Vladimir Lenin’s

“Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder

Written: April–May 1920
Source: Collected Works, Volume 31, pp. 17–118
Publisher: Progress Publishers, USSR, 1964
First Published: As pamphlet, June 1920
Translated: Julius Katzer
Online Version: marx.org in 1996, marxists.org 1999
Transcribed: Zodiac
HTML Markup: Brian Baggins and David Walters
2nd Proof reading: Steve Iverson, 2014


In What Sense We Can Speak of the International Significance of the Russian Revolution (9 k)
An Essential Condition of the Bolsheviks’ Success (9 k)
The Principal Stages in the History of Bolshevism (19 k)
The Struggle Against Which Enemies Within the Working-Class Movement
Helped Bolshevism Develop, Gain Strength, and Become Steeled
(28 k)
“Left-Wing” Communism in Germany. The Leaders, the Party, the Class, the Masses (28 k)
Should Revolutionaries Work in Reactionary Trade Unions? (29 k)
Should We Participate in Bourgeois Parliaments? (32 k)
No Compromises? (33 k)
“Left-Wing” Communism in Great Britain (35 k)
Several Conclusions (38 k)

Appendix (28 k)

The Split Among the German Communists
The Communists and the independents in Germany
Turati and Co. in Italy
False Conclusions from Correct Premises
Note from Wijnkoop, June 30, 1920


With this now-classic work, Lenin aimed to encapsulate the lessons the Bolshevik Party had learned from its involvement in three revolutions in 12 years—in a manner that European Communists could relate to, for it was to them he was speaking. He also further develops the theory of what the “dictatorship of the proletariat” means and stresses that the primary danger for the working-class movement in general is opportunism on the one hand, and anti-Marxist ultraleftism on the other.

“Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder was written in April, and the appendix was written on May 12, 1920. It came out on June 8–10 in Russian and in July was published in German, English and French. Lenin gave personal attention to the book’s type-setting and printing schedule so that it would be published before the opening of the Second Congress of the Communist International, each delegate receiving a copy. Between July and November 1920, the book was republished in Leipzig, Paris, and London, in the German, French, and English languages respectively.

“Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder is published according to the first edition print, the proofs of which were read by Lenin himself.