This is Lenin’s seminal text on social revolution and how to achieve it, published some 16 years before Russia’s October 1917 Revolution. His plan to overturn the Czar’s ruthless autocratic regime proposes the establishment of a cadre of “professional revolutionaries” with the necessary skills and experience to counter the regime’s secret police.
Lenin derides trade unionists as “wretched amateurs”, arguing that a struggle for simple economic betterment is not enough, nor are patchwork reforms – what is needed is the complete overthrow of the political system. Lenin’s “professional revolutionaries” are not so much ‘shock troops’ of violent rebellion as educated activists who will awaken the workers’ class consciousness, leading them to reject western-style political factions and to work within the Party to achieve the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the October Revolution and the ensuing upheavals of the twentieth century.
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Table of Contents
I DOGMATISM AND “FREEDOM OF CRITICISM”
A. What Does “Freedom of Criticism” Mean?
B. The New Advocates of “Freedom of Criticism”
C. Criticism in Russia
D. Engels On the Importance of the Theoretical Struggle
II. THE SPONTANEITY OF THE MASSES AND THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS
A. The Beginning of the Spontaneous Upsurge
B. Bowing to Spontaneity. Rabochaya Mysl
C. The Self-Emancipation Group34 and Rabocheye Dyelo
TRADE UNIONIST, AND SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC POLITICS
A. Political Agitation And Its Restriction By the Economists
B. How Martynov Rendered Plekhanov More Profound
C. Political Exposures And “Training In Revolutionary Activity”
D. What Is There In Common Between Economism and Terrorism?
E. The Working Class As Vanguard Fighter For Democracy
F. Once More “Slanderers”, Once More “Mystifiers”
IV. THE PRIMITIVENESS OF THE ECONOMISTS AND THE ORGANISATION OF THE REVOLUTIONARIES
A. What Is Primitiveness?
B. Primitiveness and Economism
C. Organisation of Workers and Organisation of Revolutionaries
D. The Scope of Organisational Work
E. “Conspiratorial” Organisation and “Democratism”
F. Local and All-Russia Work
V. THE PLAN FOR AN ALL-RUSSIAN NEWSPAPER
A. Who Was Offended By the Article “Where To Begin”
B. Can A Newspaper Be A Collective Organiser?
C. What Type of Organisation Do We Require?
Appendix: The Attempt to Unite Iskra with Rabocheye Dyelo
Correction to 'What Is To Be Done?'