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Lenin What Is To Be Done Notes
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Lenin - What is to be done?
Chapter Three: The Spontaneity of the Masses and the Consciousness of the Social-Democrats The working class as vanguard fighter for democracy
● Broad political agitation and comprehensive political exposures are necessary to ensure the working class has consciousness
○ Economic struggle merely brings home questions concerning the economic attitude of the government towards the working class
■ this neglects the broader effects of capitalism
■ this is often only viewed as specific to an industry (e.g. dockworkers only see their struggle, not that of miners or students)
■ this is reformist and hence bourgeois (or bourgeois and hence reformist)
■ why does concentration on the trade union struggle lead to the domination of the bourgeois ideology?
● because the bourgeois ideology is older than the socialist ideology; because it is more developed and because it possesses immeasurably more opportunities for being spread
● 'the working class spontaneously gravitates towards Socialism, but the more widespread (and continuously revived in the most diverse forms) bourgeois ideology nevertheless spontaneously imposes itself upon the working class still more'
● But even broad and comprehensive agitation and exposure ignores the general democratic tasks of the Social Democrats
○ the struggle cannot be solely, or even primarily, from within i.e. from the working class economic struggle outwards
■ socialism grew out of the ideas of the propertied intellectual classes. Marx and Engels belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia
○ the Social Democrats must go among all classes of the population
○ their ideal leader must react to 'every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it takes place, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects' and create a complete picture of capitalist exploitation
○ the Social Democrat must advance, accentuate and solve every democratic, bourgeois or liberal problem
○ the duty of the vanguard is to guide the activities of the various opposition strata
■ those with factional political interests must be shown that the whole political system is worthless
● The Economists blame the strength of the workers for the state of the struggle, but in reality it is the backwardness of the Social Democrats (specifically the Economists), who refuse to engage with the ranks of liberals and intelligentsia
○ Every attack by the government, whether it be on workers or the (liberal) Zemstvo, must be used as an excuse to agitate and to galvanise people into radical opposition Organization of Workers and Organization of Revolutionaries
Organization of workers (i.e. trades unions) should NOT be identical with organization of
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