Lenin 1870 - 1924 (54)

Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich -- that is the democracy of capitalist society.


The State and

“During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it.”

Lenin, (real name Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, 1870-1924) was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist, one of the most influential political leaders of the 20th century, the founder of the Soviet Union. He served as head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1924 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. His ideas on Marxism and communism have become known as Leninism. He was born in the city of Simbirsk in the Russian Empire on April 22, 1870. His parents were well educated and Lenin was an excellent student. When he was 16 his father died and from that day, he no longer believed in God. One year later, Lenin's older brother was executed because he was in a revolutionary group that had planned to assassinate the Tsar. During his studies at the Kazan University Lenin became involved with politics and revolutionary groups and began to study Karl Marx; he soon became convinced that Marxism was the ideal form of government. After finishing his studies he moved to St. Petersburg where he created his own group of Marxists called the Bolsheviks.

In 1897, Lenin was arrested for his political ideas and exiled to Siberia for three years. Upon his return in 1900 he continued to foster revolution and push Marxism. He spent the next years in Western Europe where he wrote communist papers and planned for the coming revolution. In 1917, during the February Revolution, the Tsar was overthrown and a Provisional Government came to power. Lenin began to speak out against this new government, claiming it was no better than the Tsarist. In October of 1917, Lenin and his Bolshevik Party took over the government, establishing the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. Lenin established peace with Germany and also took land from the rich landholders and divided it up amongst the peasants. For the first 3 years of his leadership, Lenin fought a civil war against the anti-Bolsheviks and became brutal with the opponents, killing anyone who spoke out against his government. Like the Tsar before him, he forced peasants to join his army and also took food from them to feed his soldiers. The civil war destroyed much of Russia's economy and millions of people starved to death. After the war, with the economy failing, Lenin began the New Economic Policy under which, some private ownership and capitalism were allowed. In 1918, Lenin was shot in an assassination attempt; his health was never good again. In 1922 the Bolsheviks finally won the civil war and Lenin established the Soviet Union. It became the first communist country in the world. The same year Lenin suffered several strokes. He finally died from a stroke on January 21, 1924.