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“Extracting the Democratic Kernel”: Lenin and the Peasants

  • Alan Shandro
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter examines Marxist efforts to extract the kernel of peasant democracy from the husk of populist ideology and traces the connection between ‘Bolshevism’ and the emergent Marxist engagement with peasant political agency. These efforts are traced back to Marx and Plekhanov but it was the young Lenin who, analyzing in detail the painful process of division of the peasantry into incipient peasant bourgeoisie and a class of poor, semi-proletarian peasants still tied to the land, would identify a force in the countryside capable of following the political lead of the urban workers. The turn of the century saw Lenin diversify the analytical framework through which he viewed the Russian countryside, distinguishing two social struggles, not only between agricultural proletariat and bourgeoisie but also between the peasantry as a whole and the landlords. This facilitated rethinking, in light of the upheavals in the countryside of 1905–1907, the agency of the peasantry as a whole and the Marxist project of proletarian hegemony.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laurentian UniversitySudburyCanada

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