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Essential Works of Lenin

by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

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Review

The State and Revolution by V.I. Lenin provides students with a primer in Marxism, and especially underscores the utopian element of the Marxist vision.

Looking back on the wretched state of life in the Soviet Union, it’s hard to believe that Marxism is utopian. And indeed, Lenin specifically distances his worldview from the utopian ideal, writing: “There is no trace of an attempt on Marx’s part to conjure up a utopia, to make idle guesses about what cannot be known.”

Nonetheless, Marxism is one of those odd atheistic worldviews that somehow manages to be optimistic, and Lenin articulates that optimism clearly in The State and Revolution.

The picture he paints of life in a capitalistic society is far from optimistic, of course. He argues that “The state is the product and the manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms.” Later he asserts, “According to Marx, the state is an organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another . . .”

But then Lenin preaches his gospel: Marxism will eventually erase class antagonisms—will, in fact, eradicate all classes—and when that happy day dawns all government will wither away. No state will need to exist, because no oppression will exist. Everyone will be cooperating rather than trying to exploit each other.

Sounds like utopia to me. Students reading this work will see this for themselves, and will come to understand why Francis Schaeffer often referred to Marxism as a “Christian heresy.”

by Jeff Baldwin

Thegreatbooks.com