Lenin in 1905: A Revolution that Shook Doctrine

  • Marcel Liebman
Keywords: History, Marxism


The year 1905 saw the first encounter between Leninism and revolution. Until 1905 Lenin had been concerned with working out the theory and everyday practice of the instrument of the revolution-the vanguard Party. He had elaborated its structural requirements and operational methods. He had developed some of his most important concepts-the necessity of Party centralization, the discipline by which it must be ruled, and the role of the Party in guiding the masses and organizing them into cadres in order to counteract the defects of a spontaneity which he had forcefully stressed. Finally, Lenin had stressed, especially in What Is to Be Done?, the prime importance of a party of professional revolutionaries constituting, as it were, a political and military order capable of both struggling against police repression and providing a bulwark against opportunism. These ideas represented the first systematic and coherent conception of an elitist Party having the task of directing the activity of the proletariat.

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