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Vladimir Lenin. 1870 – 1924 Russian Communist Revolutionary Founded the Bolshevik Party which came to power in Russia in 1917. Major Works. What is to be Done? (1902) Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916). Key Concept: Imperialism.

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vladimir lenin
Vladimir Lenin
  • 1870 – 1924
  • Russian Communist Revolutionary
  • Founded the Bolshevik Party which came to power in Russia in 1917
major works
Major Works
  • What is to be Done? (1902)
  • Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916)
key concept imperialism
Key Concept: Imperialism
  • Elaborated upon Marx’s assertion that monopolies are a natural tendency in developed capitalist economies and will prove capitalism’s undoing*
  • Capitalist economies postponed social and economic chaos and their inevitable demise through colonization
  • Colonial markets absorbed excess production that could not be sold to the impoverished working class in the mother country
  • Imperialism and colonialism are a consequence of monopoly capitalism, or “Imperialism is the monopolystage ofcapitalism.”

*see next slide for how this process works

marx and monopoly capitalism
Marx and Monopoly Capitalism
  • Marx believed that various tendencies in capitalism would promote class conflict.
  • processes of capital accumulation and competition would combine to produce monopoly capitalism and ever more extreme crises of capitalism,
  • The progressive development of technology would bring deskilling of jobs creating a more homogenised and potentially united labour force;
  • the relative gap in wealth between the dominant and subordinate classes would steadily increase; propelling processes of class conflict towards an ultimate social revolution.
lenin s marxism key concepts
Lenin’s Marxism: Key Concepts
  • Communist Revolution could occur in a backward peasant country such as Russia which had only just begun to emerge from its pre-capitalist stage
  • “Sometimes--history needs a push.”
A small elite of disciplined and determined revolutionaries “who make revolutionary activity their profession” could lead the masses in revolution
lenin s quotable quotes
Lenin’s Quotable Quotes
  • “Fascism is capitalism in decay”
  • “The goal of socialism is communism.”
  • “While the State exists there can be no freedom; when there is freedom there will be no State.” (What does he mean by this?)

Think Marx’sSuperstructure – the legal, political, and social institutions which reflect, express, and consolidate the relations of economic power that flow from the mode of production practiced by a society.

  • Many, on the right in particular, argue that Marxism goes against human nature.
  • How important is class and inequality in social life? In many societies, kinship, religion, and ethnicity seem to have provided stronger connections than has class.
  • Marx’s framework cannot deal adequately with other dimensions of inequality. To conceptualize a society as mode of production is inevitably to privilege economic relations over other aspects of inequality. There is more than simply the class struggle going on in society.
  • At the international level, nationalism trumps working class solidarity.