Marxism In The Russian Revolution

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Over the course of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and extending beyond, Marxist ideologies were significantly changed and used by Russian leaders and intellectuals. Vladimir Lenin was, perhaps, one of the first to twist Marxists ideologies; he did so to accommodate the political beliefs of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). After Leon Trotsky, a Russian Marxist, joined the Bolsheviks, Lenin adopted his Marxist theory of Permanent Revolution. Trotsky, after the revolution, used Marxist principles to oppose Joseph Stalin. Though, he twisted Marxist ideas so much that they could no longer be recognised as socialism from below, rather socialism from above. This was a far cry from the original theory put forth by Karl Marx. The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), headed by Vladimir Lenin, twisted Marxists ideologies to accommodate their political beliefs during the revolution. In the eyes of some in modern-day society, Leninism seemed to be a logical development of Marxism as it extended theory into practice (Benson, 2014). However, there is nothing logical in Lenin’s misunderstanding of Marxism. Lenin saw Marxism more as a set of guidelines towards socialism, than a set of rules, stating "We do not regard Marx's theory as something completed and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that it has only laid the foundation stone of the science socialists must develop in all directions if they wish to keep pace with life.” (Lenin CW VOL. 4, PP.210) The original concept of Marxism saw socialism (or communism; he used the terms interchangeably) as evolving out of the political and economic circumstances that fully developed capitalism would create. Lenin saw socialism being achieved through a band of rev... ... middle of paper ... ...onger dependant on the self-emancipation of the working class, thus distorting another fundamental idea of Marxism. In conclusion, Marxism was distorted many times during the Russian Revolution and used by those seeking to create a socialist society. First, Lenin heavily warped Marxian views and instated a vanguard to take charge of the revolution. Trotsky followed, however he was considerably more Marxists than Lenin, and joined the Bolsheviks in espousing Marxism to the masses. Even after the Revolution, supposed ‘Marxism’ was used to oppose Stalin. Though, Trotsky made a horrific mistake in defining the workers state and, in doing so, diverged from socialism from below (the original Marxist view) and unknowingly began siding with socialism from above. These kinds of distortions will continue on as, for every new leader, there is a new definition of socialism.

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