Lenin on peasants, paupers, intellectuals and prostitutes

Prostitutes as communists? Of course. In an echo of the parable of the great banquet in Luke 14:

Wherever possible we shall strive to set up our committees, committees of the SocialDemocratic Labour Party. They will consist of peasants, paupers, intellectuals, prostitutes (a worker recently asked us in a letter why not carry on agitation among the prostitutes), soldiers, teachers, workers – in short, all Social-Democrats, and none but Social-DemocratsThe urban and industrial proletariat will inevitably be the nucleus of our Social-Democratic Labour Party, but we must attract to it, enlighten, and organise all who labour and are exploited, as stated in our programme – all without exception: handicraftsmen, paupers, beggars, servants, tramps, prostitutes.

Collected Works, vol. 9, pp. 237-8.

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Was the Russian Revolution a miracle?

In assessing miracles, I suggest we turn to V.I. Lenin. With news that the tsar had abdicated and a provisional (bourgeois) government installed in early 1917, he writes:

There are no miracles in nature or history, but every abrupt turn in history, and this applies to every revolution, presents such a wealth of content, unfolds such unexpected and specific combinations of forms of struggle and alignment of forces of the contestants, that to the lay mind there is much that must appear miraculous. (Collected Works, vol 23, p. 297).

Once he warms to the idea, he puts aside his scepticism and says:

Workers, you have performed miracles of proletarian heroism, the heroism of the people, in the civil war against tsarism. You must perform miracles of organisation, organisation of the proletariat and of the whole people, to prepare the way for your victory in the second stage of the revolution. (Collected Works, vol. 23, pp. 306-7).

Note carefully: one miracle down (overthrowing the tsar); one to go (turfing out the bourgies and bringing about the second stage of the revolution). So now we have two miracles.

Comrade workers! You performed miracles of proletarian heroism yesterday in overthrowing the tsarist monarchy. In the more or less near future (perhaps even now, as these lines are being written) you will again have to perform the same miracles of heroism to overthrow the rule of the land lords and capitalists, who are waging the imperialist war. You will not achieve durable victory in this next “real” revolution if you do not perform miracles of proletarian organisation. (Collected Works, vol 23, p. 323).

When you have two, you have a multiple: one, two, many miracles are now possible. Ever keen for a motivating slogan, Lenin identifies two. ‘Miracles of proletarian heroism’ might be back-dated to the overthrow of tsarism, but what is the slogan for the forthcoming October revolution?

Miracles of proletarian organisation! That is the slogan of the moment! (Collected Works, vol. 23, p. 360).

Lenin on Max Weber

In a scintillating lecture on the 1905 revolution, Lenin offers his usually genteel assessment of none other than Max Weber:

The bourgeoisie likes to describe the Moscow uprising as something artificial, and to treat it with ridicule. For instance, in German so-called “scientific” literature, Herr Professor Max Weber, in his lengthy survey of Russia’s political development, refers to the Moscow uprising as a “putsch”. “The Lenin group,” says this “highly learned” Herr Professor, “and a section of the Socialist Revolutionaries had long prepared for this senseless uprising.”

To properly assess this piece of professorial wisdom of the cowardly bourgeoisie, one need only recall the strike statistics …

Collected Works, vol 23, pp. 250-51.