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How did Lenin add to Marxism up to 1905, and with what consequences?

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Introduction

James Ferguson 13C 29th September 2002 How did Lenin add to Marxism up to 1905, and with what consequences? Karl Marx was a German philosopher who wrote the Communist Manifesto, which encouraged workers to unite and seize power by revolution. His views became known as Marxism and influenced the thinking of socialists throughout Europe in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Marx believed that history was evolving in a series of stages towards a perfect state - Communism. These stages started with Feudalism - with the aristocrats controlling politics. Next would come Capitalism - with the bourgeoisie in control of politics. Finally the "perfect state" would arrive Communism - with the proletariat in control of politics. Marx believed that a Communist state would come about in countries such as Russia that were still feudal or did not have fully developed capitalist societies. He urged the proletariat to join the capitalists in revolting against the aristocrats and complete a capitalist revolution and then continue until the proletarian revolution occurred leading to a communist state. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, also known as Lenin, was born in 1870 in Simvrisk, Russia. ...read more.

Middle

Here in his pamphlet Lenin has shown that he wants a dictatorial party that will be run from the top and that they will take power with a highly organised and secret movement. Karl Marx never stated how and when revolution would take place. Lenin though did mention this. He made three changes to Marx's theory. 1. Revolution would be accomplished by a small group of highly professional dedicated revolutionaries. They were needed to develop the revolutionary consciousness of workers and focus their attentions. 2. Lenin believed that the revolution would occur during a period of conflict between capitalist powers. He accepted Trotsky's idea that a revolution would start in an underdeveloped country just like Russia where the struggle and conflict between proletariat and bourgeoisie was very great. This was known as the "weakest link" theory. 3. He did not think that the middle classes of Russia were strong enough to carry out a revolution. He believed that the working class could develop a revolutionary government of its own alliance with poor peasants who had a history of mass action in Russia. These changes show how Lenin believed in Marxism but added parts that Marx failed to mention in his theory. ...read more.

Conclusion

But these actions taken by Lenin have large consequences. His ideas clashed with that of Martov and so caused the split of the RSDWP. Another major consequence of Lenin's abrasive personality and wish to have the RSDWP run his way was that this split of the party was non reconcilable. Plekhanov tried to create reconciliation between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks and co-opted Mensheviks onto the now Bolshevik run Iskra board. But Lenin was having none of this. He resigned leaving Iskra to become a Menshevik organ and organised the Bolsheviks as a separate faction. Trotsky who was part of Martov's Mensheviks wrote "Our political tasks" in 1904. "The party is replaced by the organisation of the party, the organisation by the control committee, and finally the control committee by the dictator." Trotsky is commenting on the consequence of Lenin's organisation of the party. He believes that Lenin's concept of a revolutionary party would inevitably lead to dictatorship. In conclusion Lenin's main addition to Marxism was to give the details about the role of the 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. But Lenin's additions did not come without significant consequences that would affect the future of Russian politics. ...read more.

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