Lenin 100 years and the current status of his scientific theory

Image: Azamat Hatypov


The great genius of Lenin's theoretical formulation derives from his immediate concrete political action as a party leader, revolutionary and leader of the State

100 years ago, on January 21, 1924, the greatest revolutionary leader of the XNUMXth century Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin died.

This article identifies the current nature of the scientific Marxist theory constructed by Lenin. The rigor, strength and precision of Lenin's epistemology results from the act of submitting the classical categorical foundations of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to the criterion of concrete truth. That is, Lenin's scientific theory is inseparable from objective political action to overcome capitalist society.

What I reaffirm in this article is what I have already stated in another work about the primacy of Mao Zedong, that the key to understanding the competence and scientific theoretical precision of Marxism-Leninism is that Lenin elevated the practical essence of Marxism to a concrete level. In other words, the great genius of Lenin's theoretical formulation derives from his immediate concrete political action as a party leader, revolutionary and leader of the State.

For us Marxist-Leninists there is a unity between theory and practical political action, there is no separation between theory and practice, every legitimate Marxist-Leninist theorist is first and foremost an agent of practical political action.

Lenin's scientific method involves developing the practical essence of theory based on the theory and the relationship it establishes with its object (Lucáks, [1922] 2003, p. 65). In this way, the theory that Lenin formulated is not the theoretical operationalization only on the page of the article, dissertation, thesis, book, newspaper, but its objective must be to consciously form concrete knowledge of society as a class and of the subject as an object of knowledge, and therefore, theory necessarily has to interfere in a immediate, concrete, material and adequate in the process of transformation for the betterment of society, ultimately for the socialist revolution.

In other words, Lenin's theory is constituted from concrete political action, and Lenin's theorization has as its ultimate objective to materialize in concrete political action. This is what results from its scientific strength. Furthermore, Lenin provided a colossal contribution to the development of the Theory of Marxist Political Economy, especially despite his theoretical-conceptual-interpretive elaboration on Monopolistic Capitalism and Imperialism.

There were other Marxists in their time who identified these economic phenomena that were taking place and who also dedicated themselves intellectually and produced important theoretical works such as Financial Capital by Rudolf Hilferding (1910), Capital Accumulation by Rosa Luxemburg (1913), Imperialism and the World Economy by Nikolai Bukharin (1917).

However, it is Lenin who constitutes a theoretical gem, a masterpiece of economic literature with his booklet Imperialism Higher Phase of Capitalism (1916). Written in the middle of the First World War (1914/1918), that is, in the midst of combat between the imperialist powers. Lenin analyzes the underlying social processes that led to this war. His examination takes place from the class struggle, a point of view from which he never departs, especially the possibility of revolution.

In this work, Lenin conceptually analyzes and systematizes the concrete form of capitalism that was consolidated at that juncture at the beginning of the 20th century based on a theory that had already been laid out by Karl Marx himself in which he pointed out this trending process of the expansion of capitalism. Based on Marx, Lenin describes the replacement of competitive capitalism by the concentration of production and the concentration and fusion of banking and industrial capital, which generates monopoly capitalism, the ownership of interest-bearing capital, lending capital, financial capital, rentier capital which tends to stand out from productive capital, from capital extracted from surplus value. Lenin explains the constitution of a financial oligarchy, the separation of ownership of capital and its application to production, the merger and replacement of international trade in goods with the export of capital, the division of the world between the union of monopoly capitalist groups in association with its States and the conclusion of the territorial division of the globe between the greatest capitalist powers.

If Lenin had only carried out this theoretical work, his contribution to Science, to the World Political Economy and to humanity would already have been gigantic. But Lenin went further, he carried out an even more colossal practical political action.

Firstly, he created a communist party, a new, avant-garde Party, which, led by Lenin himself, led the working class and peasants of Russia to the victory of the Socialist Revolution of October 1917. There were other leaders in that revolutionary process, but they were almost all those revolutionary leaders unanimous in letters, diaries and autobiographies in recognizing that if it were not for Lenin's leadership, the October revolution would not have occurred.

And this has nothing to do with personalism, but with the fact that a revolutionary party leader is not a simple product of creation. The leader is forged in the process of clashes between the different layers of a given class. Once assuming his role, revolutionary leader, based on his ability to formulate tactics and the results of programmatic practice, rises above his class, being exposed to the historical figure.

Secondly, Lenin built the first Socialist State, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), around which all world history revolved in the last century. A State that was previously governed by capitalists and became governed by a massive number of people by the class that capitalism previously oppressed.

It was in Russia that for the first time in world history under Lenin's direction, state power was organized only by workers and rural workers, not exploiters, forming Soviets, mass organizations, to which power was transferred. Using his New Political Economy (NEP), he accelerated the process of rural modernization, industrialization and prepared Russia for the fight against Nazi-fascism that was already approaching.

In an interview commemorating the centenary of Lenin's death published (21/1/2024) in Prensa Latina the vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPFR) Dmitry Novikov recalls that the social legacy of the Soviet State led by Lenin remains today even after the collapse of the USSR and the restoration of capitalism.

“It was his (Lenin's) government that first introduced maternity leave, parental leave and said that Soviet citizens would have pensions. He guaranteed that workers would have guarantees of both work and rest, that they would have vacations and that there would be an eight-hour working day. All of this is a direct legacy of what was achieved under the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin”, says the vice-president of the PCFR. The PCFR today has 18,9% of the seats in the Duma (Parliament), “it is opposed to neoliberalism in Russia, but strongly supports the Russian government in the war against Nazism in Ukraine”.

Lenin died young at the age of 54, after which he spent around 34 years of active political life, almost all of it linked to Marxism. The leadership of Lenin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) founded the Third Communist International, guiding the organization of the world communist movement in numerous countries. Lenin, in addition to holding annual international congresses, sent emissaries to several countries to help with the communist party organizational process, such as that of China.

Mao Zedong himself ([1964] 1976) stated in a speech that the core theoretical force that drove his cause is Marxism-Leninism. Chinese journalist Chen Po-ta (([1951] 2018, sp) states that “Mao Zedong is the greatest exponent of Marxism-Leninism” and “the unity of theory and practice is an exclusive characteristic of Marxism-Leninism.” Chen Po -ta participated as a combatant in the Northern Expedition of the United Front – CCP and Kuomintang (the nationalists) – against the warlords (military leaders who dominated territorial regions of China) and was later a trainer for the CCP. editor of the newspaper Hongqi (Red Flag) and Political Secretary of Mao Zedong until 1941.

In this way, it is possible to conceive that Lenin's theoretical legacy provides a Marxist-Leninist tradition for which, in relation to the general perspective, the renewal of contemporary Marxism, results from theorization directly linked and directed to the practice of radicalization of social struggles and the State. Socialist.

It is important to highlight that the Marxist method developed by Lenin is distinct from academic Marxism, exercised merely as scholastic interpretations and banal phraseological quotations and weakened from its scientific efficiency with theoretical eclecticism. This makes Marxism sterile, just another kind of vulgar Marxism, purely reflective of the use of a sociological ornament to embellish and increase the number of pages of coursework, ultimately helping the progress of science.

Lukács ([1922] 2003, p.80) declares that “when a method is used for the progress of science it boils down to this, but when it is applied to the evolution of society, it reveals itself to be an instrument of ideological combat for the bourgeoisie”. The developed Marxist-Leninist theory is not an abstraction, but the rational formulation for overcoming the contradictions, material and objective problems of capitalism.

In Lenin and his theory the transformation of reality constitutes the central question. Regarding the method he himself had developed, Marx ([1859] 2009, p. 282) clarified in his Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy with precision that “in the study of the movement of economic categories […] it is necessary to always bear in mind that the categories express forms and conditions of existence [...] ".

In this way, I highlight that the Marxist-Leninist scientific method is inseparable from the perspective of the working class, because the Marxist-Leninist method as knowledge of reality is possible from the point of view of the class, from the point of view of the workers' struggle. Abandoning this perspective means distancing oneself from Marxism, in the same way that adopting it directly implies participating in the workers' struggle (Lukács ([1922] 2003).

 Lenin contradicted the classics of Marx and Engels and formulated a theoretical-practical interpretation of Marxism from a perspective of revolutionary political action for an industrially backward country, such as Russia, where the proletariat was a minority and the peasants represented the enormous majority of the population.

This Russian revolutionary produced a theoretical orientation of political orientation that he put into practice and solved the problem by forming a revolutionary centralized unified workers' party organization formed by abundant and diverse internal debate, but with absolute unity in action.

The theoretical formulations for the Soviet State came from real experiences, such as the experience of the Paris Commune (1871) and his own experience as leader of the USSR State. Its theoretical formulation came from its concomitant political action. Lenin's theoretical development, as well as Marx's, is based on an existing concrete object and not on an abstract one.

With this in mind, it is necessary to note that this article does not affirm, does not propose, does not invite, does not incite, stimulate, suggest or insinuate that today political movements must promote a socialist proletarian revolution armed with the seizure of capitalist power along the lines of the one carried out in Russia in 1917. The most important legacy of Lenin's scientific theory is that Marxist principles are universal, the real socialist experiences of other countries must always be studied as a basis, but they must never be automatically implemented in our country.

Marxist-Leninist theory cannot be treated in an ahistorical, uncritical, unreflective way as a dogma. Marxism-Leninism must – just as Lenin did based on Marx's theory – always be taken to the scrutiny of reality and of a given historical period, the current stage of capitalism in a given country.

In short, Lenin's greatest theoretical legacy is that Marxism must be adapted to the reality of each country based on scientific rigor, bearing in mind that Brazil today is not even remotely an exceptional tsarist government like Russia was in 1917. , is a democratic, popular and progressive government, distinct from that absolutist dictatorial regime of physical extermination of opponents in Russia in 1898/1917. That programmatic elaboration is totally inconceivable for the current situation in Brazil and for the current phase of capitalist development, which is the Brazil of 2024 and the current civilizational stage of humanity.

In a brief comparative example, at that historical moment at the beginning of the 2024th century, the proletariat was still a small percentage of the population with reduced political rights, therefore there was little chance for the working class to run the State through elections, through the right to vote and be voted, through of free elections. In XNUMX in Brazil, we already know, now with liberal democracy being restored, that it is possible through regular and democratic elections for the working class to elect its program and its leaders by the majority of the population.

However, we can take as a lesson the tactical and strategic methods of Leninist party organizations for a reaction against the installation of a possible exceptional, oppressive, national or international regime promoted, executed, exercised by anti-democratic, reactionary and/or neo-fascist forces.

With regard to the State and the Economy, Lenin proved that reforms are necessary in the capitalist State, institutional arrangements of a new type to allow the radicalization of the exercise of Popular Democracy, in the Economy and in the development of productive forces, in the implementation of a planned accumulation of socialist capital and material expansion for a targeted distribution of wealth produced to overcome the contradictions of capitalism.

With the distinction between what is general and what is particular in Lenin's theory and with the conjunctural safeguards outlined above, it is possible to affirm that the Marxist-Leninist scientific theory is current.

For Lenin, the revolutionary “must have as his ideal the popular tribune, who knows how to react against every manifestation of arbitrariness and oppression, wherever it occurs, whatever the class or social layer affected by a complete picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation, which knows how to take advantage of the slightest opportunity to expose its socialist convictions and its democratic demands, to explain to each and everyone the historical scope of the emancipatory struggle of the proletariat”.

This article is a partial presentation of intense scientific research focused on World Political Economy developed by the present author at the Federal University of ABC. The exhibition presented here also has a theoretical-scientific character of academic systematization.

Lenin died in his mansion in the city of Gorki in the USSR, after months of illness following three strokes that occurred between 1922 and 1924 – apparently as a result of the attack he had survived and was shot by two gunshots by an anarchist member. of the Social Revolutionary Party on August 30, 1918. Even during this sick period – with insomnia, hyperacusis, regular headaches, neurasthenia, cerebral arteriosclerosis, partial paralysis, speech impairment = Lenin continued to intervene in the leadership of the Party through letters and formulating theoretically by dictating texts to his advisors.

*Marlon D'Souzajournalist, is a master's student in world political economy at UFABC.


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