History of the World Crisis

Lecture 17: 

Translated by Juan R. Fajardo, 1998

(Delivered to the “Gonzales Prada” People’s University,
at the Motorists’ and Conductors’ Union hall, Lima, on January 26, 1924.)

Author’s Notes:

Lenin was born in Simbirsk, in 1876, the son of a primary school director. He studied law in Petrograd, where his brother Alexander -- who was executed following an attempt on the life of Alexander III -- introduced him to “Capital.” He joined the socialist movement and gave himself completely to the workers’ cause. He turned not only to the study of theories but, mainly, to the direct study of the worker’s problems and spirit. He was an organizer from his time as a student. Eventually, they threw him out of the University. Following a textile strike, he was sent to Siberia. There, he completed his theoretical studies and his practical observations on the social issue in the world and in Russia. He has his ideology on proletarian reality; he fought against the workers’ confusion generated by Russia’s political situation; he fought to differentiate between the Marxists and those who were not. He took part in the 1905 revolution next to the workers of Moscow. In 1907 he emigrated to Finland and then abroad. In that period he wrote his book, “Materialism and Empiriocriticism.” In 1912 he was in Krakow, encouraging the workers’ movement. Then, in Switzerland.

In 1907, at the Stuttgart congress, the International approved a motion by Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg which, in its conclusion, said: “ If a war threatens to breakout, it is the duty of the working classes in the countries involved, supported by the International, to coordinate their efforts to prevent its break out by whatever means they consider most effective, and which naturally vary according to the intensity of the class struggle and the general political situation. In case war should break out, it is the socialists’ duty to intervene for its speedy termination and to strive with all their power to utilize the economic and political crisis created by the war to rouse the masses and thereby bring about the downfall of the capitalist order.”

Then, during the war, came the Zimmerwald and Kienthal congresses, to which went those union and socialist fraction loyal to those principles. There, the Third International began to germinate.

Lenin’s role in the Russian revolution.

His books: “The State and Revolution,” “Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder,” “The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky,” “The Fight for Bread,” “The Soviet’s Work of Rebuilding,” “Critical Notes on a Reactionary Philosophy,” and others.*

His collaboration in Pravda, Izvestia, and the Journal of the III International.

Sorel’s “Defense of Lenin” pages in his book “Reflections on Violence.”


* In the Spanish-language original the titles of the latter three of these works by Lenin are given as: “La lucha por el pan,” “La obra de reconstrucción de los soviets,” and “Apuntes críticos sobre una filosofía reaccionaria.” These, evidently, are the titles under which they circulated in Peru at the time, and may even be Mariátegui’s translation of titles originally in Italian. We have not been able to determine which English titles they might correspond to in Progress Publishers’ “V. I. Lenin Collected Works.” - Trans.


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