What Is to Be Done in the Struggle for a New World?

  • Michael Brie
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


Lenin is said to have burst out in ringing, uncontrollable laughter until tears rolled down his face when he learned that the All Russian Constituent Assembly had been sent home by the sailors’ guard after its first and only session on the early morning of 6 January 1918 (according to accounts by Nikolai Bukharin and Fyodor Raskolnikov; see Protasov 1997, 318). To Lenin, the delegates to this assembly represented a ‘company of corpses… mummies with their empty “social” Louis Blanc phrases’ (LW 26: 431). He issued orders that no violence be committed against the delegates but they were to be prevented from re-entering the palace after leaving it (Protasov 1997, 317). The Constituent Assembly was dissolved by a proclamation of the Soviet government that same day. A vibrant account of Lenin’s view on the convocation of the Constituent Assembly following the October insurrection is presented by Leon Trotsky in his recollections of Lenin (Trotsky 2018, 279–287). It becomes clear that Lenin was quite alone in his demand to refrain from convening the assembly and push for new elections, at least initially. The decisions proposed by Lenin were based on clear ideas on revolution, state power and violence. This chapter analyses these ideas which sharpened in the crucial time after October 1917 and changed the world.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Brie
    • 1
  1. 1.Rosa Luxemburg StiftungInstitute for Critical Social AnalysisBerlinGermany

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