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Lenin's Revolution: From Marxism to Leninism

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As the Russian Revolution rose in 1917, so did a new political force known as Communism. When the Czarist autocracy was overthrown, there was now a need for a new government to rule Russia. After the abdication of the Russian throne and a civil war between the Bolsheviks (Red Army) and the Russian Republic (White Army), the Bolsheviks came out victorious and established themselves as the ruling party of Russia. Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, preached Karl Marx’s infamous pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto because he believed Communism was the ideal political system for Russia. Despite his beliefs in Marxism, Lenin felt that it had its limitations; therefore he applied Marxism to the extent he felt was necessary in establishing communism in Russia.

News of the Russian Revolution first reached Lenin by word of mouth while being exiled in Switzerland. Upon learning about the February Revolution and Czar Nicholas II’s abdication of the throne in 1917, Lenin made it his mission to return to Russia and be a part of the Revolution. While on a train en route to Russia, Lenin wrote what was to be known as his April Theses: his agenda for the Bolshevik Party. He felt that the February Revolution was just an initial stage of the revolution and now the proletarians needed to be organized in order to remove the bourgeoisie to ultimately place proletarians in power. Organizing the Proletarians would create a revolutionary vanguard party that would rule as a proletarian dictatorship. In Marxists terms a socialists dictatorship would allow for the proletariat to have political control. Marx states in his Manifesto that if the Proletarians were to be organized into a political party they would become a strong political force, “The organization ...

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...tion because he felt they had only two choices: bourgeois or socialist ideology. Taking part in a socialist revolution would be the only reasonable option for the Proletarians because they have strained their backs for the painstaking labor they have performed for the Bourgeois.

Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin were both revolutionaries with their radical views of government and society. Marx intended for his work to be applied to the societies of Western Europe, with no expectations that Russian revolutionaries would use his teachings as an outline for their own Bourgeois overthrow. The extent of Lenin’s use of Marxism was limited because Lenin adapted Marx’s theories towards the Russian proletarians he would rally support from. By adding the dimension of Leninism into Marxism, Lenin ignited the spark that would lead cause Imperial Russia to become the Soviet Union.
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