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The Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin, has exerted a profound influence on revolutionary socialist and communist movements in the twentieth century and beyond, especially in (but not limited to) the Third World. This path will thus focus on the theoretical, historical, and political significance of Lenin’s thought, particularly with respect to problems such as the function of the capitalist state, imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, the relationship between theory and practice, reformism and opportunism vs. revolution, the role of the party in revolutionary struggle, the necessity of proletarian internationalism, and the critical role of dialectics. This path ultimately aims to provide a point of departure not only for understanding what later came to be known as ‘Marxism-Leninism’, but also for grasping the theoretical and practical richness of Lenin’s thinking on its own terms. Significantly, it shall also include texts those who have both drawn on and modified Lenin’s theoretical contributions in light of the specificities and contradictions of their own historical conjunctures, which is, after all, the living core of Lenin’s teachings.

Primary texts

What is to be Done? (1901-1902)

Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916)

Philosophical Notebooks (1895-1916)

The State and Revolution (1917).

Secondary texts

Amiri Baraka, “Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Theory: Its Relation and Application to the Third World and African Americans” (1983)

CLR James, World Revolution 1917-1936: The Rise and Fall of the Communist International; The Leninist Attitude to War” (1937); “Lenin and the Vanguard Party,” (1963)

György Lukács, Lenin: A Study on the Unity of His Thought (1924)

Rosa Luxemberg, The Russian Revolution and Leninism or Marxism?(1904)

Charles Post, “Leninism: An Appraisal at 150

Vijay Prashad, Red Star Over the Third World (2020); “The Internationalist Lenin: Self-Determination and Anti-Colonialism” (2020)

Walter Rodney, “The Imperialist Partition of Africa,” (1970)

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