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Unfinished Leninism
The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine
A stimulating collection of essays on the revolutionary socialist Vladimir Lenin that survey fierce controversies over his life and ideas.

"One doesn’t have to be a Leninist to read and appreciate Paul Le Blanc’s brilliant essays. This is indeed an outstanding study of Lenin’s ideas, his relation to Leon Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg, as well as his unfinished democratic revolutionary legacy."—Michael Löwy

As a leader of the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Lenin was perhaps the greatest revolutionary of the twentieth century. These clearly written essays offer an account of his life and times, a lively view of his personality, and a stimulating engagement with his ideas.

Paul Le Blanc is a professor of history at La Roche College and has written widely on radical movements.

Reviews
  • "For more than a century Lenin has been a constant source of inspiration for workers and revolutionaries striving to shape democratic and equitable societies throughout the world. Unfinished Leninism is a powerful and stimulating guide to Lenin’s political thought and abiding legacy that is essential reading for students and activists who are striving to realize an ethical and revolutionary democratic society today."—Immanuel Ness, Ours to Master and To Own and Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest.

    “Illuminating much misunderstood aspects of Lenin's legacy with flair and originality, Paul Le Blanc breathes new vigor into a century-old approach to social transformation. A major addition to our understanding of twenty-first century socialism.”—John Riddell, editor Toward the United Front

    "One doesn’t have to be a Leninist to read and appreciate Paul Le Blanc’s brilliant essays. This is indeed an outstanding study of Lenin’s ideas, his relation to Leon Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg, as well as his unfinished democratic revolutionary legacy."—Michael Löwy Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.

    "Paul Le Blanc likes to "spin his remarks around quotations", and luckily he is a great quoter. He finds eloquent comments from a century's worth of activists and historians, and engages with them passionately. He lets us have our own voice (I say "us" because I am honored to be among those quoted) and yet weaves all the quotations into a searchingly individual view of what it means to be a leftist and a self-proclaimed Leninist in the twenty-first century. And indeed, his conception of the way forward for the left centers on listening, and then on presenting one's own view forthrightly -- on conducting an adult conversation about life-and-death issues. To read his book is to join in his questing interrogation of past, present, and future."—Lars Lih, author Lenin Rediscovered

    "Unfinished Leninism is a stimulating book on the life and ideas of Lenin but also on the history and future of the doctrine connected with his name."—Ron Blom, De Socialist

    Praise for Lenin and the Revolutionary Party:

    "A work of unusual strength and coherence, inspired not by academic neutrality but by the deep conviction that there is much to learn from the actual ideas and experiences of Lenin and the revolutionary party he led.” —Michael Löwy

    Praise for Revolution, Democracy, Socialism:

    “We desperately need the resurrection and revival of the kind of strategic thinking and principled commitment that Lenin epitomised in the era of 1917, and all that it promised. For those interested in this rebirth of the politics of alternative to capitalism, Paul Le Blanc's account of the democratic, socialist, and revolutionary Lenin will prove indispensable. Reading it is a reminder that what is, need not be, and that what has, seemingly, failed, can be reconstituted anew.” —Bryan Palmer

    Praise for Marx, Lenin and the Revolutionary Experience:

    “Looking back at the tumultuous events associated with revolutionary Marxism in the past century, Paul Le Blancoffers us an insightful, sympathetic, and even-handed assessment of the sources of its dynamism as well as the causes of its decline.” —Walden Bello

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  • The Death Agony of the Monarchy: Russia on the eve of revolution

    In this extract from his History of the Russian Revolution, which Haymarket is republishing to mark the centenary of 1917, Trotsky describes the final days of Imperial Russia. Incompetent, vain, and stobbornly ignorant of all around them, the royal family and decrepit aristocracy appear utterly divorced from reality, powerless to prevent their imminent overthrow.

      
    Skobelev Square during the February Revolution, by A.M. Gerasimov. Open Source.

    The dynasty fell by shaking, like rotten fruit, before the revolution even had time to approach its first problems. Our portrayal of the old ruling class would remain incomplete if we did not try to show how the monarchy met the hour of its fall.

    Continue Reading

Other books by Paul Le Blanc

  • C. L. R. James and Revolutionary Marxism

    CLR James and Revolutionary Marxism collects some of the most important, but difficult to obtain, articles from the legendary Trinidadian-Marxist.
  • Revolutionary Studies

    Explores relevance of Marxism to emancipatory politics through critical examination of core concepts and key twentieth-century revolutionary figures and movements.
  • Left Americana

    Essays highlighting socialist and left-wing traditions that helped shape US history in the direction of “liberty and justice for all".
  • Trotskyism in the United States

    Edited by George Breitman, Paul Le Blanc, et al.
    An outstanding set of informative essays, providing an unsurpassed account of the dynamic revolutionary socialist current known as American Trotskyism.
  • From Marx to Gramsci

    Edited by Paul Le Blanc
    A comprehensive course in the contributions of key figures to the Marxist tradition.
  • A Short History of the U.S. Working Class

    Le Blanc presents a colorful, fact-filled history that concentrates on the struggles and achievements of the often neglected laboring majority.
  • Lenin and the Revolutionary Party

    Lenin's political and organizational ideas confront the reality of the labor movement and the revolutionary process.
  • Leon Trotsky and the Organizational Principles of the Revolutionary Party

    Trotsky’s own words on revolutionary organization, from 1917 to 1940, highlight the dynamics of democratic initiative and principled centralism.