We salute Vladimir Ilyich Lenin on the 151th anniversary of his birth.
What made Lenin the most important leader ever of the communist movement?
Some will answer this question by pointing to the great contribution that Lenin made to the theories of the vanguard party, imperialism and the state. Undoubtedly, such an answer is not wrong, but in our opinion it is incomplete.
Others explain the importance of Lenin as a unique fighter for democracy and peace. Such an answer is not incomplete, it is wrong.
Those who describe Lenin as a great revolutionary because he developed a policy of alliances appropriate for the needs of every period, although accurate, view the theory and practice of Vladimir Ilyich in a very superficial way.
Lastly, is Lenin a very special figure because he was always on the lookout for left and right deviations and kept the Bolshevik movement away from these two dangers? Even though this approach harbors truths, it is not enough to understand Lenin.
Lenin is unparalleled as a revolutionary and as a communist, because throughout his political life he focused on the “liberation of the working class”, set his sights on the revolution, and linked all his theoretical work, organizational abilities, and political initiatives to the aim of bringing the revolution closer.
At the source of Lenin’s contribution to the theories of the vanguard party, imperialism and the state lies his determination to channel the movement of the working class towards revolutionary goals and to clear the obstacles in this path. Therefore, it is not surprising that some of his opponents said, “This man sees the revolution even in his dreams.”
Lenin prevented the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party from taking its place history as a reformist party, and constantly intervened so that the Bolshevik wing within the party did not become a part of the balances intrinsic within the social order. It is easy to trace these interventions after the February Revolution of 1917, but even before that, under the Tsarist regime, he emphasized the democratic phase of the revolution, not to postpone the socialist revolution, but to make it a timely and actual phenomenon. That is the reason why by 1917, he exerted great pressure to purge the old formulas out of the Bolshevik movement.
In this context, it is an extremely mechanical approach to say that Lenin treated equally to left and right deviations. Lenin advocated whatever the interests of the world revolution process demanded, and energetically utilized his theoretical and practical knowledge. In some sequences, for example just before the October Revolution, there is no further left position than the one of Lenin’s. It is grossly unfair to portray Lenin as an average politician who takes the right and left-wing deviations to his one and other sides. What makes Lenin unique is the fact that he took the risk of standing on the edge.
That is the reason why Lenin is not a leader that can be discussed independently of circumstances. When his words are extracted from its context, Lenin can easily be “confronted with” Lenin. However, here the concrete analysis of the concrete situation, the transcendence and transformation of the concrete situation and the whole process should be evaluated.
In the past century, those who condemned the world communist movement to a reformist line by citing his work as evidence of their policies did great harm to the working class. Lenin must be liberated from all hypocrites who want to reduce him to a class compromiser, to a politician who sees nothing but democratic reforms, or to NEP-lover that lost all hope of building a socialist establishment. This is one of the responsibilities of communists today.