to respect and honour his service for the mankind forever as a socialist revolutionary. Today, he not only belongs to the Russia, but also to the entire people of the globe. Indeed, he is a leader of the masses who scarified everything for the cause of humanism, setup democratic socialism. To conclude he was regarded as the revolutionary  hero as  well as  architect of socialist revolution in Russia, without Leninism, Marxism is not meaningful so that the philosophy  of Marxism is  now modified as the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism.

The first step in the shaping of world socialism was the Great October Socialist Revolution, which split the world into two social systems. Then Mongolia effected a revolutionary transition to the building of the new society. The Soviet Union was the first country to apply the Marxist-Leninist principles of relations between nations, and this laid the beginning for the formation of international relations of a new type, the experience of which was used to establish relations between socialist countries. At the close and after the Second World War chiefly on account of the victory of the Soviet Union and other progressive forces in that war socialism became a world system as a result of the socialist revolutions  in a number of European and Asian countries  situated in three continents- Europe, Asia and (with the victory of the Cuban revolution) America. When we study the essence and regularities of the emergence and development of the socialist world system we must, first and foremost, theoretically differentiate between the objective need for relations between the socialist states and the consciously established relations between them. Actually, both are closely interrelated. However, a clear understanding of the distinctions between these two aspects of the relations between socialist countries is vital for a scientific study and of direct practical, political importance.

The writer may be contacted at : [email protected] or 8118905447

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