V. I.   Lenin

Plan of Letters on Tasks of the Revolutionary Youth

Written: August-September 1903
Published: First published in 1924 in Krasnaya Molodyozh magazine, No. 1. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, publisher??, 1964, Moscow, Volume 7, pages 41-42.
Translated: Fineberg Abraham
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala and D. Walters
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2002 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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Letters on tasks of the revolutionary youth could be arranged on the following plan:

I. What the present-day student body consists of and what the task of achieving its ideological unity involves.

II. Importance of Marxism in revolutionising the students (in the revolutionary movement).

III. Social-Democrats and Socialist-Revolutionaries in Russia. Theoretical and tactical differences between them. Terrorism.

IV. Problems of student organisation from the standpoint of “revolutionising the students”.

V. Students and the working class (?).

{ Ideological unity= a certain lack of ideological principles. General argument—different groups among the students. Analyse—what groups, their accidental or inevitable character.

Uplifters in different classes of society.

Uplifters as basis of liberals.

Class character of the six groups insufficiently distinct: autocracy the chief determining factor (reactionaries— uplifters—liberals). Petty bourgeoisie, workers, bourgeoisie— c l a s s[1] groupings already beginning to take shape.

Progressive significance of class (and political) differentiation. Example. Academics and their differentiation from   “liberals”. This differentiation does not hinder but helps political utilisation (development, growth).

“Ideological unity”. Quid est?[2] Between whom? Academics + liberals? Liberals + socialists?

Only Socialist-Revolutionaries and Social-Democrats?

Achieving ideological unity=propagating definite ideas, clarifying class differences, effecting ideological demarcation.

Achieving ideological unity = propagating ideas that can lead forward, the ideas of the progressive class.

Revolutionary Marxism, its emergence in Europe before 1848, its role in Western Europe and Russia.

{ i n s e r t: about the “superkluge"[3] contention that bourgeois students cannot become imbued with socialism. }


[1] Not “newly emerged” (the socialist intelligentsia), but going back half a century, beginning with the Petrashevsky circle,[4] approximately. —Lenin

[2] What is it?—Ed.

[3] “Over-clever.”–Ed. —Lenin

[4] The Petrashevsky circlewas a group of progressive-minded commoner-intellectuals formed in St. Petersburg in the mid-forties of the last century around M. V. Butashevich-Petrashevsky, a fol lower of the French utopian socialist Fourier. Among the members were writers, teachers, students, minor government officials, army officers, and so on. While not uniform in their political views, most of them were opponents of the tsarist autocracy and the serf system.

Among those connected with the Petrashevsky circle were the writers Dostoyevsky and Saltykov-Shchedrin and the poets Pie shcheyev, Maikov, and Taras Shevchenko.

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