marxlenin - Urzala Weiss Radical Political Thought Violence...

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Urzala Weiss February 11 th , 2008 Radical Political Thought Prof. Will Roberts Violence As A Means of Revolutionary Action: Although Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin were both major promoters of communist ideology, each one contributing central ideas to the formulation of it’s political philosophy, interpretations of the two revolutionaries have branched out into different schools of thought with variations in it’s teachings and understandings. Lenin himself was a study of Marx’s writings and his interpretation of what Marx’s vision was has been incredibly insightful for those intrigued by communism. An elemental concept of both Marxism and Leninism is the idea of an absolute necessity of a violent overthrow of capitalism by means of a communist revolution, followed by a dictatorship of the proletariat. By examining Marx’s “Civil War in France” and Lenin’s “The State and Revolution”, and taking into consideration it’s relevance in more current world affairs, it becomes evident that violence can be a justifiable means to a desired end. In “Civil War in France” Marx writes “… They have understood that it is their imperious duty and their absolute right to render themselves masters of their own destinies, by seizing upon the governmental power. But the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes” 1 . Lenin interprets this, and agrees with Marx, that change cannot simply come from reforms within, since it is the bourgeoisie themselves who have created all aspects of the oppressive state structure. Lenin further cements this interpretation by highlighting the importance of a passage from Marx’s “Eighteenth Brumaire”, emphasizing the necessity of a violent “destruction of the ready-made state machinery as the precondition for every real people’s revolution” 2 . Without it, both revolutionaries believed that adequate
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This essay was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course POLI 364 taught by Professor Roberts during the Spring '08 term at McGill.

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marxlenin - Urzala Weiss Radical Political Thought Violence...

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