V. I. Lenin

Plan for an Article “On the Question of the Role of the State”{7}

Written: Written not earlier than November 18 (December 1), 1916
Published: First published in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXI. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 381.2-382.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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On the Question of the Role of the State

Communist or Social-Democrat?
Socialism and communism. (Complete community of the articles of consumption or, at least, of the necessities.)
Democracy is also a state. Absterben.... “Withering away” of the state.
Why not Abschaffung{1} or Sprengung{2} ?
“Allm\"ahliches Einschlafen”{3} of one function after another.
Without democracy=without administration of men. “The state is rooted in the souls of the workers”?
Opportunism and revolutionary Social-Democracy. Dictatorship of the proletariat.
{{{{ Use of the state against the bourgeoisie.
Resistance to its attempts at restoration.
Revolutionary wars.
Introduction and defence of democracy. The role of democracy.
The role of democracy: Education of the masses
Their transition to the new system
Form of socialist revolution: a l l i ances of 1905.
Imperialism: the state and the economic organisations of the capitalists. “State-capitalist trusts”....
Democratic reforms of the imperialists and socialist revolution.
Marx in 1844 (Nachlass, II. Band, S. 50,{4} end of last but one paragraph).{8}
[DOUBLE BOX ENDS:] [[ Nothing except an antithesis between socialism and politics. Against Ruge’s purely political radicalism. Until 1847! ]]
Engels (“Dell’ Autorità”{5} ) on revolution... (+)
on organisation....{9} (+)
Marx (ebenda{6} ) ((Neue Zeit, 32, I, 1913–1914)) on political influence and struggle for c o n c e s s i o n s—on the revolutionary use of the state power...{10}
Two directions in politics (politics is participation in the affairs of s t a t e, direction of the state, definition of the forms, tasks and content of state activity), opportunist and revolutionary, or two trends in the attitude to the “state”?
The democracy of the reformists and the democracy of the revolution. Two different contents: minority and the mass. Appeasing the mass? Helping the mass struggle? Subordination of the mass to the authority of the leaders? Revolt against the leaders? Engels’s “lower mass” v e r s u s “mass” behind opportunist leaders. Boils down to revolution versus opportunism. ]]


{1} Destruction.—Ed.

{2} Explosion.—Ed.

{3} “Gradual somnolence.”—Ed.

{4} Legacy, Vol. II, p. 50.—Ed.

{5} “On Authority.”—Ed.

{6} Ibidem.—Ed.

{7} The plan was drawn up not earlier than November 18 (December 1), 1916, when Lenin was working on the material concerning the Marxist attitude to the state. The sheet containing the plan was inserted in the notebook “Marxism on the State”. That Lenin intended to write a work on the state is evident from his note “The Youth International” published in December 1916. Analysing and criticising N. I. Bukharin’s article “The Imperialist Predatory State”, Lenin wrote: “We hope to return to this very important subject in a separate article” (see present edition, Vol. 23, p. 466). A comparison of the present plan with Bukharin’s articles “Concerning the Theory of the Imperialist State” and “The Imperialist Predatory State” shows that this is precisely the plan for an article aimed against Bukharin’s anti-Marxist, semi-anarchist views of the state.

In a letter to A. M. Kollontai on February 4 (17), 1917, Lenin wrote: “I am preparing (have got the material ready) an article on the question of the attitude of Marxism to the state” (see present edition, Vol. 35, p. 286). The article was intended for No. 4 of Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata, but was apparently not written. The material collected by Lenin for the article made up his notebook, “Marxism on the State” (see Fifth Russian edition of the Collected Works, Vol. 33, pp. 123–307) and was used by Lenin in his book The State and Revolution (see present edition, Vol. 25, pp. 381–492). p. 381

{8} See Marx, “Critical Remarks on ‘Prussian’s’ Article, ‘The King of Prussia and Social Reform’\thinspace”, Lenin quotes the article from the book Aus dem literarischen NachlaΒ von K. Marx, F. Engels und F. Lassalle. Hrsg. von F. Mehring. Bd. 2. Gesammelte Schriften von K. Marx und F. Engels. Von Juli 1844 bis November 1847. Stuttgart, 1902. p. 382

{9} Engels, “On Authority” (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. 1, Moscow, 1962, pp. 636–39). p. 382

{10} See Marx, “Der politischen Indifferentismus” (Political Indifferentism) (Marx/Engels, Werke, Bd. 18, S. 299–304, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1962). p. 382

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